How differently would a recruiter/admissions counselor consider a 3.7 GPA, a 3.8 GPA and a 3.9 GPA? 3.7 is a little low I know, but is there really that much of a difference between a 3.8 (magna cum laude) and a 3.9 (summa cum laude) coming from a state school?
Does Your GPA Matter To Recruiters
Short answer is yes. However, some recruiters may place a floor at 3.5 GPA while others may not have a GPA cutoff. Although this would also depend on the structure of the firm, some smaller startups or businesses may not weigh GPA as heavily. User @BlackHat, a hedge fund partner, offers valuable insight to GPA:
That's not to say a higher GPA is bad, but, more often than not, grade point average is not the best indicator of success due to grade-padding, rigor of coursework, and motivation of the student.
Although GPA is one of the things that recruiters screen for, it is more targeted towards current students or recent graduates. As years progress, GPA becomes more irrelevant as work experiences proves your value more than a number. User @northsider, a private equity associate, explains that:
Your experience is far, far more important than your GPA.
Should you have a 4.0 GPA?
Having a 4.0 would be an impressive feat within your school, but it may hurt you depending on the rest of your resume. Specifically within the business industry, you need to be well-rounded with internships, EC (extra-curriculars), and community involvement. Some recruiters said that having a 4.0 GPA may indicate a singular focus instead of developing yourself to be well-rounded. There are also skepticism on having a perfect gpa depending on your school, their rules on grade inflation, and the classes that you have taken.
However, some of this may not apply to you as you may have steller internships that articulate your interest in your particular field, or are heavily involved within your community. All of these paired with a steller GPA would place you in a better position.
What Can You Do If You Have A Lower GPA
If you do have a lower GPA, fear not. There isn't enough corrobating information on your resume to immediately put you out of the running. Specifically for business, User @23mich, a corporate strategy vice president, shares that there are a number of factors that you can play to your favor:
- Length of time - the longer you've been out of college, the less your undergrad matters and the more your work experience comes into play
- GMAT - a higher GMAT will essentially "validate" you showing that you have the intellectual horsepower to do well in MBA and your undergrad record doesn't fully reflect your abilities.
- Graduate school - if you've gone on to get a masters in something else and done well in it, it'll help your case
- Trend - Is your GPA a result of a terrible freshman year where you had trouble adjusting to college life but you turned things around and you can see a strong sense of improvement over time? This will show you can do well academically, you just took a "mulligan" of sorts before you hit your stride.
If you have more advice on either achieving a higher gpa or what you can do to level your playing field, please comment below!
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