Does GPA really not matter after you get the interview?

Rank: Gorilla | 542

Does GPA really not matter after you get the interview? Cause I swear it does. And I'm not talking about 3.6 vs 3.8. I'm talking about when you have a 3.0-3.3 range GPA...

Comments (36)

 
11/11/10

of course it matters. An MD who didn't look at your resume initially is going to eye your GPA and wonder why you did so poorly.

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11/11/10

I had 2 MM banks ask me about my GPA (in the lower range you mentioned) and I blew past it in one sentence and moved on to another round. At a BB I dwelled on it for a minute, did not move on. At a consulting firm where I now work it came up but I maneuvered around it and moved on. It has never been mentioned in a final round interview in any of the many varied places I interviewed. Usually a topic that comes up during the first and maybe second interview. If you don't bomb your response, it will be dropped for good.

Still not sure if I want to spend the next 30+ years grinding away in corporate finance and the WSO dream chase or look to have enough passive income to live simply and work minimally.

 
11/12/10
MissingNo.:

I had 2 MM banks ask me about my GPA (in the lower range you mentioned) and I blew past it in one sentence and moved on to another round. At a BB I dwelled on it for a minute, did not move on. At a consulting firm where I now work it came up but I maneuvered around it and moved on. It has never been mentioned in a final round interview in any of the many varied places I interviewed. Usually a topic that comes up during the first and maybe second interview. If you don't bomb your response, it will be dropped for good.

How did you defend or get around it during those times with MM and consulting firms? Do you think if the experience you're building up now with MM/consulting will offset your GPA later on with another BB in the future?

 
11/11/10

I've been asked about it plenty of times and always have a response ready and I've been told that what I say is a "good defense". Made plenty of 2nd round interviews but I can't land an offer and I seriously don't fucking understand why. Anyone have any more insight upon this topic? I swear I'm doing good in my interviews but I don't know why the fuck I can't get an offer. This is seriously so depressing.

 
11/11/10

Definitely dude. I have a 3.3 from a nontarget and have 2 ib internships and although made it to superdays, the people interviewing me asked about the gpa and I ended up getting dinged after thinking the interviews went well. I have a pretty good reason for gpa and explained it to my interviewers, but I think once they see that GPA, they have most of the time made up their minds. People say school/gpa only matters to get the interview, but from my experiences this is far from true and I am very grateful that I left my internship with an offer. Don't give up dude, I was just contacted out of the blue today for a first round interview at a regional boutique / mm firm that has pretty strong deal flow. There are still opportunities you just need to find them. It is very discouraging, but opportunities will arise (I got my SA gig last April when a spot opened up).

 
11/11/10

If you absolutely nail your interview - I'm talking PERFECT - they will not care about your GPA. But if you make a mistake or two, maybe fumble one little technical, give a response that they don't like for a fit question - really, anything at all - chances are there are other people who did just as (imperfectly) well. If that happens, GPA can be the tiebreaker and you'll lose every time with a 3.0.

They say GPA doesn't matter once you get the interview, and that's true to the extent that you'll move on if you nail your interview. But if you just come oh-so-close to nailing it, GPA comes back into the picture; for someone with an unstellar GPA, the bar is just a little bit higher.

One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.

 
11/11/10

The above is all true. Just the way it is.

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11/11/10
 
11/11/10

I really don't think GPA matters after the interview -- it hurts in that it makes you underprepare/not try as hard during your interviews because you think you have no shot anyway, but besides that i don't think it really matters. People do ask why is your GPA low, but I think that's more to see if you can handle a stressful situation. From what I've seen high GPAs get interviews much more easily, but in Superday results are very random and based a lot on luck (did you play the same sport as your interviewer, like the same music, he's having a good day, etc.)

 
11/11/10

you're basically screwed for life

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11/11/10

At the same time I've never moved on when someone asked me why my GPA is low, but I've usually stuttered/mumbled through my answers to those so it was probably my response that triggered it. Low GPA gives you a psychological mindset of "oh, i have no chance anyway" -- that's the biggest problem

 
11/11/10

yes, it certainly does matter after you get an interview and at all times in the process.

GPA is really, really important for analyst recruiting. It's not that you can't get hired with a low GPA, but you really have to do well in all other areas... it's just reality. And what's even worse is that I've found it matters beyond your first job as well. I've already been working in REPE for more than 2 years and before that I was with a best in class REPE / developer (tishman, etc) --- I had an interview at a REPE megafund recently (blackstone, carlyle) and I'm pretty sure i got dinged because of my GPA - which isn't even "bad" at all really (3.5 - at Ivy / target). The guy interviewing told me that my "test scores were very solid, but that my GPA was 'above cut-off, but in the lower range of what we generally look at'". Now I'm not suggesting that a 3.5 from an ivy is something anyone should really be concerned about --- we're talking about one of the top firms in the world in this instance --- but the point of my anecdote is that GPA does REALLY matter a lot...

@WallStreetKid: I don't think 3.6 is a real concern --- especially if you're from a target than that's quite good actually. In my mind, GPA's between like 3.45-3.75 are sort of the "standard" range for ibanking applicants... meaning that they're certainly not going to help get you a job, but they're not going to hurt your chances either... 3.6 is on the brighter side of "meh". I highly doubt anyone would bring that up in an interview.

 
11/12/10
International Pymp:

yes, it certainly does matter after you get an interview and at all times in the process.

GPA is really, really important for analyst recruiting. It's not that you can't get hired with a low GPA, but you really have to do well in all other areas... it's just reality. And what's even worse is that I've found it matters beyond your first job as well. I've already been working in REPE for more than 2 years and before that I was with a best in class REPE / developer (tishman, etc) --- I had an interview at a REPE megafund recently (blackstone, carlyle) and I'm pretty sure i got dinged because of my GPA - which isn't even "bad" at all really (3.5 - at Ivy / target). The guy interviewing told me that my "test scores were very solid, but that my GPA was 'above cut-off, but in the lower range of what we generally look at'". Now I'm not suggesting that a 3.5 from an ivy is something anyone should really be concerned about --- we're talking about one of the top firms in the world in this instance --- but the point of my anecdote is that GPA does REALLY matter a lot...

@WallStreetKid: I don't think 3.6 is a real concern --- especially if you're from a target than that's quite good actually. In my mind, GPA's between like 3.45-3.75 are sort of the "standard" range for ibanking applicants... meaning that they're certainly not going to help get you a job, but they're not going to hurt your chances either... 3.6 is on the brighter side of "meh". I highly doubt anyone would bring that up in an interview.

And

Anthony:

Ohhh ok. Yeah. I am not taking anything away from a high GPA, but holy shit. I would hope that people would weigh it with other things. Guess that is life.

Anyone still in school should heed this warning.

Thanks for bringing these out. My final intent is to work at a Private Equity helping "better" companies and adding some indirect value. Working at a major PE firm (Blackstone, Apollo) would give me access to working with some of the larger companies (like Nabisco, Burger King, etc.). If I'm a somewhat top guy like a Senior VP there, the words I say to management of the bought out firms will have an impact. I personally want to make a positive impact in industry and in general to society. This is the best place to do it, with the right power and responsibility. It's also challenging, so I'd get some intellectual challenge out of this.

If I absolutely need a 4.0 from a target to work in these places, I have to get it somehow or the other. I'm going to go for the MSF.as many people have suggested here.
Thanks again Anthony and Pymp, and the OP for bringing up this thread!

 
11/11/10

Pymp did you ever work in banking, or did you go straight REPE?

 
 
11/12/10

GPA is irrelevant once you get the interview

Can you do the job? Do they like you?

That's what matters now

Get busy living

 
11/12/10

even if your gpa is very low(~3.1)?

 
11/12/10

by the way,this is for an f50 interview

 
11/12/10

Nope doesn't matter at all. You might have to defend your low GPA in some of the interviews because people might ask about it, but other than that you just need to be the person they like the most.

 
11/12/10
 
11/12/10

if you get an interview shouldnt matter. be prepared to explain why its low though

 
11/12/10

It matters to the extent that you need to alleviate your interviewer's concern for the low GPA. They would not give an interview if they thought they could never get past it. It's your job to explain how it is a non factor and your ability to do the job better than the other candidates. If you can do that, GPA will be forgotten. However, if you cannot stop them from thinking "If he/she had a low GPA, what else is he likely to fail at?" you are toast. For low GPA candidates, this is a make or break 60-90 seconds. If you pass that phase, you are in the same pool as everyone else. Of course, do not offer this if not asked.

I rock a

"We're not lawyers, we're investment bankers. We call you for the paperwork. We didn't go to Harvard, we went to Wharton, and we saw you coming a mile away."

 
11/11/10

let's just say this... if you have a super high GPA 3.9+ it will help you... if you have a low GPA <3.4 it will hurt you. otherwise there is no real difference between a 3.5 and a 3.7

 
 
11/12/10

Getting the interview is the hardest part, like you said they might ask about it if it's really low but from there it's just the overall impression. I could see it coming into play again if you're up against someone else who's similar in all other ways but has a stronger gpa

 
11/11/10

@Pymp - Honestly bro, you have top experience. If a place is dinging you because you had a 3.5 and not a 3.8 even though you have good experience it isn't a place you want to work at.

You get an interview 2 ways

1) High GPA

2) Network

Once you get the interview your GPA comes up and you answer any doubts. Once you get the job your experience should speak for itself. If you are a good banker/trader/etc and someone dings you because of your GPA consider yourself lucky because that place is completely arbitrary.

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11/12/10
Anthony .:

@Pymp - Honestly bro, you have top experience. If a place is dinging you because you had a 3.5 and not a 3.8 even though you have good experience it isn't a place you want to work at.

I don't know, Anthony. KKR, Carlyle, Blackstone, Bain Cap, TPG sound like pretty damn good places to work and I've heard they're sticklers for that stuff

 
11/12/10
Nightman:
Anthony .:

@Pymp - Honestly bro, you have top experience. If a place is dinging you because you had a 3.5 and not a 3.8 even though you have good experience it isn't a place you want to work at.

I don't know, Anthony. KKR, Carlyle, Blackstone, Bain Cap, TPG sound like pretty damn good places to work and I've heard they're sticklers for that stuff

I don't care. You put in 3 years at GS and they are still looking at GPA, that is just moronic. Companies that are in high demand can always look at completely arbitrary things, but GPA means zero after you get a job.

This does not mean that some places might not use it and I am not arguing that point. I am simply stating that it is idiotic and I would look elsewhere if some place wanted to focus on my GPA compared to what I have done outside of school.

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11/12/10

I believe it matters more for the filtering of applicants. I would a have an answer or "story" prepared though. Just in case they question your GPA.

"The only thing I know is that I know nothing, and i am no quite sure that i know that." Socrates

 
11/12/10

If you're doing OCR and you get a first round, yeah it still matters. At my target, they just asked fit questions and chose pretty much the highest GPAs to move on.

 
11/12/10

I think it kind of makes sense, PE/HFs probably need a lot of independent work, kids who formulate and defend investment theses with strong rigorous research skills, and I think banking doesn't show how good you are at those aspects very well, so they go with GPA which shows the last time you had to make your own arguments and defend them in papers etc.

 
11/12/10

Dude, how many UG kids do a thesis?

I am sorry, at the UG level your thesis is not that intense that it would outweigh real world experience.

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11/12/10

Hey sorry I didn't mean a thesis per se, more along the lines of writing paper after paper (even if you major in finance you still take other humanities courses, and I've had to write papers in most of my econ/finance classes) where you have to do research, make an argument, and defend it well which you don't really do in banking. I think those skills in college + modeling/industry knowledge of banking are what they look for and GPA shows that skill decently well. Definitely not a perfect indicator by any means but it is still an indicator

 
11/12/10

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