GPA Cutoffs in Banking

For investment banking this year are GPA cutoffs around 3.7 for getting interviews BB and 3.8 for GS/MS/elite boutiques with 3.85 or so being the average GPA for kids who get the offer? I know people say its 3.5 but it seems very high these few years and people who I know with internships have 3.8 at the very least (I go to an Ivy target)

What GPA do I need to work in banking?

GPA cutoffs vary by bank and by year. However, our users shared that between a 3.5 - 3.7 GPA will likely be okay coming from a target school. Coming from a non-target school it can be more difficult. However, there are always exceptions to the rule that can be made for candidates with great stories or connections.

User @PowerMonkey", an investment banking vice president, shared:

PowerMonkey - Investment Banking Vice President:
As someone who used to review target resumes at a BB during my first and second year as an analyst, here is what we did. Candidates with harder majors (hard sciences, engineers) will likley be given more slack about their GPAs as well.
  1. You take your pile and get rid of everyone below a 3.0, unless they have a connection on the recruiting team pulling for them.
  2. You look at the people with between a 3.0 and a 3.5 and you see if they are in a really hard major (double econ/major or something like that). If you meet the it was a hard major I'll give you the benefit, you get kept for another look.
  3. You look to see if people in that range also have amazing experience, then they get kept around.
  4. You take the remaining pile, which is now probably half of the size and cull it based on overall quality.

Once you have a pile of people you think are strong (approximately the number of interview slots open), you sit down with the rest of the team and compare notes. In two years of being on the recruiting team at a BB we only gave interviews to about 3 people with under a 3.0 (they all had major connections) and a handful with less than a 3.5.

A GPA of a 3.7+ can make up for weaker experience, but is by no means a gimme. Banks prefer good experience to good GPAs (subject to a minimum in the 3.3-3.5 range).

How to Explain a Low GPA?

If you have anything near what could be considered a low GPA, you need to have a prepared explanation for why your GPA is low.

Some examples include:

  • Working a Job(s)
  • Strong extra-curricular involvement
  • Family trouble (illness or death in the family)
  • Difficulty adjusting to college / workload at beginning of college

If your reason is the latter, always frame it like an issue that was in the past towards the beginning of college.

A video below further explains how to build your answer.

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Comments (158)

Nov 23, 2009 - 2:49pm

Last year, kids with 3.5 from top IVY (think WHYP) got into GS, MS, JPM. Students with 3.5 also got into BX.

In another top tier Ivy (WHYP), kids placed into private equity like BX, GS- SSG, JPM, MS etc.

Kids with lower GPA got into CS, BAC, and UBS etc.

I do not think it is true at all.

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Nov 23, 2009 - 4:03pm

Gimmeshelter...you are still not considered a target in this case and will be lumped in with the rest of the pile (read: on-line apps). That said, if your resume does get a look, you will receive some credit for being at a reputable school.

Jul 11, 2015 - 11:53am

Could you please tell me how you broke in the industry with that? I'm getting ready for full-time recruitment thats coming up in the fall and I'm a 3.3 from a non-target with strong experience and well-rounded, 3.8-looking muufuucka (but I happen to be at a 3.3 because of a bad freshman year).

Any help would be appreciated

Thanks

Nov 23, 2009 - 5:16pm

At Penn, it seems that for BBs at least that the cutoff is 3.4/3.5. Once again, however, it REALLY depends on other things more than GPA, things like past experience***. GPA is just to reflect you're not an idiot.

Best Response
Nov 23, 2009 - 6:28pm

As someone who used to review target resumes at a BB during my first and second year as an analyst, here is what we did.

  1. You take your pile and get rid of everyone below a 3.0, unless they have a connection on the recruiting team pulling for them.
  2. You look at the people with between a 3.0 and a 3.5 and you see if they are in a really hard major (double econ/major or something like that). If you meet the it was a hard major I'll give you the benefit, you get kept for another look.
  3. You look to see if people in that range also have amazing experience, then they get kept around.
  4. You take the remaining pile, which is now probably half of the size and cull it based on overall quality.

Once you have a pile of people you think are strong (approximately the number of interview slots open), you sit down with the rest of the team and compare notes. In two years of being on the recruiting team at a BB we only gave interviews to about 3 people with under a 3.0 (they all had major connections) and a handful with less than a 3.5.

A GPA of a 3.7+ can make up for weaker experience, but is by no means a gimme. Banks prefer good experience to good GPAs (subject to a minimum in the 3.3-3.5 range).

--There are stupid questions, so think first.
  • 12
Nov 23, 2009 - 10:46pm

People put too much focus on the GPA. Yes, it is incredibly important, yes it is used to weed out undesirable candidates, and yes having a strong GPA does help your candidacy. That said, adjusting your GPA by a few hundredths or a tenth is not going to make or break your candidacy at all once you get over the 3.3 or so hurdle. Furthermore, once you get over a 3.5, you begin to look like everyone else who holds a strong GPA. The difference between a 3.6 GPA and a 3.8 GPA really isn't much to recruiters - both strong GPAs - at that point it becomes what else do you have to offer - experience, ECs, school name, etc.

A 3.5 from a Target is not going to get you dinged by any means - focus on the presentation of the rest of your resume and selling all of your experiences - if you are sitting at a Target school with a 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, etc GPA, you are in good shape from a GPA standpoint. For more on GPAs, check this out:

http://www.bankonbanking.com/2009/09/20/rounding-your-gpa-and-other-gpa…

Nov 24, 2009 - 2:49am
PiperChiangAccent:
and worked at a MBB over summer and is at Goldman Sachs IBD TMT

From my experience at a semitarget: All I/friends needed to get ibd interviews from everywhere from gs to pjc was a 3.5 + good experience (though when they're only interviewing 6-12 kids there are people with credentials like that who don't get interviews). However, MBB are much more stringent with grades for ocr. I know a number of kids with 3.5/6 + hedge fund/consulting experience who didn't get mbb interviews.

Dec 15, 2009 - 2:53pm

I have a 3.3 from a non-target, yet still very reputable school (Liberal Arts), and still got interviewed by 4 BB firms. I had a very hard dual major combo as well (Econ & Chinese). Three of the four of these interviews came directly through online applications. Granted I had great experience, 6 months at a BB in PBIG, summer internship at BB with Advisory, and another summer S&T internship with MM. So, I'd have to say past experience def. helps get over a sub-par GPA.

Dec 15, 2009 - 10:15pm

Anyone care to guesstimate the percentage of top tier US college juniors with 4.0 GPA?

~ European lad trying to figure out why low GPAs are so common place on this forum

Dec 15, 2009 - 10:54pm
Brown_Bateman:
Anyone care to guesstimate the percentage of top tier US college juniors with 4.0 GPA?

~ European lad trying to figure out why low GPAs are so common place on this forum

I know at my target, summa cum laude (3.9+ is top 10%).

Dec 16, 2009 - 8:36pm

I had a 4.0 when recruiting for internships last year, and I was only able to get first rounds with about 60% or less of the BBs/boutiques that came on campus. My experiences were somewhat weaker compared to classmates who had slightly lower GPAs (3.7-3.9 range) but received nearly every 1st round they applied for. In addition, in many of my first round interviews, I was asked the question, "what do you do for fun" which I inferred as, "ok you got a 4, but do you have a life?" I didn't move past any rounds that asked that question.

So, I would definitely say experience > GPA after a certain (3.7 seemed to the cutoff at my school) threshold. I realized that and slacked off this semester, losing the 4, for better or worse.

Oct 14, 2011 - 1:24pm

How about for experienced hires? At what point should you remove your GPA from your resume? I only had a 3.0, 1 year FT experience now. I'm trying to think of what other ways I can beef up my resume (I still do a lot of networking).

My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.
Jul 13, 2015 - 12:56pm

Less than a 3.5 from a non target but still wiggled my way into BB interviews. Landed at an EB. I would say that getting a foot in the door if you're lacking a stellar GPA has everything to do with experience and self-marketing. Don't let arbitrary cut offs hold you back

Array
Jul 13, 2015 - 1:12pm

GPA Cutoffs (Originally Posted: 05/20/2007)

Hey all,

I've heard different things being thrown around about GPA cutoffs, but I haven't heard anything definitive, so I figured I'd start a thread

What you think is the GPA cutoff to get a first round interview for Investment Banking? (Btw, I know you need a lot more than GPA to get an interview)

Does the cutoff vary for BB vs. boutiques, or IBD vs. other divisions like Research or Investment Management? Does it vary by liberal arts vs. engineering?

Specifically, I have a 3.4+ from an ivy, studying engineering

Responses are well appreciated, but try to back up your opinion in some way. Thanks

Jul 13, 2015 - 1:23pm

Is there a GPA cutoff? 2015 (Originally Posted: 05/19/2015)

Is there an updated GPA cutoff for BB junior internship opportunities 2015? There used to be a 3.5 or above GPA cutoff (also nontarget or target?) unless there were exceptional work experience or strong networks, and I was wondering what the criteria for the top 3 (GS/MS/JP) as well as for the rest of the BB's were in regards to IBD.

Jul 13, 2015 - 1:31pm

BB firms GPA cutoff - Is a 3.7? (Originally Posted: 08/05/2011)

I heard the GPA cutoff for most BB IBD is a 3.7 is that true?

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed, Go Bucks!!
Jul 13, 2015 - 1:49pm

IB gpa cutoff (Originally Posted: 10/19/2013)

I know that in investment banking, the consensus is that a gpa that of under 3.5 will generally get you dinged, but I was wondering if that is a hard cutoff. I have a gpa around 3.45 and I'm a mathematics and chemistry major. Do they take into account that my gpa is close to the cutoff and that I have very difficult classes, or am I autodinged? I know that this may vary person to person, but does anyone know the general rule here? Thanks guys.

Jul 13, 2015 - 2:30pm

BB firms GPA cutoff - Is this true? (Originally Posted: 08/05/2011)

I heard the GPA cutoff for most BB IBD is a 3.7 is that true?

I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed, Go Bucks!!
Jul 13, 2015 - 2:47pm

Minimum GPA when applying (Originally Posted: 09/19/2008)

Some firms have a minimum GPA when applying. Lets say its says min. GPA of 3.2, and I have about a 3.12. I say I have a 3.2 on my resume. Hypothetically if I got an offer, would they rescind it cause my GPA isn't above 3.2?

Feb 28, 2018 - 3:05pm

It's obviously going to depend on who you talk to and what school you're coming from, however, I can tell you that I got interviews from a handful of those places you're mentioning, and I recruited with a 3.5 from a semi-target school. It mostly comes down to networking and showing genuine interest. At this point in the process, your GPA is what it is, so I would suggest you put any thoughts about cut-offs or averages out of your head and just focus on what you can control (which is networking).

Apr 18, 2018 - 2:11pm

It seems like joining a fraternity or a sorority is the way to go if you want to have a legit chance at any BB Banks. I know two people that graduated from a no-name school and landed summer internships and full time positions at GS. One of them I know for a fact had a 3.4 GPA. So it seems that it's all about the connections....
I am glad I saw this threat because, my college career started out pretty terrible. I moved across continents, had to learn english for months, then I had to write papers my first semester in college, which messed up my GPA big time. It was around 2.4 - 2.7. MY academic advisor basically told me I will never make it to the Business School because they require a minimum 3.0. I didn't even listen to her, because at my previous foreign business school back home, I was in the top 10 of my class every semester because all I do is study. So I just kept taking more classes and studying really hard. When I finally got 3.0, I was accepted into the Business School, I even received an offer for a Risk Management/ Corporate Finance Internship, which I accepted. I thought, this is great right. I will keep working harder to get in a even better position. I learned a lot during the internship, which lasted for 1 year 7 months. Even to date, I get offers for full time position at similar companies. Unfortunately, the internship didn't go well. My boss was a very sensitive person who brought family issues to work (a co worker told me about it when I asked why her behavior was so off sometimes, it even affects my work) and it was almost like she was lashing out people's work, especially mine. Additionally, I was overworked, I didn't have enough time to study between the internship, commuting, and even working on weekends. I even ask if I could structure my schedule like the other interns and just come on certain days, instead of everyday. She wouldn't have it. Though, it gave me significant experience, I regret taking it because I could have taken another internship and be okay overall, especially academically. My GPA suffered to below 3.0. I am currently sitting with a 2.8 with a crushed dream of every getting into a BB for ER or IB, though I prefer ER. Now I have to graduate and keep taking classes in the hopes of reaching 3.0 because I have both Finance and Economics as majors and a Math minor. By December, I will have to take 40+ hours to get to a 3.1 GPA, including retaking some classes. Any advice? I know I am sitting duck a this point.

Apr 18, 2018 - 2:12pm

Getting around GPA Cutoff (Originally Posted: 01/18/2010)

My GPA from Canada is 73% (that's how our school grading system works). I'd say it's around or even a bit above average (I recall a presentation saying that class averages here are typically 65-70%).

However, it's getting me auto-rejected from some companies. How do I get around this?

Some schools usually give higher grades, and it seems the HR ppl are just applying a uniform "If your make is less than X, auto cut off" formula to this.

As one of our minimum criteria for graduate application is that candidate must be holding minimum GPA 3.4 or above, I am afraid that your current score of 73% does not match with our requirement.

May we wish you all the best in your search for another opportunity.

-- Recent Actuarial Science (good statistical skills) grad looking for entry-level work ANYWHERE. Writing CFA Level 1 in June 2010. Passed 3 actuarial exams.
Apr 18, 2018 - 2:13pm

Dude, being average isn't going to cut it. I'm not sure what Canadian equivalency is, but if your GPA is below 3.4 you're probably screwed unless you have a damn good reason (ie, you were kidnapped by terrorist Québécois and missed freshman year).

Apr 18, 2018 - 2:15pm

HR is never going to simply overlook a simple cutoff point - essentially it makes their jobs even easier and gives them a convenient reason to ding a great many. There are ways to scoot around this, such as leaving your GPA off of your resume - which, can get you dinged (but you'll be dinged anyway if they see it), or could be overlooked. You could list a class rank since your GPA is not a standard "out of 4.0," if your rank is decent and not, something like, top 50%. You could also convert your Major GPA to a 4.0 scale, and list that, if,of course, your Major GPA is above a 3.4 or 3.5 (otherwise that won't help).

Beyond those methods, your best bet is to go above HR, and work the professional network. If you've got decent banker-backing, you've got a much better shot at getting your resume pushed through to evaluation, instead of immediately falling victim to the HR cutoff. Alternatively, you can apply to more banks that don't blatantly state the cutoff, and just try leaving your GPA off, or switch to your major GPA, in the event that your Major GPA is north of a 3.4 or 3.5. Good luck.

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