How much do poor undergrad grades haunt you years down the road even if you re-invent yourself?

Postgradwonderer's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,613

Say you're one of those people that didn't take college seriously (like barely graduated) and didn't develop that passion for investment banking that so many competitive Ivy League kids develop even before they start college. This means you did not get that 3.5 magic number that so many IBs want and you didn't get the internship in college that would get you a job at an investment bank. Now that being the case, you naturally didn't break in as an analyst after college.

I have heard of many careers where if you take time after college and show some major initiative, a poor GPA can often be overlooked or minimized.

Now that being said, if you had someone that showed some major initiative and "re-branded" themselves in some way (acing a masters in finance program that they did get into), how much will that poor undergrad GPA still haunt them if they tried to break into Investment Banking a few years down the road?

Will it limit their options to more lower middle market type of banks when all is said and done?

The more I read about trying to break into this profession if you didn't break in during college or even worse, screwed up that college GPA, the more I start to realize that not getting started during your college years is practically the worst decision you can make.

Edit: OP realized he was being an annoying dick to people of this forum and was kindly told to fuck off by the bright analysts and interns of this great board. Learning his lesson, OP departs from this part of WSO until he can get into an MFin program. If you have valuable advice for poor OP, PM him and he would be more than grateful to talk to you.

Comments (58)

May 21, 2016

Your undergrad GPA follows you around until at least after you get a "true" GPA refresh in the MBA. Even when recruiting during a masters in finance program you will use your undergrad GPA since banking recruiting happens so early on in the year.

Honestly, having read some of your past posts, I would recommend you explore other career paths.

May 21, 2016

I truly wish there were posts that answered the last question I asked on this thread since you know, I have not asked it on other threads. If not then at least link me to something on google that can.

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May 21, 2016

Okay, maybe I wasn't clear enough in my reply.

Q: "Will it limit their options to more lower middle market type of banks when all is said and done?"
A: You will be lucky to get interviews at ANY reputable bank. Even when you are in your masters program, the timeline of banking recruiting is such that you will almost undoubtedly have to use your undergrad GPA.

By the way, you have asked extremely similar questions repeatedly, and creating eight posts about it isn't helping you at all. Especially since people have given you ENOUGH advice already in your past threads. And as to your other comment about junior bankers - who do you think does the initial screen and pushes candidates forward?

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Best Response
May 21, 2016

Hey man, how's that 8th low GPA thread working out for you?

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May 21, 2016
iggs99988:

Hey man, how's that 8th low GPA thread working out for you?

Well let's hear it from guys that can answer the question I asked on this thread and not others because like my other threads which you just have an affinity for, you can't seem to.

I am usually a patient guy but some guys on here, though in the minority, seem to have no intentions of helping anyone or giving good answers.

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Jun 2, 2016

You're a fucking asshole. iggs.

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May 21, 2016

Lol imagine this guy landing an interview as a 25 year old and blaming his parents for his low GPA when the interviewer asks about it.

If you are anything near competent, you wouldn't have scored a 2.1 GPA. Your time would be better spent praying that reincarnation is real.

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May 21, 2016
dolphinfish123:

Lol imagine this guy landing an interview as a 25 year old and blaming his parents for his low GPA when the interviewer asks about it.

If you are anything near competent, you wouldn't have scored a 2.1 GPA. Your time would be better spent praying that reincarnation is real.

A 2.1 GPA is easily doable if you don't give it 100% in a tough major you have no love for my friend, then again I highly doubt you went the STEM route. If I landed an interview, I would not be having a pity party and I do wish that I had a chance to study finance in college so I could get my 3.5 GPA but that being said, I simply asked a question that apparently hasn't been answered yet:

"Will it limit their options to more lower middle market type of banks when all is said and done?"

Everyone is on Iggs team, yes, an entitled first year analyst who has spammed my past threads with useless nonsense is somehow the hero here.

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May 21, 2016

lmao I'm STEM at a top university that does not have grade inflation. I see absolutely incapable people here who only care about their frat and they most certainly don't have a 2.1.

Feb 26, 2020

Okay yo I'll be honest with you I just partied , didn't go to class at all and got a 3.0 I mean I literally was not in class and got a 3.0 . How in the fuck do you get a 2.1 ?

May 21, 2016

You have received plenty of good answers; I don't see what else you are looking for.

The type of candidate who gets an IB job from your background (if they even exist) would hustle and build their network instead of asking on WSO over and over whether their GPA is too low. You are 25; you need to start acting your age.

Also, you have posted on these forums trying to "break into" consulting or IB with the plan to go into PE afterwards. I would dare say you barely understand these roles and what is close to realistic, despite the DOZENS OF ESSAYS PEOPLE HAVE WROTE IN THE COMMENTS FOR YOU.

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May 21, 2016

The guys who are answering my thread are interns and analysts, not people with years of experience with investment banking. Just saying, this is something that needs to be taken into account. One of them (iggs), is a guy who has spammed my past threads with useless nonsense and seems to have a personal vendetta against me.

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May 21, 2016

One last comment about this. The reason why interns/analysts are the ones answering your questions is because most 25 year olds have developed a network or AT LEAST SELF DETERMINATION to not depend on WSO to direct their career.

May 21, 2016

You are one sick puppy

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May 21, 2016

So let me get this right. You want to go into consulting OR investment banking OR private equity (still laughing at how little you know about these roles), but you don't have the critical thinking skills nor resourcefulness to be able to get ALL the answers you need in one post?

I'm praying to god I don't ever work on a team with someone who lacks critical thought, self-awareness, and resourcefulness as much as you. Even the annoying as fuck high schoolers don't post more than 1-2 threads, and you are 25 YEARS OLD. Get the fuck off this forum and start making moves if you want to get anywhere lol.

I CAN IMAGINE 5 YEARS FROM NOW: "Ugh, I never did Investment Banking because this forum called WSO told me I couldn't, so I pressured myself into developing a career in STEM."

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May 21, 2016
dolphinfish123:

So let me get this right. You want to go into consulting OR investment banking OR private equity (still laughing at how little you know about these roles), but you don't have the critical thinking skills nor resourcefulness to be able to get ALL the answers you need in one post?

I'm praying to god I don't ever work on a team with someone who lacks critical thought, self-awareness, and resourcefulness as much as you. Even the annoying as fuck high schoolers don't post more than 1-2 threads, and you are 25 YEARS OLD. Get the fuck off this forum and start making moves if you want to get anywhere lol.

I CAN IMAGINE 5 YEARS FROM NOW: "Ugh, I never did Investment Banking because this forum called WSO told me I couldn't, so I pressured myself into developing a career in STEM."

Alright captain.

You won't hear a pop out of me on this section of WSO until I finally get into a MFin program and if I cannot do that then its time to find something else in life. Last post on IB forum until I get into an MFin program, that's a promise, if I break that promise then mods ban me!

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Jun 2, 2016
dolphinfish123:

So let me get this right. You want to go into consulting OR investment banking OR private equity (still laughing at how little you know about these roles), but you don't have the critical thinking skills nor resourcefulness to be able to get ALL the answers you need in one post?

I'm praying to god I don't ever work on a team with someone who lacks critical thought, self-awareness, and resourcefulness as much as you. Even the annoying as fuck high schoolers don't post more than 1-2 threads, and you are 25 YEARS OLD. Get the fuck off this forum and start making moves if you want to get anywhere lol.

I CAN IMAGINE 5 YEARS FROM NOW: "Ugh, I never did Investment Banking because this forum called WSO told me I couldn't, so I pressured myself into developing a career in STEM."

You're still in college. Shut the fuck up.

You act like you're some sort of finance god. Yes, the OP is annoying, but you're right there with him. I hope you get over yourself when (if) you grow up.

OP: Your best chance is to get your CFA. After passing L2, you may have a chance at pivoting to a position that is more related to finance. The CFA is generally well-respected and should allow you to (partially) compensate for your shit GPA. I have not heard good things about MSF programs but admittedly do not know much about them. With your GPA/background, I doubt you'd be able to get into a reputable program that would allow you to chase the jobs that you are seeking (no offense). So, MSF is not a good move in my opinion. CFA is the way to go.

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Jun 2, 2016

Agreed. Half these kids are somehow the Finance go-to's and gods because they're in their 1st/2nd years of being an analyst. Which again, means fuck all. Also agreed that the OP is annoying as fuck, but that definitely doesn't give anyone the right to consistently shit on him. This is supposed to be a psychologically safe environment, where people with genuine concerns/help can get advice.

OP has stressed that by repeatedly posting dumb shit, so why not just not fucking answer his questions? Everyone shitting on OP saying he's never going anywhere, is brain dead, and might as well pray that reincarnation exists, is literally up there with him.

If you guys are true Finance professionals, clench your balls and put them back in your fucking pants rather than taking out the ruler and measuring how much bigger your cock is than OP's.

Cheers.

May 21, 2016

I can recruit from an eager talent pool that has >3.2 GPA plus M.Fin or MBA. Given that choice, why would I need to take the risk in believing a turn around story that poor GPA but OK Masters = reliable hire who can keep his/her shit together?

May 22, 2016

The truth is, you will not find a satisfactory answer here. Very, very few people have succeeded in breaking into finance/consulting with your kind of background. There is no conventional answer. If you eventually do succeed, you will have created your own path unique to only you (and would be enormously difficult for someone else to duplicate). It would probably be smarter for you to pursue other more realistic and equally rewarding careers, frankly. That said, if you truly are hellbent on pursuing finance/consulting, I will simply say that with enough luck, persistence, and networking, nearly anything is possible (although to reiterate, very, very unlikely). Good luck.

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Jun 2, 2016

Don't know why you got MS for this. SB for you

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May 22, 2016

Have you thought about taking time off and really considering your options? Perhaps try less competitive entry roles like sales or retail? Not having a go at you, I understand (partially) where your coming from being in a similar situation, but even if you pull off a hail mary and land off-cycle with a MSF as others have suggested, will you be happy in your role?

Your looking in the wrong place for a witty comment.

Jun 1, 2016

as we've said before, you're out of luck!

Jun 1, 2016

I've seen guys with a 2.0 gpa from a no name school who didn't know what a merger is break into IB at boutiques. Now just think about why they got in.

Jun 2, 2016

You need to focus. Set a goal and start working towards it. If you want to get into any prestigious (what you seem to be gunning for) job at this point, it's going to be at a more senior level, so you need to get to a point in your career where the move is lateral or even slightly downwards. Director of Operations at a bio-med research facility to VP covering healthcare, or something along those lines. Forget your age, forget your GPA, forget trying to be an analyst. Pick a direction and go for it. Think of your path as a train on a track and where you want to be in IB or PE or whatever as a separate train on separate tracks heading in the same direction. You missed the first stop, oh well, but you need to keep your train moving or you'll keep missing the stops and, if you keep fucking around on a forum begging for answers, you're gonna be stuck where you are forever. Get moving. Focus.

That being said if you hate your job and you think there is something you would like to do other than "work in business", you should do that. I read an article recently about a guy who sold 3 separate pest control businesses for more than $100 million combined over his career. You don't need to be a financier to be rich, you need to be focused. Any reasonable job is an opportunity - sales, finance, operations, medical research, landscaping, fucking pest control... but you need to stay focused and apply yourself.

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Jun 2, 2016

Pre-MBA? Big deal for finance.

Post MBA I've never been asked, although I have gotten a lot of "that's a great GPA!" comments based on my MBA GPA.

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Jun 2, 2016

Do you have your MBA GPA on your resume (legitimately curious)? I was under the impression that post-MBA everyone removed GPAs/Test scores from resumes.

Jun 2, 2016

In all honesty, if I see a candidate's resume with years of full time work experience and the first thing that is listed at the top is their education then 99 times out of 100 I probably toss it away. The reason a good school and a high GPA matter so much to the people on this forum is because that is all they have. If you have several years of work experience whether it be in IB, accounting, sales, etc. no one really cares anymore about your education. It only matters to the kids who want to get in with a good company out of school. That doesn't mean your school or GPA doesn't matter, but it doesn't always have to be a top school. Quick story:
When I got out of my undergrad (we're going back a little bit), I got a call from someone at a BB where I sent my resume. I had snail mailed it with a strong letter to sell myself (I was a good saleman). I came from a non target and had a horrific GPA. My undergrad was spent partying and chasing girls - and I wasn't afraid to admit it to anyone. Anyway, the hiring manager that called me said something like, "I called you because you went to the same school as me and worked the exact same job I did when I was in college. I know exactly how hard someone has to work to succeed in that type of position."
Long story short, it can actually be that easy so don't stop trying.

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Jun 2, 2016
short_round:

Do you have your MBA GPA on your resume (legitimately curious)? I was under the impression that post-MBA everyone removed GPAs/Test scores from resumes.

Look at my status, I'm a current student. My school has a standard format that we're supposed to use for all firms that recruit from us. GPA and GMAT are part of that format.

Jul 21, 2016

so this was moved to off topic? Lets hope the crowd here is a lot more welcoming and helpful....

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Aug 23, 2016

S

Aug 23, 2016

You have only a couple options in NYC. Your GPA is low, but you have work experience which is key. How soon where you thinking about doing this? What GMAT/GRE are you targeting?

Go to my site, about section, and shoot me an email. I am going to go run, but will reply when I get back.

Aug 23, 2016

TNA, I was actually looking at a couple of online MSF options as well since I did not find that
many MSF programs in the NYC area such as Penn State's MSF program. I was looking to do this by this fall. I am ok with keeping my current Ops job as it is some steady income coming in order to pay the bills and possibly student loans if I pull the trigger on a realistic MSF program.

I am looking to get at least scores in both sections above the 75th percentile which is better than average. I know that cream of the crop B-schools will not be possible at all, but again I am looking for realistic options, but programs that can help me further my career as well.

Aug 23, 2016

Penn States MSF is decent. Indiana has an online MSF also. Rochester has a NYC MSF that you could do while working also. I think the key would be to have a stronger GPA in the program and maybe move toward something MO / Credit Analyst / Valuation, etc. More engaging with transferable skills.

Aug 23, 2016
TNA:

Penn States MSF is decent. Indiana has an online MSF also. Rochester has a NYC MSF that you could do while working also. I think the key would be to have a stronger GPA in the program and maybe move toward something MO / Credit Analyst / Valuation, etc. More engaging with transferable skills.

+1 for your posts.

I've been looking for a thread like this but did not make one as the timing isn't immediate for me yet. Trying to transition BB BO --> any FO while also rebranding myself. Are these the only good online/near NYC options? Financially I could not afford it yet so working at the same time would solve this issue. Also, with a higher GMAT 700ish, are there other options? Appreciate any responses.

Aug 23, 2016

Right now, the only NYC option (besides online programs) is the Rochester MSF. I've gone to one of there events and will be in the city for their Simon conference. Pretty solid MSF alumni base and the people in the class are industry professionals. Simon is a T30 business school (since I last checked) and is pretty well known. I think it would be a good option for the right student.

Who knows what the future will hold. Maybe in the next 2-3 years NYU will come out with an MSF.

Aug 23, 2016

I just got into UT-Austin MSF program with a 2.8 GPA and minor work experience. I'm basically looking at it as a do-over, a chance to fix all the mistakes I made in UG. Taking advantage of OCR, actually attending classes and studying and just generally being a good student.

What helps the most, in my opinion, is if you can get a great GMAT score of 700+ to prove that you actually have the intellectual ability to succeed. If you can do that your last step is to just explain your poor performance in your essay and prove that if you are admitted you will take it seriously and work your ass off. Hope that helps.

Aug 23, 2016

It will be challenging to get into a MSF worth going to with that GPA.

Aug 23, 2016

While GPA is an issue, having work experience, a solid admissions package and a strong GMAT will overcome it for most schools. I've seen people with low GPA's get into all the major programs. Now will it get you dinged at some? Yes. But that doesn't mean you can't find a program worth going to with your stats.

Chin up!

Aug 23, 2016

Does not show up on first page?

Aug 23, 2016

Lol IB and consulting are forgiving suddenly. 2016 sure has been a trip

Aug 23, 2016
M- Weintraub:

Lol IB and consulting are forgiving suddenly. 2016 sure has been a trip

Where in the world did I say that? I actually said that IB and consulting are highly unforgiving of a low GPA even YEARS after the fact meaning no matter what you do after college, that low GPA will permanently haunt you.

Aug 23, 2016

I think you have a chance of getting into any field with a low ug GPA if you:

1) Network like a maniac
2) Get a new, more recent GPA in business school
3) Are intelligent and capable (thus the low ug GPA is not indicative of your ability)

However,

Mgmt Consulting and IB are prob 2 of the toughest fields to find that kind of leniency, I basically had the same reaction to reading your post as @M- Weintraub

Aug 23, 2016

Depends on the culture. Where I'm from, some "prestigious" consulting firms demand high GPA("Excellent academic track record") even 5 years after graduation. One of my friends from college(CS coursers) got decent grades, and went on to work for a smaller big data shop after graduation. 3 or 4 years later he applied for Accenture, but got dinged because of his GPA...he somehow managed to land a job at one of Googles satellite offices, because he had relevant work experience.

Now he's being headhunted by all the consulting firms that initially rejected him. Go figure.
(Lesson learned: Many paths lead to the same destination, even though some are longer and steeper)

Aug 23, 2016
tackytech:

Depends on the culture. Where I'm from, some "prestigious" consulting firms demand high GPA("Excellent academic track record") even 5 years after graduation. One of my friends from college(CS coursers) got decent grades, and went on to work for a smaller big data shop after graduation. 3 or 4 years later he applied for Accenture, but got dinged because of his GPA...he somehow managed to land a job at one of Googles satellite offices, because he had relevant work experience.

Now he's being headhunted by all the consulting firms that initially rejected him. Go figure.(Lesson learned: Many paths lead to the same destination, even though some are longer and steeper)

Success stories like this brighten my day, they truly do.

Aug 23, 2016
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Aug 23, 2016
Aug 23, 2016