Comments (59)

Oct 1, 2017

I don't know what other excuse you could give other than something medical or family related or being like "I'm lazy/dumb." I just admitted that GPA could be higher then talked about some of my accomplishments outside the classroom and gave a key takeaway or skill I gained and said how it would be valuable for banking

Oct 2, 2017

Only acceptable answers IMO are deaths / serious illnesses, or if you can prove something like freshman year I had a 2.5, but sophomore year I had a 3.8 and junior year a 3.9. Otherwise if you have like a 3.1 there's really not much you can say that will help the fact that you have a 3.1.

Oct 3, 2017

yeah, agreed

Oct 3, 2017

I've got a 3.5 overall, with a 3.7 in my sophomore year. However, most BB's look for 3.7+... not sure how to spin it as it is fairly close to 3.7

Oct 2, 2017

I applied to IB shops with a sub 3.5 GPA, but also had a year of STEM curriculum my freshman year that put a dent in my GPA.

I think it's important to provide context, if there is any. If you are at a school known for a rigorous Computer Science/Engineering/Pre-med curriculum, that helps. Extreme personal circumstances should always be disclosed.

If you're a shitty student, that's when I would get scrappy. It's all about spin at this point - you have to make a convincing case that your GPA isn't indicative of your ethic or attention to detail. You can lean on your extra curricular activities, but unless they are finance oriented, probably not going to help you much. You could always lie, but it's pretty easy to read through that during an interview.

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Oct 2, 2017

Second this. I struggled my freshman year due to an illness and missing ~1 month of school which dropped my GPA some and ended up being my lowest GPA semester.

If there is no "acceptable" context, other posts are correct that it's about spinning or telling interviewer what you've learned, similar to a "what's one of your weaknesses" question.

Best Response
Oct 2, 2017

"I did terribly in school. But then I adopted a VEGAN LIFESTYLE and got a 4.0 without even trying!"
-Lloyd Blankfein

    • 13
    • 1
Oct 2, 2017

Three words: "I am stupid." Then three more words: "My daddy's rich."

Congratulations on your new career.

    • 1
Oct 6, 2017

Good grades are generally very overrated, as anyone can achieve them if only they spend the time. If you're good enough to get invited for interviews (which I assume given the question), I wouldn't think too much about it. If you prove to the team that you're smart enough, then you'll be okay. So, be well prepared and know 'everything' about the job, division, firm and industry.

As for excuses - just be honest. If you prefered to spend your time downing beer and having threesoms, then come up with a (slightly modified) version of that (i.e. enjoying life, socialising, etc.). No one likes a guy with a 4.0 GPA and no personality anyways... :-)

Good luck.

    • 1
Oct 6, 2017

If you have a 3.5 on your resume and get a chance to answer any interview questions w/ a BB you're already playing w/ house money.

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

    • 1
Oct 6, 2017

@FundayMonday, there is no way to explain it. Not to sound callous, but even some sort of crisis would not be a valid explanation in my book. What you can, however, do is use this as a valuable lesson. There will always be questions you are asked about why a certain part of your profile, whether it's your resume or if you were to become an MD some aspect of your bank, that is not up to par. The ability to provide a quick and succinct answer and move the conversation along is a good skill to have. Provide some reason, provide how you have improved and evidence of that, and move on. If you get an interview, you've already passed the sniff test.

    • 1
Oct 6, 2017

Yep. In some cases this is the same mistake as going to a non-target unfortunately. Bankers assume if you go to a non-target that: 1. You're lazy 2. Stupid or 3. Both. Even though it's not entirely true for all cases. Most people in America go to the school that is most affordable and if my state school can get me decent education for free in 4 years then honestly I don't see how that is such a bad thing. Could care less if someone doesn't respect it.

I do think low gpa is somewhat bs because that is completely in your control unless family problems, death, illness, etc. If you go to tutoring all the time, study a few hours twice a week, and go to office hours it's very hard to not at least get close to an A.

    • 2
    • 2
Oct 7, 2017

Don't know why this got MS.

Ivy kids have an enormous advantage getting their foot in the door. There's no built-in advantage when it comes to actually doing the job and moving up, but kids w/ 4.0s from non-targets are not going to get nearly as many 1st round opportunities as the Ivy kids do.

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

Oct 11, 2017

GPA is one thing; going to a target vs. semi-target vs. non-target another entirely. Clearly you place too much self-determination and agency on an otherwise faceless, random process.

Oct 6, 2017

I ended up with a credit average overall.

Reason: I worked full-time in a large tech company (think Microsoft/IBM), followed by an accounting firm, start-ups, all the while completing two-degrees at uni and maintaining solid extra-curricular activities.

Only reason i finished my 4 year program on time was because i did 5 subjects per semester, summer and winter school, all the while living out in a remote rural area (2 hour trip to university each way).

Anyway, excuses excuses...understandably, there may be others who could have done the same and scored a Distinction average - that wasn't me.

    • 1
Oct 11, 2017

Major GPA is your best option at this point.(I hope it is at least above 3.0)
Good luck

Oct 11, 2017

Option 1: Put the average of the two
Option 2: Put both, but round the 2.76 to 3.0

Be sure to have a good explanation for employers as to why your GPA is so low. Attempted suicide and crazy girlfriend will instantly kill your chances if anyone knew.

Oct 11, 2017
goblan:

Option 1: Put the average of the two
Option 2: Put both, but round the 2.76 to 3.0

Be sure to have a good explanation for employers as to why your GPA is so low. Attempted suicide and crazy girlfriend will instantly kill your chances if anyone knew.

You can't round a 2.76 to a 3.0 - that's outright, blatant lying

Oct 11, 2017
goblan:

Option 1: Put the average of the two
Option 2: Put both, but round the 2.76 to 3.0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0

Oct 11, 2017

Two other hacks:

1. Stack some more cc classes and simply combine that gets you near 3.1-3.2 I am guessing
2. Simply throw up your finance classes and actual grades on the resume

So your options are:
1. Major gpa as stated above and get that closer to 3.5
2. Try to stack finance course and get A's assuming you want to go into finance
3. Hack some gpa boost by 2-4 CC classes online (should be a cake to get A's)
4. Re-take some classes? Unsure about your school but some allow this. Doubt it but may as well check.

You are anos purely right though, going to be honest, as it stands doesn't look good from employer position, so do not bring up your GF suicide issue at all.

Good luck, should be relatively easy to get a 3.0+ on there though assuming your semester is going well.

Oct 11, 2017

Do not round the 2.7 to a 3 under any circumstances. Just put the average and put cumulative in parens next to it. Explain you transferred during the interview....and do better next term

Oct 11, 2017

.

Johnny Rocket

Oct 11, 2017

I just calculated my cumulative GPA across both institutions, and I have a 3.35 GPA overall.

Oct 11, 2017

.

Johnny Rocket

Oct 6, 2017

Interviewer: Why is your GPA so low?
You: I have a sob story
Interviewer: I don't believe you.

Interviewer: Why is your GPA so low?
You: I focused on a lot of other things in college which ate up all of my time.
Interviewer: I don't believe you.

Interviewer: Why is your GPA so low?
You: I didn't work as hard as I could have to get a few extra questions right on a couple exams
Interviewer: At least you didn't lie to me

Realistically, low GPA = dumb and/or lazy, not clever and super busy. Don't try to spin some sob story. Even if it's true, it might sound like a lie. And even if the interviewer believes you, he might not care, or think you're just making excuses. It's better to own the fact that you could have done better and move on.

    • 8
Oct 7, 2017

Jesus Christ...

I'm starting to think the whole university / college experience is very different in America than it is here in Australia.

    • 1
Oct 7, 2017

Everything here is balls to the walls compared to kangaroo land. Watch the movies Good Will Hunting, Animal House, Rudy and Girls Gone Wild. That'll describe how America's College experience is in terms of Academics, Parties, Athletics and the opposite sex. (Not sure how the Ivys have it, but this is how the non-targets live, to a milder degree)

"Buy cheap, sell dear" -Graham

    • 2
Oct 11, 2017

Look I just graduated from non-target so take this with a grain of salt, but as a sophomore you have plenty of time to network and find a good entry point for whatever career you want to pursue. I have talked to a ton of professionals and they all say that the after your out of school for a few years, the school you went to and your GPA become less and less meaningful. Just network and reach out to professionals as hard as you can.

Recent College Graduate

Oct 11, 2017

Thanks for the advice. Any other users got any input they would like to share?

Oct 11, 2017

People don't look at transcripts or cover letters when reviewing applications so it's going to be a hard sell. Highlight your "new" GPA and make sure to give an explanation in your cover letter.

That being said, networking is where you can really make a difference (especially given you go to a semi-target). Then, you can properly explain your situation and make a good impression and ensure you are given a first round interview. If you make it there, it won't matter anymore.

During my time in banking, we hired 2 analysts that completely bombed their freshman year. It's funny because in both cases, they were hired later in the year (after we realized we had under hired).

Oct 11, 2017

Put post-freshman year GPA on your resume.

Oct 11, 2017

At the moment Im aiming to ace my sophomore year and then applying to transfer for my junior and senior year. I think as long as I explain my medical problems my freshman year and show them I have good grades now colleges might be willing to accept me. I think this might be the best option as I read that your GPA resets when you transfer schools.

Oct 7, 2017

You guys are killing me, lmao. You'd think he's trying to explain away molesting his cousin. I've known some deeply dumb people with good grades and I can't prove they don't post here

Oct 11, 2017

How were you able to get an interview with that GPA. Any relevant experience or did you network?

    • 1
Oct 11, 2017

Definitely drop it from the resume if this interview doesn't work out. When you're in the thick of the interview/they ask what the GPA was, just explain that you took more difficult courses in the major, or were involved in organizations that stole your time from school. Chances are you took some sort of class you didn't need to that might have dropped your GPA a bit.

Beyond that, have your pitch and get some advice from more mid-career folk about if they would let your resume slide. In six months your GPA will no longer be such a point of reference for the interviewer. Keep at it. PM me if you need help. Was just in a similar situation but made it out.

Oct 7, 2017

I got what would be the equivalent of probably a 2.5-3.0 in the US system. When you're asked about it don't try and make up some bullshit excuse. Hold your hands up and admit you fucked up, and then you NEED to have 2-4 solid examples of how a) you've made up for it since and b) why some grade when you were a teenager doesn't in any way represent your abilities or intelligence.

Remember, there's a way around everything so never give up. Interviews (and everything) are just sales events where you're selling yourself. If you can't sell yourself then grades won't save you, if you can then you can work around anything.

    • 5
Oct 10, 2017

This is great advice. Please though - don't blame it on extracurricular activities - the guy you are talking put up a great GPA and was also probably an overachiever outside the classroom.

Oct 11, 2017

Lol

Oct 11, 2017

Get your GPA tattooed on your FOREHEAD.

    • 1
Oct 11, 2017

60th percentile isn't bad at a good school... you already proved you can do the job, so what is the big deal?

Oct 11, 2017

They just want to know that you graduated. If you're trying to switch groups, some may ask for your resume.

Oct 11, 2017

Dude your colleagues aren't gonna ask your GPA. It's not a dick measuring contest. HR will check your GPA as part of the onboarding process, but as long as you didn't lie or drop significantly since recruiting for SA, they aren't judging you. It's just a verification.

If you have an offer that's what matters. Your performance earned you a spot. That's all that matters. IB is a tough business, they only care if you can deliver, not how shiny you look on paper. It may limit you for PE recruiting and B-School if it's noticably low though. But that's a while away. Be happy you have a FT.

    • 1
Oct 10, 2017
FundayMonday:

Hey guys,Was wondering if anyone has a good way to answer this interview question, other than by explaining your involvement in extracurriculars

@brotherbear is right on. I had a sub-3.0 GPA and when asked about it, I just owned it. I say I was shelted as hell growing up and had a whole lot of growing up to do in college. Partied too much, didn't go to class, etc. Then I follow up with everything I accomplished in college and everything I've accomplished since.

If the person interviewing me was a 4.0 student, they're going to think I was immature. They're not wrong - I was. Better to be straight up with it, spin it how you want to spin it, and control the narrative of anything negative. Feeding the interviewer bullshit just invites them to craft the real narrative in their head. You snuff your weaknesses out right away and immediately counter with strengths and accomplishments.

If the person interviewing me was not a 4.0 student, which is far more common in real estate than banking, then they know I have social skills (the partying) and that I overcame adversity (which is the entire development industry) so I'm set. Hilariously, I got a 3.80+ GPA in grad school, which I was very proud of since it's a whole point better than my undergraduate GPA, and I had interviewers worried that I was "too much of a nerd" from my resume to fit in with their culture.

    • 6
Oct 11, 2017

Write down that you have a 3.24

In terms of answering that question, that's something you have to craft into your own story and need to use all your experiences at college. talk about how you're working to improve your study habits and balancing shool and extracurriculars- you've resorted to setting specific study goals, etc. Say it took you a while to find classes you were passionate about, and you were having trouble putting time into stuff that wasn't intellectually interesting to you.

Just don't make lame excuses for your performance. no one wants to hear that some teacher screwed you over or you missed a midterm or something. also, if you have a higher major gpa, put that on your resume to show you do well in classes you enjoy. good luck.

Oct 11, 2017

I have a 3.255, non-target, but have received an offer for BB Finance.

My (true) story was that I started out a pharmacy student, gotm a 2.064 first semester, 2.4 after 1st year. But I tried hard, interned 20+ hours a week, pledged a business fraternity, while maintaining higher than 3.6 each semester there afterwards. (4.0, 3.7, then 3.6)

I also say, "Of my past 18 grades, 14 were 'A's"...although this is true, half are from Psych, Crim Justice, and BS classes. But it sounds nice.

If you can craft a good story, do so. Don't leave it off though. I doubt they'll even be interested.

Oct 11, 2017

just craft a good response and you'll be fine. it's all in how you market yourself

Oct 10, 2017
Comment
    • 1
Oct 11, 2017
Comment
    • 1