is the gpa cut off still 3.5?



most threads with the 3.5 figure are earlier than 2015, so I’m curious if it’s more competitive now. also wondering if it’ll go up next year with less hires (?) due to covid

Comments (74)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 9, 2020 - 6:24pm

Theres few hard cutoffs above 3.2 but higher is better. 3.5 gives you a decent shot but most people have above that. Depends on the firm, school, and work experience

Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 9, 2020 - 8:06pm

For straight white males/asians, the bar is typically higher (think 3.7). If you're lucky enough to be born a black female, the bar is lower (think 3.0). As with college admissions, these number can differ in outlier cases.

Ready for MS when I've been told this multiple times by FT analysts

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 10, 2020 - 10:40pm

Shows how out of touch or intentionally ignorant you are of the process. Diversity and non-diversity resumes don't even go in the same pile and your post is completely irrelevant.

For diversity candidates recieving offers through the non-diversity (and more difficult) round (which is rare), it does not mean that they are 100% up to par with the rest of the applicant pool, as HR will always be happy to pump up their diversity numbers. (This wouldn't be decided in the resume round, but if it hypothetically did, my point above still stands). Not saying that diversity candidates are inherently less qualified, but the objectively racist and sexist practices of HR lead to the objective truth that as a whole, the candidate pool is weaker. (If it wasn't, diversity hiring wouldn't exist)

I'm not sure how to end this reply but just wanted to make it clear that your post was 100% incorrect and irrelevant.

Aug 14, 2020 - 4:13pm

Few quick things.

1) If it was all 'merit' defined solely by school prestige and GPA, then you would have Asian men/women (who average relatively similar GPAs), and white women, in higher absolute numbers than white man. It is a fact that Asian women, men and white women all enter college and leave college at higher rates with higher GPAs than white men. So maybe you should start there...

2) Quick case studies re: being 'lucky' to be black -- and particularly a black woman.

a) Law (close enough to IB as I could find but results would probably not differ. Identical work by 'black' lawyers viewed as lower quality than 'white' lawyers.

source: Above the Law, "Proof Typos are Racist"
On a five point scale, reviews for the exact same memo averaged a 3.2 for the “African American” author and 4.1 for the “Caucasian” author. ** More surprising were the findings of “objective” criteria such as spelling. The partner evaluators found an **average of 2.9 spelling and grammar errors for the “Caucasian” authors and 5.8 such errors for the “African American” authors. Overall the memo presumed to have been written by a “Caucasian” was “evaluated to be better in regards to the analysis of facts and had substantively fewer critical comments.”

There is a common refrain that for black professionals to be twice as good as your white peer. Look at the number of spelling errors found -- the 'black' lawyer would literally need to make half as many errors (i.e. be 2x as good) to be seen the same

b) Small Business/Being a Consumer
Source: NYT, "Black Business Owners Had a Harder Time Getting Federal Aid, a Study Finds"

Setup: From late April to late May, the researchers and the nonprofit, which advocates better access to capital for low-income and minority communities, sent pairs of would-be loan applicants to branches of 17 banks. In each pair, a Black borrower and a white borrower shared similar credit and asset characteristics, so the only difference between them was their race. To make the study more conservative, the researchers gave each Black borrower a slightly better financial profile than his or her white counterpart.

Outcome: Researchers found that white customers were told more frequently than Black customers that they would qualify for a loan. Male customers who were either Black or white were told they would qualify for loans more frequently than female customers who fell into either category. Not a single Black female customer was encouraged to apply for a loan by having an employee assure her she would qualify.

When the news inevitable comes out about how badly COVID affected the black business folks like you will probably be shouting from the hilltop about how an efficient market chooses the best businesses -- and that the black owned business were simply more poorly run. Completely ignoring (intentionally or otherwise), that white men have been benefiting the from the strongest form of affirmative action in existence -- affirmative confirmation bias.

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Aug 9, 2020 - 8:19pm

You'll be fine even with a 3.0 man. Look at me.

I have a 1.7 and got a full time offer from Tobin & Company. It can be done.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 9, 2020 - 10:40pm

You can try being lgbtqiap+

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 10, 2020 - 9:37am

I think the sentiment that you just need a 3.5 is dated and pretty false.

I go to a target and have a 3.7ish. I got dinged at the resume screen at a few top BBs even with some networking. The fact of the matter is that these roles are insanely competitive, and even from a good school, there’s tons of people also coming from your school that you’re competing against for interview slots. Considering that there will be some kids basically guaranteed interviews (connections, diversity, insanely good at networking, frats/sports teams with current employees), there’s a bunch of smart people competing for only a handful of interview slots. Obviously there’s a lot more on a resume than just GPA, but when most applicants have relevant internships and are head of whatever investment group, GPA just becomes an easy way to pick the top couple. All else equal, any bank is going to interview the 3.9 over the 3.7 over the 3.5.

Obviously it’s possible to get around this with great networking, and once you’re in the interview phase I don’t think GPA is doing much, but as far as getting the interview it’s really important. If you’re a relatively non-unique candidate on paper, you’re competing against a bunch of similar candidates from your school and GPA is likely going to be the way they differentiate people at the end of the day.

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Aug 10, 2020 - 4:30pm

You hit the nail on the head. It's all relative.

The only other thing I'd add is that GPA does still matter during the final deliberations following a Superday. If two candidates performed equally well, the firm will often give the benefit of the doubt to the guy who performed better in school over the last 2-3 years (all else being about equal of course). I can see this being more of a thing now especially since in-person interviews aren't possible, and it's tough to discern off-paper qualities as easily.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 10, 2020 - 7:32pm

I disagree, especially at banks with massive applicant pools. I have friends with very similar resumes to my own (similar extracurriculars, similar internships, etc). We all networked a similar amount, and I would say we are all pretty similar from the perspective of being personable, though obviously this isn't as objective. My friend with a 4.0 had a way better hit rate on applications -> interviews, even though he's probably the most awkward/ least good at interviewing/networking of all my friends. I have a 3.7 and had a better hit rate than my friend with a 3.5. Obviously this is anecdotal, but when there's hundreds of applicants just from my school and they have 20 first round interview slots, GPA is just a very easy way to differentiate all the kids who aren't diversity/senior referral/etc into a limited number of slots.

Looking at all my friends who recruited for IB, the general trend is that a higher GPA (and I'm talking 3.9-4 when I say high) had far better outcomes than kids near a 3.7, and those kids had better outcomes than the kids who had ~3.5s. Obviously there are outliers of kids with 4.0s who get skunked and kids with 3.3s that land at top EBs, but **generally **, a higher GPA meant better outcomes, especially when it came to the initial application process (and not later round interviews).

Aug 13, 2020 - 11:55pm

A 3.7 alone won't get you dinged. I have a 3.9 and I've gotten superdays at some top tier BBs and got dinged at resume screens by other BBs while the reverse has happened to my friends with a lower GPA. Different firms look for different things on a resume and it's almost impossible to quantify the difference between a 3.7 and a 3.9 given both candidates went to semi-targets or targets.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 10, 2020 - 6:23pm

I accepted an SA 2021 position at an MM bank from a non-target with a gpa between 3.5 - 3.7 and got 1st rounds at a couple BBs. Networking + internships > GPA. As long as you have a 3.5 or higher, I would not worry about it. However, I'd shoot for a 3.7+

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Aug 10, 2020 - 6:51pm

I'd recommend for full-time interview unlisted GPAs (ie; under 3.0) with the right experience, caveated that interviewers would need to test certain things.

Problem is getting that experience (PE and IBD summer analyst experiences) generally requires strong GPAs.

Note I might be more forgiving on GPA as I graduated with a mid-2 GPA.

  • Consultant in Consulting
Aug 11, 2020 - 10:30am

How much of an issue was it for PE recruiting?

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Aug 11, 2020 - 6:13pm

Consultant in Consulting:

How much of an issue was it for PE recruiting?

I did grad school at a pretty good school and list that GPA / Latin honors there.

Never been asked undergrad in person but I'm far enough away from it where I'm comfortable joking about it. Did MBB superdays where they were aware and it never came up.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 10, 2020 - 7:01pm

3.5 is a cutoff, but that's what it is, just a cutoff. If you network and have relevant experience you can make up for the GPA, but even then a good GPA is needed to do that effectively. People will look at your GPA before they put in a referral, and good shops to get relevant experience at will also look at your GPA. If you hustle, you can get a decent offer with a 3.5 but you're fighting an uphill battle. Almost no chance for an EB either, but there are anomalies.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Aug 10, 2020 - 8:14pm

BAML came to my school, and an MD said they do differentiate between a 3.5 and a 3.7, but once you hit 3.7, your returns become very diminishing.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 10, 2020 - 9:41pm

GPA does matter, especially at targets. Don't think for one second that it does not.
Full disclosure: the average GPA at Harvard is 3.8. Check out their latest graduation survey. Even though there is reporting bias, the true average for kids who actually care about grades for a job (not athletes/wealthy) is likely above 3.7. It's this high because of ridiculous grade inflation. Median grades in classes are A-, and barely anyone gets below a B+ if they put in any effort at studying or finishing classwork/showing up at exams. There are no finance majors, so everyone going into finance is an Econ major, for which every other person has a 3.9 or higher. Most kids who get banking internships will have 3.8 or higher, and a handful of the serious kids who end up getting PE straight out of undergrad will have 3.9+ or perfect 4.0 (I'm sure you've seen one particular student's LinkedIn graduation post circulate in your news feed lol). Good luck if you have a 3.7 or lower...especially at Harvard.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 11, 2020 - 3:54pm

Historically, this hasn't been the case with UChicago. There's been a lot of grade deflation in the past and there was only one classic econ major which had an average GPA between 3.3-3.6 or something, and the banks knew about it so you could get away with a <3.7. Nowadays, with the new business major and recruiting being accelerated along with the decreased presence of grade deflation, a majority of candidates will have around a 3.7 or above.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 11, 2020 - 10:58am

In my experience, people aren't super understanding of that. When you're going through hundreds of resumes, no one is going to be analyzing each major and deciding how hard or easy it is. Maybe during an interview if the person is an alumni they will understand if you are in a hard major, but during the HR screening I don't think they're really considering that. I'm an engineering major and regret it a little bit because I think I would've had a better GPA as an Econ or finance major.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 11, 2020 - 1:00pm

Even in CS most courses give As unless you're talking about 124/181 or the harder ones. Unfortunately HR/most of the interviewers won't be able to discern what classes are hard in terms of grading or not as they didn't go to Harvard. They'll compare you against every other Econ major who took Hebrew bible/gen-eds and slid around taking intro econ classes all 4 years. Meanwhile there are kids who are Stats majors (department known for giving B+/A- most frequently) who have 3.7 or below and getting shafted. Major is a big lie; just pick Gov/Econ and get a 3.95+ at Harvard.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 11, 2020 - 5:49pm

Got 4 SA offers (2 BB and 2 EB) with a 3.5 from a target. Definitely required some networking and explanation, but didn't pose an issue in the end. If you have a 3.5, know your stuff, and network, you should be able to at least get a few interviews. Sure, it might be used as a tie-breaker, but I really think GPA becomes much less important after the resume screen.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 14, 2020 - 8:24am

Diverse kids arent the reason you have a mediocre GPA or are struggling to get an offer. No one to blame but yourself tbh.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

September 2020 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (17) $704
  • Vice President (45) $323
  • Associates (255) $228
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (37) $203
  • 2nd Year Analyst (141) $153
  • Intern/Summer Associate (133) $141
  • 1st Year Analyst (561) $129
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (544) $82

Leaderboard See all

LonLonMilk's picture
Jamoldo's picture
Secyh62's picture
CompBanker's picture
Addinator's picture
redever's picture
Edifice's picture
frgna's picture
NuckFuts's picture
bolo up's picture
bolo up