Just wondering what the outlook is for a low/average GPA in this kind of job market as a rising sophomore. I'm networking as hard as I can, but everyone tells me to have straight A's or I don't really have a shot. I'm shooting for IBD but that looks less and less likely each day. Should I give up on IBD out of undergrad, do something else for a while, and then come back to it as an associate?
What is a Low or Average GPA?
The question of what GPA is considered good or bad is highly subjective based on a few elements:
- Your Major: Engineering, math, and hard science majors will likely be okay with a lower GPA than a business major
- Your School: If you are not coming from a target school - a low GPA may be an issue but not necessarily
- The Firm: Some firms have hard GPA cut-offs and some do not
- The Person: Some interviewers / Wall Streeters have strong ideas about what GPAs are acceptable
There still has to be a compelling reason to hire you for someone to stick his/her neck out and suggest you for interviews. A 3.4 GPA in business, barring something amazing, is not compelling. A 3.4 GPA in Engineering, on the other hand, would get you in if you applied to the right groups.
I would recommend looking in F500 finance as a backup right now, where I think you're going to be a stronger candidate. Spend two years there, then try to break into research or IBD. Your industry experience will be the compelling reason they're looking for.
Major is also important. We sometimes cut Math, Physics, and Engineering majors a bit of a break given that they are often curved to a 2.7 avg. GPA rather than ~3.3 average in business/liberal arts at many schools.
However, in the case of the original poster - as a sophomore - you should work tirelessly to get your GPA up and make sure that your resume has something to make it stand out through extracurriculars. You should consider taking classes during the summer after your sophomore year in order to up your GPA before junior internship recruiting.
Read More About GPAs on WSO
- Senior Year Grades - Important To Keep Grades Up?
- Do Companies Ask For Your Transcript To Check Your GPA?
- W On Transcript From Withdrawing From A Class
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