Low/Average Undergrad GPA, chances in MBB?

Hey guys,

So I've recently completed my undergraduate studies in Bocconi University, however with a very low gpa (23/30). I am not making any excuses, but I did have some family and financial problems over the three years which really hindered my performance and hence, the low gpa. Of course, it is not a good enough excuse and I do regret not investing more time in my studies. However, I am now on a path to take the GMAT (hopefully, aim for a high grade) and pursue my master's degree from September 2018 in a top ranking school in Europe.

I have recently developed an interest in consulting and would like to try applying for MBB and other top consulting firms next year. But I am scared that my resume will be automatically disregarded due to my low undergrad GPA. Does anyone think I have the slightest chance to land an interview in any of the top consulting firms, given that I work hard and get a high gmat score, a good graduate degree and some work experience in-between?

Thank you!

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Comments (13)

Best Response
Nov 4, 2017 - 10:54pm

I finished undergrad with a low GPA. I applied and got auto-dinged everywhere.

A good indicator will be - if you're trying to set up phone chats with people at firms now (which you should be), if they follow through on those calls and sound positive, you might have a shot. If folks don't reply when you've reached out 2-3 times you're out.

You're almost certainly going to be auto dinged for MBB and T2 shops. But if you network well you might be able to swing interviews at big 4 and Accenture (outside of their prestige groups - Parthenon, Deloitte S&O, Strat&) or other lower tier consulting firms.

At the end of the day, you're young and no doors are truly closed for you. Just apply, there's no risk. Then spend a few years crushing your first job if you don't get offers. Go to a top business school. Go to one with grade non-disclosure. Then reapply. It's pretty much a reset button.

By masters degree - do you mean MBA? You won't get into a top school that soon. I'm going to state this in very clear terms:

Do not get an MBA with less than 2 years of good work experience, and preferably 4+.

Top firms will absolutely, 100% be nervous about hiring you if you get an MBA without enough work experience for two reasons:
1. You're overqualified for a post-undergrad role. Top firms will not let you interview for entry level roles.
2. If it's not a prestigious MBA, they won't talk to you anyways, and all top MBA's almost unilaterally require 3+ years of experience.
3. You're underqualified for a post-MBA role. McKinsey can't hire you for $180k a year and put you in front of clients if you're operating at the same level as a second year analyst. They'll look long and hard before hiring someone with 1-2 years of work experience even from a top program. I mean, if you were Harvard UG then 2 years at a megafund that says something different about you. But in your shoes, it would kill you in recruiting.

Nov 6, 2017 - 4:35pm

Thank you very much for your detailed answer. I don't mean MBA, I mean doing a one or two years specialized Master's Degree (Graduate e.g. in Management, Strategy, International Business etc.) so that I can specialize further in consulting. And if lets say I get good grades in this degree, do an exchange program, in-company trainings etc. hopefully my chances of getting into top tier consulting/advisory firms increases. Although, I am pretty scared that due to my low undergrad GPA none of the top firms would even consider me.

Thanks again!

Nov 6, 2017 - 7:27pm

I'm not sure that's a common path into top consulting firms. You'll hit the same problem of not having enough experience to be an experienced hire, and not really qualifying anymore as an entry level candidate. You'd be better served focusing on a career that can transition you to a top MBA and then back into consulting.

I can be proven wrong here, I'd hit LinkedIn and try to find and then talk to people who successfully done what you're looking to do.

Nov 6, 2017 - 8:05pm

Let me tell you a story. There was a girl in my UG class, we studied math major. She was good at everything except for math. She got horrible GPA, I think it was somewhere around 1.6/4.0. Despite her GPA, she was one of the most outstanding peers I've ever known. She did internships at big banks and big funds. She didn't go for a Master's, which is very unusual in my country because most employers do not recruit undergrads. She applied for consulting jobs in her senior year and got an offer from BCG.

GPA is not everything. Don't let it label you.

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Nov 7, 2017 - 12:25pm

You have a degree from a really good school, so I'm sure there's lots of Bocconi alumni at MBB and other firms.

Network with them so they think you're a good candidate and will refer you (caveat: this is the advice I would give in the U.S., I understand networking may be a bit different in Europe).

What are you doing now? Are you pursuing a non-MBA masters degree or working? If you graduated this summer, it will probably start to look weird soon if you're just unemployed.

Nov 7, 2017 - 12:26pm

How to get a Consulting Internship with a Crappy GPA. (Originally Posted: 05/19/2016)

So Freshman year just finished and my GPA is terrible (2.95). I have a trading internship for the summer, which I don't know how I got but somehow I did. The reason why my GPA is so low is because i came into college as an EE major thinking EE is what my interests were in, turns it I'm not interested in EE. I am interested in coding , so I didn't drop EE but decided I would just do the software route within the degree.My interests are in the field of Finance but my school's business program is insanely hard to internally transfer into and my terrible GPA isn't helping. I added Economics as a major also, because it was next best thing that would show I'm interested in the field.Now I know the first thing I need to do is bring up my GPA, which will happen hopefully over time, but my question is what else should I do if I'm trying to get a consulting internship for Summer 2017. I understand its early but I feel I should get started, also I'm not looking for an internship at any big consulting firm because I understand that is unrealistic. I'm just looking for any internship that is in the field of management consulting.

Nov 7, 2017 - 12:27pm

Consulting firms take folks from all different kinds of majors. So don't feel the need to tack on Economics as a major. You just need to work on getting that GPA up so that firms won't just toss out your resume during the screening process. If you can get a 4.0 for the next 4-6 quarters, that should make you look a lot more competitive.

Nov 7, 2017 - 12:28pm

Adding the Economics major was more of a personal decision rather than me just adding to show interest, because I'm actually interested in the subject of Economics, and want to study it.

Nov 7, 2017 - 12:29pm

Build the other parts of your resume, namely extracurriculars. Get involved. Find a leadership position. Practice cases. Consider a student consulting program if available at your university. Join a smaller firm. Get other work experience besides management consulting. You're a freshman. It won't kill you if you dont do consulting in your sophomore summer either. Since you know now, you want to and have the ability to prep early.

Nov 7, 2017 - 12:30pm

okay, thanks for the advice. What other fields would you recommend I try getting an internship in for my sophomore year summer? I'm pretty sure no boutique IB bank will even give me a look since I'm not a finance major or have over a 3.5. Im pretty involved, I have leadership positions in two organizations and pretty active in couple others.

Nov 7, 2017 - 12:31pm

The big firms typically focus on hiring interns who have completed their junior year in school, so you have enough time to recover from a slow start. Look at leadership opportunities in groups you are interested in. Think about interning at a boutique next summer, there is still time and it will probably come down to how hard you hit the books and network, it definitely can be done!

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