Wall Street GPAs: Is a 3.5 GPA Good?

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

IlliniProgrammer - Hedge Fund Quant:
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.

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Comments (1000)

Aug 15, 2011 - 3:12pm

3.4 is fine man...how many people have you talked to that actually said that?

Inb4 omg you need a 3.8 3.9 (prestige whores)

Just having something that separates you from the rest of the crowd

I banana back
Aug 15, 2011 - 3:16pm

omg you need a 3.8 3.9

- Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs get slaughtered. - The harder you work, the luckier you become. - I believe in the "Golden Rule": the man with the gold rules.
  • 9
Aug 15, 2011 - 3:27pm

Maybe its just the guys I talk to. One alumni partner at a NY boutique (who used to work at MS) said my GPA was "way too low" and to "leave it off all together" because he knows people back at MS who won't look at a resume with a sub 3.5 GPA. Two other junior guys at top tier BB (MS/JPM/GS) said my GPA "looked a little low" and since I come from a non-target, he said "the only guys we hire from non-targets look stellar on paper, and that may be hard for you." I know that kind of runs counter to what most people here say, but it kind of bummed me out. Is it worth making trips to New York and stuff, or should I stick to my local banks in Toronto?

Aug 15, 2011 - 3:36pm

Networking can only get you so far. 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.

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Aug 15, 2011 - 3:36pm

This is tough to say without knowing your school. First off, if a 3.5 GPA is the cutoff, then it makes no sense that a 3.4 would be "way too low". Just keep doing what you're doing and add an easy 1-2 credit class in which you know you can get an A to boost it to 3.5.

Again, it's tough to know without knowing your school. If you go to a small, complete non-target, then yes it might be a little hard. If your non-target is a top 50 school that has a huge alumni base, then it will be easier.

Aug 15, 2011 - 3:39pm

@IP: Thanks, thats what I'm looking into as well. Some decent F500 companies recruit at my school so I'll try and network there as well.

Michael Scarn: Its a top school in Canada (Ivey/Queens Commerce/McGill) with a decent alumni base, not stellar but probably one of the best in Canada.

Aug 15, 2011 - 3:46pm

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.

Basically, the benchmark for you is a kid from Cornell with a 3.65 GPA in Econ with an OK personality and some extracurriculars. If you're from Illinois and I can make the case that you're smarter/better for the firm that that kid, I'm going to fight to get you an interview. I can still make a strong case if you've got a 3.45 in Mechanical Engineering or Physics and you're 1.5 standard deviations above average, but I can't make it if you've got a 3.4 in Accy/Business where a reasonably smart kid should be able to pull off a 3.6-3.7. Every alumnus will be a little different, but if you're the kind of school where you've got only a handful of alumni who probably aren't MDs, it's more along the lines of us fronting kids who we are reasonably sure are going to kick the Princeton students' butts so we can get more seats allocated to our alumns in the next round of interviews next year.

Aug 15, 2011 - 3:58pm

Then you need to get that GPA up ASAP. And ideally, you need something to add a little sparkle of genius to the resume. Are there any profs doing research who like you? Getting your name on a published paper- even in the acknowledgements- is a huge coup for a sophomore. If you're in a top-ten ranked US News program for your major, TAing a course also works. D1 sports would obviously work, same with any well-known national competition.

You need a 3.65+ GPA AND something spectacular going into Junior year to make up for the lack of being from a target school to land most interviews. And then your alumni friends at the firm will need to groom you in interviewing skills.

Hate to say it, but while networking can help, but it generally only makes a difference for candidates just on the cusp- ideally with something really strong on their resume and a 3.5 GPA or for folks with a ho-hum resume, 3.65-3.7 GPA, and a strong passion for a certain desk or line of work. You want to be in a situation where you do not need to network- if you have a 3.65 GPA and play D1 sports, win a national competition, TA a difficult course in a strong program, or help a prof publish a paper, you will find that the companies come to you.

Aug 15, 2011 - 4:31pm

@ IlliniProgrammer

Not to hi-jack the thread.
Does a 3.4 gpa at top 15 school with math & economics major, w/ 3.6 gpa in econ, varsity crew, and financial internships look like to recruiters? Plan is to get gpa up to 3.5 -3.6.

Aug 15, 2011 - 4:38pm
@ IlliniProgrammer

Not to hi-jack the thread.
Does a 3.4 gpa at top 15 school with math & economics major, w/ 3.6 gpa in econ, varsity crew, and financial internships look like to recruiters? Plan is to get gpa up to 3.5 -3.6.

From Princeton maybe, from Vanderbilt it's a lot more borderline. You'd need something on there like a difficult-to-get-into honors program to be a strong candidate, though it seems likely you'll probably land somewhere.
Aug 15, 2011 - 4:35pm

Don't forget that #15 Finance UIUC is a target for a number of MMs/Boutiques (EG William Blair, RW Baird), so it's possible that helped with the recruiting process. But at most non-target schools, making it into an MM or a BB is as difficult as making it into GS or JPM from UIUC. No on-campus recruiting. Only a handful of alumns who are often trying to make sure the kids they do help will blow the Princeton candidates out of the water. Then you have clueless folks at the career center who can't really prepare you for these interviews. And finally, when you get to the interview, 3 out of your 5 interviewers will come in assuming that unless they played lacrosse against your school, you probably aren't as smart as the Princeton kid they just interviewed, and you will need to prove them embarassingly wrong in 30 minutes.

Aug 15, 2011 - 4:45pm
Don't forget that #15 Finance UIUC is a target for a number of MMs/Boutiques (EG William Blair, RW Baird), so it's possible that helped with the recruiting process. But at most non-target schools, making it into an MM or a BB is as difficult as making it into GS or JPM from UIUC. No on-campus recruiting. Only a handful of alumns who are often trying to make sure the kids they do help will blow the Princeton candidates out of the water. Then you have clueless folks at the career center who can't really prepare you for these interviews. And finally, when you get to the interview, 3 out of your 5 interviewers will come in assuming that unless they played lacrosse against your school, you probably aren't as smart as the Princeton kid they just interviewed, and you will need to prove them embarassingly wrong in 30 minutes.

Agreed, our career center is completely useless when it comes to preparing students for IBD interviews. The only thing I can recommend is to find other students/friends that are interested in IBD and prepare with each other. Ask for help/insight and do mock interviews. And keep a positive attitude during those interviews. Be someone who they are interested in talking to.

Aug 15, 2011 - 5:12pm

I see it a little differently. I don't know about Illinois, but I go to a similar midwestern school, and all of the major MMs and 4-5 BBs come on campus and do OCR. From there, all you have to do is distinguish yourself from the pack of other students at your school. If you get past that round, GPA and school don't really matter. Of course, if you are at a place that doesn't get many firms doing OCR or doesn't have many alumni in good places, then it is a different story.

Aug 15, 2011 - 5:47pm

You're a rising sopmhore, stop stressing so much. You have time to bring your GPA up. For all the people telling you that you can't get into IBD, tell em to fuck off. You can do anything you truly want to do. You just have to be more dedicated than anyone around around. I'm talking about some supersayan shit here. If you have the right attitude/work ethic you WILL land in IBD.

Step your game up...

Aug 15, 2011 - 7:32pm

Cumulative GPA that IBanks look at (Originally Posted: 07/17/2006)

Do IBanks look at your graduating GPA? ie: your average gpa over your last 2 years or 60credits of coursework? OR do they look at the entire average of your entire 4 year undergrad. Thanks soo much

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:07pm

Some liberal arts schools (Wesleyan, Claremont McKenna to name two) DO have finance and accounting classes (usually under economics).

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-
Aug 15, 2011 - 8:11pm

Please, I have no problem with you Ivy and prospective bankers have feelings of superiority. However please at least have some respect for others. Just because you are on top of the world doesn't mean you should treat others as your serfs. go eat some fresh vegetables and cut back on testosterone.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:18pm

GPA - Sales & trading important? (Originally Posted: 12/15/2006)

How important is GPA in S&T exactly? More specifically, trading at a BB. I've heard that a 3.0 was the unofficial cutoff for S&T, just like a 3.5 is the unofficial cutoff for IBD at a BB. But how accurate is this number? Preferably someone with actual experience on the matter can respond.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:21pm

Physics major with low GPA wanting to join the ibanking. Chances? (Originally Posted: 03/12/2007)

I'm a physics + biomedical computation double major (soph) at stanford with 3.0 cum. GPA.

Most of my physics classmates are too busy with quantum mech. problem sets or in that dark basement lab trying to figure out bose-einstein condensation to care about other things, but I got curious about this ibanking career recently because it seem to be a "cool" job to have.

I would really want to have some feedback if my 3.0 GPA is an insurmountable roadblock for me to get an internship with BB? My physics GPA is actually quite good, what brought it down so much was the Organic chem classes i took last year. Anyway, I would really like to hear some feedback.


Aug 15, 2011 - 8:22pm

If you're serious and not as stupid as you came off in that thread you started, then no, you are not fucked:

a) put your physics GPA on the resume if it is higher.

b) network with alumni, because otherwise you might not get an interview.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:23pm

Your GPA is way way too low. You need to bring it up to 3.4-3.5 in order to give you a shot at getting interviews next year. If you have connections to the finance industry, try to get some kind of related internship this summer.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:24pm

You need to raise it to at least a 3.2 or so. I am an engineering and econ double major with a 3.3, landed only 1 interview this year with a BB but luckily got the internship offer.

i think you can do it, too. Although you go to a really good school and studying a hard major, you still need to have a better grade than 3.0 and have to go to presentations and network as much as possible if you are serious about this.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:28pm

Isn't the avg GPA at Stanford like a 3.8 or something ridiculous? I heard that you can drop classes a day before the exam and not have anything show up on your record...

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:29pm

Okay, since you seem to be serious, a few pieces of advice. Take it for what it's worth:

1) Find out what the hell investment banking is. No, it is not the same as working as a stockbroker at Ameritrade or Scottrade.

2) Find out what an analyst does before deciding that the career track is "cool".

3) I have no idea if a 3.0 is high or low for your major at Stanford, but without knowing much else, I am pretty sure unless the interviewer knows how hard the curve is in your specific major, they will screen out a 3.0. Find others from Stanford who have gone into IB, and present your situation to them. Perhaps others on here who majored in a hard science can give you better advice on this part.

4) Improve your writing skills. If you screw up your grammar in a cover letter, or any other communication with people in IB, they will screen you out. When in doubt, have native english speakers proofread your writing.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:30pm

that is the high school GPA it takes to get in here. (ridiculous so many valeditorians and stuff), but ave. GPA in physics i know is not high.

You can not drop any class about three weeks after the start of the quarter and you can only Withdraw from a class with a big fat W shown on your transcript.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:31pm

then I back off my first comment.

It totally came across as trying to make fun of banking (which is also fine, but you won't get any help that way).

I'm sure Stanford should have a lot of people for you talk to in order to find out more about the industry and what it takes.

Also, the vault.com guides are invaluable for general industry understanding and more detailed information as you get farther along.

Hey, if it's not too late change to an easier major.

In any case, it's still early so you have time to bring your GPA up.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:32pm

Definitely don't change your major. You won't be able to bring your GPA up to 3.5+ in less than a year, and then you won't get many interviews with a low 3ish GPA plus a liberal arts major like economics.

What's your physics GPA? I would put that and your cumulative on your resume - banks will assume your cumulative is below 3.0 if it's not on your resume. I'm not sure what grade inflation is like at Stanford, but here at UPenn a 3.0 in a hard science like physics is okay..probably not good enough to land banking interviews at most places but you might get a few interviews with the likes of BofA, Jefferies, etc. and a random BB interview or two if you have an otherwise good resume. I'd try and raise your GPA to a 3.2 or a 3.3 if possible...that'd help a lot, and I bet you'd get interviews with BBs given your tough double major. I know an engineering double major with a 3.2 at my school who got a bulge bracket banking job.

I think you have a good shot if you work hard now and raise the GPA a bit. I wouldn't listen to a bunch of the people on here..they go to state schools or crappy little liberal arts colleges that no one has heard of. A 3.0 at Stanford majoring in physics is likely much harder to get than a 3.6 at some random state or liberal arts school majoring in economics.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:34pm

3.0 is quite a bit on the low side. The issue is though, that IB doesn't really require intelligence, just a profoundly good work ethic. As such, the ability to slog through with a good GPA (even in an easy major) is preferable to a low(ish) GPA in a hard major. I interned in a BB S&T division junior year and found an MIT sub 3.0 physics major in Interest Rate derivatives (the equivalent of that at MIT, since MIT offers grades out of 5).
I think that you might have more success in S&T than in IB with that.

Full Disclosure: Former Trader/HFT/3.6 Stanford CS.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:36pm

First, unless you have a genuine interest in finance I don't suggest you go down this route. Do some research and read about what bankers do.

Second, your GPA is low but, there are ways around it considering you're from a target.

Third, this goes back to the first point. Besides your GPA, you also need applicable work exp and activities-which would demonstrate your passion for the field.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:37pm


First, unless you have a genuine interest in finance I don't suggest you go down this route. Do some research and read about what bankers do.

Second, your GPA is low but, there are ways around it considering you're from a target.

Third, this goes back to the first point. Besides your GPA, you also need applicable work exp and activities-which would demonstrate your passion for the field.

thread is 6 years old...

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:39pm

Sample GPAs (Originally Posted: 03/30/2007)

Since we've had so much talk about what GPA you need from a target versus a non-target, here are thirty-five random samples from a recent resume book. All of these people are now analysts. This is a random sample; no cherry-picking to try to drive scores up or down. I've rounded to the nearest tenth to prevent easy identification. If you're looking to get in, you might consider this representative of the level of competition. Draw your conclusions as you like.

Columbia: 3.9
Princeton: 3.9
Georgetown: 3.6
Princeton: 3.6
Yale: 3.8
Georgetown: 3.8
UCLA: 3.8
Harvard: 3.7
Rutgers: 4.0
Georgetown: 3.9
Harvard: 3.4
Harvard: 3.7
Boston College: 3.8
U of T at Austin: 3.7
Dartmouth: 3.7
Wharton: 3.5
Duke: 3.7
Cornell: 4.0
UIUC: 3.9
Yale: 3.9
Stern: 3.4
Stern: 3.9
Rutgers: 3.7
Wharton: 3.8
Georgetown: 3.6
Dartmouth: 3.2
Columbia: 3.9
Columbia: 3.7
UVA: 3.7
Tufts: 3.6
UNC: 4.0
Columbia: 3.5
UNC: 3.5
Tufts: 3.4
U. of Maryland: 3.7

  • 2
Aug 15, 2011 - 8:42pm

This is interesting. The only problem is that you mentioned "what GPA you NEED," not what GPA most of the kids who get through have. It's hard to say who on that list got in through connections and who just dropped a resume and got selected for interviews.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:45pm

The moral of the story here is that GPA needs to be solid, but beyond a certain point - there is an X factor that leads to an offer.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:46pm

Miss Ind, all your schools are targets except for Maryland, Tufts, UIUC and Rutgers.

Tufts students are generally quite bright. Perhaps not at the Ivy league level, but they definitely are as smart as just about all non-Ivy target schools.

You should do a gpa list of absolute non-target schools. Schools ranked in the 50s-70s in U.S. News.

Let's check the gpas for those schools and compare them to the gpas for the targets.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:50pm

Note the high GPAs from HYP. A 3.4 from H is harder to get than a 4.0 from a state university, so the competition from the top schools is actually much stiffer than from a "target" but "non-elite" school.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:54pm

What's the point? You have a small sample size from one resume book.

University of Chicago is not represented? I find that hard to believe. People are getting hung up on numbers.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:56pm

I wouldn't expect U Chicago to be represented, since the sample was of analysts.

It is a small sample, but it think it does a pretty decent job showing the range of GPA's you need.

3.3+ is not "all you need." If you have a 3.3 you better have something else on your resume that really stands out.

Aug 15, 2011 - 8:59pm

You're being anecdotal as well. You can't just throw some generality out there that classes are harder at HYP and therefore its harder to get a higher GPA. Unless you've seen the curricula for classes of comparable majors between HYP and the state schools you are thinking of, then you can't make such a comparison. That's no different than my "one data point." Besides, you make it sound like only the smartest people get in to HYP. Money has just as much to do with it as academics. I'm not saying that ALL state schools are superior or even equal to HYP, I just take offense that you seem to think that any and all state schools are inferior.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:00pm

That is a fact. Do not try to deny it. The dumbest kid at HYP has a well above average SAT score at any state school. There is seriously no comparison, and I would argue that I'm actually being lenient - probably more like 2.5 HYP = 4.0 state school.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:02pm

I attend one of HYP. One of my friends here is on the football team and clearly not here for academics. He actually failed out for a semester because he got two F's. He took classes over the summer at UNC, a top-notch state school, and had a 4.0. State schools are a joke, cause this kid is seriously probably the dumbest kid at my school.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:03pm

Look, I just know that I'm an engineering major at a public engineering school and I don't have the kind of GPA that seems to be fairly easy to attain at schools like HYP. Just look around on this board. Everyone throws around their 3.7s and 3.8s like its nothing. You can't sit there and tell me that its easier for me to get a 4.0 at my school than someone doing some bullshit major at HYP. Like I said before, there are obviously state schools that are much easier than HYP. However, it is unfair to lump every public school into the same basket.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:04pm
Besides, you make it sound like only the smartest people get in to HYP. Money has just as much to do with it as academics.

This is a hilarious statement considering the following fact:

"...parents in families with incomes of less than $60,000 will no longer be expected to contribute any money to the cost of attending Harvard for their children, including room and board. Families with incomes in the $60,000 to $80,000 range contribute an amount of only a few thousand dollars a year."

Source: Wikipedia

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:06pm

yes it helps to have a really high gpa, i am proof that it's not necessary to land a solid gig...

me: finance major w/ 3.2 gpa from target public (think UMich, UVA, Berkeley)

Lehman intern and will return this summer for fulltime.

I took advantage of what my university had to offer... i.e. women and booze

granted i got my shit done, i still was able to enjoy the only four years i will be able to slack off

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:07pm

MIT? All their classes are pass/fail their freshman year. Pussies.

Anyways, I know that the majority of state schools are not that good. I don't respect kids from places like UGA. But to say that "all state schools are inferior to HYP and the equiv. the bottom 10% at HYP are still >>> than the top 10% at a state u." is bullshit and its a generality. The top 10% at Georgia Tech easily have SATs that are just as good as any Ivy Leaguer. I just don't agree with the disrespect for a school simply because it receives funding from a state government. And again, since none of you seem to be able to read what I've been saying, I have no doubt that MANY, if not the MAJORITY of state schools are full of dumbfuck kids who still get 4.0s. I just resent the fact that my school is being lumped into that category when it is clearly not the case.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:10pm

A lot of HYP people are nothing more than prestige whore who think that they are better than everyone else. The schools are great but there are a lot of other schools that graduate top notch candidates for these positions.

Maybe the GPA criteria, perceived or otherwise, are set so high to allow for the ease in attaining good grades at HYP. Maybe the person with a 3.3 will not get hired from HYP because of adjustments for grade inflation.

I suspect some of the same HYP people subscribe to the theory of Goldman or Bust, discounting the fact that there are many fine opportunities at other IB's.

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
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Aug 15, 2011 - 9:15pm

... nor does it change anything for anyone. To all the people who are so convinced that their 3.XX GPA at wherever is going to work for them -- GREAT -- if you're convinced, you don't need to convince everyone else on this board.

In the end, if you believe that your resume (including GPA) proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you are relatively intelligent and capable of busting your ass and making sacrifices to perform... then what is the point of bickering over the merits of the HYPS bottom 10% vs. the state school top 10%? These arguments are adding zero value to Anyone's career search.

Every time a quality poster like Mis Ind puts up useful data, 7 out of 10 responses are full of useless sh*t-slinging.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:17pm

OK, this is from direct experience. I attend MIT. In high school I took calculus, differential equations, problems & stats and physics I & II at a prominent engineering university. The above math courses were all honors. Seriously, my attendance rate was less than 35%, and I was at the top of my math classes getting A's.

At MIT, I decided to take all the math classes over in order to have a high GPA. I STRUGGLED to get "B's", and studied harder than I ever have. MIT's material started where the other university's math courses ended. My SAT I Math is an 800, as is my SAT IIBC.

I had a course last semester (I am an undergrad) that two Harvard MBA students were taking. (MIT and Harvard have reciprocal agreements for students to take classes.) Both Harvard MBA's dropped the course because right before midterm, they had C's going. Granted, the course was more quanitative than qualitative; however, no one, who does not attend MIT, has an idea of what it takes to get an A in a math or science course at the 'tute.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:21pm

The only reason I might not have a 2.0 at MIT is because I hate engineering. If I could start college over, I would not have done it, but I didnt figure that out until about 2 years in, but such is life. And fuck "prominent state-school engineering" being a joke. GT is ranked higher than most privates, so suck it. Thats exactly what I'm talking about. People that go to privates such as HYP think they are God's gift to this earth. I guarantee you that if more people from Georgia Tech actually wanted to go into finance, we could easily become a target school. The problem is that we are so focused on engineering and technology, that I-Banks only come here for our CS people. Come take a semester at GT. None of you, except maybe fellow engineers could hack it. All of you finance and history majors can go to hell. Those are not hard majors, no matter what you say. MIT may be intense, but it certainly isnt in the first year, as it is pass/fail. Your first year at GT is when you take all the weed out classes. Its obvious that my points are falling on deaf ears though, so why even try. Ivy leaguers all think they were born with a better pot to piss in, and that's something that will apparently never change.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:23pm

Thank you very much jtmarlin. I just get sick of private school types downplaying the rigor of the couresload at GT simply because it is a public school. I of course still think MIT is a great school, but I just don't like the idea of a public school such as GT being discounted as easy, when its obviously not.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:24pm

I went to a very respectable academic school. For reference, my sophomore year roommate got into Harvard and the other one got into MIT. Kids here have gotten into just about any good school you can think of (HYPS, any Ivy). I myself got into UCB, UCLA, Dartmouth and Princeton.

Every summer we used to take courses at our local state institution. Being from California I took courses at UCB and got a 4.0 (while getting wasted and high every night). My cumulative GPA at my (private) full-time school was a 3.4 while busting my ass and working ridiculous hours every week with ECs, etc.

My point is this: all the state school kids who think they are hot shit b/c they got a 4.0 are kidding themselves. Financial aid + student loans are meritocratic enough nowadays where anyone who is good enough to go to HYPS is going to go there. Everyone I know from home who went to UCB, didn't get into Stanford or any Ivies. If you think going to Georgia Tech and getting a 4.0 makes you a smart guy, think again. IBs and consulting firms are looking for straight intelligence which is going to come through regardless of your GPA.

The "private school types" aren't some rich snobby pricks anymore, those days are long gone. The private school types now are the brightest and the best. Being from a household which earned

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:25pm

Being from a household which earned less than 50k a year and being in a highly desired position, I will unabashedly say that the best and brightest will still go to the name-brands (i.e. the Ivies and the equivalent). If you state kids want to argue that the top 10% of your school is equal... fuck that, you would've gotten into HYPS/Ivy if you were good enough.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:27pm

It has nothing to do with being good enough though. My family isn't rich, and I had the opportunity to take advantage or a state-sponsored scholarship (HOPE) that pays for all my tuition as long as I maintain a 3.0. Therefore, it would not make much sense for me to go private or out of state when I could still get a great education for only the cost of room, board, and books. Where I'm at now, I do wish I had even considered the expensive privates and Ivy League schools. However, at the time, I was convinced I wanted to do engineering. You people are talking like I applied to HYP etc. and didnt get in. That was definitely not the case. All I know is that GT is harder than you seem to think it is. Really, I'm sure any engineering program is. But Ivy League schools are not the end-all for higher education. GT is ranked 6th overall for engineering schools and 8th as a public. To me, that is not that shabby. For you privates on your high horses, such rankings may not mean much. I really don't even know why I'm still arguing with all of you. Its obvious that none of you have one iota of respect for a state school, no matter what kind of overall prestige it carries.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:28pm

i honestly feel sorry for all the douchebags who swear a 3.6+ is the only way to get into ibanking.

yes, there is no doubt that having a 3.6+ is a good edge, but know that gpa is only one factor contributing to whether or not you are selected for interviews and positions.

honestly, i could easily have obtained a 3.7 gpa, but i chose to have fun, socialize, drink, meet girls, fuck, and the like.

in all honesty, i will probably be the one who, in the face of every 3.8+ HYP, will succeed not only because i know how the real world works, but because i can go out with clients, drinks, and, yes, get laid.

so, to put this utterly idiotic myth into extinction. NO, you do not have to have a 3.6 to get to a solid bank. work hard, get your shit done, meet the right people, study what needs to be learned and LIVE... get some goddamn real world experience that you can bring to a bank and actually take with you.

we are all smart, ambitious, motivated, etc... but at the end of the day who will succeed? the smart, ambitious kid who jacks off to a 3.6 and never had time to get laid, or the smart, ambitious kid who took the time to learn from life and enjoy its experiences while taking in the skills that will eventually prove beneficial.

i stress this again. WE ARE ALL INTELLIGENT. yet if you were a client, would you rather get drunk with a fucking nerd who knows his shit, or would you rather get drunk with a chill kid who also knows his shit?

at the end of the day, i would rather be the cool kid who ends up in the same spot.

granted, i am drunk and its 5:22 am... yet i still believe my point is well worth stressing

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:33pm

Just a personal opinion: I set aside every resume that crosses my desk from Georgia Tech with a 3.5 or higher. I call the guy and make sure he's not a total dweeb, which he rarely is. Then I do everything in my power to get him in for an interview. Three of my most intelligent and capable male friends ruined their academic careers by attempting GT. I'm not aware of any tech school in the country with such brutal wash-out courses. And, as has already been pointed out, there are many reasons for attending GT rather than an Ivy. Hell, I could have much more easily and cheaply attended Harvard than the school I ended up going to, because Harvard has a specific interest in kids with my quals. But I had some unfinished business at home that trumped even school.

For me, personally (not as a representative of Wall Street in general) Georgia Tech 3.5 = Harvard 3.7. GT is a harsh, competitive, real-world school that turns out competent, hungry candidates with no sense of entitlement. That's the guy I want to be working next to at 3 AM.

  • 2
Aug 15, 2011 - 9:37pm

Say what you like, my friend -- it's the people who are digging through resumes and bringing in candidates that will make the call. Some of them will prefer HYPS graduates, and some -- like me -- will prefer seasoned graduates from engineering schools.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:38pm

Just take a look at the top 5 PHD programs for both math and physics. From US News Reports 2007:

1. MIT
2. Tie: Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Berkeley

1. Tie: MIT, Stanford
3. Cal Tech
4. Tie: Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley

I don't see a whole lot of state schools on there. Fact is, the best students want to learn from the best professors, and the best professors are at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT etc. Certainly not Georgia Tech. You guys have Calvin Johnson - be happy he'll be a top 5 draft pick and stop trying to claim you're a decent school.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:41pm

There are gonna be a bunch of elitist people who look down on your degree. Whether or not you could've gotten into HYP isn't really the point - the point is that people will see Georgia Tech and assume you fucked around in high school and couldn't go to a decent school. I know I would. Better get used to it now.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:43pm

Midwest, of course I don't make final calls. No single person ever does. What I do is help determine who gets considered and who doesn't. In our little committee, one person's voice often determines whether someone gets cut or brought up for an interview. And once you're actually in an interview, it's even ground between targets and non-targets. At least here.

  • 1
Aug 15, 2011 - 9:46pm

Eh. He's also -- again, like Student22 -- a concentrated caricature of many of the most shallow and limited views of some people on this board. Interesting, isn't it, how rational viewpoints taken to the furthest possible extreme become highly irrational? Something to think about.

It's also a good illustration of elitism and entitlement -- which I believe may be the theme of this particular thread.

I highly doubt Wall Street will let us forget that it is, first and foremost, a meritocracy. Merit, no matter where it comes from, is rewarded. Indolence, no matter how exalted, is passed over.

  • 1
Aug 15, 2011 - 9:47pm

For all the people who are saying that they could have gone to HYPS/MIT/etc. but stayed in-state for personal or financial reasons (I still think the financial one is bogus), yes YOU may have been smart enough to have gone there, but by and large your state school is going to be full of the HYPS rejects. To argue otherwise is clearly delusional. I don't think anyone can deny that the kids at HYPS on average are WAY above the average product of any state school other than UCB and apparently GT.

Even "elite" public schools like Michigan have a whole horde of mediocre kids with 1250 SATs who graduated in the top 10% of their HS class. If you take someone with average intelligence and a shitload of dogged determination in HS work they will get into whatever state school they are applying to. Again, there is obviously a population of smart, talented kids at these places and I am sure that they will do well in whatever they do but my personal opinion is that HYPS&co. is still head and shoulders above.

For clarification, the reason I think the financial reason is bogus nowadays is because any elite private school is need-blind and even if you have to take out student-loans, it is totally worth it. You only do your undergrad once and the opportunities you get from going to a school like Harvard more than make up for any short-term financial problems.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:50pm

Well, I'm glad to see that the likes of jtmarlin, Mis Ind, and BBMnA kind of understand the points I'm trying to get across here. Also, I agree with you jt about midwest. There is no point in continuing with him.

Well, I don't think the financial reason is bogus boozer. I will come out of GT debt free with a degree that will give me the possibility to do many things. Besides, I figure if the shit hits the fan, and something happens to me like happened at Citi, I can always just switch over to something in the engineering field. Given, GT is not a straight shot into IB like HYP might be, but to me its a fairly decent trade off. I do agree with you though that there are people with average intelligence that can just work their ass off and do as well as someone who is smarter than them. But why would that necessarily be a fault? Sure, you want intelligent people working for/with you, but you also want a person that is going to bust their ass like there's no tomorrow.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:57pm

Yes, and I know several more successful GT people working in the trenches with me and the HYPS kids. There are plenty of successful GT people up here in all levels of the industry.

Aug 15, 2011 - 9:59pm

And it's also not IBD. All of the data I posted were from IBD analysts. Not debt, not equities, and certainly not trading.

Aug 15, 2011 - 10:01pm

i don't think anyone's debating whether kids at HYPS are better and more intelligent than kids at state schools ON AVERAGE. the debate was whether the bottom 10% of HYPS were better than the top 10% at state schools. that is an absolutely ludicrous statement, as the top 10% at Michigan, UVA, UCB etc are WAY above the average at HYPS.

Aug 15, 2011 - 10:10pm

shrug. end of the day, IBD corpfin is monkey work. what matters is having the "right people" and ivy ug often have these characteristics, in aggregate, so that banks don't have to bother with other schools. anecdotal evidence, look at the fucking video resume competition on vault.com, those kids from barucy and iu just don't come across as very sharp at all. they actually look and sound kinda retarded.

there's always gonna be a glass ceiling for people who don't fit the mold. ivy creds are often a major part of fitting into this mold. black females who went to state u. for ug like ind are gonna hit that ceiling, nerdy asians from HYP are gonna hit that ceiling, and a lot of state-schoolers who hit it lucky for an analyst spot but are still of mediocre intelligence and ability will hit that ceiling.

Aug 15, 2011 - 10:12pm

Well, of course you are assuming the top kids attending state schools plan on going into fields such as banking and consulting, where pedigree matters more.

I would venture to say for students who are looking at careers in medicine, law, politics, and other careers that either require additional expensive education or don't pay that much out of undergrad, the financial equation changes significantly. The 160k of debt vs full scholarship dilemma changes when you are looking at 3-4 more years of 50K a year education or a non-banking earning potential.

Aug 15, 2011 - 10:14pm

1) HYPS admissions are tilted geographically. midwest, for all your bolster about intelligence, I'm sure not being in the northeast or the west coast helped you get into your beloved school

2) I had the opportunity a few months ago to have dinner with an MD at a boutique, and he highly stressed GPA...to a point. He basically told us 3.7+ is all we're really talking about here, from a target non-HYPS that is.

3) Financial reasons are valid. If you come from the northeast, Harvard's under 60k free ride or 60-80k reduced ride is still not necessarily applicable; 100k is middle-class from around these parts, at least near me. I had an offer to go to a state school for free, Cornell for full cost and CMU (not Tepper, IS program)/Stern for about the same. I don't regret not choosing Cornell or the state school. $160k is an obscene amount of debt, and if you can go to a very good school for significantly less, I think that represents a better value proposition than whoring one's self to an Ivy name.

  • 2
Aug 15, 2011 - 10:16pm

Although I think this entire thread is BS, I thought I'd point something out. In the BME program at UT, the average SAT score for admitted students was a 1450, the average MCAT score was 34 (with numerous students getting 40 and above), and of the few students that took the LSAT, the average was 164. We have numerous students go on to McKinsey, a few at Blackstone, and of course many at Goldman. Of the students that even applied to Ivy league schools (probably around 50%), 90% were accepted to at least one of them. The yield in this program is extremely high-students just don't wanna leave the state.

Among the students that went to high schools like Highland Park, TAMS, Plano etc., not nearly as many of them aspired to go to ivy schools when compared with high schools in the NE.

In my graduating class, we definitely had a good number of students go to HYPS, and MIT. However, most of our top students decide to go to schools like Rice and UT. Most are southerners, and not much about the NE is particularly appealing to them. Like I said before, I had full funding to play football at the likes of HYPS, had a 1520 SAT, and was ranked just outside the top 5% of my class(shows how competitive my school was). However, I wanted to 1) stay in Texas (like most Texans), 2) win a nat'l championship (done), and 3) stay away from particularly pretentious people.

My point is that there are numerous reasons, besides even financial ones, that students don't want to go to schools in the NE. Quality of life is a big deal to most people down here, our families are down here, and the girls are just gorgeous.

Anyway, if I get the typical ignorant response, I won't answer so don't bother. But I'll definitely appreciate any articulate, genuine responses.

Aug 15, 2011 - 10:19pm

People have reasons for choosing the schools they went to...

Lets say some 16 year old underestimates the importance of the SAT, and doesnt score high enough to get into HYPS. Should he/she have to eat crow forever?

You just can't make blanket statements, and that's why there is such an extensive interview process at these BB banks - a high GPA, interest in the field, and intelligence tend to shine through.

Aug 15, 2011 - 10:20pm

I'll say it again: I, personally, feel highly enthusiastic about a 3.5 from Georgia Tech. Would I tell a Georgia Tech person to feel comfortable that he'd get into banking with a 3.5? Of course not; his recruiter probably wouldn't feel the same way. So, the following two points are true:

1: If you have a 3.5 from Georgia Tech, your chances of getting into banking are small.
2: If I see a 3.5 from Georgia Tech, I do whatever I can to bring them in for an interview.

If this is confusing, try drawing a Venn diagram or something.

  • 1
Aug 15, 2011 - 10:25pm

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