What your GPA says about you?

Hey everyone. I'm sure we all keep seeing these threads about people lying about their GPAs and rounding them up when they shouldn't. So I was hoping to see from someone who reviews resume's perspective, what different GPAs say about each candidate.

4.0: .....
3.9: .....
3.8: .....
3.7: .....
3.6: .....
3.5: .....
3.4: .....
3.3: .....
3.2: .....
3.1: .....
3.0: .....
Below 3.0: Back Office

What do you guys think different GPA levels mean? What's your preferred GPA? What GPA do/did you have?

Financial Modeling Course

  • Get An Edge For Your Interviews & Finance Career
  • The Best (and Most Affordable) Financial Modeling Self-study Courses.
  • WSO Members receive a 15% discount

Comments (81)

Sep 20, 2018

My 3.0: Love to party, was acutely aware that I'd be unemployed if I did any more so.

Sep 20, 2018

You can't compare GPA on a 1:1 ratio, too many factors involved: Grade inflation, workload, academic / subject rigor, how the classes are graded.

Let's say you have a 2.9 GPA candidate in Math / Physics / Engineering from Caltech, vs a 3.6 GPA candidate in the softest of soft majors from certain Ivy League schools, who do you think had the most challenging workload? Grade inflation is so bad at certain schools and majors that you can get a 3.0 by simply having a pulse.

    • 3
Sep 20, 2018

4.0: Asian or anti-social virgin/incel; lacks social skills

    • 2
Sep 20, 2018
buysidehotshot:

4.0: Asian or anti-social virgin/incel; lacks social skills

"Incel"... LOVE IT

Sep 23, 2018

Yup, the 4.0 and the sub 3.0 are the only ones where you can pretty much know the first one is a virgin and the second one is just stupid/lazy (with very rare exceptions)

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Sep 21, 2018

Dude if there was no grade inflation half of the people at my college would fail lmao

    • 1
    • 1
Sep 20, 2018

For instance, the standards for graduating cum laude from Middlebury are stupidly low (more than half of graduating seniors), while some schools have departments that curve grades such that only 20% of students can get an A in any given class.

Sep 21, 2018

My school doesn't have the curve that you mentioned, everyone can get an A if they meet the numerical criteria outlined in the syllabus. This might be a dumb question but what happens in a class with all smart people? Like, if you're at H/S/W and everyone in your class gets a B or above, is the professor forced to fail people?

Sep 21, 2018

They did this at my school, it sucked. It varied but I think the buckets were 20% A, 30-40% B, 30-40% C, and D and below for the rest.

Sep 21, 2018

Did that ever happen to you? Like did you ever get, say, an F or a C when you deserved a B+ or an A?

Sep 20, 2018
The Real Donnie Azoff:

They did this at my school, it sucked. It varied but I think the buckets were 20% A, 30-40% B, 30-40% C, and D and below for the rest.

So, basically no one got below a C? 20+40+40

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

Idk man this was a long time ago and I'm giving ranges as an illustration. Don't pick the top % for each range, and get off my dick?

    • 1
Sep 20, 2018
The Real Donnie Azoff:

Idk man this was a long time ago and I'm giving ranges as an illustration. Don't pick the top % for each range, and get off my dick?

I'm just saying man. That was the first thing I noticed. I read "it sucked" as you got pushed out of the 'A' bucket. But maybe you're saying that it curved people up into C+, which made your hard work for nothing..?

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

Normally I'm the one to roast people in the comments, but damn dude you came in hot LMAO

    • 1
    • 1
Sep 20, 2018

ok but 20 + 30 + 30 = 80 ... so at grader's discretion, percent of Ds and Fs is in [0, 20], which seems reasonable

All of these comments are sort of silly at this point. I think just about all of us should be able to agree that classes graded on relative performance to other students are less forgiving than those where grades are assigned on absolute performance. I've taken about an equal share of each at two different schools, and in every case, the ones where students are evaluated in relation to their peers lead to worse median and mean grades.

Sep 20, 2018
Henri Poincare:

ok but 20 + 30 + 30 = 80 ... so at grader's discretion, percent of Ds and Fs is in [0, 20], which seems reasonable

All of these comments are sort of silly at this point. I think just about all of us should be able to agree that classes graded on relative performance to other students are less forgiving than those where grades are assigned on absolute performance. I've taken about an equal share of each at two different schools, and in every case, the ones where students are evaluated in relation to their peers lead to worse median and mean grades.

I don't know what any of you are talking about. I was just making a passive observation about donnie's breakdown, didn't know I was walking into another sensitive WSO hotbutton topic.

I really don't give a shit about a school's grading system. I'm not in college anymore and this doesn't directly affect me. Plus, I don't pay attention enough to gaming the system. I would just walk my ass in class and get the highest grade possible and not give a shit about one upping my peers.

That's your psycho lunatic shit the rich kids do.

    • 2
Sep 20, 2018

You seem pretty quick to jump down people's throats for someone making a passive observation and you seem pretty angry for someone who doesn't give a shit...

If you don't care at all, why are you commenting in this forum while you're at work?

Sep 20, 2018

Jump down someone's throat because I asked a question? And no I'm not angry. But can be..

Seriously though, what else am I supposed to while I'm at work? You expect me to actually work? This thread was just an interesting read, mainly because a lot of people were commenting on it, which pushed it to the top.

I have no dog in all of this gaming stuff (or whatever you call this), because I don't care, which is why I don't even know what this argument even means or is all about.

Basically, there's a reason why I came late.

    • 1
Sep 20, 2018
theaccountingmajor:

My school doesn't have the curve that you mentioned, everyone can get an A if they meet the numerical criteria outlined in the syllabus. This might be a dumb question but what happens in a class with all smart people? Like, if you're at H/S/W and everyone in your class gets a B or above, is the professor forced to fail people?

"Grading on the curve" means that they (professors) would transform the passed scale to a new scale. If classes follow a normal curve (In certain instances they absolutely do not), where 40 points is passing, and 100 points is full score, then you stretch a bell curve over that 60 point scale. The class avg. would be 70 points, and the standard deviations would roughly be equivalent to a grade.

Now, let's say that the lowest score someone got was 70 points, highest 100, and everyone else somewhere between?

Then you'd stretch a normal curve over that 30 point scale, and transform the scores accordingly. In this new case, the mean / average would be 85 points, and that'd be a C (A to E passing scale), or B- / C+ (A to D passing scale).

Yes, it would suck. But other times, it can work to your favor - like if a class is brutally hard, and most end up in the lower end. That actually happened to me once...I got around 60 points in a math class, and ended up with a B+, for no other reason that the majority of people scored really low.

The rationale is that when you grade on a curve, you grade relative to the overall class performance, not on a individual basis.

Sep 21, 2018

Hypothetically, what would happen if a university professor gave everyone in his class all A's?

Would his superiors intervene and force he re-assign grades, or if he genuinely believed every student deserved an A, would his academic freedom allow him to do whatever he wants?

Sep 20, 2018

Hypothetically, if some class has a strict "grade on curve" policy, and every student in class got the same amount of points on their test (A), then that would be graded to the average / mean grade. That's just statistics...you take every test score in the class, calculate the mean and var / SD, and map the old scores onto the new grading line. If 100% of students got a perfect 100 on their test, the mean would be 100, and variance zero (thus a zero SD).

But that's one of the downfalls of grading on a curve. Another example would be when you have bimodal distribution of test scores. Half of the class is doing poorly, and distribution around a low score, rest of the class doing well, distributed around a higher score.

What would happen? A mean roughly between the two peaks, but with much fatter / wider grade brackets - due to higher variance / SD.

So, grading on a curve can be problematic, IMO. It seems to be mostly used when there's a tight grade distribution, on either sides of the scale (i.e class is either doing very well, or very poorly - and you want to map the grades into a more relative form - which makes some sense. If you get a 60 points on a crazy difficult test, where 50% of the class has failed, you should get credit for being one of the best students on that test.

Sep 21, 2018

Why do professors make classes so difficult that 50% of kids fail? Why not make the class reasonable do-able in the first place?

Sep 20, 2018

Various reasons - and it depends on the type of class. Is it hard science (STEM), with objective answers? Or a softer science, with very subjective answers - and this grading.

I think it comes down to the following factors:

1) It's the first time a professor has the class, and big variance between course-work and exam problems

2) Few problems with too much weight (i.e 20 questions worth 5% each VS 2 questions worth 50% each)

3) Classes are used to weed out students from major (first year classes). I.e the school has a high acceptance rate, but the weeds out students through difficult classes.

4) Students get to re-take classes a couple of weeks / months later - which gives them more study time. This was a huge factor at my Uni. You could fail on a test, and then have the whole summer or x-mas vacation to read, and you'd re-take the exam right around semester start. The result? People failing left and right, because they wanted to secure an A.

And then there's the classes that are just difficult - nothing more added. 50% fail rate is pretty bad, but it's not unheard of. I took a "Elementary math for economics" class, which was basically AP Math / Calculus BC. It was a class that all Business Administration, Marketing, and Econ majors had to take, and the fail rate was almost 50%. The reason was probably due to a ton of marketing and BA majors never having taken any AP math classes in HS.

    • 1
Sep 23, 2018

Not as Harvard. They inflate the grades up. Wharton and McDonough are the two of the top undergrad business schools with a negative curve, as far as I'm aware

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Sep 20, 2018

hey guys lets sit in a circle and compare GPAs and dick sizes

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

    • 2
Sep 21, 2018

Seriously. My GPA wasn't great and it wasn't in a particularly tough major; and I'm not going to spend a bunch of time making excuses. I just DGAF. Move on

Sep 20, 2018

Nobody is gonna check that shit anyway. Just lie if you want to.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Sep 21, 2018

i have an interview for an internship this week and have to bring my transcript

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

Sep 20, 2018

Well that's not the norm - especially outside of internships. I wasn't asked for proof of GPA in any of my internships and I actually had a good GPA.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Sep 21, 2018
GoldenCinderblock:

hey guys lets sit in a circle and compare GPAs and dick sizes

Damn, I fall short on both parts.....

Sep 23, 2018

GPA first, then dick size. One at a time, in order of importance

Sep 21, 2018

My GPA and dick size are one in the same measure.

Sep 20, 2018

Below 3.0:
Extremely smart student about to drop out because he is the CEO of his hedge fund/business that he started and doesn't give a shit about how he's doing

Sep 20, 2018

Me

Sep 21, 2018

Did you start your own hedge fund?

    • 1
Sep 20, 2018

The 3.9+ GPA students were always the most insecure and "one-up" people that I met at University (non-target). If you were double majoring they would talk about how they aren't double majoring because of this excuse or that. They usually were pretty bad at reading the room and those soft skills. I had a 2.5ish GPA (I can't remember what it was exactly) but I emphasized learning rather than grades. Yeah it made me work in BO for 1.5 years or so before moving to FO, but I busted through with the skills that I learned and cultivated.

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

That's pretty good insight. I just want to ask a question, and I mean this sincerely, not trying to be a d-bag in the slightest, but how did you even get an interview with a 2.5 GPA? Even with networking, doesn't there get to a point where you have to eventually know your subject?

    • 3
Most Helpful
Sep 20, 2018

The fact you have to preface your question with that shows how insecure other people can be. I don't mind you asking that, just as I've never minded talking to people about salaries. The more information, the more people learn.

I've never listed my GPA on my resume and my education is at the bottom. I gave no impression that my grades were that low and my resume is stellar in terms of layout (most people comment that it is visually appealing and that probably played a big part). I'm also not at a top tier bank (WF) so it may be different and impossible to make the jump if you're at JPM/GS/MS. For me, it was more about getting that ONE shot in front of a manager who needs someone RIGHT NOW because someone left and I crushed my chance. Life is so much about seizing opportunities regardless of circumstances.

    • 3
Sep 21, 2018

Yeah dude I didn't want you to think I was being a dick by asking. Thanks for your reply.

    • 1
Funniest
Sep 20, 2018

3.6: never studied once, but got by with good enough grades to justify it

3.2: never cheated.

Sep 20, 2018

Incredibly accurate

Dayman?

Sep 21, 2018
George_Banker:

3.6: never studied once, but got by with good enough grades to justify it

Sounds familiar.

Sep 21, 2018
George_Banker:

3.6: never studied once, but got by with good enough grades to justify it

3.2: never cheated.

Nailed it...I will do a one up just as a point of reference. I got a 3.67 with basically no studying/class attendance with a dual engineering/finance major.

One of my best friends went next level and didn't even bother to turn in engineering homework and got a 2.9. He then worked in Lockheed skunkworks and now runs an entire country for an oil major. Smart people rise to the top regardless of grades, assuming proper motivation.

Classroom work and rote studying never fit my personality. I want to learn by doing.

Sep 20, 2018
TechBanking:
George_Banker:

3.6: never studied once, but got by with good enough grades to justify it

3.2: never cheated.

Nailed it...I will do a one up just as a point of reference. I got a 3.67 with basically no studying/class attendance with a dual engineering/finance major.

One of my best friends went next level and didn't even bother to turn in engineering homework and got a 2.9. He then worked in Lockheed skunkworks and now runs an entire country for an oil major. Smart people rise to the top regardless of grades, assuming proper motivation.

Classroom work and rote studying never fit my personality. I want to learn by doing.

What a contradiction.

First, smart people will rise to the top....second, I don't like something so I do poorly in it lol.

Personally, the 3.5+ kids were copying and cheating off my work, and I had a 3.3.

It's not that you don't like studying, you don't care and would rather be a puckered lipped ass kisser. Those type of people always get by because they say they can do something they don't know with a smile and their parents bred them to be prime brown-nosers.

That's why you get people from pure backgrounds making all of these royally stupid mistakes in leadership today.

/rant

    • 2
Sep 20, 2018

3.3: Best of all worlds

*might have a 3.3

Sep 20, 2018

3.51: Tried to do the very least I could to graduate with a 3.5 or better. Got a little stressful last semester, but worth it

Cultivating mass and wealth since '95

Sep 20, 2018

Honestly, GPA means nothing without context of school and major. Sorry finance and accounting bros, I was an undergrad engineering major at a top undergrad and the engineering material + workload was way tougher than anything I learned in my MBA program.

Based on that I don't see how someone who is fairly intelligent could get below a 3.5 as a finance/economics/accounting major.

Sep 21, 2018

Getting a BS in economics can sometimes basically mean majoring in math (it did at my undergrad)... so I would not categorize econ with fin/ acct. A BA is likely a different story.

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

Second this. At my school the difference between a BS and a BA in Economics was a lot. BS had to take Math courses to the same level as the engineers, some intermediate computer science courses, as well as 2 more econometrics courses. BA just had to do 3 language classes in place of that.

Sep 21, 2018

.

"one for the money two for the better green 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine" - M.F. Doom

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

Don't be sorry, no one cares.

I never said oh, those engineering majors have it tough, I should go do engineering so I have it tough, too! I wasn't interested in it, so I did other things.

There are plenty of reasons people get different ranges of GPAs, mixtures of work ethic, intelligence, focus, blah blah blah. Who cares? What I want to know is your batting average in 10 year-old little league.

This, and other awesome subjects, will be beaten to death on WSO, the Mount Olympus of male insecurity.

Sep 20, 2018

I hit 0.487 and yes, I made the All-Star team.

Sep 21, 2018

my school is pretty tough and classes are curved so only 30% of any class can get As.. so even getting a 3.5 in the easiest majors is still hard

Sep 21, 2018

So if you're in the 70th percentile you would get a top score? I'd say that's the definition of grade inflation.

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

So what happens if you have a class filled with smart people and they all earn 90% + scores on tests?

Sep 21, 2018

They go to College Confidential or WSO and make fun of people with lower-tier schools/easier majors.

Sep 21, 2018
theaccountingmajor:

So what happens if you have a class filled with smart people and they all earn 90% + scores on tests?

The prof should move the curve or make the class harder.

Sep 21, 2018

Does a professor's academic freedom give them the right to assign whatever grades they want? Like what if a professor gives his students all A's?

Sep 21, 2018
theaccountingmajor:

Does a professor's academic freedom give them the right to assign whatever grades they want? Like what if a professor gives his students all A's?

The professor can set the curve wherever they like. In the old days (my days) typically 15% of the class would get A's in engineering (with another 5% getting -A's, which was a 3.3). I had a class once where a -B was sub 40%...no idea about now, but 20 years ago the professor had complete discretion.

Sep 21, 2018

Right, but are professors forced by their higher-ups to have some sort of curve at certain institutions? Or can they literally do whatever they want if they're tenured?

Sep 21, 2018
theaccountingmajor:

Right, but are professors forced by their higher-ups to have some sort of curve at certain institutions? Or can they literally do whatever they want if they're tenured?

No idea about that...and it may have changed since I was in college, long long ago

Sep 21, 2018

Okay so let's say the average is 90% and everyone scores around that high. This never really happens, but for the sake of argument, that means that everyones' grades get curved down, and a 90% literally becomes the new average, a C. Sub-90% is C- or worse, and you'd need to be pretty close to a perfect score to get an A.

I never had this happen that badly but I had an A- curved down to a B+ on a test because everyone did so well on it. Always feels unfair but it is what it is.

There are also obviously times when a really hard test has an average of only like 60%, and then the 60% becomes the new average. This is more common, because classes and tests are usually pretty hard at my school.

Sep 21, 2018

3.48 - I like to party and then bang your girl with my black rim glasses on

    • 1
    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

Personally, I think the correlation between GPA and persona is pretty gray. I knew kids who spent days in the library to break 3.0 while others didn't have to crack a book open for 3.8. It really just measures your ability to study and account for material which for some could take days and for others could take a few hours. It's really just how much time you want to put into some exam as opposed to going out for the fourth night in a row, and this comes from a 3.6 guy. Also, always go out regardless of whether it's the fourth night in a row.

Not too high, not too low

Sep 20, 2018

Its almost like its not what its portrayed to be and GPA is moreso an indication of time management, resource allocation, and discipline.

Sep 21, 2018

jesus
gpa does not matter as much as you think
my goal for college was to get a good enough gpa that i could get in the door (3.5+) with the minimal amount of effort, and i think more ppl should take that approach

your internship experience is what will really take you over the top so spend that time cold emailing and practicing for interviews

if you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

It says I had severe medical issue in penultimate year. My GPA in penultimate year was probs 3 or maybe even below. It didn't help too much that my final year got to above 3.7. Now my GPA is a sad little 3.3. No biggie. Banks still give me interviews.

Sep 20, 2018

A GPA is very important if (and almost only if):

A) You're applying for certain scholarships

B) You're applying for prestigious Universities (grad. school for example)

C) You're applying for grad school in general, though most no-name schools have a hard 3.0 limit

D) You're applying for certain finance or consulting gigs. This is obviously a topic you can write a book about, and depends very much on firm and location. Where I'm from, regioal the banks are extremely fixated on grades, and it's next to impossible to land a job / get passed the gatekeepers without the minimum grades. Other places, it's entirely possible to get through with other relevant experience.

All in all, I'd say that having a good GPA is more important in academics, than in the professional world. At least in the professional world, you have the possibilities to get in via alternative ways. It's exceedingly rare to get on a Ph.D program with shit grades...I've heard about 2.7 GPA candidates which networked their way into IBD programs, I've never, ever heard about 2.7 GPA students that managed to convince multiple professors to vouch for them, AND publish research-level publications, to get passed Ph.D admissions.

    • 2
Sep 21, 2018

I had 4.0 my first year then my side hustle started picking up and I stopped caring about my GPA as I was already making close to 100K while going to school. My business was actually located in a different town from my University and some semesters I didn't even rent a place to stay in my University town, id just crash on a friends couch for midterms and finals week. Id typically start off my semester with -10% as I wouldn't show up for any quizzes.

Got like 3.0s ish for the rest of university and finished with something like 3.1, was still able to break into a FO role.

GPA is only relevant if its the only thing you got going for you.

    • 2
Sep 21, 2018

I smell some bullshit here boys.

Sep 21, 2018

This literally sounds like slangin' drugs.

Sep 21, 2018

What does the title and content of the thread says about OP?

Douchebag.

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

I don't get it - 3.9 means anti-social? Grade inflation is rampant and it's really really not hard getting a 3.8/3.9 if you're majoring in Business. It all comes down to how you manage your time and what classes you choose - don't be that idiot taking Russian literature with a professor who gives out like 5% A's.

To all the freshman/sophomores - Do your fcking research before choosing classes. So many of my friends have shot themselves in the foot by taking ridiculously hard GE's and then ending up with a B after putting in a shit ton of hours.

This doesn't apply if you're going to an ivy or you're in a STEM major, cause it's obviously much harder.

Sep 22, 2018
Brute_5:

I don't get it - 3.9 means anti-social? Grade inflation is rampant and it's really really not hard getting a 3.8/3.9 if you're majoring in Business. It all comes down to how you manage your time and what classes you choose - don't be that idiot taking Russian literature with a professor who gives out like 5% A's.

To all the freshman/sophomores - Do your fcking research before choosing classes. So many of my friends have shot themselves in the foot by taking ridiculously hard GE's and then ending up with a B after putting in a shit ton of hours.

This doesn't apply if you're going to an ivy or you're in a STEM major, cause it's obviously much harder.

@Brute_5" 3.9 doesn't mean anti-social. But a 4.0 falls into three buckets:

a) Asian with no social skills
b) virgin/incel/autistic
c) Black majoring in African American Studies: Professors rubber stamp As as "reparations" or the liberal administration wants to bullshit the public by saying "how dare anyone says affirmative action candidates don't serve to be here. They have higher GPAs than the white and Asian kids."

    • 1
    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

Alright, I think AA is stupid but your third point is just ridiculous...

Sep 22, 2018
Brute_5:

Alright, I think AA is stupid but your third point is just ridiculous...

@Brure5 Oviously you do not go to a target or you would not make a statement like that.

At my target at least this is how things were run and it was obviously ridiculous.

Sep 21, 2018
Sep 21, 2018
Sep 27, 2018