Would good work experience make up for a lower GPA?

Say you had an analyst candidate who worked in PE/IB as an intern (varying between 30 - 60 hours) during 4 of his 8 semesters, but had a lower GPA (around 3.2-3.3). Is this a valid excuse? So if I had a 3.8 before I began to balance work and school and it dropped a lot, but I could talk about wanting to maximize my exposure to the industry, and viewing that as of equal importance, what would your thoughts be?

I am trying to decide if I should solely focus on school or keep working during my final fall semester. I really like working during the school year as it gives me a sense of purpose, but my GPA is taking a pretty big hit. I also think by proving myself during the school year, I will have a much better chance at receiving a FT offer before my off cycle graduation date (this is my ultimate goal). However, if I do not receive the FT offer, I want to be able to effectively lateral. If it matters, I have been interning with my current firm since March and know that as of now I can stay on through the summer. I am getting really good experience and expect to be offered to stay on through my the fall (my final semester). As I expect many of you will mention this, I am doing everything I can to finish with around a 3.5 - 3.6 (doable but it will be challenging). Lastly, I could also overload my schedule during my final quarter to retake a class I did poorly in (I was working 60-70 hours one summer on top of the class, so needless to say it did not go well).

Comments (18)

May 12, 2018

out of curiosity, what type of shop r u at? bb eb mm

May 12, 2018

I got an offer at every BB I applied to junior year with a subpar gpa due to my work exp and personal projects. This was for S&T but doubt it's different for IBD

May 12, 2018

They can potentially offset (particularly for S&T or Capital Markets), but I think it depends on what you mean by target and how you do at networking

May 12, 2018

do the ibanks in the states only care/look at your cumulative? Or do they also look at your individual marks and transcripts before landing the interview/in the interview.

To the OP you have some things going for you such as:
- a hard major
- time consuming extraccuricular
- good work experience
- target status

Supplement this with networking and you should be alright. Although, I'm still in school and with this market going forward I can't say for sure.

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May 12, 2018

Having a good EC and work experience really helped me. I had a pretty low cumulative GPA (3.5) but had boutique banking experience and was president of one of the larger clubs on campus. I would say 3.2 is very much on the lower end but a 3.3-3.4 would still be ok, especially with your major.

As you probably know, you'll need to network in order to get in the "yes" pile for interviews, since GPA is the biggest criteria they use to screen candidates for interviews.

May 12, 2018

I work a 40 plus hours a week (real job) and it pulled my GPA down a bit...never held me back, firms understand....if you have real work exp and a decent gpa and someone else has a high gpa and no work exp...I think you stand out.

Not hard to ace classes when all you have to do is study and party.

May 12, 2018

Is spiral9 correct? Is GPA lower for S&T and/or Capital Markets?

Also, how much does GPA play a role (versus experience) AFTER the interview? For example, a sophomore with 3.0 to 3.2 GPA at rigorous engineering school but with 2 solid internships at a consulting firm and MM ibank?

May 12, 2018

It is unlikely that it will play a role. GPA plays a role in selection of resumes. It also plays a smaller role in the interview process by helping form some pre-conceived notions regarding applicatins when interviewers see your resume.

You should do well in your interview, since you have a lot of relevant experience to speak about. No awk. pauses. Your performance during your interview is the deciding factor after you've been selected to interview.

May 12, 2018

It only helps to a limited extent if you have a lower GPA... the problem is we receive so many resumes, cuts have to be made somehow, and often the easiest way is by GPA.

I would not care if you have a 3.3 and would look at your experience/activities, but others might cut below, say, a 3.5 (I am just making that up, just an arbitrary number).

HOWEVER, if I know the person (e.g. they have networked), I may put them in the "yes" pile anyway even if their GPA isn't great.

Bottom line though: if you have banking experience you will definitely get interviews; if you have some finance experience you will get some interviews. Only way you could get screwed is if you had no experience and a low GPA.

May 12, 2018

OK. Thanks dosk17 and shte!

May 12, 2018

Wow, I wish I knew the answer to this. I probably PMed at some point. I share the same gpa range as you slighty below (2.5 and below). Im still in undergrad, and most likely in a few years I might be at the forum asking the same question and referring back to this same thread.

May 12, 2018

Short answer no, H/S/W are not going to overlook that 2.7 GPA. Your work experience is cookie cutter white/asian male finance professional, there are literally thousands of applicants with your work experience and 3.7+ GPAs. If you have an existential epiphany, quit Wall St. and go start a company giving clothes to orphans in Africa that is the type of experience where they might overlook your GPA. The 3.4 GPA from the Masters will help and with a solid GMAT might give you a shot still at a Top 10 school. Unless you have some dramatic, unique characteristic that you didn't mention already I don't see H/S/W as being realistic.

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May 12, 2018
MilitaryToFinance:

Short answer no, H/S/W are not going to overlook that 2.7 GPA. Your work experience is cookie cutter white/asian male finance professional, there are literally thousands of applicants with your work experience and 3.7+ GPAs. If you have an existential epiphany, quit Wall St. and go start a company giving clothes to orphans in Africa that is the type of experience where they might overlook your GPA. The 3.4 GPA from the Masters will help and with a solid GMAT might give you a shot still at a Top 10 school. Unless you have some dramatic, unique characteristic that you didn't mention already I don't see H/S/W as being realistic.

Totally fair.. If it comes to it I will apply to H/S if I don't get in then I would consider Wharton/Columbia/Chicago.. Otherwise I wouldn't do an MBA

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May 12, 2018

I agree. A 2.7 will be extremely difficult if not impossible to overcome for HSW unless you are a URM. Even with a 770 It would be difficult I think. Probably worth applying though if you could get a 770 just in case. Id focus everything on the GMAT. If you don't score above a 720 its probably 9-20 Mba programs ( most likely 9-15). If you score a 740 or 750+ maybe you could get into a top 9 school ( excluding berkely- they love gpa).

May 12, 2018

Your chances of Stanford are incredibly small. Theres a 6 percent chance of someone getting in there with a 730 GMAT and 3.5 gpa. So for anyone Stanford is extremely tough. Harvard and Wharton theres a better chance because they are bigger.

That's great you are an athlete but athletics don't play as much a part in Grad school admissions unfortunately. ( National champ speaking here)

But the average GMAT for H/S/W and Chicago is a 730 which means you will have to be far above that for them to consider you with your gpa. There are a huge amount of consultants/ IB/PE and so on who apply to these schools.

I think realistically Columbia ED, Kellogg, or Dartmouth is your most realistic option if you do well on the gmat as they have lower gmat scores ( 710-720). But I hope you prove me wrong. Good luck.

BTW, how was the network/recruiting of your msf. Did you enjoy it/ think it was extremely helpful?

May 12, 2018
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