How to deal with a discontinued university degree

Anonymous A asked on Jun 04, 2019 - 3 answers

Following situation:

I dropped out of my bachelor studies (Business administration) in year 1, mainly due to health issues so I was not able to take the exams but frankly I also disliked the university and wasn't too passionate about it so I decided the leave. Because my graduation would have been delayed anyways (and also my lack of passion), I decided to start a new degree at another university abroad.

I actually changed to a way more prestigious university abroad and studied PPE, grades are also fine.

My question is how do I deal with this situation in my CV, (my cover letter if at all), and ultimately in the interview?

Obviously it looks like failure and MBBs aren't the best in turning a blind eye (and it actually is failure to a certain extent) but I think I at least managed the turnaround and ended up at a much better university and I even moved abroad in young age and gathered international experience in classroom of 60+ nationalities.

(Actually I feel quite comfortable dealing with critical questions about this in the interviews (still appreciate your advice!) but I think it is especially a major red flag on the CV. I would prefer to leave it out but i took a gap year before (work+round the world travel) so I would have a gap of two years.)


Just give the years for when you studied at your 2nd university and what was the degree you got. No one cares what happened to you when you were 17. If they ask what you did in a specific year, you can answer, otherwise, MBB is not looking to learn everything that didn't work out for you. — Anonymous B on Jun 04, 2019

In my opinion, ideally in your CV you'd have so many accomplishments to highlight that this year & this story can be left out. — Anonymous C on Jun 04, 2019

3 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Anonymous replied on Jun 06, 2019

Hi there,

You do not need to mention this specifically on your CV and increase the focus on a point which has no additional value for you. In case they ask, you have great reasoning for it and you can explain.


Francesco replied on Jun 05, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (2.400+) | 1.100+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 6 Years Coaching Experience
Book a coaching with Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

2,416 Meetings

2,581 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

since the missing year is the initial one in your university career, you may simply leave it out. In case they ask in the interview why there was a gap, you can then explain it – since there was a health issue, it is totally understandable you “lost” one year. It would be too cumbersome to explain it in a convincing way in your CV and Cover without sounding defensive.



Vlad replied on Jun 05, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
Book a coaching with Vlad

98% Recommendation Rate

350 Meetings

4,994 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching


If it's just a year, why do you even need to put it in your CV? Noone will be looking at years while checking your CV, so put the new degree and the actual dates