How to deal with a discontinued university degree

Application CV screening Interview MBB
New answer on Aug 21, 2020
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 04, 2019

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.)

(edited)

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 05, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of 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.

Best,

Francesco

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Serhat
Expert
replied on Jun 06, 2019
BCG | Kellogg MBA |82% Success rate| 450+ case interview| 5+ year consulting | 30+ projects in ~10 countries

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.

Cheers
Serhat

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Vlad
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replied on Jun 05, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi!

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

Best

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Anonymous replied on Aug 21, 2020

Dear A,

You can put your obtained degree and that's it. If they ask you at the interview, you can explain.

Best,
André

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Francesco

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