Get Active in Our Amazing Community of Over 458,000 Peers!

Schedule mock interviews on the Meeting Board, join the latest community discussions in our Consulting Q&A and find like-minded Case Partners to connect and practice with!

Importance of High School grades

high school grades paper screen
New answer on Sep 06, 2022
4 Answers
4.9 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Sep 21, 2016

Hi, I´ll graduate with presumably very good grades from a target school (St. Gallen) next summer and I´m interested in starting a career in consulting afterwards. However, I was quite lazy in High School and only achivied under-average grades. Will this be a problem at the paper screen? All other aspects should fit (1 year voluntary service in 3rd world country, semester abroad, leadership position at a student organizaton).

Overview of answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Anonymous replied on Sep 21, 2016

Hi Anonymous,

I guess the answer is: It depends.

I have once heard that McKinsey has this rule that the sum of Abitur, Vordiplom and Diplom (you're German, you understand) should not exceed 5. So in that case, you'd be screwed.

But I believe this is an urban myth. Maybe some of the McK alums here can confirm. I am sure that most firms will ignore bad highschool grades if everything else checks out nicely. At least all that I have worked for or with.

It would also be stupid not to do so. Because why would you not at least look at a very promising candidate just because some grade from half a decade ago were mediocre.

But you can expect some questions on that during your interview, particulalry if your grades were poor in Maths or Physics. I had a question during the final partner interview (the partner in question was ex-McKinsey): "Im Grundkurs in Mathe nur 12 Punkte? Was ist denn da schief gegangen?"

I guess the question was more intended to throw me off balance and see whether I shared his sense of humor, but as a kid in your early twenties, when your job is on the line, a question like that might suffice...



Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on Sep 21, 2016

Yep, may be an issue unfortunately. I have heard that for example McK takes a close look at high school grades, especially math.

However, beyond thinking about how prominently (or not) you put it into the application, there is not much you can do about it. So I would not worry about it too much at this point.

It would help to make contact with firms at recruiting events or workshops they organize rather than applying directly for a job.

Finally, once you're invited to interviews, I doubt it will matter anymore. If someone asks, the "I was a bit lazy in school and it somehow worked"-story should be sufficient. You can actually use it to demonstrate "personal development" or "acting on feedback" in the personal fit part ;)

All the best for your applications!

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous B replied on Sep 06, 2022

High school grades are very important for students to get college admission on a merit base. Students need to write my assignment uk to apply for college and their grades are counted for their annual results in high school.

Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on Sep 30, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on Sep 26, 2020

Dear A!

Of course, it is always nice if you're a top 3 or 5 student at the university. But if not, it's not that bad and does not play any role during your application process. Then your first priority would be to have different achievements, internships, etc.

If you need any help with polishing your documents like a CV or cover letter, just DM me, I have some useful materials or you!



Was this answer helpful?
Emily on May 13, 2023

It's not only important for high school grades but for all grades, students need to score the highest grades and from that now they have to participate in every academic activity plus submit all their assignments on time.

How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or fellow student?
0 = Not likely
10 = Very likely
You are a true consultant! Thank you for consulting us on how to make PrepLounge even better!