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Just graduated from Ivy league with a 3.4 overall. Am now doing MPhil at Oxbridge. How do I get past GPA?

Recent activity on Jul 16, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 10, 2019

I recently graduated with a 3.4 overall GPA from Harvard (3.8 in minor). Am now doing a MPhil at Oxbridge (studying my minor). My leadership, extracurricars, awards etc are all above average. What are my chances at a MBB? and how do I get past the initial screening based on GPA? I will be attending on campus recruiting. Anything else?

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replied on Sep 11, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

a 3.4 GPA is below average for MBB, but the Harvard name will partially compensate for it. I would recommend the following to increase your chances:

  1. Push as much as possible to have a strong initial GPA for your master, so that you can show improvements in your academic performance (this assumes you will apply after your first master exams)
  2. Find a referral to sustain your application. You can find more on referrals here:

Hope this helps,


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updated an answer on Sep 10, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It depends on the office, recruiting cycle, etc.

The best way to hedge your risks is to get a referral

There are certain criteria for the referral:

  1. The consultant makes you a reference in the system and uploads your resume. Usually, he has to indicate why he thinks you are a good candidate
  2. You skip some steps in the recruiting process (CV screening at McK, Test at Bain)
  3. The consultant gets referral bonus ($) if you get a job offer

As you can see simply mentioning a person in your CL does not change the process at all.

The conversion to reference will be higher among consultant / manager level people who are still interested in the referral bonus. The basic idea is to ask these people for a mock interview.

Here are some tips on how you can do that:

1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference.

2) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Find the social network groups related to consulting or websites, subscribe to newsletters and stay tuned. Also, check if they have events in your University since you are a PHD.

While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.

3) Talk to people on the events and send Thank You notes. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. Ask for contact info or send a thank you note after the event ("I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University... It was especially interesting to hear about... Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.). Alternatively, you may use linkedin for that. If you are an experienced hire I strongly suggest to ask for a 1 on 1 meeting in a thank you note.

4) 1 on 1 meetings. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it

5) Mock interview Depending on where you are in your prep process you may ask a consultant for a mock interview. Consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time

6) Talking to partners If you are an experienced hire I suggest to talk directly to the partners in your industry or the partner responsible for experienced hires (in consulting partners also have additional roles). Get an intro from the HR or from your friends working there. Partners care a lot about experienced hires with relevant industry expertise. Chances to get referral are much lower though. They also will not be interested in giving mock interviews.

7) If you are an MBA graduate Just talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.

Good luck!


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Anonymous replied on Jul 16, 2020

Dear A,

To be honest, your GPA is not competitive enough, but agree with Francessco that Harvard name will make its job.

What you can do here is to apply with referrals. This will help you to avoid CV screening and increase your chances for being invited for the interview.

If you need any help with this of advice, feel free to reach out.



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Francesco gave the best answer


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