Management Consulting Resume McKinsey GPA Cut-off

Do McKinsey, Bain, and BCG have

No they don’t have a particular benchmark for GPA. It is not like “Never hire below 3.6”. GPA is just one of the many important factors screeners use to evaluate. There are many passing cases with low GPA. 

But… yes there is definitely a “soft bar” for GPA. Everybody knows GPA is not everything, but it’s a “cost effective” way to quickly evaluate a candidate. Each of these firms receive 500,000+ resumes each year and they need to streamline, even in screening resumes. After all, GPA does a decent job of reflecting one’s consistency, resilience, and hard-working nature, all good traits to be a consultant.


What is the cut-off GPA? How does that “soft” bar look like?

It looks like a spectrum, ever going from low to high with increasing odds the higher you get.


Below 3.0 3.0 to 3.33.3 to 3.6Above 3.6
Critical condition. Very low chance of passing to the next rounds. Mild symptoms. Low chance of passing to the next rounds.Stable condition. Medium chance of passing to the next rounds.Healthy status. Good impression generated.
Est. passing chance*: <1%Est. passing chance*: <5% Est. passing chance*: <10%Est. passing chance*: >10%
Good news: I have helped 3 candidates pass the resume round with a sub-3.0 GPA before. Keep reading!This GPA range is still considered as “low” in screeners’ eyes. Keep reading!In this range, typically your GPA neither helps or hurts you. Keep reading anyway!This GPA range is considered good and it does help you. No need to waste time reading below this.

* Regardless of GPA, on average less than 10% of resumes get passed to next rounds

Go see how you can perfect each and every bullet!

How to improve your consulting resume with a low GPA?

So you have a problem with GPA I assume? What are the solutions? How to convince the recruiters about your fit? Here are some methods:


Direct screeners’ attention to other parts of your resume

How do we do that? By using other distractors for lazy eyes:

  • Big Brand Names
  • High standardize scores
  • Awards, medals, etc.
  • More numbers, and more numbers. Impressive ones!

The idea is to make the GPA less recognizable. Marketing people say that one bad comment on social media requires 4 positive ones to balance out. Similarly, if the GPA is a bad number, you need 4 good ones. Think hard here, trace it all the way back to your high school time if necessary. Anything easy-to-read positivity will do!

It is best to have these numbers right within the Education section because they act as a defensive fortress surrounding your bad GPA. But it also helps to have good numbers in your outer perimeter defense too. Fill your resume with good numbers from top to bottom.


Alter wordings to make the GPA appear in its best

In many countries with different grading systems, converting scores to the grade-point average system (GPA) always make the grade seem worse. For example, an average grade of 8.0 in Vietnam is considered very very good. But in GPA, it’s only around 3.0. Not impressive at all.

In these situations, I even recommend just using the original grading system in the particular country and adding a side note on how it stacks up against peers.


Networking with employees from inside the firms

Networking can help elevate your resume to the top of the pile when the firm is deciding who does and who doesn’t get interviews.


Who do you should network with?
Anyone in the office willing to recommend you! He or she can be any consultant, regardless of the level. Typically, your school’s alumni are great for this.

Networking is especially effective with McKinsey since they have the PST. They will basically be willing to pass any recommended resume to the PST round. It’s relatively cheap to organize a PST compared to an interview.



Excel the hell of every other aspect!

Afterall, GPA is just the first thing the screener looks at, definitely not the last. The overall strategy here is to apply the above tips just enough to convince the screener to keep on reading. And from here, you burst it wide open with amazing bullets filled with difficult challenges and amazing achievements. Great bullets after great bullets. The screener’s eyes get glued into your compelling writing and totally forget about the GPA thing. No better place to learn that than the Consulting Resume A-Z article.

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