BCG GPA Cutoff - What Is It + What to Do if Your GPA Is Low

The BCG GPA cutoff - how to tackle it
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Jo Randall

Former McKinsey and Bain recruiter

BCG, McKinsey, and Bain say they don’t have a strict GPA cutoff, but they do typically consider anything from 3.6 up as a strong GPA. Recruiters spend a bit more time considering the resumes of candidates with strong GPAs for the “yes” pile. 

If you’re worried your GPA is low for firms like BCG, Bain, and McKinsey, there are things you can do to increase your shot at getting an interview and ultimately landing an offer. We’ll tell you what they are.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • Why do firms like BCG, Bain, and McKinsey look at GPAs?
  • What is the GPA requirement for BCG, Bain, and McKinsey?
  • How much does your GPA matter?
  • What can you do to improve your odds if your GPA is low?

Let’s get started!

Why Do BCG, Bain, & McKinsey look at GPAs?

Recruiters review thousands of resumes. They have only seconds to spend on each, so they have to use strategically crafted screening criteria to help them assess their quality.

These criteria enable them to distinguish the stronger applicants from the weaker ones as quickly as possible.

Although recruiters will be looking at many qualities, your academic performance will feature quite high on their list, particularly if you’re applying as a current student.

A high GPA provides consulting firms with some reassurance that you are competent in some of the basic skills required for being a consultant, and that, overall, you’re an academic achiever. 

This level of academic success also helps them to assess whether you have the drive and resilience to succeed as a consultant.

Although a strong GPA isn’t a direct reflection of your capabilities as a consultant, it’s one of the few criteria recruiters can use to determine your fit when you’re applying as a student with little business experience to bring to the table. 

A higher GPA will therefore motivate them to keep reading and dig a little deeper into your resume.

Having a lower GPA doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t have a chance of getting into McKinsey, Bain, or BCG, but it certainly helps if you don’t have this to worry about.

What Is the GPA Cutoff for BCG, Bain, and McKinsey?

McKinsey, Bain, and BCG don’t have a strict GPA cutoff, but they do typically consider anything from 3.6 up as a strong GPA. However, it’s not quite that simple.

For instance, you may have a 3.4 GPA but have top scores on your SAT or GRE, so all of these academic results will be reviewed. 

Other things that will be taken into account include where you studied and your field of study. Receiving a lower GPA in a “‘tough” subject at a highly-competitive college may be assessed at the same level as a higher GPA in an “easier” subject at a more accessible college. The varying average GPA across colleges and between subjects will also be considered as part of the screening criteria.


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How Much Does Your GPA Matter?

It would be disingenuous to say that your GPA doesn’t matter to top consulting firms, but it’s not as crucial that you receive a 3.8 in engineering from MIT as you might think.

Recruiters will also look at your internships and work experience, as well as your other academic and extra-curricular achievements. It’s worth highlighting those on your resume to ensure every element is as strong as possible, particularly if your GPA is under 3.6 as you need to demonstrate your success in these other areas.

It’s worth noting that there are plenty of applicants with a GPA of 3.8 and above who still don’t get interviews with McKinsey, Bain, and BCG, perhaps because they haven’t been able to show that they have anything to offer beyond their high GPA.

If your GPA is “low,” and you don’t have extenuating circumstances or strengths to demonstrate in other areas, it will be tough to land MBB interviews as they’re the most competitive consulting firms in the world. Other consulting firms, however, may still be an option as their screening criteria are typically a little less demanding.

Other circumstances which can reduce the impact of a low GPA:

  • Work Experience: Applying with a few years of impressive work experience can show your value through what you’ve brought to the roles you’ve held and the companies you’ve worked for.
  • A Higher Degree: If your undergrad GPA wasn’t strong, but you reapply to consulting firms while studying for an MBA at a target business school, recruiters will put less weight on your undergrad grades.
  • High Standardized Test Scores: Strong SAT or GMAT scores, which are other useful measures of your intellectual capabilities, can help convince MBB recruiters of your potential to be a consultant.

Your GPA, if you’re applying as an MBA student or experienced professional, simply appears further down the list of priorities in MBB’s screening criteria.

How Can you Improve Your Odds if Your GPA is Low?

If you’re worried that your GPA won’t be strong enough, there are a few things you can do to improve your odds of getting an interview with McKinsey, Bain, and BCG, as well as other consulting firms.

BCG GPA Cutoff - 5 Steps to Address a low GPA


  1. If it’s not too late, aim to improve your GPA. If you’ve been rejected for consulting internships and want to give full-time hiring a go but you know the problem was your low GPA, invest the time and effort in the coming months to increase your GPA score by taking extra classes you feel you can do well in.
  2. Gain additional relevant skills. If you have time to take on an internship, a part-time job, or a voluntary role to develop further skills, this can be a great way of drawing attention away from a low GPA, as you’ll be able to show your value and impact in other ways. This position should be a substantial project with the opportunity for you to demonstrate leadership, not an empty resume filler.
  3. Present your GPA score strategically. If your GPA in your major is stronger than your overall GPA, you may wish to list that one on your resume as well. If you had a tough freshman year but your GPA has trended up, note that. Also, if your GPA is 3.26, round it up to 3.3, which is perfectly acceptable and could make a real difference. (Note: don’t round up by more than to the nearest 0.1.)
  4. Explain why your GPA is low. You may have extenuating circumstances for your GPA being low, which you can address in your Consulting Cover Letter. For instance, if poor health meant you had to take extended time away from your studies, this is a compelling reason for having a low GPA. You need to show that your GPA isn’t a reflection of your capabilities and potential to be a consultant. And the more impactful your cover letter, the less likely a low GPA will matter. There’s no need to do this unless you’re currently a student or a recent graduate.
  5. Get a referral. If a friend or someone you’ve met through effective networking is happy to refer you, this can be a great way of strengthening your application. At this point, you’ll have someone pitching your achievements and fit on your behalf. Recruiters are more likely to pass your resume through to the next round if you have an internal cheerleader. Read our article on Consulting Networking for tips.

Pro Tip! Whatever your reason for a low GPA, don’t exclude it from your resume as the recruiter will just assume your GPA is low, which could affect your chances of landing an interview. It’s better to address it directly by boosting other parts of your resume and/or explaining the reasons. Most consulting firms ask for transcripts when you apply anyway, so there’s no hiding from it and you definitely shouldn’t lie about what it is!

Whether you have a strong GPA or not, having a resume that stands out for all the right reasons is crucial. We have some great tips in this article on Consulting Resumes on how you can show recruiters that you have what it takes to be a consultant.

We also have many former clients who got offers from McKinsey, Bain, and BCG with a low GPA or from a non-target school and used our resources to improve their chances:

BCG Offer: Attended a Non-Target School + Had a Low GPA

McKinsey Offer: Had a Low GPA Due to a Chronic Medical Condition

Bain Offer: Had a Low GPA

McKinsey Offer: Attended a Non-Target School

Another Approach: Broaden the Consulting Firms You Apply To

If you think that the MBB consulting firms are not in the cards for you due to a low GPA, consider broadening out your search to Boutique Consulting Firms and Big 4 Consulting Firms.

– – – – –

In this article, we’ve covered:

  • Why the GPA is part of McKinsey, Bain, and BCG’s screening criteria.
  • What McKinsey, Bain, and BCG consider to be a strong GPA.
  • Does having a low GPA actually matter?
  • What you can do to improve your chances of getting an interview with a low GPA?

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about the consulting GPA cutoff, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s recruiters will answer them.

Other people wondering about the BCG GPA cutoff also found the following pages helpful:

Help with Your Consulting Application

Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for advice on overcoming a low GPA when applying to consulting firms. My Consulting Offer has helped almost 89.6% of the people we’ve worked with to get a job in management consulting.


Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 89.6% of our clients pass the case interview.

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