So so grades and future employment prospects
April 25, 2013 12:19 PM Subscribe
I'm about to finish a master's program and my grades are less than stellar. How big of an effect might this have on my employment prospects going forward, and what are some strategies to deal with this?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total)
I'm a couple months away from finishing a masters in international relations, and my grades are not what I'd hoped they would be coming out of the program. There's a pretty easy explanation for this, but it's not one that I can tell any prospective employer. Specifically, after my first term, my girlfriend of a couple years left me and I didn't handle it well. I went into a deep depression and for several months had trouble even getting out of bed, much less performing well in a rigorous masters program. For the next couple terms my grades suffered.
The good news is that this got me to see a counselor for the first time in my life, and I was able to eventually treat my depression and work on some other issues I didn't even realize I'd been dealing with for a long time.
The bad news is that when I graduate, my GPA will be about 3.3. Prior to the breakup and after I'd finished counseling, it's about a 3.6, but in between it's a fair bit lower.
Obviously, this is not something I can tell a prospective employer.
Given all of this, I'd like to know:
1. What industries are most likely to look at my grades when I apply? When I started this program I'd thought I would apply to some of the big strategy consulting firms when I'd finished, but I think this is probably off the table now. IR degrees are generalist degrees so there are probably still a lot of different directions I can pursue, but other than business strategy I'm most interested in economic policy analysis and emerging markets risk assessment. Any idea how closely companies/agencies in these industries focus on grades? I feel like a lot of industries look for someone with at least a 3.5 GPA, but I'm not sure if this actually true or not.
2. For industries that do place a premium on grades, are there any strategies to compensate for having average ones? If I get asked in an interview why my grades aren't very good, what are some good ways to answer this question? I have done some interesting research and produced some good papers, and I feel like I'm best off focusing on that if possible, as I don't have a ton of good work experience prior to entering this program.
I realize these might not be easy questions to answer, but if you have any suggestions about any of what I've asked here I would greatly appreciate it.