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Thread: Bad GPA

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
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    Bad GPA

    Can one get a job as an actuary with a low GPA (e.g. 2.6) assuming that he has passed 2 exams and knows SAS? Or is it very unlikely?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tronter32 View Post
    Can one get a job as an actuary with a low GPA (e.g. 2.6) assuming that he has passed 2 exams and knows SAS? Or is it very unlikely?
    You are competing against people who most likely have more than 2 exams and a higher GPA. Is it impossible? No. Is it likely? Same answer.

    Do you have a good story as to why your GPA is so low?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoMoreExams View Post
    You are competing against people who most likely have more than 2 exams and a higher GPA. Is it impossible? No. Is it likely? Same answer.

    Do you have a good story as to why your GPA is so low?
    Yes I do. A medical condition.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tronter32 View Post
    Yes I do. A medical condition.
    You have to look at this from an employer's perspective. If the reason for your low GPA is a medical condition, how will that impact your work. Will you be able to meet hard deadlines for example?

  5. #5
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    It is possible, but you are at a significant disadvantage. You have to compensate for your shortcomings. Passing P and FM is a great start, but it really isn't aggressive enough to counteract your GPA. Do something other candidates can't or won't do. Be hungry - have a maniacal appetite to get in, and walls will begin to fall.

    I had your GPA and followed my own advice combined with a healthy dose of blessing and help from others. And I've heard of truly successful actuaries who had even lower GPAs. But if you're asked, you can't answer in a way that indicates it would happen again. You have to communicate that you are responsible, have changed your approach, and you have to be able to prove it. Good luck.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tronter32 View Post
    Can one get a job as an actuary with a low GPA (e.g. 2.6) assuming that he has passed 2 exams and knows SAS? Or is it very unlikely?
    It really does vary tronter. Some companies are very strict about it, others not so much. The bottom line is exams. Once you get the job though and pass exams and get experience, who cares about your gpa, its just getting that entry level position that is difficult. My grandpa use to be a hiring manager for a government IT company and he said ironically the candidates with the lowest gpa's performed the best on the job. NoMoreExams is absolutely right, there is a lot of competition, but naturally that will always be the case for any good job you know. Finally I might add that you dont need to right off the back jump into an analyst position, getting experience in a different finance career then being an analyst or doing another degree in IT and then going to be an actuary is always an option as well.

  7. #7
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    I am almost in the same boat.

    My GPA upon graduation was approximately 2.95. My undergraduate degree was in Mechanical Engineering.

    In my case, my first 2 years of college were completed with a very low GPA, somewhere just above a 2.0. I started lazy (neither of my parents were college graduates and none of my siblings went to college. I know, not an excuse, but I just didn't care about doing well in the GE classes at the time...something I wish I could go be in time and do-over). When I started taking the Engineering classes, however, I did well.

    So, I guess, I am asking for opinions of people who have ever had to interview or employ someone.

    Would my low GPA not matter as much because I admit that I was lazy when I started college (low overall GPA), but after taking classes applicable towards my major, I started to get serious and study hard (while also getting a job) and end up with a GPA for the last 2 years of college at a 3.5?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    I am almost in the same boat.

    My GPA upon graduation was approximately 2.95. My undergraduate degree was in Mechanical Engineering.

    In my case, my first 2 years of college were completed with a very low GPA, somewhere just above a 2.0. I started lazy (neither of my parents were college graduates and none of my siblings went to college. I know, not an excuse, but I just didn't care about doing well in the GE classes at the time...something I wish I could go be in time and do-over). When I started taking the Engineering classes, however, I did well.

    So, I guess, I am asking for opinions of people who have ever had to interview or employ someone.

    Would my low GPA not matter as much because I admit that I was lazy when I started college (low overall GPA), but after taking classes applicable towards my major, I started to get serious and study hard (while also getting a job) and end up with a GPA for the last 2 years of college at a 3.5?
    Uh...dude......2.95 in Mechanical Engineering is great. If you had said, I have a 2.95 in speech communication...then I would say you may have a problem. No offense to speech communication majors. Also getting a 3.5 your last 2 years of college is awesome. A well respected actuary came to our club and gave great advice about all that GPA jazz. One of his family members graduated with a "low" gpa in a technical field and made a great living. Just keep up the good work and keep pushing showing you want that job. Employers respect people who show interest. If someone throws your resume away because you have a 2.95 in Mechanical Engineering why work for them anyway?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by theironhorse View Post
    Uh...dude......2.95 in Mechanical Engineering is great. If you had said, I have a 2.95 in speech communication...then I would say you may have a problem. No offense to speech communication majors. Also getting a 3.5 your last 2 years of college is awesome. A well respected actuary came to our club and gave great advice about all that GPA jazz. One of his family members graduated with a "low" gpa in a technical field and made a great living. Just keep up the good work and keep pushing showing you want that job. Employers respect people who show interest. If someone throws your resume away because you have a 2.95 in Mechanical Engineering why work for them anyway?
    Here, I'll play devil's advocate.

    Why? Because it shows that

    1) You weren't smart enough to do better

    2) You were too lazy to care

    Top companies want people that are really smart and really hard working (I know it's weird) so those companies are more stringent about GPA requirements. I know some companies will throw your resume away if your GPA is below 3.50. Now you can argue that engineering is hard and yeah we get that but let's say your peer from your major comes in with a 3.6 GPA and all else being equal. Who do you think we'd give the first interview to?

    Now these are blanket statements but you started it (with your statement as to why would you want to work for those companies)

  10. #10
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    I'm not really working in the actuarial field yet (I'm a trainee right now) but here is what I've found out.
    I have a good GPA, not outstanding, but that's not what got me the interviews... You can make up for a lesser GPA, if you have something outstanding beside, or if you show that your lower GPA was caused by something which required your time and prevented you from studying in good conditions.
    Though being sick is a very good reason, you don't put "2008 - 2009 : Sick" on your resume, so it won't help you get an interview, but once on an interview, you can use it to justify your lower GPA.
    Holding a part-time job to support yourself usually looks great : it shows you're responsible, hard-working, and not completly stupid since you pushed through anyway. Besides, once you land on a real job, you won't need to part-time anymore so there will be nothing to hold you back.
    I guess other achievements count as well, but be ready to explain why your priorities weren't right at the time...

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