GPAs for CPAs: What are Optimal Grade Point Averages?
In today’s post, Lewis Daidone talks about whether or not grade point averages are truly important when applying for accounting positions. Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant for tech companies and financial services firms.
The short answer is: 4.0 is the optimal grade point average. Sorry!
However, don’t think you can sail on the wave of an excellent GPA alone and expect to land the plum jobs. You have to supplement your excellent academic record with other value-adding achievements too.
Having a high GPA is definitely a plus—it establishes your dedication to your coursework and your in-depth understanding of diverse accounting fundamentals. Nevertheless, there is no magic number that will absolutely guarantee you a position at a prestigious company. There are innumerable other qualities that are extremely valuable to prospective employers. If you fear that your GPA isn’t that impressive, or that your grades alone might not be enough to distinguish you from other candidates, here are a few things you can do that will help you make an excellent impression.
Make your GPA stronger
Easier said than done, but if your GPA isn’t where it needs to be, make a special effort to raise it. Choose your course load strategically—make sure your class levels are appropriate, and that some of them satisfy an inherent interest so that performing well comes easily. Participate in class. Take advantage of any extra-credit opportunities your professor provides. Develop a relationship with your instructors.
Have both Scholarship and Fellowship
What are your greatest strengths as a job applicant? Naturally, you have to demonstrate your profound understanding of accountancy, but what else can you bring to the table? The student who has a near perfect or even perfect GPA but who struggles with building professional relationships might not add real value to certain firms. However, an applicant with a successful track record of taking on difficult roles and inspiring confidence in others could be quite attractive. Make sure you make an effort to demonstrate your people-skills and facility with networking. On your resume, Provide examples on your resume of situtations where you stepped up and tackled challenging interpersonal situations, or proved your strong leadership ability.
Develop a Diverse Skillset
Having the kind of attitude, intellectual curiosity, and enthusiasm that a CPA firm values are highly impressive attributes. Enrich your resume with meaningful work experience, extracurricular activities, and—eventually—a CPA credential, and you’ll be a fine prospect for any organization.
Lewis Daidone is a consultant specializing in investment management. Follow him on Twitter for more info.