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2.2 in degree - should I lie?

 
#1 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
02/11/2008 03:58

spexii

Hi,

I've graduated from Cambridge with a masters and batchelors degree in science (4 year course at the end of which I got two degrees, so no clear separation between the two degrees). I have excellent A level results (AAAA and AB at AS level) and GCSE results (all A*s) plus few years' work experience and plenty of extra curricular activities but got a 2.2 in my final year of degree.

I know I am up to the job and am motivated enough to do well. The question is, will I be rejected straight off by all first and second tier consultancy companies if I admit to having a 2.2 or would all my other strengths make up for it? If I lie and claim to have a 2.1, will they check?

Such a frustrating position to be in and need help to make this tough choice as I only get one chance.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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#2 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
02/11/2008 10:09

TVBOY to spexii (#1)

wont it be fairly easy for any potential employer to check yuor academic credentials with the Univ?

Laying abt previous experience may be easier but i am not sure about hard facts like a degree.

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#3 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
02/11/2008 10:20

ummm no to TVBOY (#2)

so you have 2 degrees, one bachelors and one masters; 2.2 is not a masters classification, what did you get for your masters?

and no don't lie. most employers do a check now on your academics, and you will be found out. whats more by the time they do find this out, it will after making you an offer which will be rescinded. If you must lie, lie about some extenuating circs that resulted in the poor classification and use the fact that your previsous academic record indicates that you without the 'extenuating circs' you were capable of more. of course i am also assuming that year year 1 and 2 results could be used to support this.

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#4 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
02/11/2008 10:37

anon to spexii (#1)

I did a very similar thing about 10 years ago and got away with it. I had an undergrad MSc and told HR that is was a pass / fail. Actually it was graded and not favourably for me. Note that most companies want to see your degree cert, and probably photocopy it. The HR dept did for mine but they obviously never read it....!

There is a high element of risk in this and you will worry about being found out. I wouldn't recommend doing it. But it has been seen to work.

As for companies checking with Unis about degree results - I think they would only do it if they suspected something fishy, or didn't have a copy of the degree certificate.

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#5 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
02/11/2008 11:17

Lie Lie Lie to anon (#4)

Lie. Why not. If you don't lie you don't get a shot. If you do lie you get a shot. Yes you might get found out but surely better to at least get a shot.

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#6 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
02/11/2008 12:36

ZB to spexii (#1)

"Will I be rejected straight off by all first and second tier consultancy companies if I admit to having a 2.2?"

No a 2:2 won't rule you out, many firms will still consider your applications, but it definitely will be more difficult since there are so many candidates with a very similar academic background, but with a 2:1 or 1st in their degree. You will need to make a compelling case from your other achievements.

"If I lie and claim to have a 2.1, will they check?"

Yes, without doubt.

"I only get one chance"

I disagree - there are many ways to get into consulting. For example, most MBB partners did not enter the firm or the profession as graduates. If you are prepared to work hard, you can demonstrate your abilities in other ways than undergraduate study.

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#7 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
02/11/2008 12:45

Avoid a guilt complex to spexii (#1)

The only thing you get one chance at is a clean criminal record. Good luck with whatever you do, but don't lie about your qualifications. The act itself may seem minor now, but the fraud involved in effectively committing the lie is very serious and will haunt you for the rest of your life.

No matter how hard they subsequently work, liars never feel they truly achieved anything because they are always aware that the whole thing is constructed on false foundations.

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#8 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
02/11/2008 14:43

Anon to Avoid a guilt complex (#7)

Ditto previous comments. It's an unfortunate situation to be in, but, nonetheless, you're in it and lying is not the way out of it. As per the previous comments, it's unclear as to the degrees you refer to - do have a BSc + MSc or a 4 year course which results in an undergraduate masters? If it's the former and you got a 2.1 in your BSc then you have no issues; if it's the latter, well, the best way forward is to approach smaller firms and get in via that route. There are still lots of opportunities but you'll just have to look a bit harder to find them...

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#9 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
02/11/2008 15:03

spexii to Anon (#8)

Thank you all for your speedy and considered responses.

It's a 4 year course which results in an undergraduate masters, as I said, no clear separation between the degrees and all years were graded, with my final year grade a 2.2.

I think I have two degree certificates and neither actually have a grade on them, but if they asked for my transcript, they would see straight away. Having said that, if they are going to check transcripts, why don't they ask for transcripts as part of the initial application? Or perhaps they check via your academic reference.

I am not keen to lie, I would much prefer to get a job on my own merits and would be constantly worried that they would find out (and I hadn't even considered the criminal record), but someone gave me that advice and I wanted to see what others thought. Also, I want to know whether I'm wasting my time applying at all if I tell the truth.

The reason I say that I only get one chance is that if I apply and fail because of a 2.2, won't that be kept on a permanent record and keep me off the consideration list for future applications even if I take steps to improve my record (eg second masters and get a better grade, work for a bit longer and do an MBA)?

So if I think I need to take those extra steps, I would be better off not applying now but waiting a while - or do you think companies would give you a second chance if you had taken significant steps to improve your situation since the last application?

Thanks again for your responses.

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#10 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
02/11/2008 16:40

Thingy to spexii (#9)

Companies DEFINITELY give you a second chance if you have taken significant steps to improve your situation since the last application.

A lot of people who get the jobs do so on second (or third) attempt - they use the experience and feedback from prior applications to improve technique.

Previous applications are only an issue if they're from within the last 12 months. By the time you get to an MBA, it will be a complete non-issue.

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#11 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
03/11/2008 10:46

Anon to Thingy (#10)

Your real problem is that not all degrees are alike. Whereas employers request a generic 2:1 or above, we all know that some 2:1's are somewhat more difficult to obtain than others. Your A-level and GCSE results demonstrate that you are an intellectual heavyweight. Stuff happens at university - you're in a higher league and grades are allocated somewhat artibrarily anyway (does anybody REALLY understand the alpha beta gamma plus minus alpha gamma marking system?). What we need now is a way to get you around the 'tick in the box' issue of the 2:1. I'm not sure how to do this.

Can you fudge the issue and refer to your degree as a "2nd" or something rather than elaborating on the fine detail of the sub-classification? Maybe in the box where it says "Grade Achieved" you can put "2nd"?

Or can you just say you have a Masters and leave it at that? Not sure what you would put in the grade box however. Again, "2nd" or "MSc" or something?

Any ideas guys?

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#12 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
03/11/2008 10:52

Mars A Day to spexii (#9)

Do you have a good relationship with your tutor at Cambridge? Explain the situation to them and ask whether they feel a reference could overcome the transcript, by explaining mitigating circumstances or simply saying what a focused, intelligent student you were and a pleasure to teach.

Put your Masters down for degree (ie a 4 year degree) without a grade (not all places grade Masters degrees anyway, other than distinction, merit, pass, fail). Your A level grades point to your potential which just wasnt realised at uni, and the fact you got into cambridge also tell me a lot. As ZB said it will be tougher, but far from impossible so go for it.

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#13 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
03/11/2008 11:25

Rolling the Dice to Mars A Day (#12)

Unbelieveably I completely agree with ZBs comments, and also less unbelieveably Mars'. Don't lie, keep trying, you do get more than one chance but it will be harder.

However, as an aside, I have a good friend who was a total slacker at school, went to Sheffield Hallam and got a 3rd in something like Sports Studies. One evening (probably after a few drinks) he sent off a couple of applications to major companies in which he had a 1st from Sheffield in Economics. Nobody ever checked! He has been working in New York ever since (5 years) for a very well known and respected company and living the dream by all accounts. The point? Probably none but it proved to me that

a) Your school and university calibre is not always an indication of how you will develop in a professional environment, and

b) Some people are just lucky b*stards and if you don't buy a ticket you'll never win.

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#14 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
03/11/2008 22:39

Gordon Gecko to spexii (#1)

Just remember that lying (on a CV/job application) and being caught lying at a later date (even years into the future) can result in you employment contract being torn up in your face - it's not even a gross misconduct situation - technically it is fraudulent misapplication, which would result in your employment contract being declared null and void (oh and there are potential custodial ramifications too).

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#15 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
03/11/2008 23:48

m3th to spexii (#1)

I work for one of big four and have a BA MA Msc (dont ask :/ ) they only requested for evidence of my last degree. I could have completely fabricated my degree and MA....

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#16 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
04/11/2008 08:41

anon to m3th (#15)

well i work for the small 4, and have 3 GCSEs

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#17 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
04/11/2008 10:59

spexii to Anon (#11)

Thanks for the further thoughts.

I have made up my mind that I am definitely not going to lie, I'd be very uncomfortable doing that no matter how keen I am to get the job. So as for selectively telling the truth...

Some firms do have an application form tick box for grade, and give you the option for "masters", so I can use that and leave grades off my CV. However, most firms go for CV/cover letter applications and mention on their application FAQs that they do want to see the grade you got, so I can't plead ignorance and not put it on at all. I think the best thing to do is write "second class" and then at least they won't assume I got a 3rd. After two years' work experience I would hope they placed a bit less emphasis on my degree grade anyway.

I am not quite sure how to format the BA (Hons) MSci bit though, perhaps like this, which makes it look a bit more like the MSci is ungraded? To be honest I don't even understand the grading system myself (and the careers service won't answer my question because I'm not a finalist) so I couldn't tell anyone for sure which grades apply to what part of my degree.

xxxx-xxxx University of Cambridge

MSci

BA (Hons) Blah course (second class)

or better to lump it all into one?

MSci BA (Hons) Blah course (second class)

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#18 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
04/11/2008 11:16

DCF to spexii (#17)

Well for a start your first degree goes first - not unnaturally.

The sad thing is you will probably land the job on the strength of your university despite your obvious lack of application during your time there.

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#19 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
05/11/2008 09:00

spexii to DCF (#18)

DCF - thanks for your feedback, it's good to hear an honest opinion and know the full range of views I'm likely to encounter. However, I obviously don't agree with you, otherwise I wouldn't be spending this much time figuring out how to get the chance to prove myself.

Everything else on a CV is in reverse chronological order or reverse order of importance, why not degree qualifications?

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#20 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
05/11/2008 09:18

Mars A Day to spexii (#19)

One more thing Spexii; when you are asked - and you will be - at interview how you managed a 2:2 after your A Level grades indicated you should be able to achieve a 2:1 or First, you will need a good explanation. The thing you need to avoid would be to imply that the more challenging/autonomous learning environment hampered you vrs school (obviously not what anyone wants to hear in MC); my advice play with a straight bat and say you discovered girls and beer (assuming you don't have a hugely compelling reason why else you got a 2:2). Show them you had a life at uni and are more balanced for it and you could dodge the underachievement bullet altogether by showing them you are a person they could work with/hang out with, and generally find likeable.

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#21 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
05/11/2008 09:39

Interviewer to Mars A Day (#20)

Mars, you ust be a mind reader! The number of interviews I've sat through with unimpressive candidates with impressive quals...

Great quals are just that, great, but I'm always more interested in someone who can spin a dit about how girls/beer/charity work/intense sports distracted them form getting their best grade.

Rightly or wrongly I'm always thinking do I want to spend 6 months on client site with this guy/girl - I can train him to do the job; I can train him to have a personality.

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#22 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
05/11/2008 09:46

Interviewer to Interviewer (#21)

Oops - can'T train him to have a personality...

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#23 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
05/11/2008 10:48

DCF to Interviewer (#22)

BUT...

In a competitive market, it doesn't need to be either/or for an employer; there are plenty of candidates with both 2.1s (which after all are not so rare) AND personalities, and the employer may as well select those.

PS Perhaps you should have done Land Economy or some other rowing degree rather than something difficult!

PPS Can one realistically claim to have discovered beer and girls at Cambridge?

PPPS Doesn't one normally discover beer and girls in 6th Form (and still manage 2 or 3 As)?

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#24 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
06/11/2008 00:59

spexii to DCF (#23)

About the rowing degree - actually, I was pretty much an all-rounder at school so could easily have done a languages degree or something.

Unfortunately I didn't know when I was 18, or even while at university, that I might want to work in strategy consulting in later life (unbelievable but true!). I chose science because it wasn't something I was likely to teach myself later, whereas languages/literature/philosophy/history/politics/economics etc etc would be.

Still, I'm at this stage, and it turns out a 2.1 may well be the be-all and end-all (or, at least, a 2.2 could be the end-all), of a future career I would love to pursue. It won't even be easy to get myself onto industry grad schemes to build up my experience without a 2.1.

I would certainly say I've learnt valuable life lessons from my university experience. I have thought long and hard about this career choice and I am not going to wimp out and aim for the easy option in my career path any more than I did choosing a science degree, I just want to do better next time.

I just have to hope that I have expressed myself well enough in the cover letter, or that I have made a good enough impression at recruitment events, or the recruiters I come into contact with are reading this thread and agree I am worth taking a chance on!

Anyway - I shall let you all know how the job hunt goes. Thanks again for your responses.

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#25 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
19/11/2008 23:42

spexii to spexii (#24)

Update:

Made five applications so far, of which three were particularly targeted (as in going to recruitment events, spending a fair bit of time researching the company, figuring out why I want to work for them and why I would fit in with them), and two were more "might as well", where I don't know so much about them. Mixture of bigger and smaller firms, niche and generalist. Used "second class" on my CV (thanks Anon!) and avoided mentioning the exact grade unless specifically asked.

So far, one rejection (from a "might as well", who specifically asked for my exact grade - no great surprise there) and one interview which went well (I'm pretty confident of getting to next round).

Got two more in mind as well but waiting a bit longer to hear back from more of the first lot before working on those.

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#26 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
30/11/2008 21:17

spexii to spexii (#25)

So for the benefit of future readers who are asking the same question and want to hear another's experience:

Bain, BCG and McKinsey turned me down. Shame about Bain in particular as I liked the firm and thought I had a chance - I know the person I spoke to at a recruitment evening said they enjoyed talking to me and put in a good word for me with HR. So I guess it's not worth spending time applying to them, there are obviously too many strong candidates and "second class" clearly doesn't cut it.

I got through to the second round with a niche consulting firm though, whose business is more related to the industry I'm working in now. Having done my homework on case study interviews (and being someone who generally interviews well), I found the first interview pretty easy to get through.

In fact, the person who interviewed me said they thought I had done a good job with my CV and cover letter, which again points to it being just the degree grade letting me down. Although I'm pleased to have the opportunity at the niche firm, it is frustrating to know that I'd probably enjoy working for Bain, and I would probably do well at interview, but I just can't jump the hoops to get there.

I will probably make a few more applications to smaller/niche firms now that I know the results of the initial set of applications. Would appreciate hearing from anyone who got into Bain further down the line after being rejected at graduate level - or anyone who applied there, didn't get in, but now feels they are better off somewhere else!

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#27 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
30/11/2008 21:46

grad to spexii (#26)

Hi spexii, have been following your updates with interest. I don't know whether it makes it better or worse (probably better), but I came near the top of my year at Oxford, and I've also got blanket rejections, from both niche and MBB - I think the criteria this year, because of intense competition, has gone way beyond degree marks, and you've done very well to have got an interview anywhere.

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#28 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
30/11/2008 22:53

spexii to grad (#27)

Hi grad, I'm sorry to hear you didn't get in either, although your comment has at least cheered me up...

For the niche firm, I think my two years of work experience in a related field are what got me that interview, so I would suggest looking for a job which could be an entry point to consulting, if you're not having much luck at the moment. My job is customer facing and involves some project management so those might be two good boxes to tick if you can.

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#29 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
01/12/2008 08:00

Anon to spexii (#28)

I got rejected by Bain and am so happy I did. If I hadn't been rejected, I would have been working all night with competitive colleagues. Now I work in a cosy 9-6 with normal people and get paid only a fraction less. Well worth the trade off!

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#30 RE: 2.2 in degree - should I lie?
01/12/2008 08:34

I'm GW Busch and I can solve terrorism to spexii (#1)

spexii, checkout the blog by 'illusionist' about lying on your salary ( and credentials).

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