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I haven't been working too hard and have been taking classes (4 of 5) that really aren't up my alley. In 3 of the 4 "aint-my-thing" courses, I am soundly in the HP range (high pass, top 65% of class). As a near 4.0 GPA-er in college, this was a little alarming. But now I'm thinking that it's really ok. I don't want to do consulting or IB, so what do I care? Instead, I sleep. Yay, sleep!
Besides, the curve here doesn't really inspire me to achieve as there is so little differentiation: top 25%, Superior Pass; next 40%, High Pass; remaining 35%, Pass, Low Pass or Fail (with LP and F being very rare).
I don't care about grades that much (and I did not have a 4.0 in college, either), but I would definitely like to cherry pick a few courses every now and then (1 out of 5 or even out of 10) where I could earn a higher grade.
Our grades are:
1: top 10%
2: middle 80%
3 - 4: bottom 10%, 4 means failed.
So chances are I'll get 2s on most courses, but a 1 every now and then would be nice.
Most of us are on the other side of 25. I think it's important that schools emphasize learning, and backup claims of cooperative learning. Save the competitive stuff for job hunting.
aaudetat - don't fret over grades (I know it's easy for me to say, not being in school) just get the occasional superior pass in classes that interest you and learn a thing or two in classes that don't. but focus on your target industry!!! starting . . . . NOW!
I think Lepium has a good plan. I have heard from a number of investment banking recruiters that they will pay special attention to accounting, finance and decision analysis (some schools call this quantitative analysis I guess). They know that the grading system is skewed to a "B" average, but they'd like to see a B+ in one or two of those courses. Consulting firms have similar interest in operations or marketing I guess. For anything else, I think that grades truly don't matter - as long as you don't flunk out of course.
Darden actually has a grade non-disclosure policy. Recruiters are not able to get grades from the school, and are not able to demand them from students, but students have the option of disclosing their own grades if they choose. This differs from policies at some other schools, some of which are student initiated and so forth. What some banks do is when you go in for an interview, they may ask for some guidance from you as to how you did the first couple of quarters (or semester).
So, it's more or less impossible to try for top grades in all of your classes if you plan to stay involved in recruiting and other activities. You can put extra effort into one or two courses to try for a higher grade, but for the rest just plan on taking the "B".
I had to jump into this discussion because after talking to a few UCLA students, it seems that grades are more important than I previously thought (UCLA discloses grades). I talked to a VC alum who said that if it weren't for his good grades, many of the VC firms won't even talk to him, let alone hire him. A couple other students talked about how being in the top 25% (honor roll, superior pass, etc...) helped them get more scholarships or get into certain interviews with more established startups and companies like Yahoo and Google.
So while I really want to participate in the social and leadership aspects of B-school, it seems that I still need to work hard to get in the top 25% for overall grades, otherwise I'd be at a disadvantage... Does anyone else have more to say about this?