Had a tough second year.. still worth applying to Big 4?


Hey everyone!
I am considering applying for a graduate scheme at one of the Big 4. However, my second year did not go well at all. I was even given the chance to continue onto a pass degree. I just took things lightly and didn’t work hard enough. I’ve realised my mistakes, sticking to an honours degree and am aiming for a 2:1 in my final year. Do you think the top firms will look past my low grades?


A friend of mine found themselves in a similar situation and still managed to get a job with a big 4 firm. However, they had already graduated and had achieved much better results in their final year and thus in their overall degree. I think the key is to explain yourself. Have a good reason for not doing well and prove your determination to do better. As such, it may be advisable to wait until you have your 1st semester results from the third year before you apply, but this would depend on when you want to apply and whether you’re willing to wait. This could be the difference between getting an interview/job and not though…

My friend justified their results on application forms, there is a section avaialble to do this. However, I would not advise saying you were lax. My friend took on too many other commitments. They were working late nights in a bar, on a sports team, writing for the uni newspaper, in varius groups and societies and generally piling on the extra curricular activities, as well as going out of course!!

Apparently he was asked about his grades in the partner interview and had to defend himself quite forcefully. They asked him why he hadn’t done well (he listed the above) and he said he has now learned that time management and not taking on too many responsibilities is crucial. Also, in hindsight he should have asked for help sooner. He realised he was struggling but did not address this until the end of the year, by which time it was too late. He used this lesson in his final year, taking the opportunity to talk to friends, lecturers, etc whenever any problem arose.

I think what was crucial was that he could demonstrate significant improvement, had realised what mistkes he had made and demonstrated how he had learned from them and struggled because he was trying to contribute too much rather than do too little. This may require a little creativity on your part but it got him the job!!

Hope this helps!


Your situation is reparable if you get a 2.1. You can get into PwC with a 2.2 but it would need to have extenuating circumstances or be from a top uni such as Oxford or Cambridge. Without those, you had better work your socks off and fix your degree. It can be done though, definately.


Expect KPMG you can join remaining three with will give you a chance with 2:2 but you need to be good in other factors e.g. Team work, social awareness mean a good application if you made it to online testing or first stage then forget about your classification. Results make way for first stage then its you who make difference. Good luck and work hard in last year. hope fully you will do well.


A big thank you for all the advice! I think I will proceed with the applications… if i fail at the first cycle, I can apply again in six months backed up by term results. I will talk to my personal tutor about mentioning extenuating circumstances. Yeah thats the plan… and to try and ace the online testing! Once again, thanks!


Good inputs.

i have some questions regarding the online applications. I will finish my MSc next year and planning to apply for BIG4 from october this year.
I have an international degree.

  1. How do we submit our grades transcript when filling in online application form? Do they ask for it or the overal results only?
  2. How do we submit the results of international undergrad degree? let’s say if i have GPA only not %%s?



Both are fine- you can fill them in on the online application form, and if there are any problems, you can submit it manually. They take international applications all the time, so you won’t have any problems.