Poor A-Levels - 1st Class Degree, chance with big 4??


As I wait for September and the next round of graduate applications to open, I am increasingly wondering whether infact there is much point in me applying at all!

At 6th form, I ended up coming out with the following A Levels - Maths ©, General Studies©, Physics (D) and Chemistry (E). I do have some extenuating circumstances however they were never reported to my 6th form at the time so I have no documentation as evidence. My AS Results, which i feel i could have possibly even bettered were A,B,C in Maths Chemistry and Physics.

I have also recently graduated with a 1st class degree from the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, in Accounting and Finance and I am told that outside LSE, and the usual redbrick universities, that the course is held in quite high regard by most in the proffesion.

What I want to know is, do I have a good chance if i apply, or am i just wasting my time?

Thanks in advance


I think it is definitely worth applying. A first is very good, and a first in accounting and finance is much more relevant to a job in accounting than your C in Maths or E in Chemistry. If you’re worried, I’d call HR to confirm that you won’t be automatically rejected because of your low A Level grades - but I wouldnt expect you would be.

Remember, there is no set list of universities that accounting firms recruit from (unlike IB) - you shouldn’t worry so much… start making your applications! Good luck!


I have a friend who has no A-Levels at all (I think he did a BTEC or GNVQ). He did a foundation year at university and went on to get a 2:1 in chemical engineering, followed by an MSc with merit.

He’s recently had an interview with Accenture, who have similar entry requirements to the big 4 (if not more stringent), so you should definitely give it a go.


It stands to reason. HR aren’t crazy… if you’ve proved yourself academically with a good grade for a solid degree at uni, they’ll be willing to overlook school results.

Reg - In which department does your friend work and how do they find it? I’ve heard some very mixed reports about [[Accenture]]… e.g. lots of travel… what are your thoughts?


Your first definitely makes up for the A-Levels! Give it a shot!


Yeah I’m with Jungle Boogie hear. A first class degree completely eclipses any A-level results you may or may not have achieved. With strong applications I feel you could probably sneak your way into the [[big 4]] accounting firms.


I actually know a friend who just got a job with one of the Big 4 with A-Level results that didn’t meet the criteria but finished with a 2:1 at Uni and my friend got offered the job! She explained why she didn’t do as well as she would have liked in her A-Levels to the recruiters and they took this on board and progressed with her application. Think of reasons why you didn’t do as well as you’d have liked in your A-Levels and include this in your application form. I very much doubt they would ignore an application from someone with a 1st!


Thanks for the input guys!

Definately gonna give it a crack now!

Any advice on how to best minimise the focus on the alevels in my application and maximise elsewhere?


None really! Just explain in your extenuating circumstances section of the application form why you could have done better at A levels.