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Questions for EE's who have already graduated from college

  1. Dec 20, 2006 #1
    I've heard a lot of rumors that a EE's gpa in college does not really mean much as long as you pass your classes. Is that really true? And I was wondering, what is a decent gpa to graduate with so that companies would be more willing to hire me when I go out to the business world?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2006 #2


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    Well, here's a long, long thread about GPAs that is finally winding down in another area of the Physics Forums:


    From my perspective, yes, GPA is something that I look at on a resume, especially for fairly new graduates. A 3.5 or better is a good sign that the person has taken school seriously and worked hard to learn.

    Of course, a good resume only gets you the interview. The interview is what gets you the job. Here's another thread where we talked about what other things are important in preparing for your first jobs:

  4. Dec 20, 2006 #3


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    ...and once you have the job, how well you do at that job determines your prospects for the next job.
  5. Dec 20, 2006 #4
    Thank you guys, appreciate it.
  6. Dec 20, 2006 #5


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    It's always interesting for me to consider my own behavior with different kinds of interviews. I think I can loosely group my "interview style" into three categories based solely on GPA. Obviously, if there's a lot of other stuff to talk about the resume, I will not base my entire first impression on the GPA. The following, however, is the general attitudes I have towards GPAs.

    Greater than 3.5: Student is probably very bright; I'll assume he/she knows all the basics and will try to discuss things with him/her at a reasonably high level of abstraction. I might ask questions like What are some of the concerns with transferring data from one clock domain into another? My goal, of course, is to let the student demonstrate his/her thought processes, problem solving skills, and ability to understand and assimilate any hints I give him/her. I prefer to do this in a more conversational style, as opposed to presenting canned problems. Any evidence that the basics are not mastered will usually manifest itself quickly in these kinds of conversations, so I don't harp on the basics.

    Between 3.0 and 3.5: Student is probably quite strong, but I won't make the tacit assumption that he/she knows all the basics. I'll ask some questions that should be trivial, like Why are the voltage and current curves out of phase for reactive devices? or What does the 'virtual short' behavior of an op-amp mean? If he/she can rip through these competently, I'll pretty much move the discussion into more abstract topics, just like I would for the > 3.5 people, and won't think about the GPA again.

    Under 3.0: My assumption is that the student probably isn't very well-prepared. I may also (rather unconsciously) assume that at least some of the items on his/her resume have been inflated. I will likely spend a lot of time asking basic questions, and probably will toss out some canned problems. My interview probably will not proceed into more abstract topics unless the student motivates it. I will be very thorough in my discussion of the items on the resume, just to check for exaggeration. The truth is, I may even be actively searching for trip-ups. If the student does well in the interview -- and manages to end up carrying on a competent high-level conversation -- I might still recommend him/her for a job, as long as it's for a position that I feel is not of great responsibility, and has a lot of potential for close guidance and mentorship. I would not recommend a < 3.0 student for position that requires self-starting, research skills, or involves substantial responsibility, unless that student is just exceptionally sharp on the interview.

    The good news is that large companies have all kinds of different job openings, and even if a new hire ends up in one of the less-responsible positions, he/she is realistically only a year or two behind the child prodigies. A low GPA is not, by any means, a career-crippling problem, but you'll probably have to start a few notches down on the totem pole.

    - Warren
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2006
  7. Dec 22, 2006 #6

    Am I the only one that thinks that this question requires at least a half an hour of explanation, I mean explaining the effect of the induced current in the coil and the polarization of the dielectric in the capacitor is not trivial.
  8. Dec 22, 2006 #7


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    If you can say "the current through a capacitor is proportional to the time derivative of the voltage across it, and the derivative of sin(t) is cos(t)," then you've answered the question satisfactorily for me. If that answer is too superficial for you, and you start delving into the actual physical reasons why the devices behave that way, I'll likely thank you and move on to something more abstract.

    - Warren
  9. Dec 22, 2006 #8
    oh, thanks.
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