Pricewaterhouse-Coopers have this week launched a new graduate recruitment scheme designed to assess candidates by much more than their academic qualifications.
Most top employers currently require a degree classification of a 2.1 or above, however the new "Inspired Talent" scheme will invite applicants who only achieved a 2.2 degree-level qualification.
Sonja Stockton, head of recruitment for PwC, specifically singled Imperial College students out as the kind that would benefit from the new scheme.
She told the Financial Times that students who went to Imperial College London stood a worse chance of getting a 2.1 than at a less prestigious institution.
She added that many students miss out on a 2.1 classification as "they were doing extraordinary and enterprising things", such as starting charities whilst at Univeristy.
It is expected that the scheme will be incredibly tough - candidates will have to prove themselves as valuable as the other 1,000 graduates that PwC will take on this year and PwC says that anywhere between 5 and 75 people from the scheme could be taken on.
Candidates will have to show an incredibly extraordinary level of extra-curricular activity and complete an exam in intellectual rigour and agility.
Ms Stockton said: "It is getting harder for employers to distinguish between the mass of degree qualifications in the jobs market at the moment. People develop at different stage of academic life and those that demonstrate exceptional drive, capacity and entrepreneurial spirit can have great careers with us. We've no doubt that we will discover real gems".
PwC has been listed as the Top Graduate Employer by The Times for six years in a row, priding itself on employing the "finest" talent.
The new scheme is particularly good news for Imperial College students, where departments regularly fail to meet Imperial's target number of "good honours" degrees.
Last year's Deputy President (Education & Welfare) of Imperial College Union, Hannah Theodorou, told Live! that if departments weren't meeting the 70% target for 2.1s and 1sts then this "either means that we are taking in poorer-quality students than in all of the other departments or the teaching in that department isn?t bringing them up to scratch".
Current Deputy President (Education), Jonathan Silver, told Live! that a graduate scheme targeted at Imperial students would understand that, due to Imperial College's reluctance to "inflate degree classifications", a 2.2 is "not only perfectly respectable, it is arguably academically equivalent to at least an upper second from many institutions".
Silver continued: "It shouldn?t be necessary for a competent, inspired applicant with a 2.2 from Imperial to prove that they have done 'extraordinary and enterprising things'. It would be more appropriate to adjust for the standards required for each degree class at Imperial, and treat applicants from Imperial that have lower second class degrees as if they had achieved an upper second from another institution. It is, sadly, true that employers place far more emphasis on the degree class achieved than on the awarding institution".
The DPE did welcome "the first breach of the otherwise universal rule of using the 2.1 as a minimum requirement", however he did have reservations. Silver said that "consideration of an applicant?s extracurricular achievement and skill is very important, and should be taking place anyway based on CV and interview".
What do you think? Should employers consider all applicants, regardless of degree classification? Are you a student who missed out on a 2.1 at Imperial? If so, how have you been affected? Post your comments in the discussion below.