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I'm currently averaging an 83.3 at Queen's Commerce. If I apply to a bschool for my MBA in the US, what would my grades convert to on a GPA scale for any of the top schools like Harvard, Wharton, Columbia ect? All my grades are above 80 except for one and next to my transcript all of them say "A" and my one 77 grade says "B."

I have heard that Canadian grades are curved up to American grades during the admissions process, is that true?

Mod Note (Andy) this is an old old post, but still ranks very high on search for related terms so i'm bumping it back up to get some fresh responses

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Comments (40)

  • yesforone's picture

    Most schools do not report GPA and the conversion to GPA is difficult. A lot of schools take the following approach which is an approximation using the Ontario Medical School Application Service scale

    90 to 100% 4.0
    85 to 89% 3.9
    80 to 84% 3.7
    77 to 79% 3.3
    73 to 76% 3.0
    70 to 72% 2.7
    67 to 69% 2.3
    63 to 66% 2.0
    60 to 62% 1.7
    57 to 59% 1.3
    53 to 56% 1.0
    50 to 52% 0.7

  • eric809e's picture

    When comparing GPAs, most b-schools look at the same way they score undergrad scores. In general, Canadian grades are curved DOWN (more leinient scoring and lower passing grades).

    Generally 94+ = A = 4.0
    90+ = A- = 3.7
    87+ = B+ = 3.3
    etc.

    See this link:
    http://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admissions/apply/...

    However, keep in mind undergrad GPA is a small factor of what MBA programs look at. More importantly, it's what you did after college that matters. A 3.3 won't sink you, you do add international experience. Focus on scoring 720+ on the GMATs, building great leadership skills and writing the perfect essay.

  • CDNmonkey's picture

    Curving Canadian grades down like that makes absolutely no sense. All the top Canadian undergrad business schools mark in a way that makes it nearly impossible to get high 80's, let alone a 90. With that system, the absolute top students at my school would have a 3.2-3.5 GPA at best.

  • ssb101's picture

    Canadian schools have lenient scoring and lower passing grades?.....dude come on. This is only true for our highschools.

    I assure you that the grading systems in Canadian university programs are just as tough, if not tougher, than our American counterparts.

    If that converting scale is true, then I don't know a single person in any year of my program who has a 3.3gpa.....

  • mark klein MD's picture

    to the OP: just becuase you're canadian doesn't mean you can go around saying shit like "how does canadian grades convert?" if you were russian or something, i'd give you a break, but you['re not. you're just a fucking idiot.

    _______________________________________
    http://www.drmarkklein.blogspot.com/

  • In reply to jdizz
    Shadow Rider's picture

    jdizz wrote:
    Ignore eric's post. It is completely irrelevant. yesforone's post is spot on. It'd be a 3.7/3.8

    Shadow, what's your approx rank in the class?

    Ah ok thanks for making that clear. I'm currently in second year and class rank is not assigned to us on our transcripts. I assume that some people know because they asked the office. But I do know that the highest average is a 90 and exactly 2 people have that. Roughly estimated though, I'd say somewhere between 20-30 out of 300.

    mark klein MD wrote:
    to the OP: just becuase you're canadian doesn't mean you can go around saying shit like "how does canadian grades convert?" if you were russian or something, i'd give you a break, but you['re not. you're just a fucking idiot.

    To mark klein MD: Thanks for pointing that out, I did in fact notice the grammar mistake right after I made the post, but I didn't think there was a way to edit my topic. However, I'd suggest that you watch your own sentence structure, typos, punctuation, capitalization, run-ons, and related errors. If I was going to slam someone else's single grammar mistake, I'd make sure I didn't make 15 times the mistakes in my flame post. As for being an idiot? Well, apparently I have a 3.7 GPA.

  • eric809e's picture

    okay, let me explain. When I said curved down, i meant the "A" with an 80 will not be taken at the same letter grade value. They generally won't mark that down anymore. I know there are a lot of canadians on this board, but don't take it personally that American's don't think of Queens or Ivey when they think of top-tier business schools.

    Comparing Wharton and Queens is not fair. Wharton is much more selective and has significantly more applicants. Although Canada and the US have roughly the same area, the US has about 10x the population. Canada by population is about the size of a large US state (like California or Texas). Just because Queens is one of the top schools in Canada, doesn't mean it's on par with the top schools in America. Take a look at endowment and funding. Wharton is a private school, and gets a lot more money from tuition and endowment per student than Queens (publicly funded). Wharton has more resources to educate their students. In addition, Wharton has a much higher recognition among MDs and recruiters. Ask all the MDs and recruiters in North America, I can guarantee you more will have heard of Wharton than Queens. That might convince students admitted to both schools to choose Wharton than queens.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but people from Queen's have told me their passing grade is 50. On Colubia's table, passing is 60 (and generally holds across US undergrad schools). In terms of grading, I've seen exams from the commerce department from queens, and they were not too difficult. That is a totally subjective view, but that is where I'm basing my comments.

    Now, MBA admissions could take Canadian grades at letter grade listed,all As, except for one B. But they could very well take them at their percentages and convert them. Columbia's MBA admissions published a conversion table for percentages to GPA. If the OP was applying to Columbia like he said in the first post, I would suggest that he bases his decision off Columbia's table and not Ontario's medical table.

    I know a lot of you are still in college and have not gone through the MBA recruiting process. When I was in college, I worked at a major test prep company and I've seen plenty of qualified candidates not get accepted at their top choice. I'm not trying to start an arugement on a forum, but admissions to top MBA programs are tough, and I want to provide a more realistic view.

  • Alex_Kap's picture

    Each program is different, Ivey has a scale of 70% to 87%, nothing else. I'm at Schulich, here you can fail or get an A+, but there is no exact grades so we scale it on a 9 scale which I hate.
    When I converted mine for U.S. Apps it looks like this:
    A+ 9.0 4.0
    A 8.0 3.8
    B+ 7.0 3.3
    B 6.0 2.8
    C+ 5.0 2.3
    C 4.0 1.8
    D+ 3.0 1.3
    D 2.0 0.8
    F 1.0 0
    It's a hassle of a system because we don't get exact grades, like in one class I got 88, but had 8.0, another class I got 79.4 and got bumped to 79.5 or 80 and got an 8.0, but techically thats 8% difference, and could have a big impact on your GPA.

  • mattown's picture

    I think it depends really on your program. I took astrophysics and my department was the best in Canada, at least from the research side.

    I didn't have a super high GPA by the standards on this forum (~3.3ish) but I knew I was in the upper 10% of my class, actually I lied, I was the class when I graduated o_0. Plus a lot of my courses were on a bell curve, i.e. only x amount were to receive A's, etc. I didn't know a single person with a GPA above 3.8 in the honours program. Close? Yes, but the system was brutal. Definitely not the same in other departments so really, how can you compare GPAs?

    I had a 3.8 in the beginning but I attribute that to not working. During my 2nd and 3rd year my GPA dropped because I devoted a lot of time to my two businesses and my radio personality on campus. I'm glad I engaged in these activities despite missing some assignments, resulting in B's instead of an A's. Again, how do you compare my situation to someone who got a 3.6 instead, yet developed less business acumen and had worse work experience? The fact I engaged in these activities made me stand out and obtain positions the kids with 4.0s, but with no experience were trying to get.

    I find with the sciences, to truly do well you must devote a *shitload* of time to learning the material, however with classes like economics, english, etc it's much easier to balance work/school. So I don't think my point is really applicable in those areas, but I think it is for really difficult programs.

    I remember I had one lab prof who insisted on never handing out a perfect mark on our labs. He told us, if you get a 10/10, it means you have performed the experiment better than anyone else in history. Not surprisingly, the %'s were very low in the class.

    How in the world do you convert a GPA score with a course ran by someone like that, I mean the highest mark was a 84%? Does that kid really deserve a 3.7?

    GPA is just a number and it's really hard to compare it with others, obviously the higher the better but it really depends on the program and school. The GMAT is nice because it's standardized, and that is why it matters a whole lot more in admissions.

    So I don't think it is the be all end all to one's success but I can understand why BB's may prefer to use it as a hiring gauge however when it comes to b-school applications, it certainly is only one factor of many that they consider.

    I think GPA conversion should really be the last of every applicant's worries. So OP, don't even worry about this GPA conversion shit. If you really have the business talent worthy of a top business school like Wharton, I'll assume you've demonstrated *it* in some way, GPA or not.

    That is what I would be most worried about, but hey, what do I know, I haven't applied to business school...yet maybe? Haven't decided yet.

  • Senior Peon's picture

    I'm a Queen's Commerce grad and currently at a top-3 US MBA school. I wouldn't worry about this very much. I recommend using the scale below, unless the school has provided specific instructions to use a different scale (as described above for Columbia). It is basically the "standard" scale for calculating GPAs and thus completely justifiable (far more so than a random medical school scale or "I think 83.3% looks like ...), but it will also position you more positively than any of the alternatives discussed.

    "A" (i.e. 80% and over) = 4.0
    "B" (i.e. 65% and over) = 3.0

    Obviously it's easy for someone to say, "But you can't possibly equate a 65% with a 3.0!" I agree it seems a little "messed up," but that's the way Queen's shows grades on its transcripts and you should use it to your advantage. Your job is to convince the admissions committee to accept your application. It is the admissions committee's job to evaluate your application and make any adjustments they see fit to compare grades across schools. My understanding is that they take a quick look at your school, grades (including class rank in most cases, which is probably the more comparable metric for academic perfomance across different schools/programs), GMAT, and work experience. If you meet the threshold here, they take a longer look at your essays and recommendations. Interview results are usually only used on the margin. They will be familiar with Queen's Commerce and could calibrate your average relative to past/current students who went to Queen's, but probably wouldn't bother.

    Of course, I can't resist throwing in my two cents on the debate between Queen's and Wharton either. Wharton is clearly the stronger global brand and this is probably the most important measure of a business school in my view. If money wasn't an issue, I would have gone there for undergrad over Queen's. However, Queen's was a great business education also and I think the quality of teaching/students at least matches that of any other school. The brand and network isn't as strong as Wharton globablly, but you won't run into many MDs who haven't worked with colleagues from Queen's and come to respect the school. If you do well at Queen's you will end up with the same job as someone who did well at Wharton and have the same shot at a top MBA. As for grading, the "Wharton curve" probably means its harder to get an A on your transcript than it is at Queen's. However, scoring a high percentage on an exam or in a class (e.g. greater than 90%) is probably harder at Queen's.

  • In reply to eric809e
    pc's picture

    I see what your saying, but as an American who attended a Canadian University for undergrad, I think you are being a bit unjust to the Canadian system. I attended the University of British Columbia and though I cannot compare it to the top most Ivy schools, I feel as though it would easily compare with some of our top public institutions and most likely a lot of the private ones. Yes, there are less Canadians than Americans, but correspondingly there are also considerably less universities to choose from. So I wouldn't diminish the Canadian system as significantly less competitive. Within Canada public universities are the most elite schools and though they may not have endowments like Harvard, they are research fueled institutions and have plenty of private funding without charging students $30k a year. Though I cannot correctly convert Canadian percentages to GPA, I believe the best approach is to include in your transcripts a letter indicating to American schools to pay attention to your distribution from the mean in each of your classes. This seems to be the most effective way to get across to American schools that you are a good student. Canadian grades are curved and as most Canadians would know, though an 80-100 is an A it is nearly impossible to consistently achieve 90s and completely unfathomable to get a 100. Thus there is a 10pt unattainable area that does not exist in the US system. Instead of becoming overly preoccupied with conversions, simply compare yourself with your classmates.

  • x's picture

    Look at how UK universities rank canadian vs. US schools. To do an LSE Masters, minimum requirement for a US student is 3.5, while for a canadian it's 3.3. Enough said.

  • ratul's picture

    Queen's grades are hard to convert. However, most schools realize this and convert appropriately. An 83 (and yes, I went to school in Canada, the US and the UK) is pretty much a 3.9 - 4.0. I know a guy from Queen's with a similar (possibly less) average who is now at HBS.

    GMAT and experience matter, but 83 will throw down. Don't try and convert, just find out your sort of rank within the class, and that is all that is necessary.

  • In reply to pc
    LBJ's picture

    I agree with this post. Yes Canada has significantly less people but we do have way less schools to choose from. Then when you start to talk about ivy league schools. We only have four max and these programs have very limited space to begin with. So I would say the difficulty in getting into and Ivy here in Canada is almost equivalent to getting in the U.S.

  • StrangeLight's picture

    I'm not even a business student but I felt the need to reply to this. I attended the University of British Columbia for my undergraduate degree, which I achieved with honours and, according to some of these scales, a 3.7 GPA. I have professors educated at the top private universities in the States who have told me in casual conversation and within the classroom that they grade students with more difficulty in Canada than in the US.

    One such professor, educated at Princeton, told me that after teaching in Canada for some years he returned to a school in the States and his students threw a fit when he handed back their essays saying, "Good job, 75/B." According to him, a paper that he would grade as a B or B+ in Canada receives an A- or A grade respectively in the US. Hate to break it to some of the Americans here, but it IS easier to get an A in the States than in Canada.

    And for what it's worth, my 3.7 GPA (82%) average got me into Columbia's journalism school.

  • yellowtop's picture

    This is a great conversation.

    Getting back to the original post - this is what you need to know.

    Queen's Commerce is easily a top Canadian undergraduate program and as a result has a very strong reputation in Canada and abroad. Does it compare to Princeton / Harvard - I'm not sure - but it does not matter. We can put it this way however. There are many, many Queen's Comm grads that I know at top tier US MBA schools. Further, look who recruits at Queen's Comm. In the Class of 2008 (from which I graduated) students were hired from: McKinsey, Monitor Group, BCG, Bain, Goldman, Merrill, Credit Suisse, P&G, Unilever, PwC, Deloitte etc. The list goes on and on, but the point is, where do most of these firms concentrate their recruiting: Harvard, Princeton etc. What does this mean? The recruiters find that the quality of students at Queen's Comm is at least comparable. For top consulting firms alone (as mentioned above) probably around 15 students were recruited from Queen's Comm - not bad for the undergraduate positions which in reality can be more competitive than the post- MBA one's.

    So, getting back on track. An 83.3 puts you around the Top 10% of the program - which will look great. The admission's committees (who matter, not some random person on the street who might not know Queen's) will be very familiar with the school, program and it's quality. Your GPA will be fine and is nothing to worry about.

    The further point however is that MBA admission to the school's you are talking about require a lot of extra work. That means you want to have very relevant work experience (probably from a top firm in some industry) and show leadership (both at work and at university). At the end of the day, just as in interview for consulting / IB, admissions are looking for leadership potential. Your marks / GMAT are just a threshold from which you need to break, then it comes down to you. For example, if you look again at McK, Monitor, BCG, Bain - they didn't take the students with just the top averages but looked for relevant leadership experience. GPA is just one piece of the puzzle.

    Good luck!

  • iveyleaguedipshit's picture

    "Please do not abuse the term
    by nauru (Orangutan, 265 Points) on 3/18/08 at 11:09am
    Please do not abuse the term "ivy league." For the nth time, there are 8 ivy league schools and none of them are in Canada."

    a) WTF do you care?

    b) There's a school in Canada at the University of Western Ontario that is called the Ivey school of business, as in, named after the founder Richard Ivey, you uninformed dipshit.. that's what they were referring to. "for the nth time."

  • Bi-Winning's picture

    @Senior Peon: 65% translates to 2.0, not 3.0.
    75% = 3.0
    85% = 4.0

    I win here, I win there...

  • In reply to yesforone
    TDA IS ME's picture

    [quote=yesforone]Most schools do not report GPA and the conversion to GPA is difficult. A lot of schools take the following approach which is an approximation using the Ontario Medical School Application Service scale

    90 to 100% 4.0
    85 to 89% 3.9
    80 to 84% 3.7
    77 to 79% 3.3
    73 to 76% 3.0
    70 to 72% 2.7
    67 to 69% 2.3

    Thank god, I thought that in my remaining school years i would have to bump my English grade to a 97 to have a 99.6% average for a 4.0, but no all i have to do is maintain a 94 and im SET:D if you do not think im telling the truth search all guass tests of last year and before, i aced both see how many could do that.

    63 to 66% 2.0
    60 to 62% 1.7
    57 to 59% 1.3
    53 to 56% 1.0
    50 to 52% 0.7

  • In reply to StrangeLight
    roofstreet's picture

    I have to agree. I had the same experience at my school (Univ of Toronto) with a prof who used to teach at UC Berkeley.

    StrangeLight wrote:
    I'm not even a business student but I felt the need to reply to this. I attended the University of British Columbia for my undergraduate degree, which I achieved with honours and, according to some of these scales, a 3.7 GPA. I have professors educated at the top private universities in the States who have told me in casual conversation and within the classroom that they grade students with more difficulty in Canada than in the US.

    One such professor, educated at Princeton, told me that after teaching in Canada for some years he returned to a school in the States and his students threw a fit when he handed back their essays saying, "Good job, 75/B." According to him, a paper that he would grade as a B or B+ in Canada receives an A- or A grade respectively in the US. Hate to break it to some of the Americans here, but it IS easier to get an A in the States than in Canada.

    And for what it's worth, my 3.7 GPA (82%) average got me into Columbia's journalism school.

    "...the art of good business, is being a good middle man, putting people togeather. It's all about honor and respect."

  • IBNazi's picture

    Once I did bad and that I heard ever. Twice I did good and that I heard never.