Low GPA, High GMAT - Chances at MBA?

Would appreciate advice/opinion on my chance of getting into MBA schools.

Stats & Work Experience
Undergrad GPA: 2.5 (Went to school in top 70. One reason for low GPA is because I had epilepsy growing up and had brain surgery right before college, both of which affected academic performance).
GMAT: 740
Work experience: Have been working in Sales & Trading at a BB for 2 years now since graduating.
Outside of work: Started and had leadership in some student orgs during undergrad. Involved in a few non-profits since graduating.

I plan on applying to the MBA schools below. What do you think my chances are in getting into them? I know my GPA is low. Is there anything else I should do before applying?

Georgetown (top choice)
UVA
UMich
Cornell
NYU
USC Marshall

Thanks

Comments (32)

6y 
SilverBullet17, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey mb_2

I'm still fairly early in to my application process for an MBA in 2017, but from my research so far, I can say that whilst your GPA is low, schools are likely to take a holistic approach to your application (especially with what seems to be a top notch gmat score). Just make sure you communicate this message to them (probably through your personal essay - maybe mention what you learned and how you are from the experience, how it made you stronger etc.) - any particular reason Georgetown is your top choice and not Cornell? From what I've been told Cornell has a much higher "pedigree" ranking than Georgetown.

Anyone other monkeys care to comment/disagree?

"Average people have great ideas. Legends have great execution"
  • 2
6y 
mb_2, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Anyone else?

6y 
MBAApply, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Shoot a little higher.

Yes, your GPA sucked, but given your medical condition at that time it's completely understandable.

I think you can aim for 1-2 top 8 schools (Booth, Columbia, Sloan, Kellogg, Tuck). They're stretches but where you have enough of a shot that at least they're worth submitting an application or two.

Alex Chu
www.mbaapply.com

  • 2
6y 
MBAApply, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes, with one more year of experience and 1-2 college courses (freshman year calculus, algebra, statistics, finance, accounting, etc is fine) and you'll be in a decent position. Good luck

Alex Chu
www.mbaapply.com

6y 
Andre Torres, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi there,

Here are good news! GPA does matter, however, you can create a strong and differentiated application taking into consideration your volunteering experience, gmat score and goal after MBA program.

Regards,

6y 
BreakingOutOfPWM, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Your chances are decent. Have you considered taking a longer view and doing something to offset your GPA? I was in a similar position and went through CFA L2 before I applied. It offset the difference.

Also, USC is not a feeder to DC offices for MBB. UNC is, and I'd suggest that you look into them. I think they're better than Georgetown for MBB at least in DC.

I'd also add Duke as a stretch school. Maybe hire a consultant to help with your essays. Duke is a major feeder for DC consulting recruiting.

6y 
BreakingOutOfPWM, what's your opinion? Comment below:
WallStreetJunkie123:

What was the tier of school you ended up getting into (top 10, 10-15, top 20 etc.)? Interested to hear more about how your CFA was able to offset a lower GPA.

I'm at Booth. Was also in the running at HBS for a while. Your GMAT and GPA are proxies for analytical capability and whether you'll be able to handle the workload. I had decent grades at my second undergrad (which was essentially a commuter school so not a lot of weight there), then the CFA rounds out the story of "look, I can study and pass tests, I'm more mature/dedicated/in a different phase of life (or whatever your story is) than when I pulled that 2.5". If you tell your story of surgery etc to explain your bad grades, then show something like the CFA or a top MSF to prove you can handle the workload, the GPA isn't really an important part of the conversation any longer.

6y 
Linda Abraham, what's your opinion? Comment below:

mb_2,

Given your story, GMAT and work experience, I think you have a shot at these programs, including Georgetown. Should you apply at a couple of bigger stretches like Booth or Wharton? Getting in would sure be worth the effort, but I am not optimistic. If you choose to do so, just be realistic.

For more on overcoming your GPA, please see http://www.accepted.com/137 .

Best, Linda

Linda Abraham President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting
  • 1
6y 
FutureMBA27, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I like the school selection because I think the schools are, for the most part, low GPA friendly.

But I do have question. How do people get comfortable attending schools such as Georgetown and Notre Dame that don't break down the employment report by detailed function?

http://msb.georgetown.edu/mba-career-center/students

  • 1
6y 
consultant120, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Georgetown's numbers for the students it sends into the 'financial services' sector is fairly misleading. I worked at a credit union in the past (albeit the largest in the world) and a ton of Georgetown MBA's were interning and working there full-time. The credit union recruited at Georgetown for a variety of non-finance positions, especially in operations and technology. The employment report released from the school categorized these positions into the 'Financial Services' vertical and inflated the numbers for graduates going into 'banking/finance'. None of the roles being performed were actually true finance roles.

Sayonara

  • 1
6y 
consultant120, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Another problem with Georgetown's MBA is its difficult to break into commercial sector consulting. Most of the graduates going to consulting end up in the public sector in more PMO type roles. I live pretty close to the school and on the weekends I'll go study/work at the Rafik Hariri building. The facilities are definitely beautiful however most of the undergraduate students in the business school don't really consider the MBA program to be top-notch. The school's undergraduate rep boosts the reputation of the MBA program a bit though and should give OP a fighting chance to at least break into the banking or consulting industry. Perhaps not Investment Banking or Strategy consulting, however commercial banking and technology consulting are fairly easy for the MBA grads to get into.

Sayonara

  • 2
6y 
consultant120, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Aim higher and keep Georgetown as a safety net. I tried finding the article on Poets&Quants that I read a while back - it went over some detailed statistics on the percentage of sub-3.0 applicants at some of these top MBA programs and how many were able to get in. Self-selection plays a huge part. Typically, many students with sub 3.0 GPA won't even be applying to these programs. You'll likely be compared to the other 2.5-2.9 GPA students and the Poets&Quants article mentioned around 50% of the 2.5-2.9 GPA students were getting into Georgetown's MBA program. While the overall percentage of sub 3.0 GPA students admitted might be low, you still have a 50% shot of getting into the program because 50% of the sub 3.0 applicants got in.

Sayonara

  • 2
6y 
ash2917, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi mb_2 Congratulations for overcoming the obstacles and doing so well - I'd say build that into your story and then move on to focusing on the GMAT (740's pretty good) and how that shows that you are more than just capable of handling the academic load @ top programs. And then onto achievements @ work - you're at a BB (and doing well, i'd assume). So yea, GPA sucked [so did mine :):(], but what about else you have done until now. Factor in couple other schools too depending on your interests.

Hi all, I had a similar question on a different thread (but with some other variables too thrown in the mix - pls help with your inputs) I'm a new primate and hence not allowed to post links but its available under the GMAT/MBA forums @ prospective-non-traditional-profile-applicant-re-applicant-to-graduate-schools-useurope

Could the older monkeys/chimps and the rest pls post responses there and i'd be oh-so-grateful for your help!! Thank you!! Ash

  • 2
6y 
Frank Slaughtery, what's your opinion? Comment below:

assuming wall street experience doesn't mean IB at a BB, T10-T15 is most likely outcome

6y 
goosebanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

First of all, congrats on killing your GMAT, a 750 score is ridiculously high. As a current Canadian undergrad student myself, I'm not too sure about MBA scores and the application process for Canadian MBAs, but 750 is extremely high. That score alone should not be a problem getting into a Canadian MBA, which is usually fine for IB in the Big 5. Honestly, even though your GPA isn't as strong, having a GMAT of 750 is absolutely amazing and you should try applying at some of the top bschools in the states as well

  • 1
Best Response
6y 
BreakingOutOfPWM, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It depends on what your work experience looks like a few years out. People with 750+ GMAT's get rejected by top schools all the time if they're not competitive in other regards. Relax, focus on getting the best job you can and go from there.

Also, if you're applying to MBA business schools">M7 schools 2-3 years out, they might peek at your GPA a little (how low are we talking?). It's more of a check the box even there though.

I wouldn't do another degree unless it will help your short term career progression. Otherwise, focus on crushing it at work. If you really think you need to overcome a poor GPA the CFA is probably your best bet, proves without a doubt you can do quant work and it's cheap. It is also more useful when recruiting out of your MBA, while a MSc probably won't mean shit.

6y 
Frank Slaughtery, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you need to recalibrate your expectations a bit. A 770 GMAT is great but you aren't getting into H/S given a 2.1 and non gold work experience. You're going to be put in the bucket with MBB consultants who went to elite undergrads, have 3.6.+ GPAs, and 730+ gmat scores. MBA business schools">M7 is possible given your high GMAT and interesting work experience but I think will be tough as well.

If you want to apply to 5 schools, I'd go for Wharton, Booth, Stern, Yale, and one of Darden/Fuqua/Ross/Johnson

  • 2
6y 
Not Enough Minerals, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wow I never thought I'd see someone with such similar stats as mine. My UG GPA is below 2.5 and I also scored a 770 on GMAT. I have legitimate reasons for the low grades and I hope admissions will be willing to overlook my poor grades. I too am shooting for top 10 schools!

6y 
Andre Torres, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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6y 
Linda Abraham, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Linda Abraham President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting
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