Extremely Low GPA to MBA Success Story

zxcvjkl's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 105

I've been a long time browser on this website and just wanted to share my experience.

Here are my stats before we start:

  • UG: Service Academy - 2.3 GPA
  • Grad: Big D1 Sport School - random MS with accounting and finance classes - 3.8 GPA
  • GMAT - 720
  • Work exp: 5 years military officer significant leadership exp, 2 years med device sales, currently in BB rotational program for vets

First Thought of B-School

I first considered going to b-school back in 2014. I posted on wso asking what my chances were and what schools I should apply to. Not surprisingly, I was told I would be competitive in the 30-50 ranked MBA's. I saw the employment reports for those schools and decided the ROI was not there for those specific schools and decided an MBA was not for me.

Two years later I met another Service Academy grad who was in CBS with a lower GPA than mine. She wasn't a special operator or a fighter pilot. So I decided to at least try to take at hack at a top 15 program.

GMAT Story

I started studying for the GMAT in May 2017, took the test 3 times: 620, 640, 720. I had to retake it so many times because of anxiety. I generally scored between 700-730 on my practice tests from GMATPrep and Manhattan prep, but during the actual test I had to reread questions for whatever reason.

Application

I finished the GMATs in late July and started my applications. I applied to 6 schools: 2 T10, 2 T15, and 2 T25. I used Service2School admission consultants (free service for vets run by admitted students, I will be volunteering next year). I networked quite a bit with the students there and also did official campus visits at every school.

The first two applications took the most time, but once you refine your story and brand the rest of the applications become fairly easy. My story revolved around breaking into ibanking.

Results

  • 1 T10 Ding
  • 1 T10 Admit
  • 1 T15 Waitlist
  • 1 T15 Admit
  • 1 T25 Ding
  • 1 T25 Admit

I reached out to the students I made a good connection with for the school I got waitlisted for, and they were stunned I was waitlisted. They said they would send letters of support to help my application. The next day I got an admit call. So out of the 6 applications I submitted I got 4 admits, the 1 T25 I got dinged at I didn't feel like I fit in and did not make good connections with current students. I

Why I'm Writing This

I'm writing this to hopefully give some of you second wind to hacking the GMAT or applying to an MBA program. After the first two tests I wanted to breakdown and give up. I read forums about retaking the GMAT and how unlikely it is to have a significant boost in score. However, I just put my head down and kept at it, I was determined to break 700 before maxing out at 5 tests.

Secondly, don't be discouraged if you have a low GPA. I was told on this forum that I should shoot for 30-50 ranked schools. I'm sure even now if I posted a "What are my chances" post, I would probably get a similar answer. No one will tell you that you have a good shot at a T10 school. Statistically most people with low GPA's will fail and most people retaking the GMAT won't improve their score. My only suggestion is don't be most people. Try harder than most people. Don't expect any encouragement. If you're willing to take on this uphill battle you will have to encourage yourself.

As Kanye West said, "Now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem. Or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams."

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Comments (23)

Best Response
Apr 19, 2018

Great story! I agree that forums are harder on you than adcoms lol. In my experience, people's "stats" are much worse in the school than people on the outside expect. At the same time, there are definitely those with amazing stats at lower ranked schools.

    • 2
Apr 23, 2018
builtok:

I've been a long time browser on this website and just wanted to share my experience.
Here are my stats before we start:
-UG: Service Academy - 2.3 GPA
-Grad: Big D1 Sport School - random MS with accounting and finance classes - 3.8 GPA
-GMAT - 720
-Work exp: 5 years military officer significant leadership exp, 2 years med device sales, currently in BB rotational program for vets

FIRST THOUGHT OF B-SCHOOL
I first considered going to b-school back in 2014. I posted on wso asking what my chances were and what schools I should apply to. Not surprisingly, I was told I would be competitive in the 30-50 ranked MBA's. I saw the employment reports for those schools and decided the ROI was not there for those specific schools and decided an MBA was not for me.

Two years later I met another Service Academy grad who was in CBS with a lower GPA than mine. She wasn't a special operator or a fighter pilot. So I decided to at least try to take at hack at a top 15 program.

GMAT STORY
I started studying for the GMAT in May 2017, took the test 3 times: 620, 640, 720. I had to retake it so many times because of anxiety. I generally scored between 700-730 on my practice tests from GMATPrep and Manhattan prep, but during the actual test I had to reread questions for whatever reason.

APPLICATION
I finished the GMATs in late July and started my applications. I applied to 6 schools: 2 T10, 2 T15, and 2 T25. I used Service2School admission consultants (free service for vets run by admitted students, I will be volunteering next year). I networked quite a bit with the students there and also did official campus visits at every school.

The first two applications took the most time, but once you refine your story and brand the rest of the applications become fairly easy. My story revolved around breaking into ibanking.

RESULTS
-1 T10 Ding
-1 T10 Admit
-1 T15 Waitlist
-1 T15 Admit
-1 T25 Ding
-1 T25 Admit

I reached out to the students I made a good connection with for the school I got waitlisted for, and they were stunned I was waitlisted. They said they would send letters of support to help my application. The next day I got an admit call. So out of the 6 applications I submitted I got 4 admits, the 1 T25 I got dinged at I didn't feel like I fit in and did not make good connections with current students. I

WHY I'M WRITING THIS
I'm writing this to hopefully give some of you second wind to hacking the GMAT or applying to an MBA program. After the first two tests I wanted to breakdown and give up. I read forums about retaking the GMAT and how unlikely it is to have a significant boost in score. However, I just put my head down and kept at it, I was determined to break 700 before maxing out at 5 tests.

Secondly, don't be discouraged if you have a low GPA. I was told on this forum that I should shoot for 30-50 ranked schools. I'm sure even now if I posted a "What are my chances" post, I would probably get a similar answer. No one will tell you that you have a good shot at a T10 school. Statistically most people with low GPA's will fail and most people retaking the GMAT won't improve their score. My only suggestion is don't be most people. Try harder than most people. Don't expect any encouragement. If you're willing to take on this uphill battle you will have to encourage yourself.

As Kanye West said, "Now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem. Or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams."

Never Happened.

    • 1
Apr 23, 2018

Unfortunately only few people here executed these MBA application successfully, let alone more losers just reading data tables. Commitment to the thing is also Paramount among all things needed

Apr 24, 2018

This is awesome. So admissions officers actually care what alumni say? I've been networking, but didn't realize the people I've been buying coffee with could actually go to bat for me.

Apr 24, 2018

I have similar stats/gmat as @builtok and am starting at an M7 school in the fall. Networking definitely matters. Also, FYI some schools have you list on their application any alumni or current students you talked to, so even if they don't flat out ask them about you it helps demonstrate interest.

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Apr 24, 2018

Didn't know that - thanks!

May 1, 2018

how did you network with the people at the M7/ who did you target? What did you ask them? I am a complete MBA admissions noob :)

Apr 25, 2018

They definitely care. At the end of the day the students are the schools brand. I'm not sure how many letters of support were sent on my behalf, I had about 6-8 people in my corner, but one of the students BCC'd me when he sent his letter and I got the call later that afternoon. I would definitely try to make a connection with the head of whatever professional club i.e. finance, consulting, or tech. Good luck.

Apr 24, 2018
jwc0203:

I would definitely try to make a connection with the head of whatever professional club i.e. finance, consulting, or tech. Good luck.

This is an awesome idea - I'll definitely do that. Thanks!

Free Consultation

Vantage Point MBA's clients are accepted to the top MBA programs at a 3x higher rate than the average acceptance rates. Request a consultation with their team to learn how they can help you gain admission to your dream schools. Learn more.

Apr 24, 2018

thanks for sharing your story!

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Apr 24, 2018

Never doubt the value of a letter from a high value ALUMNI!

"All men are alike in their dreams, and all men are alike in the promises
they make. The difference is what they do."-- Jean Baptiste Moliere

Apr 24, 2018

Thanks for the inspiration. I'm literally in the lul phase you described. Scoring low to mid 600s and I've taken a break from studies with intention to finish developing my plan and startup by May-1.

Apr 25, 2018

what are you aiming for during/after B-School?

Apr 25, 2018

ibd healthcare coverage

    • 1
Apr 27, 2018

You studied for only 2-3 months and pulled a 720 score?

Apr 25, 2018

Took VeritasPrep Course for 6 weeks, then studied Official Guide material for another 4 weeks, then just took practice tests to finish. I started early May and took my first test in July, but had to retake the test 2 more times. I studied pretty intensely between my practice tests, about 3-5 hours a day. I was working full time and had no life. So it took me about 5 months to get the score I wanted.

Apr 24, 2018

He did say service academy. I expect most of those people have high quant scores!

"All men are alike in their dreams, and all men are alike in the promises
they make. The difference is what they do."-- Jean Baptiste Moliere

Apr 28, 2018

Cool story, but I'll never understand why people feel the need to be so secretive about this stuff. Do you think people from the forum are going to show up to the schools you got admitted to, shout your username until they find you, and ask you for advice?

jwc0203:

Results

  • 1 T10 Ding
  • 1 T10 Admit
  • 1 T15 Waitlist
  • 1 T15 Admit
  • 1 T25 Ding
  • 1 T25 Admit
Apr 25, 2018

Hmm just thought it was the norm, but if you're dying to know:
-Admits: Ross, Darden, Georgetown
-Dings: CBS, Tepper
-Waitlist to Admit: Cornell

Apr 30, 2018

How did you go about networking with current students?

Apr 25, 2018

You go to the school website and browse the clubs. The club officers should all be listed with contact info.

May 2, 2018
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