Finished college with a 2.1 GPA in STEM, permanently screwed?

Postgradwonderer's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,574

So long story short, I was pressured by parents to pursue a degree in Biology and I was miserable throughout college. I made some D's in upper level science classes like Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Genetics, Physiology, and Microbiology. Safe to say that I was not meant for the medical field but due to my circumstances at the time (realized the issue when I was an upperclassman in college running short on cash and in danger of taking out loans if I stayed longer), I trucked through and finished with a 2.1 GPA as a Biology major.

Ever since high school, my passion was in finance but I never had a chance to pursue it. In the past year or so, I have been doing a lot of related reading and it does interest me. I know that you should not keeping looking back at the past but I strongly feel that had I majored in finance or business, my GPA would have been in the high 3s.

If I could tell business schools anything, it would be that I would make for an awful doctor or scientist (given my bad grades in upper level science classes) but I would have had stellar grades if i was a business or finance major.

An MBA might be something I end up looking into so I have done a ton of research on admissions, one thing I have learned is that prestige matters. Well, I know that there is no way in the world I am getting into a top 10 program no matter what I do.

I've heard of people that had GPAs in the low 3s and high 2s get into decent MBA programs after doing some re-invention after college but the only thing I have done after college is worked as a lab tech. I am 25 years old right now, I decided to post this thread and get more insight.

Due to my abysmal GPA that I graduated college with, have I pretty much put myself in a position where no amount of re-invention or good test scores can really get me into a decent MBA?

Comments (21)

Jan 29, 2016

I am in a similar situation where you are at. I was given advice by some HF Manager I have known, along with some people who are partners as well in pursuing this path -

  1. Get re-educated, a certificate program.
  2. Get work experience down, this is key.
  3. Don't rush into an MBA unless you want some leverage in experience with MS in Finance (for most entry level jobs), however; the issue at hand is that you lack a good GPA. So see #1.
  4. Get a good gmat score and apply around.

I think it is really all about attitude, as well as networking. Remember, finance/banking is about "who" you know and "what" you can do for them...if I am not mistaken. Most of them told me that networking is key.

Just keep at it, I am 29, if it makes you feel any better.

Hiten

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Jan 30, 2016

Hiten619, what kind of a GPA did you have?

Jan 31, 2016

2.8 currently, given it was a 2.25 before. I am more of the savvy networking negotiator type guy. I don't care who it is I will hustle and bust my ass off to get a name, face, and my information in front of them.

However, academically speaking, my work/grades trends are more "perfect" (or near perfect) in an upwards trend. I am quite happy this is going fairly well then expected. If I ever get an MSA, I have a guaranteed spot in Transactions with one of the big 4 audit firms, and that is from hustling my butt off to get to the main decision makers for the firm to get a green light.

Remember, attitude plays one of the biggest roles. I could have gotten an unpaid IBD internship, but was told it was not worth the time. Do not let your GPA subside your dreams. Leverage your experience to your advantage.

Hiten

Jan 29, 2016

Nope, this one is about getting into business school.

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Feb 2, 2016

Well realistically speaking, what types of business schools do I have a chance at if I keep improving my resume? Can someone give me an idea of a ceiling?

Feb 22, 2016

Bumping just this once in case anyone else wants to take a chance at it.

Feb 23, 2016

Listen,

Just go out there, chin up, with a big smile and be a hungry tiger fighting for your next meal.

Attitude is everything, there is no such thing as a ceiling (unless you physically hit it). Posting here for advice is great, but your actions are more meaningful.

Hiten

Feb 23, 2016

Where was undergrad?

Don't explicitly have to answer-- asking because if the program itself is a tough program (somewhere that has a very well-developed pre-med pipeline, like UC San Diego, WashU, Johns Hopkins, etc.) or if the school overall is really competitive (top 15 undergrad or so) then you might have a shot at saying it was tough and your heart wasn't in it and it was super competitive, but you still ground it out and graduated.

If the school isn't that great, so the competition isn't that high, then that's a tougher sell. Either way, I think you have to study like hell to crush the GMAT and then have a story to tell about what you've done since undergrad.

About that: you gotta get out of the lab, man. Trust me, I worked in a lab for two years after undergrad before getting hired by a small strategy consulting firm in my hometown when I was sick to death of pipettes and wondering what I was doing with my life. Don't just network; do free work. You may wait around forever for someone to "take a chance on you" and let you come work for them; you have nothing to lose by staying up late, researching companies, using free education to build some rough models, writing opinions about strategies, and sharing them with people you want to work for. They will probably be wrong, but it at least shows a level of commitment and initiative that will help you get in the door. Helped me, at least.

I'm not sure anyone can answer your question about a "ceiling" on schools. Your undergrad experience is just one piece of the puzzle, one indicator among many. Let's say you stay working as a lab tech, and you get a 650 on the GMAT, and have nothing to show other than things you wish you'd done? The ceiling is low, like "maybe not worth going to b-school" low. But you turn things around, get hired by a new firm, crush the GMAT with a 760, and have a great hard work and redemption story you can tell adcoms with a smile on your face? I'm not at H/S/W, so I don't know what needs to happen to get there, but you'd fit right in at a 5-15 tier school.

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Feb 24, 2016

We are talking top 20 public university, state flagship, and known for having a tough pre-med program. Issue is that we aren't looking at a bad year, we're looking at an overall horrible undergrad performace due to C's and D's in most science classes.

All in all, my undergrad transcript was a disgrace which I am more than willing to try and make up for. I am trying to do my best to get out of the lab, the work is awful. BTW, how would pharmaceutical sales look for MBAs?

Feb 24, 2016

I don't really know, to be honest. My sense (take it with a grain of salt, admissions doesn't ask me for my opinion) is that pharma sales is interesting experience if you 1) are part of Big Pharma and have a fancy name on your resume, 2) cover an interesting geography or interesting therapeutic area that is seeing development or change, or 3) show advancement over a short period of time, those are all good things. If you're a pill-pusher selling statins to primary care docs in Cleveland, then it's probably a dead end.

Feb 24, 2016
dmw86:

I don't really know, to be honest. My sense (take it with a grain of salt, admissions doesn't ask me for my opinion) is that pharma sales is interesting experience if you 1) are part of Big Pharma and have a fancy name on your resume, 2) cover an interesting geography or interesting therapeutic area that is seeing development or change, or 3) show advancement over a short period of time, those are all good things. If you're a pill-pusher selling statins to primary care docs in Cleveland, then it's probably a dead end.

A couple of questions out of curiosity:

  1. What was your college GPA?
  2. Where did you get in for MBA?
Feb 24, 2016

The reality is, with your profile, your chances of getting into a top MBA program are likely slim.

But more importantly, you are permanently screwed if you limit yourself to thinking that you need an MBA to succeed or to get yourself out of your current rut (psychologically or financially or whatever).

Build your own career path that is uniquely yours. It certainly takes a bit of resourcefulness, imagination and courage to carve out a path that is "not like everyone else" (or what you perceive to be "like everyone else"), but without these very aforementioned traits, no MBA will put you in a position to succeed in anything anyhow.

This may sound counterintuitive, but you have the gift of having no option but to carve your own path. You can't change your past. You're wasting time scheming on how to get into a top MBA program that is highly likely not in the cards for you. But it's a gift in a way, because the path is clear - you simply have to buckle down, hustle and get the kind of work you want without the option of "should I go do an MBA or not". It gives you no choice but to focus without dilly dallying in your head about "what if?" scenarios and trying to reverse engineer some profile to counteract a past that you can't change.

Essentially, assume you have no chance of getting into a top MBA program. That will clear your head to FOCUS.

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Feb 25, 2016

if someone tells you "you are screwed" and you are ready to believe in this (as you are asking), just give up in the first place. Or do not ask stupid questions and find a way/ways to do what you wanna do.

Mar 6, 2016
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