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Top Business School for Low GPA

monty09's picture
Rank: Almost Human | 6,952

Its no secert guys I have a sub 3.0 gpa but looking to apply to b school. Which top programs do you know of that have accepted people with sub 3.0?

I am looking at Texas and Rice and know two people who go there now with sub 3.0 so all good there. However, what other programs are open to low GPA?

I heard stories of a NW student with a 2.4 and a Cornell student with 2.6.. any others? Any from Booth? Wharton?

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Can I Get Into An MBA Program with a Bad GPA?

Yes - you can get into an MBA program with a GPA that is below 3.0 but you will need to be conscious of the fact that you need a good story, a great GMAT score, or be willing to go to a lower tier school than the Harvard, Stanford, and Whartons of the world. Our users shared their experiences below.

MPG:

Got into Columbia and Chicago (and Wharton interview) with a 2.9 UG GPA.

Now, as every school says, they take everything into account

  • I am military, which is almost like being a minority
  • My undergrad was in engineering, so that is like a 3.0+ in some of the easier majors
  • I have a masters in engineering, and its a 4.0 GPA
  • My GMAT is 95th percentile

So, you can get into top schools with a low GPA, but you have to have great essays, work experience, ECs, and interview very well.

Elisha Strait - Consulting Analyst:

Stanford and HBS admit plenty of people with sub 3.0s. However, to do so you must go far beyond showing you are capable of performing academically. You need to have a compelling story which makes them think they have to have you. Both schools value GPA, so really show your true self in your application so that they can see what is special about you, whether it is your past or your future. If you are amazing they will blink at the GPA.

Some other users shared more anecdotal advice:

monty09:

Good friend of mine also was accepted at Columbia with a 2.8 but he had a very high GMAT as well (740 if I recall)

Letsgomets:

I got an interview with Booth and scholarships to Emory and CMU with a 2.5.

shorttheworld - Asset Management Vice President:

2.7 undergrad 700 GMAT (48q 38V 6awa, so the infamous 80 80 split was achieved at bare minimum ) good work experience and ECs -- i think the biggest limiting device to the bad gpa is that it usually is coupled with bad work experience. If you can be one of the guys who manages a good job or work on some other things with a bad undergrad GPA you can easily turn things around imho. I got into UT and waitlisted at Columbia despite Columbia being notorious for autodinging for low gpa -- and that was non ED.

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Comments (331)

Feb 20, 2011

Got into Columbia and Chicago (and Wharton interview) with a 2.9 UG GPA

Now, as every school says, they take everything into account

I am military, which is almost like being a minority
My undergrad was in engineering, so that is like a 3.0+ in some of the easier majors
I have a masters in engineering, and its a 4.0 GPA
My GMAT is 95th percentile

So, you can get into top schools with a low GPA, but you have to have great essays, work experience, ECs, and interview very well.

Feb 20, 2011
jc100021:

Got into Columbia and Chicago (and Wharton interview) with a 2.9 UG GPA

Now, as every school says, they take everything into account

I am military, which is almost like being a minority
I undergrad was in engineering, so that is like a 3.0+ in some of the easier majors
I have a masters in engineering, and its a 4.0 GPA
My GMAT is 95th percentile

So, you can get into top schools with a low GPA, but you have to have great essays, work experience, ECs, and interview very well.

good friend of mine also was accepted at columbia with a 2.8 but he had a very high gmat as well(740 if i recall)

Thank you for the reply.. I think I have a good background and on the lower end on gmat(670) but plan to retake along with two courses this summer.

Feb 20, 2011

Don't forget that Monty09 is brown so that helps....

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Feb 20, 2011
HPM:

Don't forget that Monty09 is brown so that helps....

what can brown do for you? Im like UPS baby

Feb 20, 2011

i too have sub 3.0 ug gpa in bus admin major. do you think retaking courses at a community college with high grades will substantially help? i.e. worth the time/effort if it only helps minimally?>

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Jun 1, 2016

I think they can really help your overall GPA. I am also a BUS admin major with a sub major of accounting. I personally think that the more courses you take, it can help your GPA with the condition that your university actually accepts those courses. I took many courses in my community college such as high level math and chemistry classes, but they just accepted some of them and for example I took a 4 unit Calculus II class which is hard if you haven't had it by the way and they accepted it as only a 1 unit class.

Feb 20, 2011

Mont, I am no adcom expert, but with your resume and recs I think you'll be competitive at a lot of places. I'm anxious for more informed people to chime in though. Being a UPS kinda fella also helps.

Feb 20, 2011

some kid got into oxford and insead with a 1.8

Feb 20, 2011
LLcoolJ:

some kid got into oxford and insead with a 1.8

that was a great story..

Feb 20, 2011
monty09:
LLcoolJ:

some kid got into oxford and insead with a 1.8

that was a great story..

that kid... was me. it was an EPIC story

Feb 20, 2011

How do business schools look at ~3.0 GPA with a death of a parent during college?

Feb 20, 2011
Im with Busey:

How do business schools look at ~3.0 GPA with a death of a parent during college?

Happened to me...it certainly helps explain away a lot of stuff.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Feb 21, 2011
HPM:
Im with Busey:

How do business schools look at ~3.0 GPA with a death of a parent during college?

Happened to me...it certainly helps explain away a lot of stuff.

It really is a great card to whip out when explaining (obviously it'd be better to not have to explain it) and it makes the interviewer feel like a doucher. I typically look them right in the eyes and let it get quiet so we can bask in the awkwardness.

Mar 28, 2011
happypantsmcgee:
Im with Busey:

How do business schools look at ~3.0 GPA with a death of a parent during college?

Happened to me...it certainly helps explain away a lot of stuff.

Holy shit, me too. I'm suddenly not feeling like such an oddball case.

Feb 20, 2011

I got an interview with Booth and scholarships to Emory and CMU with a 2.5.

Feb 20, 2011
Letsgomets:

I got an interview with Booth and scholarships to Emory and CMU with a 2.5.

congrads.... what is CMU?

Feb 20, 2011

carny mellon mang!

Feb 20, 2011
shorttheworld:

carny mellon mang!

what rock have you been hiding under?

Feb 20, 2011

I'm at Emory now if you want to pm questions.

Feb 20, 2011

I'm at Emory now if you want to pm questions.

Feb 20, 2011
Letsgomets:

I'm at Emory now if you want to pm questions.

think my questions should stay on here as others may have the same ones..

how did you work around a lower GPA?

Feb 20, 2011

Good school, tough major, good work experience at top firms, and a top gmat score.

There was no excuse for the GPA, I played online poker instead of going to class.

Feb 20, 2011
Letsgomets:

Good school, tough major, good work experience at top firms, and a top gmat score.

There was no excuse for the GPA, I played online poker instead of going to class.

I have a 670 and planning to retake. I am a URM so hoping that helps

Feb 21, 2011

I wonder how many people in the world would trade a parent for HBS. Or not just parents, but anything--would you trade an inch of your dick length for automatic admission to HBS? What about a receding hairline? Would you gain 50 lbs in fat? Assume all changes permanent. Would you marry and ugly woman?

Feb 21, 2011
jc100021:

I wonder how many people in the world would trade a parent for HBS. Or not just parents, but anything--would you trade an inch of your dick length for automatic admission to HBS? What about a receding hairline? Would you gain 50 lbs in fat? Assume all changes permanent. Would you marry and ugly woman?

i dont know about you guys but I love my mom and dad...

Feb 26, 2011

.

Feb 21, 2011

I didn't trade shit dude. I sincerely hope that that was a hypothetical question. It's not like I came home one day and was like, 'listen dad, my GPA sucks so I am going to have to kill you and take care of my 2 brothers so I can explain it away'

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Feb 21, 2011
HPM:

I didn't trade shit dude. I sincerely hope that that was a hypothetical question. It's not like I came home one day and was like, 'listen dad, my GPA sucks so I am going to have to kill you and take care of my 2 brothers so I can explain it away'

No man I wasn't inferring that--I was talking about the general population. I know most people wouldn't trade a parent, but its sad to say that its unlikely SOMEONE in this world wouldn't. Its completely hypothetical--don't take offense. I listed a whole bunch of things in that post.

Feb 21, 2011
jc100021:
HPM:

I didn't trade shit dude. I sincerely hope that that was a hypothetical question. It's not like I came home one day and was like, 'listen dad, my GPA sucks so I am going to have to kill you and take care of my 2 brothers so I can explain it away'

No man I wasn't inferring that--I was talking about the general population. I know most people wouldn't trade a parent, but its sad to say that its unlikely SOMEONE in this world wouldn't. Its completely hypothetical--don't take offense. I listed a whole bunch of things in that post.

I see what you're saying. I wouldn't trade a parent for entrance to HBS like I wouldn't trade my arm for it.

Feb 21, 2011

I assume/hope JC was being facetious.

Feb 21, 2011

And yes, I was being facetious

Feb 21, 2011

Fair point, I wasn't offended as much as I assumed that NO ONE would even consider that but in hindsight, I guess you're right. There are definitely people out there that would do it.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Feb 21, 2011

this thread has definitely gone WAY off topic. for those who got in with sub-3.0 and high GMATs, how did you prepare for the exam? When did you start? Did you hire a private tutor? Also, what was your freshman year GPA?

Feb 21, 2011

2.7 undergrad 700 GMAT (48q 38V 6awa, so the infamous 80 80 split was achieved at bare minimum )good work experience and ECs -- i think the biggest limiting device to the bad gpa is that it usually is coupled with bad work experience -- if you can be one of the guys who manages a good job or to work some other things with a bad undergrad GPA you can easily turn things around imho. i got into UT and waitlisted at Columbia despite columbia being notorious for autodinging for low gpa -- and that was non ED.

i also went and did certificate classes at NYU and pulled a 3.72 GPA off last semester to show i have academic hope.

Feb 21, 2011
shorttheworld:

2.7 undergrad 700 GMAT (48q 38V 6awa, so the infamous 80 80 split was achieved at bare minimum )good work experience and ECs -- i think the biggest limiting device to the bad gpa is that it usually is coupled with bad work experience -- if you can be one of the guys who manages a good job or to work some other things with a bad undergrad GPA you can easily turn things around imho. i got into UT and waitlisted at Columbia despite columbia being notorious for autodinging for low gpa -- and that was non ED.

i also went and did certificate classes at NYU and pulled a 3.72 GPA off last semester to show i have academic hope.

Describe bad work experience.

Feb 21, 2011
shorttheworld:

2.7 undergrad 700 GMAT (48q 38V 6awa, so the infamous 80 80 split was achieved at bare minimum )good work experience and ECs -- i think the biggest limiting device to the bad gpa is that it usually is coupled with bad work experience -- if you can be one of the guys who manages a good job or to work some other things with a bad undergrad GPA you can easily turn things around imho. i got into UT and waitlisted at Columbia despite columbia being notorious for autodinging for low gpa -- and that was non ED.

i also went and did certificate classes at NYU and pulled a 3.72 GPA off last semester to show i have academic hope.

I had this happen to me in an interview(at UT)...they was curious how i got my job given gpa

Mar 17, 2011
shorttheworld:

2.7 undergrad 700 GMAT (48q 38V 6awa, so the infamous 80 80 split was achieved at bare minimum )good work experience and ECs -- i think the biggest limiting device to the bad gpa is that it usually is coupled with bad work experience -- if you can be one of the guys who manages a good job or to work some other things with a bad undergrad GPA you can easily turn things around imho. i got into UT and waitlisted at Columbia despite columbia being notorious for autodinging for low gpa -- and that was non ED.

i also went and did certificate classes at NYU and pulled a 3.72 GPA off last semester to show i have academic hope.

Did you consider taking any classes at Columbia to show that you have the academic/intellectual capacity? I have a 700 GMAT and my GPA is just under a 3 (2.98). I've applied to a few schools but as I've not heard from any I'm planning my next steps. I have the summer to take courses - did you hear anything about Columbia summer sessions (doing calc, economics etc.) when you did your research?

Thanks!

Feb 21, 2011

Studied for 2 weeks for the test. Took a weekend veritas course for the verbal section. Took the test in June, scored a 780.

  • wrm276
  •  Feb 22, 2011
Letsgomets:

Studied for 2 weeks for the test. Took a weekend veritas course for the verbal section. Took the test in June, scored a 780.

thats a great score. Did you apply to any of the other top-10 schools besides booth? Even with a gmat in the top quartile for the top schools, do you think a <3.0 average is just too much for the adcoms to overcome?

Feb 25, 2011
wrm276:
Letsgomets:

Studied for 2 weeks for the test. Took a weekend veritas course for the verbal section. Took the test in June, scored a 780.

thats a great score. Did you apply to any of the other top-10 schools besides booth? Even with a gmat in the top quartile for the top schools, do you think a <3.0 average is just too much for the adcoms to overcome?

I applied to 6 top-10 schools, was interviewed at Kellogg (who interviews everyone) and Booth. HBS, Stanford, MIT, and Duke rejected me without an interview.

I went to a good school, have good work experience, but really don't add much diversity to those schools. I'm a white male from NY with finance background. They can find plenty of those with good GPAs and high gmat scores, and there's precisely the problem. I think that to get into a top school with a bad gpa, you need to really add something different to the community.

Feb 21, 2011

admin assistant. enterprise rent a car. lol

Feb 21, 2011
shorttheworld:

admin assistant. enterprise rent a car. lol

I had a wise fella tell me about an enterprise rent a car guy who got into a certain Texas school....hahahha

Feb 21, 2011
txjustin:
shorttheworld:

admin assistant. enterprise rent a car. lol

I had a wise fella tell me about an enterprise rent a car guy who got into a certain Texas school....hahahha

same bird flew by my house

Feb 21, 2011
shorttheworld:

admin assistant. enterprise rent a car. lol

At least with an admin assistant there is a possibility of networkz.

Feb 22, 2011

Stanford and HBS admit plenty of people with sub 3.0s. However, to do so you must go far beyond showing you are capable of performing academically. You need to have a compelling story which makes them think they have to have you. Both schools value GPA, so really show your true self in your application so that they can see what is special about you, whether it is your past or your future. If you are amazing they will blink at the GPA. For more information you may check this link http://www.thedegreeexperts.com/dg-business-93.aspx

Feb 22, 2011

2.9 with invite to Wharton. Will let you know how possible it is to get in around March 24th.

Feb 22, 2011
navyrugby:

2.9 with invite to Wharton. Will let you know how possible it is to get in around March 24th.

i've noticed that most of you come from very highly ranked universities. i go to a small private non-target in upstate new york. i'm certain that a 2.9 at my school is not the same as a 2.9 at navy... thoughts?

Feb 22, 2011
turtles:
navyrugby:

2.9 with invite to Wharton. Will let you know how possible it is to get in around March 24th.

i've noticed that most of you come from very highly ranked universities. i go to a small private non-target in upstate new york. i'm certain that a 2.9 at my school is not the same as a 2.9 at navy... thoughts?

my school is in the top 50 LACs on us news...

Feb 22, 2011

How well does Emory place in trading?

Feb 25, 2011
TraderDaily:

How well does Emory place in trading?

For undergrad, it places well. For B-school - I'm the only one looking. It's tough to get trading without coming from a very highly ranked school.

Feb 22, 2011

im going to go with no. assuming you mean mba. trading at MBA level chicago and columbia tend to be typical

Feb 22, 2011

i feel i have a strong story but top 10 is really pushing it for me. Great to hear stories of people who have done it.

Feb 22, 2011

i think we can both do it monty :> chitown bound lol or you come to nyc for columbia ;p

top ranked universities? i went to uconn undergrad... i mean maybe in the overall theyre a high ranked public school and many below it but wouldnt say TOP TOP.. muchmuchmuch better than crapola university usa that charges 40k as a private school yes

Feb 22, 2011

my good buddy who went to columbia was a 2.8 gpa guy but 740 gmat

Apr 30, 2013
monty09:

my good buddy who went to columbia was a 2.8 gpa guy but 740 gmat

Feb 22, 2011

shorttheworld--did you ever take my advice and reach out to an alumnus to contact admissions on your behalf? being on the waitlist, something like that can really make a difference.

Feb 22, 2011

lol i tried i have a few other things im working on but i dont know anyone really in my direct network that is a CBS alum that may have some sway i just know people there right now really -- overall i dont mind waiting another year honestly. can still make some cashycash at work and make it wooooooork

Feb 23, 2011

if you know people currently there, then ask them--pull every string you have. Reapplying sucks.....

Feb 23, 2011

And BTW, whoever threw monkey shit at me for my hypothetical question of what would you give up to go to HBS (dick length, a toe, a parent), go eat a dick. I was lightheartedly joking and curious what people really would consider giving.

Feb 23, 2011

Didn't realize your network could actually impact admissions, thanks jc...

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

Feb 23, 2011
Jorge:

Didn't realize your network could actually impact admissions, thanks jc...

networks help with EVERYTHING

Feb 23, 2011

It can impact admissions if they really write a genuine recommendation. I had an NYU alumnus who was also a military academy alumnus write a recommendation (not an official one for the app, but an email directly to the admissions people) about the rigors of the academy and the military, and the work I was doing in Iraq at the time--made me sound 10x better than I really was. I got an offer faster than most people.

Feb 23, 2011
jc100021:

It can impact admissions if they really write a genuine recommendation. I had an NYU alumnus who was also a military academy alumnus write a recommendation (not an official one for the app, but an email directly to the admissions people) about the rigors of the academy and the military, and the work I was doing in Iraq at the time--made me sound 10x better than I really was. I got an offer faster than most people.

so are you going to stern? sorry, i haven't read everything on the tread...

Feb 23, 2011
turtles:
jc100021:

It can impact admissions if they really write a genuine recommendation. I had an NYU alumnus who was also a military academy alumnus write a recommendation (not an official one for the app, but an email directly to the admissions people) about the rigors of the academy and the military, and the work I was doing in Iraq at the time--made me sound 10x better than I really was. I got an offer faster than most people.

so are you going to stern? sorry, i haven't read everything on the tread...

He's going to Columbia

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Feb 23, 2011

No, Columbia--but I had another military/Columbia guy write to their admissions office for me as well ;) That guy was a VP at Evercore/Lazard/Greenhill--so I think he had some pull.

Feb 25, 2011
Military_MBA_Banker:

No, Columbia--but I had another military/Columbia guy write to their admissions office for me as well ;) That guy was a VP at Evercore/Lazard/Greenhill--so I think he had some pull.

Care to share your networking "tactics"?

In fact, it would be a great idea for a distinct thread. I'd even make multiple accounts and unload my silver bananas.

Yeah, my networking sucks....

I win here, I win there...

Mar 2, 2011
Bi-Winning:
Military_MBA_Banker:

No, Columbia--but I had another military/Columbia guy write to their admissions office for me as well ;) That guy was a VP at Evercore/Lazard/Greenhill--so I think he had some pull.

Care to share your networking "tactics"?

In fact, it would be a great idea for a distinct thread. I'd even make multiple accounts and unload my silver bananas.

Yeah, my networking sucks....

My networking tactics are easy only because going to a service academy puts you in a very strong network on the street. I have networked with complete strangers though with nothing in common. I basically just search on linkedin, find who I want to talk to, and send them a friend request and use my word-limited message to give a quick background and why I would like to talk with them. Works about 25% of the time.

Feb 23, 2011

Awesome, what did you do for Stern's essay 3 by the way? Feel like I've been overthinking it.

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

Feb 23, 2011

Is that the personal expression?

Feb 23, 2011

Yeah that one, they've put a lot of emphasis on creativity that I'm now a bit confused on what to do lol.

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

Feb 23, 2011

I just wrote an essay and talked about who I was, what motivated me, an extra-curricular I didn't get a chance to discuss in any other essay.

DO NOT use your Chicago Booth slides.

Feb 23, 2011

Haha. Yeah, I think it goes without saying.

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

Mar 1, 2011

Hi monty09,

Don't be too pessimistic about a low GPA. Every year candidates with low GPAs are accepted into top MBA programs. We worked with a client who was in a similar situation as you. Our client was fairly solid in many areas - he had deep extra-curricular interests, average but interesting work experience and some very interesting personal stories. However, he had a below average GPA that could have derailed his entire application.

In our strategy, we saw that this client's story was a personal one that chronicled how he developed and pursued an intense interest in martial arts. That interest actually took him away from school for two semesters and became a distraction that contributed to a very low GPA. But it also helped him develop certain characteristics and unique abilities that strengthened his character, and made him a much stronger leader and team player. In his essays he discussed his renewed commitment to academics and explained how he had developed qualities that would enable him to excel in business school and in the business world.

In the end, he was admitted to Columbia and Chicago. For your application, I recommend you take a similar strategy. Discuss your low GPA in your application, and you can turn the experience into a positive.

I hope this was of help.

Best,

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team

Mar 2, 2011

Stacy, which did he choose--Columbia or Chicago? Just curious.

Mar 17, 2011

3.8 from top 3 undergrad, 700 GMAT?

Mar 17, 2011

not bothering with the columbia biz prep stuff because its all stuff ive taken, 4k a class, and wont add anything when i can take NYU classes for 800 each and gain something from them

Mar 24, 2011

In at Wharton with a 2.88, 690

Jul 29, 2015

Congrats navyrugby! Would you mind sharing a bit more about your background please (work experience, extracurricular activities, recommendations, etc)? Thanks in advance!

    • 2
Mar 24, 2011

navyrugby, that is awesome--congrats.

Don't take no for an answer, never submit to failure.
-Winston Churchill

Jul 29, 2015

Also interested

Jul 29, 2015

3.3-3.4 from ivy should be fine. i got into an m7 with a 3.5 in finance from a top 10 ugrad bschool.

Jul 29, 2015
lax88:

3.3-3.4 from ivy should be fine. i got into an m7 with a 3.5 in finance from a top 10 ugrad bschool.

Thanks for your input. If I have 3.3-3.4 range of GPA, what range of gmat score would I need to gun for in order to have a shot at top ten MBA?

Also, you mind if I ask you what kind of industry experience you had prior to applying to MBA? thx

Jul 29, 2015

Don't the B schools publish their averages and ranges online? Also, from what I understand you can make up for lower GPA with high GMAT.

Jul 29, 2015

if youre an enrique im sure youre hispanic so you can have a 2.5yeehaw

Jul 29, 2015
shorttheworld:

if youre an enrique im sure youre hispanic so you can have a 2.5yeehaw

no i am white, and my name in real life ain't enrique.

Jul 29, 2015

Maybe you should just lie about your GPA. It's gotten you this far...

Jul 29, 2015

You'll want to aim for 700+ for any top 10. Obviously, there are a lot of other factors that Adcoms will take into consideration because people do get in with sub 700 gmat scores (since ~700 is the average at many top 10 schools). That said, a ton of people get denied to top 10 b-schools (while getting accepted to other top 10's) with 3.5 gpa and 700+ GMAT scores; it's really evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is impossible to say where you'll get in unless you're a slam dunk candidite.

I know a guy who got dinged at Darden but got into Booth. Why? Who knows. B-school admissions can be somewhat of a crap shoot in my opinion. It just depends on a lot of factors...

Jul 29, 2015
XPJ:

You'll want to aim for 700+ for any top 10. Obviously, there are a lot of other factors that Adcoms will take into consideration because people do get in with sub 700 gmat scores (since ~700 is the average at many top 10 schools). That said, a ton of people get denied to top 10 b-schools (while getting accepted to other top 10's) with 3.5 gpa and 700+ GMAT scores; it's really evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is impossible to say where you'll get in unless you're a slam dunk candidite.

I know a guy who got dinged at Darden but got into Booth. Why? Who knows. B-school admissions can be somewhat of a crap shoot in my opinion. It just depends on a lot of factors...

I see, thanks for your feedback. So, it seems that as long as you have a decent GPA and 700+ on GMAT, your academic credentials are fine and your work experience will determine MBA admission...

Btw, do you know what kind of industry experience or job function (such as IBD, s&t, corporate finance at F500, marketing, accounting, etc) top mba programs prefer to admit?

Jul 29, 2015

Your numbers aren't a problem in the broad Top 10.

Mar 24, 2011

Thanks so much. What a day!!!!!!

Jul 29, 2015

720 GMAT puts you in the middle of the pack for top b-schools. Low GPA pulls you to the back of the pack. You should hope to have killer work experience, recos, essays, etc. Also, it wouldn't hurt to have legacy admissions on your side (a parent alum).

An option might be to wait longer for b-school. The typical 2-yr analyst, then b-school might not be enough (for a top program). If you wait 5-yrs, admissions committees might put less weight on your GPA since you'd have more relevant exp.

Jul 29, 2015

hm, so is it worth a shot?

Should I retake the GMAT to aim for a 740? Killer experience is hard if you're not at a top BB and then crossover to the buyside. I mean how are you supposed to "get" a work killer experience without being at Lazard/Evercore or at a BB?

Jul 29, 2015

Your GPA trend also plays a factor. If your GPA trended up then that's more of a positive than flat or a downward trend.

what's your major GPA/final two year GPA? If those are at or below the average than you might have problems.

Jul 29, 2015

interested as well...

Jul 29, 2015

http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admissions/full-...
Average GMAT: 719
Average UG gpa: 3.42

You're marginally below that mid-point benchmark. Retake.

Baby you're the perfect shape, baby you're the perfect weight. Treat me like my birthday, I want it this way and I want it that way. It makes a man feel good baby.

Jul 29, 2015
R0bin:

http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admissions/full-...
Average GMAT: 719
Average UG gpa: 3.42

You're marginally below that mid-point benchmark. Retake.

What does anyone have to say about the opposite? For instance, this may be my situation:

Undergrad GPA (NT): 3.8+
GMAT:700

Here to learn and hopefully pass on some knowledge as well. SB if I helped.

Jul 29, 2015

My last two years were dramatically better. Think 3.4 - 3.9 ish Dean's list 3 semesters.

I tanked my first 2 years due to family problems/funding problems and I hated my major. I changed to BSBA in Finance and always got a 3.5 and above. I had to skip 3 semester between my sophomore/junior year due to my family's assets tanking during the housing bust.

Jul 29, 2015

How about for LBS or CBS?

I understand Stern is good but I was thinking CBS or LBS if possible.

Jul 29, 2015

Upward trajectory is good. But the overall GPA is still a problem for the top 10 programs. If you can raise your GMAT to 750+ that will do a lot to alleviate adcom's concern regarding your academic performance. I have a similar problem as well, but in my case i burned out and crashed last semester in college after taking 6 classes/semester for two years straight. Your situation is obviously better since you improved at the end.

Jul 29, 2015

Just curious, can I ask how you got this position to begin with given such a low GPA at a non-target?

Jul 29, 2015

As others have said trend in GPA is big. Also major can alleviate a low GPA.

GPA also becomes less relevant with time. It less of a factor after 4 years work exp. than after 2, etc.

More important than that though are your essays. You can definitely get into Stern with your stats if you have some solid essays.

Jul 29, 2015
Cartwright:

As others have said trend in GPA is big. Also major can alleviate a low GPA.

GPA also becomes less relevant with time. It less of a factor after 4 years work exp. than after 2, etc.

More important than that though are your essays. You can definitely get into Stern with your stats if you have some solid essays.

This is my concern as well. I've been out of school for quite some time, so i'm hoping adcom can somewhat forgive my embarrassing last semester in college.

Jul 29, 2015

I had a weak gpa too, 3.2 from penn m&t. 750 GMAT. GPA and GMAT are equally important, I would say GPA is becoming more important as the competition to top mba schools continues to increase. Your GMAT is fine so don't focus on that. I suggest the following:

  1. take post college courses in basic mba classes (stats, acct, fin, mkt) or wherever your grades were weakest in mba targeted courses and ace those in the post-bac setting and you'll be fine. Most people do this and this is what I did too for one stat class i bombed at penn
  2. focus on ECs. Hard to do as an IBD analyst, but people still do it and you have no excuse. It doesn't have to be major but again the mba admission process is a marketing strategy one, so how well you market yourself against your competition and the story you tell and the experiences you have to validate those stories are essential to a successul admission
  3. Put together a stellar application. Determine your marketing strategy and craft it across the essays, school work, work experience and ec etc, and give it all you got.

Remember, the key bottom line to b-school admissions: nothing good in your application will get you in, but one thing weak on your application will keep you out.

Good luck!
Kellogg MBA / penn ugrad

Jul 29, 2015

My GPA (3.1) broke me. At least, that's what Darden told me in my feedback interview.

Kinda lame that your grades from undergrad play such a large role, but these adcoms have to make good decisions from limited data.

Jul 29, 2015

Take classes and make an alternative transcript. MM IB is still a really good job. Volunteer. Get certifications. If your GPA is in bottom 20% of admissions, shoot for top 80% in GMAT.

Jul 29, 2015

How much does the alternate transcript offset the GPA?

Jul 29, 2015

How do you make an alternative transcript?

When I'm an analyst I'm not gonna be able to take classes really.

Mar 24, 2011

You must have some amazing work experience in the military and be a great interviewer.

Don't take no for an answer, never submit to failure.
-Winston Churchill

Jul 29, 2015

Awesome

Jul 29, 2015

Good find.

Jul 29, 2015

Couple of points:

1) As you said, 2.96 is really bad. However, if anyone has mitigating circumstances you do - I would absolutely, absolutely, absolutely aim to build an alternative transcript (perhaps quite a significant one) by taking classes at a local (and hopefully reputable) college in your spare time. You definitely want to show an alternative transcript - in combination with an explanation of your GPA (especially if it was only a couple of years ago) this will really help offset the effects of a bad GPA on admissions decisions.

2) 2 years of work experience may not be enough for you to get into a really good school - schools seem to like 3-5 years based on what I've seen, and the additional time may be really valuable for you in building a much stronger application. I would consider delaying business school if there is no urgent reason you need to go now (and want to get into the best school possible).

3) Based on what I've read, applying in earlier rounds is much better than later rounds - rounds 1-2 seem to be the sweet spot.

Jul 29, 2015

Thanks you for the great advice. I really appreciate it.
After reading your comment, I feel that I should postpone my plan for MBA until 4/5yrs of WE. If that's the case, should I try to make a move to wall street first?

I am currently in healthcare industry, but the only reason that I chose it is to enter IB/ER. Knowing that I have 4~5years left til MBA, should I keep my current job for all 4-5 years? or should I make a move to wall st before MBA?

Thanks

Jul 29, 2015

.

Jul 29, 2015

The longer you've been out of school the less your gpa matters so you're likely to have a better shot 4/5 years out than 2/3. I'd also aim to get a phenomenal GMAT, 720 may not be above average at the schools you're applying to and your gpa is well below average. If you can swing a 750 places may get curious to hear your story.

Jul 29, 2015

3 years in industry are not enough. I know 3-5 is the sweet spot, but you need distance between you and your GPA. Aim higher on the GMAT, take some accounting, finance, math classes at a community college and get As. Finally when you do apply, look at schools in the top 20. You'll need to be flexible and apply broadly.

Jul 29, 2015
guyfromct:

3 years in industry are not enough. I know 3-5 is the sweet spot, but you need distance between you and your GPA. Aim higher on the GMAT, take some accounting, finance, math classes at a community college and get As. Finally when you do apply, look at schools in the top 20. You'll need to be flexible and apply broadly.

Thanks for all the great advice.

The reason why I sound so hasty about going into MBA is that I really want to make my move to IB/ER and eventually hedge fund.

Right now I work in the healthcare industry, where I deal with data science/big data. But my heart is in finance and investment. After I failed to find a job in investment area, I chose healthcare instead because I thought that having that healthcare background could later leverage my way in to healthcare sector of IB/ER.

After reading your advice, I reconsider the timing of my pursuit of MBA. I will probably postpone it until 4/5 yrs of we.
If this is the case, should I spend all my 4-5yrs of we in my current job? or would it be more helpful to make a move around 2,3yr to ER sort of work first and then get mba?

Jul 29, 2015

it seems you have valid reasons to explain your low gpa. do you have anything you can point to that is more reflective of your abilities such as a year in school you did well or a trend in the right direction? i'd echo what others have said -take classes at a local community college or whatever and get As and try to crush the GMAT (740+) so that your GMAT is an asset anywhere you apply as your GPA won't be. Good luck.

Jul 29, 2015

Thanks for your words.

I mean... I was pushing myself to double major when I couldn't have. I was just not in the right mind during my college. Bad days bad decisions. I will take classes at a state university.

Do you recommend staying at my current job until I apply for MBA?

Jul 29, 2015

Dude, you got a 3.0 at a T20 school and majored in stats. Crush the GMAT, get great recs, do some solid ECs and do well at work and you'll be competitive at just about most schools.

Your GPA isn't great, but it isn't like you got a D or an F.

Jul 29, 2015

I'm currently at a T15 MBA program and had a 2.94 undergrad GPA from an Ivy (not Brown/Cornell). It wasn't due to any mitigating circumstances, it was mostly due to laziness and lack of interest. My transcript was mostly As (classes I liked) and CS (classes I didn't care about) with little in between. I also prioritized drinking and partying over school (was going out at least 3 nights a week all through college, many weeks 4 nights). I think it helped me (and will help you) that your degree is from a top school. I also didn't blow out the GMAT, I scored right around 700 so that wasn't a big positive for me on the application. What I think really got me in was my WE. I had 4 years with 2 promotions at a top 25 consulting firm (think Navigant/A&M/FTI) and had experience working internationally, with the CEO and other top execs (I was in internal corp. strategy). I had phenomenal reccs from my manager and the COO of the company. I also cast a broad net, applying to 7 schools, half of which I didn't get into. I knew my GPA would be a burden and so I wanted to give myself the best chance possible. I currently am in the top 10 students in my program in terms of GPA and have a full-time offer at a very competitive position (intern offer rate is 50%, only take 2 out of 18 interviewees each year at my school). I wasn't into IB or Consulting (did consulting, didn't like it, a millions friends did IB and hated it more than anything), but my finance professor kept trying to push me into it and several kids who went to BBs or MBB at my program have voiced that they are glad I didn't apply to those as I would have taken their spots. Basically goes to show that if you can get your foot in the door you can achieve whatever you want despite what came before. I've left that undergrad GPA behind. It can be done.

Jul 29, 2015

Whats your GMAT? If you can pull 750+ you have a chance, but even then, 2.4 is LOW. Is it a school with massive deflation, or did you really do that bad?

Jul 29, 2015

Might have a chance at Michigan MBA as their acceptance rate is above 30% and nearly 40% a year ago

Jul 29, 2015

hey guys, trying to go for a ms real estate
i have 3 years retail experience 1 internship for a small real estate management firm no full time real estate experience
but i do have 3.6 gpa from zicklin baruch majored in real estate
730 GMAT
what are the best programs for me and what kind of jobs do you think i can get to break into real estate looking to be in acquisitions

Jul 29, 2015

No excuse for the low gpa. My grades were all over the place as you can imagine.
Really hoping for CBS as I'm a local, and wouldn't have to start over (apt, car, etc).
I did hear though that CBS is known to be tight with numbers (GPA/GMAT)
Opsdude: my GMAT was 720
And to newguy789, start your own thread pls. Thanks.

Jul 29, 2015

harsh reality you want: 2.4 GPA w/ 720 GMAT, no extraordinary ECs and non-exceptional (although solid) WE means wharton, CBS and perhaps Tuck are probably out of your reach (can't say with any certainty though, of course). Can't speak to the other schools as I haven't researched them.

Jul 29, 2015

you're probably out of luck with your GPA and GMAT combo. I think the best school you can get into would be Carnegie Mellon/Tepper level. POSSIBLY a school like duke with perfect execution. I don't really see a top 10 biting. At top 10 schools, the bottom 10% GPA wise is usually between 3.0 and 3.3 and the average around 3.5-3.7.

Jul 29, 2015

@"OpsDude" kind of what I figured...do you think a 750+ GMAT would at least get me a look?? I guess I'm just trying to do what's in my control. Nothing can change my gpa so....

Jul 29, 2015

The higher the GMAT, the more schools that come into play. I'd def retake and try to 750+.

Jul 29, 2015

Hi Bean, I'd say get a high GMAT as well.

Me: UGPA: 2.48 GMAT 750 Graduate GPA 3.7, 6yrs automotive exp and admitted to CBS and Wharton this year. Best of luck! Feel free to message me with any questions.

Jul 29, 2015

I'm no expert but from my research on MBA stuff for myself 2.4 is going to be tough to overcome. GMAT is solid, but to get into a top school its going to really need to be extraordinary. You're ECs are also going to have to carry you, as will your work experience.

I have heard of a few sub 3.0s getting in Wharton, CBS and the likes, but those are normally 2.9s from good schools.

If I were you I would

1. Keep taking the GMAT until you are getting 750+
2. Hire an admissions consultant and really work on spinning your story well and writing amazing essays
3. Start getting more involved in the community/ make yourself different

I don't know how old you are, but you're probably going to need another year or two to make yourself into a decent candidate. The farther out you get the less GPA matters as long as you can show how much you have changed since your undergrad days. Good luck and anything is possible with enough work.

Jul 29, 2015

I am in a similar situation, but alil bit more desperate. 2.0 GPA from a 40ish public school. started as an engineering major, once kicked outnof school, but crawled back by demonstrating improvements through summer session. Took three finance courses at the berkeley extension and got all A's. Five years of research and corporate banking experience at a major non US bank. 700 in GMAT first try, will take again. Aiming for Georgetown, USC, and rice, reaching for Cornell. Assessment amyone?

Jul 29, 2015

Just to make sure I understand, you took finance courses at berkeley extension before going back to school as a business major?

I responded on the thread below in more detail but i definitely think explaining the GPA in the optional essay as well as retaking the GMAT is the way to go. Adcoms understand alot of students as undergrad don't take college as seriously as they should in the first two years and being able to demonstrate maturity and focus by excelling in the latter part can maybe give you some slack on the GPA as long as the other parts of your application are strong. But i wouldn't rely on just a high gmat score or adcoms looking at a transcript to know that, you have to communicate it.

Cornell is definitely a reach considering the GPA but I think the rest of your choices are right on par if you do those two things I mentioned above. Goodluck! Fellow applicant here as well

Jul 29, 2015

The NYU finance certificate should suffice as a decent alternative transcript --how many courses was it? just asking

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

Jul 29, 2015

Unfortunately your GPA is extremely low for any top 25 schools. I agree with the others that the first thing you should do is aim for a higher GMAT, but I'm honestly not sure how much that alone would help.

Two questions: is your low GPA because of grades in non-major classes or were they freshman/sophomore year too much partying and not enough studying grades? If either is the case, I would definitely write the Optional Essay for every school you're applying to explain this more in detail and illustrate how either your grades improved as you matured and became more focused or how you excelled in your quant classes but not so much in the core required ones by the university.

I think the combination of a higher GMAT, the optional essay, and being about to demonstrate strong work experience can maybe just maybe supplement for the low GPA. I'm a fellow applicant myself so this is just my opinion but fingers crossed it all works out!

Jul 29, 2015

Just wondering,

How much did you study for your GMAT?

Jul 29, 2015

why are you aiming low?
a 720 is in the ballpark for many top tiered schools. if your story is coherent, you have a shot at many places.

Jul 29, 2015

yeah, based on what i've seen on this board and certain resume books that i may have glanced at in exchange for a certain color of banana, i think you definitely have a shot at the top schools - you won't be an automatic admit or anything, but you'd be surprised at the seemingly poor profiles of some students who get in.

Jul 29, 2015

Yea, you are in the ballpark for harvard, columbia, wharton, etc. other than your gpa, which isnt that bad considering your background, you should aim high. check out beatthegmat.com for posts about which schools to apply. or just google it, i mean there is shitload of info about this stuff.

Jul 29, 2015
MBAhunt:

What schools can I target for an MBA with a 720/730 GMAT and a 3.0 gpa out of Columbia

Umm, a lot of schools. (Vague questions get vague answers)

MBAhunt:

6 Months RE I banking

Will be 2 years as a real estate broker

What is recruiting like at a lowered tiered school like georgetown, usc, emory?

You're going to have to be a lot more specific than that. What are your goals? What do you want to do coming out of MBA? Where do you want to work? The answer to your questions will depend on those questions.

If you said you wanted to work in real estate in Southern Cali, I would say USC would be worth your time. If you said you wanted to work in finance in NYC, I would say you are wasting your time and money at USC.

There are a lot of questions that need answering before anybody on an anonymous internet chat forum can help you out.

man made the money, money never made the man

Jul 29, 2015

Two years out the GPA isn't that big of a deal.

Aim for a top 20 school unless you want to do something specialized (IE: real estate, energy, etc.)

Jul 29, 2015

2 years out the gpa isn't a big deal? maybe 10 years out.

2 years is half the exp of most top schools, so gpa does matter. Not the be all end all, but matters.

that aside, i echo mr1234, you have a shot everywhere and guarantees nowhere. And that goes for any profile. It's far more holistic than something like law school admissions.

Jul 29, 2015

I got into Chicago Booth & Columbia with a 720 GMAT and a sub 3.0 GPA, but I had 5 years leadership experience and 4.0 masters in engineering.

Jul 29, 2015

^^And rejected twice by HBS and Wharton

Jul 29, 2015

How much studying did a 720 take?

Jul 29, 2015

For me, a lot. i got a 480 the first time.

Jul 29, 2015

Also helps if you're a URM, of course.

Jul 29, 2015

do URMs really get that much preferential treatment in admissions?

Jul 29, 2015

Well I couldn't quantify it for you, but I think it's pretty well-established that they do. Maybe not as much as law where the bump can be significant but it's definitely a presence.

Plus there's the consortium thing where they can apply to 5 schools with one application.

Then there are all the special IB and consulting j/o sessions just for minorities and gays.

Try to find that native american relative while you still can.

Jul 29, 2015

3.0 gpa is bottom of the barrel at top flight schools. yes it can be done, but it looks really bad and the kids who have those gpas have offsetting stuff on resume such as URM, unusually successful work exp., very high GMAT, or possibly some type of oddball/unusual applicant such as PHD or military.

you're definitely in the mix at top 20 schools, but i'd give a verrrry long shot at top 5. your 2 years exp as a real estate broker will be viewed with great suspicion (it's not a profession that the big schools are typically impressed by), and your .5 years exp as i banker will also be discounted due to the short timeframe and (i'm guessing) lack of meaningful advancement or leadership.

if you want a shot at the bigtime schools you need to demonstrate your gpa was a fluke. you'll need to show advancement at work, a huge gmat score, or some type of EC leadership such as starting a foundation or something like that.

of course, gpa is one small portion of the overall picture, so your application will obviously be considered holistically and not just based on the two numbers you present above.

Jul 29, 2015

I thought online courses aren't highly regarded by admissions committees.

Jul 29, 2015

Not fully sure but I know that HBS asks those with tricky academic backgrounds to take a few classes and get a 3.7 and it advocates using BYU for their rigor and chespness

Jul 29, 2015
shorttheworld:

Not fully sure but I know that HBS asks those with tricky academic backgrounds to take a few classes and get a 3.7 and it advocates using BYU for their rigor and chespness

Good info, thanks!

So if you were to do this, would you list your undergrad and gpa, then separately list the BYU courses and GPA?

Also, what about certificate programs endorsed by a good university. For example, obtaining a certificate in something like Statistics that requires some rigorous courses and you can get quite a bit out of? I'm considering this because I use statistics quite a bit in my position, I was considering going back to school and completing a Mathematics major, but the only reason is that I am mostly interested in the Statistics portion of the curriculum.

Thanks again for the information.

Jul 29, 2015

I'm very interested in the BYU route. I need to up my stats a bit.

Jul 29, 2015

well this is all mainly for applying to business schools -- you still have to do the obligatory 'im sorry i sucked at life and had a low gpa' reasoning in your optional essay -- but certificate programs will work well too. just some schools certificates/'pre b school' programs are 4-5k a class like columbias while NYU's certificate program is 750 a class which i think is a lot more budget friendly. if you are just going back to school to take some math classes and already have another undergrad degree i think just doing some of the basic stats yo uneed and maybe prep it for a masters in stats would be solid?

and yes on my resume i have the NYU classes listed above my undergrad

Jul 29, 2015

Great thread short, was just starting to look into this.

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

Jul 29, 2015

If you are in the Midwest, Northwestern University has a certificate program for aspiring MBAers. NU's classes seem to be more expensive than NYU's however. I think UChicago has certificate program as well but don't quote me on that.

Jul 29, 2015

Triple Post Deleted. Apologies!

Jul 29, 2015

Would a Business Certificate or Advanced Business Certificate from Columbia University School of Professional Studies be sufficient?

I too fall in this category with a very low GPA from a top tier institution, albeit in engineering. Been looking at all of my options to upgrade my stats and somewhat be competitive for my business school applications.

Jul 29, 2015

GPA is going to be a killer. Take more classes until you begin applying to bschool and get A's in them to show you are smart, and doing poorly in school is behind you. And 700 should be your minimum; you'll really need a top gmat score. It's not impossible, but your chances aren't good. You'll need to just play the numbers game and apply to a lot of good bschools until you get in.

Jul 29, 2015

2.6 from a NON-TARGET IN CANADA. That really sucks. Hopefully there were some underlying causes you can explain. Getting a high score on the GMAT can make some plausible excuses though. Maybe you won't get to go to a top-notch MBA school, but you could go somewhere respectable.

Jul 29, 2015

Thanks for the advice!!
Perhaps "non-target school was an understatement"..but it's definitely not McGill or UofT.
Keep the postings coming!

Jul 29, 2015

IMHO - dead at US top schools. Just trying to be real. Get more opinions, though.

Jul 29, 2015

get a 700+ on the GMAT, tell adComs a good story and you will squeeze into a low-end tier 1 program (think UCLA, USC, Emory, UNC)

Jul 29, 2015

Is your degree at least in engineering or something technical? A 2.6 is really low and if it is in something like business or finance that could be a killer. You're going to need well above a 700, more like 740+ to be competitive and even still you can rule out a Top 10 school in the US. You have some extra-curriculars but your work experience is pretty plain vanilla finance and you're going to be competing against a very high caliber group. Definitely take some math and accounting classes and get A's in all of them to try and show you have improved since undergrad. Even still I think even Kellogg is going to be a stretch, you will probably need to step down a tier to be realistic.

Jul 29, 2015

Thanks for your inputs guys! From what I see, US schools should be crossed off. How about Canadian schools? Ivey, UofT, McGill, HEC? Any solid opinion on those?

Jul 29, 2015

The general consensus is to be at 3.5+, I'd try to beat the average of the school you are applying to. But to be honest, I think GPA is one of the least looked upon factors, so if you are stuck with a 3.3, just take some community college courses or Berkeley extension to show that you can handle the course load. GMAT is way more important.

Jul 29, 2015

I don't believe MBA admissions is really as GPA intensive. I agree with the above but I wouldn't stress about it. I'd worry more so about the gmat score. That's the key and work experience, life experiences. Make yourself interesting to them via essays and that comes from work experience.

Jul 29, 2015