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750 GMAT, McKinsey BA, 2.5 GPA (Eng.): HBS/Stanford

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750 GMAT, McKinsey BA, 2.5 GPA (Eng.): HBS/Stanford [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2014, 19:04
Hi Team,

What are my chances with:
750 GMAT
2.51 GPA (BS. Industrial Engineering, Georgia Tech)
2yrs work experience as BA at McKinsey
Confident in my essays and recommendations
US Citizen - white male
Intern experience in UK, China and UAE
Leadership experience / involved in extracurriculars during undergrad

Looking at:
HBS
Stanford
MIT Sloan
London Business School
Booth

Undergrad GPA is extremely low. There was an upwards trend through out the 4 years (went from 1.6 to 3.7), and was initially low as I working part-time while attending classes

What can I best do to offset my low GPA allowing the reviewers to focus on what matters: story/work experience?
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Re: 750 GMAT, McKinsey BA, 2.5 GPA (Eng.): HBS/Stanford [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2014, 06:25
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There are several things you can do to try to mitigate the low GPA. The fact is upward trending is indeed helpful.

- Take a reputable course or two and earn A grade—the work experience shows you can excel at work, and the high GMAT shows you are smart and have academic potential, but only actual good grades demonstrate that you do and can excel in the classroom – all different things, even if inter-related. “Reputable” can be a good online course such as those at UCLA or a local community college. This step also shows willingness to acknowledge a weakness and commitment to the MBA process. It’s good timing as you should be able to sign up for summer courses still.

- In the applications directly acknowledge the low GPA and discuss why it happened in an optional essay. Keep it succinct.

- As you note, optimizing the various areas of the application is also important – always a good idea, but with such a low GPA you really must “WOW” your readers with the essays and resume. The essays need to be home runs.

- Apply to as many schools as is feasible for you – I find that when there is an “outlier” factor in an application that is otherwise strong, increasing the opportunities for the application to “click” with a reader personally helps. There’s always an element of unpredictability in how this factor will appear to a given reader – adcoms (regardless of what they say) tend to be conservative, and adcoms to top programs have a wealth of great applicants of every demographic/industry to choose from, so you need to give them an affirmative reason to admit you even with this one weakness over all those other great applicants.
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