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Low GPA! What Can I Do

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Low GPA! What Can I Do [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2004, 13:37
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I have been in United States for 5 years from Belgium. I graduated from a state university in California because of their low tuition fee, and they had good business programs.

Unfortunately, i made some bad decisions in school that i ended up with a horibble GPA of 2.75. It is very low! i know and i feel ashame of myself. I guess i was so involve in leadership role in school that i wasn't paying attention on my studies. Plus, i had 3 jobs so that i can pay my way through college. I was the president of my Computer Club, treasurer of ASB, Senator...etc. Anyway, i have four years of IT experience. I did CRM software consultant for one year for a prestigious software company. One year in Technical Support Analyst and two years in a very large software corporation as a System Analyst. All the companies i have worked for for four years are willing to write recommendation for me to go to the MBA program.


My plan is to go to graduate school (MBA) in England. Some of them require a GPA of 3.5-4.

What should my plan be. Will a score above 700 on the GMAT help me get into a graduate school and be more lenient on my low GPA? or do i need to take some classes to make up for my low GPA?

thank you.
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 [#permalink] New post 13 Jun 2004, 14:24
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A high GMAT score will definitely help counterbalance a low GPA. Some other things that should help you out:

1) Make sure that your applications reflect all of the leadership activities in which you were involved during undergrad. Make sure that the committee knows that you were working yourself through school Also be open about the fact that you were overcommited and that you've learned how to be involved and still make the grade.

2) To support that second point, you should consider taking a couple business-oriented courses at a local community college. Make sure you ace them! This will help prove that you have what it takes to succeed in b-school
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Thanks for the advice [#permalink] New post 13 Jun 2004, 18:03
Thank you so much! I will definetely follow your advice.
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Jun 2004, 08:06
Hi,

I'm also in a similar situation. My undergrad GPA was pretty pathetic. I worked through my undergrad because of money constraints. At one time, I was working full time as a Web Developer for Siemens Corporation and studying part time. I wasn't involved in any clubs/organizations in college to show any leadership experience. I graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Six months before graduation, I was already working for a consulting company which was also a teaching facility, working on in-house projects and teaching E-Commerce. They introduced that course after hiring me and I designed the curriculum from the ground up. Later, somehow I managed to get into a decent master’s program (part time) in Management of Information Systems at New Jersey Institute of Technology (state university). Apart from the core technical courses, I’m concentrating on Knowledge Management and Decision Analysis type courses. This time around I figured the importance of the grades and maintained a GPA of 3.5. I’m more than half way done and hope to maintain my GPA if not increase it.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been working as a consultant for NYC Dept of Education. I’ve gone from being a developer, to a senior developer to a team leader for my project almost doubling my compensation. My manager is willing to write a recommendation for me, in fact he wrote me one when I applied for my MS program.

So, in summary, I have a BS in Computer Engineering (very low GPA), MS in Management of IS (maintaining a good GPA), 4-5 years of full time work experience (showing growth and leadership). I can get one professional and one academic recommendation letter.

Now my $64,000 question to you is, with a GMAT score 700 or more, do I have a shot at a Top 10 Business school? Can a MS degree overshadow my undergrad mishap? I know the importance of essays and interviews in the admission process. What should be my game plan?

I’m more interested in going to Europe because the programs are only a year. I understand the European schools tend to prefer older crowd. I’ll be 27 by the time I apply. According to Forbes magazine, the salaries of graduates from top European schools are comparable to top US schools. Would I still have good opportunities in US? I want to come back home to work.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2004, 12:24
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Pkt wrote:

Now my $64,000 question to you is, with a GMAT score 700 or more, do I have a shot at a Top 10 Business school? Can a MS degree overshadow my undergrad mishap? I know the importance of essays and interviews in the admission process. What should be my game plan?

<snip>

Would I still have good opportunities in US? I want to come back home to work.



I think that a strong GMAT score, good graduate-level grades, AND a strong explanation about why your undergrad GPA is low can combine to overcome that weakness. But, as you can expect, adcomms will probably be locked on to this as your application's single biggest weakness, so you'll have to give them a good reason for why it was so.

If I were you, I actually might be more worried about the lack of undergrad extracurricular activities. The low GPA can be compensated by those other things, but do you have community service experience (or other experiences that demonstrate leadership) to balance out your lack of involvement in school?

I don't know for certain what the recruiting situation is like for European grads looking to work in the U.S., but I'd expect that you'd have your work cut out for you. You'll probably have to find American companies on your own and get interviews with them, rather than them coming to your school. It's not that American companies don't value a European MBA; it's just that most grads from European schools want to work in Europe, so U.S. companies don't recruit at those schools (it's simply not worth the time and money). So, you'll need to do a lot more legwork. Not impossible, but keep that in mind.

What do you think of some of the U.S. schools that offer one-year programs? They may give you the best of both worlds.

Scott
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2004, 13:35
Thanks Scott for the insightful information.

I had some community experience during my Undergrad days. I volunteered some time for organizing blood drives in my community. Back in high school I used to be a part of Kiwanis Key Club organizing events for senior citizens. I also used to tutor grades 3 to 5 as a part of the Key club. I used to be a member of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) but I wasn’t a major contributor.

I still have about a year before I apply. Is it too late to pack on some extra curricular activities or volunteer work that demonstrates leadership? I guess something is better than nothing but I don’t want to look desperate in front of the business school. Also, how strict are the schools about requiring proofs and references? I haven’t really maintained my contacts since all this was a very long time ago.

About 1year MBA programs in US, none of them are in top 25 or even top 50. Most top programs in US are 2 years. It’s hard for me to take that much time off since I have to maintain a house and support my parents. If I do my MBA, I want it from a school that is recognized world wide.

Again, comments have been very helpful and I would appreciate you guidance.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2004, 20:00
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Pkt wrote:
I still have about a year before I apply. Is it too late to pack on some extra curricular activities or volunteer work that demonstrates leadership? I guess something is better than nothing but I don’t want to look desperate in front of the business school. Also, how strict are the schools about requiring proofs and references? I haven’t really maintained my contacts since all this was a very long time ago.

About 1year MBA programs in US, none of them are in top 25 or even top 50. Most top programs in US are 2 years. It’s hard for me to take that much time off since I have to maintain a house and support my parents. If I do my MBA, I want it from a school that is recognized world wide.

Again, comments have been very helpful and I would appreciate you guidance.



Ha ha... Key Club... I did that, too. :) I would avoid talking about too much high school stuff, though. Unless you have an incredible experience from back then that you absolutely must talk about, try to talk about more recent achievements. The blood drive in college is good, although ideally you took on a leadership role there.

It's not too late to get involved. Like you said, something is better than nothing. Think about what really matters to you and how you can make an impact in that area.

For your extracurricular stuff you won't need proof or references. Of course, in your application you will have 2 or 3 letters of reference, but they don't need to be from these activities. If one reference comes from this area, then fine, but schools prefer professional references, anyway.

BTW, where are you looking for one-year MBA programs (what information source)? Some top-ranked schools that normally do two-year programs also offer one-year programs. Kellogg and Emory immediately come to mind, but I'm sure there are more. At Kellogg we have around 65 or so one-year students each year. It's competitive, but think about applying!

Scott
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2004, 11:14
Hmm.. I guess all my hard work giving back to the community in High School went to waste :roll: ha.. ha..j/k :?

Well then, I'll follow your advise to get involved while I still have some time.

If the American companies prefer candidates here in the US, then I guess I'll have to stick around here for my degree. Ultimately my goal is more opportunites and high potential for career growth. Personally I would love to live in Europe and travel but I can't drag my family around everywhere. I was hoping to get some international exposure along the way.

Btw, how would you compare the 1 yr programs offered by top school to their 2 yr counterparts. How does it factor in when companies come out to recruit. Also, if you can direct me to some sources. I'm gonna get your MBA Game plan book. It seems like a good place to start for building my own game plan 8-)

Thanks Scott :)
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2004, 11:50
I'll jump in here, if you don't mind.

Personally, I think 1 year programs match up very favorably versus their 2 year counterparts. I think there only a few programs, partially because schools want to get those extra tuition dollars out of you. Kellogg's program is highly regarded. You should know that many 1-year programs are looking for applicants who have and undergraduate degree in business, thereby allowing them to bypass a lot of the required courses. Recruiting is factor too, because you don't have the ability to do an internship. As such most 1-year students plan on going back to their previous employer. You can still utilize the school's career services team though and if you're staying close to a related industry it shouldn't be too difficult to find a new full-time job.

Oh and yes, Your MBA Game Plan is a great place to start (and most likely end) in building your own game plan.
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