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# Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories

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Manager
Joined: 03 Jun 2010
Posts: 235
Schools: Ross '15 (M)
GMAT 1: 700 Q43 V42
GPA: 3.3
WE: Consulting (Consulting)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 58 [0], given: 37

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28 Mar 2011, 12:06
doggdetroit wrote:
This is still a work in progress, but hopefully it will turn into a success story:

GPA: 2.72 from a top 75 liberal arts college, english major
GMAT: 700 Q45 V40
Race / Ethnicity: White, part Hispanic, (I'm Venezuelan American, born in Venezuela to Venezuelan mother)

My priorities, in order, as an undergraduate:

1) drinking / partying
2) playing division III lacrosse for my college
3) playing videogames
5) drinking / partying

Even worse, my GPA steadily dropped as my academic career progressed, starting off at about a 3.2 my first semester of my freshman year before progressing downward and culminating in a 1.8 the second semester of my senior year, during which I received an F and a no credit for my senior thesis, which I had to return and complete the following semester.

To combat this, years later, I retook the course I failed at DePaul University and received an A. I also took an accounting course through UCLA extension, earning another A. I did not take a single quantitative course as an undergraduate so I wanted to show that I had some quantitative skills.

My work / managerial experience is somewhat limited. For the past 5 years, I've worked for a community bank, where I've held various positions. Currently, I'm in a largely adminstrative position in the bank's loan department. This required a lot of spin in my essays, and personally I think this is more of a turn off than my low GPA.

Some decent volunteer work, but nothing recently.

Applying to:
Ross
Marshall
McCombs
Anderson

I'm also going in during round 3, so it's going to be even tougher. I haven't heard from Ross, so that's not looking good. In the event I receive 4 dings, I think I may take 1 or 2 additional courses to show more of my quantitative abilities, and maybe get involved in some volunteer work.

I'm no expert but:

1) You should absolutely not apply in the 3rd round this year.
2) Spend the next 7 months taking 2-4 courses and acing them, while also taking some sort of leadership position with a non-profit/alumni association, etc.

Round 3 is a crapshoot to begin with, so to go in with a sub-3.0 gpa and with limited leadership experience, you're just asking for a rejection.
Current Student
Joined: 01 Mar 2010
Posts: 106
Location: United States (FL)
Concentration: Finance, Nonprofit
GMAT 1: 640 Q36 V41
GMAT 2: 630 Q42 V34
GMAT 3: 640 Q42 V35
GMAT 4: 620 Q42 V34
GMAT 5: 700 Q45 V40
GPA: 2.71
WE: Underwriter (Other)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 13 [0], given: 20

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28 Mar 2011, 13:14
EChopeful12 wrote:
doggdetroit wrote:
This is still a work in progress, but hopefully it will turn into a success story:

GPA: 2.72 from a top 75 liberal arts college, english major
GMAT: 700 Q45 V40
Race / Ethnicity: White, part Hispanic, (I'm Venezuelan American, born in Venezuela to Venezuelan mother)

My priorities, in order, as an undergraduate:

1) drinking / partying
2) playing division III lacrosse for my college
3) playing videogames
5) drinking / partying

Even worse, my GPA steadily dropped as my academic career progressed, starting off at about a 3.2 my first semester of my freshman year before progressing downward and culminating in a 1.8 the second semester of my senior year, during which I received an F and a no credit for my senior thesis, which I had to return and complete the following semester.

To combat this, years later, I retook the course I failed at DePaul University and received an A. I also took an accounting course through UCLA extension, earning another A. I did not take a single quantitative course as an undergraduate so I wanted to show that I had some quantitative skills.

My work / managerial experience is somewhat limited. For the past 5 years, I've worked for a community bank, where I've held various positions. Currently, I'm in a largely adminstrative position in the bank's loan department. This required a lot of spin in my essays, and personally I think this is more of a turn off than my low GPA.

Some decent volunteer work, but nothing recently.

Applying to:
Ross
Marshall
McCombs
Anderson

I'm also going in during round 3, so it's going to be even tougher. I haven't heard from Ross, so that's not looking good. In the event I receive 4 dings, I think I may take 1 or 2 additional courses to show more of my quantitative abilities, and maybe get involved in some volunteer work.

I'm no expert but:

1) You should absolutely not apply in the 3rd round this year.
2) Spend the next 7 months taking 2-4 courses and acing them, while also taking some sort of leadership position with a non-profit/alumni association, etc.

Round 3 is a crapshoot to begin with, so to go in with a sub-3.0 gpa and with limited leadership experience, you're just asking for a rejection.

I appreciate the concern, but I'm willing to roll the dice at this point. Worst comes to worst, I get rejected at all 4 schools. I do what you allude to in 2) before applying to a few different schools next year in round 1.
Intern
Joined: 05 Mar 2011
Posts: 13
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

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28 Mar 2011, 18:23
One of the most critical pieces to the application is having a compelling and cohesive story (probably preaching to the choir), but I think the emphasis is even greater when competing against other Round 3 applicants and waitlisters for a small number of seats. I think a few points haven't been mentioned that could shed some more light on your competitiveness in R3, namely the archetypical essay questions: What are your career goals? Why do you need an MBA and why now? What have you done to move towards your goals already (what specific skills have been developed and/or what important experiences have you had)?

Best of luck with the decisions!
Intern
Joined: 29 Mar 2011
Posts: 1
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

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29 Mar 2011, 04:08
GPA: 3.1 from top 10 liberal arts college in US
GMAT: 730
Race / Ethnicity: International (Asian)
WE: Management Consulting 5+ years

This was actually my 3rd year applying to b-school
1st year: Rejected from Booth, Wharton, CBS
2nd year: Waitlisted from Haas, Fuqua. Rejected from Stanford, CBS, Kellogg
3rd year: Accepted to Kellogg (I withdrew my application form Haas and Fuqua)

I'm not really sure what convinced the adcoms to admit me this year given that my GPA and GMAT has not changed. The only difference was my essays and WE.

For those who were not able to get in B-school this year, I just wanted to let you know that its still possible to get into a great school and it is worth trying if you really want to get an MBA
Manager
Joined: 03 Jun 2010
Posts: 235
Schools: Ross '15 (M)
GMAT 1: 700 Q43 V42
GPA: 3.3
WE: Consulting (Consulting)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 58 [0], given: 37

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29 Mar 2011, 04:58
doggdetroit wrote:
I appreciate the concern, but I'm willing to roll the dice at this point. Worst comes to worst, I get rejected at all 4 schools. I do what you allude to in 2) before applying to a few different schools next year in round 1.

It seems that if you wait until the fall, you could take the time to beef up your application, mostly your essays. With your history, I think you're going to need a very compelling story about why you want an MBA and how your work ethic (as it will be perceived by the adcoms from your undergrad) has improved. I'm sure you're not the same person you were back then so with your good GMAT and some really solid essays that answer the "Why MBA? Why now?" questions, you'd probably have success with some of the programs you listed.
Manager
Joined: 21 Mar 2010
Posts: 183
Location: Beijing
Schools: Ross
Followers: 4

Kudos [?]: 25 [0], given: 32

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19 Apr 2011, 08:21
I have been quiet since I got admitted. I am not sure if I should be considered a success story , but here are some ideas for future applicants.

I squandered the opportunities in my undergrad. Something I regret even as I write this post.
Not only did I have an average GPA, I flunked a subject in the last semester.

1)Schools rejected : INSEAD, Kellogg, HAAS, MIT, Wharton
2)School accepted : Ross

Looking back I could have planned my application better. I realised too late that I should have taken some respectable online courses to support my excellent GMAT score. Online courses from Thunderbird or HAAS would have been a good addition.
Manager
Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 111
Schools: Fuqua(no int), Darden(no int), McCombs , Kenan-Flagler, McDonough, Smith(w/$$) Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 0 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] ### Show Tags 14 May 2011, 10:26 Updating my earlier post with new acceptances: Much like others, I consider myself lucky, but was able to overcome an abysmal UG GPA 27 year old white male UG GPA: 2.6 from top 20 college. Philosophy major (wtf was i thinking ). Addressed head-on GPA in all optional essays and in interviews. GMAT: 700 WE: 5 years, consulting/sales&marketing. Not for any of the big firms Applied to: Duke Fuqua - R2 no interview UVA Darden - R2 no interview Georgetown McDonough - Accepted UMD Smith - Accepted w/$$
UNC Kenan-Flagler - Accepted
UT Austin McCombs - Accepted

While I got dinged off the bat at UVA and Duke, probably because of my GPA, I think my essays and WE showed the adcoms at the other schools that I have changed significantly since I earned such low marks in undergrad. With a crap GPA like mine, I think you have to make everything else in your package spectacular.

I also tried very hard to put my personality into my essays and make them memorable. My work is traditional and boring, and my stats are not outstanding, so I tried to include other things that would help me stand out.

Dings aside, I feel like getting into several top-25 programs with a 2.6 GPA is definitely a success story.

I haven't made up my mind yet where I'll be heading, but wanted to pass this along to any applicants with a low gpa. GPA isn't a deal breaker.
Senior Manager
Joined: 17 May 2010
Posts: 299
GMAT 1: 710 Q47 V40
Followers: 4

Kudos [?]: 43 [0], given: 7

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26 May 2011, 09:53
lulumocha wrote:
My story is different than most others here..... and please don't take my advice, I think I got lucky

29 year old Asian (born in US, grew up in New Zealand) living in LA

UG GPA (Operations Management/Statistics): around 2.6 to 2.7 (got better as the years went on), NZ uses a different scale, so not exactly sure
MSc GPA (Statistics): low 3s
GMAT: 700
WE: 5 years, biggest video game publisher, biggest entertainment/media company (in Video game division)

Applied to:
Duke - R2, invited to interview, accepted
MIT - R2, waitlist, ding
UCLA - R3, interviewed, withdrew

I wished I had applied to more schools, I studied for around 2 weeks and took the GMAT in Dec thinking I would need to retake anyway, turned out ok, didn't want to study again for a higher score (new born son to look after )
So I ended up with 2 weeks to write essays, again thought I would get dinged anyway so I didn't want to rush and apply to a lot of schools since writing the additional essay about how you have improved and not to mention new topics scared me.... So I only applied to two schools I really wanted to go to.
Didn't like my chances because of the following:
1) Didn't visit any schools nor attend any info sessions/lunch sessions/online chat, etc...
2) Low GPA, it got better as the years went on though (I failed like 4 papers in the first year... Diablo 2...)
3) No writing skills... no english related classes since form 6 in high school (2nd to last year)
4) Didn't have anyone to proof read my essays since I had such a short time frame
5) absolute zero community/extra-curricular activities though Under and Post Grad. (Video Games/Cars/Gambling was my life)
6) GMAT was ok... not excellent especially compared to most of people here.

Not saying my results were a huge success by most peoples standards here.. but here are what I think worked for me
1) I explained about my GPA - I played video games, as simple as that, I logged 600 real life days on Final Fantasy XI MMO during the last 10 years. Other people like doing community work, clubs, etc. I just like Video Games and Modifying cars.
2) My other essays were focused on things I really enjoy - Games and Fast cars and a little about family
I wrote about being one of the only 10 people in the FFXI server that has this sword which can only drop from a monster that comes out in game once every 3 real life days and the drop rate is around 10% if you do claim and kill the monster, then you have to win the dice roll for it against your team members... you do the math.
3) My recommenders were awesome, both have had their MBAs and have known me a long time and writes well
4) My essays were not proof read by anyone, I think that helped me.... it probably reads different than some really refined essays, I wrote more like how I speak in real life.
5) Maybe the Company I worked at are well know and that helps (not really sure about this one)
6) I wasn't really sure about putting down around 5 extra-curricular activities that were all things like FFXI guild leader, WOW guild member, Car clubs, but guess it didn't hurt me... better than blanks I guess
7) All the papers I failed, I had DNS (did not sit, which means I didn't even go to the exams, and all those papers I later got A's or high B's on, but yeah DNS really hurt my GPA). I guess this is a good sign? shows I can do the work, just that school wasn't most important, getting my Windforce in Diablo 2 was more important .. for all the Diablo players out there

So yeah, I hope anyone that reads this won't be put off trying to go to schools they dream about, it is very easy to do that if you read these forums a lot....
I would recommend writing the real you, show passion, and just try to show who you are.

Sometimes I think about applying to more schools this year since I will have more time to study GMAT, visit schools, network, etc. But what the hell, Duke is awesome, I was born there (left when I was 1 though) and I just don't want/have the time to study and write more essays... I have a boxes of games I need to finish and a son to look after.

Best of luck to everyone applying

Dude that's the most AWESOME story I have ever heard! The fact that you had a 2.6 and MIT considered you for a waitlist (instead of straight out ding) and Duke admitted you is awesome! I have a similar story except that I spent time on the Total War series.
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Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Location: India
Concentration: Marketing, General Management
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V0
GMAT 2: 700 Q V
GMAT 3: 740 Q40 V50
GMAT 4: 700 Q48 V38
GMAT 5: 710 Q45 V41
GMAT 6: 680 Q47 V36
GMAT 7: Q42 V44
GMAT 8: Q42 V44
GMAT 9: 740 Q49 V42
GMAT 10: 740 Q V
GMAT 11: 500 Q47 V33
GPA: 3.3
WE: Sales (Investment Banking)
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03 Jun 2011, 08:55
I am an international applicant but with a GPA of 2.69/4.00, I was accepted to Duke, Michigan, UCLA, Cornell and UNC, some of them with full-scholarships.

As long as other parts of your application are strong, you can offset the GPA I believe. (However, I am not so sure for the top 5-6 schools).
Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 486
GMAT 1: 680 Q44 V38
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Kudos [?]: 54 [0], given: 123

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09 Jun 2011, 18:00
2 questions.

1.) When is the best time to apply with a low GPA, round 1, 2 or 3? I know there are more seats in round 1, but is it true adcoms take more risk in round 2? When is the best time to apply?

2.) Are there any particular schools who are more sensitive (than the others) with low GPAs? Somebody here said MIT. Any else? I want to compare it to my target schools.
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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10 Jun 2011, 12:55
Expert's post
Hi gablaze23,

With regards to which round to apply to, you should apply when you feel your application is strongest. The only exception to this rule is that you should avoid applying to the last round. This round tends to be the most difficult to be accepted into.

Hope this was of help.

Cheers,

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team
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Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 486
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Kudos [?]: 54 [0], given: 123

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11 Jun 2011, 01:46
StacyBlackman wrote:
Hi gablaze23,

With regards to which round to apply to, you should apply when you feel your application is strongest. The only exception to this rule is that you should avoid applying to the last round. This round tends to be the most difficult to be accepted into.

Hope this was of help.

Cheers,

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team

Hi.

What about applying late to a round? Would that make a difference?

If I apply on the first day of round 2 as opposed to the day of round 2 deadline?
Manager
Joined: 22 Jul 2010
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WE 1: Consultant
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11 Jun 2011, 08:41
Hi gablaze23,

Most schools have a hard deadline for each round and as long as you have submitted your application before the deadline the application is viewed as favorably as the other applications submitted before yours.

There are some schools with rolling admissions (e.g. Columbia, Dartmouth, etc.) and those I believe that it is always better to submit your application as early as possible. That being said, definitely don't submit an application before it's ready.
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Joined: 12 Jan 2010
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11 Jun 2011, 21:05
GPA: 3.1 from top engineering school, downward trend
GMAT: 710
WE: Operations and Healthcare (3.5 years)

This was my second year applying to schools - wanted to share because I know I was demoralized at points during this process.
1st year: Applied only to Wharton (all or nothing!), got an interview then dinged
2nd year: Applied to Wharton, Kellogg, Duke, Vanderbilt. Ding no interview from Wharton (low point). Got into Kellogg, Duke, Vandy (w/ $$) Looking back, it really feels like a lot of it is figuring out your story. If your story and targeted schools all tie together in a neat package then the GPA/GMAT become data points. I was most excited about Kellogg (where I'm matriculating) and when I interviewed I honestly was so enthusiastic I'm sure it was very apparent. It's very clear when you are passionate about a program and when you are applying because "it's M7" or "it's Harvard". Spend more time figuring out what programs fit and less time applying to schools that someone told you to apply to and it will shine through in the application. Do your research, talk to alums and current students and use that information in your essays. Best of luck! PM me if you want any more information, happy to help! Intern Joined: 17 Jun 2011 Posts: 3 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 1 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] ### Show Tags 17 Jun 2011, 10:28 josiebella wrote: Happy to be able to post here as a success story: 1. UG GPA from Dartmouth - 2.9, major in Psychology, Pre-med (3 Ds and 1 F) - needless to say, disastrous 2. Did extra coursework at Columbia Univ Continuing Ed - 5 courses in total, cumulative GPA 3.9 3. GMAT 720 4. Applied to: NYU R1 - admit w$$
Columbia RD - admit (\$ unknown, but doubtful)
Georgetown RD - withdrawn but got interview invite

I think my secret was the extra courses helped a lot. Also I am female, not sure how much that helps.

I am completely inspired.
I recently (this past week in fact) graduated from UC San Diego. I rushed my courses and finished a four year education in three years. However, my gpa...not so great. 2.875. I couldn't take the quarter system anymore, and my sophomore year things went downhill. I was involved in extracurricular activities though, editor in chief of the first fashion magazine on campus...etc. I will be interning for Oscar De La Renta this summer in their finance sector in New York. I hope I'm making the right decision, because I got offered a paid internship with merrill lynch...but in San Diego.
I am currently looking up Columbia's School of Continuing Education. I am very very interested. I was wondering if you have any advice on the admission process...or am I a bit too young and inexperienced to apply?
Manager
Joined: 22 Jul 2010
Posts: 128
Schools: Ross
WE 1: Consultant
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 1

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17 Jun 2011, 11:57
While I think it's still a bit early for you to apply to business schools, I think it's good that you are thinking about it. I would suggest that you work for a few years and make sure you know what you want to get out of an MBA program when/if you decide to apply.

I don't think your GPA is a deal breaker, but I think you do need to ace the GMAT to give yourself a fair shot at the top tier MBA programs. I was able to overcome my lackluster GPA with a solid story and a very respectable GMAT score.

Good luck!
Intern
Joined: 17 Jun 2011
Posts: 3
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 1

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19 Jun 2011, 01:03
Cheerio wrote:
While I think it's still a bit early for you to apply to business schools, I think it's good that you are thinking about it. I would suggest that you work for a few years and make sure you know what you want to get out of an MBA program when/if you decide to apply.

I don't think your GPA is a deal breaker, but I think you do need to ace the GMAT to give yourself a fair shot at the top tier MBA programs. I was able to overcome my lackluster GPA with a solid story and a very respectable GMAT score.

Good luck!

What do you think of post bac school?
Manager
Joined: 22 Jul 2010
Posts: 128
Schools: Ross
WE 1: Consultant
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 1

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19 Jun 2011, 09:19
What sort of post bac programs are you talking about? I think it can definitely help you cause if you ace the program and get a 4.0 gpa. Building an alternate transcript with solid grades will only help your case.
Manager
Joined: 29 Jun 2010
Posts: 248
Schools: LBS, Oxford
Followers: 9

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19 Jun 2011, 10:58
any advice on how to convert % into GPA system ?
Intern
Joined: 02 Jun 2011
Posts: 46
WE 2: Consulting
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 8

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19 Jun 2011, 11:06
Alchemist1320 wrote:
any advice on how to convert % into GPA system ?

And I think you just take the averages, but you might also need to weight the scores based on credits. i.e. using a pseudo weighted average formula

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