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Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories

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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 24 May 2012, 05:41
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armymba2012 wrote:
I definitely qualify as a low GPA and low GMAT success story.

GPA 2.5 from a military academy
GMAT 640 46Q, 31V

I was accepted at Cornell (matriculating) Darden, Emory (with full scholarship), Georgetown, GA Tech, and wait listed at Yale (withdrew after receiving a full scholarship to Cornell).

Honestly and in my opinion, I think compelling and honest stories with well thoughtout goals will help get you an invite to interview. Once you're invited to interview, your personality and being able to articulate your goals will get you accepted.

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This.

I really and truly believe your GPA won't hold you back, as long as you can give a compelling reason as to why it's on the low side.

My GMAT was 690, not really making up for a substandard 2.9 GPA, but of the two higher ranked schools I applied to (Stern and Georgetown), I received interviews at both, and an acceptance at Georgetown (had I not been sick the day of my Stern interview, it may have been a different story). I feel that you can.....I guess distract...from your lower GPA towards your strengths by presenting an honest and compelling argument as to why your GPA is low. For me, it was collegiate athletics. During baseball season, I made the mistake of letting my studies fall to the wayside, and as a result, my spring semester GPAs were consistently .5-1pt lower than my fall semester. I learned from my mistakes, and worked to improve my time management skills, both later on in school and during my career.

Adcoms will understand and appreciate you taking the time to explain your shortcomings. And hey, it may ultimately be a deal-breaker at some schools, no matter your level of conviction, but it certainly can't hurt to try. If anything, it's a nice change of pace to see people who are baring it all and addressing their former faults in their apps.

All the best!
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 24 May 2012, 09:20
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2.71 Economics from public 'ivy' although not one as regarded as Umich or Berk, earned a 3.76 on 10 classes at NYU SCPS - two certificates
700 GMAT 48Q 38V
5 years in trading
lots of ECs

Accepted: Yale, Cornell, UT
Interviewed: Columbia(supposedly very numbers focused school? Interviewer loved me and stays in touch as a mentor, higher up at MBB firm) , Tuck (mucked my interview bad)
Dinged : MIT, NYU (didnt work too much on essays for these two, wasnt a fan too much), Chicago
Matriculating: Fuqua

if you have a life story to pitch for why your gpa was low then by all means pitch it
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 26 May 2012, 19:01
shorttheworld wrote:
2.71 Economics from public 'ivy' although not one as regarded as Umich or Berk, earned a 3.76 on 10 classes at NYU SCPS - two certificates
700 GMAT 48Q 38V
5 years in trading
lots of ECs

Accepted: Yale, Cornell, UT
Interviewed: Columbia(supposedly very numbers focused school? Interviewer loved me and stays in touch as a mentor, higher up at MBB firm) , Tuck (mucked my interview bad)
Dinged : MIT, NYU (didnt work too much on essays for these two, wasnt a fan too much), Chicago
Matriculating: Fuqua

if you have a life story to pitch for why your gpa was low then by all means pitch it


Hey shorttheworld,

Thanks for your response! Our profiles are very, very similar. I will also be shooting for Cornell, Texas, and NYU (in that order) with Texas A&M and Rice as other programs I'll go for. Hearing about your post is really inspiring and hope that your journey the next couple of years goes well.

Currently, I'm taking some Finance and Calculus classes at Texas to build an alternative transcript. I won't be applying until the end of next year for 2014 enrollment. Would you suggest using a Consultant?
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 27 May 2012, 17:26
i was on my own since i was 17 and neither of my parents graduated HS since they dropped out to have me -- more background info. are u looking at doing energy or what? it depends on the consultant -- alex chu is really good from what i hear and ive interacted with him and trust him... and how much info on your own self you can dig up and shape your story.. so obviously a very subjective story
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 27 May 2012, 20:07
shorttheworld wrote:
i was on my own since i was 17 and neither of my parents graduated HS since they dropped out to have me -- more background info. are u looking at doing energy or what? it depends on the consultant -- alex chu is really good from what i hear and ive interacted with him and trust him... and how much info on your own self you can dig up and shape your story.. so obviously a very subjective story


Wow, very similar story indeed (left home when I was that age, family dropped out in the 3rd grade or something to work on the farms in Vietnam)! Regarding my goals, I'm looking to get into Equity Research or Portfolio Management. Looking to pair my love for the markets and interpersonal/sales skills to take Finance and do something special with it. The McCombs program would be my dream program although many of the top 25 programs look good to me.

Thanks for engaging my questions. I appreciate it and will certainly do my thorough research with all the consulting firms out there including Alex.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 09:02
Since I just got in off the WL I have now moved from 'Failure' to 'Success' and will add my 2c.

I had a 2.7 from Williams with a Pol Sci major and only quant coursework was Multivariable Calc and Intro Stats.

Was dinged everywhere except Johnson, where I was WL'ed and then accepted.

I had a bunch of other hurdles but this was def a major one for me. I think the most important thing someone can do is ace the GMAT. That will go a long way towards easing their concerns. I really feel that the GMAT is more important than a lot of AdComs feel comfortable admitting, especially if you come from an over subscribed background or profession. This is all obviously just my speculation, so take it with a grain of salt, but there is a school of thought that if you get over 700, then it doesn't matter (i.e. 710=750) and they move on to evaluating the rest of your profile. If you work for one of the best companies in your field (GS/MS, MBB, FB/Goog so on and so forth) and have an acceptable GPA (3.2+ imo) then I think that adage probably holds true. When you have a poor GPA or come from a nontraditional background I think it becomes more important to overachieve on the GMAT and that there is a real difference between 750 and a 710 (even if it was just 2 or 3 points higher on the V side for me).

The other thing, which I didn't realize last year, and what I think made the difference in getting me off of the WL is just take a class or two likely in a quant field (econ, stats, acctg, calc) that you didn't study in college and get a good grade. I don't think you need to take 10 classes, but just the gesture of taking one class, the prolonged commitment and expense of time and money I think garners a lot of goodwill with admissions.

For most everyone that falls in this bucket and is dealing with a <3.0 it's likely going to be very-hard-to-impossible to get into H/S/W but that a lot of really good schools in the 10-20 range will be understanding of a low GPA as long as it is addressed. I wish I had known this and found this website last year but I am really thrilled that I finally got into school and wish the best of luck to everyone else who had less than stellar performance in undergrad.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 09:39
Very inspiring to all. I am in the same boat and thanks for the posts.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 11:51
As a fellow low GPA-er, this post has been incredibly inspiring! Hopefully, after I submit applications this fall/winter, I will have a success story to contribute. :)

Since so many of you are total success stories, I was wondering if you could give me some advice so I can look more appealing to the admissions committees when I apply.

I am a 31 year old female. I took the GMAT last month and scored a dismal 620 (V34 Q41 AWA6.0). I am currently in the process of studying my butt off so I can retest and hopefully break the 700 mark. :) I went to a UC, majored in Art History, and my overall undergrad GPA was 2.91. I struggled immensely my first two years of undergrad, but kicked things into gear the last two years and got a GPA of 3.76 (Dean's Honor list several times, GPA ranging from 3.49 to 4.0). I'm hoping that the adcoms will look at the overall improving trend in my GPA and put less emphasis on my overall GPA (which I will most definitely explain in an extra essay).

I would love to go to Fuqua or CBS, but I feel that those two schools are out of my league. Even Tepper would be a dream come true. However, I have my sights set on Marshall - USC since it is local to me, and I don't feel that going to school out of state is appropriate for me at this moment given personal circumstances. (Without going too much into detail, my father passed away suddenly 3 months ago, and I don't feel comfortable leaving my mother--who is still very depressed--by herself just yet).

I know that having an alternative transcript will help to boast my application and possibly put less emphasis on my undergraduate GPA. Online programs would be preferable, and I heard both Berkeley Extension and Thunderbird offer good courses to supplement my application. I'm thinking that taking a course or two this summer online could help for when I apply this fall/winter. What online programs and courses would be the most advisable to take? Keep in mind that I am an Art History major. :) I did take Calculus and Statistics and did well, but have no real educational experience in subjects like, Marketing, Finance, Accounting, etc (I can write a mean essay, though!) :P

Thank you so much for your help :)
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 12:06
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elleesie wrote:
As a fellow low GPA-er, this post has been incredibly inspiring! Hopefully, after I submit applications this fall/winter, I will have a success story to contribute. :)

Since so many of you are total success stories, I was wondering if you could give me some advice so I can look more appealing to the admissions committees when I apply.

I am a 31 year old female. I took the GMAT last month and scored a dismal 620 (V34 Q41 AWA6.0). I am currently in the process of studying my butt off so I can retest and hopefully break the 700 mark. :) I went to a UC, majored in Art History, and my overall undergrad GPA was 2.91. I struggled immensely my first two years of undergrad, but kicked things into gear the last two years and got a GPA of 3.76 (Dean's Honor list several times, GPA ranging from 3.49 to 4.0). I'm hoping that the adcoms will look at the overall improving trend in my GPA and put less emphasis on my overall GPA (which I will most definitely explain in an extra essay).

I would love to go to Fuqua or CBS, but I feel that those two schools are out of my league. Even Tepper would be a dream come true. However, I have my sights set on Marshall - USC since it is local to me, and I don't feel that going to school out of state is appropriate for me at this moment given personal circumstances. (Without going too much into detail, my father passed away suddenly 3 months ago, and I don't feel comfortable leaving my mother--who is still very depressed--by herself just yet).

I know that having an alternative transcript will help to boast my application and possibly put less emphasis on my undergraduate GPA. Online programs would be preferable, and I heard both Berkeley Extension and Thunderbird offer good courses to supplement my application. I'm thinking that taking a course or two this summer online could help for when I apply this fall/winter. What online programs and courses would be the most advisable to take? Keep in mind that I am an Art History major. :) I did take Calculus and Statistics and did well, but have no real educational experience in subjects like, Marketing, Finance, Accounting, etc (I can write a mean essay, though!) :P

Thank you so much for your help :)

You sound a lot like me. I'm a 31 year old female with a low GPA (although I'm a 2.7 with a downward trend). You wouldn't be matriculating til Fall 2013 so I wouldn't refrain from applying to your dream schools because of immediate circumstances. A lot can change in a year.

Now as for making yourself more appealing to an admissions committee, you already know that the GMAT is going to be critical for you. I've seen people have 100+ point jumps on their retakes so study hard. I am sure you'll kill it now that the nerves are out of the way. You can take a couple of supplemental courses, however if you've already done well in stats and econ I don't know how much it will add. Plus you had an upward trend and did really well your final two years. The optional essay is definitely your friend. Use it. While I wouldn't say that a high GMAT completely offsets a low GPA (they really do measure two different things), I think that your GPA trajectory definitely shows that you can handle the coursework and that you're willing to put forth the effort to get good grades. I don't know when you plan to retake the GMAT or in what round you're going to apply but I do know that taking a course is a big time commitment. I would carefully assess whether doing so is the best use of your time between now and app deadlines. While it never hurts, the ROI may not be as high as you think. I ultimately decided not to take a class and focused on other aspects of my application.

In my opinion your resume and career goals essay are going to make or break your application. Being older you're in this tricky spot where you are expected to have a good amount of career progression but not so much to make you seem more suited to a PT or E-MBA. It's definitely a tough balancing act. What company you work for and your role there will definitely matter a lot. I would focus a lot of your time on recommender prep. Other than that, do a good job of communicating your goals, leadership experiences, and self-awareness and I don't see why you wouldn't have a shot at Fuqua, CBS, or Tepper. May not be a slam dunk, but you'd give yourself a fighting chance.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 13:11
cheetarah spot on as usual.

my totally non-expert opinion is that you should focus on gmatmgmatgmatmgmagtmgmat until you get a suitable score. especially given the really solid trajectory of your gpa, i think if you get the score you need on gmat you will be competitive at those schools. it's also going to be a lot easier to take, for example, financial accounting, online while applying to schools than it is to be studying for the gmat and applying to schools. so if i were you i would focus on the gmat this summer, apply to all the schools you want, and you can always take a class in the fall, and update the adcoms, or incorporate it into r2/r3 apps as well.

i was told by a consultant that harvard extension and ucla extension were both reputable online programs. berkeley online i am sure is fine too. i would stay away from tbird probably given the other options that are out there.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 18:38
Hi guys. I am yet to apply to B-school but I would need advice on how best to package my application. A summary of my profile is below:

UGPA of 2.8-3.0 on a 4 point scale (My actual is 3.48 on a 5.0 scale)
Undergrad Major: Chemical Engineering
GMAT 700-780 (Yet to take the test but I should be able to ace it easily)
TOEFL iBT: 104
WE:1.5 yrs in Project Management at a Construction firm
1 yr as a high school teacher (mandatory national service)
7 months as an Account Executive (Strategic Planning & Implementation) at a Media company
Now 2 months at a Fortune 100 FMCG as a Field Sales Manager
EC: A whole lot of leadership and volunteer activities pre and post graduation, a prestigious undergrad scholarship (Exxon to be precise)
Ethnic status: Under-represented Minority

I intend applying for Spring 2014 session and I've started my preparations. I'm looking at Smith, Goizuetta, Ross and Kellog and I'm hoping I get a scholarship. I'm thinking of taking an online professional certificate course in Strategic Management (made up of five courses) at Havard Extension for two reasons. The first is to expand my knowledge base in the field and secondly to serve as a boost to my application.

My questions are below:
1. Do you advise I go ahead with the HES course or are there other programs that will give me a better deal?
2. What impact do you think this would have on my B-school application?
3. Do I apply in R1, R2 or R3? I'm considering R2.
4. How do you rate my profile? What other schools do you think I should consider?

Your thoughts are highly welcomed.

Last edited by sirdessydee on 12 Jun 2012, 19:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 18:41
sirdessydee wrote:
Hi guys. I am yet to apply to B-school but I would need advice on how best to package my application. A summary of my profile is below:

UGPA of 2.8-3.0 on a 4 point scale (My actual is 3.48 on a 5.0 scale)
Undergrad Major: Chemical Engineering
GMAT 700-780 (Yet to take the test but I should be able to ace it easily)
TOEFL iBT: 104
WE:1.5 yrs in Project Management at a Construction firm
1 yr as a high school teacher (mandatory national service)
7 months as an Account Executive (Strategic Planning & Implementation) at a Media company
Now 2 months at a Fortune 100 FMCG as a Field Sales Manager
EC: A whole lot of leadership and volunteer activities pre and post graduation, a prestigious undergrad scholarship (Exxon to be precise)
Ethnic status: Under-represented Minority

I intend applying for Spring 2014 session and I've started my preparations. I'm looking at Smith, Goizuetta, Ross and Kellog and I'm hoping I get a scholarship. I'm thinking of taking a professional certificate course in Strategic Management (made up of five courses) at Havard Extension for two reasons. The first is to expand my knowledge base in the field and secondly to serve as a boost to my application.

My questions are below:
1. Do you advise I go ahead with the HES course or are there other programs that will give me a better deal?
2. What impact do you think this would have on my B-school application?
3. Do I apply in R1, R2 or R3? I'm considering R2.
4. How do you rate my profile? What other schools do you think I should consider?

Your thoughts are highly welcomed.


Are you applying to PT programs? Most full-time programs do not have spring intake, just fall. So do you plan to apply for class of 2015 or 2016? I'm a bit confused.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 18:50
cheetarah1980 wrote:
sirdessydee wrote:
Hi guys. I am yet to apply to B-school but I would need advice on how best to package my application. A summary of my profile is below:

UGPA of 2.8-3.0 on a 4 point scale (My actual is 3.48 on a 5.0 scale)
Undergrad Major: Chemical Engineering
GMAT 700-780 (Yet to take the test but I should be able to ace it easily)
TOEFL iBT: 104
WE:1.5 yrs in Project Management at a Construction firm
1 yr as a high school teacher (mandatory national service)
7 months as an Account Executive (Strategic Planning & Implementation) at a Media company
Now 2 months at a Fortune 100 FMCG as a Field Sales Manager
EC: A whole lot of leadership and volunteer activities pre and post graduation, a prestigious undergrad scholarship (Exxon to be precise)
Ethnic status: Under-represented Minority

I intend applying for Spring 2014 session and I've started my preparations. I'm looking at Smith, Goizuetta, Ross and Kellog and I'm hoping I get a scholarship. I'm thinking of taking a professional certificate course in Strategic Management (made up of five courses) at Havard Extension for two reasons. The first is to expand my knowledge base in the field and secondly to serve as a boost to my application.

My questions are below:
1. Do you advise I go ahead with the HES course or are there other programs that will give me a better deal?
2. What impact do you think this would have on my B-school application?
3. Do I apply in R1, R2 or R3? I'm considering R2.
4. How do you rate my profile? What other schools do you think I should consider?

Your thoughts are highly welcomed.


Are you applying to PT programs? Most full-time programs do not have spring intake, just fall. So do you plan to apply for class of 2015 or 2016? I'm a bit confused.


Sorry, fall of 2014 and full-time.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 19:21
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sirdessydee wrote:
Hi guys. I am yet to apply to B-school but I would need advice on how best to package my application. A summary of my profile is below:

UGPA of 2.8-3.0 on a 4 point scale (My actual is 3.48 on a 5.0 scale)
Undergrad Major: Chemical Engineering
GMAT 700-780 (Yet to take the test but I should be able to ace it easily)
TOEFL iBT: 104
WE:1.5 yrs in Project Management at a Construction firm
1 yr as a high school teacher (mandatory national service)
7 months as an Account Executive (Strategic Planning & Implementation) at a Media company
Now 2 months at a Fortune 100 FMCG as a Field Sales Manager
EC: A whole lot of leadership and volunteer activities pre and post graduation, a prestigious undergrad scholarship (Exxon to be precise)
Ethnic status: Under-represented Minority

I intend applying for Spring 2014 session and I've started my preparations. I'm looking at Smith, Goizuetta, Ross and Kellog and I'm hoping I get a scholarship. I'm thinking of taking a professional certificate course in Strategic Management (made up of five courses) at Havard Extension for two reasons. The first is to expand my knowledge base in the field and secondly to serve as a boost to my application.

My questions are below:
1. Do you advise I go ahead with the HES course or are there other programs that will give me a better deal?
2. What impact do you think this would have on my B-school application?
3. Do I apply in R1, R2 or R3? I'm considering R2.
4. How do you rate my profile? What other schools do you think I should consider?

Your thoughts are highly welcomed.

Your best shot at a scholarship at Goizuetta and Ross is to apply through the Consortium (http://www.cgsm.org). Scholarship money at Kellogg is a crapshoot and I don't know much about Smith at all.
How your GPA plays is going to depend a lot upon where you went to undergrad. I see the 5.0 scale. Did you go to MIT? Right or wrong a 2.8-3.0 at MIT goes off much better than a 2.8-3.0 at Midwest Valley Southern State University. The Harvard Extension classes will definitely help your case and you have plenty of time to take a few courses before you apply. I warn you not to OD on the supplemental classes. If you take too many adcoms will start to wonder why you even need the MBA if you already learned it all.
Also, please remember that an alternative transcript doesn't necessarily impress admissions committees. Your undergrad GPA matters most to them. What the alternate transcript does is three things 1) shows you're self aware enough to know the weaknesses in your application and address them, 2) show you can handle the coursework of an MBA program, and 3) serve as penance for not doing well in undergrad.
As for when to apply, go for either R1 or R2. Stay away from R3 at all costs. Yes, people get admitted in R3, but it's much harder and most of the class is already full at this point. Don't stack the deck against yourself even more.

I think your profile is solid enough to gain admission to at least one of the schools on your list. A lot of your chances are going to hinge upon your resume and how well your current employer is regarded. Fortune 100 FMCG company could score you good points if we're talking J&J, P&G, or Unilever as these are traditional feeder companies. If your undergrad is MIT that's another plus. Kellogg is a tough nut to crack. They kind of lull folks into a false sense of security by interviewing almost every applicant. You could probably add a couple more top 15 schools to the mix, maybe Johnson or Duke (similar in culture to Ross and Kellogg). With a 700+ GMAT score, the factors I mentioned earlier in this paragraph, strong recommendations (and these are not as easy to come by as you may think), a compelling goals essay, and a stand out resume you should be in the hunt.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 13 Jun 2012, 08:45
Wow, thanks for the advice. I didn't go to MIT but some top university here in Africa. As for my UGPA, it's an upward trend. For Fortune 100 FMCG, we're talking Unilever so I guess that will help. I have looked up Johnson and Duke & IMO, Johnson should be a right fit. As for strong recommendations, that shouldn't be a problem. I'm looking forward to turning in my applications. I just hope I get it right the first time. Thanks...
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GPA: 2.71
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 13 Jun 2012, 20:38
I posted about a year ago and thought I would return with an update to my situation and a follow up question. I enjoy reading the success everyone has had, and while I'm still not a success story, I'm hoping that I'll get there.

To reiterate briefly, I applied in round three during the 2010-2011 application season. I applied to Ross, Anderson, McCombs, and Marshall. I interviewed at McCombs but was ultimately denied at all four schools. I decided to hold off on reapplying during the 2011-2012 season so I could work on strengthening my application package and apply again in round 1 and 2 of the 2012-2013 season.

With round 1 approaching, here is where I stand:

GPA: 2.71 from a US News Top 75 Liberal Arts College
GMAT: 700
Age: 30
Work Experience: In 2011, when I applied to the above schools, I had 5.5 years of experience in commercial banking / lending. After I was dinged, I relocated for personal reasons. I soon found employment and have since worked for another .5 years in real estate short sales, and 1 year (upon matriculation) in credit / risk analysis for a mortgage lender. As you can see, I'm an older applicant with almost 7 years of average work experience, without much leadership.

To address my low GPA, I've now taken 6 courses post college. A Spanish course (the same course I took and failed as an undergraduate,) and 5 quantitative courses in finance, accounting, business statistics, economics, and a mathematics for management course which briefly touched on calculus.

I was severely lacking in the extracurricular department the first time I applied, so I made a point to get involved in some activities outside of work and start volunteering. I am currently the coach of a 3rd grade boys lacrosse team (I played in college,) and I have taken a leadership position volunteering for a local modern art museum (a passion of mine.)

Overall, although I still have some weaknesses, I think I am a much stronger applicant this go around and posses more experiences / achievements that I can now write about in my essays.

I was thinking of taking an additional course this summer, but I'm hesitant because I have also developed supplemental course fatigue. I've gotten A's in all of the classes I've taken in the subject areas that most people mention when the supplemental course topic comes up. The only thing that gnaws at me is the above mathematics for management course. Since I had never taken calculus before, I figured this course would be a great addition since calculus was going to be a focus of the class, based on the course description.

However, I'd say 80-85% of the class consisted of fundamental business math, mainly linear and matrix algebra, with the remainder featuring differential calculus. Long story short, it wasn't that challenging, (the GMAT quant section was much more difficult) since it barely touched on calculus. There is a full blown calculus course being offered through UCLA Extension (where I've taken all these courses) this summer. Although I have a 700 GMAT score, my quant score was lower (72%,) so I figure another class highlighting my quantitative skills wouldn't hurt.

This is probably my last chance at taking another course before round 1 arrives. At this point, would this calculus course really make a difference? Would I be better off taking the summer to be introspective and really fine tune my essays?
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 03:03
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doggdetroit wrote:
I posted about a year ago and thought I would return with an update to my situation and a follow up question. I enjoy reading the success everyone has had, and while I'm still not a success story, I'm hoping that I'll get there.

To reiterate briefly, I applied in round three during the 2010-2011 application season. I applied to Ross, Anderson, McCombs, and Marshall. I interviewed at McCombs but was ultimately denied at all four schools. I decided to hold off on reapplying during the 2011-2012 season so I could work on strengthening my application package and apply again in round 1 and 2 of the 2012-2013 season.

With round 1 approaching, here is where I stand:

GPA: 2.71 from a US News Top 75 Liberal Arts College
GMAT: 700
Age: 30
Work Experience: In 2011, when I applied to the above schools, I had 5.5 years of experience in commercial banking / lending. After I was dinged, I relocated for personal reasons. I soon found employment and have since worked for another .5 years in real estate short sales, and 1 year (upon matriculation) in credit / risk analysis for a mortgage lender. As you can see, I'm an older applicant with almost 7 years of average work experience, without much leadership.

To address my low GPA, I've now taken 6 courses post college. A Spanish course (the same course I took and failed as an undergraduate,) and 5 quantitative courses in finance, accounting, business statistics, economics, and a mathematics for management course which briefly touched on calculus.

I was severely lacking in the extracurricular department the first time I applied, so I made a point to get involved in some activities outside of work and start volunteering. I am currently the coach of a 3rd grade boys lacrosse team (I played in college,) and I have taken a leadership position volunteering for a local modern art museum (a passion of mine.)

Overall, although I still have some weaknesses, I think I am a much stronger applicant this go around and posses more experiences / achievements that I can now write about in my essays.

I was thinking of taking an additional course this summer, but I'm hesitant because I have also developed supplemental course fatigue. I've gotten A's in all of the classes I've taken in the subject areas that most people mention when the supplemental course topic comes up. The only thing that gnaws at me is the above mathematics for management course. Since I had never taken calculus before, I figured this course would be a great addition since calculus was going to be a focus of the class, based on the course description.

However, I'd say 80-85% of the class consisted of fundamental business math, mainly linear and matrix algebra, with the remainder featuring differential calculus. Long story short, it wasn't that challenging, (the GMAT quant section was much more difficult) since it barely touched on calculus. There is a full blown calculus course being offered through UCLA Extension (where I've taken all these courses) this summer. Although I have a 700 GMAT score, my quant score was lower (72%,) so I figure another class highlighting my quantitative skills wouldn't hurt.

This is probably my last chance at taking another course before round 1 arrives. At this point, would this calculus course really make a difference? Would I be better off taking the summer to be introspective and really fine tune my essays?


Wow! You have really worked to improve your candidacy over the last year and change. Kudos! Also great tenacity on the GMAT. My advice is to skip the calculus course and focus on your essays. You have done enough supplementing. You already have A's in 5 other quantitative classes. You've more than shown that you can handle quant. While a Q45 isn't the 80th percentile, it's also not the 60th either. I'd say you've done just good enough on the GMAT quantitative section.

Your biggest issue will be exactly what you mentioned, "I'm an older applicant with almost 7 years of average work experience, without much leadership." This is your issue, not the GPA/GMAT/alternative transcript. I wouldn't say that your work experience is completely irrelevant, but it might be a bit borderline. Also a lot is going to ride on your last two positions. The biggest (mis)conception that you will have to overcome is that you're using business school as a way to rejuvenate a stagnated career. Have your most recent jobs been a step up from where you were in 2011? If so, that helps. Targeting the right schools is going to be critical for you. Some top 25 schools will be more open to your profile than others. If you can show enough career progression and get great recommendations that will help your cause. Most importantly you will need to communicate clear career goals that are realistic and do a compelling job of explaining why MBA, why now, and your fit with that particular program.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2012, 13:43
when i knew my gpa was 3.3 (1.6 for the first semester)...i thought that was low enough to be shame about...

for the love of daoism...i have no anticipation to see many people working the situation out with under-3 gpa...very encourage!!!!

to be honest, i had my first gmat try ending up with 550...only 1 week preparation. now i study trying to get an over 700 score.

I have a three years part time in an accounting office as an assistant doing ap type things and a little tax. May the universe bless all.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2012, 19:20
This is a great thread; so much so I had to resuscitate it.

I'd really appreciate your input on the questions below...but first, some brief info about me...

GPA: 83% (school doesn't use gpa) with upward trend from a Top Liberal Arts College (think Amherst, Williams, Colby)
GMAT: To be taken but based on what I'm scoring in practice, I think 680-710 is a realistic target
Age: 25
Work Experience: This is probably the strongest aspect of my application. Total of 4 yrs. I worked at two very well known organizations and held unique jobs there (internal transformational consultant). Also have spent a couple of years working abroad.
Community Involvement: started a non-profit that now has 20+ volunteers. Mentored underprivileged college students to help them map out their career progressions.
Other: Bilingual. Under-represented minority. Helped someone write a book on org strategy.
Goals: Break into strategy consulting for companies in Emerging Markets.

Schools I plan on applying to:
HBS
Kellogg
Tuck
Haas
Ross
Darden
Johnson
Tepper

Questions to you are the following:
1). Do you think my profile/work experience would be enough to offset my relatively weak gpa?
2). What is your point of view on the odds of getting into some of the top listed programs (hbs, kellogg, tuck, haas)?
3). Any broader advice you can give me on how to best position myself to be a competitive applicant?

Thanks all!
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2012, 07:59
BigUp wrote:
This is a great thread; so much so I had to resuscitate it.

I'd really appreciate your input on the questions below...but first, some brief info about me...

GPA: 83% (school doesn't use gpa) with upward trend from a Top Liberal Arts College (think Amherst, Williams, Colby)
GMAT: To be taken but based on what I'm scoring in practice, I think 680-710 is a realistic target
Age: 25
Work Experience: This is probably the strongest aspect of my application. Total of 4 yrs. I worked at two very well known organizations and held unique jobs there (internal transformational consultant). Also have spent a couple of years working abroad.
Community Involvement: started a non-profit that now has 20+ volunteers. Mentored underprivileged college students to help them map out their career progressions.
Other: Bilingual. Under-represented minority. Helped someone write a book on org strategy.
Goals: Break into strategy consulting for companies in Emerging Markets.

Schools I plan on applying to:
HBS
Kellogg
Tuck
Haas
Ross
Darden
Johnson
Tepper

Questions to you are the following:
1). Do you think my profile/work experience would be enough to offset my relatively weak gpa?
2). What is your point of view on the odds of getting into some of the top listed programs (hbs, kellogg, tuck, haas)?
3). Any broader advice you can give me on how to best position myself to be a competitive applicant?

Thanks all!


I think if you can shape your story correctly through your essays and nail that GMAT target, you will be in great position to apply for those target schools. You should also consider applying to MLT.
Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories   [#permalink] 17 Aug 2012, 07:59
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