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# Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories

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Manager
Joined: 22 Oct 2008
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2.54 GPA from a top Liberal Arts school.
Dings from uh...everywhere except georgetown w/l. I got in off the waitlist.

I got a 750 on the gmat. absolutely necessary if you're applying with a low UG gpa. My essays were kind of weak as well, or I think I would have been more successful. I spoke to the people at Tuck and Columbia and basically they said that because of my GPA I needed to have stellar essays to show them why they needed to ignore my past failure. Since I wasn't able to do that they felt like I just didnt' have good experiences to talk about and might have been a decent enough candidate in a few years, but that I seemed under prepared at present.

With any severe weakness in your application materials the onus is on you to MAKE them ignore it. You may know that you're not the bad risk you were as an 18 year old idiot, but the admissions department has never met you, so you have to show them why they should ignore the evidence that you've been a complete idiot in the past. I have more thoughts on this, but I'm in costa rica and the hotel computer kinda sucks so...
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Intern
Joined: 15 Sep 2009
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I had a 2.8 as well, no Fs but I did have a D. I wrote an essay explaining a lot of personal issues I had gone through in college, and in my interviews I was very honest about how I didn't take education seriously. I ended up getting a 700 on the GMAT after a lot of studying, and I think this was a good way to prove I was now focused on school. I have been accepted to Foster so far, have had several other interviews, and am waiting to hear back from the other schools I have applied to in rd 2.
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westsew wrote:
JesseT21 wrote:
I had a 2.8 as well, no Fs but I did have a D. I wrote an essay explaining a lot of personal issues I had gone through in college, and in my interviews I was very honest about how I didn't take education seriously. I ended up getting a 700 on the GMAT after a lot of studying, and I think this was a good way to prove I was now focused on school. I have been accepted to Foster so far, have had several other interviews, and am waiting to hear back from the other schools I have applied to in rd 2.

congratulations... when did you applied for and interviewed with foster?

I applied at the end of round 2, and interviewed 2 weeks ago. Heard back from them last week.
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.

Last edited by capnbenzo on 27 Mar 2011, 11:50, edited 1 time in total.
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I have an undergrad gpa of 2.8 from a large state school and a GMAT of 670. I applied to three schools this year:
1. Wharton-Interviewed
2. Kellogg-Matriculating

I took some extra classes at a local university and have a great resume (promoted three times in three years) that really helped. Low GPA is definitely not the end of your journey, just an obstabcle to overcome.

And I am Indian, so not even a minority, at least as far as B schools are concerned.
Current Student
Joined: 12 Jun 2009
Posts: 1847
Location: United States (NC)
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: UNC (Kenan-Flagler) - Class of 2013
GMAT 1: 720 Q49 V39
WE: Programming (Computer Software)
Followers: 22

Kudos [?]: 209 [1] , given: 52

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SaMoCU wrote:
My GPA was always a bit of a concern. Had a 2.9 going into my final semester, so I overloaded on classes and scored a 3.8 and an overall 3.2 from an Ivy. Part of the reason why my GPA was low before my last semester was because I worked 20 hrs/week to pay for school, and because I was overly involved in extra-currics.

Got a 730 GMAT (50 Q, 38 V), and got into CBS '13 September 21st!

3.2 is not low....
_________________

Senior Manager
Joined: 01 Dec 2010
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Schools: CBS Class of 2013
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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 $$Columbia RD - admit ( unknown, but doubtful) Georgetown RD - withdrawn but got interview invite I think my secret was the extra courses helped a lot. Also I am female, not sure how much that helps. Current Student Joined: 07 May 2010 Posts: 731 Followers: 14 Kudos [?]: 85 [1] , given: 66 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 28 Feb 2011, 12:49 1 This post received KUDOS ^^an IVY league UG help tremendously Josie. you have 2 (one with a 3.9, although just a few classes), female and a 720?.....congrats and all that good stuff, but you are a strong candidate....do you have blue chip WE too? if so get outta here....lol _________________ Manager Joined: 26 Jan 2010 Posts: 136 Schools: NYU WE 1: 2yrs Financial Modeling WE 2: 3yrs Investment Management Followers: 3 Kudos [?]: 15 [1] , given: 64 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 28 Feb 2011, 14:43 1 This post received KUDOS I'll share my story too. Undergrad/Post-Bac: 5-years of Electrical Engineering at top 20 engineering school (top 10 in public schools), graduated with 2.986 GPA (last three semesters I averaged 3.8). Spent an extra semester doing post-bac research/classes in financial mathematics, got a 3.8. I count this as a total undergrad of 3.06 (who knows what schools think of it). GMAT: 770 (V44 Q50) AWA 4.5 - I studied like crazy for this from Sep 7 to 21, took the exam once on Sep 22. I found that focusing on verbal was able to boost my score the most and I was a bit arrogant about doing well on quant; however, my overall outcome was great and possibly makes up for my undergrad performance. Work Experience: 2 years of financial modeling, 3 years of asset management research. Have passed all three levels of the CFA program. Extra-curriculars: Was a DJ in college, have had no ec's since college Applied: 1) NYU - Accepted with$$$2) Chicago Booth - Rejected w/o Interview 3) MIT - Rejected w/o Interview 4) CBS - Rejected w/o Interview Manager Joined: 22 Jul 2010 Posts: 128 Schools: Ross WE 1: Consultant Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 6 [1] , given: 1 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 07 Mar 2011, 14:11 1 This post received KUDOS I've applied to six schools - Ross, Fuqua, CBS, Chicago, Kellogg, and Stern. Currently, I'm... Dinged - Chicago, CBS WL - Stern Admitted - Ross Pending - Kellogg, Fuqua As promised, below is my success story. Although it's not quite over yet as I am still waiting for a few schools, I'm just overjoyed to know that I will be going somewhere this fall. I think it'll be a good encouragement for many people with low gpa, because my gpa was pretty damn low. I don't think many people can top that. I graduated as an engineer with a 2.36 from an Ivy League school. I consider myself to be a pretty bright kid. Did well in high school and hence got admission to an ivy league school. However, while I was in college, definitely did not take advantage of the education. Instead I drank drank and drank....partied hard. Almost flunked out one semester. I still party but I think my priority is somewhat back on track After I graduated, I realized I really really f'ed up my career because of my lackluster grades. Couldn't land an interview at any big reputable firm because of my low gpa. It was tough man... I made my life even tougher for myself when I decided that my passion was Finance and switched from engineering. The transition was not simple. I always knew that I wanted to get an MBA, but I decided to do a masters in finance because I figured that was the quickest way to start doing finance upon receiving my masters of finance and a good way to build an alternative transcript, hence killing two birds with one stone. After my masters, I got a respectable consulting position at a top tier consulting firm, where I'm currently at. I have been with this company for almost 4 years now and got promoted once. Sooo the point is.......sorry if I come off rambling a bit, but my point is low GPA can be overcome. For me, it was 1) build an alternative transcript 2) score a 730 on the GMAT (I chose to talk to point 1 and 2 in the optional essay for all the schools I applied to. I talked about how my undergrad performance was not indicative of my ability to perform in a rigorous academic setting and stressed about my more recent performance in my masters program and gmat score are more relevant. I also talked about how I've matured over the years...) 3) get 5+ yrs of work experience 4) volunteer in 1 or 2 leadership roles at a few organizations Hope this helps! Good luck! Manager Joined: 15 Mar 2010 Posts: 195 Schools: Kelley Class of 2013 Followers: 5 Kudos [?]: 22 [1] , given: 20 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 07 Mar 2011, 14:34 1 This post received KUDOS My overall UG gps is a 3.1, but that hides the disaster during my early college life -first 3 semesters, 1.75 (incl. 0.7 my 2nd semester)-- univ of mich school of engineering - next 4 semesters, 3.6 community college, associate of science -next 4 semesters, univ of Michigan-Dearborn , political science, 3.65 -law degree, top 25-30 lawschool, top 2 percent what I learned- never give up results ding- Ross waiting (interview completed)- mccombs in Kelley carlson Olin goizuetta Posted from my mobile device Intern Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 10 Schools: Haas, Duke (A), Ross (int), Yale, UVA, UCLA, UNC (A) Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 1 [1] , given: 0 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 14 Mar 2011, 17:39 1 This post received KUDOS I didn't take any supplemental classes, but I would have if I had time before my applications were due. Current Student Status: Current Student Joined: 12 Feb 2010 Posts: 441 Schools: USC Marshall School of Business WE 1: Software Consulting WE 2: Government / Healthcare Followers: 7 Kudos [?]: 53 [1] , given: 26 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 15 Mar 2011, 11:54 1 This post received KUDOS Now that I've gotten into one place at least... I can post as a "success story" 25 yr old GPA: 2.97 from a top 10 private university GMAT: 740 Work Experience: About 2 or 2.5 years on application, first job was in IT, second is in Government Needed to write an essay explaining run-ins with the judicial system and probations in college also... Got into Georgetown & USC Waitlisted at Wharton Big money big money.... _________________ Something about Kudos or other... if you like then upvote away. Last edited by CyberC1 on 29 Mar 2011, 05:12, edited 4 times in total. Intern Joined: 14 Mar 2011 Posts: 12 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 2 [1] , given: 0 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 15 Mar 2011, 12:48 1 This post received KUDOS I guess I'm a success story, but still holding out hope for the last one... 2.98 GPA from a top-5 UG school. Switched majors in junior year to a very difficult engineering major, and overloaded myself in an attempt to finish in four years. Failed three classes due to unresolved incompletes (would not recommend to others!). I definitely addressed this in my application, although I'm not sure if I shared too much, too little, or just enough. 760 GMAT - doing prep definitely helped Very strong extracurriculars Worked in the Education sector for 3.5 years. Non-traditional career interests. Stanford R2 - No word yet; Not hopeful, though HBS R2 - Dinged w/o interview Ross R2 - Admitted Manager Joined: 04 Mar 2011 Posts: 56 Schools: Wharton Class of 2013 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 1 [1] , given: 1 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 28 Mar 2011, 09:04 1 This post received KUDOS Just thought I'd chime in here now that I've heard back from all my schools. I am a 25 YO Hispanic Male, graduated from a top 20 school with a 3.0, my class ranking was pretty low (<20th percentile). I applied to 4 schools, got waitlisted by Dartmouth, offered a full scholarship by Virginia and I got into Northwestern and Wharton (with some money). I am likely to attend Wharton in the fall. I overcame my low gpa by rising up through the ranks pretty quickly at work (4 years WE in Finance dept of a Fortune 100), taking leadership roles in a volunteer organization, getting involved in other extracurriculars (doesn't have to be anything noble, I played on a bunch of different sports teams, serving as captain for one of them), and I took (and aced) a few undergrad courses at a local university of some classes I had screwed up my frosh year of college And, pretty obviously, I had to do well on the GMAT. In my case, I did not have any mitigating circumstances for my college GPA - I was simply immature and didn't value academics. A low gpa w/o any mitigating circumstances generally means (A) you're not smart enough (B) you're lazy or (C) both. If you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are intelligent and hard-working a low GPA can be overcome. When I graduated from college I never thought that I would be in the position I am today - about to attend one of the best business schools in the world. Hope someone who is in the position I was in can use this knowledge to their benefit. Current Student Status: Attending Johnson! Joined: 18 Mar 2011 Posts: 80 Location: United States (NY) Schools: Cornell (Johnson) - Class of 2013 WE: Engineering (Consulting) Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 44 [1] , given: 8 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 12 Apr 2011, 02:39 1 This post received KUDOS @ jczgal2011 - Wow... congratulations. Thats absolutely fantastic! I'm in the low GPA boat myself and when I started this application process, I was a nervous wreck about my low U-GPA. Here are my stats: GPA: 2.7 non-US university GMAT: 700 Q47 V38 Waitlisted: Ross, Duke Admitted: Cornell, Rotman W.E.: 3 yrs engineering I realized quite early on that my UGPA might be a huge hinderence so I enrolled in a post-graduate course and aced all my papers. That brought my overall GPA to a respectable number. The rest was all about putting together some good essays + great extra-curricular achievements. _________________ Intern Joined: 02 Jun 2011 Posts: 46 WE 1: Business Development WE 2: Consulting Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 4 [1] , given: 8 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 19 Jun 2011, 10:04 1 This post received KUDOS gablaze23 wrote: 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? I think the answer to this is "It depends". Normally, in R1, ADCOM's looking to fill the slots of applicants with WE in popular industries (Banking / Consulting). If you have experience in either, then you will be evaluated amongst other peers within your industry (Banking / Consulting). If you are a minority (ethnic / work), then it might be favorable to apply in R2, IMO, since ADCOM would have already filled slots for the most common applicants (consultants / bankers) in R1 and would be looking for diversity in their demographics in R2. Downside is if you get waitlisted in R2, you might not make it to R3, since there wont be that many seats left. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but is the R1/R2/R3 admissions split something like 40/40/20? Intern Joined: 03 Jan 2012 Posts: 1 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 2 [1] , given: 0 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 25 Apr 2012, 08:56 1 This post received KUDOS 1 This post was BOOKMARKED Pretty sure I take the cake w/ low GPA. However, I'm going to an Ivy MBA next year so anything is possible! Below are my stats and story; GPA: 2.5 Horrible, was just unfocused during college but matured a ton in 4 years. Also, I went to a school you've probably never heard of unless you live in the midwest. GMAT: 670 Passable but not exactly killing it. W/E: 4 years at a fortune 50 company Recs: Very strong from my managers Matriculating to an Ivy (not Harvard or Yale) My advice: -You won't get in to a top tier with grades/scores like mine without a great story and good work experience. (I was lucky to land a great job through a fraternity brother. I grinded it out there, reaping a lot of accolades and responsibility in the process) If you don't get as lucky, do your best to take on as much responsibility at work and move up in the process. Its worth waiting a year till you get promoted or go to a better company than just rushing into the mix when you're 4 years out b/c your friends are. -Know exactly why you want an MBA and prove that you are taking steps to mitigate that bad mark on your transcript (take finance and stats classes to prove you'll hit the ground running). Write good essays and make sure your recs know that you've proven yourself during your tenure at work. -Don't be intimidated by the boards when you see people with 770 GMATs and 3.5 GPAs freaking out, take comfort in a strong profile. Make sure your optional essay tackles the bad grades head on and tells a persuasive story about your transformation into a student they would want. To be honest, I wasn't mature enough to tackle another round of school after graduating (as if my grades don't prove that) however, I grew up a lot and that was reflected in my essays and work experience. -Most importantly, pick your schools wisely; don't waste time applying to Stanford or Harvard. Plan for AT LEAST 2 safety schools, if nothing else maybe you can get some$.

Good luck! Work hard, spend time on the essays and good things will happen...don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
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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.

Posted from my mobile device
_________________

I'm just an Army Officer with an AWESOME opportunity to attend Johnson at Cornell University while staying in the Army...

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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.

Posted from my mobile device

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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