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Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories

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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 19 Mar 2014, 20:14
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I'm here to tell a story. A story about hard work and luck, but mostly luck. There's hope.

University: University of Southern California
Major(s): Mechanical Engineering
GPA: 2.88
GMAT: 770 (99%), Q:50 (93%), V:44 (97%), AWA:4.5 (37%)
Nationality: US, Caucasian
Age: 29
Gender: M

Application Results:
R3 - Fuqua - Dinged without interview
R3 - Ross - Accepted
R3 - Booth - Matriculated after being waitlisted
R3 - Kellogg - Withdrew from WL upon acceptance from Booth

My GPA was terrible, I applied in R3, and I certainly didn't have anything to offer in terms of demographic diversity. My GMAT obviously helped a ton and having significant work experience help distance me from my grades. Beyond that, my essays were solid and I very deliberately addressed my shortcomings. I took a risk for my 2nd rec by having a classmate from an executive education program I completed write about my contributions in an academic setting and devoted my optional essay to addressing my GPA and reasons for applying R3.

Good luck!
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2009, 16:45
rhyme wrote:
2.999 undergrad GPA here... Ya, they actually list it as 2.999 on my transcript. How irritating is that?

2.999? ridiculous, surely that rounds up.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2009, 10:04
Thank you all for your responses!

@rhyme, that sure is irritating. I'd take your 2.999 over mine any day though ;)

@GoBruins, I'll try to dig out that thread, thanks for the suggestion. And there's also this website with low GPA stories that you sent me a while ago. All that really gives me hope :)

@worldtraveller, thank you for sharing your story. Just sent you a msg, thanks in advance.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2009, 12:56
worldtraveller wrote:

Ultimately, I was able to make up for my low GPA but it was still an uphill battle because of it. Based on my own experiences, I do believe that all things are possible with the right frame of mind and some divine assistance as well. :-D

PM me if you want more information on how I overcame the GPA issue.


Hey great story. Really gives alot of us hope!
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2009, 23:46
so they really made it up to 3 decimal points for GPA? ridiculous 2.999

I think a high GMAT and good work experience can cover up for the weak GPA... not sure how the adcoms view it. Maybe need to explain in those extra essays.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2009, 00:49
rhyme wrote:
highhopes wrote:
rhyme wrote:
2.999 undergrad GPA here... Ya, they actually list it as 2.999 on my transcript. How irritating is that?

2.999? ridiculous, surely that rounds up.


You would think wouldn't ya? But nope, they actually list it as 2.999


Well, what if its 2.9994? We can't give you an unfair advantage:)

Seriosuly though:

Roughly 2.9 undergrad GPA. 740 GMAT. Dinged w/o interview and Wharton and HBS. Admitted to Kellogg and Booth.

I really think if you show personality and leadership ability you can overcome a subpar GPA.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2009, 08:09
Good job BklynMatt. You did really well. Congrats on darden!
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 04 Jul 2009, 11:11
You guys should stat your GMAT score. I'm sure the guys with a low GPA had very high GMATs?
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2009, 10:07
Yes, I see that now :)
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2009, 16:14
emoryhopeful wrote:
I had a 2.88 undergrad GPA in Engineering, with 2 F's and it took me 6 years to graduate, and then another year and a half to get a job in the engineering field.

I applied to only one school and got in with a scholarship to Emory, and had an extremely successful first year, looking forward to my second.

Sometimes, I think schools are looking for someone who can overcome adversity and failure.


cool! what else beside your GMAT "stood out"? did you have great xtracurricular? I think i am similar to your boar with little bit better GPA but havent taken GMAT yet (although I prob have to get close to your score...)
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2009, 11:34
shaselai wrote:

cool! what else beside your GMAT "stood out"? did you have great xtracurricular? I think i am similar to your boar with little bit better GPA but havent taken GMAT yet (although I prob have to get close to your score...)


I don't know if anything else "stood out". I had quality work experience with solid extra curriculars, but nothing crazy. If anything else stood out it was my passion for the school and enthusiasm to make a difference. The GMAT obviously was a big factor.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2009, 03:31
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 23 Nov 2009, 14:55
isa wrote:
Not sure if this is "low" or not...

1. Undergrad GPA of 3.1, GPA in majors 3.7/3.8
2. Dinged at HBS (w/o interview), Columbia (w/ interview), MIT (w/o interview), Wharton (interview, WL, then ding)
3. Accepted at Booth, Kellogg, Duke, Tuck


How did you do on your GMAT? I assume your work experience and extra curricular activities were excellent?
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 24 Nov 2009, 09:09
burnttwinky wrote:
isa wrote:
Not sure if this is "low" or not...

1. Undergrad GPA of 3.1, GPA in majors 3.7/3.8
2. Dinged at HBS (w/o interview), Columbia (w/ interview), MIT (w/o interview), Wharton (interview, WL, then ding)
3. Accepted at Booth, Kellogg, Duke, Tuck


How did you do on your GMAT? I assume your work experience and extra curricular activities were excellent?


ISA had 760 GMAT.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 24 Nov 2009, 14:59
Wow, that is a very impressive score!
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2009, 02:48
This gives me hope! I got a 750 on the Gmat and have a similar GPA issue. I have great work experience so it feels great that I could get in as long as I have excellent essays. Yay!

Sleepy wrote:
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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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2009, 13:48
It appears hard enough with a solid GMAT score and a solid gpa to be admitted into a top school.
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2009, 01:56
hi, ~3 gpa

submitting for r2 this year! we'll see what happens
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 02:24
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?
Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories   [#permalink] 25 Feb 2010, 02:24
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