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# Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories

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Intern
Joined: 01 Mar 2012
Posts: 14
Concentration: Technology, General Management
GMAT 1: 690 Q42 V42
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 6 [1] , given: 0

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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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Manager
Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Posts: 187
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance, Economics
GMAT 1: 700 Q48 V38
GPA: 3.4
WE: Securities Sales and Trading (Mutual Funds and Brokerage)
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 19 [1] , given: 2

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KUDOS
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
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
_________________
VP
Status: Current Student
Joined: 24 Aug 2010
Posts: 1345
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 710 Q48 V40
WE: Sales (Consumer Products)
Followers: 106

Kudos [?]: 414 [1] , given: 73

1
KUDOS
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)
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 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.
_________________

The Brain Dump - From Low GPA to Top MBA (Updated September 1, 2013) - A Few of My Favorite Things--> http://cheetarah1980.blogspot.com

VP
Status: Current Student
Joined: 24 Aug 2010
Posts: 1345
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 710 Q48 V40
WE: Sales (Consumer Products)
Followers: 106

Kudos [?]: 414 [1] , given: 73

1
KUDOS
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.

_________________

The Brain Dump - From Low GPA to Top MBA (Updated September 1, 2013) - A Few of My Favorite Things--> http://cheetarah1980.blogspot.com

Current Student
Joined: 11 Sep 2013
Posts: 133
Concentration: Finance, Sustainability
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
GMAT 2: Q V0
WE: Analyst (Commercial Banking)
Followers: 10

Kudos [?]: 73 [1] , given: 137

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tevans37 wrote:

Here's my story: I am an African American women, age 30. I graduated from Ohio State in 2006 with a 2.38 GPA. My major was Financial Management. I really, really want to be accepted into Ohio State's MBA for Working Professionals Program which is currently in the top 10 for part-time MBA programs. I have not taken the GMAT yet but I have enrolled into a GMAT prep course at Kaplan and plan to get at least a 750. I've been working full-time since my sophmore year in college so I have 9 years of work experience. I also got pregnant at the beginning of my junior year, so the last two years of school I worked and raised an infant. Looking over my transcript, I have so many W's and about three F's. My grades sub-par, but I do have solid work history in the Finance industry with two great companies. I am also involved in the community and plan to use my to use my degree to advance my career in Finance and also make a difference within the inner city. I have plans to start a non-profit organization to teach young students within inner city schools the basics of Finance and Financial Management. I am extremely passionate about our youth and know that getting a MBA at OSU can give me the knowledge and expertise I need to move forward.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can be admitted into Ohio State with my poor GPA??

Very easy. You have a story, so tell it. Also, it would be nice to see your career progression. But, being that you are a minority female your stats can be lower than the average. If you really get a 750 gmat than it will be no problem. But, that is a pretty big task. Have you taken any practice tests to gauge where you are? Basically hit 650 or up and tell your story. I think what you have done in the workforce is going to be a big factor. But, if you have decent career projection and a 650+ gmat you will definitely have a good chance.

Last edited by thisisatestonlyatest on 24 Feb 2014, 13:27, edited 1 time in total.
Current Student
Joined: 18 Sep 2013
Posts: 74
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Technology
GMAT 1: 710 Q45 V41
GPA: 2.47
WE: Operations (Energy and Utilities)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 14 [1] , given: 11

1
KUDOS
I will throw mine out there as well

710 GMAT
White
Male

Matriculating at Notre Dame next fall. I agree with onlyatest, it is all about telling your story and what makes you unique. Clearly undergrad is not cake for everyone and there are struggles along the way. Life is all about how you take those struggles and turn them into something positive down the road. Don't hide anything, be honest and share how you turned things around. It says a lot more about someone to take a negative and turn it into a positive than it does to coast along in one direction.
Intern
Joined: 16 May 2011
Posts: 14
Location: United States
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Strategy
GMAT 1: 690 Q48 V35
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 6 [1] , given: 2

1
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Been reading on these boards for a long time. So it is my duty to contribute and help motivate others to pursue their goal.

Brown Male
Indian Born - Raised in the Middle East - Living in the US for the past 11 years
UG from Virginia Tech - GPA - 2.48
Industrial and Systems Engineering.
Work Expereince
Consulting ( IT and Strategy) 5 years
Supply Chain ( 1+ years)

GMAT 690
Was looking for a part time admit- applied to Kellogg and got in!!!
This was after I applied to a bunch of schools for a full time MBA when I was still in consulting- didnt get into any one of them....
I have explained my story in greater detail in a post in this blog.

Dont give up on a bad GPA = 2.48 is tough GPA to overcome.... but in the end its all possible.
IT IS ALL ABOUT THE ESSAYS and the interview.
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: 1

Kudos [?]: 13 [1] , given: 20

1
KUDOS
It has been a long and arduous journey, but it has finally come to an end. Today, almost five years after I started studying for the GMAT, I was admitted to Georgetown.

Undergrad: top 65 liberal arts college (per USNews & World Report)
GPA: 2.71
Major: English
Denied at: Michigan (2010-2011 and 2013-2014), UCLA (2010-2011), Texas (2010-20011 and 2013-2014), USC (2010-2011)
Waitlisted at: USC (2013-2014)
BSchool Forum Moderator
Status: And so it begins...
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Posts: 538
Concentration: Strategy, Other
Schools: Johnson (Cornell) - Class of 2017
GMAT 1: 730 Q49 V40
GPA: 2.48
WE: Engineering (Other)
Followers: 15

Kudos [?]: 196 [1] , given: 148

1
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I'm happy that I can finally post my profile here. I've read through all of these stories and I have to say it helped keep me together as I was waiting for interview invites and decisions. I hope it can do the same with you all as well!

Profile
UG GPA: 2.475 Mechanical Engineering (Ivy non-HYP)
WE: 78 months at matriculation (3 different companies 5 different positions most recently in a Project Manager role)
GMAT: 730 49Q 40V 6IR 6AWA (first and only take)
EC's: 4 years of coaching children on the weekends and 2 years of mentoring high school students
Minority: Asian American Male

Accepted: Johnson, Tepper w/$WL: Kellogg Denied: CBS, Sloan, Ross More of my story can be found in the link in my signature. to all of you still trying! There is hope! _________________ Last edited by dtse86 on 24 Dec 2014, 01:09, edited 2 times in total. Intern Joined: 04 Jul 2014 Posts: 1 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 1 [1] , given: 0 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] 08 Jun 2015, 13:00 1 This post received KUDOS Hiya! Long time watcher, first time poster! Thought I would give you guys some hope, as I have just recently wound down my ''Get in dat MBA, mmkay''-operation! Profile: 28 year old scandinavian, white male GPA: 2.45 in Military sciences....ouch GMAT: 750 (strong verbal) Master's GPA: 3.9/4.0 in Management science in a C9-league uni in China (C9 = China's ivy league) Professional background: 6 years in the military (Army academy, kind of like Westpoint), which of 2 can be considered as ''Job experience'' --> Marketing research for human capital resource company 1 year --> English teacher in China 1 year --> Deloitte 3 months Extracurriculars: High school head of student government, Organized and hosted fundraisers for WWII-veterans, 3 years and counting in Lions Club, traveled to 51 countries. Speak 5 languages. Waitlist denied: Kellogg, Columbia Interviewed and the rejected: Booth Accepted: Duke, Tuck Accepted with$\$: Darden, Georgetown, Yale

So I started my career in the military like I told you. Most of my low undergrad GPA was salvaged by holding a reasonably high class rank percentile (67%). Universities in my home country have not even heard of grade inflation and GPA's on average are far below the averages of USA. I simply focused more on training real professional skills (tactics, strategy etc.) and wasn't too fussed about grades in courses like ''Advanced electronic warfare'' at the time.

At some point after being in the army for so many years I realized that I wanted more (im your typical power hungry business boy), so I made the decision to leave and start building myself a career in consulting. Then my wife's career took us to China, and so I followed her. I funded my studies by working as an english teacher. Turns out it is actually pretty nice in admission committees eye's to be a european who knows mandarin chinese!

I took my essays very seriously and literally wrote them for months. I believe I managed to impress atleast some of the adcoms enough to get me an interview. And although my work experience was all over the place, it actually ended up being an advantage. I managed to paint a picture of myself as a highly versatile and street smart kid who has learned loads of valuable lessons.

MARCH FORWARD, MY BROTHERS IN A...BOMINABLY LOW GPA!
Director
Joined: 26 Mar 2008
Posts: 652
Schools: Duke 2012
Followers: 15

Kudos [?]: 124 [0], given: 16

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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Current Student
Joined: 12 Nov 2008
Posts: 368
Schools: Ross (R2), Cornell (R3) , UNC (R3) , INSEAD (R1 Jan)
WE 2: FP & Analysis (2 yrs at matriculation)
Followers: 23

Kudos [?]: 96 [0], given: 45

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.
Current Student
Joined: 05 Aug 2008
Posts: 1262
Schools: Ross 2012
WE 1: 5 Years at Fortune 50 Company in Manufacturing
Followers: 20

Kudos [?]: 167 [0], given: 20

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.

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

Hey great story. Really gives alot of us hope!
_________________
Manager
Joined: 02 Mar 2008
Posts: 210
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 40 [0], given: 1

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.
Current Student
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 300
Schools: Kellogg School of Management
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 30 [0], given: 10

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.
Current Student
Joined: 05 Aug 2008
Posts: 1262
Schools: Ross 2012
WE 1: 5 Years at Fortune 50 Company in Manufacturing
Followers: 20

Kudos [?]: 167 [0], given: 20

Good job BklynMatt. You did really well. Congrats on darden!
_________________
Intern
Joined: 04 Jul 2009
Posts: 27
Location: Ohio
Schools: Ross PT
WE 1: Operations Management
WE 2: Project Management
WE 3: Project Engineer
Followers: 0

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

You guys should stat your GMAT score. I'm sure the guys with a low GPA had very high GMATs?
Intern
Joined: 04 Jul 2009
Posts: 27
Location: Ohio
Schools: Ross PT
WE 1: Operations Management
WE 2: Project Management
WE 3: Project Engineer
Followers: 0

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

Yes, I see that now
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 [?]: 219 [0], given: 52

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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Intern
Joined: 11 May 2008
Posts: 5
Followers: 0

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

inspiring

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