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# Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories

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Current Student
Joined: 07 May 2010
Posts: 731
Followers: 14

Kudos [?]: 87 [1] , given: 66

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28 Feb 2011, 13:49
1
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
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Senior Manager
Joined: 01 Dec 2010
Posts: 267
Schools: CBS Class of 2013
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 16 [0], given: 7

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28 Feb 2011, 13:51
jordanhendrix wrote:
^^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

haha what is blue chip WE?
Current Student
Joined: 07 May 2010
Posts: 731
Followers: 14

Kudos [?]: 87 [0], given: 66

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28 Feb 2011, 13:52
josiebella wrote:
jordanhendrix wrote:
^^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

haha what is blue chip WE?

like goldman or mckinsey Work Experience
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Senior Manager
Joined: 01 Dec 2010
Posts: 267
Schools: CBS Class of 2013
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 16 [0], given: 7

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28 Feb 2011, 13:59
jordanhendrix wrote:
josiebella wrote:
jordanhendrix wrote:
^^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

haha what is blue chip WE?

like goldman or mckinsey Work Experience

nope.

I work in the fashion / beauty sector in finance.
Current Student
Joined: 07 May 2010
Posts: 731
Followers: 14

Kudos [?]: 87 [0], given: 66

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28 Feb 2011, 14:03
^^^ so you have DIVERSE experience too?.....you are forbidden from posting in this thread. haha

But on a side note, as we can see GPA isnt everything, but to overcome a low one you better be very strong in everything else for a top tier school.

Seriously though Josie, not trying to take anything away from your accomplishments....congrats on CBS
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Senior Manager
Joined: 01 Dec 2010
Posts: 267
Schools: CBS Class of 2013
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 16 [0], given: 7

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28 Feb 2011, 14:10
jordanhendrix wrote:
^^^ so you have DIVERSE experience too?.....you are forbidden from posting in this thread. haha

But on a side note, as we can see GPA isnt everything, but to overcome a low one you better be very strong in everything else for a top tier school.

Seriously though Josie, not trying to take anything away from your accomplishments....congrats on CBS

thanks

i think the most important thing is to have a good story that makes sense. and not to sell youself short.
Manager
Joined: 26 Jan 2010
Posts: 136
Schools: NYU
WE 1: 2yrs Financial Modeling
WE 2: 3yrs Investment Management
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Kudos [?]: 16 [1] , given: 64

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28 Feb 2011, 15:43
1
KUDOS
1
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BOOKMARKED
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 [?]: 7 [0], given: 1 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] ### Show Tags 01 Mar 2011, 09:26 I will post my story once I find out more in a few weeks. Hopefully it'll be a success story . Thanks for all the contributors! Intern Joined: 24 Aug 2010 Posts: 29 Followers: 4 Kudos [?]: 8 [0], given: 3 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] ### Show Tags 07 Mar 2011, 14:18 Hi, Just wanted to share my stats a bit, since I finally got an admit today. 1) < 3.0 UG GPA from a State University, Humanities 2) 700 GMAT 3) Am pretty sure I'm about to get dinged from Stanford--it was a big stretch for me (slightly higher age/low gpa), but I just had to try 4) Have been admitted to University Washington Foster and Ross I addressed my low GPA in the optional essay, not making excuses but just being very factual about why I didn’t do well and offered other evidence of my academic abilities (other strong semesters, GMAT, etc.). Hope this helps! Last edited by RuggedIdealist on 19 Apr 2011, 09:40, edited 1 time in total. Manager Joined: 22 Jul 2010 Posts: 128 Schools: Ross WE 1: Consultant Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 7 [1] , given: 1 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] ### Show Tags 07 Mar 2011, 15:11 1 This post received KUDOS 1 This post was BOOKMARKED 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] ### Show Tags 07 Mar 2011, 15:34 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 [?]: 3 [0], given: 0 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] ### Show Tags 14 Mar 2011, 12:20 2 This post was BOOKMARKED I wish I had found this thread prior to applying - it would have been very motivating. Regardless, I consider myself very lucky: Demographics 31 year old, white male UG - 2.67 gpa at univ. ranked ~50th. Economics. Earned every possible letter grade (As, Bs, Cs, Ds, Fs, Pass, Is, Ws, and Zs). Lowest semester 0.75. Wrote a strong essay explaining how this experience of struggling through college made me a better person and better at my job. Discussed personal struggles I overcame. GMAT - 720 41V 47Q 6.0 AWA. WE Worked in education for the leaders in Ed. reform. Been teacher, admin, fundraiser. Strong success in field. Applied to: Duke Fuqua: R1 Accepted Michigan Ross: R2 Accepted with  UNC KF: R2 Accepted Yale SOM: R2 Ding w/o interview Berkeley Haas: R2 Ding w/o interview UVA: R2 no decision; no interview UCLA: R2 no decision; no interview I would credit my success to: 1. Being a non-traditional candidate. I have a demonstrated passion. I was able to demonstrate how an MBA would help me. I think it was convincing to show how I will use an MBA to "save the world." Having worked for a leader in the industry it made up for my poor academic performance. 2. Strong GMAT - with a bad GPA you got to study your a$$-off.
3. Strong essays: Each essay went through 10+ rounds of substantive edits.

Good luck to all low GPA applicants!
Intern
Joined: 22 Feb 2011
Posts: 12
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Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 0

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14 Mar 2011, 14:49
tlshields wrote:
I wish I had found this thread prior to applying - it would have been very motivating. Regardless, I consider myself very lucky:
Demographics 31 year old, white male
UG - 2.67 gpa at univ. ranked ~50th. Economics. Earned every possible letter grade (As, Bs, Cs, Ds, Fs, Pass, Is, Ws, and Zs). Lowest semester 0.75. Wrote a strong essay explaining how this experience of struggling through college made me a better person and better at my job. Discussed personal struggles I overcame.
GMAT - 720 41V 47Q 6.0 AWA.
WE Worked in education for the leaders in Ed. reform. Been teacher, admin, fundraiser. Strong success in field.
Applied to:
Duke Fuqua: R1 Accepted
Michigan Ross: R2 Accepted with \$
UNC KF: R2 Accepted
Yale SOM: R2 Ding w/o interview
Berkeley Haas: R2 Ding w/o interview
UVA: R2 no decision; no interview
UCLA: R2 no decision; no interview

I would credit my success to:
1. Being a non-traditional candidate. I have a demonstrated passion. I was able to demonstrate how an MBA would help me. I think it was convincing to show how I will use an MBA to "save the world." Having worked for a leader in the industry it made up for my poor academic performance.
2. Strong GMAT - with a bad GPA you got to study your a$$-off. 3. Strong essays: Each essay went through 10+ rounds of substantive edits. Good luck to all low GPA applicants! Congrats! Did you do anything to supplement your grades like take extra courses? Intern Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 10 Schools: Haas, Duke (A), Ross (int), Yale, UVA, UCLA, UNC (A) Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 3 [1] , given: 0 Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories [#permalink] ### Show Tags 14 Mar 2011, 18:39 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] ### Show Tags 15 Mar 2011, 12:54 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, 06:12, 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] ### Show Tags 15 Mar 2011, 13:48 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: 23 Aug 2010 Posts: 111 Schools: Fuqua(no int), Darden(no int), McCombs , Kenan-Flagler, McDonough, Smith(w/$$)
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22 Mar 2011, 11:08
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Much like others, I consider myself lucky, but was able to overcome an abysmal UG GPA

27 year old white male

UG GPA: 2.6 from top 20 college. Philosophy major (wtf was i thinking ). Addressed head-on GPA in all optional essays and in interviews.
GMAT: 700
WE: 5 years, consulting/sales&marketing. Not for any of the big firms

Applied to:
Duke Fuqua - R2 no interview
UVA Darden - R2 no interview
Georgetown McDonough - R2 waitlist
UMD Smith - Accepted w/ $$UNC Kenan-Flagler - Accepted, but no$$ info yet
UT Austin McCombs - R2 interview, waiting for results

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

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

Dings aside, I feel like getting into a top-20 program (one that I'm thrilled about) with a 2.6 GPA is definitely a success story. I'll re-read my app tonight to see if I can see anything else that may have helped.
Stacy Blackman Representative
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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24 Mar 2011, 08:56
Expert's post
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Hope this story is of help. A low GPA isn't something you should be proud, but there are ways to mitigate the damage on your application.

We had a client who was solid in most areas – he had deep extra-curricular interests, average but interesting work experience and some very interesting personal stories. However, he had a below average GPA that could have derailed his entire application (his GPA was below a 3.0).

In his essay, we discussed his pursuit and intense interest in martial arts. That interest actually took him away from school for two semesters and became a distraction that contributed to a very low GPA. But it also helped him develop certain characteristics and unique abilities that strengthened his character, and made him a much stronger leader and team player. In his essays he discussed his renewed commitment to academics and explained how he had developed qualities that would enable him to excel in business school and in the business world.

In the end, he was admitted into both Columbia and Chicago.

Although a low GPA isn't great, there are ways to discuss and frame the story to your advantage.

Hope this was of help.

Cheers,

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team
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Manager
Joined: 04 Mar 2011
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Schools: Wharton Class of 2013
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28 Mar 2011, 10:04
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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.
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28 Mar 2011, 10:42
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Great thread. Had an unusual undergrad history myself. I'm one of those candidates that had to answer both the "Have you ever been on academic probation?" and "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" questions

It took me 3 undergrad schools to graduate from college. (Withdrew from first school after a year, took non-degree classes at another while I tried to get back on track, and finally graduated from the 3rd.) Bizarre transcripts to say the least. While I was an excellent drinker and partier, these apparently are not officially recognized extracurricular activites in college Add in a run-in with the law in my early 20's after college - I've got a "colorful" past. GPA was technically a 3.3ish, but my transcripts oscillate between good grades and then periods of poor grades, incompletes and withdrawals. I was a bit of a mess back then.

GMAT: 720
Rejected: Last Year (2009-2010) - Kellogg, Booth, Yale
This Year: MIT
Accepted: Last Year - Nobody!
This Year: Ross, UNC, Emory, GT, waiting on one more

Utilized the additional essay to briefly own up to my past transgressions and reflect how they've increased my desire to attend bschool and pursue my current career goals.

Good luck to other prospective candidates!

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