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# Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA

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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  06 Jun 2010, 10:05
shaselai wrote:
for those that got into top schools with low gpa/gmat scores, did you get any scholarships or it is all loans? Just curious since scholarships are merit/app based right?

I only received scholarship money from the non-MBA portion of the joint degree programs to which I applied. Hopefully some other applicants received scholarships with their low GPAs.
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Current Student
Joined: 12 Jun 2009
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Concentration: Strategy, Finance
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  10 Jun 2010, 07:41
wow... i wish i can get into any of those 3 you got in
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  10 Jun 2010, 20:13
bseeker wrote:
Last year I applied to MIT Sloan as a reach and was dinged. This year, I'm contemplating the following schools:

Darden
UT-McCombs
HBS (reach)
Wharton (reach)
MIT (reach)
UNC
Tuck (reach)

Does anyone have suggestions for me in selecting which schools to pursue given my profile? Feel free to suggest ones that aren't on my list.

I realize I need to pick schools that are a "fit" for me, but that's a given. I'm thinking about adding Kellogg to the list and possibly Stanford, which would both be reaches.

I think you really need to consider middle ground schools, currently you have 4 reach school followed by 3 fairly non-competitive schools (2 of which aren't really top 16 schools), and you're considering another two reach schools?

I would look for some sort of balance. Although tuck is relatively lower on the rankings, the small class size make it fairly difficult to get in. I would aim 2-3 reach schools, and maybe another 2 "safer" schools followed by your darden/unc/UT schools.

Kellogg might be good depending on your fit, other schools which you should consider are ross/duke/cornell/yale/ucla

Personally if I have the time and you think you have a good shot at these schools I would go

H/S (Pick one)
W/M/Tuck (pick one - Although I believe MIT is not a reapp friendly school, but more friendly than most in that tier)
Kellogg/Booth/Columbia (pick one)
Ross/duke/cornell/yale/UCLA (pick two)
Darden/UNC/McComb (pick two)

That would still be 7 schools which is close to the upper bound of applications.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  11 Jun 2010, 06:23
GoBruin wrote:
Personally if I have the time and you think you have a good shot at these schools I would go

H/S (Pick one)
W/M/Tuck (pick one - Although I believe MIT is not a reapp friendly school, but more friendly than most in that tier)
Kellogg/Booth/Columbia (pick one)
Ross/duke/cornell/yale/UCLA (pick two)
Darden/UNC/McComb (pick two)

That would still be 7 schools which is close to the upper bound of applications.

Thank you for the feedback. This entire process can be very overwhelming. I'm not sure if I have a good shot at these schools but won't know unless I give it a try. Let me know if you think that it's a waste of time to apply to H/S given my profile. They're obviously reaches given my gmat score. I would hope to get into one of the schools from the other tiers, though.

My understanding, however, is that Darden and McCombs are both in the top 16 per the newest US News rankings. Perhaps I'm incorrect, though. I like your idea of applying to a couple of "middle ground" schools. Thanks again.
Current Student
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  11 Jun 2010, 06:57
does top 16 or whatever matter a whole lot? i dont see too much of a gap in 16-20
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  11 Jun 2010, 07:40
bseeker wrote:
Thank you for the feedback. This entire process can be very overwhelming. I'm not sure if I have a good shot at these schools but won't know unless I give it a try. Let me know if you think that it's a waste of time to apply to H/S given my profile. They're obviously reaches given my gmat score. I would hope to get into one of the schools from the other tiers, though.

My understanding, however, is that Darden and McCombs are both in the top 16 per the newest US News rankings. Perhaps I'm incorrect, though. I like your idea of applying to a couple of "middle ground" schools. Thanks again.

This whole thread is about people who have defied the odds with sub-par GPA or GMAT. Nothing is certain based solely on stats. The only thing I can guarentee is that I'm 100% sure you won't get into H/S if you don't apply. So I think you should give it a shot, with that said I would not invest my future solely on H/S.

With regard to the middle ground schools, I gave you a list. typically it's the Lower or non-M7's that are ranked 9-15.

There is a general perception of the top 16 schools which are concidered elite, Cornell and Darden are on it, however McComb is not. I don't know the reasoning.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  22 Jun 2010, 20:57
Congrats, Via! You're a hero.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  22 Jun 2010, 21:44
Via wrote:
Hey Guys/Gals,

I have a low undergrad GPA (2.99) and a low GMAT (650/44Q/35V/5.5AWA).

All in all, I applied to 8 schools (Kellogg, Tuck, Yale, Darden, McDonough, Kelley, Owen, Olin) and I was accepted to all of them. I also received significant scholarships (half tuition or full tuition) from 4 of them (Yale, Darden, Owen, McDonough).

My success, I believe, was a product of my research efforts and application strategy. Using my research on the GMAT Club and several other sources, I realized that I had several attributes that were appealing to admissions committees and I worked hard to highlight every one of them.

My approach:

Two and a half years ago, I realized that I wanted to attend graduate school. Specifically, I wanted to attend a competitive b-school program but I realized that my undergrad GPA was low. Therefore, I took graduate level classes within an MA in leadership and management program. I only took four classes within a year and a half period but I received a 3.75 GPA. I was able to highlight this GPA on my application to counter my undergrad GPA. Although I only took four classes, I argued that I earned good grades despite working full time as a general manager, dealing with several life changing events, and volunteering/etc...

About a year ago this month, I started researching b-schools in depth. I was addicted to the GMAT CLUB, BW Forums, the GMAC website to see GMAT statistics, books ("How to get into top B-school", and 15 b-school websites. I also attended MBA Fairs and discovered groups like The Consortium. Basically, I was a research-a-holic last year.

Using me research, I decided to apply to the 8 schools I listed above. Given my low GPA and GMAT, I didn't know where I'd lie on the competitive ladder among b-school applicants. Therefore, I decided to apply to 1 top-5 school, 1 top-10, 2 top-15, and a couple of other programs that lied in the 15-35 range according to US News and BW rankings.

I then developed a very specific essay strategy that highlighted any and every attribute that I thought gave me a competitive advantage. My goal was to show that I was a success story, that I could succeed in any rigorous academic program, and that I would contribute to any b-school as a student and alum.

In my opinion, my positive attributes include: I'm a first generation hispanic/ I'm the first member of my family to pursue a graduate degree/ I'm in the Army and have deployed twice/ While I was at my undergrad institution- I was heavily involved in my student government as an elected officer/ I served as a tutor, Div 1 athlete, and as an elected and appointed club leader throughout my time in college / I continue to serve as a Class Officer for my undergrad alumni organization/ I earned a 3.75 GPA in graduate level courses despite losing two family members and working full time as a general manager. As a general manager, I received formal ratings that eventually placed me in the top 2% of my peer group. There were a couple of other small data points I added to my essays but you get the point.

When I was writing my essays, I tried to answer the unique questions of each b-school while inserting these attributes to develop a unique story of enduring success. After endless revisions to my b-school essays, I submitted all of my applications by Round 2 for each school. I applied to 5 schools through the Consortium and 3 schools independently.

Some other things that I believe helped me:

I visited every school to which I applied and I highlighted that fact during my interviews. I searched for "key" terms each admissions committee was likely looking for. In my opinion, some of these include: Olin: Research driven thinking/Kelley: family, community, involvement / Kellogg: collaboration, Look at their 4 pillars ie. Intellectual Depth, Diversity of thought.../ Tuck: loyalty, community, friendship, advantage of a b-school education in a rural setting (ie. less distractions, community, focus, etc.)/ Darden: Case Method, working on a team to solve cases, interactive classroom environment.

Every school has a unique community and academic experience that they want to sustain. Figure out what that is and show how you could contribute to it.

Many of you have pointed out that, unless you are an underrepresented minority, female, or have unique work experience, you may not be able to overcome a low GPA or GMAT. Overall, that may be true. However, there are no absolutes in this world. I think everyone has positive attributes that can make them look very competitive despite poor stats. I could have easily applied to less prestigious schools and have saved a lot of time & money in dropping my Kellogg, Tuck, Darden, and Yale applications. Also, had I failed to highlight my strengths to the admissions committee, I could have experienced multiple rejections that some applicants with very high GPAs and GMATs have experienced. In the end, it never hurts to fight for your candidacy and apply to the b-school programs you love.

Furthermore, I believe that, even as a minority, I still overcame major weaknesses in my application. I am certain that over 80% of the minority applicant pool at Kellogg had better stats than I did. It is rare to have both a low GPA AND low GMAT and get into a top 5 program.

Now that my application journey is over, I hope that this post will help some of you. I feel indebted to all of you who have contributed to GMAT Club and have educated me for the last couple of years.

-Via

Very impressive stuff. When you got an 100% record, there was clearly something about your case that was equally compelling to every ad-com in the Top 5-25 range. I don't think this goes down to luck; you were able to convey something about yourself, your story, your journey, that made a lot of stuff.

Well done man.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  23 Jun 2010, 06:58
GMAT: 630
University attended: Wisconsin
GPA: 3.7
Nationality: American
Age: 26
Gender: Male
Work Experience: No. of Years / Industry / Role; 4 / Management Consulting
Extra-curricular Activities: Limited
Community Services: Limited

Business Schools (Applied but Dinged): Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Kellogg, Booth

Current Student
Joined: 12 Jun 2009
Posts: 1847
Location: United States (NC)
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: UNC (Kenan-Flagler) - Class of 2013
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  23 Jun 2010, 07:41
a side question, is a lower GPA more killer than a lower GMAT when the percentiles are equal? It is probably one of those "up to adcom" questions?
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  23 Jun 2010, 07:47
shaselai wrote:
a side question, is a lower GPA more killer than a lower GMAT when the percentiles are equal? It is probably one of those "up to adcom" questions?

If the percentiles are equal, definitely low GMAT. If you have 50 percentile GPA that's like a 3.0-3.2? 50 percentile GMAT = 550.
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Joined: 12 Jun 2009
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Kudos [?]: 213 [0], given: 52

Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  23 Jun 2010, 08:12
GoBruin wrote:
shaselai wrote:
a side question, is a lower GPA more killer than a lower GMAT when the percentiles are equal? It is probably one of those "up to adcom" questions?

If the percentiles are equal, definitely low GMAT. If you have 50 percentile GPA that's like a 3.0-3.2? 50 percentile GMAT = 550.

I mean if School has something like:
GPA range (10-90) 3.0 - 3.7
GMAT range (10-90) 550 - 770

is it worse to have a 720 gmat with 2.9 gpa or like a 550 gmat nad 3.6 gpa considering everything "final"? just trying to gauge my low 2.92 gpa since my score falls in the low end of the gpa range while my gmat is above the mean... i know grad school gpa wont count as much but hopefully it can help...
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  23 Jun 2010, 08:38
shaselai wrote:
GoBruin wrote:
shaselai wrote:
a side question, is a lower GPA more killer than a lower GMAT when the percentiles are equal? It is probably one of those "up to adcom" questions?

If the percentiles are equal, definitely low GMAT. If you have 50 percentile GPA that's like a 3.0-3.2? 50 percentile GMAT = 550.

I mean if School has something like:
GPA range (10-90) 3.0 - 3.7
GMAT range (10-90) 550 - 770

is it worse to have a 720 gmat with 2.9 gpa or like a 550 gmat nad 3.6 gpa considering everything "final"? just trying to gauge my low 2.92 gpa since my score falls in the low end of the gpa range while my gmat is above the mean... i know grad school gpa wont count as much but hopefully it can help...

A 2.9 is bottom-decile at the Top 15 schools.
A 640 is also bottom-decile at most of them.

As for a 2.9 vs a 550, I'd wager more 2.9s make it in than 550s.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  23 Jun 2010, 11:19
also, do majors matter much in consideration for low gpas or it is the student's own fault for picking a "harder" major so tough luck?
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  23 Jun 2010, 11:22
shaselai wrote:
also, do majors matter much in consideration for low gpas or it is the student's own fault for picking a "harder" major so tough luck?

It's been written often that adcoms are less concerned by a 2.9 in aeronautical engineering than a 2.9 in sports journalism.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  29 Jun 2010, 04:17
congrats!
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  05 Jul 2010, 17:03
any success stories from stern,wharton,tuck?
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  05 Jul 2010, 21:06
just out of curiosity, exactly what is considered low for undergrad GPA? I graduated with a 3.11 in biology. Is that considered "low"? (I meant it when I asked this, don't be afraid to be blunt )
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  06 Jul 2010, 05:45
bakfed wrote:
just out of curiosity, exactly what is considered low for undergrad GPA? I graduated with a 3.11 in biology. Is that considered "low"? (I meant it when I asked this, don't be afraid to be blunt )

from what i read from this thread low is like below 3 or low enough one needs to explain ?
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink]  06 Jul 2010, 06:13
Shaselai,

I got into Tuck with a low GPA and GMAT. You can read the post on page 6.

-Via
Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA   [#permalink] 06 Jul 2010, 06:13

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