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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] New post 10 Jun 2010, 11:06
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I'm applying this fall to a number of schools and am in the process of choosing which ones to pursue. I've included my information below:

GMAT: 670 (lower quant than I expected)
University attended: Large state school
Major(s): Econ w/ Business Minor (took extra Accounting courses as electives)
GPA / Honors: 3.79 (graduated with distinction and Phi Beta Kappa)
Age: 26
Demographic / Gender: American Male
Work Experience: 3.5 years currently (4.5 years when I matriculate) in commercial real estate group of top 3 financial institution in US (analyst for 2.5 years > 6 month training program for associates > associate / relationship manager)
Extra-curricular Activities: Many including playing guitar in a band I started, skiing, other outdoor activities, etc.
Community Services: board of directors for city chapter of a well-known national charity organization (also on finance committee), young leader committee member for commercial real estate organization (also on membership committee)

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.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2010, 16:59
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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.

Good luck on your applications!

-Via


FANTASTIC MAN!!! Guess I have one more hero from GC
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2010, 12:06
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3.2 Ivy (econ). Worked 15-20 hrs/ week to pay for education
730 GMAT (50 Q, 38 V), 6.0 AWA
Applied to CBS ED August 23rd, Admitted September 21st.

Good luck guys. It can happen
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2010, 16:08
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nhype wrote:
Howdy just finished my first test and found this string interesting.

GMAT: 710 (Q:46, V:41, AWA:??)
University attended: Large State university (Top 50ish)
Major(s): History
GPA / Honours: 2.92
Nationality: White American
Age: (at matriculation): 28
Gender: Male
Work Experience: No. of Years / Industry / Role : 4.5/ Energy/Oil & Gas / Consultant & Project Management
Extra-curricular Activities: Fraternity President in college and volunteered for a few local charities
Community Services:

Basically right now have the mentality that the 2.92 precludes applying to top 10 and I don't want to waste time with "saftey schools" so the plan as of now is to apply January round to:

UVA
Duke
UNC
UT-Austin
Georgetown

4 questions:

1. Thoughts on schools above UVA that are somewhat low gpa friendly?
2. Does energy qualify as unusual work experience?
3. Is the GMAT worth another testing, meaning can i make up for the 2.92 with a higher GMAT ?
4.$cholariships: I've read there are GMAT thresholds, but will the 2.92 keep me from getting scholarships?


Hi, I can only help with information about DUKE and UNC (schools that I applied and got into)
2.- Energy in both school does not qualify as unusual work experience I think, quite a few people of the 2012 class actually have that same background.
3.- I feel that the higher your GMAT the better you will look to admissions but with that said, when they say they look at the whole package they really mean that. I got into both school with a very low GMAT and I know of people with 750 that got dings. Applications goes beyond GPA and GMAT, your story has to make sense, your essays have to convey a coherent and pretty good story, your interview has to be darn good.
4.- Most likely it will, with the way the economy still is hurting, way too many qualified candidates are applying (and getting accepted) to good schools. For scholarships they look at the whole package, one thing doesn't make up for another. With that said, if they want you bad enough, they might offer some money but it is not going to be just because your GMAT.

I hope that helps, and good luck with the application
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2011, 19:13
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Sorry for reviving a old thread but I would just like to give a follow up on the Low GPA when it comes to recruiting.


So all and all, most companies care very little to 0 on GPA. I have been asked twice, both this year, both consulting, one during the first round which resulted in an offer, the other during a second round which is pending. Outside of consulting, no one has asked me about GPA during an interview.

But here's the results
Interviewed with 2 of the M/B/B,
[*]closed listed (Moved to 2nd round)
[*]got a call which the recruiter asked to bid (dinged after first round),
[*]Screening call (no interview)


As for the other consulting firms, I was closelisted my first and/or second year from most top-20 consulting firms that recruited at Ross. I currently two offers from vault's top 10, one is a returning offer from my summer internship.

If you have questions outside of Consulting, I can do a debrief of those also, but in general your prior experience matters most, I received most interviews that I either fit my background or I tried to networked. Alternatively, I went 1 for 4 in tech.


I hope this helps all you low GPA people!
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2013, 07:43
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Hi,

I have friend having a GMAT score of 670, average ECs but good profile...he got call from ISB this year and also got selected...
So apart from GMAT score, profile matters a lot..
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2013, 14:24
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Any stories from Desautels?
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2013, 20:42
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panama, it's easy to see why you were accepted at Kellogg and interviewed at Wharton with writing skills like that. Kudos again!
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2013, 21:35
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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: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2013, 07:07
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This topic simply inspires me .I hope I can post here one day :)
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2014, 11:11
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2014, 20:53
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I'm not sure how I just found this thread. I would have devoured it last year when I was applying.

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
Work Experience: 7 years in construction project engineering/project management. Promotions approx. every 2 years.
Extracurricular Activities: Honestly, pretty limited. The only significant one was advisor and alumni president for my fraternity.
Community Services: Participant/volunteer in a few runs, build days, etc

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

What do you think is your biggest advantage?
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. My recos were fantastic. I took a risk for my 2nd reco by having a classmate from an executive education program I completed write about my contributions in an academic setting.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2014, 11:10
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Program: MBA
Area of interest in MBA: General Management, Strategy
GMAT: 760 Q48 V48
GPA: University of Michigan, Engineering, 3.1 (ok ok, 3.06)
Work experience(WE): ~5 years at matriculation, Manufacturing
Nationality: US, White
Age: 26
Gender: Male
Extra-curriculars/community: Heavy involvement (including chair of board) in local chapter of professional society.

Schools applied to:

Ross, Round 1, Accepted
Kellogg, Round 1, Accepted and Matriculating
Booth, Round 1, Waitlisted with interview
Tepper, Round 1, Accepted (with $$$)
Fuqua, Round 1, Accepted (with $)

I used the optional essay in each app to briefly explain the grading curve in my technical classes. I also said that while I wish my GPA had been higher, that I was proud to have graduated from a competitive program in four years while showing improvement and working part time. I used 118 words, which I think was enough to show that I recognized the weakness, but not so much that I irritated the adcom with another lengthy essay.

For someone with a similar situation (high GMAT, low GPA), just know that you can get into a really good school.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools with Low GMAT Score [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2008, 08:49
This is a great idea. Thanks, yhc.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools with Low GMAT Score [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2008, 10:26
Good one to see the stats.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools with Low GMAT Score [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2008, 22:01
This thread has been here for several days, but no profiles have been posted. Does that mean people with a low GMAT score are destined to be denied? :cry:
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools with Low GMAT Score [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2008, 22:13
yhc25 wrote:
This thread has been here for several days, but no profiles have been posted. Does that mean people with a low GMAT score are destined to be denied? :cry:


Right, I was just about to ask the same thing.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools with Low GMAT Score [#permalink] New post 23 Dec 2008, 07:00
pelihu wrote:
I've said it many times, and received negative comments many many times, but I'll say it again. People admitted with GMAT scores more than 20-30 points below the median for a given school are either underrepresented minorities or have some other easily identifiable unique factors that support their candidacy. People without such factors and not from such underrepresented groups can rely on little more than pure luck if their scores are more than 30 points below the average.


I have to agree with this assessment.

We're talking about top programs here. It's difficult enough for many of us to even get admit to one!

Sure, there are exceptions, but they are outliers.

One admissions consultant I've talked to once said:
"The 80 percentile GMAT range posted in the class profile? Unless you are an african american, native american, hispanic, or female - don't bother look at the lower end of that range."

I didn't believe that person at first, but more and more that consultant sounds right.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools with Low GMAT Score [#permalink] New post 24 Dec 2008, 05:07
Eden52 wrote:
GMAT: 670 (Q:50, V:30, AWA:4)
University attended: ENSAM (French top leading engineering school)
Major(s): Mechanical engineering
GPA / Honours:N/A
Nationality: French / Congo <-- :) :twisted:
Age: (at matriculation) 31
Gender: Male
Work Experience: 6 / Consulting / Associate
Extra-curricular Activities: Many
Community Services: Many

Business Schools (Admitted): Columbia in the ED
Business Schools (Applied but Dinged):

Hope this gives hope :-D
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools with Low GMAT Score [#permalink] New post 24 Dec 2008, 06:33
ninkorn wrote:
pelihu wrote:
I've said it many times, and received negative comments many many times, but I'll say it again. People admitted with GMAT scores more than 20-30 points below the median for a given school are either underrepresented minorities or have some other easily identifiable unique factors that support their candidacy. People without such factors and not from such underrepresented groups can rely on little more than pure luck if their scores are more than 30 points below the average.


I have to agree with this assessment.

We're talking about top programs here. It's difficult enough for many of us to even get admit to one!

Sure, there are exceptions, but they are outliers.

One admissions consultant I've talked to once said:
"The 80 percentile GMAT range posted in the class profile? Unless you are an african american, native american, hispanic, or female - don't bother look at the lower end of that range."

I didn't believe that person at first, but more and more that consultant sounds right.


I think also coming from an underepresented work experience background can be added to that.
Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools with Low GMAT Score   [#permalink] 24 Dec 2008, 06:33
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