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which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA?

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which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 19:59
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Dear all,

first of all I want to extend my sincere gratitude for your time in reading my post and providing valuable feedback. I understand that you must have other ways to spend your valuable time so thanks again for helping out a complete stranger.

Without turning this into one of those good-bye messages at the end of a southwest airplane ride, I'll cut right to the chase:

My goal is to get into a top 20 MBA program.

GMAT: 730
GPA: 2.58 from UC Irvine with major in chemistry.
Work experience: 3 years at Genentech as a lab research assistant, 1 year as a business development manager at a small lab reagent company.
Special situation: Professional Science Master's degree in Biotechnology from San Jose State. GPA: 3.55

Obviously, 2.58 undergrad GPA is a big weakness. I was told by MBA admissions consultant Alex Chu to take some math courses from UCLA or Berkeley extension. I plan to do that. My questions are:

Should I take entry level courses, i.e. statistics 101, or should I take the hardest classes offered?
Should I take a classroom course or an online course?
How many courses should I take?
Will my pretty good GPA from San Jose State grad program help instill confidence in adcom?
The program includes some MBA level courses in marketing, accounting. Is that a good thing or bad thing? My friend says it may raise an eyebrow among adcom people who may now see an MBA redundant on top of my Professional Master's.

cheers and thank you again!

Bo
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 20:45
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Yes, an "Alternate transcript" would be a great idea for someone like yourself with a low GPA. Generally classes that you should consider are quant based classes or business based classes. These would include Calculus, Stats, Accounting, Econ. Also, remember that classes take a VERY long time, especially if you are working. So also, check out the 5th questions down on the UCLA FAQ (for EMBA's) here: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/x459.xml It talkes about a few options to brush up on quant skills. They have a class specifically geared towards business quant, and it's at UCLA extension. Might be a perfect place to start. BUT MAKE SURE TO GET A's. PS, your masters GPA will help, and make sure that if you go ahead with applying to an MBA you will have to create a story as to why you've chosen an MBA now that you already have a professional masters degree.

Good luck!
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 21:04
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GMATLA wrote:
Yes, an "Alternate transcript" would be a great idea for someone like yourself with a low GPA. Generally classes that you should consider are quant based classes or business based classes. These would include Calculus, Stats, Accounting, Econ. Also, remember that classes take a VERY long time, especially if you are working. So also, check out the 5th questions down on the UCLA FAQ (for EMBA's) here: It talkes about a few options to brush up on quant skills. They have a class specifically geared towards business quant, and it's at UCLA extension. Might be a perfect place to start. BUT MAKE SURE TO GET A's. PS, your masters GPA will help, and make sure that if you go ahead with applying to an MBA you will have to create a story as to why you've chosen an MBA now that you already have a professional masters degree.

Good luck!


thank you so much! :-D

would you happen to know how many courses I should consider taking? I am applying this fall so maybe two courses are the maximum I can take. :|
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2012, 04:30
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to me, what's important is that whatever class you decide to take, you get an A. if there's a particular type of quant class where your confidence level in achieving an A is higher, then that's the one you should take.

IMO, you will also want to explain (in your essays) why you received such a low GPA. there's a consistency issue here. your GMAT is high, your MS GPA is high, and your GPA is low, but it's low in a very difficult major. Is that the reason? or did you have to work to support yourself thru college? and does your GPA have a trajectory (it was horrible year 1, but decent in year 4)?

The adcom doesn't look at your GPA as just a "number." there are other factors considered. you have an uphill battle to climb with that low GPA, but it's not impossible.

hope that's helpful,
-james young
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2012, 08:45
Youngjames wrote:
to me, what's important is that whatever class you decide to take, you get an A. if there's a particular type of quant class where your confidence level in achieving an A is higher, then that's the one you should take.

IMO, you will also want to explain (in your essays) why you received such a low GPA. there's a consistency issue here. your GMAT is high, your MS GPA is high, and your GPA is low, but it's low in a very difficult major. Is that the reason? or did you have to work to support yourself thru college? and does your GPA have a trajectory (it was horrible year 1, but decent in year 4)?

The adcom doesn't look at your GPA as just a "number." there are other factors considered. you have an uphill battle to climb with that low GPA, but it's not impossible.

hope that's helpful,
-james young


Hi James, thanks!

so it's ok if I took intro calculus and statistics? these courses are very easy for me and I am sure i can get good grades in them, but I want them to give adcom confidence in my ability to study. UCLA also offers "brush up" quant courses teaching material used in business school, should I take that also?

As of my poor grades, I spent two years drifting between science and engineering courses. I started out in Electrical engineering and received very poor grades in those courses and I eventually switched to chemistry/biology focus. Again, thanks!
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2012, 10:46
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bodu wrote:

Hi James, thanks!

so it's ok if I took intro calculus and statistics? these courses are very easy for me and I am sure i can get good grades in them, but I want them to give adcom confidence in my ability to study. UCLA also offers "brush up" quant courses teaching material used in business school, should I take that also?

As of my poor grades, I spent two years drifting between science and engineering courses. I started out in Electrical engineering and received very poor grades in those courses and I eventually switched to chemistry/biology focus. Again, thanks!


So you took those courses in undergrad, but received low grades? If so, then yes, those would probably be good classes to take.

You just don't want to take courses that you've already taken before and done well in.
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2012, 11:01
Hi Bodu,
Sorry for the delayed response. To address your specific questions. You can def take or retake something like Calc or Stats, and if you get good grades on this go around, I'm sure it'll look favorable. My advice, however, is to see if you can find quant classes that are more business oriented, such as economics (instead of Calc) or decision sciences (instead of Stats). I've had clients take this approach and it's paid off for them. You just need to make sure that it's obviously rigorous. Econometrics, as an example, is well understood to be harder than "Intro to Econ." But if you cannot find something that meets these criteria, then taking (and acing) a pure, basic quant concept like calc or stats should be sufficient.

Hope this is helpful,
-james young
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2012, 11:03
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I had a 3.1 with several C's in quant courses during my final year. I took an introductory statistics course at a local community college and got an A in it. I also took a Six Sigma Black Belt Certification course, but not for a grade.

Not that I'm an expert, but I think it really boils down to demonstrating that 1) You can handle the rigorous quantitative work and 2) You're re-dedicated and care enough to work hard for good grades if admitted to an MBA Program.
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2012, 11:07
hi guys, thank you so much for analyzing my issue closely and providing valuable feedbacks!

i signed up two courses at ucla extension: "intro to stats and quantitative methods" and "financial mathematics". I really do not have that much time left, so these two classes are going to be "it" for me. In combination with my decent GMAT score (49 quant) and decent graduate school gpa (3.55), i hope I can demonstrate my ability to learn.

Do you guys think that's good enough? I sure hope so! :twisted:
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 10 Sep 2012, 04:29
Hey Bodu,

How do you like your UCLA Extension courses. How much time do they consume and how hard/easy are they? I am thinking about taking a few courses and would like to hear your feedback.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA? [#permalink] New post 10 Sep 2012, 05:20
bodu wrote:
hi guys, thank you so much for analyzing my issue closely and providing valuable feedbacks!

i signed up two courses at ucla extension: "intro to stats and quantitative methods" and "financial mathematics". I really do not have that much time left, so these two classes are going to be "it" for me. In combination with my decent GMAT score (49 quant) and decent graduate school gpa (3.55), i hope I can demonstrate my ability to learn.

Do you guys think that's good enough? I sure hope so! :twisted:

Unless you have a V30 on the GMAT you've done more than enough. Good luck with your classes and applications!
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Re: which courses to take to compensate for poor GPA?   [#permalink] 10 Sep 2012, 05:20
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