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Admitted with a low GPA

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Admitted with a low GPA [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 06 Mar 2018, 21:52
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Hi everyone,

I thought I'd share my own experience applying to B schools with a low GPA.

Firstly, let's get some things straight about my GPA: My undergraduate transcript is horrendous - i failed and switched faculties, and then graduated with a measly 58%. I withdrew from several courses midway, and had practically convinced myself that no graduate school would take me because of my academic record.

But, since I hadn't actually TOLD most people about how bad my GPA was, I had little to say when my mom kept nagging me to apply for an MBA. I mean, in her eyes it was fine - but I was dying on the inside 'cause I was SO SURE I would never get into a decent MBA school. Ever.

I'd even read online that a GPA plays a big, BIG part in your application and there was no way in hell anyone with a low GPA (especially the kind I had - failing and switching faculties and this and that) would get in without a severe, SEVERE struggle.

Anyway, since my mom was always on my tail I had no choice but to prepare for my GMAT (I'd rather get shot than anger my mother... ). I joined a class for it, and though the class was good (well.. the Quant was good.. the verbal... meh), I think whatever I got in the class I could have gotten just through all the resources on this website.

I took the GMAT and scored a 710 (Q:48, V:40, IR:6). I applied to my schools of choice. I was rejected by one (I made a typo in the application, so I knew beforehand there was no way they would take me) and got two interviews (ISB and Nanyang).

I'd read online that a good GMAT score could tone down the damage of a bad GPA, but nowhere did it say it could completely offset it. So I was thinking ISB and Nanyang would grill me pretty hard regarding my grades. But strangely, it didn't happen at all. The interviews focussed on me as an individual - my future vision, my work experience etc. No one even mentioned my grades - it was the complete opposite of what I'd read online. In fact I was wondering if I was rejected post interview since no one asked me questions considered so "crucial" online.

Anyway, I got an offer from both ISB and Nanyang, and received a scholarship from Nanyang. The point is - my grades didn't matter even 10% of what I thought they would. It seems like they couldn't be bothered to ask about them at all.

I honestly think a good GMAT score shows to the committee that whatever your past may be, you can perform at present. I think your essays are also crucial. One of the main aims of your essays should be to show the committee something so interesting that your grades don't matter much to them in comparison. Give them a bait, so to speak. In my case, my work experience was in the entrepreneurial domain. They love entrepreneurship - so their focus in the interview was on that instead.

Don't let yourself take a beating just because you didn't have the best grades. Make sure the rest of your application is excellent, and you have a good chance still.

I hope this helps someone who is in a conundrum thanks to their grades :D

Good luck!

Originally posted by 13S12 on 06 Mar 2018, 07:54.
Last edited by 13S12 on 06 Mar 2018, 21:52, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Admitted with a low GPA [#permalink]

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New post 06 Mar 2018, 07:59
13S12 wrote:
Hi everyone,

I thought I'd share my own experience applying to B schools with a low GPA.

Firstly, let's get some things straight about my GPA: My undergraduate transcript is horrendous - i failed and switched faculties, and then graduated with a measly 58%. I withdrew from several courses midway, and had practically convinced myself that no graduate school would take me because of my academic record.

But, since I hadn't actually TOLD most people about how bad my GPA was, I had little to say when my mom kept nagging me to apply for an MBA. I mean, in her eyes it was fine - but I was dying on the inside 'cause I was SO SURE I would never get into a decent MBA school. Ever.

I'd even read online that a GPA plays a big, BIG part in your application and there was no way in hell anyone with a low GPA (especially the kind I had - failing and switching faculties and this and that) would get in without a severe, SEVERE struggle.

Anyway, since my mom was always on my tail I had no choice but to prepare for my GMAT (I'd rather get shot than anger my mother... ). I joined a class for it, and though the class was good (well.. the Quant was good.. the verbal... meh), I think whatever I got in the class I could have gotten just through all the resources on this website.


I took the GMAT and scored a 710 (Q:48, V:40, IR:6). I applied to my schools of choice. I was rejected by one (I made a typo in the application, so I knew beforehand there was no way they would take me) and got two interviews (ISB and Nanyang).

I'd read online that a good GMAT score could tone down the damage of a bad GPA, but nowhere did it say it could completely offset it. So I was thinking ISB and Nanyang would grill me pretty hard regarding my grades. But strangely, it didn't happen at all. The interviews focussed on me as an individual - my future vision, my work experience etc. No one even mentioned my grades - it was the complete opposite of what I'd read online. In fact I was wondering if I was rejected post interview since no one asked me questions considered so "crucial" online.

Anyway, I got an offer from ISB, and I'm still waiting to hear from Nanyang. The point is - my grades didn't matter even 10% of what I thought they would. It seems like they couldn't be bothered to ask about them at all.

I honestly think a good GMAT score shows to the committee that whatever your past may be, you can perform at present. I think your essays are also crucial. One of the main aims of your essays should be to show the committee something so interesting that your grades don't matter much to them in comparison. Give them a bait, so to speak. In my case, my work experience was in the entrepreneurial domain. They love entrepreneurship - so their focus in the interview was on that instead.

Don't let yourself take a beating just because you didn't have the best grades. Make sure the rest of your application is excellent, and you have a good chance still.

I hope this helps someone who is in a conundrum thanks to their grades :D

Good luck!



Thank you for sharing this- I have an average GPA as well 53% and am very worried about it. Any idea how US schools look at it. Also, do the number of GMAT attempts matter?
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Re: Admitted with a low GPA [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2018, 02:44
Appreciate your encouragement to the aspiring candidates. All the best for the future.

Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
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Re: Admitted with a low GPA [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2018, 00:17
Thanks for writing your application debrief in detail. I am sure your story would inspire other applicants who have low GPAs. We have a dedicated thread for Low GPA success stories here. I would appreciate if you could share your profile details in that discussion. Also you seem to have done really well on your interviews at ISB and NTU. It would be really nice if could write more about your interview experience at these schools in our newly launched Interview Debriefs section at your convenience.

BTW, Have you yet decided where you are heading? ISB or NTU?

Thank you!
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Re: Admitted with a low GPA [#permalink]

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New post 13 Mar 2018, 09:24
Thanks for sharing.
I think that when the Adcom invite you to an interview, they are already aware of your GPA and do not feel the need to grill you about it during the itw
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Re: Admitted with a low GPA [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2018, 00:43
Hussein3431 wrote:
Thanks for sharing.
I think that when the Adcom invite you to an interview, they are already aware of your GPA and do not feel the need to grill you about it during the itw



Nah I disagree with that. If anything, they want to know how you have introspected and how things will be different this time around if they give you admission :)
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Re: Admitted with a low GPA [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2018, 00:57
Narenn wrote:
Thanks for writing your application debrief in detail. I am sure your story would inspire other applicants who have low GPAs. We have a dedicated thread for Low GPA success stories here. I would appreciate if you could share your profile details in that discussion. Also you seem to have done really well on your interviews at ISB and NTU. It would be really nice if could write more about your interview experience at these schools in our newly launched Interview Debriefs section at your convenience.

BTW, Have you yet decided where you are heading? ISB or NTU?

Thank you!


Hey Narenn!

Thanks for the links, I'll write about my experiences there as well :)

I was dead set on going to Nanyang, but unfortunately the ground reality in Singapore is that it's very tough for foreigners to get jobs, and employers don't generally want to go through the hassle of work permits since there are so many locals available for the same positions. I spoke to several Nanyang students and they all said that it was a very big gamble - some people secured jobs with ease, while there were a few from the class of 2017 who were forced to go back and STILL hadn't secured a job in their home country either. Cant imagine how horrible that is.

That isn't a situation I wanted to be in, and securing a good job is one of the main objectives of most MBA grads, so I decided to go with the safer bet, which is ISB - it's a very good school as well, and people are generally happy with where they end up post their MBA. So I join this April! Wish me luck! :grin:
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Re: Admitted with a low GPA [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2018, 00:59
ramki678 wrote:
Appreciate your encouragement to the aspiring candidates. All the best for the future.

Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using GMAT Club Forum mobile app


Thank you :-) all the best to you as well
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Joined: 02 Sep 2017
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Re: Admitted with a low GPA [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2018, 01:01
KS15 wrote:
13S12 wrote:
Hi everyone,

I thought I'd share my own experience applying to B schools with a low GPA.

Firstly, let's get some things straight about my GPA: My undergraduate transcript is horrendous - i failed and switched faculties, and then graduated with a measly 58%. I withdrew from several courses midway, and had practically convinced myself that no graduate school would take me because of my academic record.

But, since I hadn't actually TOLD most people about how bad my GPA was, I had little to say when my mom kept nagging me to apply for an MBA. I mean, in her eyes it was fine - but I was dying on the inside 'cause I was SO SURE I would never get into a decent MBA school. Ever.

I'd even read online that a GPA plays a big, BIG part in your application and there was no way in hell anyone with a low GPA (especially the kind I had - failing and switching faculties and this and that) would get in without a severe, SEVERE struggle.

Anyway, since my mom was always on my tail I had no choice but to prepare for my GMAT (I'd rather get shot than anger my mother... ). I joined a class for it, and though the class was good (well.. the Quant was good.. the verbal... meh), I think whatever I got in the class I could have gotten just through all the resources on this website.


I took the GMAT and scored a 710 (Q:48, V:40, IR:6). I applied to my schools of choice. I was rejected by one (I made a typo in the application, so I knew beforehand there was no way they would take me) and got two interviews (ISB and Nanyang).

I'd read online that a good GMAT score could tone down the damage of a bad GPA, but nowhere did it say it could completely offset it. So I was thinking ISB and Nanyang would grill me pretty hard regarding my grades. But strangely, it didn't happen at all. The interviews focussed on me as an individual - my future vision, my work experience etc. No one even mentioned my grades - it was the complete opposite of what I'd read online. In fact I was wondering if I was rejected post interview since no one asked me questions considered so "crucial" online.

Anyway, I got an offer from ISB, and I'm still waiting to hear from Nanyang. The point is - my grades didn't matter even 10% of what I thought they would. It seems like they couldn't be bothered to ask about them at all.

I honestly think a good GMAT score shows to the committee that whatever your past may be, you can perform at present. I think your essays are also crucial. One of the main aims of your essays should be to show the committee something so interesting that your grades don't matter much to them in comparison. Give them a bait, so to speak. In my case, my work experience was in the entrepreneurial domain. They love entrepreneurship - so their focus in the interview was on that instead.

Don't let yourself take a beating just because you didn't have the best grades. Make sure the rest of your application is excellent, and you have a good chance still.

I hope this helps someone who is in a conundrum thanks to their grades :D

Good luck!



Thank you for sharing this- I have an average GPA as well 53% and am very worried about it. Any idea how US schools look at it. Also, do the number of GMAT attempts matter?


I have heard from some sources that US schools take GPA more seriously than the others - I dont know how accurate this is though. The best thing you could do is get in touch with an MBA consultant and see what they think of your profile and prospects. All the best!

PS - I'm sure 53% isn't half as bad as you think it is. Sometimes I think we overestimate our flaws :) It might not matter at all
Re: Admitted with a low GPA   [#permalink] 15 Mar 2018, 01:01
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