It is currently 17 Oct 2017, 23:13

Close

GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track
Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.

Close

Request Expert Reply

Confirm Cancel

Events & Promotions

Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible!

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  
Author Message
TAGS:

Hide Tags

5 KUDOS received
Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 07 Jul 2017
Posts: 13

Kudos [?]: 19 [5], given: 2

GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V46
GPA: 2.55
Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 07 Jul 2017, 02:53
5
This post received
KUDOS
5
This post was
BOOKMARKED
Long time lurker here who has benefited immensely from the resources of this forum. I've just finished my MBA application journey and hope that my experience can help someone!

The whole process began at the start of this year during a conversation with a friend. I had grown disillusioned at my previous job and was looking for alternatives. I realized that an MBA would be a logical, though not immediately apparent, path to achieving my goals, and started doing more research on the options and the application process.

There were 2 major issues for me. The first was my lack of work experience - at the time of application I would have less than 2 years of full-time work experience. The second was my undergrad GPA - I went to a very competitive course at one of the top-ranked Asian universities (Tsinghua, HKU, NTU), was quite distracted in my undergrad days, and graduated with a GPA of 2.55. Due to personal reasons, I also wanted to finish the MBA program by 2019, leaving me with very limited options and time.

I did not work with an admissions consultant for a number of reasons. I could not justify the high cost of working with one, and the 2 consultants I spoke to at the start did not really like my chances, primarily due to those 2 factors I've stated.

Nevertheless, I thought there was no harm trying and went ahead with the process. I focused and worked hard on the GMAT while doing research on different schools and was pleased to score a 770 (Q50, V46, IR 8) at my test in February. By this time, the US schools were into Round 3 applications. I had limited understanding of the admissions process. I underestimated the difficulty of a Round 3 application and overestimated the impact of the GMAT score. I thought a 770 GMAT would easily land me a spot in the top business schools (including Stanford) and came up with the following shortlist (in order of preference): Stanford, Insead, IESE, HEC.

I wrote what I thought were pretty solid essays for Stanford, spoke to my recommenders, and submitted my application. At the same time, I was working on my applications for the other schools. The interview invite window for Stanford came and went and there was silence. At this stage, I was disappointed. I thought I would have gotten an interview at least. I decided to work even harder on my remaining applications and was consistently refining the essays. Over the 4 weeks or so that I spent preparing the applications, I must have spent at least 2 hours a day reading and making small modifications to the essays. These cumulative effect of these small amendments was amazing. I just compared the first draft of the essays to the completed product and the difference was staggering.

I submitted the remaining applications and waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually, I was invited to interviews for all 3 schools. Having had experience conducting several interviews in the past, I knew the key to doing well in an interview is to be relaxed, confident and to know the materials well. In this case, I simply made sure that I knew the little details of my application well. I thought of what an interviewer might want to know about my goals and potential follow-up questions. I did not want to over-prepare and risk having my answers sound rehearsed. The interviews went well, and I felt I was able to deal with the interviewers' questions and also emphasize my passion for my goals.

After more waiting, I was first notified by IESE that I was accepted. In the past week, I have also been accepted by Insead and HEC. I have been very impressed by Insead throughout this application process, especially during the interviews with alumni. I'll be going to Insead in January and can't wait to get started on my next journey!

Some things I've learned in the application process:

Overcoming a low GPA: A high GMAT is definitely very useful in helping prove to the schools that you're able to handle the workload, notwithstanding a low undergrad GPA. I also made sure that I utilized opportunities such as optional essays to explain the reasons for my low GPA, and tried to turn it into an advantage by highlighting some of my extracurriculars (was working on many extracurricular activities - 3 different business ventures, regular volunteering activities and representing the university in a sport).

Overcoming low work experience: I approached this by attempting to highlight the quality of my work experience through my CV, the application forms, and the essays. I wanted to convey how I did well in my relatively short time at work, was on an upward trajectory in my career path, and would be able to contribute to the class. I also had supervisors from work who I worked with closely and were willing to write strong recommendations for me.

Attempt the Stanford essay: I spent a lot of time working on Stanford's notorious "what matters most" essay. While my application was ultimately unsuccessful, the process was beneficial to my other applications. It gave me a lot of material for the essays and interviews in other schools' application processes. I would definitely recommend spending some time thinking about this topic, even if not planning to apply to Stanford.

Be clear in essays: I have a very clearly defined goal and tried my best to convey this goal and how an MBA would bring me there through my essays. Writing good essays is not an overnight process and definitely requires a lot of fine tuning. I was fortunate to have close and supportive friends who helped review my essays periodically, especially given that I did not work with an admissions consultant.

Once again, many thanks to this wonderful forum for all the helpful information and resources. I hope I'm able to help someone, especially those discouraged by a low GPA or work experience, with this post. Feel free to ask any questions here or by PM and I'll try my best to answer!

-lh

Last edited by tlh on 08 Jul 2017, 18:25, edited 1 time in total.

Kudos [?]: 19 [5], given: 2

Expert Post
MBA Section Director
User avatar
P
Status: Back to work...
Affiliations: GMAT Club
Joined: 22 Feb 2012
Posts: 4699

Kudos [?]: 3704 [0], given: 2420

Location: India
City: Pune
GMAT 1: 680 Q49 V34
GPA: 3.4
WE: Business Development (Manufacturing)
GMAT ToolKit User Premium Member
Re: Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 07 Jul 2017, 12:33
Congratulations and thanks for sharing your MBA story in details. It's certainly true that high GMAT score can help improve your candidacy, it alone can't get you entry at a business school; Other factors of your application such as essays, recommendations, work experience, interview, etc are equally important.

We would appreciate if you could tell us a little bit about your post MBA plans and how INSEAD can help you in fulfilling your post MBA aspirations.

Congrats again and wishing you great time in INSEAD! Where are you matriculating, Fontainebleau or Singapore?
_________________

Every Wednesday: Meet MBA Experts in Chat Room and Ask Your Most-Pressing MBA Admission Questions to them in a Live Chat.

Must Read Forum Topics Before You Kick Off Your MBA Application

New GMAT Club Decision Tracker - Real Time Decision Updates

Kudos [?]: 3704 [0], given: 2420

1 KUDOS received
BSchool Forum Moderator
User avatar
P
Joined: 26 Feb 2016
Posts: 1449

Kudos [?]: 593 [1], given: 16

Location: India
Concentration: General Management, Leadership
WE: Sales (Retail)
Premium Member CAT Tests
Re: Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 07 Jul 2017, 21:26
1
This post received
KUDOS
Thanks a ton for the detailed post, will definitely help me in my journey!

Especially about the part of overcoming low experience/GPA & making this disadvantage work to your advantage.
_________________

Stay hungry, Stay foolish

2017-2018 MBA Deadlines

Class of 2020: Rotman Thread | Schulich Thread
Class of 2019: Sauder Thread

Kudos [?]: 593 [1], given: 16

Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 07 Jul 2017
Posts: 13

Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 2

GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V46
GPA: 2.55
Re: Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 08 Jul 2017, 18:19
Narenn: Thank you for the well wishes! Will be starting in fonty. In short, I come from an industry that is lagging behind in innovations and much more could be done to improve efficiency. It would take me around 8-10 years before I would be in a position to effect any meaningful changes. I plan to shorten this by doing a stint in MC and then going back to my industry in a mangement/strategy role.

pushpitkc: You're very welcome and all the best with your applications!

Posted from my mobile device

Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 2

Expert Post
MBA Section Director
User avatar
P
Status: Back to work...
Affiliations: GMAT Club
Joined: 22 Feb 2012
Posts: 4699

Kudos [?]: 3704 [0], given: 2420

Location: India
City: Pune
GMAT 1: 680 Q49 V34
GPA: 3.4
WE: Business Development (Manufacturing)
GMAT ToolKit User Premium Member
Re: Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 10 Jul 2017, 03:47
tlh wrote:
Narenn: Thank you for the well wishes! Will be starting in fonty. In short, I come from an industry that is lagging behind in innovations and much more could be done to improve efficiency. It would take me around 8-10 years before I would be in a position to effect any meaningful changes. I plan to shorten this by doing a stint in MC and then going back to my industry in a mangement/strategy role.

pushpitkc: You're very welcome and all the best with your applications!

Posted from my mobile device



Great thanks! All the best for your future journey.
_________________

Every Wednesday: Meet MBA Experts in Chat Room and Ask Your Most-Pressing MBA Admission Questions to them in a Live Chat.

Must Read Forum Topics Before You Kick Off Your MBA Application

New GMAT Club Decision Tracker - Real Time Decision Updates

Kudos [?]: 3704 [0], given: 2420

Manager
Manager
avatar
S
Status: NA
Affiliations: NA
Joined: 07 Jul 2017
Posts: 51

Kudos [?]: 27 [0], given: 7

Joseph: N
Reviews Badge CAT Tests
Re: Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 11 Jul 2017, 14:06
Congratulations! This is an awesome story, and some very helpful tips. All the best on your journey

Kudos [?]: 27 [0], given: 7

Director
Director
avatar
S
Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 892

Kudos [?]: 11 [0], given: 859

Location: United States
GMAT 1: 700 Q49 V33
GPA: 3.64
GMAT ToolKit User Premium Member CAT Tests
Re: Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 11 Jul 2017, 19:57
this is an amazing story. I hardly believe an Asian student can make it.
Lesson: essays can give an advantage to international student.

Kudos [?]: 11 [0], given: 859

Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 07 Jul 2017
Posts: 13

Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 2

GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V46
GPA: 2.55
Re: Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 12 Jul 2017, 02:15
chesstitans wrote:
this is an amazing story. I hardly believe an Asian student can make it.
Lesson: essays can give an advantage to international student.


Thank chesstitans. Though I wouldn't consider being Asian a form of disadvantage, quite the opposite actually. I think having been raised in different parts of Asia as well as working in different parts of the world helped my application quite a bit!

Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 2

2 KUDOS received
Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 07 Jul 2017
Posts: 13

Kudos [?]: 19 [2], given: 2

GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V46
GPA: 2.55
Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 19 Jul 2017, 00:01
2
This post received
KUDOS
I've had a few PMs asking me about the rather odd mix of schools I applied to. In short, it came down to the feeling that those schools were the right fit for me, as vague and intagible as that sounds.

I was certain that I was not going to settle down in the US after the MBA since my wife was having none of that (happy wife, happy life)! I am also excited by the potential in Asia and am keen to be part of the growth in this part of the world. That led me to consider the European programs primarily because of the more international nature of these programs. Earlier this year, I had separate trips to New York and Frankfurt for work, which gave me the opportunity to take a few extra days off and visit different campuses both in Europe and in the US.

I visited most of the top European schools (INSEAD Fonty, Insead Singapore, HEC Paris, LBS, Said, Judge, Imperial, Cranfield Bocconi, IE, IESE, ESADE and IMD) and found that I really enjoyed the vibe and student culture at Insead, HEC and IESE. These impressions were admittedly based on limited interactions with a small cross-section of the schools, but I formed really good impressions of those schools. Regarding LBS, it was initially one of my top choices but after the campus visit, I did not think that it was a good fit and did not apply there. On my visit to the US, due to time constraints, I limited my visits to a smaller number of schools (Stanford, HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, CBS, Sloan, Ross and Haas) and found that I really liked the atmosphere at Stanford. That, together with the brand name, made it my top choice initially and it turned out to be the only US school that I applied to. I felt that the other US school that I really liked, Ross, was perhaps not as suited as the European schools to my aim of achieving a more international outlook which would allow me to best develop my career in Asia.

The campus visits were very helpful in selecting which schools I wanted to go to and weeding out schools that I initially wanted to go to. It certainly helped me a lot in deciding where to apply to eventually. At the end of the day, an MBA is a massive investment both in terms of time and cost. My view is that applying to a school without having first visited it would be like buying an apartment without viewing it first!

Kudos [?]: 19 [2], given: 2

Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 17 Aug 2017
Posts: 6

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

Re: Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 21 Aug 2017, 06:27
tlh wrote:
Overcoming a low GPA: A high GMAT is definitely very useful in helping prove to the schools that you're able to handle the workload, notwithstanding a low undergrad GPA. I also made sure that I utilized opportunities such as optional essays to explain the reasons for my low GPA, and tried to turn it into an advantage by highlighting some of my extracurriculars (was working on many extracurricular activities - 3 different business ventures, regular volunteering activities and representing the university in a sport).

Thanks! I think it is very important to highlight your strengths in the essay when you have low GPA.

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

Expert Post
Admission Consultant
User avatar
B
Status: Harvard Alum
Affiliations: Harvard University
Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 192

Kudos [?]: 39 [0], given: 4

Location: United States (NY)
Re: Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible! [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 22 Aug 2017, 10:43
Great post, and congratulations! A note to all international (non-U.S.) students...your GMAT will weigh a lot more than your GPA for any U.S. school. A high GMAT score, and strong, well-communicated goals, CAN help you get in even when your application has other weaknesses! Congrats, again!
_________________

I'm a former Harvard admissions interviewer and Harvard grad, and currently run the award-winning MBA & EMBA admission firm and blog: http://www.MBAIvyLeague.com. Check out the blog and contact me for a free consultation today!

Kudos [?]: 39 [0], given: 4

Re: Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible!   [#permalink] 22 Aug 2017, 10:43
Display posts from previous: Sort by

Low GPA & Work Experience - It Is Possible!

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  


GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Terms and Conditions| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group | Emoji artwork provided by EmojiOne

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.