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Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories

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Joined: 28 Oct 2014
Posts: 1
Concentration: Social Entrepreneurship, Finance
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V41
GPA: 2.11
WE: Project Management (Energy and Utilities)
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New post 29 Oct 2014, 20:40
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Hi Guys - long time lurker and I thought I should speak up to encourage. I think any GPA can be overcome. I have a 2.11 GPA from a top Canadian University in Engineering. 710 GMAT was just OK and five years of work experience in engineering and project management. Got into Columbia J-term, Stern and waiting to hear back from wharton.

I think what is most important is making your application unique. The story has to make sense to the adcom. Recommendations and GMAT are more important indicators of your ability in business school than your undergrad GPA.

My advice is to apply in round 1 to all schools, spend time perfecting (and I mean perfect) your story and how that particular school fits and finally, be confident. I didn't address my low GPA at all. There is nothing worse than making an excuse. If you want more specifics, PM me and I'll tell you more

Stats:
29 Black Male
UG: Top Canadian University Engineering (2.11)
Masters in Engineering also at top School in the UK (OK grades - getting in here was a miracle also lol)
Admitted: Columbia (J-term), Stern
Waiting: wharton
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New post Updated on: 24 Dec 2014, 02:09
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I'm happy that I can finally post my profile here. I've read through all of these stories and I have to say it helped keep me together as I was waiting for interview invites and decisions. I hope it can do the same with you all as well!

Profile
UG GPA: 2.475 Mechanical Engineering (Ivy non-HYP)
Grad GPA: 3.33
WE: 78 months at matriculation (3 different companies 5 different positions most recently in a Project Manager role)
GMAT: 730 49Q 40V 6IR 6AWA (first and only take)
EC's: 4 years of coaching children on the weekends and 2 years of mentoring high school students
Minority: Asian American Male

Accepted: Johnson, Tepper w/$
WL: Kellogg
Denied: CBS, Sloan, Ross

More of my story can be found in the link in my signature. :gl to all of you still trying! There is hope!
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My Application experience: Low GPA Success!


Originally posted by dtse86 on 23 Dec 2014, 13:34.
Last edited by dtse86 on 24 Dec 2014, 02:09, edited 2 times in total.
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New post Updated on: 10 Nov 2015, 20:24
I've been a long-time lurker on this thread, but I can finally post a low gpa/mediocre GMAT success story:

Profile:

UG GPA: 2.9777 (Although, on my apps, I said "3.0" - my transcript still says 2.9777 :( )
UG School/Major: Lower-tier Ivy (Cornell/Penn/Columbia), Engineering
GMAT: 720 (49Q, 38V)
WE: ~1 yr at big investment bank, ~2 yrs at hedge fund as a quant trader, ~1 yr at hot/"prestigious" startup (Dropbox/Airbnb-esq in BizDev), total 4.5 WE at matriculation
Recs: Not sure, I don't think they were anything special although I did give them a guide.
Essays: Strong, I think I had a story and branded myself quite well.
EC: Nothing that spectacular, but am a board member of a rather large non-profit
Schools: Duke R1 (A), Ross R1 (A), both without $$$ though

UPDATE: Accepted to Columbia J-Term (Class of 2017) as well!

There's hope, everyone! Also, I'm an ORM, adding that to the mix...

Originally posted by Fosterizer on 23 Dec 2014, 23:14.
Last edited by Fosterizer on 10 Nov 2015, 20:24, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 17 Mar 2015, 09:32
I would love some advice regarding my profile, my GPA and undergrad area of study seem unimpressive, and I wasn't planning to apply for many top end b-schools...but then I wrote my GMAT...

Age: 24

Undergrad: 3.0 major in music (BFA)

GMAT: 760 (Q:48 V:47 IR:8)

1.5 years (probably closer to 3 when I submit my app) full time work exp, 1 promotion. Supply Chain for a medium sized IT provider out of Toronto.

CAPM designation, additional PM certificate from university of Waterloo, and selected to be part of the six sigma training program through my company. Ive got volunteer exp through a large radio station (1 yr) and my local church (6 yrs), and hope to end up in the media/ent industry.

Will the low GPA and the relatively obscure area of specialization kill me if I am hoping for admittance to a top 20 university? Or will the high GMAT drag me upwards?
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New post 08 Jun 2015, 14:00
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Hiya! Long time watcher, first time poster! Thought I would give you guys some hope, as I have just recently wound down my ''Get in dat MBA, mmkay''-operation!

Profile: 28 year old scandinavian, white male
GPA: 2.45 in Military sciences....ouch
GMAT: 750 (strong verbal)
Master's GPA: 3.9/4.0 in Management science in a C9-league uni in China (C9 = China's ivy league)
Professional background: 6 years in the military (Army academy, kind of like Westpoint), which of 2 can be considered as ''Job experience'' --> Marketing research for human capital resource company 1 year --> English teacher in China 1 year --> Deloitte 3 months
Extracurriculars: High school head of student government, Organized and hosted fundraisers for WWII-veterans, 3 years and counting in Lions Club, traveled to 51 countries. Speak 5 languages.

Waitlist denied: Kellogg, Columbia
Interviewed and the rejected: Booth
Accepted: Duke, Tuck
Accepted with $$: Darden, Georgetown, Yale

So I started my career in the military like I told you. Most of my low undergrad GPA was salvaged by holding a reasonably high class rank percentile (67%). Universities in my home country have not even heard of grade inflation and GPA's on average are far below the averages of USA. I simply focused more on training real professional skills (tactics, strategy etc.) and wasn't too fussed about grades in courses like ''Advanced electronic warfare'' at the time.

At some point after being in the army for so many years I realized that I wanted more (im your typical power hungry business boy), so I made the decision to leave and start building myself a career in consulting. Then my wife's career took us to China, and so I followed her. I funded my studies by working as an english teacher. Turns out it is actually pretty nice in admission committees eye's to be a european who knows mandarin chinese!

I took my essays very seriously and literally wrote them for months. I believe I managed to impress atleast some of the adcoms enough to get me an interview. And although my work experience was all over the place, it actually ended up being an advantage. I managed to paint a picture of myself as a highly versatile and street smart kid who has learned loads of valuable lessons.

MARCH FORWARD, MY BROTHERS IN A...BOMINABLY LOW GPA!
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New post 31 Jul 2015, 20:36
Hi guys,

It's great to be seeing all these positive responses. It really helps give me motivation to continue dreaming big! My stats are as follows:

Age: 28
Nationality: Canadian caucasian male
GPA: 3.0 (transcript shows 2.98 which really hurts) with heavy upwards trend (senior year GPA of 3.7). Major in Electrical Engineering.
GMAT: Taking in a couple of weeks, but based off of practice tests, I'm currently looking at ~720.
WE: 2 years with a major mining company in a technical role. Acted as project lead on a couple of projects and instructed others during project commissioning. Currently 1.5 years into a role as an engineering consultant with a small firm in Atlantic Canada. Basically doing automation projects for multiple industries. I handle my own hours, time and material budgetting, cost estimates, instructing work during commissioning, etc.
Rec: I'm an avid salsa dancer and former competitive powerlifter. Helped teach salsa classes for a year while in university.
ECs: Co-Chair of recruitment on a cancer non-profit board. Helped plan an event that raised $75,000 for research. Worked as a volunteer firefighter for a year while working in the mining company (stopped when I moved for the new job since the opportunity wasn't available to pick it up).
Target schools: CBS, NYU, Oxford Said, Cambridge Judge, Cornell

My goal is to pursue renewable energy development opportunities in my home province of Newfoundland (lots of potential development there) in a management role (management consulting or project management).

How are my chances in these capacities? (assuming I get the expected 720 on GMAT. gunning for 730+ though) I'm really not sure how competitive I will be.
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New post 22 Jan 2016, 23:15
Bump for those who have secured an admit. Please post your details. Thank you!
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New post 10 May 2016, 06:34
Hello everyone,

I have been a passive user in this forum for quiet some time. The forum has been immensely helpful to me in my times of despair as I have pursued my MBA applications. I have always read, with a lot envy if I may add, the success stories in GMAT and in admissions at various top universities. I always wondered when I would get that coveted admit. When I would be giving back to the community through my success.

Well today is the day. :)
I am happy to let you guys know that I have been admitted to the January intake of HEC Paris full time program. Very few people know how much effort I have put into securing this admit. The countless hours I put into score well in GMAT, the midnight oil burnt editing my imperfect essays and the many messages (or spams) that I have sent to alumni's in various schools seeking advise about admission. I want to thank each and everyone who have helped me. Be it by encouraging me, or by critiquing me when required.

A brief overview of my background:
Indian, Male 28 years old.
15 months in IT, 4 years in Analytics
5 year dual degree from BITS Pilani
GMAT: 720 (Q51,V36,IR 8, AWA 5)
Biggest weakness: Low GPA (6.53/10)
Biggest strength: Extracurriculars (Involved in 2 non profits during my professional tenure, captain of college sports team, active in Toastmasters and a few more)

The list of rejected schools is too long (and painful) for me to type. But they were all ranked in top 20 in the U.S.

A few tips for low GPA candidates:
1. Ace the GMAT. (duh!)
2. Make yourself interesting. Extracurriculars is the best way to do this.
3. Get significant work experience. Less than 3 years is too little for admission committee to give you the benefit of doubt for your GPA.
4. Get strong recommendations (duh!)
5. From personal experience I can let you know that the more essays the school asks you to write, the better your chances are. Essays are an excellent way to communicate your personality to the adcom. I was waitlisted at Johnson and interviewed at ISB. Both schools gave room for me to be creative in the essays. My essays for HEC were the best I have written to any school.

The surreal feeling of my first admit is yet to sink in. In case anyone would like any advise or further clarification on anything, please do reach out. I shall be happy to help you to the best of my ability.
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New post 28 Nov 2017, 18:35
quick note of hope because I read this thread SO many times when I was applying.

Yes, I am an URM but I think that has much less weight than everyone thinks. Most schools have a very very low percentage of URMs.

GPA: 2.8
GMAT: 700

Accepted: Ross ($), Fuqua ($$), CBS
Waitlisted: Booth
Dinged: Kellogg, Haas, Stern

happily at school where 0 of this matters anymore. listen to me and just apply! see what happens.
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New post 05 Dec 2017, 13:42
mochametier wrote:
quick note of hope because I read this thread SO many times when I was applying.

Yes, I am an URM but I think that has much less weight than everyone thinks. Most schools have a very very low percentage of URMs.

GPA: 2.8
GMAT: 700

Accepted: Ross ($), Fuqua ($$), CBS
Waitlisted: Booth
Dinged: Kellogg, Haas, Stern

happily at school where 0 of this matters anymore. listen to me and just apply! see what happens.



Could you elaborate on WE/Major in UG and a little about your application? We may have similar profiles, I'll be applying next year thought I could learn something!
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New post 10 Dec 2017, 01:10
BklynMatt wrote:
I'm going to add my own story to the mix...

I got a 2.8 GPA undergrad. I had a rough freshman year (I failed a high level calculus class 2nd semester) as I never learned a good work ethic. I was temporarily suspended from school (a good state school), but then came back and got on dean's list my first semester back. Unfortunately, I got lazy by the end and got just under a 3.0 my last semester in college.

My effort at work is completely different from that of my undergraduate career. I've worked for 4 years in Corp Finance at a media company and have been given an incredible amount of responsibility. Also, luckily, I scored a 750 on my GMAT (even though it took 3 times of taking it). I ended up applying to HBS (not sure why), Tuck, Darden, Fuqua, and McCombs. I was accepted at McCombs (with a bunch of money) and was waitlisted at Tuck, Darden, and Fuqua. I was recently accepted off the waitlist at Darden where I'll be matriculating.

I can offer the following advice for people with a low GPA. First, don't assume that it counts you out. I know I was waitlisted at the above schools due to my GPA (Tuck told me this), but if there's something else you can offer the school, they'll be willing to admit you. For me, I think it was my work experience, as it was very unique and my recommendations were very strong. Also, I genuinely enjoy interviewing, so I think that helped.

Also, try to find any sort of connections you have and ask for advice and ask if they can write a letter of support, it never hurts. If you're on the waitlist, don't be annoying, but try to keep a constant dialogue with the schools and give them a reason to admit you. Make it seem that it's their loss if they don't admit you. Lastly, don't give up. Getting in to school was really really hard (especially due to my GPA), but it's all worth it as I really loved Darden when I visited.

That's my story. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

Matt




Thanks for above... I have had a string of personal issues and reading this gives me a fair idea on how to approach things. I have good work experience and extracurricular but lots of side issues that I tackled with grit ... getting things done that others said were impossible. I plan on addressing all of them succinctly... yes I have many awards as well but I was very worried. So above info is gr8 as I went through many difficulties and no reason to shy away from reality.

Thanks to below guys and all others!
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New post 20 Feb 2018, 02:43
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UG GPA: 2.7-2.8, Top 40 Liberal Arts college
WE: 2 years as a scout for Major (MLB, NBA, NFL) sports team, 1 year in entry level player personnel administration role
GMAT: 720 48M 41V
EC's: 1 year volunteering/fundraising/dog fostering for small brooklyn-based adoption agency, 1 year in college as a volunteer income tax assistant for locals in town of college...that's about it, while I was scouting I was on the road more than 200 nights a year which made it difficult to establish any kind of community presence.
Minority: N/A, caucasian male

Narrative I'm essentially going for is translating the principles of asset valuation and human capital from pro sports to management consulting. Shooting for Stern, Ross, Darden, Mcdonough, Tepper, any shot or do I need to aim lower? Any advice would be appreciated.
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New post 15 Mar 2018, 00:48
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!

Stats:
27 Asian Female
UG: Top Canadian University, Geology (58%... I think thats a 2)
Admitted: ISB, Nanyang
Rejected: Sauder
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New post 05 Apr 2018, 17:07
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I read this thread obsessively for months leading up to and throughout the application process. They definitely gave me hope to actually get an admit despite my GPA. I hope my story will do the same for others:

26 yr old white female US Citizen first generation college student
GMAT: 740
GPA: 2.6
U/G Major: Biology
Top 10 Public University

I had multiple F's and D's on my undergraduate transcript. I worked throughout college and supported my own way 100% which made balancing school and work difficult. I also had significant involvement in a community organization that I was very passionate about. I struggled with not knowing how to handle college due to my first gen status, immaturity in not prioritizing school, and just general mental overload especially when I started working an even more demanding job.

I applied to 10 schools all up and down the rankings:

Harvard: Denied w/o interview
Wharton: Denied w/o Interview
Kellogg: ADMITTED w/ $
Haas: Denied w/o interview
Yale: Denied w/o interview
Ross: ADMITTED
UCLA: Waitlisted w/o interview
McCombs: ADMITTED w/ full scholarship
Tepper: ADMITTED w/ full scholarship
ASU: ADMITTED w/ full scholarship

I really could not believe that I was admitted to Kellogg...much less that I received some money from them. I nearly fainted when I got the call and I cannot wait to start there this fall!
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New post 07 Jun 2018, 06:57
I definitely followed this post before starting the application process, and I'm happy that I'm able to add to these awesome success stories.

Profile
UG GPA: 2.53 (Operations Research and Computer Analysis)
UG School: US Service Academy
WE: 80 months of military service at matriculation (Several significant leadership positions)
GMAT: 610 43Q 31V 3IR 5AWA
EC's: 2 years of coaching youth basketball and 5 years of mentoring/recruiting minority high school students to attend alma mater
Minority: African American/Asian American Male

I was a varsity athlete, and I struggled to balance my heavy academic load with athletics, training, and military obligations.

I definitely wrote the optional essay for each application and demonstrated improvement in time management by highlighting 3 courses I took outside of work and earned A's in over the last few years. I was pleasantly surprised to even make the interview stage at Wharton and Ross and am excited for Goizueta.

Matriculating: Emory - Goizueta (Consortium)
Accepted: UGA - Terry ($$)
Waitlisted: Georgetown - McDonough
Denied after interviewing: UPenn - Wharton, Mich - Ross
Denied w/o interview: NYU - Stern, Cornell - SC Johnson, UNC - Kenan-Flagler
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New post 07 Jun 2018, 07:01
tlockee wrote:
I definitely followed this post before starting the application process, and I'm happy that I'm able to add to these awesome success stories.

Profile
UG GPA: 2.53 (Operations Research and Computer Analysis)
UG School: US Service Academy
WE: 80 months of military service at matriculation (Several significant leadership positions)
GMAT: 610 43Q 31V 3IR 5AWA
EC's: 2 years of coaching youth basketball and 5 years of mentoring/recruiting minority high school students to attend alma mater
Minority: African American/Asian American Male

I was a varsity athlete, and I struggled to balance my heavy academic load with athletics, training, and military obligations.

I definitely wrote the optional essay for each application and demonstrated improvement in time management by highlighting 3 courses I took outside of work and earned A's in over the last few years. I was pleasantly surprised to even make the interview stage at Wharton and Ross and am excited for Goizueta.

Matriculating: Emory - Goizueta (Consortium)
Accepted: UGA - Terry ($$)
Waitlisted: Georgetown - McDonough
Denied after interviewing: UPenn - Wharton, Mich - Ross
Denied w/o interview: NYU - Stern, Cornell - SC Johnson, UNC - Kenan-Flagler


Congratulations for the achievement tlockee .

See you soon in Atlanta in another 1.5 months. :-)
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New post 29 Jun 2018, 11:28
Please post any profiles that have a GPA of 3.3 or below, and have gotten into Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, or Tuck.
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New post 17 Jul 2018, 16:39
Trying to figure out my odds of getting into to Emory, NYU, Columbia, and UChicago.

Stats:

Professional -
2.5 years of consulting at a supply chain technology company (3 promotions in 2.5 years)
1.5 years corporate strategy role at the same supply chain technology company (strategic alliances)
Excellent recommendations

Academic -
2.4 GPA at a top 5 engineering school - As and Bs in economics, accounting, and calculus courses
730 GMAT

Extra Curricular:

Professional:
Advisory Board for blockchain startup - strategy and business development
Advisory Board for human rights supply chain technology startup
Executive representative at Chamber of Commerce
English tutor and resettlement advisor to refugees

Collegiate:
Founded a start-up consulting organization on campus by students for students
Mental Health Advocacy Group - Board member
Service (volunteer) fraternity - President

Notes -
Attended university at 16.
Minority - middle eastern/african
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New post 18 Jul 2018, 08:52
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deltayeb wrote:
Trying to figure out my odds of getting into to Emory, NYU, Columbia, and UChicago.

Stats:

Professional -
2.5 years of consulting at a supply chain technology company (3 promotions in 2.5 years)
1.5 years corporate strategy role at the same supply chain technology company (strategic alliances)
Excellent recommendations

Academic -
2.4 GPA at a top 5 engineering school - As and Bs in economics, accounting, and calculus courses
730 GMAT

Extra Curricular:

Professional:
Advisory Board for blockchain startup - strategy and business development
Advisory Board for human rights supply chain technology startup
Executive representative at Chamber of Commerce
English tutor and resettlement advisor to refugees

Collegiate:
Founded a start-up consulting organization on campus by students for students
Mental Health Advocacy Group - Board member
Service (volunteer) fraternity - President

Notes -
Attended university at 16.
Minority - middle eastern/african


Without reading any of your essays or interviewing you, I can ;) ;) ;) CONFIDENTLY :-D :-D confirm the following odds:
Emory - 65%
NYU - 45%
Columbia - 10%
UChicago - 20%

I've done A LOT of analysis on schools valuing GPA/WE/GMAT/Nationality (Yes affirmative action hurts certain people)/Essays/Interviews
Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories &nbs [#permalink] 18 Jul 2018, 08:52

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