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Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories

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New post Updated on: 24 Feb 2014, 14:29
1
Thought I would throw mine into the ring.

2.69 GPA ( UNC - Charlotte not UNC Chapel Hill)
750 GMAT
White
Male

So far I am in at Cornell. You can see under my name where I was accepted.

I did play professional soccer but that is really it. I think the main thing is to find your story and tell it. Who you are and more importantly who you become.

Thought I would update. I not only got in to 4 top 25 programs I had scholarship offers to 3.
Cornell $
Carnegie Mellon $$
Vanderbilt $$$

I am a perfect example of what you can do if you put your mind to it!!!

Originally posted by thisisatestonlyatest on 11 Dec 2013, 09:36.
Last edited by thisisatestonlyatest on 24 Feb 2014, 14:29, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 13 Apr 2014, 13:37
Hi all, I am an international student so pardon my English. I was browsing this thread nights and nights and over and over because I wanted to get the some hope, and I did. So here it goes.

Undergrad: Ranked as 110 LAC this year
Major(s): Finance with minor physics
GPA: 2.41
GRE: 1390 twice
Nationality: Chinese
Age: 23
Gender: M

Application Results:
R3 - Brandeis - Dinged without interview
R3 - BC - Dinged without interview
R3 - Penn state - Dinged without interview
R3 - Olin(campus visit and interviewed before application) - Dinged without interview
R3 - Simon - nothing yet
R3 - NYU contiuned study real estate finance - nothing
R3 - Syracuse - accepted with scholarship ( was surprised to get scholarship and an offer)

Background:
Basically, I havent participated any activity during undergrad, and I was honest to state I had no interest. I lacked of attitude on academic performance and attitude toward career development since my family runs decent high tech business and most likely I would take over it. I was put in charged on a managerial capacity position as remote job to learn the business during night time ( time difference ), I followed my father with all possible meetings via Skype and acted as the second hand but with limited authority. I took that more seriously that nailing A in classes. But I have super super interest in investment and industries, on my transcripts, I had most major courses A and B but cultural diversity or other courses, all C and worse. Got 2 D: Mechanical analysis in physics and Linear Algebra ( I had good start, but I really didn't do homework so ...) I also did a equity research on TSLA on March last year and if anyone is familiar with it, you know how it is trading today. And I took an extra semester to finish my degree since I dropped a course.

I had a normal resume as others: internships every summer back home with different fields and big local firms: Law firms, Government office, Mutual Funds, Family business, Auto manufacturers, to know this, none of them was well recognized in the states.

My family business have a patent which I was part of it and we also won the second place of national high tech funding competition which was a big deal to my firm, I was acting as the second hand as well.


About me read if you want :)
Always wanted to get in IBD for several years, but limited resources and sponsorship had really cut me off. Even I have wealthy clients who is willing to invest 9 billion annually for proper investments, and I offer and IBD who takes me will earn this client, none responds my email, i know it sounds like a scam but it is true. While waiting for hearing back from gradschools, I had a plan B: To open a subsidiary in the states to expand business. Contacting lawyers and potential clients had really fulfill my time these days. And last week just heard from Syracuse, acceptance with scholarship. I need to reconsider timing about all this.


Look at my profile, you should be super confident that hope exists and you should always stick with it. Bad grades will be overcome. I understand Syracuse is not tier 1 but it is good for me already.


Feel free contact me , always want to make new friends.


Good luck to all,
Charles
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New post 15 Apr 2014, 21:50
1
Dakells wrote:
Thought I'd write my story here and the other low GPA thread since I read through all of the low GPA threads a bunch of times when applying because I was so nervous about my chances. Hopefully I will give another low GPA-er some hope!

Profile:
Age/gender: 28 y/o female
GPA: 2.9 from a top 10 liberal arts school, economics major
GMAT: 700 and 690 (yes did worse the second time), don't remember my split but my quant was nowhere near that 80% everyone says to get.
WE: 3 years in a rotational program for a well known financial services firm, 3 years in risk at a global investment bank
Extracurriculars: Captain of sports team in college, consistent volunteering since college (some leadership positions and unique stuff), very involved with former college, and have a lot of hobbies I mentioned in my apps to sort of differentiate myself.

Schools I applied to and results (all Rnd 1 or Regular Decision):

Wharton: Waitlisted (after a terrible interview mind you, Team Discussion was great, but interview, yikes)
Kellogg: Waitlisted
Columbia: Accepted
Fuqua: Accepted
Stern: Accepted

I think the following helped my case:

1. A clear idea/and description in my apps of my career goals, why an MBA would help them, why that specific school's MBA would help them, why now was the time I was pursuing MBA, and how my prior work experience would help me achieve those goals. I had heard that schools worry career changers won't find jobs if it is too great of a change, so I highlighted aspects/stories of my work experience that directly applies to my goals. I also made sure to show why I was passionate about my goals and what had led me to realize my goals.

2. In addition to tying my work experience to my goals, I tried to give examples of leadership at work. I told a couple of stories that demonstrated me taking initiative and leading teams. I also told my recommenders that schools like that so if they had any stories to put in their recommendations that would be great. Don't know what my recommenders ended up writing, but I did send them both an email with what my goals are and some of my professional and personal accomplishments.

3. Once you start doing in depth research on a school and its programs, it is pretty easy to figure out what is important to that school (what type of candidate they are looking for). So in each of my essays, I made sure to pick examples and tailor my message to that specific school's values.

4. I took two classes in the summer before I applied, 1 accounting class and 1 math class (not calculus level) to show that I have quant skills and can be a good student, got A's in both courses. Was told specifically by one of the schools that they really liked that I took the initiative to take those courses.

5. I visited every school I applied to. Luckily for me this was easy and the only two schools I really had to fly to were Duke and Kellogg which meant I could self-initiate an interview while I was there. Just felt like this showed my interest but more importantly allowed me to speak of my visit in my application.

6. In general I just really tried to show that I was ready to fully engage in the program and the school's community. Also tried to show a coherent story as to how my career goals were formed, how MBA would help achieve them, and what I hoped to do in the short term and long term.

7. Just a note about the optional essay since I wondered about this. I chose note to come right out and say "I have a low GPA because...". Instead I chose to use the essay to highlight the two courses I took in an effort to prepare myself for the rigors or the MBA program and since I had been out of school for awhile.

Hope that is helpful to someone! Nothing earth shattering above, but there are so many things to keep in mind and think about in this whole process it's easy to just get stuck on your low gpa or gmat and think that means you're not a strong candidate. Especially looking on this board, it's amazing how many people have such strong stats. But you never know, you see people with 750 GMATs and 3.8 GPAs get rejected from top schools all the time while someone with much lower stats gets in. To me, that really shows that the adcoms really do take a look at the holistic picture. Good luck!


Hey Darkells, thanks for your sharing and it is inspiring!

My GPA is about the same as yours from a Top Asia-Pacific Uni in Engineering. Luckily I got a better GMAT score. My school list includes HBS, Kellogg, CBS, and Fuqua, which is also quite similar to your school choices. Your points gave me a new view of the evaluation process: the adcoms do value your initiatives in making up the shortcomings.

But some of your steps are very difficult for me to take, say school visits, since my working locations lie in Singapore and Germany. Do you have any suggestions on this?

Also I am interested in your optional essay about the summer courses. I have heard some advice like if your GPA is bad then never mention it in your essays. How do you think about that?

Hope I can make my applications better and get good results as you did!

Thanks and regards
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New post 04 Jun 2014, 14:30
I recently applied for McCombs Evening Program (Austin) and got in.

Overall GPA: 2.64 (3 F's)
UC GPA: 2.3
GMAT: 670 (Q45, V38, AWA5.5, 83%)
WE: Apple, Supply Chain, 60 months
Extracurriculars: Texas Exes Alumni Association, Fraternity National Board, Started an E-Commerce Business
Letters from Apple's Sr. Management (2).

I must've read through these threads every couple of months the past 2 years. Although many here would be applying to the full-time program, I still hope that my example may inspire someone to work hard on the rest of their application (let me know if I can answer any questions).

I don't know if I would've been accepted into their full-time program, but I do know that I did everything possible to give myself the best opportunity possible (networked rigorously, mapped out my application strategically to address weaknesses, coached my recommenders to highlight qualities I needed to be highlighted, etc.). I decided to ultimately apply full-time only due to a recent promotion the same month and the quality of employers out of the part-time program, which is a big kudos to McCombs Evening MBA.
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New post 19 Oct 2014, 15:14
Hi, I'm from Brazil and I am going to graduate in december 2014 with an electrical engineering major. I am considering applying for the University of Notre Dame MBA program. Since my parents can't afford a MBA in the USA, I'm thinking of applying for a scholarship also. Moreover, I am graduating from the best university of America Latina. However, my GPA is very low: 2.5. Therefore, I have some questions:

1) What are my chances of getting in the University of Notre Dame MBA program?
2) Do they take the name of the university into account?
3) If I do well on GMAT, do I have more chances of getting in, even with a low GPA?
4) I saw on the University of Notre Dame's website that they require a slide presentation for the application, what kind of slide presentation do they look for?
5) What are my chances of getting in as an international applicant?
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New post 27 Oct 2014, 09:04
My GPA 2.58 and ( BSc Accounting with Computing). This is really tormenting me as to whether to write GMAT or not because it seems most of the USA schools are seeking a 3.0 GPA or above . Am confused and wish to get a motivation from someone to carry on. Really worried
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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 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 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 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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Location: United States (NJ)
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories  [#permalink]

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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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Joined: 19 Jun 2018
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Location: United States (GA)
GMAT 1: 680 Q47 V35
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GPA: 2.4
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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories  [#permalink]

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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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Schools: Booth '21 (A)
Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Sep 2019, 12:49
Undergrad GPA: 3.25, including F, 2 D's in quant courses, upward trajectory (3.7 senior year)
Degree from top 10 US private university in a non-quant major
GMAT 710 (Q47, V40)
Work experience includes investment banking and private equity (5 years at matriculation)

Admitted to Booth

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Re: Low Undergrad GPA Success Stories   [#permalink] 19 Sep 2019, 12:49

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