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Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA

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Joined: 30 Jan 2017
Posts: 10
Location: United States (NJ)
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V45
GPA: 3.3
WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2018, 11:30
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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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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2018, 19:48
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Would love to read more of these stories! Can anyone share their achievements to give us some hope?

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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Feb 2019, 16:16
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Hello! I relied heavily on these stories to keep me motivated and determined during my process, and I'm excited to be able to put my own story up here now! Give someone else a little bit of hope like they did for me. :)

GMAT: 640 Q43/V34, IR:8, AWA: 6
University Attended: University of Illinois (state school)
Major: Psychology
GPA: 2.73
Nationality: Asian
Age: (at matriculation) 30
Gender: Female
Work Experience: 8 years of experience/ Start-ups / Various roles in finance
Extra-curricular Activities: avid scuba diver
Community Services: active stroke support group organizer and lead.

Business Schools (Admitted): Booth with $$; Kellogg
Business Schools (Applied but Dinged): None
Business Schools (Interviewed & Waiting Decision): UCLA/USC

What do you think is your biggest advantage?
My resume and my "story/narrative"; being female; and the way I approached the process with a very specific goal in mind. I knew I was going to be at a significant disadvantage with my GPA and GMAT so I had to give this process 100% and be absolutely certain and prepared for this mentally, and I think that showed through in all aspects of my process--essays, meetings, interviews, etc.

My Story I apologize in advance for the length!
I graduated from a rigorous high school in the top 3% of my class with a full ride to a state university as a pre-medical major. I truly wanted to become a doctor holistically, and not for the prestige and pride, but for the gratifying work in actively helping people in a rigorous challenging field. Beginning of my second year of university though, my younger sister had a stroke that ultimately left her half paralyzed along with mental deficits. My sister had almost died, and as she was in an induced coma, I humbly sat there with the machines humming and begged anything and anyone to bring her back to me, bargaining my life for hers. This spun my life out of control in every aspect as my family and I tried to cope and grieve. Over the next few years, we lived inside hospitals and rehabilitation centers as she relearned how to breathe, eat, speak, and walk again. I commuted back and forth every weekend, trading my grades and dreams for my sanity and reality. As the eldest child, I tried to hold my family together and ultimately lost faith in the medical career from intimately witnessing and experiencing the unfortunate dark side of the field. I ended up completing my degree remotely at home a year later than expected, and I chose to walk alongside my sister at rehab instead of in a robe at graduation.

After graduating, I was truly at a loss of where my career and life was supposed to go. I had once had the same idyllic dreams of graduating from school, getting a job, getting married, having children, etc. as everyone else in that naive order. Instead, I was 22 years old with a crap GPA in Psychology, with no clear path in life or career. I took a deep hard look at what I was good at and what I still enjoyed doing and tried to derive a career out of it, since my family needed the extra income more than anything. What would provide me mental stimulation in a quantitative way, allow me to be innovative, and give me the best option of grabbing a good salary to send back to my family? I chose Finance, specifically in a start-up for that extra creativity access.

Now that I knew I wanted to pursue Finance, I had a hard path ahead of me with my background. After being rejected over and over again from cold applying, I started reaching out to people I knew. I was absolutely ruthless. I refused to give up and take any other job, and I refused to slow down. I wanted to make up for lost time. I was able to grab an unpaid internship at a start-up company, in which I was converted to full time. From here, my career took off, and I always feel incredibly lucky for the companies I have gotten to work. I was able to get in early at multiple high profile start-ups when no one knew of these companies and grow with them during their hyper-growth stage. Now, every company I've worked for is recognizable by name and constantly in the news revolutionizing the industry they're in. I was incredibly lucky in that. I couldn't have controlled the fate of these companies, but what I could control I did. I could mold my work experience and what I gained from the job. I was insatiable and I hit the ground running in every opportunity. I went from humbly processing payroll, running the payroll department, running account payable and accounts receivable, finally becoming a senior financial analyst, and ultimately an operations manager, through several companies. I thrived and constantly grew in each role surpassing expectations. I learned all the ins and outs of every single department I worked in. I have loved every job I have had, since I felt I was very lucky to be in the position to begin with, especially with my background and personal life. I have been grateful for each and every single opportunity. Which I think is rare and hard to come by these days, and I acknowledge that and am incredibly grateful every day.

During my career, I realized that my strength and passion was in creating infrastructure at young companies in a fast-paced environment and making sure various areas and departments ran efficiently. This helped me find a sense of focus in my career and I decided to pursue operations. At this point, I realized I had maximized what I could learn on the job, and I wanted to supplement my career to anticipate my next steps in becoming a director and more at a future company. I wanted an educational foundation that could bolster and heighten my career and mind. This is when I realized I was ready to apply for an MBA since I finally had a clear goal and focus. I wasn't looking for a career changer. I wasn't looking for a break. I wasn't looking to just grab the degree for a promotion. I was looking for the perfect way to begin my next chapter of my life.

During my application process, the GMAT was the most painful part. By far. I took 6 months in preparing for my GMAT, and I took the exam three times in order to raise my score. I was scoring upper 680-710 on all practice exams, but test anxiety took the best of me every single time when I would step into the testing centers. The test anxiety!!! Awful! I maxed out at 640 on the real exam. I knew after the third try I needed to cut my losses and make sure the rest of my application was solid in order to hit my deadlines. I made sure to be organized and methodical in all aspects of my resume, recommendations, essays, and interview from here.

The story I provided here is the story I used for my essays. Looking back at my university years, it truly was the hardest moment of my life to date, and may continue to be one of the most defining and arduous moment of my life in entirety. I ultimately used this moment in my application to paint a picture of my GPA and generally my attitude towards life and my future. Not to provide an excuse, but to show the amount of growth I experienced and how this experience truly changed me as a person regarding maturity and motivation compared to my general peers. I focused on how it set me apart from my peers in the way I approached all aspects of my life and work, and how it motivated me to be so tenacious in my career.

I also made sure to be in contact with admissions early at the schools I chose, and I actively went and toured the campuses, even when they were out of state. I attended classes and I requested to speak to multiple female alumni to ensure I could find a strong female mentor I could relate to. Female mentors are hard to find in general in the field and industry I've chosen, so I do highly value their experience and perspective naturally, and I made sure to highlight this as something I could provide back to the schools I applied to. I genuinely wanted to give back to the university I would ultimately attend, as a female and overall as a student/person, and I made that very apparent during my process. In the end, I made sure to be actively involved with admissions and show how serious I was and the effort I was willing to put into this.

Lastly, in order to add a bit of color and to round out my application, I also added my hobbies and flowed it into my narrative. I do think they're a bit unique in a sense compared to my peers, and I can always genuinely speak about it passionately which I do think was important and I believe my interviewers appreciated that and could sense it. I lead a stroke support group for family members that have personally experienced strokes particularly in young patients. When I was struggling, it was near impossible to find a support group for people and their support systems who've had strokes under 30 years old. People tend to associate strokes with elderly patients, which is the vast majority, but it leaves a chunk of us not in that demographic feeling a bit isolated. I wanted to help fill that gap a bit. Also, I absolutely love to scuba dive, and I was fortunate enough to be able to learn how to dive when I took a break between two of my companies when one of them went public. I had never left the country before that, so I took a 6 month break in my career and traveled the world diving in exotic locations. I went to various countries and small islands, warm and cold climates. I saw barracudas, sharks, shipwrecks, and long forgotten WW2 planes to name a few. It was incredible, and I still love to dive when I find the time whether it's local or international.

Overall, I was so incredibly blown away by the fact that these schools really do look at every aspect of your application. I was constantly reaffirmed when receiving my acceptances when they would mention details of my application, such as the interview or specific feedback from alumni, as a part of what swayed them in their decision. I wanted to share my story and emphasize that GPA and GMAT is an important portion, but not always the most important factor when schools look at you. I was able to humanize the process and I took the time to make my narrative genuine. I applied when I was truly mentally ready and my motivation and drive came through in my interview and every interaction I had with my schools.

I will be matriculating into Booth with a scholarship this year, and I am so incredibly grateful for everything that has lead me to this moment, and particularly the help and support I've received from GMAT club contributors. I lived off of these success stories when I was feeling doubtful.

I hope this encourages some or provides some hope for others. Please feel free to reach out for any assistance or advice! I am more than happy to help. :)

Good luck, everyone!
_________________
My MBA Story - Low GMAT/Low GPA Admitted to Top B-School
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Joined: 07 Feb 2019
Posts: 25
Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Feb 2019, 20:11
dlee61 wrote:
Hello! I relied heavily on these stories to keep me motivated and determined during my process, and I'm excited to be able to put my own story up here now! Give someone else a little bit of hope like they did for me. :)

GMAT: 640 Q43/V34, IR:8, AWA: 6
University Attended: University of Illinois (state school)
Major: Psychology
GPA: 2.73
Nationality: Asian
Age: (at matriculation) 30
Gender: Female
Work Experience: 8 years of experience/ Start-ups / Various roles in finance
Extra-curricular Activities: avid scuba diver
Community Services: active stroke support group organizer and lead.

Business Schools (Admitted): Booth with $$; Kellogg
Business Schools (Applied but Dinged): None
Business Schools (Interviewed & Waiting Decision): UCLA/USC

What do you think is your biggest advantage?
My resume and my "story/narrative"; being female; and the way I approached the process with a very specific goal in mind. I knew I was going to be at a significant disadvantage with my GPA and GMAT so I had to give this process 100% and be absolutely certain and prepared for this mentally, and I think that showed through in all aspects of my process--essays, meetings, interviews, etc.

My Story I apologize in advance for the length!
I graduated from a rigorous high school in the top 3% of my class with a full ride to a state university as a pre-medical major. I truly wanted to become a doctor holistically, and not for the prestige and pride, but for the gratifying work in actively helping people in a rigorous challenging field. Beginning of my second year of university though, my younger sister had a stroke that ultimately left her half paralyzed along with mental deficits. My sister had almost died, and as she was in an induced coma, I humbly sat there with the machines humming and begged anything and anyone to bring her back to me, bargaining my life for hers. This spun my life out of control in every aspect as my family and I tried to cope and grieve. Over the next few years, we lived inside hospitals and rehabilitation centers as she relearned how to breathe, eat, speak, and walk again. I commuted back and forth every weekend, trading my grades and dreams for my sanity and reality. As the eldest child, I tried to hold my family together and ultimately lost faith in the medical career from intimately witnessing and experiencing the unfortunate dark side of the field. I ended up completing my degree remotely at home a year later than expected, and I chose to walk alongside my sister at rehab instead of in a robe at graduation.

After graduating, I was truly at a loss of where my career and life was supposed to go. I had once had the same idyllic dreams of graduating from school, getting a job, getting married, having children, etc. as everyone else in that naive order. Instead, I was 22 years old with a crap GPA in Psychology, with no clear path in life or career. I took a deep hard look at what I was good at and what I still enjoyed doing and tried to derive a career out of it, since my family needed the extra income more than anything. What would provide me mental stimulation in a quantitative way, allow me to be innovative, and give me the best option of grabbing a good salary to send back to my family? I chose Finance, specifically in a start-up for that extra creativity access.

Now that I knew I wanted to pursue Finance, I had a hard path ahead of me with my background. After being rejected over and over again from cold applying, I started reaching out to people I knew. I was absolutely ruthless. I refused to give up and take any other job, and I refused to slow down. I wanted to make up for lost time. I was able to grab an unpaid internship at a start-up company, in which I was converted to full time. From here, my career took off, and I always feel incredibly lucky for the companies I have gotten to work. I was able to get in early at multiple high profile start-ups when no one knew of these companies and grow with them during their hyper-growth stage. Now, every company I've worked for is recognizable by name and constantly in the news revolutionizing the industry they're in. I was incredibly lucky in that. I couldn't have controlled the fate of these companies, but what I could control I did. I could mold my work experience and what I gained from the job. I was insatiable and I hit the ground running in every opportunity. I went from humbly processing payroll, running the payroll department, running account payable and accounts receivable, finally becoming a senior financial analyst, and ultimately an operations manager, through several companies. I thrived and constantly grew in each role surpassing expectations. I learned all the ins and outs of every single department I worked in. I have loved every job I have had, since I felt I was very lucky to be in the position to begin with, especially with my background and personal life. I have been grateful for each and every single opportunity. Which I think is rare and hard to come by these days, and I acknowledge that and am incredibly grateful every day.

During my career, I realized that my strength and passion was in creating infrastructure at young companies in a fast-paced environment and making sure various areas and departments ran efficiently. This helped me find a sense of focus in my career and I decided to pursue operations. At this point, I realized I had maximized what I could learn on the job, and I wanted to supplement my career to anticipate my next steps in becoming a director and more at a future company. I wanted an educational foundation that could bolster and heighten my career and mind. This is when I realized I was ready to apply for an MBA since I finally had a clear goal and focus. I wasn't looking for a career changer. I wasn't looking for a break. I wasn't looking to just grab the degree for a promotion. I was looking for the perfect way to begin my next chapter of my life.

During my application process, the GMAT was the most painful part. By far. I took 6 months in preparing for my GMAT, and I took the exam three times in order to raise my score. I was scoring upper 680-710 on all practice exams, but test anxiety took the best of me every single time when I would step into the testing centers. The test anxiety!!! Awful! I maxed out at 640 on the real exam. I knew after the third try I needed to cut my losses and make sure the rest of my application was solid in order to hit my deadlines. I made sure to be organized and methodical in all aspects of my resume, recommendations, essays, and interview from here.

The story I provided here is the story I used for my essays. Looking back at my university years, it truly was the hardest moment of my life to date, and may continue to be one of the most defining and arduous moment of my life in entirety. I ultimately used this moment in my application to paint a picture of my GPA and generally my attitude towards life and my future. Not to provide an excuse, but to show the amount of growth I experienced and how this experience truly changed me as a person regarding maturity and motivation compared to my general peers. I focused on how it set me apart from my peers in the way I approached all aspects of my life and work, and how it motivated me to be so tenacious in my career.

I also made sure to be in contact with admissions early at the schools I chose, and I actively went and toured the campuses, even when they were out of state. I attended classes and I requested to speak to multiple female alumni to ensure I could find a strong female mentor I could relate to. Female mentors are hard to find in general in the field and industry I've chosen, so I do highly value their experience and perspective naturally, and I made sure to highlight this as something I could provide back to the schools I applied to. I genuinely wanted to give back to the university I would ultimately attend, as a female and overall as a student/person, and I made that very apparent during my process. In the end, I made sure to be actively involved with admissions and show how serious I was and the effort I was willing to put into this.

Lastly, in order to add a bit of color and to round out my application, I also added my hobbies and flowed it into my narrative. I do think they're a bit unique in a sense compared to my peers, and I can always genuinely speak about it passionately which I do think was important and I believe my interviewers appreciated that and could sense it. I lead a stroke support group for family members that have personally experienced strokes particularly in young patients. When I was struggling, it was near impossible to find a support group for people and their support systems who've had strokes under 30 years old. People tend to associate strokes with elderly patients, which is the vast majority, but it leaves a chunk of us not in that demographic feeling a bit isolated. I wanted to help fill that gap a bit. Also, I absolutely love to scuba dive, and I was fortunate enough to be able to learn how to dive when I took a break between two of my companies when one of them went public. I had never left the country before that, so I took a 6 month break in my career and traveled the world diving in exotic locations. I went to various countries and small islands, warm and cold climates. I saw barracudas, sharks, shipwrecks, and long forgotten WW2 planes to name a few. It was incredible, and I still love to dive when I find the time whether it's local or international.

Overall, I was so incredibly blown away by the fact that these schools really do look at every aspect of your application. I was constantly reaffirmed when receiving my acceptances when they would mention details of my application, such as the interview or specific feedback from alumni, as a part of what swayed them in their decision. I wanted to share my story and emphasize that GPA and GMAT is an important portion, but not always the most important factor when schools look at you. I was able to humanize the process and I took the time to make my narrative genuine. I applied when I was truly mentally ready and my motivation and drive came through in my interview and every interaction I had with my schools.

I will be matriculating into Booth with a scholarship this year, and I am so incredibly grateful for everything that has lead me to this moment, and particularly the help and support I've received from GMAT club contributors. I lived off of these success stories when I was feeling doubtful.

I hope this encourages some or provides some hope for others. Please feel free to reach out for any assistance or advice! I am more than happy to help. :)

Good luck, everyone!


damn that's an inspiring read. Congrats on your admission to Booth!
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Joined: 13 Aug 2018
Posts: 13
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 640 Q44 V35
Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Feb 2019, 12:52
lingx073 wrote:
damn that's an inspiring read. Congrats on your admission to Booth!


thank you for reading and the kind words!
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My MBA Story - Low GMAT/Low GPA Admitted to Top B-School
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Joined: 21 Feb 2019
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Location: United States
GMAT 1: 640 Q37 V40
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Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 01 Apr 2019, 09:01
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GMAT: 640 (Q:37, V:40, AWA:5.5)
University attended: UVA
Major(s): Finance & Management
GPA / Honors: 3.5
Nationality: African American
Age: (at matriculation): 26
Gender: Male
Work Experience: 5 / IB & PE
Extra-curricular Activities: Many
Community Services: Many

Business Schools (Admitted): Booth, Wharton, Columbia, Stern
Business Schools (Applied but Dinged): None

I gave everything I had in me to prepare for the GMAT. Over the course of a year and a half I tried Manhattan Prep, Veritas, hired 2 private tutors, took 17 practice exams, etc. but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't break the 650 mark. At a certain point I decided I had to accept my GMAT score and redirect my time and energy towards putting together the best application possible.

I acknowledge that being an African American likely helped my application get a second look. Say what you want, but at the end of the day Admissions wants to create a well-rounded class with different backgrounds and experiences. I think the biggest differentiator for me was my work experience - I started working as a teenager in various "blue collar" jobs, secured finance internships every summer in undergrad, and my IB and PE roles were in smaller teams where I spent a lot of time working with different management teams. I believe those work experiences resulted in stronger letters of recommendation which may have helped make up for my low GMAT.

Bottom line: After you've given your best effort, try not to obsess about your GMAT score and instead focus your time on the parts of the application that can make you stand out as unique.

Originally posted by Hoos20 on 28 Feb 2019, 14:35.
Last edited by Hoos20 on 01 Apr 2019, 09:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2019, 14:37
Thrilled be be able to add to this thread! I had a very mixed profile with a few positives and a few negatives, so I really wasn't sure how this admissions cycle would turn out. Very happy to say that I'll be at Kellogg next year!

The bad:
ORM, male, 30 y/o at matriculation
3.0 GPA in humanities

The good:
750 GMAT
Undergrad from HYPSM

The neutral:
Non-traditional work experience (almost entirely at nonprofits)
Medium extracurriculars -- not a lot of service, but reached a good level of success and leadership opportunities in a niche sport

I've always considered myself a natural writer, but I think essays for MBA applications are inherently really tricky. It's really difficult to balance telling your story, retaining your personal voice, bragging about yourself, and expressing your interest -- all with very short word limits! Getting started early (I knocked out the GMAT in March) and working through multiple drafts (probably 8+ revisions for my top schools) was really critical to the flow of my essays. I also thought ApplicantLab was an invaluable tool, and couldn't recommend it highly enough. It was invaluable in helping me think through my story, explain my poor undergrad, and target my essays for each school.

Ultimately, I applied to several schools R1:

Accepted: Kellogg, Tuck
Waitlisted: Wharton, Ross
Dinged: Haas (with interview), GSB, CBS
GMAT Club Bot
Re: Profiles - Admitted to Top B-Schools w/ Low GMAT or Low GPA   [#permalink] 07 Mar 2019, 14:37

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