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Selecting appropriate programs with extraordinarily low undergrad GPA?

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Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 05 Dec 2017
Posts: 3
Location: United States (MD)
Concentration: Other, Healthcare
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V38
GPA: 2.34
WE: Pharmaceuticals (Pharmaceuticals and Biotech)
Selecting appropriate programs with extraordinarily low undergrad GPA?  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jan 2018, 16:10
Given an applicant who has a relatively non-traditional profile but an astonishingly low undergraduate GPA, what are reasonable target schools for MBA programs?

Of course, I'm speaking about myself. My profile is below:

Basic stats
GMAT: 710 - V38, Q49, IR8, AWA6
Undergraduate GPA: 2.34 from a top 25 (but not top 15) university
Graduate GPA: 3.67
Years WE: 4 years full-time with additional part-time/internship work experiences during my time in school
Industry: Biotech - Manager/Associate Director level in Clinical Development
Volunteer experience: Strong - several years of HIV outreach/community testing
Extracurriculars: Continual involvement in music ensembles/LGBT organizations

Anyway, my conundrum is this: no one cares about my graduate school grades, right? Thus my undergrad 2.34 is back to haunt me. My GMAT is good, not stellar. Same with the rest of my stats. How do I go about choosing the right schools? What can I reasonably say I'm competitive for? Would I even be considered for scholarships anywhere? (Grad school was NOT cheap.) I'm still unsure about whether a part-time or full-time program is right for me.

If you're interested in more context:
I'm 30 years old, and I graduated from University of Southern California with a 2.34 in Biochemistry. Being impassioned by drug discovery, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the sciences, but it's been a circuitous route to my current role. After graduating from undergrad, my first postgraduate role was as a research lab manager, where I conducted some research and managed the operations (think purchasing reagents, writing and submitting protocols for our research, managing grant funds, etc.) of a 25-person academic research lab. During my two years in the lab, I found that the people who asked the best research questions and had the best foresight were those who were both scientists and clinicians -- individuals who could understand the clinical relevance of their findings. Desiring to be able to see the forest and not just the trees, I decided to apply to PharmD programs where I could learn about the use of therapeutics in patients.

As I needed to complete several prerequisite courses for pharmacy school, I took several undergraduate-level post-bacc courses (in which I earned a 4.0) while working in the lab, and my post-bacc academic success coupled with a high standardized test (PCAT) score helped me gain admission into pharmacy school. Determined to never let my GPA limit my options again, I took a different approach to my academics in pharmacy school. I graduated with a 3.67; I was always on the Dean's List; I was inducted into the pharmacy academic honor society; and I was in the research honors pathway, limited to only 5 students (from a class of 160). I managed to do this while working part-time continually at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the VA, while holding several student organization positions, and while earning scholarships and awards from national pharmacy organizations for academics and leadership. Thankfully, my more recent academic success allowed me to be competitive for postdoctoral fellowships, and I opted to serve as a postdoctoral fellow at a large pharmaceutical company.

Presently, I hold a manager/associate director-level position in oncology clinical development with this large pharmaceutical/biotech company, and I'm a part-time pharmacist with a Hopkins hospital. In my full-time role, I design, support, and analyze data from several global, first-in-human oncology studies. I love my job, and I love the sector I'm in. However, I want to do more than just the science. As a health care provider and as a drug developer, I recognize that bringing therapeutics to patients is much more than the science behind it, and making an impact on the costs of the drug development process and health care delivery requires skills and perspective I lack -- things that I believe an MBA can help with and things that will allow me to have a larger impact at a higher level.


Many thanks for your time and advice.
Admission Consultant
User avatar
G
Status: Application Consultant
Affiliations: IvyLeagueEdge
Joined: 13 Jul 2016
Posts: 272
Location: India
Concentration: Strategy, Marketing
Schools: Yale (A)
GMAT 1: 740 Q47 V44
WE: Operations (Other)
Re: Selecting appropriate programs with extraordinarily low undergrad GPA?  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jan 2018, 23:40
jmeyerrx wrote:
Given an applicant who has a relatively non-traditional profile but an astonishingly low undergraduate GPA, what are reasonable target schools for MBA programs?

Of course, I'm speaking about myself. My profile is below:

Basic stats
GMAT: 710 - V38, Q49, IR8, AWA6
Undergraduate GPA: 2.34 from a top 25 (but not top 15) university
Graduate GPA: 3.67
Years WE: 4 years full-time with additional part-time/internship work experiences during my time in school
Industry: Biotech - Manager/Associate Director level in Clinical Development
Volunteer experience: Strong - several years of HIV outreach/community testing
Extracurriculars: Continual involvement in music ensembles/LGBT organizations

Anyway, my conundrum is this: no one cares about my graduate school grades, right? Thus my undergrad 2.34 is back to haunt me. My GMAT is good, not stellar. Same with the rest of my stats. How do I go about choosing the right schools? What can I reasonably say I'm competitive for? Would I even be considered for scholarships anywhere? (Grad school was NOT cheap.) I'm still unsure about whether a part-time or full-time program is right for me.

If you're interested in more context:
I'm 30 years old, and I graduated from University of Southern California with a 2.34 in Biochemistry. Being impassioned by drug discovery, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the sciences, but it's been a circuitous route to my current role. After graduating from undergrad, my first postgraduate role was as a research lab manager, where I conducted some research and managed the operations (think purchasing reagents, writing and submitting protocols for our research, managing grant funds, etc.) of a 25-person academic research lab. During my two years in the lab, I found that the people who asked the best research questions and had the best foresight were those who were both scientists and clinicians -- individuals who could understand the clinical relevance of their findings. Desiring to be able to see the forest and not just the trees, I decided to apply to PharmD programs where I could learn about the use of therapeutics in patients.

As I needed to complete several prerequisite courses for pharmacy school, I took several undergraduate-level post-bacc courses (in which I earned a 4.0) while working in the lab, and my post-bacc academic success coupled with a high standardized test (PCAT) score helped me gain admission into pharmacy school. Determined to never let my GPA limit my options again, I took a different approach to my academics in pharmacy school. I graduated with a 3.67; I was always on the Dean's List; I was inducted into the pharmacy academic honor society; and I was in the research honors pathway, limited to only 5 students (from a class of 160). I managed to do this while working part-time continually at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the VA, while holding several student organization positions, and while earning scholarships and awards from national pharmacy organizations for academics and leadership. Thankfully, my more recent academic success allowed me to be competitive for postdoctoral fellowships, and I opted to serve as a postdoctoral fellow at a large pharmaceutical company.

Presently, I hold a manager/associate director-level position in oncology clinical development with this large pharmaceutical/biotech company, and I'm a part-time pharmacist with a Hopkins hospital. In my full-time role, I design, support, and analyze data from several global, first-in-human oncology studies. I love my job, and I love the sector I'm in. However, I want to do more than just the science. As a health care provider and as a drug developer, I recognize that bringing therapeutics to patients is much more than the science behind it, and making an impact on the costs of the drug development process and health care delivery requires skills and perspective I lack -- things that I believe an MBA can help with and things that will allow me to have a larger impact at a higher level.


Many thanks for your time and advice.


jmeyerrx
Quite impressed with your profile.
1) Please get a good consultant. Changing your weaknesses into major strengths for you is very doable, and you can actually target 10-20 ranks. With the right stories and some luck, you can even stretch to 5-10 schools.
2) For Scholarships, better GMAT scores, Round 1 applications and the blah blah will certainly help, as will lower rank schools (as their means to incentivize you to join them). Happy to talk more about this.

Hope this helps..
_________________

Worked in US & India, Located in New Delhi, Clients from World over

For a DETAILED & FREE profile evaluation PM your resume.

Out of India? Use your Google/Skype account for free VOIP

"+1 Kudos" to appreciate :-)

The Ivy League Edge (MBA - Yale SOM)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/balkrishna/
Top20.GradSchools(at)gmail(dot)com +91-987-356-3953

Coaching success for admissions and scholarships to the World's best - MBA and MS
We take PERSONAL interest in your success.

Admissionado
User avatar
G
Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 5998
Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
Re: Selecting appropriate programs with extraordinarily low undergrad GPA?  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 16 Jan 2018, 23:57
jmeyerrx wrote:
Given an applicant who has a relatively non-traditional profile but an astonishingly low undergraduate GPA, what are reasonable target schools for MBA programs?

Of course, I'm speaking about myself. My profile is below:

Basic stats
GMAT: 710 - V38, Q49, IR8, AWA6
Undergraduate GPA: 2.34 from a top 25 (but not top 15) university
Graduate GPA: 3.67
Years WE: 4 years full-time with additional part-time/internship work experiences during my time in school
Industry: Biotech - Manager/Associate Director level in Clinical Development
Volunteer experience: Strong - several years of HIV outreach/community testing
Extracurriculars: Continual involvement in music ensembles/LGBT organizations

Anyway, my conundrum is this: no one cares about my graduate school grades, right? Thus my undergrad 2.34 is back to haunt me. My GMAT is good, not stellar. Same with the rest of my stats. How do I go about choosing the right schools? What can I reasonably say I'm competitive for? Would I even be considered for scholarships anywhere? (Grad school was NOT cheap.) I'm still unsure about whether a part-time or full-time program is right for me.

If you're interested in more context:
I'm 30 years old, and I graduated from University of Southern California with a 2.34 in Biochemistry. Being impassioned by drug discovery, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the sciences, but it's been a circuitous route to my current role. After graduating from undergrad, my first postgraduate role was as a research lab manager, where I conducted some research and managed the operations (think purchasing reagents, writing and submitting protocols for our research, managing grant funds, etc.) of a 25-person academic research lab. During my two years in the lab, I found that the people who asked the best research questions and had the best foresight were those who were both scientists and clinicians -- individuals who could understand the clinical relevance of their findings. Desiring to be able to see the forest and not just the trees, I decided to apply to PharmD programs where I could learn about the use of therapeutics in patients.

As I needed to complete several prerequisite courses for pharmacy school, I took several undergraduate-level post-bacc courses (in which I earned a 4.0) while working in the lab, and my post-bacc academic success coupled with a high standardized test (PCAT) score helped me gain admission into pharmacy school. Determined to never let my GPA limit my options again, I took a different approach to my academics in pharmacy school. I graduated with a 3.67; I was always on the Dean's List; I was inducted into the pharmacy academic honor society; and I was in the research honors pathway, limited to only 5 students (from a class of 160). I managed to do this while working part-time continually at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the VA, while holding several student organization positions, and while earning scholarships and awards from national pharmacy organizations for academics and leadership. Thankfully, my more recent academic success allowed me to be competitive for postdoctoral fellowships, and I opted to serve as a postdoctoral fellow at a large pharmaceutical company.

Presently, I hold a manager/associate director-level position in oncology clinical development with this large pharmaceutical/biotech company, and I'm a part-time pharmacist with a Hopkins hospital. In my full-time role, I design, support, and analyze data from several global, first-in-human oncology studies. I love my job, and I love the sector I'm in. However, I want to do more than just the science. As a health care provider and as a drug developer, I recognize that bringing therapeutics to patients is much more than the science behind it, and making an impact on the costs of the drug development process and health care delivery requires skills and perspective I lack -- things that I believe an MBA can help with and things that will allow me to have a larger impact at a higher level.


Many thanks for your time and advice.



Well a few thoughts:
1. If there is room for improvement in your GMAT, do that. Having a high GMAT is the best way to mitigate a crappy GPA
2. If you have a good reason (you know, other than being stoned the whole time ;) ) for low grades, tell the schools about it.
3. Accept your GPA - The average GPA at HBS/Stanford is like 3.7. They accept only a handful people per year with a GPA lower than 3.0. So it might be that you have to compromise a bit on schools. But this is no way means you will have to compromise on your goals.

Other than that, your position and your industry will make you a very strong candidate. So even top 5-10 schools may be possible as long shots. For PT programs, they likely wouldn't care about your GPA as they aren't nearly as competitive as FT programs.

I hope this helps!!!

And feel free to follow up with any questions,

Best,
_________________

Jon Frank
Founder, Admissionado

Admissionado | Packages | Success Stories | Team

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Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 05 Dec 2017
Posts: 3
Location: United States (MD)
Concentration: Other, Healthcare
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V38
GPA: 2.34
WE: Pharmaceuticals (Pharmaceuticals and Biotech)
Re: Selecting appropriate programs with extraordinarily low undergrad GPA?  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 17 Jan 2018, 09:03
TheIvyLeagueEdge wrote:

jmeyerrx
Quite impressed with your profile.
1) Please get a good consultant. Changing your weaknesses into major strengths for you is very doable, and you can actually target 10-20 ranks. With the right stories and some luck, you can even stretch to 5-10 schools.
2) For Scholarships, better GMAT scores, Round 1 applications and the blah blah will certainly help, as will lower rank schools (as their means to incentivize you to join them). Happy to talk more about this.

Hope this helps..


Hello TheIvyLeagueEdge,

Thank you so much for your response and insight! I definitely intend to get a consultant when it comes time to apply. I have seen the magic they are able to perform, and I could use some of that expertise. Regarding scholarships, I am confident I can increase my GMAT score. Is there a particular target I should shoot for? I'm not sure what a reasonable increase is starting from 710. I took the exam with very little prep. (I only took one practice exam the day before where I wildly screwed up my timing in the quant section -- 13 unanswered questions at the end! Changing my approach on "game day" by simply pacing myself allowed me to finish the quant section with the score mentioned above.) I'm not looking to apply this year or even next year, so I should have plenty of time to put together strong applications that are submitted early in the process. If you don't mind, I'll reach out to you when I am ready to begin putting together an application.

Kind regards,
jmeyerrx
Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 05 Dec 2017
Posts: 3
Location: United States (MD)
Concentration: Other, Healthcare
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V38
GPA: 2.34
WE: Pharmaceuticals (Pharmaceuticals and Biotech)
Re: Selecting appropriate programs with extraordinarily low undergrad GPA?  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 17 Jan 2018, 09:21
JonAdmissionado wrote:

Well a few thoughts:
1. If there is room for improvement in your GMAT, do that. Having a high GMAT is the best way to mitigate a crappy GPA
2. If you have a good reason (you know, other than being stoned the whole time ;) ) for low grades, tell the schools about it.
3. Accept your GPA - The average GPA at HBS/Stanford is like 3.7. They accept only a handful people per year with a GPA lower than 3.0. So it might be that you have to compromise a bit on schools. But this is no way means you will have to compromise on your goals.

Other than that, your position and your industry will make you a very strong candidate. So even top 5-10 schools may be possible as long shots. For PT programs, they likely wouldn't care about your GPA as they aren't nearly as competitive as FT programs.

I hope this helps!!!

And feel free to follow up with any questions,

Best,


Hello JonAdmissionado,

Thank you so much for your reply and advice! I definitely think there's room for improvement in my GMAT (see my response to TheIvyLeagueEdge above). Any recommendation on what I should be realistically targeting? Regarding my reason for my poor GPA, while I wasn't stoned the entire time, I also can't claim any hardship during my undergrad experience. Admittedly, I was simply undisciplined -- I skipped classes, missed exams, and even failed a couple classes. I recognize I walk a fine line in presenting this to AdComs, but I want to be honest and truthful -- I have no excuses, but I grew from the failures. If the AdComs don't appreciate my profile, I don't want to attend a school where I may not be a good fit. That's okay. That gets to your third comment to accept my GPA. I wholehearted agree with that. I never would've expected to get into Harvard/Stanford/Wharton, etc., but like you said, I don't have to compromise on my goals. I do like the idea of using my company's benefits to help pay for a part-time program ($10k/yr), but I'm not keen on the idea that it would take more than 2 years. I also think the travel costs (for part-time programs other than Georgetown or Hopkins) would be a significant strain even with my salary. Again, thank you for your time and insight. If it's okay with you, I'll reach out when I get closer to putting together my application and identifying my target programs.

Best wishes,
jmeyerrx
Admission Consultant
User avatar
G
Status: Application Consultant
Affiliations: IvyLeagueEdge
Joined: 13 Jul 2016
Posts: 272
Location: India
Concentration: Strategy, Marketing
Schools: Yale (A)
GMAT 1: 740 Q47 V44
WE: Operations (Other)
Re: Selecting appropriate programs with extraordinarily low undergrad GPA?  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 19 Jan 2018, 11:58
jmeyerrx wrote:
TheIvyLeagueEdge wrote:

jmeyerrx
Quite impressed with your profile.
1) Please get a good consultant. Changing your weaknesses into major strengths for you is very doable, and you can actually target 10-20 ranks. With the right stories and some luck, you can even stretch to 5-10 schools.
2) For Scholarships, better GMAT scores, Round 1 applications and the blah blah will certainly help, as will lower rank schools (as their means to incentivize you to join them). Happy to talk more about this.

Hope this helps..


Hello TheIvyLeagueEdge,

Thank you so much for your response and insight! I definitely intend to get a consultant when it comes time to apply. I have seen the magic they are able to perform, and I could use some of that expertise. Regarding scholarships, I am confident I can increase my GMAT score. Is there a particular target I should shoot for? I'm not sure what a reasonable increase is starting from 710. I took the exam with very little prep. (I only took one practice exam the day before where I wildly screwed up my timing in the quant section -- 13 unanswered questions at the end! Changing my approach on "game day" by simply pacing myself allowed me to finish the quant section with the score mentioned above.) I'm not looking to apply this year or even next year, so I should have plenty of time to put together strong applications that are submitted early in the process. If you don't mind, I'll reach out to you when I am ready to begin putting together an application.

Kind regards,
jmeyerrx


Sure jmeyerrx,
Good luck
_________________

Worked in US & India, Located in New Delhi, Clients from World over

For a DETAILED & FREE profile evaluation PM your resume.

Out of India? Use your Google/Skype account for free VOIP

"+1 Kudos" to appreciate :-)

The Ivy League Edge (MBA - Yale SOM)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/balkrishna/
Top20.GradSchools(at)gmail(dot)com +91-987-356-3953

Coaching success for admissions and scholarships to the World's best - MBA and MS
We take PERSONAL interest in your success.

GMAT Club Bot
Re: Selecting appropriate programs with extraordinarily low undergrad GPA? &nbs [#permalink] 19 Jan 2018, 11:58
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