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How to deal with a low GPA

This topic has 185 expert replies and 235 member replies
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k.pankaj.r Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
25 Dec 2008
50 messages
1 times
Post Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:51 pm
Hi Lisa, thanks in advance for taking out the time.

I have done mechanical engineering from Manipal University, India with a cgpa of 7.3
I was involved in a lot of extra curricular activities. Was involved both as performer and administrator in cultural as well as technical events.
My second and third year are the reasons for my low cgpa. During that period i was involved in a project that won me many prizes in top technical events. Even got a reply from Portugal government saying that they are considering it for implementation.

Started a company right after college. The company was closed after 7 months due to poor planning.
I have approx 3 years of work exp in banks.
1 year in Standard Chartered Bank as graduate trainee in retail liabilities.
1 year in a private bank in India as assistant manager
Have completed 1 year and still working in a top government bank in India as manager in loans and advances department.

My GMAT score is 710 q49 v36. committed a blunder in GMAT. 1 ques got left unanswered in quant. after that couldn't concentrate properly in verbal

I am hoping for Indian school of business, Insead, HEC or IE.

Am i being too optimistic or is it achievable ?

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Lisa Anderson MBA Admissions Consultant
06 Feb 2008
3845 messages
Followed by:
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Post Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:09 pm
Dear k.pankaj.r,

Based on the limited information in your post, I would say you have the competitive foundation for your 4 target schools. While these are highly selective schools, it is possible for you to receive an offer of admission with a strong, compelling application package. Since your GMAT/GPA are around the average for these programs, you will need to use other aspects of your background to distinguish yourself from the applicant pool through the other application pieces.

Good luck,

Lisa Anderson
Stacy Blackman Consulting

Learn more about me

Thanked by: k.pankaj.r
jamespwl Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
11 Mar 2012
1 messages
Post Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:37 pm

Thanks for taking a look at this and giving me some advice. I appreciate it immensely. I, like some others here, have a pretty horrible undergrad GPA. I went to Texas A&M and started my major in Economics and was eventually forced to switch to Political Science due to my grades. As a result I ended up with a BS in Political Science and a minor in Economics. I had to retake several classes in college and would do things a lot differently now if I could. I got married in school so that attributed to some of my problems but overall I can't honestly blame anything or anyone but myself.

I graduated in the Summer of 2010 and have worked full time ever since. I do not remember my exact GPA but I know it was in the 2.2-2.3 range. I am very passionate about trying to become an equity research analyst and believe an MBA would help get me there. My issue is I just don't know if my terrible GPA in college ruined that dream or not. I obviously don't expect or need a top 25 program or anything of that sort. I am just hoping I can overcome my GPA with a good GMAT score (I am an excellent test taker and can get great grades if I apply myself). My wife and I currently live in Houston and I obviously can't move anywhere to go to school so my options are limited. I can definitely get a good recommendation letter or two from current and former supervisors.

I guess I am just wondering what I should do now to get this whole process rolling and where you think I have a legitimate shot of being accepted assuming that I achieve a good GMAT score. The local choices seem to be U of H, Tulane, and Texas A&M (opening a new campus here in Houston in the fall of 2012 for MBA). Any advice is very appreciated.

PS. I will definitely take a good GMAT prep course.

sidbagra Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
17 Mar 2012
1 messages
Post Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:12 pm
Hi Lisa,

I have been a performer and an administrator during my college days. Organized International Economic Summits consecutively for 2 years. Was the Joint Secretary of the Association then. I also run an NGO & have been working in my family owned business for the last 3 years & looking at the overall management of the company.
I had a very high score in my high school, but have only 55% score in my undergrad in BA Hons. Economics from Delhi University, India. Have been to various forums but haven't got any credible source to convert my grad score to GPA.
What chance do I stand in the ivy league colleges provided I get a 750 + GMAT score?
Will be grateful if you can help me allay my fears & give a direction to my career.

Express Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
27 Mar 2012
13 messages
Post Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:43 pm
Hi Lisa

Im a 26 year old South African, I have a BALLB from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Currently i'm lecturing and researching at Wits (first year of work), as well as studying at night through the law society to be admitted as an attorney.

I think my extra-curricular activities are satisfactory or given a year will be.

Im an avid sportsmen playing two years of first team rugby and semi-professional soccer before getting injured.

I haven't calculated my GPA because we work on a different system but I think that its very low because I managed to fail two subjects due to a number of reasons (no excuses), working throughout my studies being one.

As of yet I have not done the GMAT (end of the year) but my feeling is that I will have to at least get above 720 to have any chance of getting into a school of my choice.

I have come to the conclusion that I will have to take extra-courses to build an alternative transcript (stats, calculus, economics)

My aspirations are very high as i'm looking to apply to the top 5 MBA schools at the end of next year.

By then i'm hoping to have a year of lecturing and researching under my belt and a year of commercial law experience as well as being admitted as an attorney.

Do you think my assessment is fair? By the end of next year is it too early for me to apply to a top 5 institution?

If you could point me in a direction it would be much appreciated.

sunman Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
17 Feb 2011
165 messages
Followed by:
9 members
14 times
Test Date:
Sept 2012
Target GMAT Score:
GMAT Score:
Post Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:45 am
wch87 wrote:
Hi Lisa,

Thank you so much for your participation in this incredible thread. My stats are as follows:
-750 GMAT (48Q, 44V)
-3.35 cum GPA from Texas A&M, Finance major (but ~3.0 GPA in quant courses)
-Currently 2.5 years WE for small, local commercial lenders, nothing sexy (will have 3 years upon matriculation)
-Average extra curriculars
-Thus far, most of my recommendations have admittedly been provided by peers from internships or summer work, instead of recommendations from supervisors at full time jobs

So far I have not be accepted anywhere-
I have been dinged without interview at Yale and Harvard
I have been dinged without waitlist at Duke, Dartmouth, and UNC (self-initiated interviews)
I have been dinged without waitlist at UT McCombs (invited to interview)

Are these dings unusual considering my profile? Or is there a glaring weakness?

Also, for my Round 2 applications, I am planning on applying to

Are these out of my league too?

Thank you so much for your advice!!
This just made me extremely uncomfortable. FML.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has" - Margaret Mead

nkme2007 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
29 Apr 2012
1 messages
Post Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:09 pm
I have 86% in my B.Tech Mechanical Engineering and 7.29/20 in M.Tech (Construction Technology & Management) from IIT Madras. I didn't attempt for GMAT till now. Can you suggest me good B-Schools for my academic scores?

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jt9000 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
09 Jul 2012
1 messages
Post Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:18 pm
I graduated with a B.ASc Electrical Engineering degree from University of British Columbia with a gpa of ~2.6. I understand this is on the low side and plan to take some courses and obtain high scored to demonstrate my academic aptitude. I am wondering if project management courses would be suitable courses, or would it be more favourable to take quantitative courses such as calculus, math and statistics?

Andrew UK Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
01 Aug 2012
1 messages
Post Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:39 am
Hi, and thanks in advance for taking the time to look at this.

I have just started considering taking an MBA, with a view to starting a program in Fall 2014, and worried that my low Bachelor’s degree grade will count against me.

As a bit of background, I am from the UK, and graduated in 2006 with a poor degree classification (3rd class honours) from a very highly regarded UK university in Economics. Subsequently I was admitted to a Big Four accountancy firm as an auditor, where I qualified as an accountant (ACCA - all first time passes, very high marks). I have also promoted fairly swiftly and gained very good experiences.

With ACCA, there is an associated Bachelor’s degree in Applied Accounting you can do, with the degree being from a less highly regarded university, which it is very likely I will get a 1st class honours in. I am also currently taking the CFA designation, with the second of the three levels next June, and all going well the third the following June prior to commencing the MBA.

I have not taken the GMAT yet, but given the information above, would the low degree classification completely torpedo any chance to get into a top program, even if I were to get a high GMAT score?

JETSNYC Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
14 Jun 2012
3 messages
Post Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:03 am
Hi Lisa

I would appreciate your advice on the following situation.
I'm currently looking to apply to
All part time
My stats
Age 25 - Hispanic
An abysmal 2.1 GPA from Boston u in psychology
Have taken 3 classes all A's in calc stats and accounting
680 GMAT after second try
3 years exp in facilities management
Decent extracurriculars

Should I pul the trigger on my application?
Or continue to take more classes ? Retake the gmat?

Do I stand any chance

Thank you in advance !

jnaz Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
12 Sep 2012
1 messages
Post Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:56 am
Hey everybody,

I want to start getting more realistic by determining how high of a score I need to shoot for to compensate for my low gpa when considering to apply to MBA programs. Well just how low is my GPA?! It depends on how how you want to calculate it...

I don't know if anybody can please advise, and yes I know that different schools calculate it differently. I would like to know which GPA should I use to evaluate if I have a chance at certain schools. So, I need to try to guesstimate which GPA admission boards are going to use.

Below are my hours and GPA
63 Transfer Hours to my main college (3 hours did not transfer) - Community College towards 1st bachelor - 2.8

97 Hours at main college - 3.224 - Graduated Spring 2008 with Bachelor in Business Administration | Finance - 3.6 GPA in Major and 3.5+ GPA in last 60 hours of undergrad degree in finance...(took calculus 3, linear algebra, and senior level finance work)

Summer 2008
10 Hours at main college as post bachelor - 2.569 - (was interning and looking for a job, started work out of city Sept 1st 2008...) (A Programming, C- Multivariable Calculus, C Abstract Algebra)

Fall 2010
9 Hours at main college as post bachelor - 3.443 - (studying to get 2cd degree in Math while looking for work & volunteering) (A Intro to Stochastic Processes, B, B)

Spring 2011
16 Hours at main college as post bachelor - 2.33 (studying to get 2cd degree in Math while looking for work, volunteering, and had a serious skull fracture and was in the ICU. My mom also had a left side stroke that whipped out her entire right side and she almost died. I helped rehabilitate, went to classes to help her walk again, and helped reorganize family savings when my grandfather passed in the same semester). Also, I volunteered at The Houston Heart Association and participated in the largest fundraising event for the year that generated over 1M...
I ended up getting a D in a class that didn't have a syllabus and rotating professors. Lost interest in the class and there was no determination on how much 65% of the grade was determined...
Graduated BS in Math with Specialization in Finance (B+ Mathematical Intro to Options and Futures, B+ Statistics for Sciences, B Fixed Income Math, C- Advanced Linear Algebra II, D Survey for undergraduate math)

97 Hours at main college - 3.224 - Graduated Spring 2008 with Bachelor in Business Administration
Post-Bachelor GPA at Main College: 35 Hours GPA: 2.684486
Overall GPA Including Post Bachelor: 132 Hours GPA: 3.082
Community College GPA: 63 Hours GPA: 2.8
In-Major GPA for Finance: 3.6

Community College GPA: 63 Hours GPA: 2.8
OVERALL GPA - Community College, Undergrad Main College: 3.05705
OVERALL GPA - Community College, Undergrad Main College, Post Bachelor: 2.990892
OVERALL GPA - Undergrad Main College: 3.224
OVERALL GPA - Post Bachelor: 2.684486

Any idea which GPA I should be using when trying to evaluate if I have a shot to get into certain colleges? I will be applying next year with roughly 4-5 years post-bachelor experience. 2 years at a top 10 money manager working as a trading assistant/analyst. Half a year in NYC working as a sales assistant/analyst in investment banking. Now an analyst at a fortune 100 food distribution company in Houston for the past 4 months. The economy hasn't been the greatest since graduating with a Finance degree in May 2008. I had to go back to college for a second degree in Math.

Looking at Part-time programs in Houston: Rice, Texas A&M, and UT Part-time. I really like Rice's professional program and UT's because I can work and go to college at night. Average GPA around 3.4, average age 28, and average GMAT at 640-670. I am thinking a 700 GMAT score and an alternative transcript showing all my junior level and senior level finance related courses along with some advanced math classes, probability, Stochastic processes, and Cal 3, will be good enough. I plan on applying next year when I turn 30 for start when I am 31. I have roughly a 13 months to prepare for the GMAT. I am studying for CFA level 1 in December for the second time I dropped out the first time because i was working like 60+ hours a week. Hopefully pass level 1 this December and level 2 in summer. (working 40 hours a week now)

I started college when I was 21, and worked throughout. Any ideas how to word my story or what I should be aiming for on my GMAT. I am already scoring 600-640 on my practice tests with under 25 hours of study. Using grockit.com and the official guide to the GMAT... I don't see how somebody with a psychology degree and a 3.5 is more valued then somebody with a 3.0 that has degrees in math and finance. it is mind boggling to me. i need to create an alternative transcript i think...I am also on the committee for the US China Educational, Economic & Cultural Foundation (https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-China-Educational-Economic-Cultural-Foundation-UCEECF/424986980881019) helping bridge investments from China to the United States. Also, I am not Asian...I'm half Hispanic half Middle Eastern, and I am working towards my CL in toastmasters.

I can get a former supervisor/mentor that was a senior trader at my last job to write an excellent letter of recommendation, along with my current manager, and thinking about a math or finance professor that I took that I made an A in. Either that or try to get a director from my current company to be my 3rd letter.

I am going to apply to all three of these part-time programs, but then shoot for a school that is worth going full-time...

NYU, Chicago, Vanderbilt, or UCLA. I only want to apply to 5 colleges though...Expecting like 10-20% at these schools...The money manager i worked for donated 200M to Chicago school of business and they named the school after the owner "Booth". I was working for the company at the time. That is the only reason why i would apply there because they accept a lot of people with work experience from DFA...

Sorry for the long post, but wanted to really give you a better idea of my situation. Thank you in advance. I think I am 50/50 into the part-time programs in Houston, but I could be wrong?

Kind of worried about what my future MBA applications will have in store for me. I know I will be a bit older then the average where ever I apply, and my GPA will be low with a downward trend in postbachelor. Hoping to make up for it in experience, essays, GMAT score, and a personal statement. I might hire a consultant to help me prepare for my part-time rice MBA application, but I haven't decided yet. All i know is that I started college 3 years later then the norm, and I am set to start my MBA 3 years later then the norm. I am trying to stay focused on executing passing the CFA and mastering the GMAT quant section. I have no room for error because of my age at this point.

hselika Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
15 Nov 2012
1 messages
Followed by:
1 members
Post Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:22 pm
UG GPA: 2.0 from a top 20 engineering university (worldwide) based in Singapore
Masters in economics from a top Singapore university: 3.2 GPA (I had intended to finish only year-1 to show an alternative transcript. Year-1 GPA: 3.7)

GMAT: 750

Nationality: India

Work-Ex: Strategic Marketing for 2 years in Europe, Project lead for china and singapore, built a 20 million dollar business there from scratch, currently work as portfolio strategist and product marketing manager at Hewlett Packard

Speak 5 languages (not that its useful for my mba application)

Community: Volunteer police officer with te singapore police force
Business technology mentor responsible for mentoring start-up ideas among low-skilled immigrant workers in singapore

Target SChools: Kellogg, Duke, Tuck, Johnson, INSEAD

Am I wasting my time here? Will it be an auto-reject based on my UG GPA?

LatinEuropean83 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
23 Feb 2013
1 messages
Post Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:32 am
Dear Lisa,

I hope you can guide me here, as my case is a bit different from others! I have an undergrad GPA of 3.7, but a Master's degree GPA of 3.3 (7/10.. I think that's the approx. GPA). I did my undergrad in Latin America and my Masters in Europe. In Europe it's very hard to get a 9, and a 10 is out of question - no one gets it. So a 7/10 as Master's GPA is quite good. I don't know if US universities understand this.

I am a female, 29, Peruvian (Lat Am) but naturalized Dutch, and with Lat Am and European work experience. I'd like a double major (HEC Paris-NYU). Do you think I stand a chance?

Thank you so much!

ongmat Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
01 May 2014
1 messages
Post Thu May 01, 2014 12:52 pm
Dear Lisa,
I need some guideline from you. I'm a Latin-American man with a solid work experience in 3 Fortune 500 companies; and with accontable savings of over +300K dollars per year to my actual employer. I've been actively involved in non profit organizations such as President of the Industrial Engineering Committee (Undergraduate School), member of The Young Entrepreneurs Association (from my country) and others. My handicap is that during Undergraduate, my GPA was 2.89 due to having to work to pay the University and other situations that happened to me. I made a Master's Degree in Operations Management from a local University and graduated with a GPA 3.75 and I have 2 important Engineering Certifications. Regarding letters of recommendations, I can get solid ones from 2 Vice-presidents from the company I work for and also from the Director of The Young Entrepreneurs Association. The letters will highlight my leadership, hard work and important impact on the company's P&L.

If I get a GMAT of +750, what are my chances of making it into an MBA from Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wharton, Booth and others from the Top 10?

Paulo2909 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
19 Nov 2014
1 messages
Post Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:43 am
Dear all,
I am a student from german. I finished my Bachelor in Banking and Finance this June. (With a low GPA C+ 2,3 (German: 2,7). In my last semester i get very good notes in for example in Investor Relations. During my bachelor i did some internships in the second largest Bank in Germany in Corporate Banking. Now i am doing an internship in Hong Kong and preparing the GMAT and Tofel. In March I am going to do a three month internship in M&A. I also have three very good reference.
My questions is how high are my chance to get Master place in Europe or USA.
I am very interested at the SAD Bacconi Master in Corporate Finance. Or Master of Finance Frankfurt School Finance and Management.
Maastricht University School of business and economics
Have you any ideas for UK or USA

Thank you very much

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