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What GPA/GMAT is needed to get into a top 5 school?

This topic has 104 expert replies and 147 member replies
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GMAT/MBA Expert

Lisa Anderson MBA Admissions Consultant
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Post Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:51 am
Dear DWBHLW,

You are currently doing all of the right things to build the foundation for a competitive future MBA application. After graduating from your bachelor's program, you want to continue on the same track by earning high marks in the graduate real estate program, continuing to perform well in internships/part-time work, and being involved in your community. The main opportunity you have to strengthen your future application is to seek out leadership opportunities at your job and/or community organization to gain leadership experience. Likewise, scoring well on the GMAT will be beneficial. After the graduate program, working for a couple of years is a good strategy, as full-time, professional work after your degree is completed is preferred. Also, you will be expected to provide a rationale for why you need the MBA in addition to the master's in real estate. Working might help you to better articulate how both degrees are important for you to achieve your future career goals. Having said that, if you feel you can articulate why you need the MBA (and why immediately after the master's, so with no full-time work experience), then you shouldn't rule out an application at that point in time. You do have some time to think about it--see where you are and what your opportunities are like two years from now. Keep up the good work!

Best of luck,
Lisa

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switters Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
22 Jan 2012
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Post Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:40 pm
Hello Lisa,

I am also interested in your thoughts on my chances getting into a top tier program; currently I am interested in 10 schools. I graduated from the U of A in 2005 with a 2.4 GPA in Religious Studies (3.0 Major GPA). In 2007 I enlisted in the Air Force in the field of contracting (procurement, negotiation, acquisition). Since joining I have been promoted early twice and promoted a total of three times (which is much faster than average), and have experience working in South Carolina, Alaska, Mongolia, and Afghanistan. I will leave the military later this year and will work in my current field for the next 1-2 years to save money for school. If I stay with the government I can be in a Executive Level position in the next 10-15 years and will likely have an entry level senior position immediately after the military. This position should be attainable whether I work in the private industry for defense contractors or for the federal government. My desire to go to business school is somewhat recent, but I am very committed and motivated to achieve this goal.

Prior to leaving the military I will complete an M.A. in National Security Studies from an online school with a 3.9 GPA. I have not yet taken the GMAT, but typically test well (99 percentile on most standardized tests).

Here are my questions:

1. Should I work for a private company to broaden my experience base and skills, or if I stay federal will it negatively impact my application?

2. Would an excellent military career (5.5 years) and recommendations help make up for the undergrad GPA, or should the essay focus on the undergrad experience (i.e. mistakes, acknowledgement, correction, performance since then)?

3. Are some schools more military friendly than others?

4. Given the long time line I have it is likely I will have the time and money to apply early and visit each of the schools in the effort to convince them that they are my first choice. Is this suggested, or should I keep it to five or so schools.

5. How early is too early to start attempting to contact the admissions personnel or make other networking connections at these schools?

6. My eventual goal is CEO of a fortune 500 company. If I am unable to get into a top 20 school is this still a realistic goal?

7. When you purchase admission advice and test guidance (from your company or others) is there a fee per school applied to, or is it a flat fee?

8. Should I submit a sample of my coursework from my M.A. or thesis? While the thesis is not yet written I will probably focus on globalization and security.

Finally, I have an alternate plan of working in Europe (preferably Germany, France, or Switzerland) and attending business school there. Will this overseas experience and language proficiency give me a good shot if I cannot make it into a top tier school?

Thank you for your insight. While I have been researching I have not yet gotten the perspective of someone in your position.

GMAT/MBA Expert

Lisa Anderson MBA Admissions Consultant
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Post Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:54 am
Dear switters,

1. Should I work for a private company to broaden my experience base and skills, or if I stay federal will it negatively impact my application?
2. Would an excellent military career (5.5 years) and recommendations help make up for the undergrad GPA, or should the essay focus on the undergrad experience (i.e. mistakes, acknowledgement, correction, performance since then)?
3. Are some schools more military friendly than others?

Where you take your career path, private company/military/federal government, should be determined by what makes the most sense for you and your career goals. If you feel working for a private company will offer you more opportunities in the long run or better professional development, then that might be the route to go. However, you might feel you have similar opportunities in the federal government. In that case, it is a matter of what makes the most sense for you at each point in time an opportunity arises. Working for the federal government or the military is not a negative in any way. Business schools and other employers are not so much concerned with where you work; they care about what you do in your jobs--did you add value? contribute to the organization? what are your accomplishments in your positions? what skills have you gained/developed? how will your experience/skills translate to the opportunity available?

While a successful career and glowing recommendations can help balance a low GPA, they do not demonstrate academic aptitude. Your GMAT score is an indication of academic aptitude, so scoring well on it will further mitigate the GPA. I do encourage you to take advantage of an optional essay or additional information section to address your GPA and make a case for how your academic performance in business school will be different.

Most business schools welcome military applicants. While some might have campuses or environments that are more military friendly than others, perhaps even more resources, there are no schools who see military experience as a negative. If the culture of the school, environments that are more supportive of the military, is key for you, then I encourage you to do your research, visit the campus and ensure you are targeting those programs. Talk to current students, particularly other veterans, to get a perspective of the culture in that sense.

4. Given the long time line I have it is likely I will have the time and money to apply early and visit each of the schools in the effort to convince them that they are my first choice. Is this suggested, or should I keep it to five or so schools.
5. How early is too early to start attempting to contact the admissions personnel or make other networking connections at these schools?

In my opinion, it is never too early to start doing your research. However, I would suggest keeping actual visits to the 2 years prior to when you want to start. That way, you will most likely establish a rapport with the admissions people that will be there when you submit the application and hear about the program from the students experiencing it close to when you plan to enter. How many schools you decide to visit is really up to you--what your resources are and how important it is to you to visit all of the schools you are targeting.

6. My eventual goal is CEO of a fortune 500 company. If I am unable to get into a top 20 school is this still a realistic goal?
Absolutely. YOU determine your career path...not where you go to school.

7. When you purchase admission advice and test guidance (from your company or others) is there a fee per school applied to, or is it a flat fee?
It varies by the consulting firm. For Stacy Blackman, we offer services on either an hourly basis or as a comprehensive package priced in a flat fee based on the number of schools. Our website has detailed information on pricing and you can also request a free consultation when you are getting ready to start working on your applications.

8. Should I submit a sample of my coursework from my M.A. or thesis? While the thesis is not yet written I will probably focus on globalization and security.
9. Finally, I have an alternate plan of working in Europe (preferably Germany, France, or Switzerland) and attending business school there. Will this overseas experience and language proficiency give me a good shot if I cannot make it into a top tier school?

Most schools discourage writing samples and published articles from applicants as they get enough to read from the essays, recommendations and other application pieces. Occasionally, you might come across a school who does ask for supplemental materials where your thesis might apply though.

There are many great business schools in the EU and UK with global recognition. For some, you are required to have fluency in at least one other language, so you will want to check the requirements of any program you are considering. Whether or not these schools are a good option for you is a question only you can answer. You will want to evaluate them as you would any other MBA program you are looking at as a possibility. Does the school have the curriculum you seek? the resources and programs? a culture you feel comfortable in? the industry and alumni connections? If the school does, then it is a viable option.

Best of luck,
Lisa

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Stacy Blackman Consulting

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Reeseepoo Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
15 May 2012
Posted:
2 messages
Post Tue May 15, 2012 4:46 pm
Hi,

I'm in sort of a predicament. I have a really low GPA from my undergrad. I studied Aerospace Engineering (the hardest major in the world) I had a 2.6 gpa :/ but I've been working for about 3years. Worked at UTC for a year and Boeing for 2. I recently took the GMAT and scored a 750(I studied HARD)

Now, do you think I have a shot at getting into a top tier business school(Standford, etc) or tier 2. I love my major and job, but I would just like to do something different. I honestly do not have an excuse for my low gpa, it was my fault, I slacked off. I had no sense of direction, but I sure do now.

Now am I just wishful thinking here and should I just go apply to university of Phoenix online?lol

MPM415 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
14 Jun 2012
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2 messages
Post Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:10 pm
Lisa,

I recently graduated from the University of Delaware with a 3.53 Cum. GPA -- I start work with JPMorgan Chase this summer as an Investment Bank Analyst. I also interned there last summer. After 2-3 years, when they would presumably shoulder some of the financial burden of business school, which schools would be the most selective that I would be in range for with a 700-720 GMAT score? By this time I would have had 3-4 years experience working with JPMorgan, specifically Credit/Derivatives. Thanks

Matt

melon Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:22 am
Hello Lisa
I have a gpa of 3.4 and a avg GMAT score of 650. I also have a MS from one of the top universities in the world (top 20). I applied to 2 schools ,case western and Texas A&M. I got a interview call from one. I intend to take GMAT again to push my GMAT score up. I was looking at Rice-Jones, UCSD-Randy,Wisconsin (WBS),Univ of Minnesota- Carlson ,CMU-Tepper, Darden etc.
I work for one of TEXAS's top engineering company(in Singapore) and prior to that I worked for Accenture.(total 4 years exp)
please let me know what are my chances in the above mentioned universities and please recommend me any other university which you find has a good programme and I have a good chance.
thanking you.
regards
Melon

asnkewlboy Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
22 Apr 2011
Posted:
2 messages
Post Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:43 pm
Dear Lisa,

I know this is not exactly the right topic for my question but I still would like to ask a question regrading business school admission..
I am aiming for top 5 business schools and when I see the profiles for those schools I realize that the "sweet spot" is work experience of 3 to 5 years which corresponds to ages 23/24~26/27.
But for me after undergrad (aerospace engineering at top 5 public with 3.5+ GPA), I went to engineering graduate school (top 10 financial engineering, 3.6+ GPA) for master's degree and now I am planning to work 3-4 years before I apply which puts me at age 29 at matriculation if things go well.

So my questions is that even though the length of my work experience is within the "sweet spot", would my age being little too old present any disadvantages by any chance? Do admission committee care more of the length of work experience or the age? Given I get a good GMAT score with solid extracurricular, what is the odd that committee would not like my profile due to the age?

Lastly, when applying to b-school, how bad does it look if you have an unemployment history right after graduation? It took me 8 months to get a job.. because I changed my field from aerospace to finance when I got to grad school. So does it matter much if you found a really good job following the unemployment period?

Thank you so much for your help Lisa!

vomhorizon Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Test Date:
Mid. February 2013
Target GMAT Score:
700+
GMAT Score:
730
Post Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:11 am
The average age at top schools is around 28, so you are not that OFF. It gets to be a bit of an issue, when you have had 6-8 years of experience and are in your thirties, then the programs might want to move you to a one year program, but at 29 you are fairly close to the average age.

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"When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” - Eric Thomas

Nm121287 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
28 Sep 2013
Posted:
1 messages
Post Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:41 pm
I am currently a Kelley School of Business student of Indianapolis and I have not decided what MBA school I want to go to. I am more and likely going to do Marketing being that I am really good in the field of Marketing and Sales. I feel like my GPA is really low being a 3.31 and I will not have a great chance of getting into one of the higher end MBA schools. What is the advice you have for me?

George Baslious Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
28 Sep 2013
Posted:
3 messages
Post Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:53 pm
Hello,
I am a pharmacist graduated from a pharmacy school in Egypt and licensed in Canada. I have a really low CUM GPA 2.4, but my last 2 year GPA is 3.0 . Do I have a chance to get into a good business school.
I have been working in a pharmacy in Canada for 2 years (last 6 months as an internship).
Thanks
George

NettoN Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
23 Jun 2015
Posted:
1 messages
Post Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:51 am
Hi Lisa,
Firstly, thank you for answering all these questions and helping all of us out. It's much appreciated.
I wanted your opinion on what sort of schools I should be looking at with regards to the rankings( Top 10, 20, 30...). I will complete my Bachelors of Management Studies degree from Mumbai university in the next year with a GPA around 3.3-3.5. My extracurriculars aren't that great and are limited to participation in college fests and events. Do you think I stand any chance of getting into the deferred MBA programs at any of the top universities( Yale, HBS 2+2 etc.) if I score between 650 and 700 in the GMAT?

Thank you for this great initiative and hope to hear from you soon.

ravi.uppal2004 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
29 Jun 2015
Posted:
13 messages
Post Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:52 am
Hi,

I am a male candidate from India and recently appeared for my GMAT and scored Q49 and V 33 with total of 660 and a 5.5 in AWA , I will have 10 + years of experience and have been in the Management Consulting Six Sigma Industry..7 years in India and 3 + year in US
My GPA at graduation was in the range of 2.5 to 3 as it was not up to the mark during the time period i also pursued Master’s degree with a GPA 3.7
My Bachelor’s degree was in Economics and the Master’s degree was in Accounting and International Business

Please let me know what are my options and which schools should i be targeting for a accelerated MBA/Full time MBA in the US, Singapore, Australia and India -- I am keeping my options open and am flexible to move to any country to purse my education, though I have been in the US for the last 3 years and would prefer to apply to schools out here

Also do I have any scope to apply for a Financial Aid as i will be funding my education myself and come from a middle class family?


Regards,
Ravi Uppal

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