Ask GyanOne:Indian applicants for global top 30 MBA programs

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Beware of Using MBA Essay Samples

by GyanOne » Tue May 26, 2015 9:19 pm
Beware of Using MBA Essay Samples: Here's Why

Creating strong and compelling MBA essays that interest as well as impact MBA Admissions Committees is never an easy job. With multiple schools to apply to, and different essays for each, the pressure for putting in all the required elements and yet stick to the word limit can be immense. Of course, reviewing your essays multiple times and incorporating the feedback obtained from others also saps your energy. At this time, some applicants can feel fatigue and make the fatal mistake of looking for MBA essay samples online - some for outright usage, others for 'inspiration'.

MBA Essay Samples
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by GyanOne » Sun May 31, 2015 11:00 pm
GMAT or GRE for MBA Admissions

GMAT vs GRE - this is a conundrum that is not uncommon among MBA applicants today. This scenario has developed fairly recently, but it is here to stay. 2011 onwards, ETS (Education Testing Service, the people who conduct the GRE) started pushing for wider inclusion of the GRE among business schools. According to a US News report, more and more business schools are now also accepting the GRE for MBA admissions. Before we can get to the question on whether one should take the GRE or the GMAT for B-school admissions, we first need to compare the two tests to point out obvious differences.

GMAT vs GRE - what are the obvious differences?
While the GMAT and the GRE both test basic Quantitative (Math) and Verbal (English language) skills, they vary from each other on a number of parameters. We list some of these below.

Quant: More variety on GRE questions, but GMAT questions can be harder
The GRE quantitative section includes four different types of questions (click here to see the different types). On the other hand, the GMAT includes only two different types of questions (see the different types of GMAT questions here). In spite of this fact, though, GMAT Quant is generally considered harder because the sheer difficulty level of questions, especially Data Sufficiency questions on the GMAT, can be high. A perfect Quant score on the GRE exam is 93 percentile (i.e. 7% of test-takers achieve it), while on the GMAT exam it is 97 percentile (i.e. 4% of test-takers achieve it). While this is not an exact comparison (for example, because GRE-takers tend to be more often from quant-oriented backgrounds than GMAT-takers do), but it does provide some flavour that GRE quant is, in general, slightly more negotiable.

Verbal: Both the GRE and GMAT have takers

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by GyanOne » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:04 am
India Dominates as the Destination for One Year MBA in Asia

One year MBA programs in Asia have had a strange history. At the turn of the century, such programs were virtually non-existent. Then the Indian School of Business (ISB) opened its doors in 2001, pioneering the concept of the one year program for experienced professionals in India. Till then, the flagship programs of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), each of a two year duration, ruled the roost completely. Initially, the one year concept was met with skepticism, but ISB's wild success in a short period forced even the IIMs to go for a rethink. At different points in the following years, the IIMs launched executive programs of their own, different from their flagship programs. Some other top Indian B-schools have followed.

Top One Year MBA in Asia

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by GyanOne » Fri Jun 05, 2015 4:54 am
IMD Assessment Day: How to Crack the IMD MBA Interview Process

Forget 30 minute admissions interviews. The IMD assessment day is the king of the interview and assessment process. Over a full day, MBA applicants (assessment day participants) visit the IMD campus in Lausanne, Switzerland, and go through multiple stages of assessment. IMD was ranked no.1 among Forbes International business schools 2013 rankings. As we have detailed earlier in a post on one (successful) IMD MBA applicant's experience, the process has a number of components, and each requires specific preparation to do well at. While a lot of it comes down to one's natural ability to network, preparation definitely helps. We say this on two counts: people who went to the IMD assessment day with minimal preparation and were then surprised and felt under-prepared by the intensity of it, and people (including our clients) who prepared well and stated explicitly how they felt rewarded by it on IMD assessment day.

How to crack the IMD MBA Interview Process

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by AakashAggy » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:28 pm
Hi Gyanone,

I have some queries for Indian and Asian schools. Apart from ISB, I want to apply for IIM's. Among IIM's I wanted IIM Ahmdabad but they need minimum age 27 which I dont have. Do you think I can apply to IIM Bangalore and Calcutta? Also which other Indian colleges will be ok for me?

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Darden MBA Admissions Team Advice

by GyanOne » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:21 am
Darden MBA Admissions Team Advice for Indian Applicants

GyanOne Interviews Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, MBA Admissions team. In this interview, Sara Neher, Assistant Dean, MBA Admissions, talks about how Indian applicants can leverage their experience in tech-focussed job profiles, to strengthen their candidature at Darden.

GyanOne: The Darden MBA admissions process looks at experience, insight, a willingness to contribute, and a history of achievement as the minimum common denominators of the distinguished applicants who make it to the school every year. While academic and professional experience are easy to quantify and discuss, personal characteristics, which can often set outstanding candidates apart from others, are more difficult to explain. What are the key personal qualities that are key for applicants in their Darden MBA applications?

Sara Neher: We are looking for people of integrity with excellent communication skills. Communication skills are not just speaking, but also listening. In the case method at Darden, our students must be willing and able to share their ideas and opinions as well as listen to and learn from the ideas of their classmates.

GyanOne: A number of applicants, especially South Asians, work in technology-related areas, and therefore struggle to communicate direct business impact. How can these applicants (especially those from IT services firms) differentiate themselves in their Darden MBA applications?

Sara Neher: Applicants should not actually concern themselves with "differentiating" - that is the wrong way to approach an application. I would much rather they focus on presenting themselves authentically. You are naturally different, even if you are from the same job and work in cubicles next to each other - you had different families, different educational experiences, and different interests outside of work. Make sure that we know about these experiences and outside interests (in the activities sections during college and currently). IT backgrounds are very in demand by American companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google (some of our biggest recruiters). It is a great background for an MBA.

Darden MBA Admissions Team Interviews
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How to Select the Right MBA Program

by GyanOne » Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:19 am
How to Select the Right MBA Program: A Step by Step Guide

Ready to finally take the plunge and apply to B school? Deciding that you would like to seek business education at the master's level is a key step in determining firmly the direction of your future career. At GyanOne, we believe that the next most critical step is determining the right B-school(s) to apply to. Here is our take on how one should approach the B school selection process:

Decide what is best for you: Unfortunately, a lot of people still pick schools as if they were dishes in a restaurant ("I'll have what everyone's having"). It is important to realize that B school selection does not subscribe to a 'one size fits all' formula. What is appropriate for your friend from college may not be appropriate for you. The two of you may have different achievements, grades, GMAT scores, and just plain preferences. Deciding to apply to schools based on others' opinions is criminal. The only other people who you should perhaps bank on are admissions consultants (yes, I know we say this tongue in cheek, but it is also true). This is because they are professionals, and can help you identify the right schools based on your profile and preferences. Choosing the right admissions consultant is another matter, altogether, and in our blog we have noted some strategies that you can adopt in this regard.

GyanOne’s guide to MBA Rankings
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by james1990 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:49 am
Hi,



I am using this opportunity to discuss a small point regarding my candidature and I do know that assessing a candidate success in admission application is subjective and depends on the pool as well. However I just require a small feedback.

I am an Engineering graduate from one of the top 20 colleges of India majoring in production engineering.( NITs which come below the prestigious IITs). Currently I work with an American bulge bracket bank in their fixed income division as an analyst.

I have a GMAT of 710 but a GPA of only 6.96 / 10.

My poor GPA is a result of my poor performance during my first year of college due to my extreme health conditions. ( I HAD 6-7 F GRADES IN MY FIRST YEAR). I wasn't able to attend majority of classes apart from being able to deliver good performance due to my extremely poor mindset all because of my health condition as stated above. My college uses our first year performance to put across our final GPA in its heuristics hence the poor Final GPA.( MATHS ARE ONLY C & D GRADES).

My class topper had a GPA of 8.5 hence my class standing will be around 16/45.

I know that I am in a bad position to apply to MFE since they state a minimum of 8.5 ( and F grades are heavily shunned too!!) for Indian students.Actually in my class only the topper received a GA of 8.5/10 and this has been the tradition in my department for quite some years.

Now this is my only demerit as far as academics are concerned.

MY Advantages are :

1. My professors kinda knew my situation( Bad health-->read asthma attacks --> absenteeism) but since they had to follow protocol of the college board they gave me lower grades despite my performance during my 2nd,3rd & 4th year. However they are willing to write a good Recommendation letter of a high level note including citings from the dean and HOD highlighting my special case. My professors include a current IIM ( top B school India) Asst Professor & my faculty advisor who is a NUS post grad ( Australian and Singaporean government scholarship holder)can vehemently state my cause and condition in my LORs apart from giving a stellar recommendation, plus I can give in a medical certificate as well)

2. I have taken EXTENSION COURSES(3 MATH & 3 FIN) from UC Berkeley in maths and finance ( total 6) straight A's.

3. Have a good score in GRE SUBJECT MATHS( different from the General GRE)

4. 2 Thesis on Mathematical modelling of financial models using Linear Programming and Advanced Genetic Algorithm( modeled in R) respectively that is to be immediately published in an international journal. I am further planning to present this in a conference.

5. I am a CFA level 3 candidate and a FRM charter holder

6. Good Extracurricular ( Elected Campus ambassador(Micro Finance), Lead Fundraiser(Green Peace), appreciation certificates etc)

I sincerely request you to look into my case and candidature and give a suggestion from your side regarding this. I would be highly obliged if you could advise me on the probable schools i can target.

Carnegie Mellon University LSE Financial Mathematics
Computational Finance

Columbia University Oxford MFE
New York, NY Financial Engineering

Princeton University Imperial MFE
Princeton, NJ Master in Finance

Baruch College, City University of New York
New York, NY Financial Engineering

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA Financial Engineering

New York University
New York, NY Mathematics in Finance

Columbia University
New York, NY Mathematics of Finance

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA Master of Finance

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY MEng, FE concentration

Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA Quantitative and Computational Finance

University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA Financial Engineering

Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ Mathematical Finance


University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada Mathematical Finance

Boston University
Boston, MA Mathematical Finance

University of Chicago
Chicago, IL Financial Mathematics

NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering
Brooklyn, NY Financial Engineering

Rutgers University
Newark, NJ Quantitative Finance

Fordham University
New York, NY Quantitative Finance

Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD Financial Mathematics

University of Illinois
Urbana, IL Financial Engineering

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI Financial Engineering

University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN Financial Mathematics

University of Washington
Seattle, WA Computational Finance & Risk Management

Claremont Graduate University
Claremont, CA Financial Engineering

Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago, IL

James

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by GyanOne » Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:22 pm
AakashAggy wrote:Hi Gyanone,

I have some queries for Indian and Asian schools. Apart from ISB, I want to apply for IIM's. Among IIM's I wanted IIM Ahmdabad but they need minimum age 27 which I dont have. Do you think I can apply to IIM Bangalore and Calcutta? Also which other Indian colleges will be ok for me?
AaksashAggy,

Please post complete details of your profile here so we can make an assessment. In terms of colleges, it is difficult to make a recommendation unless you list out a set of criteria. Please do that and we will be happy to come back on this.

Regards,
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by GyanOne » Sun Jun 14, 2015 12:01 am
james1990 wrote:Hi,



I am using this opportunity to discuss a small point regarding my candidature and I do know that assessing a candidate success in admission application is subjective and depends on the pool as well. However I just require a small feedback.

I am an Engineering graduate from one of the top 20 colleges of India majoring in production engineering.( NITs which come below the prestigious IITs). Currently I work with an American bulge bracket bank in their fixed income division as an analyst.

I have a GMAT of 710 but a GPA of only 6.96 / 10.

My poor GPA is a result of my poor performance during my first year of college due to my extreme health conditions. ( I HAD 6-7 F GRADES IN MY FIRST YEAR). I wasn't able to attend majority of classes apart from being able to deliver good performance due to my extremely poor mindset all because of my health condition as stated above. My college uses our first year performance to put across our final GPA in its heuristics hence the poor Final GPA.( MATHS ARE ONLY C & D GRADES).

My class topper had a GPA of 8.5 hence my class standing will be around 16/45.

I know that I am in a bad position to apply to MFE since they state a minimum of 8.5 ( and F grades are heavily shunned too!!) for Indian students.Actually in my class only the topper received a GA of 8.5/10 and this has been the tradition in my department for quite some years.

Now this is my only demerit as far as academics are concerned.

MY Advantages are :

1. My professors kinda knew my situation( Bad health-->read asthma attacks --> absenteeism) but since they had to follow protocol of the college board they gave me lower grades despite my performance during my 2nd,3rd & 4th year. However they are willing to write a good Recommendation letter of a high level note including citings from the dean and HOD highlighting my special case. My professors include a current IIM ( top B school India) Asst Professor & my faculty advisor who is a NUS post grad ( Australian and Singaporean government scholarship holder)can vehemently state my cause and condition in my LORs apart from giving a stellar recommendation, plus I can give in a medical certificate as well)

2. I have taken EXTENSION COURSES(3 MATH & 3 FIN) from UC Berkeley in maths and finance ( total 6) straight A's.

3. Have a good score in GRE SUBJECT MATHS( different from the General GRE)

4. 2 Thesis on Mathematical modelling of financial models using Linear Programming and Advanced Genetic Algorithm( modeled in R) respectively that is to be immediately published in an international journal. I am further planning to present this in a conference.

5. I am a CFA level 3 candidate and a FRM charter holder

6. Good Extracurricular ( Elected Campus ambassador(Micro Finance), Lead Fundraiser(Green Peace), appreciation certificates etc)

I sincerely request you to look into my case and candidature and give a suggestion from your side regarding this. I would be highly obliged if you could advise me on the probable schools i can target.

Carnegie Mellon University LSE Financial Mathematics
Computational Finance

Columbia University Oxford MFE
New York, NY Financial Engineering

Princeton University Imperial MFE
Princeton, NJ Master in Finance

Baruch College, City University of New York
New York, NY Financial Engineering

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA Financial Engineering

New York University
New York, NY Mathematics in Finance

Columbia University
New York, NY Mathematics of Finance

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA Master of Finance

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY MEng, FE concentration

Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA Quantitative and Computational Finance

University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA Financial Engineering

Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ Mathematical Finance


University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada Mathematical Finance

Boston University
Boston, MA Mathematical Finance

University of Chicago
Chicago, IL Financial Mathematics

NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering
Brooklyn, NY Financial Engineering

Rutgers University
Newark, NJ Quantitative Finance

Fordham University
New York, NY Quantitative Finance

Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD Financial Mathematics

University of Illinois
Urbana, IL Financial Engineering

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI Financial Engineering

University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN Financial Mathematics

University of Washington
Seattle, WA Computational Finance & Risk Management

Claremont Graduate University
Claremont, CA Financial Engineering

Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago, IL

James
James,

Thanks for posting.

We understand the part about poor first-year grades. We have actually seen quite a few people in a similar situation, though most such people have poor grades because they were busy preparing for retaking IITJEE rather than focusing on first-year studies in their college. You of course have a different reason, and that is completely understandable. Here is how you can try to tackle the poor marks part:
a) Given what you mention about your grades, finishing 16/45 is quite creditable. Possibly you had improved grades in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year of your program. If so, highlighting that part will be important.
b) If your illness was the major cause of your weak academic performance, request your recommenders to note this in their assessment, and also your subsequent improved performance. You cannot ensure that they do so, but asking them will create that possibility, else this may not be a point they remember to include.

Now, beyond this, it is important to understand that these will help explain your performance to admissions committees. They will not completely make up for it. Your profile otherwise seems pretty good - working in a fixed-income role, CFA L3 candidate, FRM, and the GRE you mention (assuming it is a high percentile, do mention the exact score as well). Your publications will start mattering once they are published, so try and expedite that process. ECA are decent, but they are not as critical in the kind of programs you are applying to.

The programs you have listed are extremely selective, and we can't really make a recommendation pending much greater in-depth information on your profile (including exact nature of work, achievements, GRE general and subject scores, to name a few things). We do know though that some of these are extremely particular about undergrad GPAs, so possibly the programs at MIT, Columbia, Princeton, Berkeley, and Chicago might be reach schools. Others like Fordham, Rutgers, and Toronto might be more feasible. Still, this is only a tentative assessment. You could post more information here or get in touch with us for a free profile evaluation in case you do not want to post more details on a public forum.

Hope this helps. Feel free to come back with more questions.

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by james1990 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:00 am
Thank you for your advise and reply.

I am detailing below more information pertaining to my profile.

Work experience: 6 months at Copal Amba ( a Moody's Analytical Company ) a top 10 multinational KPO

- worked as an Analyst( the entry position to this position is actually associate analyst, however I was directly taken into analyst position despite 0 work experience.) for fixed income in the quantitative research division.Worked as an offshore analyst for a bulge bracket firm in U.S. primarily catering to US clients in resolving their queries and issues with respect to the multiassset portfolio analytics tool developed by the bank.

2 months- present - Morgan Stanley

- working as an analyst in the fixed income division. Have just completed my training period, nevertheless in a nut shell it includes developing investment recommendations on fixed income securities through studies of market fundamental and technical research.

Career goal: I am in the process of co founding a financial firm in the middle east ( Dubai) along with a friend. I hope to develop it as quickly as possible as well as obtain a PE funding.

I do feel that my degree ( engineering) hasn't provided a depth knowledge as far as finance is considered. Which is why my primary goal would be first to get necessary industry exposure and together with this I intend to do a full time course in finance preferably MS in Finance or MFE to supplement my working knowledge with a sufficient theoretical knowledge as well. After a couple of years I intend to do an MBA part time to complete my expertise required.

Test Scores:

GMAT: 710(q 48 v 39)

GRE Subject math test: 810

If you don't mind I would also like you to advise me and assess my candidature for some MS in finance course which I am below mentioning. I ask so because recently I had sent a mail to LSE masters in finance admission department and this is the reply I obtained from them after explaining my GPA problem.
"Dear ****

Thank you for your email. While we look not only at the grades on your transcript, but also your personal statement, references, work experience, and any additional test score, if your grades are lower than our general minimum requirement, you are subsequently less likely to be made an offer of a place on the programme. If there are any extenuating circumstances to your grades, please make sure your referee(s) mention them in their references.

We are still accepting applications for two of our programmes for 2015 entry: MSc Risk and Finance (www.lse.ac.uk/study/graduate/taughtProg ... nance.aspx) and MSc Finance and Economics (www.lse.ac.uk/study/graduate/taughtProg ... omics.aspx). You are advised to apply as soon as possible as the last few places will be filled this month.

Kind regards

Jasper

Jasper Heeks | Admissions Assistant
Department of Finance | London School of Economics and Political Science
OLD 2.04 | Old Building | Houghton St | London | WC2A 2AE | t: 020 7955 5048"
The schools that I am targeting for MS in finance is:

1. LSE ( states a min of 8.5 for indian candidates in their website) ---a) MS in finance
b) MS in financial econometrics
c) MS in finance and economics
d) MS in private equity
e) MS in Accounting and finance
2. Oxford---> MS in finance economics
3. Said---> MS in finance
4. Imperial college--> MS in finance
4. HEC Paris--> MS in finance
5. York university---> MS in finance
6. Univ of Toronto---> MS in finance
7. University of Illinois Urbana Champgne--> MS in finance
8. Olin business school--> MS in finance

Kindly advise me on the schools as well what the response from the LSE department implies..
James

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by GyanOne » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:27 am
Hi James

Going through these details, we would recommend that you not apply to at least the top programs right now and wait for a little while. Here are the reasons behind our recommendations:
1. While Copal is considered a leading KPO, it will not be seen as the kind of experience that most of the top MS in Finance/similar programs are looking for. Your Morgan Stanley experience is more relevant, but then you have been there for only a short while so far.
2. The financial firm you are in the process of setting up is also just a concept at the moment. You will not get much credit for it till it is a functioning entity.

While your GMAT score at 710 is good, it might not be enough for top MFE/MS in Finance programs, which regularly see people getting 750+ scores. Also, at 48, your quant score might still not be as high as what top MFE programs look for. For example, look at the Berkeley MFE class profile. The average GMAT quant percentile is 94 (q50), while with a q48, you are at the 80th percentile. Even for the Oxford MFE, you can see that the average GMAT score is 738.

You may, however, have a good shot at some of the schools listed here, in case applying this year is an absolute priority for you. If looking for help, check this out as well. School selection is always a careful exercise, and will respond to you privately on that.

As for the LSE response, this seems more like a stock response than anything else. They are essentially saying that they take a decision after considering everything, and may not be able to comment only on the basis of GPA in isolation.

Hope this helps.

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by james1990 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:56 am
Thank you sir for your reply.

Actually i was intending to take admission only in the year 2017, although I would have started preparation for my application early on. By that time I do expect that I would have at least 2 years of experience at Morgan and Stanley.

The response from LSE took me by surprise in fact did confuse me, nevertheless I am always more inclined in doing an MS in Finance course in lieu to an MFE as a business side of finance would be more beneficial.Also about the firm that I intended to co found, actually the firm has already been established by my friend a couple of months back.He is currently running it solo and asked for my help in developing it.He himself was a prominent banker in Dubai working in the likes of Zurich bank.

I am planning to retake my GMAT though not sure what would be the score next time. Let us take the case that I were to get a 730 & I were to submit my applications in mid 2017, Could please tell me a list of probable schools that I should be looking into for MS in finance in UK (preferably), US,Canada?

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by hopeforharvard » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:52 am
It would be good if anyone can tell me how a 7.5 gpa on a scale of 10 from Anna University,Chennai would be viewed by the adcom.
I am targeting the 2+2 program at HBS.
The only thing I'm worried about is GPA . Gmat is 720 but I'm planning to retake it and my internships are pretty solid.

Please clarify if my GPA is good enough,thanks.

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by GyanOne » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:14 am
hopeforharvard wrote:It would be good if anyone can tell me how a 7.5 gpa on a scale of 10 from Anna University,Chennai would be viewed by the adcom.
I am targeting the 2+2 program at HBS.
The only thing I'm worried about is GPA . Gmat is 720 but I'm planning to retake it and my internships are pretty solid.

Please clarify if my GPA is good enough,thanks.
It is difficult to comment on chances for a school with only some parameters in isolation, in this case your GPA and GMAT. The 2+2 program is in general very competitive. HBS reports an average GPA of 3.75 for the 2+2 program, but excludes all applicants not on a 4.0 GPA scale in this calculation. You can still make out that they are pretty competitive in terms of GPAs.

It is difficult to comment on chances with only the GPA for the same reason that it is difficult to comment on chances using the GMAT score. To take that as an example, the median GMAT for the HBS 2+2 is 730, but the GMAT range is 610-780. Using these to comment on someone's chances with, say, a 700, is tough, without knowing the rest of the profile in detail. All we can say for sure is that in general, successful HBS 2+2 applicants have high GMAT scores.

Would suggest you focus on the GMAT for now, and try to raise that. Nothing in what you have reported seems to suggest anything that would automatically exclude you.