Jun 25, 2011

How to handle a low GPA in MBA Applications

A lot of times applicants are concerned that completing an undergrad degree from a second tier school or a low GPA or a non-quant major (non -  finance, economics, engineering, etc) or all of them, will be seen by the admissions committees as a major red flag in their application. It is indeed true that in when the applicant has a very weak academic grades from a lower grade schools, the top business schools may feel that the candidate’s application does not demonstrate his/her ability to stand out in a competitive, rigorous academic environment.

Looking back at our clients who had profiles similar to these, we recommend that following steps can help address this issue a great deal:

• Crack the GMAT
A low GPA can also be addressed through a high GMAT score. A great GMAT Score, especially in the quantitative section, tells the adcom that at least the applicant is smart and has the potential. Suddenly, the low GPA doesn’t automatically categorizes you into a future struggling-with-academics student.

• Take a quantitative class BEFORE applying
This can be done by building an alternative transcript and acing the course at your community college or a night school. If there are specific weak spots in your academic transcript, retake those classes and do well in them. For e.g. if you are a humanity major, take a statistics class and get a A in the course. Building such kind of transcripts as these will not only demonstrates to the adcom that you have the ability to stand out in a rigorous academic environment, but also reflects upon your seriousness and commitment about a business education.

• Stress on the analytical/quantitative aspects of your professional life 
You will need to demonstrate to the adcom that your earlier academic performance was a just a brief lapse in concentration and focus and is not a true reflection of your abilities or attitude. Rather than just writing about it in your optional essay, demonstrate this belief and confidence about your attitude through facts – in your resume and essays. Show them you have all the analytical abilities that it takes to become a successful business leader. For example, if you went on and worked you’re a** off to in a finance industry and grew quickly through ranks, let these stories say something about your passion, abilities and attitude. Through your essays and resume, demonstrate to the adcom that it would be a mistake for them to judge you just on your low GPA.

• Use of Optional Essay 
Write a convincing optional essay that explains the reasons for such kind of performance and stress on the positives – Don’t leave it for the adcom to guess why you did not perform in your undergraduate years. Be succinct. If you are taking too many lines in the optional essay explaining your low GPA, you are being defensive about it. There are few very valid reasons that can not only address a low GPA but also showcase a different kind of strength in your character and personality. For example, if you had to balance your academics in the face of a family illness, it could be used to demonstrate some a powerful personal and leadership qualities. If you were working part-time or full-time during school, it is a very strong indicator of excellent work ethics and determination while showcasing that you are someone who is passionate about your goals. If you are first in the family to go to a degree school, that in itself shows your perseverance and that you have the will and the passion to face the adversities in your life.

So don't let that low GPA spoil it all for you. Good luck!

Need help to get the best application out there for your dream Business School? Come to BizSchoolPrep Consulting. Whether you are a domestic applicant or an international one, our process is uniquely designed to understand your background, and then create a strategy whose sole aim is to get you to the business school of your dream. Know what makes us different.

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