Here is a compilation of low GPA stores from Business Week Forum.
Brewskind – 2/15/06
Hey, my GPA was considerably less than yours (around a 3.0) and I still was accepted to Kellogg.I had a high GMAT score and I broached the subject during my optional essay. About me — I was also a math major and took graduate level classes as an UG. I also had steady extracurriculars while participating in ROTC training all four years of school. I only had one bad academic year and my GPA for the other three was around a 3.3. Still, I am not “proud” of my GPA and was honest about the issue in my essay — specifically I stated that I just don\’t identify with the person who performed to that level anymore. I used my subsequent GMAT score, quant background, and work experience to show that I have the brains and the discipline to excel in any future academic endeavors. I also pointed out that following graduation from UG I was recognized as an honor grad during army officer training, etc. Hope this helps. FYI, I would be happy as a pig in sh*t if I had a 3.2 — it’s all relative
teladan – 2/15/06
I have 2.6 in engineering and I will attend Wharton in August. I did not build alternative transcript, but I did write an optional essay explaining why my UG record is not a representative of my potential and intellectual ability. mid 700 GMAT, 3.5 WE in 2 countries, speaking 4 languages, almost non existent EC
Itcolt1 – 2/15/06
I wasn’t even close to a 3.0, and I got in several top-10 schools. You’ll need to show that you’ve done a lot of other significant activities, have a good leadership history, and that you can bring a unique background to the school. A high GMAT can also compensate for a low GPA, assuming your undergrad was at a really good school. Personally I feel like the GMAT is more important to most schools than GPA, but in my case, they definitely looked at my complete application. Just recognize that your GPA is a weakness, and focus your essays on your strengths.
Whartonite07 – 2/15/06
Got a 3.3 GPA. Lousy transcript. C- in Intro to Calc. The only Math or Econ Class I took. 720 GMATs. At Wharton now as a 1st year. Got a summer job offers at MckBain in San Francisco office, two multi-billion $ hedge funds, and 1 large PE shop. Incredible recruiting year with all my friends with multiple offers. The Wharton name carries tremendous clout to recruiters. Mck and Bain asked for my GPA and still gave me offers. Go figure! They really don’t care about GPA, once you get in.
I had a 2.8 (and 1 failing grade) and I just got into Ross. Here is what I did to mitigate the negative effects of my GPA;
1. got a high GMAT (710)
2. Developed an alternate transcript (took 3 business classes and got A’s)
3. Addressed in the additional info essay (explained that my GPA is nobody’s fault, but my own, and said that XYZ proves that it will be better this time)
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to an application, but I think these above points (among other things) serve to mititgate a low GPA. I had a 2.8 and a failing grade and I just got into a top 10. It can be done.
mjd903 – 3/7/07
Hi, I have a 2.8 GPA 690 GMAT and got accepted in Columbia.
natashaMBA – 3/7/06
I got into Wharton with a less than stellar GPA. And have a job at Goldman for the summer so it can be done (I did have a high GMAT and took 4 extra classes and got As to build an alternate transcript)…
I had a 2.8 undergrad GPA. I balanced this out with a high GMAT and high MS GPA. I am in at Kellogg and Chicago.
Currently in at Darden, interviewing at Yale, waiting from Tuck and Haas. Due to failing not one but two (!) classes freshman year, I sport a very odd 3.2 from a good but not great small college. I stressed in the optional essays that I learned from my failures, and put up an increasing GPA each year after that. (Had something like a 3.6 the last two years.) I also scored solidly on the GMAT (ever so slightly above median top-10 scores), and, I believe, most importantly, completed a four-course certificate program at Columbia while working full-time last year. Hopefully the 3.8 I racked up there makes a convincing case that I\’m no longer a volatile undergraduate hippie who can\’t be bothered to attend class.
110th st- 3/9/06
Not really a success story, but I think I’m a pretty strong applicant despite a 3.04 GPA in CS at a good engineering school. First 2.5 years I had a 2.7, then for the last year and a half I had a 3.5. Had 740 GMAT. Also some really cool work experience, as I crewed on a yacht that crossed the Pacific after college. My dings stem more from the 2 yrs W/E in corporate america rather than gpa.
hekmatyar – 3/21/06
Another low GPA success story….I got into Kellogg with a GPA of 2.7 (Ivy league school). GMAT was around the average for Kellogg.
2.9 gpa. downward grade trend. major gpa something like a 2.3 (obviously did not highlight) econ (which apparently for everyone else was an easy major) no alt transcript. 730 gmat (gave up a few months of life to study for it) Accepted at Wharton. is it just me? seems like Wharton’s the way to go if you have low gpa but story to back it up. all I can say is… there’s hope! at the end of the day, you want them to look at who you are, not what your stats are. I was really discouraged when i started out, specially from reading all these forums. but at the end of the day it’s really letting what you’re all about shine through, not about contorting yourself to fit what you think they want. of course you do that strategically, but really, the process is not as fake and superficial as people on these boards make it out to be. they really do want to get to know you!
Hi everyone, I fit in this category, I had just below a 3.0 from a solid undergrad school. I have almost 4 years of work experience and I took courses at a nearby community college to make up for my transcript. My quant score on the GMAT was good too. I am in at Darden and currently waitlisted at Chicago. I was waitlisted at Cornell but I’m going to take myself off. I think that it is definitely something you can overcome, but you need to act on it outside of the workplace in my opinion. My biggest piece of advice is that you can make up for weaknesses in the past, but you cannot make up for sloppy essays. Do not take the writing aspects of the application lightly, it will hurt you more than poor stats.
I haven’t finished my quest yet, but I have had some success thus far, so figured I\’d share… 2.46 ugrad Ivy CompSci, 710 GMAT (77% Q)
My work experience has been really strong (I’ll have 7 yrs upon enrollment) with 2+ years of management experience. Been doing volunteer work for last 2 years and have been an electronic music DJ as a hobby for last 6. Start picking up extracurriculars ASAP if you don’t have any. They make great essay topics, too, IMHO. Interviewed at Wharton, Columbia, and MIT in R1. Was really hoping for the MIT one, but got the ding. I took 3 classes (calc, accting, stat) and got A’s and A+’s in them prior to applying. I think this was what prevented me from being “dead meat” (gotta love Sandy). I HIGHLY recommend you do this if you had a poor GPA. Also spent a ton of time on my essays and really tailored them to the specific schools. You really need to show you are extremely interested and knowledgable about the school, but its even more important if you’re not one of those 800 GMAT / 4.0 braniacs who work at McKinsey and climb volcanos in their spare time. Just found out I was waitlisted at Yale (with no interview….weird) and so now I am enrolling in another class (econ) at UCLA Extension (online) to show that I’m still committed and that I am still going to do well in my classes. And who knows, I might get some love from HBS (although it hasnt happened yet), this whole process is such a black box I don’t know what to expect any more! Hope this helps someone out there. And don’t give up hope w/a low GPA. You absolutely should apply, but plan on working twice as hard as aforementioned brainiacs :) The way I look at it, they worked harder than me as a ugrad, and now I am paying for it. As a side note, having to bust my butt also made me constantly confirm that I really wanted to do this.