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How much do grades factor into MBA admissions?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by micbain, May 17, 2011.

  1. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    I don't know about MBAs in particular, but our graduate office, which handles graduate admissions for all (and we are not a top tier program) will not admit anyone with a GPA under 3.0, except under exceptional circumstances, in which the departmental admissions committee makes a special request on that student's behalf. This means that you have to make the committee really, really, want you because you stand out in some way.

    Different faculty members look for different things when looking at a GPA. Like someone else indicated, some like to see evidence of improvement, but I am generally suspicious of GPAs that shoot up from the 2s into the high 3s. I much prefer to see incremental improvements, which tend to indicate that a student just didn't have the hang of things for whatever reason, but were always willing to put in hard work to at least get decent grades, and once they did get the hang of things, really took off. GPAs that are really low, and then become really high, I need to hear a compelling story to want to admit that student, much less champion that student. Something like a death in the family or some other tragic event would probably make me sympathetic.

    The explanantion that "I wasn't interested in the courses" would be an application killer for me and for many other faculty. That type of student is a huge crapshoot, and I am not going to take the chance unless they have shown some real initiative and achievement.

    I'd say that your best shot is to make a personal appeal, and by that, I mean, ask to speak to professors in person, traveling on your own dime, and be ready to really wow them. When asked about your GPA, take ownership of your mistakes and tell them that you made some bad decisions, but that you are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to show them that you are willing to work hard, including provisional admittance to a single semester, whatever.
     


  2. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    First, what's your actual GPA? I don't think you included it in your post. I think what LA Guy is referencing is the fact that for a lot of schools the Graduate School itself (not the specific program, ie business) has specific GPA requirements that if you don't meet, you can't be admittd.
     


  3. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    bah

    this thread is reminding me that i recently dropped from a 3.3 to a 2.92 cGPA due to not handing in one blasted assignment


    Don't do this man. It's a really stupid way of losing out on opportunities. 3.3 is good, but not stellar. 2.92 sucks. It's a red flag. If your explanation is "I didn't hand in an assignment", you are going to have absolutely no traction with future employers or graduate schools, who are going to think "lazy", "disorganized", "irresponsible", or possibly, all three.

    Go to your professor, and tell them that you will do anything to bring that grade up - hand in that assignment. Tell them that you'll put off everything else, and do additional work. You'll volunteer to do grunt work for free when you could be having fun to bring that grade up.
     


  4. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    First, what's your actual GPA? I don't think you included it in your post. I think what LA Guy is referencing is the fact that for a lot of schools the Graduate School itself (not the specific program, ie business) has specific GPA requirements that if you don't meet, you can't be admittd.

    Major programs are their own school and do not fall under "the Graduate School." This is good as the major schools are much harder to get into than the general "graduate school." Your MA is probably under the catch-all "graduate school" while law, business, and medicine will all have their own schools with their own rules. Other disciplines will vary by university, i.e. will be under the aegis of the graduate college at some places but have their own college at other places.
     


  5. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    Major programs are their own school and do not fall under "the Graduate School." This is good as the major schools are much harder to get into than the general "graduate school." Your MA is probably under the catch-all "graduate school" while law, business, and medicine will all have their own schools with their own rules. Other disciplines will vary by university, i.e. will be under the aegis of the graduate college at some places but have their own college at other places.

    actually at my school, all of the programs fall under the same graduate school administration umbrella, ie: they aren't their own independent entity. this includes professional degrees and a medical school.
     


  6. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    They can help, they can hurt. But unless they're terrible, they won't kill your application.
     


  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Major programs are their own school and do not fall under "the Graduate School." This is good as the major schools are much harder to get into than the general "graduate school." Your MA is probably under the catch-all "graduate school" while law, business, and medicine will all have their own schools with their own rules. Other disciplines will vary by university, i.e. will be under the aegis of the graduate college at some places but have their own college at other places.

    This varies from university to university, I've found. Where I am right now, all colleges fall under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School, including the Engineering, which also has separate professional accreditation. But yes, law and medicine are usually separate. I've found that business schools and Engineering programs are in the murky middle.
     


  8. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    This varies from university to university, I've found. Where I am right now, all colleges fall under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School, including the Engineering, which also has separate professional accreditation. But yes, law and medicine are usually separate. I've found that business schools and Engineering programs are in the murky middle.

    Yes, if there's one thing academia lacks, it's standardization. I just raised the issue so the OP doesn't make the mistake of thinking what's good for the graduate school is necessarily what the b-school follows. Teger's statement was clearly wrong, except for his school, which apparently had medicine fall under the graduate school. I'll admit I've never heard of that being the case.
     


  9. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    Yes, if there's one thing academia lacks, it's standardization. I just raised the issue so the OP doesn't make the mistake of thinking what's good for the graduate school is necessarily what the b-school follows. Teger's statement was clearly wrong, except for his school, which apparently had medicine fall under the graduate school. I'll admit I've never heard of that being the case.

    How was I wrong? The point is that some school's have strict GPA floors, and if you don't meet that, regardless of your other qualifications, then you can't get admitted. It would help if the OP posted what his GPA actually was (If he had one year of Cs and 3 years of As, then he's at what, a 3.4?)
     


  10. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    How was I wrong? The point is that some school's have strict GPA floors, and if you don't meet that, regardless of your other qualifications, then you can't get admitted. It would help if the OP posted what his GPA actually was (If he had one year of Cs and 3 years of As, then he's at what, a 3.4?)
    You were incorrect in stating that the MBA program will necessarily fall under the control of the graduate college. Mine did not as a major MBA program will be its own entity. Btw, he did post his GPA. He even broke it down to overall and last two years.
     


  11. dragon8

    dragon8 Senior member

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    For reference, I got admitted to three top 20 schools with a 2.6 undergrad gpa this year. My work experience is interesting, but not amazing. My GMAT is fairly strong, but again, not amazing. So it's possible. Use the optional essay to explain that you acknowledge how low your gpa is and how immature you were or whatever your excuse is. There's no sense avoiding it, and you only get one chance to explain it.

    Are you a Bush by chance?
     


  12. pebblegrain

    pebblegrain Senior member

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    You were incorrect in stating that the MBA program will necessarily fall under the control of the graduate college. Mine did not as a major MBA program will be its own entity.

    Btw, he did post his GPA. He even broke it down to overall and last two years.


    +1, haven't heard of a 1-30 MBA that was controlled under a general "graduate dept", on the contrary, MBAs are usually some of the first to break out independently, along with MD and JD
     


  13. KJT

    KJT Senior member

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    Did you go to a top ranked school or graduate in a particularly hard major?
    Bates college, small liberal arts school in New England, i think it's ranked 21 by usnews now. Not a really hard major - philosophy.
    Are you a Bush by chance?
    Nope. Minimal connections. White male. I think I just packaged my experience and accomplishments really well in my applications. Also, I interview well. Has to be more than a fluke if a couple schools liked me. Also my freshman and sophomore gpa was way worse, I improved in junior and senior years. Really was just case of immaturity.
     


  14. Don Carlos

    Don Carlos In Time Out

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    Work experience is given substantially less weight in the admissions process than grades and GMAT are given. This is a not-so-secret dirty little secret. This is becoming even more the case, as business schools are now competing to admit younger and younger students each year -- a policy this MBA feels is misguided and potentially destructive to the very idea of business school, for what it's worth, but it's the current policy nonetheless.
     


  15. micbain

    micbain Senior member

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    Thanks for the info guys! Sounds like I will likely have an uphill battle which just means I need to really hit the GMAT out of the park and really think about my application.

    Cheers,
     


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