Does a candidate’s college GPA really decide admission in a top MBA application? Ilana Kowarski gives her two cents on the growing debate.
Helpful for: MBA Applicants
Read Time: 8 minutes
- In 2017 the average undergrad GPA of applicants for top 20 MBA programs, according to U.S. News ranking, was 3.53; and 3.37 at lower ranked programs.
- Apart from a great GPA, admission teams focus on selecting candidates based on their originality, charisma, and initiative, among other qualities. Former associate director of admissions at Columbia Business School, Deena Maerowitz, adds:
Unlike law school and med school admissions which are really based mostly on numbers – your scores, your grades – the business school admissions process is really much more comprehensive.
- Business schools will forgive mediocre grades during your bachelor degree if you are able to demonstrate widespread evidence of leadership roles in your career and hobbies. Admission teams value leadership as a skill in candidates because it is extremely valuable in business and illustrates whether a student will actively contribute to the success of the cohort by taking part in MBA student clubs, for example.
- Admission teams will also overlook a lower GPA if you have an intriguing life story to share that is relevant to the MBA degree and your future professional goals.
- An MBA CV that illustrates promotions and career advancement is a strong indicator of successful admission compared to an A+ student with little progress or no experience.
- Relevant work experience trumps a low GPA score. Top business schools prefer to enroll candidates with marketable technical skills that are in line with current trends of different industries. According to Professor of Marketing at University of Wollongong, Michal Strahilevitz, an applicant who has experience in programming, genetic engineering and deep learning with a low GPA will be favored over an applicant who studied French literature and has been delivering pizzas.
- If you have earned bad grades in math during your undergrad, allay the admission team’s reservations about your quantitative and analytical skills by being open to enroll in MBA-prep courses. Make sure to communicate this in your application.
- By writing a supplemental essay, a candidate is able to address, explain and defend any concerns based on their academic performance. The candidate should be able to reassure the admission team about their motivation and discipline.
- There is a track record of successful business executives who scored average or even poor grades. This goes to show that success is not a mere number on your college transcripts, but rather a demonstration of potential for growth and a thirst for knowledge.
Are you still worried about the effect of your GPA score on your MBA application? Share your comments in our forum and let’s arrive at a solution together!
For further insight on the topic of GPA, read How to Calculate GPA – Getting into the Nuts and Bolts followed by, GPA vs Career Success in MBA and Master’s Application, and finally Is GPA Important?
Source: US News