One key area that business schools will evaluate as part of your application is your academic performance, both during college and on the GMAT/GRE. While both the quantitative and verbal aspects are, of course, evaluated, in my experience, business schools tend to put a little more emphasis on the quantitative side.
The bad news? Your undergraduate GPA is what it is – if it is weak, you unfortunately can’t change it.
The good news? There are ways to show the Admissions Committee that you are analytically and quantitatively inclined, and therefore, will be able to handle the rigor of the MBA curriculum.
Score well on the GMAT/GRE
This almost goes without saying, but if you have a weak GPA, then you will want to make sure that you score well on the GMAT/GRE. What does it mean to score well? Essentially, aiming for at least an 80th percentile across both the quant and verbal sections of the exam. A strong GMAT/GRE score will help considerably with respect to giving the Admissions Committee comfort that despite a weaker GPA, you won’t struggle academically as an MBA student. See our thoughts here on whether you should take the GMAT or the GRE.
Take quantitative classes
If you did not do well in your quantitative classes in college or did not take any quantitative classes, it is a good idea to enroll in such a class or two online at a well-known institution or at a local college with the aim to get an A in those classes. Some classes that you can consider taking are calculus or statistics.
Add an explanation in the Additional Information section
If there is a compelling reason as to why your GPA was weak in college, then you can provide a brief explanation in the Additional Information section of the applications. However, do not make excuses; briefly state what led to the weak grades and then point to areas that show your quantitative strength (such as the GMAT/GRE, online classes, etc.).
By taking the steps above and showing self-awareness to mitigate a weak GPA, you will be able to present your application in the strongest light possible.
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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.
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