The Most Important Thing to Focus On When Applying to Business School With a Low GPA

08fba0fGoing into the MBA application season with a low GPA can be an unnerving situation. Your GPA was set long ago, you are years removed from your undergraduate days, and you know this statistic will appear in your applications no matter what. What can you do?

Well, the first thing to keep in mind is that your GPA is not evaluated in a vacuum – all GPAs are not created equally, so depending on the reputation of your undergraduate college, rigor of your major, and performance in your analytical courses (hopefully you have taken some), the perception of your GPA can rise or fall from the actual number on your transcript.

Assuming you actually have a low GPA – one that is “materially” below the listed average score at your target program – now is the time to take action. Now, these tips are really only potential options for those who have the time to follow them; if you are closing in on an application deadline, it will be difficult to make much of an impact here. For most, the two major options you have to address a low GPA are to take additional coursework and/or focus on your GMAT score.

As referenced earlier, your GPA is not an independent data point. It often is taken in concert with other factors, and the most impactful of these is one’s GMAT score. In the eyes of the Admissions Committee, the GMAT is similar to your GPA – both are seen as measures of your intellectual aptitude, and both are also considered to be indicators of your ability to perform in the heavily analytical first year of business school. So, if you are suffering from a low GPA, then the best action you can take to mitigate this red flag is to work on improving your existing GMAT score and aim to exceed the GMAT average of your target program.

For many, this may not be the best approach – a more obvious approach might be to take some additional coursework to counteract the low GPA. This is also something that could help, but when considering the more impactful approach (especially considering the time commitment each option requires) it can be difficult to do both for a working professional. This fact places even more importance on how a candidate prioritizes the limited time they are given during the application process.

Low GPA holders rejoice! All is not lost – prioritize your GMAT score to counteract that red flag and give your application a better chance at success.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

Announcing MBA LaunchPad 2008

We’re pleased to announce MBA LaunchPad 2008 — our first annual event designed to help business school-bound students prepare to hit the ground running from the moment they set foot on campus. MBA Launchpad 2008 will be held on August 5th and 6th in New York City at NYU’s Kimmel Center.

For years we have helped applicants get into the most competitive business schools, and many of them have asked us, “No that I’m in, what do you recommend for classes or materials to help me do well once I get there?” Knowing that the first couple of months are crucial to a business school student’s success, we decided to build our own program to help students tackle the three most important aspects of an MBA program:

Veritas Prep has assembled a team of world-class professors from elite business schools including Columbia and Stern. They won’t simply teach you the basics of the core MBA subjects — instead they will show you how to effectively approach these topics and achieve the highest grades without wasted effort.

Career Management
MBA LaunchPad has brought together business school graduates who successfully landed job offers from the most competitive firms in management consulting, investment banking, healthcare, and other industries. Step by step, they will show you how to use networking to land competitive job interviews, and ultimately ace every type of interview, from finance-focused formats to consulting cases.

Extracurricular Involvement
At MBA LaunchPad current business school students will teach you how to network effectively in order to build personal and professional relationships that will last a lifetime. They will also give you candid advice on where you should and shouldn’t spend your time outside the classroom — giving you a crucial advantage as you manage your hectic schedule.

The two days will also feature social events and networking opportunities to give you a chance to meet other like-minded new MBA students.

Registration is $1,200, and is open until August 1, or until it fills up (whichever comes first). Veritas Prep clients are eligible for a substantial discount. Visit the MBA LaunchPad 2008 site to learn more and to register!