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How to prepare an MBA application with a low GPA?

Updated: Aug 26

Securing admission to a reputed B-school tops the wish list of many aspirants who are enthusiastic about achieving their aspirations. Undoubtedly, admission into top B-schools does depend a lot on the GPA and GMAT scores.

If you are wondering how the GMAT score and GPA will affect your chances, let's discuss the ins and outs of GPA and GMAT score.

What is GPA?

GPA refers to the Grade Point Average. A GPA is the average of the sum total of the accumulated marks obtained by a student at the end of the course. For Indian courses that issue a percentage the applicants should use the tools available to convert their scores to the corresponding GPA.

There are two kinds of GPA : unweighted, and weighted.

Unweighted GPA is the system more widely used and it ranges from 1.0 to 4.0.

A weighted GPA scale goes from 1.0 to 5.0.

The former does not take the difficulty level of the class into account, but the latter does, which is the reason why the weighted GPA scale is a better indicator of academic prowess than its counterpart.

What is GMAT?

GMAT refers to the Graduate Management Admission Test. GMAT is the standard and globally accepted test one needs to pass to get into a business school or an MBA program. A GMAT score is a mandatory score for getting admitted to an MBA course. There is an increasing acceptance for the GRE score for MBA admissions as well, however, GMAT score is more prevalent.

GMAT score is devised on the basis of a computer-adaptive test and generates questions automatically based on the correctness of the answers to your previous question. The GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800 and a basic mean system indicates the merit of the examinee, that is, 552.

Though the calculation of a GMAT score is algorithm-based, the best way to get a great score is to be fully prepared.

How important is my GPA score for MBA admission?

A common concern among MBA aspirants is their GPA score. Unfortunately, this score cannot be changed. A good GPA can undoubtedly act as a catalyst to achieve your future aspirations.

Then, what about those candidates with a low GPA score?

Let us share a secret here:

There are many instances where a low GPA score has not stopped aspiring candidates to soar high.

GPA is not the one and only criteria for getting into a business school. GPA is an indication of academic merit through school years, mapping the academic history of the student on paper. The GPA cutoffs can range from 3.0 in mediocre colleges to 3.7 in places like Harvard Business School. GPA is an important component in the entire MBA application criteria.

Provided the applicant has additional aspects to highlight in the MBA application, a mediocre to low GPA score can be surpassed. Especially, when the applicant has a high GMAT score or ranks higher in other criteria like experience and extra curricular activities.

Here are 5 ways to boost your MBA application when you have a low GPA:

Improve GMAT/GRE Score: The best way to compensate for a low GPA is to have a high GMAT score, which is the main criterion for admission in the top business schools. 650 – 700+ according to the school average GMAT score is an excellent benchmark.

Gain Sound Work Experience: An experience of two to five years should suffice in boosting your MBA admission application. The quality of work experience adds a lot of value. You must obtain a professional experience and, something measurable that can be put on paper. Promotions, certificates, awards, tokens of appreciation are signs that you are well experienced and add bonus points to your MBA application.

Consider Additional Courses: Earning a high grade in extra courses like Statistics, Microeconomics, Finance, Accounting, Advanced Mathematics can improve your chances faring higher on the MBA application criteria.

Write That Essay: The next best option is your essay. Writing a good quality essay within the word limit is a crucial part of your MBA application. Sticking to relevant points and giving a comprehensive perspective are some boosters in scoring better in an essay. However, make sure to be able to highlight your strengths but not overplay it.

Talk About Your Bad Grade: No, it would not be crazy.

That's what the optional essay section is for. Use that section. We have successfully used this section and secured admits in India and abroad. The precondition is a sound application strategy which highlights the strengths at the right place.

The University will not miss your bad grades. So, you need to be upfront and write in detail the optional essay where you discuss your mistakes, what you learnt, and your new outlook. This highlights you as a sincere student who can learn in retrospect and has the ability to introspect. This is extremely important especially in International admissions.

Try to improve your GMAT score. Focus and practice with patience to improve efficiency. Manage your time well and do not stress during the exam.

Also, you must identify other areas you need to cover better.

When you prepare an application with a planned strategy under professional guidance, a low GPA score should not be a hurdle in achieving your business school admission.


We do not have association or representation with any business school, in India or abroad.

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