How can you compensate for a low GPA in top B-Schools?
3 December, 2019
I recently wrote a complete column on Tribune (One of the national Dailies in India)
Jobs & Careers, JC_08_October_2014 : read where
Through this article, I wanted to reach out to the masses and address concerns on the Low GPA’s and recommend ways to overcome the limitations.
Think about it this way: Why is a school concerned about your past? Why is a school concerned about your graduation scores? In India, most of the universities consider your 10th and 12th scores as a factor for elimination. However, for most of the international MBA programs, the past performance is reflective of the candidate’s ability to manage the rigor of the future programs. “If the candidate has done well in the past, he is very likely to do well in the future too” is the thought process, considering the fact that most of these schools are known for VERY rigorous programs.
Even though these BUSINESS SCHOOLS do not consider your scores in 10th and 12th, your performance in Graduation plays an integral role. That being said, this is subjective and there are ways to overcome the limitations you have in your past academic performance. There are many candidates we have worked with in the past, and we could identify many successful strategies to get them admitted to top tier programs such as Wharton, Columbia, Duke, Chicago Booth, London Business School, Insead, and many more international programs in the Tier 1 League . Let us look at some of the ways to fill in for the academic gaps:
GPA Conversion: Always start your assessment with the GPA conversion. Do not do the conversion yourself. Instead, reach out to renowned bodies such as www.wes.org (World education Services). They have tools to convert your Indian percentages into international GPA’s. 65% in graduation has different connotation for Engineering, English Honors, BSC, Law, and Humanities. In order to compare apples to apples, you need to get those converted to an internationally accepted number. Get it done by professionals (Such as the one above). Just as the schools accept your GMAT Scores, they also accept the GPA Transcripts from some of these professional bodies. After the GPA conversion, if your 58% in BA translates into a 3.3 GPA (It might), it is not as bad as you thought.
Performance in Maths, Statistics, Accounting, Finance, and related subjects: If your overall GPA was low, but you fared well in some subjects that are of more interest to the school than the others, highlight those in the optional essay. Tell the school that you were not driven by the absolute numbers and were not a part of the rat race, but you did exceptionally well in the areas that should matter to the school. As long as you can prove your mettle, you will be able to assuage the concerns of the school.
Other Activities: Imagine you walked into your graduation college in India and decided to work on skill sets other than academics. You can highlight that started actively participating in the club activities, or played an integral role in managing the annual fest, or were a part of dramatics club, or were managing budgets, or the placements of your college, you need to highlight those. The schools need to understand your reasons for being excellent in the academic areas. As long as you can highlight the other transferrable skills that you picked up in your graduation experience, you will do fine. Most of the schools will have optional essays. Use them as blank cheques, and talk about these experiences. Remember: Just do not elaborate on these experiences. Schools are more interested in knowing why were these important for you.
Pick up Relevant courses now: Visit Coursera (Google it) and identify some of the international universities such as University of Pennsylvania (Wharton school of business), University of Michigan, University of Virginia (Darden Graduate school of business). Pick up courses in Finance, accounting, statistics, and showcase your performance in those courses. Most of these courses are not very expensive, and are of international repute. Pursue them before apply and highlight them in your application. Schools will gauge your seriousness and your low performance in graduation will drown out to a great extent.
University of Washington Foster Business School reinforces the effectiveness of taking steps to offset a low GPA before applying to a business school.