1. Want MBA. 2. Have 2.0 GPA 3. ??? 4. Profit
July 24, 2011 12:19 AM   Subscribe

How often are MBA applicants admitted with a poor (2.0) undergrad GPA?

I earned poor grades at a respected liberal arts college four years ago (degree in Economics).

Since then I worked in a supervisory position in a large corporation, then quit my job to start an IT consulting service with a close friend. It's time for something different.

I feel that an MBA would be a great asset. But with my poor grades, I expect some difficulty. I have not taken the GMAT, but it's the type of thing I expect I could do well.

So, how many MBAs had a 2.0 undergrad GPA? How did they make it work?
posted by anonymous to Education (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It would help if you explained what kind of MBA you wanted to go into and in which country(ies).
posted by acoutu at 12:31 AM on July 24, 2011

To be honest, MBA programs are diploma mills. They churn out of tons of MBA graduates and the market is saturated with them. Having an MBA doesn't mean anything. It's like having a B.A., especially since everyone went out and got one during the recession.

Furthermore, they won't care about your undergraduate GPA because that's not the kind of degree it is. It's about "business" which doesn't really come across in your GPA from 4 years ago. What does matter is your GMAT score, which you haven't taken/studied for...
posted by autoclavicle at 2:10 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

autoclavicle, you're making a pretty bold statement without any facts to back it up.

anonymous, it is possible to get into an MBA school with poor marks, but the rest of your application needs to be very strong to counteract it. I would advise you to take the practise GMAT from mba.com under test-taking conditions. Based on your score on that (which correlates very well with your actual GMAT score) you can begin thinking of schools to apply to.
posted by sid at 2:31 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Depends on the school. Harvard? Any other top 10 school? Forget about it. You're probably even going to have a hard time getting into anywhere in the top

50. But your local satellite campus of your state U that happens to have its own business school? Heck, those sorts of places frequently take in excess of 90% of their applicants, so it's not like they're being all that selective.

Here's the thing: as with all graduate degrees, name recognition matters. A lot. You get yourself a Harvard MBA, you're setting yourself up for a job with a major national corporation or other equivalently prestigious gig. Wall Street. Corporate headquarters. But you get yourself an MBA from some school that no one outside the county has heard of? You better hope your employer is paying for it, because the degree itself isn't going to help you all that much.

Why? Because the MBA is at least as much about networking as it is about the actual material. In effect, getting an MBA is a glorified management recruitment fair. National schools attract national recruiters. Local schools attract local recruiters.

With a 2.0 GPA, you can basically kiss getting into anywhere with national name recognition goodbye, as they've got more people with 3.0s than they know what to do with.
posted by valkyryn at 2:37 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

I would venture if you can score a 700+ on your GMAT you can explain away your poor undergrad grades any way you want. Most college admissions boards respect and understand that people can go from young and stupid to not young and not stupid. You just have to show them something.
posted by fusinski at 3:30 AM on July 24, 2011

OP, it's pretty much impossible to answer your question beyond saying 'give it a shot'. Admissions depends on your individual profile, including your extra-currics, work experience, reference letters, essays, and general life trajectory, as well as the school you're applying to, the quality of the other applicants, your GMAT, and your GPA. Talk to admissions boards about your chances of getting in, study hard for the GMAT, and spend the time to put together a quality application and you definitely have a shot, depending on the school(s) you're applying to.
posted by sid at 3:36 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

You don't really know WHY you want to do an MBA. I advise against it.

You're probably even going to have a hard time getting into anywhere in the top 50.

When I was a young undergrad, big companies in Europe told me already that, "sure, we hire MBAs, if it is one of the top 5 schools in the world....".

A friend of mine got an MBA in the US in the TOP 20. Result? Worthless. And he even had work experience with GS.

TOP50? You need a _VERY_ good reason to do this. Maybe it makes sense if it is a "freebie" and your employer pays for it or if your parents have a company that you are going to run. Why would you want to "learn" about business anyway? Start a business but don't go to school for it.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 3:40 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

My wife went to a top 5 MBA program. Your story would not be uncommon among some of her classmates, but you're missing some details that they possessed.

Having a bad GPA is no big deal if the rest of your narrative is consistent with excellence. In fact, if your work or athletic history is good enough, you could even spin your bad school experience as a plus - school isn't the real world, but out in the real world your rocked, etc. They will, however, need some indication that you can now step up to the challenge of school. Your GMAT score will need to be eye popping.

You don't have to know exactly what you want to do to go get an MBA, though it would help. There are scary smart, super capable people in the best MBA programs. Of course there are douchebags, but if nothing else, going to a top program will force you to step up your game. I'd agree with the advice of not bothering to go if you don't get into a program with serious name recognition.

Best of luck to you.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 5:10 AM on July 24, 2011

Having a bad GPA is no big deal if the rest of your narrative is consistent with excellence.

This can be true, to be sure, but I'm under the impression that at the top schools, "bad GPA" means 3.0, not 2.0. The average at Harvard is 3.67, and Yale is 3.52. At Virginia fully 80% of the 2010 entering class had more than a 3.1 Notre Dame isn't even in the top 25, and it's mean is 3.3.

A 2.0 isn't even within hailing distance. Is it possible one could be admitted? Sure, anything's possible. But the odds are bad.
posted by valkyryn at 5:51 AM on July 24, 2011

I have an MBA, from State U, but a State U whose evening MBA program is consistently ranked Top 10 in the country.

You really need to rethink the idea that an MBA will be a great asset. My employer paid for mine, so I got smarter on their dime, but I don't think I've done anything in my career that I couldn't have done without the MBA.

Frankly, if you have successfully run your own IT consulting firm you are over qualified for an MBA. People get MBAs to learn how to run a business. You've already done it.
posted by COD at 6:07 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

GPAs matter for top MBA programs. They matter less than the GMAT score and one's work experience; nonetheless, they do matter.

One possible corrective action the OP could take is to take a whole slew of undergrad courses at the local community college, ace all of them, then take the GMAT, and ace that. That would help burnish his case for admission to business school.

All that having been said, it is pretty much true that most programs outside the top 10 or so will have a rather poor return on investment.
posted by dfriedman at 9:01 AM on July 24, 2011

bad idea. You've got a problem other than grades - IT consultant. Top schools tend to not like candidates who are IT consultants. They've got so many of them applying, that they don't have to care about your story if the numbers are out of the range. Even if you got a 790 on your GMAT's, a shitty undergrad GPA and a very common background for applicants is going to make it a tough road to ho.

And obviously n-thing the questionable value of a non-name brand MBA.
posted by JPD at 9:12 AM on July 24, 2011

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