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MBA Admissions Advice: Go For The Easy "A"


Replies to: MBA Admissions Advice: Go For The Easy "A"

  • CatriaCatria Registered User Posts: 11,349 Senior Member
    Perhaps because my home country's system is a little different with respect to professional schools but, in my homeland, pre-law and pre-med students who couldn't hack it in straight out from CEGEP were encouraged to major in the hardest major they can get into (given prior coursework and grades) because grades do matter and, in fact, the harder the major, the less they will be asked in absolute terms. I can speak for the med school at my undergrad; history and fine arts majors were asked for 4.1+/4.3 (A+s are granted and worth 4.3) while physics majors could get an interview with a 3.6-3.7. (Change med school for law school and the GPAs required become 3.6-3.7 and 3.0 respectively)

    However, since undergrad business school was, comparatively, a lot easier to get into, many people who would aim for a MBA, were they in the US, opt for undergraduate business instead, if not first.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,620 Senior Member
    GPA isn't a big deal for (grad) b-school. Work experience matters a lot more.

    A co-worker of mine went to a top 10 b-school for his MBA with a 1.9 undergrad GPA.
  • CHD2013CHD2013 Registered User Posts: 2,528 Senior Member
    ^That sounds like a very unusual situation. If it wasn't for your credibility on these boards I'd be calling BS.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,620 Senior Member

    That was a very unusually situation. I'm not sure how his undergrad allowed him to graduate (he does have very good interpersonal skills, though). He also needed a waiver from his b-school to let him in. As you can imagine, he was quite successful in his work career before b-school (and according to him, good at writing sob story essays).
  • UCBUSCalumUCBUSCalum Registered User Posts: 951 Member
    It is difficult to imagine a person with a 1.9 undergraduate GPA getting into a top 10 MBA program, especially in current times. Did that person get into a top 10 graduate business during an earlier decade (70's, 80's or 90's)?
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,620 Senior Member
    @UCBUSCalum‌: Around 2000.
  • frostedcupcakefrostedcupcake Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Agree with the article. Folks look at the headline.
    FTR, 'Easy A' is a good film.
  • RMIBstudentRMIBstudent Registered User Posts: 697 Member
    Are these admissions officers just stupid/lazy or something? Those are the only reasons I can think of to actually prefer people who take easier classes. Unless if they view the admissions process as a test of your ability to market yourself and game the system, or something.
  • perazzimanperazziman Registered User Posts: 2,420 Senior Member
    edited August 2015
    I am under the impression that the GMAT and GRE are the great equalizers for business schools. They assign a lot more weight to standardized test scores and work experience than gpa. In this sense, they are not the same as law schools. B schools seem to go by the idea that if you were at a tuff school or took hard classes then your GMAT will be higher. I don't think anybody wows business schools with a high gpa. For example, I am looking a the 2014 US News and World report, business school rankings. I can see that at top schools such as MIT Chicago Columbia and Dartmouth admitted applicants had average gpas below 3.6. The average gpa at Cornell is 3.29. It is hard for me to imagine that these schools didn't have applicants with much higher gpa and had to "settle" for such low gpas.
  • shawbridgeshawbridge Registered User Posts: 5,677 Senior Member
    The best schools are looking for people with leadership potential (or at least so they say). They take some, particularly younger ones, because they were academically great and have potential. For the bulk of students who are older, they weight what they have done in their jobs more highly. So, someone with a 4.0 and high GMATs or GREs who has had undistinguished jobs for 6 years isn't going to get in, but someone with a 3.95 and 169/170 GREs and one year of impressive work might well get in.
  • sportsman5sportsman5 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    I believe that MBA programs are aware that majoring in electrical engineering or physics is more difficult than economics or history. In terms of analyzing a person's transcripts, it seems that schools look at basic quantitative classes like micro/ macro economics, calculus, accounting, finance, statistics etc and compare those. What a student gets in creative writing, European history, or biology won't carry as much weight. Therefore, a person with an overall GPA of 3.4 and quantitative GPA of 3.5 will likely have as good of a chance of admissions as someone with a 3.6 overall and 3.5 in quantitative classes. The quantitative GPA calculation would most likely exclude high level engineering and math classes and focus on the intro/ second level classes that are common for most applicants to take like calculus, stat, and micro economics. It can be safe to assume that being an alum of certain schools will give you a slight bump. However, it's most likely not as much of a bump as many graduates from those elite schools would like. The reason for this is that work experience, letters of recommendation, essays, and test scores account for the vast majority of the application. GPA likely accounts for only 10-15% of the equation at most schools. Test scores 15-20% and every other factor the remaining ~70%. This is the reverse of undergrad where grades and test scores account for ~70% of admissions and grades are weighted more than test scores.

    In conclusion, to get into a top 15 MBA program it is usually essential to do well in basic math courses. Beyond that it probably doesn't matter greatly what other courses you take or what grades you get. Keeping an overall GPA above 3.0 will greatly benefit most students, but a 3.4 vs 3.6 in classes outside of the basic quantitative classes likely will make very little difference at most schools unless you are on the very edge of getting in.
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