Undergraduate GPA is one important metric that MBA admissions committees look at. You will have a better chance of getting into top business schools if your undergraduate GPA is high and competitive. For one thing, your undergraduate GPA is a reflection of your academic ability and a prediction of future performance. But perhaps more importantly, the average incoming GPA for a new business school class will affect the program’s overall rankings. This is especially important when highly selective universities are competing with one another for students.
Most members of the Admission Committee would agree that an applicant’s undergraduate GPA doesn’t make or break an application on its own. However, the AdCom will be cautious about letting someone in whose GPA is too far below the average. Because of this, you will find that the most selective business schools have the strictest requirements for how well undergraduates do, while lower-ranked programs tend to be more flexible.
That is one of the primary reasons why business schools publish the average GPA in each year’s class profile.
But, what if your undergraduate GPA is low? Should you lose all hope of getting into a top business school?
Absolutely not. We’ll also answer how to make up for a low undergraduate GPA. Moreover, you can also get in touch with us for a free consultation call to know how we can help you.
Let’s take a look at the average GPA of the incoming class of top US business schools.
Average GPA of top 50 US business schools
|S. No.||Business School||2021 Average GPA||2020 Average GPA||2019 Average GPA||2018 Average GPA||2017 Average GPA||2016 Average GPA||2-Year Change||6-Year Change|
|1||Harvard Business School||3.69||3.7||3.7||3.71||3.71||3.67||-0.01||0.02|
|27||Georgia Tech (Scheller)||3.4||3.3||3.3||3.3||3.4||3.39||0.1||0.01|
|31||Notre Dame (Mendoza)||3.3||3.3||3.32||3.37||3.3||3.37||0||-0.07|
|32||Penn State (Smeal)||3.41||3.43||3.42||3.4||3.45||3.37||-0.02||0.04|
|33||Michigan State (Broad)||3.4||3.3||3.3||3.3||3.2||3.3||0.1||0.1|
|34||Arizona State (Carey)||3.63||3.53||3.56||3.53||3.51||3.54||0.1||0.09|
|35||Ohio State (Fisher)||3.42||3.45||3.45||3.44||3.47||3.52||-0.03||-0.1|
|36||Texas A&M (Mays)||3.31||3.3||3.3||3.33||3.27||3.32||0.01||-0.01|
- For the top 10 business schools, a good undergraduate GPA is 3.7
- For the next 10 business schools, a good undergraduate GPA is 3.5
- Stanford has the highest average GPA of 3.78
- There hasn’t been much change in the average GPA for top 10 business schools since 2016
- There has been a slight increase in the average GPA for the next 10 business schools. If you are targeting these business schools then you can assume there will be a slight increase in the average GPA
What if your undergraduate GPA is low?
Don’t be discouraged if you’re applying to a top business school and you’re worried that your undergraduate performance doesn’t measure up to that of other accepted applicants. You can make up for a low GPA by putting in extra effort on the GMAT and the rest of your MBA application components like a resume, extracurriculars, and, most crucially, essays.
Let’s discuss these application components:
Your GMAT score is one of the most important factors in determining how well you will do in business school and whether or not you will be accepted. If you do well on your tests, it might convince admissions officers that your GPA doesn’t show how smart and capable you really are. It’s also going to show that you can not just ‘get in’ but also ‘get through’ the rigorous MBA program.
To stand out from the crowd, applicants to top MBA programs need more than good grades and work experience. They also need strong extracurriculars. A candidate’s profile won’t look good to business schools if it doesn’t show clear examples of leadership and kindness. Extracurricular activities can and should show these traits.
In the world of MBA admissions, no one expects an undergraduate GPA to be directly related to intelligence and motivation. AdComs know that personal life circumstances can lead to a rough start in college, which can lead to a low GPA. Because of this, MBA applications have a place for applicants to explain and expand on the details of their profiles. In these “optional” essays, which are not required, you can explain to the AdCom why your GPA is lower than average and why this won’t stop you from being a high-performing member of the next incoming class. Note that you shouldn’t use these essays to directly talk about your GPA unless it is much lower than average.
You can show the AdCom what makes you such a productive and valuable member of their program through personal essays and stories from your life outside of work or school. If you don’t think the support essays are the best place to talk about your low GPA, you can use the general essays to explain, in a roundabout way, why your performance as an undergraduate might not have been up to par.
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