Getting your MBA degree is a big commitment and we want you to have the best information to get started. Whether you are worrying about your GPA or work experience, we have some advice for you.
Below are the top 9 questions we’ve received from students visiting WES Student Advisor. The questions have been answered by our admissions experts, student ambassadors, and editors.
#1. I have a good GMAT score but a low GPA. Will this negatively affect my admission
Most MBA programs will use a “matrix” to integrate GMAT/GRE scores with GPA, though a low GPA (or test score) may bring this combined score below the minimum level for regular admission. In this case, work experience and other criteria may be factored in by an admissions officer. Finally, some institutions will offer “conditional admissions,” which may require you to first complete certain academic courses and attain a minimum GPA before entering the program “full-time.” This may include a “bridge program” – or even completing coursework at a local university – prior to being admitted. Such options are unlikely at elite institutions though, unless you completed your Bachelor’s degree more than five years ago.
#2. I have a low GPA. Can I still be considered for admission? Is there anything I can do to improve my chances overall?
Some students will take it upon themselves to take additional continuing education courses or undergraduate courses in accounting, finance, or statistics in this instance. By going this route, you may want to show the admissions committee that you are investing in your education and preparing to be successful. The admissions process is also very holistic – so you may also want to work on improving your GMAT or GRE scores as well as sharing a compelling story about yourself and your accomplishments when applying.
#3. How do MBA colleges evaluate undergraduate GPA from international universities? Is there a ranking system to compare them (e.g., low GPA from a top university vs. high GPA from a lower ranked university)?
The WES iGPA allows subscribers to quickly and conveniently convert grades from over 140 countries into their U.S. equivalents, and calculate a GPA on a 4.0 scale – all at the touch of a button. There is also an option to calculate GPAs on the basis of selected courses, such as "major" or "last 60 credits". This unique tool will save you time and provide a more efficient outlook on your international admissions. WES also has a new, free service for a degree equivalency preview now available. Please visit here to find more information.
#4. I majored in Industrial Engineering while obtaining my Bachelor of Science degree. Would this help me to be admitted?
There aren’t any particular undergraduate majors or fields that will make you more successful than another applicant. In fact, there are many engineers applying for MBA programs because of their strong technical and quantitative background, which can be translated into practical experience and management.
#5. Does the essay for admission need to be written in a specific tone or style?
The tone or style should reflect the applicant. Admissions officers are traditionally more interested in reading essays that are written professionally, meaning that they show you are a team player and will add value to the class. Just let your personality shine through.
#6. How different are curriculums from school to school?
A typical, full-time MBA student will finish 20-22 courses (a total of 48-58 credits) during the duration of their degree. In general, MBA programs are structured so that the first year is reserved for core courses classes – like learning analytical tools in key management functions – which are then followed by elective courses, allowing for a subject specialty or concentration in the second year. However, the curriculums may vary depending upon the school’s teaching method, faculty and alumni resources.
#7. How does your pre-MBA work experience affect your post-MBA job opportunities?
Investment banking and consulting companies usually aren’t picky about your pre-MBA work experience. However, some fields will want to leverage your previous work experience – so it may be a good idea to leverage that experience to advance in your career as well.
#8. What percentage of international MBA graduates receives work visas and how difficult is it?
While there is no data on the exact percentage nationwide, of 25 U.S. business schools ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2012, all had 73% or more placement rate for international MBA students who had received – and accepted – a job offer three months after graduation in the US. It seems that some highly qualified international students are having success landing jobs in the U.S., despite the obvious hurdles to doing so.
#9. Are recommendations from the moderators/leaders of voluntary groups helpful?
Yes, your “experience” does not need to only include jobs for it to be considered valuable or meaningful. These individuals may know you better than a supervisor or instructor, and therefore provide a more personal, detailed and descriptive endorsement.
Do you have questions that we didn’t answer here? Leave us a comment below!