How to tackle a low GPA when Applying for an MBA

The most significant institutions seek intelligent, dedicated students who have a track record of hard effort. A high GPA (particularly in business-related coursework) is one sign that you’ll be successfully selected in their program. However, what if your GPA isn’t your strongest suit? MBA programs can feel out of reach if you have a poor GPA.

Fortunately, your undergraduate GPA is only one criterion considered by business schools when considering whether or not to accept you. Each section of your application is crucial. Some institutions may assign equal merit to each, implying that if you’re good enough in other areas, you may compensate for any weaknesses in your GPA.


It is obvious that a GPA below 3.0 may impose hard chances of getting your application rejected in the top Business Schools. But, you need to remember that it is one of the parameters and not the only parameter to get accepted or rejected. Every year, we work with clients with GPAs below 3.0 who are still admitted into their desired MBA programs. If your numbers are deficient, you’ll need to address this in your application essays and explain the strong reasons behind that. 


Take a look at these MBA application ideas to help you overcome a not-so impressive college academic record:

Strong GMAT/GRE scores are required.

An undergraduate GPA reflects your prior performance, which means it cannot be changed and that you may have developed and grown since then. Whereas, tests like the GMAT or GRE, shows who you are right now and demonstrates your ability to succeed in an MBA program. High test results have two advantages: they demonstrate that you can handle the program’s analytical work and provide a more recent illustration of your academic talents. And these are the pointers to prove yourself as a strong candidate because your quantitative skills are going to play a major part in your MBA program. So, do not lose hope if you have a low GPA; focus on your present skill set and GMAT/GRE scores.

On your resume, emphasize relevant work experience and quantitative skills.

You may have struggled as an undergraduate, but then you can prove that you’re doing well in the workplace. Make use of your relevant industry experience to demonstrate that you’re a standout candidate for the program. Business schools are looking for students who will become successful alumni. You’ll be a much more desirable candidate if you’re already on your way to success. Because if you can actually prove that you have worked with different types of companies, this will help the admission panel understand that if employers chose you and worked successfully with you over and over again, you must possess the relevant skill set. Also, the work experience proves your quantitative skills and teamwork which in itself are the two major parameters of a strong candidate. This isn’t only restricted to the workplace. Include volunteer work and leadership opportunities both inside and outside the workplace as well.

Use the optional essay to explain extenuating circumstances. 

Your application essay is an excellent opportunity to show who you are and how committed you are to working hard in the business school. If your desired school allows you to submit an optional extra essay, take advantage of the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Go for the optional essay and explain what were the reasons behind this low GPA. Having a difficult subject as a major can be a valid reason that can influence the panel in your favour. Also, explaining how you suffered through a tragic event before your exams and still managed to score this GPA can also be a strong point to put forward. But, be honest with whatever you are going to say and explain your situation wholeheartedly because the panel’s hearts can also be melted if you prove how deserving you are. Rather than hope that your low GPA will be overlooked, admit it outright. Make no excuses and be truthful. 

Compelling letters of recommendation should be submitted.

Please ensure to get recommendations from people who will actually have excellent things to say about you and specifically praise you for your quantitative and analytical skills. Ask your employer to state how honest you were with your work, your team spirit, your dedication, your leadership quality, your ability to handle pressure and much more. Your recommendations may be more candid than you think. Try to mention specific skills or experiences that are particularly pertinent to your MBA application. To help you overcome your weak GPA, request that your supervisor write a letter of recommendation that especially addresses your quantitative abilities and your ability to multitask. 

Even people with excellent GPAs cannot expect to be accepted only based on their numbers; applying to an MBA program necessitates a significant amount of effort regardless of GPA. Suppose you had a poor GPA as a bachelor. In that case, you’d have to strive a little more to make a strong case for yourself in your application—but as long as you can demonstrate your educational and occupational abilities in other ways, you still can be a strong candidate. In fact, you can even ace the opportunity better than those who have a better GPA score than you. Just believe in yourself and do the best you can. And if you need any help, we are there for you!


If you plan to pursue your MBA from abroad, MentorMpact provides the best guidance you can ever get! MentorMpact works with the students and for the students. We value your trust in us, and we creatively partner with you to accomplish your dream school admission. Our approach resonates with proper mentorship. And we ensure the best for our clients. For more information, visit MentorMpact