There are some broad factors that the admissions committee will take into account as reasons that can justify a lower-than-ideal GPA. Thus, the admissions committee might not be looking at your lower-than-ideal GPA as a problem at all. These factors can vary from “extreme extenuating circumstances” to “reasonably acceptable explanations.” When trying to override a low GPA in order to gain admission to a top MBA program, it is often helpful if you have one of these explanations as to why your GPA was low. Let’s consider some examples.
Major events that explain the low GPA:
Did you lose a very close relative and your grades suffered for a while? Did your parent lose their job causing stress on the family and anxiety which in turn affected your grades? Major events like these can help explain a low GPA to the satisfaction of the admissions committee.
Challenging circumstances to overcome:
Were you the first in your family to attend college and it took a little adjustment in your first 18 months before your grades reflected your abilities? The committee will often take circumstances like these into consideration.
Working your way through school financially:
In many cases such as this, the committee will realize you were juggling work with your academics and may be more understanding if your GPA is slightly lower.
Medical or physical challenge:
If you had to overcome some major medical or physical challenge, the admissions committee will sometimes give you leeway on the GPA.
There are, of course, other variations.
The take away: a less-than-ideal GPA is not always a deal-breaker in MBA admissions. If any of these circumstances apply to you, or if you had comparably difficult circumstance, then the admissions committee may still consider your GPA – while lower than the matriculating average – to still be acceptable.