Your undergraduate GPA has 10% weightage in your MBA application. Along with your GMAT score, it plays a vital role and helps the Admission Committee to evaluate your candiacy based upon statistical data. You want to apply for the prestigious MBA program at Stanford GSB and wonder whether your GPA is enough to send in a competitive application? In this article, we will help you find out how much of a GPA is good, and even if your score is not good, what you can do to make yourself a worth-admitting applicant. 

1. GPA for Stanford GSB

Stanford has no minimum GPA

Stanford is not the only school in top graduate institutions to do this. Of the elite M7 schools, HBS and Chicago Booth also state there is no minimum requirement for GPA. At the same time, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, and UPenn Wharton don’t mention the minimum GPA in their application package. 

Why don’t these schools set a minimum GPA requirement if they all encourage exceptionally bright students to apply? There are a number of reasons: 

  • A GPA taken out of context has no value

There exists no reliable standardization system for comparing GPAs. Grading is a highly subjective process, dependent on anything from a professor’s private opinion to a class size. Some colleges, usually top-ranked schools, have highly competitive student bodies and challenging courses. A 3.4 at these colleges is not the same as a 3.4 at lower-ranked schools where there are not as many academically excellent students. 

  • Stanford GSB Admission Committee wants the freedom to select best students

Many applicants never send in their applications to top MBA schools like Harvard, Columbia, and Wharton simply because they “feel” their academic profile isn’t ideal for the school. Yet, they forget that Admissions Committees are evaluating each applicant individually and a GPA by itself is not important enough to disqualify anyone. Stanford believes there is much more to see of an applicant other than just their undergraduate grades. Thus, no minimum GPA required at Stanford GSB equals an opportunity open to any applicant and encourages them to apply for this top school. 

  • MBA does not solely focus on students with excellent intellectual capacity

The MBA program, after all, is about leadership. B-schools prefer to choose students who have a history of tackling leadership roles in both their careers and extracurricular activities, or students who are already well-connected before joining their MBA program. These traits are significant and valuable in business in particular. Thus, MBA applicants who have been an organization leader in the past, or civically engaged in local communities will be able to compensate for a low GPA in a quantitative course.

All of that said, GPA still matters, as a proxy for drive, determination and work ethic. 

Read more about GPA for MBA in our article: Minimum GPA for business school

What is a good GPA for Stanford GSB MBA?

The MBA Class of 2022 at Stanford has an average GPA at 3.8/4.0. This number fluctuates around 3.7 and 3.8 in the last several years. It can be seen that Stanford GSB boasts the highest average GPA and the lowest acceptance rate of 6.1%  among the leading b-schools in the world. 

Hence, GPA for Stanford GSB can be categorized as follows: 

  • Good GPA: >3.75
  • Average plus: 3.5-3.75
  • Average minus: 3.25-3.5
  • Possible: 3.0-3.25
  • Low: <3.0

After all, a GPA is one element of a comprehensive picture you present to the Admission Committee. So don’t stress yourself on having a high GPA. Even though you got a low undergraduate grade, there are several ways to make up for it by nailing other components in your application package. 

2. Ways to compensate for a low GPA for Stanford GSB MBA program

Have high GMAT Score

As most b-schools and the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) which owns the GMAT exam will tell you, the GMAT score is usually the only factor that allows an apple-to-apple comparison of applicants. Everything else enclosed in applications is personal or subjective. 

According to a survey of B-school Adcoms by The Kaplan Test Prep, 51% of the admissions officers agreed that a low GMAT score is the biggest reason to turn down an MBA applicant, while 28% pointed to a low undergraduate GPA as the second most relevant indicator. Thus, having a high GMAT score might be a lifesaver if you want to apply for Stanford GSB without an exceptional GPA.

The MBA Class of 2022 at the GSB has an average GMAT of 733/800, highest among M7 schools.

In terms of top students’ average GMAT scores, Stanford also ranks first. The MBA Class of 2022 at the GSB has an average GMAT of 733/800, highest among M7 schools. A good GMAT score that can compensate for a low gpa should be one 10% higher than the average score. Thus, we suggest you aim at 740 or above. 

Have high GRE Score

In fact, GRE is less of an ideal choice for MBA applicants. While GMAT is designed specifically for business school applicants, GRE is a test that can gain students’ admittance to graduate programs across almost all subjects. Find out the differences between these 2 tests here

Similar to GMAT, Stanford’s average GRE score for MBA programs is also among the highest: 165/170 for Verbal and 164/170 for Quantitative.

Nail your essays

Essays tell your unique, memorable stories that act as a strong distinguisher in the application package that reveals the humane side of the application which other parts of their application package cannot do. 

Normally, schools may provide you with 2 types of optional essays. One type of essay asks candidates to explain any extenuating circumstances less than stellar elements of their profile. Another type is an open topic essay that allows candidates to mention anything else not included in their application package that they would like the admission committee to know. If you have a low GPA, both of these types of optional essays can be where you bring to light your story behind it and explain your academic ability.

Unfortunately, Stanford does not include these essays in their requirement package. Instead, Stanford essays are much more focused with a specific theme: 

  • Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (650 words)
  • Essay B: Why Stanford? (400 words)
  • Optional short-answer question A: Think about times you’ve created a positive impact, whether in professional, extracurricular, academic, or other settings. What was your impact? What made it significant to you or to others? (200 words) 
  • Optional short-answer question B: Tell us about a time within the last three years when your background influenced your participation in a situation, interaction, or project. (200 words) 

With these writing prompts, we do NOT encourage you to specifically mention the reasons behind your low GPA unless you believe your stories have more value than a score explanation paper. This might even draw the GSB Admission Committee to your low score and turn their interests off your essays. 

Our best advice to focus on writing outstanding essays that are within the word limit, specific and detailed. See how you can rock your Stanford GSB essays in this article.

Demonstrate outstanding work experience

When making their admissions decisions, B-schools place a high value on an applicant’s relevant professional experience. As such, showing strong recent career work performance will go a long way toward convincing committee members that you have what it takes to succeed in an MBA program.

Stanford GSB MBA students have long been known for their excellent professional experiences before applying for the program. Class of 2022 have 4.7 years of working on average, one fifth of which works in Investment Management, PE & VC. 

In order to compensate for a low GPA at Stanford, demonstrate your outstanding work experience to the MBA Admission Committee via your resume. As Stanford looks for future leaders who are all driven to “Change people. Change organization. Change the world”, a successful resume to their MBA program should be able to highlight the impact you make on your working environment, your professional maturity, and your leadership skills throughout your experiences. 

Find out how you can write a successful resume at:

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