G.P.A. is the real differentiator for MBA admissions

Now that I have your attention, it’s not Grade Point Average, silly, it’s G.P.A: Great Impact, Persistence and Aptitude that are real differentiators for MBA admissions.

Great Impact
OK, I admit it – I took the easy way out and cheated on my “G”. Hiding “impact” behind “great” was kind of like choosing Kentucky in your bracket, but I couldn’t think of anything suitable for “G”, so you have to deal with it. Impact is one of the key components that admissions directors are looking for out of MBA applicants. What makes the admissions directors’ job so tough is that they are trying to predict future success based on tiny nuggets in your short history of academic, professional and personal experiences. The general thesis is that if you’ve made a solid impact leading up to the admissions process, you are bound to make more of an impact once equipped with an MBA and a bunch of debt (OK, I added that). I tend to think they are right. Most people don’t just flip the switch after b-school and all of a sudden become “Type A” personalities actively involved in the community, going the extra mile at work, and making significant contributions to society. The true global business leaders are special people who tend to have always shown that type of behavior. Your job is to show the admissions that you have what it takes to be a global business leader by demonstrating the impact you’ve made so far. How to do that in your application is another blog topic.

“Anything you say bounces off of me and sticks to you”. Remember that from grade school? If you participate in business long enough, you will fail. People will tell you that you can’t do it. How you react to failure is a testimony to your character. Being able to demonstrate your persistence in life is an important trait for top business leaders and, frankly, one of the differentiators as you rise to the top of the business world. When we first started Admit.me, we had a lot of people who didn’t believe in what we were trying to do – we were told “no” more than a 1 yr. old in an antique shop, mocked, and probably laughed at (OK, maybe they were laughing at Kofi), but we persisted. It’s not always the smartest who make it in life – sometimes it’s just the ones who just keep showing up with the lunch pail ready to work! Show the committee that you have that “lunch pail” mentality and you will work hard to be successful.

Part of the evaluation process is about aptitude. Schools look at grades and test scores to get a perspective on how you can perform in an academic setting. It’s not the end all, but they have shown to be predictors of success in business school. In addition to academic aptitude, work aptitude is important as well. Don’t underestimate the value of the recommender in providing confirmation of a strong work ethic and attitude. Ultimately, you have to be competent to be successful in business. If you’re not, but talk a good game, I suggest politics. Burn.


Eric is the President of Admit.me and the admissions consulting company, Admit Advantage.  Create a free profile on Admit.me to connect with other applicants and get a free evaluation of your application.


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