Columbia Business School Merit Fellow ($120k) with a 2.8 GPA | Get into Columbia MBA with a Low GPA
After graduating from an Ivy League university, our client Abi* (*name changed for anonymity) started her career in the social impact space. With a network of peers who had attended or wanted to attend MBA programs, Abi knew that she eventually wanted to go to business school too. When she decided to start her application process at 30 years old, she felt behind and was concerned that her 2.8 undergrad GPA would hold her back—even though it was from a prestigious school.
Abi was involved with some pre-MBA programs when something happened that changed her entire application experience. Abi shared, “Three months into these [pre-MBA] programs I was involved in, the pandemic hit and so everything went virtual. I just had no idea how I was going to apply to business school in a pandemic, without being able to visit any of the schools and narrow down my choices. I was just feeling stressed. I was feeling out of my element.”
Having come across The Art of Applying® on social media years before and kept up with us through our blog and emails, Abi knew where to turn for help. When the time came, she signed up for a Breakthrough Call with our team.
Abi shared some perspective on her Breakthrough Call experience. “It really was great to be pushed to think about those critical questions about where I am but at the same time I didn’t feel like I was being told, ‘Oh, you’re definitely not going to get in.’ I was encouraged, supported, and I was given tools to think about how to get myself ready to apply.”
After her Breakthrough Call, Abi knew she was ready to sign up for an Application Intervention®. An Application Intervention® is a 1-on-1, live-editing session with our CEO and founder, Kaneisha Grayson. Abi signed up for a 90-minute session in which she received live feedback on her essays and application materials. With Kaneisha’s feedback, she reworked her materials and confidently sent off her applications.
With her edited materials, Abi was invited to interview with 6 of the 7 schools that she applied to! Abi was so happy with her Application Intervention® experience that she decided to sign up for Hourly Coaching to help her prepare for interviews at her top two choices. One of the interviews that we helped her with was Columbia University and that decision certainly paid off. Abi is now celebrating not only an acceptance to Columbia but a $120,000 scholarship, and we couldn’t be happier for her!
Regarding her time working with us, Abi shared, “I would not be where I am without the support that [Kaneisha] and [the] team gave me, so I just want to thank you so much. It’s been an amazing journey.”
Start Date: December 2020 | End Date: June 2021
- Age: 30
- Background: African descent
- GPA: 2.8
- GMAT: 690
- Work experience: 10 years in social impact
- Undergraduate: Ivy League
- Columbia Business School
- Columbia Business School: $120,000
Abi shares her concerns about making the most of her Application Intervention® call:
“I actually was nervous about the timing, because I knew I wanted to have it early enough compared to when the deadline was. My fears were actually more [like], ‘Will I be able to maximize this 90 minutes? Am I close enough to a good enough draft so that [Kaneisha] could give me the best feedback I needed to be able to finish my application?’ From a financial standpoint, my parents are not supporting me through any of this; it’s all my own money. So I was just like what has to go [from my budget] in order for me to be able to afford to pay for this? I had to do that calculation, and so there was a stress there around what am I not gonna be able to do for the next couple of months.”
Abi reflects on the perspective her 90-minute Application Intervention® gave her:
“Understanding what I needed to do to improve my essays. Watching [Kaneisha] live edit with me and seeing [her] say, ‘This is what is going to resonate with the ad comms teams. Phrase it like this.’ Watching an essay go from like ‘ehhhh’ to ‘Oh, that really POPS! That stands out, that’s going to really capture their attention.’ I needed my essays to do that to balance everything else out. So just literally seeing a transformation of my written content in the time we were working together was so significant that it gave me confidence… Literally [I was] seeing the improvements in real-time.”
Abi shares her thought process on signing up for Hourly Coaching to get additional help with preparing for interviews:
“Once I got interviews I knew that I just wanted to get some support for the [two interviews] that I really wanted to hone in on in particular. One of the two was Columbia. There was a really exciting opportunity just to prepare for that given the timing that I had for when it was scheduled. I wanted to just get some coaching and feedback on how to prepare, practice, and get live feedback [on things like] how long were my answers, do they make sense, was I being organized. That was the kind of feedback I was getting in real time.”
What Abi would say to people who are waiting until they achieve the perfect GMAT score before reaching out for application help:
“I would say, please don’t wait until your test is ready to reach out. Please don’t do that. It is so important to be multitasking in the business school application process… The business school application process is holistic. It takes into account your essays, they are really important. It’s not just about the GMAT. They’re not just looking for GMAT robots who can spit out a perfect score. If you can’t interview well or you can’t convey why that school or you can’t share why you want to get an MBA in the first place and what your goals are afterwards, and how are you going to leverage it [it will hurt your chances]. If you don’t spend the time to balance studying with preparing for those other aspects you really short-change your opportunity to show yourself as a holistically strong applicant. Balance both and allow for the coaching and the time that it takes to build an overall really solid application.”
Want to have a success story like Abi’s?
Whether you’re concerned about a low GPA like Abi was or just need some perspective on your chances of getting into your dream school, we can help you perfect your application. Learn more by booking a Quick Call with our team.
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