UCLA Anderson | Ms. Art Historian
GRE 332, GPA 3.6
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. International Youngster
GMAT 720, GPA 3.55
Chicago Booth | Ms. Future CMO
GMAT Have Not Taken, GPA 2.99
MIT Sloan | Ms. International Technologist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. Chartered Accountant
GMAT 730, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
N U Singapore | Mr. Just And Right
GMAT 700, GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
Columbia | Mr. Startup Musician
GRE Applying Without a Score, GPA First Class
Chicago Booth | Ms. Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. MGMT Consulting
GMAT 700, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
Harvard | Mr. Spanish Army Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3
Harvard | Mr. Future Family Legacy
GMAT Not Yet Taken (Expected 700-750), GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Rice Jones | Mr. ToastMasters Treasurer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Public Health
GRE 312, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
London Business School | Mr. Indian Mad Man
GMAT Have not taken yet, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Microsoft India
GMAT 780, GPA 7.14
Harvard | Mr. Belgium 2+2
GMAT 760, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. IDF Commander
GRE Waved, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Community Impact
GMAT 690, GPA 3.0
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95

How MBAs Are Graded At Top Schools

Grading Policies At Some Top Schools

SchoolGrading SystemAcademic HonorsMinimum Standards
Harvard Business SchoolCategory I: Top 15% to 20% in required courses & 15% to 25% in elective coursesCategoryII: Next 70% to 75% in the core & 65% to 75% in electivesCategoryIII: Lowest performing 10% in both core & electivesCategory IV: Seldom assigned; designates failure. The combined proportion of category II and IV grades should equal 10%Baker Scholars: Top 5% of graduating class

Other Awards: For top performance in each year

Students receiving 5 or more out of 10 Category III/IV grades in the core are brought to a faculty committee. Some are asked to take a hiatus before returning. Most finish the program.
Stanford GSBH: Honors (Top 10%)HP: High Pass (Next 30%)P: Pass (Next 50%)LP: Low Pass (Lowest 10%)

U: Unsatisfactory (failing grade based on absolute performance)

Arjay Miller Scholars: Top 10% of graduating class based on GPA (H = 6 points; HP = 4 points; P +3 points; LP + 1 pointGood Standing: GPA above 2.65Academic Probation: GPA between 2.25 & 2.65Disqualified with the right to petition: GPA between 1.5 & 2.25, one U in a core course, or two U’s in electives.Disqualified without right to petition: GPA of less than 1.5 or 3 or more U’s
Chicago (Booth)A through D with +/- distinctions and F.An A+ = 4.33 points.The average GPA for a course may not exceed 3.33.High Honors: Top 5% of the graduating class

Honors: Next 15% of the graduating class

Dean’s Honor List: Every quarter for students with GPAs above 3.5

Probation: GPAs of less than 2.33 in a quarterAdministrative leave of absence or dismissal: Two consecutive quarters on probation
UPenn (Wharton)A through D with +/- distinctions and F.LT: Lowest 10% of each class; not noted on transcriptA+ is 4 pointsThe average GPA for a course may not exceed 3.33Palmer Scholars: Top 5% of the graduating classHonors: Top 20% of graduating classFirst-Year Honors: Top 20% at the end of first yearDirector’s List: Top 10% each semesterProbation & Dismissal based on accumulation of LT designations.Dismissal: 5.0 or more credit units of LT in the first year and 8.0 or more cumulatively
Columbia Business SchoolH: Honors (Top 25% to 30%): 10 pointsHP: High Pass (Next 55% to 65%): 7 points

P1: Pass (P, LP, and F combined = 10%): 4 points

LP: Low Pass: 1 point

F: Fail: 0 points

Grades have =/- distinctions

Dean’s Honor: Top 25% of graduating classDean’s Honors plus Distinction: Top 5% of graduating class

Dean’s Honor List:

First Term, GPA of 9.0 or better

Later Terms, GPA of 9.25 or better

Probation & dismissal based on accumulation of LP grades during the programWarning occurs if GPA in first term is 5.9 or below, dismissal occurs if GPA in first term is 4.4 or below
NYU (Stern)A through D with =/- distinctions and F.Upper limit of 35% on As in core classesBeta Gamma Sigma: Top 20% of graduating classGraduation with Distinction: Top 10% of graduating classStern School: GPA of 3.7 or above after first yearProbation and dismissal based on GPA and credits taken
Dartmouth (Tuck)H: Honors (Top 15% first year, 20% second year)S+: Satisfactory (Next 25% to 50%)S: Satisfactory (Next 25% to 50%)LP: Low Pass (up to 15% in first year, 10% in second yearF: FailEdward Tuck Scholars graduating with highest distinction, high distinction and distinction based on GPAProbation: Three or more LP gradesDismissal: Six or more LP grades. F counts as two LPs.
Northwestern (Kellogg)A through D and F (no +/- distinctions)No grade distribution suggested, but every course’s actual grade distribution is made visible to other facultyMBA with Distinction: Top 10% of graduating classDean’s Honor List: GPA of 3.75 or above in a quarterMinimum C average
Yale SOMHigh Honors: Top 10%Honors: Next 25%Proficient:Pass (two lowest categories to be uniformly 10% for core courses and a target of 5% for electives)


No HonorsA failing grade in a core course must be remediated in the next term or part of term in which the course is offered. A student who does not remediate the failing grade will automatically be dismissed from the program.A student falls short of the Quality Standard if he/she:1. Accumulates nonproficient grades in 21 or more units of course work; or2. Accumulates nonproficient grades in more than 12 units of core courses; or3. Accumulates failing grades in more than 4 units of core courses.

Source: Analysis by Anjani Jain of Yale SOM 

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.