Stanford GSB | Mr. Energy Reform
GMAT 700, GPA 3.14 of 4
Ross | Mr. Verbal Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
INSEAD | Mr. Airline Captain
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Mr. Systems Change
GMAT 730, GPA 4
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Darden | Ms. Unicorn Healthcare Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Wharton | Mr. Sr. Systems Engineer
GRE 1280, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Semiconductor Guy
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Cambridge Judge Business School | Mr. Social Scientist
GRE 330, GPA 3.5
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
INSEAD | Mr. Consulting Fin
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Columbia | Mr. NYC Native
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Tepper | Mr. Leadership Developement
GMAT 740, GPA 3.77

No Experience? Poor Grades? No Problem!

No Experience? Poor Grades? No Problem!

During the application process, many candidates may be anxious about discussing certain areas of their past background. Every applicant will have weak points. To many, a lack of work experience or mediocre undergraduate performance seem like deal breakers. However, experts say that such disadvantages can be overcome. Here are some strategies for doing just that.

Below Average Work Experience

A majority of the top MBA programs tend to seek applicants who have at least two years of workplace experience. For those who lack such experience, it may be helpful to highlight other areas of your application. Linda Abraham is CEO and founder of, a leading MBA admissions consultancy. In an article for Poets & Quants, Abraham says applicants lacking work experience should demonstrate the following characteristics in their essay, resume, and recommendations:

  • Affirmative, practical reasons for applying at this specific time.
  • Outstanding professional growth.
  • Exceptional impact, leadership, achievement.
  • Maturity.
  • Ability to contribute socially and academically to the program.

Often, applicants lacking work experience can demonstrate their potential through extracurricular activities. According to Clear Admit, an MBA resource, utilizing extracurricular and undergraduate activities can demonstrate leadership experience and potential.

“As a younger applicant, it is important for you to use whatever experiences you have had thus far (internships, collegiate activities, part-time work, community service, etc.) to demonstrate your leadership and responsibility, displaying your experience as well as your potential for personal growth and ability to benefit your target MBA programs,” Clear Admit reports.

Lack of Rigorous Undergraduate Coursework

A stellar academic background can demonstrate to admissions committees that you have a strong working knowledge. Stacy Blackman, a contributor at US News and founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, says MBA admissions committees often assess trends in an applicant’s transcript to look for an applicant’s experience in quantitative coursework. For applicants who lack rigorous quant coursework, it may be helpful to show initiative in improving quant skills.

“If your undergraduate academics are lacking and you’re a few years removed from student life, your best course of action is to show awareness of these weaknesses and enroll in a calculus or statistics class at a local community college,” Blackman says in a recent US News piece. “You want to show that you can handle the heavy math right now, despite what your transcript may lead the committee to believe. As a busy professional, adding to your workload in this way shows your ability to multitask – a strength worth highlighting.”

Rigorous coursework and workplace experience are two critical factors MBA admissions committees will look for in an applicant. If you lack these two, showing initiative and commitment to overcoming these weaknesses will demonstrate that you are a worthy candidate for admission.

Sources: US News, Poets & Quants,, Clear Admit