Q: What does your college GPA tell the admissions committee?
A: If you’re willing to play the game.
Q: Why does it matter if you’re willing to play the game?
A: Because by applying to bschool, you’re saying that you want to play the game MORE.
“What on earth are you talking about, EssaySnark?”
Here’s the deal.
You all know that GMAT matters — at least to some extent — in whether or not you’re going to get into a top MBA program.
What far fewer people (outside of admissions offices) appreciate is that GPA matters at least as much if not more in predicting your chances to get in.
If that’s the case, then WHY?
The obvious answer is that you’re applying to GRAD SCHOOL and your college GPA tells you how much you actually, you know, CARE about school.
Why should this school let you in if, by evidence of your lackluster performance back in college, you are communicating quite loudly that school is unimportant to you?
So that’s one thing.
But then there’s this:
As you may have already experienced, whether you consciously recognized it or not, the process of looking for a job is largely about someone evaluating you based on the “you” that is represented by a single sheet of paper.
AKA, your resume.
You send in this resume-thing and then hope and pray that some person instead of a computer actually reads it, and something on it matches the stuff that some other person in their organization said is important for the job they’re trying to fill…. And by some odd magic or happenstance or glitch in the system they happen to email you back, and call you up, and actually talk to you…
And then you get passed around for more conversations by phone and eventually in person where you actually MEET PEOPLE and they talk some more, mostly though they’re staring at that piece of paper that you had to submit to start the whole process.
So what does that piece of paper contain?
Welp, it contains a sum-total of what you have DONE and what you have ACCOMPLISHED and the social cues and signals that you’ve put together to play the game.
It says you went to THIS college and studied THAT major and traveled to WHEREVER for your study-abroad experience. It says that between junior and senior year you landed YAY! an internship at some IMPORTANT-SOUNDING COMPANY and then after college you went on to be hired by SOME OTHER IMPORTANT-SOUNDING COMPANY. And you stayed there a few years and then did something else.
And now you’re applying to bschool.
The resume fits a template — not a literal template, like for a document, but a template for how you’re supposed to BE in the world.
When you play the game and you go out and do what you’re supposed to do — by studying econ or finance and interning at Credit Suisse, or by studying engineering and going to work for 3M or Boeing, or the roundabout path, by studying history and doing a stint with TFA as a way to delay the inevitable of having to actually get a real job like your dad has been huffing about for years — or whatever route you’ve taken to try and be what the world expects you to be, so that you can earn some $$ and learn some skills and hopefully earn some respect, all in an effort to get somewhere else, in the hopes that at some point in the future it’ll be better than this gawdawful h3llworld job you’ve found yourself in now…
When your resume is all buffed-up and shiny, with well-recognized names and a credential or two of bachelor’s degree or maybe CFA or even PMP or whatever’s expected, then you’ve got PROOF that you know how to play the game.
And adcom reviewers tend to like that.
Because what else are they doing besides accepting raw material into their sausage factory, where they’re spitting out commodities on the other end?
The primary function of business schools is to provide employees to fill middle management layers of large corporations.
When you boil it down, isn’t that exactly what bschool is doing?
That’s its role in society, is it not?
And what would be the #1 attribute that would be valued by those sourcing the raw material for the sausage factory? When the factory’s job is to produce spit-shined and polished recruits to be hoovered up into the recruiting machines of these corporations, then what would be the most important trait that they would want to see in those that they are seeking to admit?
Why, wouldn’t it be an ability to play the game?
So you see, from an admittedly SkewedSnark perspective today, if you are volunteering to be one of the cogs in this vast noisy miraculous assembly-line process of hope and opportunity, then it would behoove* you to demonstrate as part of your unspoken assertions about your abilities and skills that you do in fact know how to play the game, and not only that, but you are interested in learning how to play the game at an entirely new level, and you are willing to put in the effort to learn more about how the game works, and to mold yourself even more directly into the image of the perfect piece of raw material that is willing to throw itself into the yawning maw of the front end of the funnel that leads to the dark hidden bowels of the two-year process of MBA-making.
This is why GPA matters.
And no, EssaySnark wasn’t smoking anything when we wrote this. It was just one of those days when things went a little meta, randomly inspired by this
*One of our favorite words of all time