Many students interested in obtaining a business graduate degree often wonder what the average GPA for MBA application typically is. For many graduate programs, the GPA is rarely the deciding factor, but it is the second most likely factor to disqualify an applicant from consideration. A 2013 Kaplan Test Prep survey discovered that approximately 51 percent of the mid-tier graduate business programs eliminated applicants due to a low GMAT score. Approximately, 28 percent of the applicants were turned away due to a low GPA score.
Evaluating the GPA
A report published by Teachers College Record during 2012 discusses some of the reasons why GPA in graduate admissions is no longer valued as highly as it once was. High GPAs at selective schools have become so prominent that they are no longer an effective evaluation tool for professional employers and graduate schools assessing applicants. According to the study, since Vietnam, the average GPA for institutions of higher education has often depended on the number of applicants being accepted that year. Scholarships requirements may also serve as an external incentive that has influence over the average GPA scores at a given university. The report concludes many institutions view the GPA subjectively since grade inflation continues to occur due to several contributing factors.
Assessing the Average GPA in America
According to analysis conducted by Poets&Quants, the GPAs at 25 of the top 50 business schools in the United States has increased over the past 5 years. The GPA scores for 19 of the top 50 schools has declined during that same timeframe. On average, the GPA for private universities is currently around 3.3, increasing from 3.09 during the ‘90s. At public universities, the average GPA is currently around 3.01, an increase from the 2.85 average recorded during the early ‘90s. The overall average GPA for American universities is around 3.11, an increase from the 2.93 average observed in from ’91 to ’92. None of the top 10 business schools in the America had a GPA acceptance rate for scores below 3.0.
Average GPA at Top Business Schools
Among the 25 business schools in the U.S, the lowest GPA for 2013 was 3.28 at Carnegie Mellon (Tepper). Other schools with 2013 GPAs below 3.4 included the University of Indiana, Vanderbilt, Washington, Georgetown, Texas-Austin, UNC and Emory. The highest rated business school with a 2013 GPA below 3.4 was Cornell with a 3.32 GPA. Stanford’s 3.73 GPA was the highest average amongst the top business schools for 2013. Many of the top-tier business schools during 2013 had GPA averages that had been increasing marginally over the past 5 years. The most drastic increases in GPA averages over the past 5 years has occurred at the business schools for the University of Virginia, Arizona State, the University of Illinois, Michigan State and Wharton school at UPenn.
The aforementioned studies also indicated that students who come from schools that have harder grading standards realized an acceptance rate of about 12 percent. Students who attended schools more affected by grade inflation were accepted around 72 percent of the time by business schools. Ultimately, the higher the average GPA for MBA application is, the better grades students will need in order to gain acceptance at their business school of choice.