How To Explain A Bad Grade Or Low GMAT Score

Everyone has a smudge on their profile somewhere. Take it in stride by taking a scientific approach to explaining a bad grade or low GMAT score.

Explaining Bad Grades Or Low GMAT Score

Evolution has no will. [Apologies to any Creationists out there, but just indulge us for a moment…]

If you think “the tornado” occurred because nature was feeling depressed one day, and took its self-image issues out on humanity, it would… not sit quite right. If that tornado was hurtling toward your neighborhood and all of sudden ran out of momentum, sparing your home… sure, YOU might thank nature, but your neighbor may curse nature for wiping his home off the map.

Remember that, well, stuff happens

Take morality and will out of it for a second though, and understand that… stuff happens. Cells divide, asteroids crash into things, tornados… wreak havoc. Why? It can all be explained (a bit soullessly) by simple, clear, “scientific” explanations. Chemical, biological, physical THINGS line up to result in cause/effect moments in time.

Such should be the M.O. of an explanation of a bad grade or low GMAT score. Be soulless about it. Be scientific. Stuff happened that led to it, and here’s what that stuff is.

Let’s boil the “excuse” down to two types: Personal and Professional.

Personal reasons:

  • supporting a family, or taking care of a sick family member
  • having recently immigrated to a foreign country
  • etc.

Professional reasons:

  • holding a full time job while in school
  • lack of balance between job-related endeavor and coursework
  • etc.

The last thing that the an MBA admissions committee (we call them “adcoms”) wants to read is a whiny set of long-winded excuses. So what’s the right way?

Confident. Candid. Concise.

Do not be apologetic, just… explain it. Don’t justify it, just explain it. Don’t try to spin it, just explain it. A clear, quick explanation ITSELF can earn you credibility, more so than your argumentation.

“I screwed up. Here’s what happened. Not an excuse, that’s just what happened. Here’s proof that I learned from it.” Zip in, zip out.

Everyone has a bad grade, and lots of folks didn’t do so well on the GMAT. Don’t pretend that you are the coolest smartest person or the first-ever to have to work through college or support family. Just explain it coolly and crisply. This the one time you actually WANT to be a bit soulless. We’ll accept a destructive earthquake if we understand things like “fault lines.” Harder to swallow when Mother Earth tries to justify it.

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