Average GPA for MBA Programs

A strong and competitive undergraduate grade point average will increase your eligibility for admission to top-tier business schools. In part, that’s because your undergraduate GPA is an indication of your capabilities in the classroom and a predictor of future success; but perhaps more importantly, the average incoming GPA for a new business school class will affect the program’s overall rankings—a significant consideration when highly selective universities are in competition with one another!

And while most Admission Committee members would agree that an applicant’s undergraduate GPA would not, by itself, make or break an application, the AdCom will nonetheless be wary of admitting someone whose GPA is too far below from the average. For this reason, you will find that the most selective business schools will demand the highest standards in regard to undergraduate performance, while lower ranked programs will likely have more lenient policies.

Many top business schools publish the average GPA figures in the incoming class profiles circulated every year before matriculation. The following table draws from these profiles to show the average incoming grade point average for MBA programs in the US.

Top US Business Schools: Average GPA, 2017-2020

MBA Program2020201920182017
Stanford3.83.73.73.7
Harvard Business School3.73.73.73.7
The Wharton School3.63.63.63.6
Northwestern Kellogg3.63.63.63.6
Chicago Booth3.63.63.63.6
Columbia Business School 3.63.63.63.5
MIT Sloan*3.53.63.53.5
Dartmouth Tuck3.53.53.53.5
Berkeley Haas3.73.73.73.7
Virginia Darden3.53.53.53.5
Yale SOM*3.73.63.73.7
Duke Fuqua**3.33.53.53.5
Michigan Ross3.53.53.53.5
Texas McCombs3.43.43.53.5
Cornell Johnson*3.33.43.43.4
NYU Stern3.63.53.53.5
Carnegie Mellon Tepper3.33.33.43.3
UNC Kenan-Flagler3.43.43.43.4
Emory Goizueta**3.23.33.33.4
USC Marshall3.63.53.53.5
Georgetown McDonough3.33.33.33.4
UW Foster3.43.43.33.4
Rice Jones3.43.43.33.3

*Median GPA
**Contains estimates

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What Constitutes a Low GPA for Business School?

Put simply, a GPA 1 point off the average (or more) could be considered low, especially for top business schools, where standards are higher. As we’ve already mentioned, MBA admissions officers are keenly aware of the average stats for their incoming classes, and applying with a lower grade point average will certainly put you at a disadvantage compared to someone who meets or exceeds the average GPA of the incoming class. Nonetheless, there are still steps you can take to improve your application.

Applying to Business School with a Low GPA

If you are applying to a business school on the list above and you are worried that your performance as an undergraduate does not stand up to that of other admitted applicants, don’t be discouraged. By putting time and effort into your GMAT score and your application package—which includes your resume, extracurriculars, and most importantly, your essays—you can make up for a less-than-stellar GPA.