You really don’t have to worry much about MBA grades


Honestly? You really don’t have to worry too much

Let’s ease your fears straight away – this is not undergrad! It’s pretty rare for a potential post-MBA employer to ask to see your grades. Most companies judge a candidate by his/her school name, GMAT score and, most of all, interview performance. If you think about it, this is hardly surprising. The value of an MBA is not so much in what you learn in class, but more in the network you build, the soft skills you develop in study group/club activities and how you push the boundaries of your comfort zone with extra-curricular activities.

There is, as usual, an exception to the rule. Getting on the Dean’s List (typically top 10% of your class) is a nice addition to your CV that could potentially sway the balance if a company is hesitating on interviewing you. Is it worth you spending an extra few hours a day studying? In our opinion, absolutely not – you should spend those extra hours doing something you will never have the chance to do again, like getting involved in a start-up or organising a student event.

Having said that, your objective should be to do enough so that you don’t fail the MBA! Schools will typically get freshly arrived MBAs to sweat about their grades, handing out warnings to students who are under-performing. These warnings are naturally not to be taken lightly, but the truth is the vast majority of MBA students graduate at the end of the course. Given that most students have invested 100-200k$ in the process, there would probably be a mutiny if that weren’t the case…


“The value of an MBA lies not so much in what you learn in class, but in the networks you build, the soft skills you develop and how you push the boundaries of your comfort zone”

Make sure you maximise the value of the stellar classes

What about class attendance? As you progress through the MBA, it may become increasingly tempting to skip class, whether it’s for interviews, entrepreneurial or club activities (we’ll let you decide what category hangovers fall into). Schools know that managing your time is the trickiest part of an MBA, but they also know that an empty classroom, significantly affects the value of classes given that most of the learning is discussion based. For this reason, attendance and participation can be monitored and sometimes affects grades.

At mbackstage we do however believe that it can be incredibly fulfilling to invest a significant amount of time into some selected classes. There will be at least a handful that you will be highly interested in (or lectured by a professor that you find mesmerising) – make sure you milk them as much as possible, by doing lots of pre-reading/class preparation, extra-curricular research and participating in class.

You may think the MBA will be full of these kind of mind-blowing classes…The reality is that they sadly won’t make up the majority of your curriculum, given that academics are usually hired more for their research and publications than their teaching skills, but you should certainly make the most of the gems that you do come across.