In India, the majority of the institutions use either percentage or grade as a method of assessment. A few premier institutions like IITs, NITs have their own grading system. Students applying to universities outside India would be familiar with the GPA scale. In this post, MBA Crystal Ball provides some perspectives on the GPA scale and its implications for an Indian student planning to study abroad.
GPA or Grade point average can be calculated on a 4-point, 7-point or 10-point scale. U.S. universities usually adopt a 4- point GPA scale. Guidelines for conversion including GPA calculators are usually provided on the concerned university website so students need not stress themselves out on how to handle this aspect.
One method of calculating your GPA as followed by the University of Chicago Booth School Of Business is demonstrated below. Each of the grades are assigned grade points.
Here the method used is to multiply the grade points with the number of subjects corresponding to the grades or number of courses in which the grades are obtained. Add up the total and divide it by the number of subjects or courses taken to calculate your GPA. Or just enter the values in the table on the University website and you get your GPA.
Another method of calculating GPA is to take into account credit hours, multiply each grade point with the corresponding credit hours for each subject taken, add it all to calculate the grand total for all the subjects and divide it by the total credit hours.
An illustrative list of percentage and the corresponding grades is given below:
It may be noted that even within India, the various IITs, NITs follow various grading systems-for example IIT Kanpur calculates CPI (Cumulative Performance Index), in IIT Bombay, grades are on a scale of 10. An article published by a leading Indian newspaper points out the problem caused by these varying grading system which tend to be confusing for recruiters to assess.
Now for some Q & A:
The good news is that majority of the U.S. schools don’t expect you to convert your Indian percentage / score on a GPA scale. Instead, many of the business schools mention on their website that applicants need to mention their score as obtained from the institution attended rather than attempting to convert it to a 4-point GPA scale. Since the admissions committees receive applications from multiple nationalities, they are well-versed with the various marking/grading scales.
Some countries may follow a more lenient approach towards marking whereas others tend to be stricter. So if we try to make conversions using a standard formula, it may not do justice to an international candidate.
If a school expects the students to convert their score, they would provide information on how they expect this to be done.
Another place for calculating your GPA if you don’t wish to take upon yourself the responsibility of calculating your GPA is through WES (World Education Services) website where this facility is provided at a small charge.
Even if you use WES services to calculate your GPA, though you’ll get your scores converted, it may not turn out to be a number you may be too excited about. This is because the average percentage in India turns out to be less than 70% which when converted would round off to around 2.7 which tends to be low when compared to American standards. So even if you’re a brilliant student competing with an average international candidate, your GPA might be lower than him/her.
Disclaimer: This post by MBA Crystal Ball is for information only and there may be many alternative approaches recommended by other sites. Do NOT use any of these methods blindly to convert your percentage into a GPA. Be aware of the limitations of each method.
The best option is to leave the Indian university percentage as it is. Most top MBA school Adcoms know how to interpret Indian academic performance scores (like percentages) and compare it to those received from other countries. Rather than breaking your head on a single parameter, focus on the bigger picture and give the bschool reasons beyond the GPA to shortlist you for the MBA interview. Work on submitting solid MBA essays that present a coherent storyline and practical goals.
Here’s how you can manage low academic grades (GPA / percentage) in MBA applications and here are some low GPA success stories.
Also check out the success stories of how many MBA applicants overcame constraints related to GPA, low GMAT scores and tough competition to get substantial (including 100%) funding –> Study abroad scholarships for Indian students.