So, after having it sit in my mailbox at school for a month, I finally opened up the official looking letter with my GPA in it. I had decided pretty soon into the MBA (after the first grades were received) that the grading was all bullshit anyway. I mean, non-native English speakers who can’t put two sentences together were getting 10 (out of ten) for classes while I got a 6 (which is equivalent to a C- I guess in American standards) in Business Methods — which was a class about market research, a topic which I have some experience with since I am in marketing and have done market research in the past.

It was a bit disappointing, to give up on trying to get good grades, since I am a very goal-driven person and do my best when I think about things in a competitive way. Now I don’t have that. Now I just do my work and hand it in with the full expectation that it will be put at some random point on the forced distribution curve anyway.

For those of you who are not European let me explain the grading system. For each class you get a grade between one and ten. You need average of 6 to graduate (they say).  However, while the teachers will give grades to the students, it is actually the administration of the school who decides what the final grade is for each student, and they do what’s called a “forced distribution”. They take 10% of the class and give them high grades (usually a 9 is as high as you will see), they take 40% and give them pretty high grades, 40% get medium grades, and ten percent get low grades (a 6 usually).

My current GPA is 7.68 with twelve classes down and six more grades to go.

I have made my peace with this seemingly disappointing (because it is so average) grade by listening to what the GPAs of some of my friends (who I consider to be quite smart and quite good workers). Everyone is in just about the same boat. There are one or two people who have really put the effort into getting a GPA above 8, but they are the rarity.

I console myself by thinking about the number of future job interviews where I will be asked what my GPA from grad school was.

Categories: Brian


Daniel · June 25, 2006 at 11:46 pm

Remember it is a socialist country. Competition is not encouraged. Everything has to be kept equal. In my humble opinion the grading curve assures that everyone graduates with about the same GPA.

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