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I took on the beast again (for the second time) and was really disappointed with myself. I scored a 710 (Q50, V35).
First of all, it was a tough decision for me to take it again as I had already got a 700 (in my first attempt on Oct 31, 2011) with a Q50, V34 break-up. The real reason for my disappointment is that I wasted more than a month and a half of essay writing time to take the exam. I am disheartened as verbal again ditched me despite spending the past one and a half month to improve my verbal skills. In-fact, I registered for the exam only after I was confident that I had improved my verbal. Below are my verbal scores before I registered:
1. MGMAT 1 (Sep 16,2012) - 37 2. MGMAT 2 (Sep 23,2012) - 38 3. GMATPrep New version (Sep 25,2012) - 40. Overall score - 730 I have always scored a Q50 in all my tests, so Quant was never a surprise or a problem for me.
The last time I took the exam was day before yesterday and I scored a 730 with a V40. I was hoping for at-least 730 today. I had even scored a 750 (with V42) in one of my GMATPreps.
Coming to the exam:
I used the following sources for my preparation: 1. GMAT Club - This was the biggest source of my preparation. I visited / read through and saved the links for a number of discussions. I would specially like to thank Souvik, e-GMAT, daagh and other experts on GMAT Club for their superb posts. I think this forum is a boon for all the MBA aspirants. Great job BB. I cannot thank you guys enough. 2. MGAMT SC Guide - Read it once again, there were a lot of concepts that I had forgotten / not paid attention to the last time. 3. OG 12 - I didn't feel the need to buy the OG 13 as only a few questions are different from OG 12. I did all the SC questions and most CR questions. 4. Verbal OG - Did most SC questions and a number of CR questions. 5. MGMAT forums - I did read through a few discussions on the MGMAT online forum and they were really helpful. For those of you who don't know, you don't need to be a MGAMT customer to read through these discussions.
I also did not spend a single minute on quant.
Coming to my experience today:
Center: The GMAT center in Delhi (Green Park) is great, no problems there. Though I thought the lady there was a little too "formal" compared to the guy who was there the last time I took the exam. However, the best thing about this center is that it is 10 minutes walking distance from my place.
Exam: AWA: The AWA was straight-forward, though I was a bit short on time an could have planned my time a little better. I think this was not much of a problem as I still wrote 5 paragraphs and more than 300 words.
IR: I would say most of it was a cake-walk. I would suggest, just do the sample questions available on mba.com and that is all the practice you need.
Quant: Like always, quant was not much of a problem though I was a bit short on time. I completed the questions with only about a minute left. Generally, I complete the quant section in about 65 minutes.
Verbal: This is where all my focus was. Verbal is always the dragon for me. Like in the video games, you have to get past the obstacles (read the AWA, IR and Quant) to get to the real dragon. I think I did a good job initially, and started getting relatively tough questions from question number 7-8 onward. I got a long RC within the first 10 questions. I was doing fine until question 32-33, till then I had about 17 minutes left. I had already got a bold-face question, that too with pretty long bolded portions. I had even got a full underlined SC question (supposed to be relatively tough). Overall, I had got a number of tough questions and I knew I was doing good as I was consistently getting the tough questions. I think this is where I lost the plot (around question 32-33), I got a long (really long) and confusing RC (with four questions) and I spend a lot of time on that. I think that is what killed me. Had I realized it then, I would have just quickly done the RC and focused my attention on the remaining questions as I know that the penalty tends to be little higher if last of your questions are incorrect while if some of your middle questions (until 35-36) are incorrect, the penalty tends to be a little lower. After that, I was always running against time, I had to do the last two of my questions in less than two minutes. My last question was practically a guess. I think this is what hurt me.
I am still ruing my mistakes. It is still hurting, probably time will heal my wounds Though, I am still tempted to register again and at-least score a 730. Only to satisfy myself. I think the only thing that I have achieved and am happy about is that in the past month and a half, I have improved my SC skills significantly. Though it is not reflected in my scores.
I think I need a little time to think about these things. I think I should get going with my Stern and HKUST applications as I have too little time left (both have to be completed by mid-Nov). It would be great if somebody can help me with the HKUST applications, it is little difficult to find people applying to HKUST. I will post my college related questions in a separate post.
Let me know in case you guys have any questions. Happy to help. Finally, thanks again GMAT Club for all the support and guidance that I have got through you.
Dhruv, 710 is a good score but not much different from your first attempt. Don;t you think adcoms will be wary of your egoistic (pardon me) approach of trying to improve from 700 to 710 to another milestone?
What if they ask when u already have 710 after your 700 why didn't you focus on your application? this might give you negative point. But if your application is well prepared then 710 will be more than sufficient to get you through. Being an Indian it is not easy, but 710 to 730 won't make it easy either.
So go ahead with the applications as the application season is on the peak and accept wishes for your future endeavours.
Hi, I could not think of any other reason than just nerves or plain bad luck coz you seemed to have prepared in the best way possible! I would say doing it a third time is possible only if you still have the motivation, which normally many may loose by the 2nd attempt. If other parts of your application give you confidence go ahead with the application process...my 2 cents ! _________________
I will rather do nothing than be busy doing nothing - Zen saying
@ Gurpreet - I understand what you mean to say. Good point. I wanted to re-take to show myself that I can kick GMAT off, just to prove a point to myself. Probably not a good idea, at-least not the right time. I understand, re-taking is not an option now (at-least for 2013 intake), since it is already Oct end. I am going ahead with my applications this year and hope to get through this year. Thanks for your wishes.
@AbhiJ - It was really tough with 3 paragraphs. I guess more than 400 words. I took about 8-9 minutes for it. I really did not expect such a long RC after question 30. I had never got such a tough RC after question 30, even when I scored 42 in verbal. I think I always got a smaller RC with 3 questions after question 30. I am used to doing tough RCs and generally do get through with them without much problem but that is generally between question 11-12 and 27-28. In all my practice tests, I got a long and tough RC in the middle. In the actual test also, I think I had already got one in the middle. The thing with long RCs is that they take a lot of time, I probably did not face much problem during my practice tests as I was able to compensate with a number of SC and CR questions left. The GMAT caught me at the wrong point this time.
@Pansi - I agree, it might just have been nerves. Probably, I panicked a little. As with the application procedure, I have started it and am not looking at the GMAT now. As I said earlier, I might re-take if I am not able to achieve my targets this year.
This is truly a question of truly setting your priorities. While you might be slightly disappointed in your GMAT score -- it is still a very good score and admissions will see that you have the academic ability to handle a demanding classroom environment. Also, from an admissions perspective, the difference between a 710 and a 740 is minimal -- maybe you will answer one more question correctly. I do not think it is worth the risk of taking the test again and believe that you should move onwards with your essays and applications. At this stage, you still have time to prepare strong applications to a large number of schools -- which you may not have time to do if you dedicate time and energy to retaking the GMAT again.
Just had a quick question regarding the number of schools I should apply to - I think considering that I am an international applicant, Round 3 is practically not an option for me. Hence, I am basically left with 2 months.
I think I should be able to apply to 5 US schools apart from HKUST. Does this sound fine or is it a little too ambitious? I am currently planning to apply to: 1. Stern 2. Booth 3. Ross 4. Anderson 5. Yale / Haas / Johnson / Darden / Kellogg - One of these
GMAT: 710 (Q50, V35) and AWA: awaited Work ex 1: Marketing analytics KPO (2 years) Work ex 2: KPMG Advisory International work ex: None, however have extensively worked with US and European clients and colleagues. One of my recommenders is actually an ex-colleague / supervisor from the UK
Total work ex by Aug'13: 5 years and 1 months (expected)
Extra curricular: Have been involved with an NGO working in the education sector in India. Did a lot of stuff during the college, for example, was the General Secretary of the elected students body. Involved in managing technical festivals etc.
Major reason for MBA: Get into the finance domain (corp. finance, I-banking etc.) with direct client exposure (I have worked in an offshore model for a few years now)
My criteria of schools selection is as follows: 1. Global rank less than 30 (I generally refer to FT rankings for the Global ranks) 2. Good finance focus 3. Total expenditure - as low as possible, ideally less than $100k (total cost). I suppose a scholarship/grant would be necessary to meet this criteria, that is why I think Public schools would be a better bet
You can definitely get five programs done by the next deadline. The schools I would recommend for you are: Booth Ross Anderson Darden Johnson
When you consider your budget, Stern is out of the picture as the cost of living in NYC is out of control. One other school that you might want to consider is University of North Carolina (Keenan-Flagler). It is an excellent school and from experience with the people I advised, there is quite a bit of scholarship money available. _________________
1. I was just going through Stern's website and noticed that the total cost estimated my them is approx. $ 92,266 (Source: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admis ... /index.htm) which is pretty close to the cost at Booth, approx. $ 88,683 (Source: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/fu ... ancial-aid). Hence, I was just trying to figure-out the difference between the two. I am not sure if I am missing something. BTW, I do understand that both these are way too costly and probably way over my budget and getting a scholarship at either of these would be a tough job.
2. Just wanted to confirm that Darden and Johnson have good finance courses as I have heard mixed reviews about them, specially Darden.
@ShalabhAr - I know the numbers quoted are for 9 months academic calendar only. I know that the total cost would be approximately double that. I did not explicitly mention that as I thought it was implied. Though, two of my earlier comments do imply the same, below are the excerpts: 1. Regarding the selection criteria - "I suppose a scholarship/grant would be necessary to meet this criteria, that is why I think Public schools would be a better bet" 2. While pointing out the total cost of attendance at Stern and Booth - "BTW, I do understand that both these are way too costly and probably way over my budget and getting a scholarship at either of these would be a tough job."
Mate I know that but what I implied is that you need to assess your budget and the amount of scholarship you are expecting before you finalize your school. I have been pretty much in the same boat so just be sure before applying, there is no point paying $1,000 in application fees to schools where funding would be a problem.
If i may, why are you applying to HKUST if you are looking at 5 US schools? Where do you want work post graduating?
I agree with your point regarding the course fee, that is the reason why have put Ross and Anderson there. The total cost of attendance at Ross would be approx. $ 148k (Source: http://www.bus.umich.edu/admissions/fin ... ts/mba.htm) while at Anderson it would be approx. $ 156k (Source: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/x40908.xml). With a scholarship of approx. $ 50k, I can meet my criteria. This means, approx. 50% scholarship (on tuition fee) would be be required and as per my info. 50% scholarship is not something impossible, though I agree it would be a tough job.
I need to research a little more on Johnson and Darden.
Regarding your point w.r.t. HKUST, the logic is that if US does not work out (I do not get selected or even if I get selected, I do not get enough scholarship), then I have to have a back-up option. The most important thing is that I get into the industry of my choice, location is important but not a deal-breaker. I am even planning to apply to NUS, just to be sure.
Well, I thought of the same reasoning when I read your post first but it didn't fit. HKUST is a much better ranked and applied at school than the US schools you listed above. If the US plan doesn't work out, the odds on HKUST would be further lower. Though I hope you get through where you want to but just my two cents. Do apply to a school like iese as a back up. Lesser fees, better odds and a finance based program.
I agree with your points Shalabh. Your points are pertinent.
In-fact, I have myself thought about them a hundred times already, I guess its' just a call that you have to take. I myself might actually choose HKUST even if I get the required scholarship at Ross or Anderson. But I guess I will only take that decision when it has to be taken. There is no harm in applying, apart from the monetary impact (a loss of approx. $ 250 per school). It just opens up a few new options. As far as school ranking is concerned, I think the only impact that has is that there are fewer "good" jobs, hence you have to try a little harder. Still, US rules the globe in terms of the finance jobs and you have to back yourself to outclass your batch mates at these colleges. I know it is a risk.
As far as IESE or generally the European schools are concerned, my take is that Europe is a sinking ship and I don't want to get into that mess. I think it is going to be all downhill for Europe for the next couple of decades at-least. Just my opinion.
Two important thing that go against HKUST are: 1. Language - I know it is not a major issue in the finance domain, even if I that is correct, you still have to spend life outside office i.e. in the markets, other places etc. 2. Much smaller Indian community - Hong Kong has a much smaller Indian community. In my opinion, this would make life slightly tougher in Hong Kong
Although Hong Kong / Singapore also have a key advantage that they are closer to home (Delhi). A flight to Hong Kong or Singapore is apporox. 6 hours and costs approx. INR 30k and INR 15k only, while the shortest flight to US would be 16 hours and would cost approx. INR 50k.
These points might seem unimportant as far as the college decision is concerned, but I think in the long term these are important factors. Again, just my opinion.
Finally, just wanted to get your thoughts regarding other Asian colleges (NUS, ISB, NTU and HKU). What do you think about NUS and Singapore in general?
I am probably not the best guy to ask his RC strategy considering that I just got killed by one. Still, as you ask, my strategy has always been to just read the passage and answer the questions. Keep understanding the points as you go-along. I just read it as one reads a newspaper news item / editorial. While answering, I sometimes have to refer back to the exact line. Though sometimes I just answer without referring back, specially with meaning and implication questions you don't need to refer back as you have already understood the passage completely.
I am a believer of brand names, especially in the corporate world. I don't think I need to emphasize that to you since you are from IIT. I would recommend you to go for a better know brand than an immediate job landing tier 2 MBA. Your MBA brand remains with you for the rest of your career. Especially for you, coming from a tier 1 undergraduate college, a tier 2 MBA might not be looked upwards on your cv. So rather be patient than settle for what you is what I would say.
In terms of the European economy, it's too big to stay so for the next two decades but yea there is no miracle foreseen in the short term and even though it may revive, we may never see the pre-recession times. As Ronaldo would say, 'God only knows' but remember a 'London business school' will still be known all over.
HKUST has a very small intake. I would suggest you to research more on that. Also, try for the HOng Kong University program. They have a joint program with Columbia and LBS. One year at HK and the second year at Columbia/LBS.