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Am I wasting my time (encouraging thoughts needed)

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Am I wasting my time (encouraging thoughts needed) [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2006, 15:51
I am NOT a math person. I've spent the last five years in corporate communications. I've always dreamed of "going back to school" but frankly, felt an advanced PR or communications degree would be a complete waste of time since it would essential teach the same skills and techniques I use everyday. I think an MBA is the right choice for me.

I went to a small state school for undergrad, scraped by with a 3.25 despite nearly flunking out the first two years (read BEER). Unfortunately, that was when I attempted my business and math courses ( :oops: ) I have, as I mentioned, about five years exp +plus great recommendations and lots of community involvement. My work history would bring a lot of diversity to a classroom.

Anyway, while I fantasize about going to an elite school, that wasn't my original goal (am I selling myself short??). There is another state university near my home that is acredited by the AASCB (or whatever it is exactly) and I could save a bundle, not relocate my husband or quit my job.

Here's the catch. I have a month. Application deadline is April 1. I was told they could use the instant score to get my application moving as long as the official scores arrive by April 30. Up until about a week ago, I had not even cracked a GMAT book. I haven't studyed any verbal yet, since that's my strength and want to get my score above a 600 and then improve verbal.

I did 1 1/2 Kaplan practice tests (I did one verbal, two maths and used my original verbal score to compute my "practice test score"). The first one was a 520. The last one was a 560. I haven't yet reviewed the answers mainly because I noticed Kaplan repeats questions a lot and I might do one more Kaplan test before I move on to another resource.

Okay, finally my questions (told you I'm a word person):
1. I did the final score simulator and based on my 560 it said I had a 690. That doesn't seem right. Based on my tests so far, do I have a shot in . . .you know where . . . of breaking 600 or better (dare I dream) on the real thing by the end of March?

2. What's the best way to quickly re-teach myself all the math I never learned in high school? I got the GMAT Math Workout book from the library and like the format, despite the errors and it seems to help, but is there a better resource?

3. Verbal. According to Kaplan, I tested in the 78th percentile ( :x ). Big disappointment, but this was without even looking at the verbal chapters and study guides. Considering I have a writing background and was an English minor in college, should I give too much time to improving my score?

4. And, am I selling myself short? Applying to the elite schools is expensive, but if I honestly think I could get in, I'd hate to live the next decades of my life wondering what could of been. Then again, we just moved cross-country two years ago. I don't know if we could do it again.

Sorry, its so long. I know a no-no for a first time guest. But I really needed some encouragement. Plus, it just felt good to get it all out there.
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2006, 19:46
Hiya! I can't give you any advice on math since I need help myself. But if you type "purple math" in a search engine, that site is pretty helpful. Also, for question number four: I say "Aim High." Also, you answered the question yourself when you said that you don't want to reminisce about "what could have been." You'd be selling yourself short by not trying to apply to all the schools you want to go to. And here is my favorite quote: Doubt whom you will, but never doubt yourself! :P
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2006, 20:01
You want an great education and a great career, which will make you happy and I am sure your husband happy.

my advice:

It is reasonable to expect that the opportunity to study at your state univ. will be available next year also.

Dont make too many changes at once. Break the problem down into pieces. Its too difficult to solve this as a whole. Wait for Fall' 07. First, take the GMAT at YOUR convenience. Give it all you got. 78 percentile is a good start on verbal. If you get a 670+score, you have conquered the first step. Take it from there.

Getting into B-school is the easy part. Taking that opportunity and giving it all you got is the hard part. Then again, do it because you want to, not because you have to. Make sure you have a compelling reason to do an MBA. This is not for the admissions, its for yourself.

Of course, welcome to the Club. talk about being at the right place at the right time. :)

Keep no regrets.

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 [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2006, 20:31
Hey there. I have a background in marketing myself and have thought about getting an advanced degree for some time.

When I first applied to b-school a few years ago, I did the entire process in a month's time and well, got waitlisted then rejected from Stern at NYU (I was living just outside NYC and that's the only place I applied). I have a 3.83 undergrad GPA but my GMAT score was an embarrassing 570. I was sick as a dog and barely made it through the test. I didn't have time to retake and basically shot myself in the foot!

I would strongly recommend you take more time to put together a solid application. One month is not enough time to do the entire thing, and when it's thrown together, it's obvious to the adcoms (I am living proof!). Fall 2007 would give you a much better chance at any school you apply to.

If quant is a particular challenge, then you might want to take a college-level math course over the summer. It will help mitigate the poor math grades in undergrad, prepare you better for the GMAT, and prepare you for an MBA, which can be quant-heavy (some top programs require calculus in your undergrad years). You need to show top schools that you can handle the quant; it's more of a concern for those of us in fields that don't involve it heavily.

As far as the GMAT....do not use your Kaplan scores to predict your potential score on the real thing. They are way off and Kaplan's tests are known for being significantly harder than the real thing, especially on quant. I would stick with official materials (GMATPrep tests, free from mba.com; and the 11th edition of the Official Guide). I would also get Cracking the GMAT from Princeton Review. IMHO it has the best overall prep and strategies, and the practice tests are very much like the real thing. Be sure to work through as much of the OG as possible. The questions get harder as you go. Plan on at least 2-3 months of prep, more if quant is still getting you down. Consider hiring a tutor just for the quant. It could make a huge difference.

Dunno if you've considered it, but an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications might be more appropriate for you than an MBA. If you want to continue in a marketing capacity, the MS would go much deeper than a marketing MBA. The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern essentially founded the concept of integrated marketing communication and their program is widely considered the best. They are at the top of my list, more so than a marketing MBA at most of the top schools. Depending on your career goals, I would consider that as an option.

And one other thing I do agree with...aim high! Take some college courses to boost your GPA and show you can handle the academic side now. Get some killer recs and write well-polished essays (they matter a whole lot). Over the next several months there are many things you can do to make yourself competitive at top programs. I would recommend checking out the articles on http://www.review.com and http://www.businessweek.com for some good advice there.

Good luck!
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2006, 20:54
Thanks everyone. I'm feeling somewhat better. It looks like the deadline for the state university is in June, not April, for Fall term so that gives me an extra two months to get a good feel for what I want to do and really think hard about my career and family goals are-- and of course keep studying. When I first started studying I had to look up the definition of a prime number -- and that was a week ago! I think I'm picking things back up nicely.

My husband desperately wants to be supportive but obviously hates the idea of me quiting my job and going away for this -- funny how a decent salary and a mortgage can trap you like that. I guess one of the nice things is that very few PR types have MBAs, so no matter what I'd have a slight edge. There is a dual ms marketing/mba track available too. . . we'll have to see.

All I know is I've studied for the quan. so hard I'm calculating road signs and doing algebra in my sleep. I'm glad to hear Kaplan is hard, that makes me feel so much better. I'm happy I started with them.

Thanks again. I've really enjoyed this forum and found it to be very helpful!
  [#permalink] 27 Feb 2006, 20:54
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