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Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2014, 09:00
FROM The MBA Journey of an African Doctor: Wait list Strategy for INSEAD
After a week of accepting the fact that I am not going to Stanford, Harvard or Wharton, at least not this year, I have cleared the cobwebs off my head and put on my thinking cap. Time to dust myself and move on. My priority now is to try to get off the INSEAD Wait list as soon as possible. If that happens, that will put a screeching halt to all other alternative options and the attendant heartaches and e-mail obsessive refreshes.

So I have decided to approach the wait list like a real application by itself. A wait list is a lifeline, and I don’t have time to faff around like it does not matter. So many things have happened between the time I submitted my application and the time I received the decision, and it is time to let the INSEAD Admission Committee know that my profile has changed. There were some things that I could not work into the application because of space, and I felt this might just be a golden opportunity to let them catch a glimpse of these other aspects of me.

I called my consultant and told her we are on again.

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Blog: The MBA Journey of an African Doctor

Blog updated: July 27, 2014

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2014, 01:00
FROM MBA Data Guru: Stanford GMAT vs. GPA: Which is more important?
Stanford GMAT vs. GPA: Which is more important?

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Stanford is tied currently tied with Harvard and Wharton as the #1 MBA program in the world. Stanford’s acceptance rate is extremely low, at 6.8%. With such a low acceptance rate, it is important to understand how at Stanford GMAT and GPA affect your chance of admissions. Every school weighs the importance of GMAT and GPA differently. Today I will look at how Stanford compares the two metrics. For this analysis, I only included applicants who were accepted and are on the margin. We don’t learn much by seeing that Stanford accepted a student with a 3.98 GPA and a 790 GMAT, but we do learn a lot by analyzing the profile of applicants who were just barely accepted. Top MBA schools prefer candidates with high GPA and GMAT, but they are often willing to accept an applicant with low GPA if that applicant has a high GMAT. The same is true for applicants with low GMAT and high GPA.

Stanford GMAT vs. GPA
Image

Unfortunately, Stanford data is a little thin because their acceptance rate is so low, but we get a reasonable idea of the GMAT vs. GPA tradeoff. At Stanford GMAT vs. GPA slope is -.005, which means that 100 GMAT points are roughly worth .5 GPA points. So a 680 GMAT with a 3.87 GPA would be viewed roughly similar to a 780 GMAT with a 3.37 GPA. This slope is less steep than most other schools, which means that, compared to other schools, Stanford prefers high GPA over high GMAT. The only school with a lower slope is Stern, which had a -.0043.

Check out how some of the other schools weigh GMAT vs. GPA:

Upenn / Wharton GMAT vs. GPA

Harvard GMAT vs. GPA

MIT / Sloan GMAT vs. GPA

Dartmouth / Tuck GMAT vs. GPA

NYU / Stern GMAT vs. GPA

The data for this post is from GMAT Club. I used the admissions data from the class of 2014, 2015, and R1 admits for 2016.

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2014, 07:00
FROM Defying Gravity - The MBA Journey: What makes a "bad" interview?
I was recently chatting about what makes a "bad" admissions interview. For a place like Harvard, for example, how can the adcom narrow the field from the 1800 people invited to interview to the ~1100 people who will be offered a place in the class? After all, the people who receive an invite have theoretically already demonstrated their academic and professional merit through their applications. Additionally, I was able to interact with several of my fellow applicants during my interview day, and they all seemed highly accomplished and super friendly.

So with all of that greatness, how can 700 amazing people still get dinged after interviewing?

I have my own speculations, but I stumbled upon an interview with Dee Leopold (Managing Director of admissions for HBS), and I think the article sheds some interesting light on what makes a "bad" interview.

I recommend that you check out the full article, but I'll post a few key takeaways below:
  • Character Flaws: "The first thing is to screen out, to the extent that we can, hubris and character issues. If you cannot behave yourself for 30 minutes with a member of the admissions board at Harvard and we accept you, it would be like trying to bring a loaded gun on a plane. So to that extent, we’re baggage screeners, without any thought that we are going to catch every character flaw, but we are going to pay attention."
  • Disengaged Students: "We’re looking for your ability to fit into this learning model, which is not a classic academic model of you sit still and listen and take notes and write papers and spit back stuff. You come into a 90-person section and you are there to contribute. You are there not to be a bystander but are there and willing to put yourself on the line and take a risk and say that ‘I think that Sally Smith in this case should do this and here’s why.’ And you need to be able to accept pushback, to be interested, alert and engaged. I need to know you want to be there."
  • Boastfulness: “They talk about their substantial accomplishments and they think I could believe that at their entry level there is no one else in the organization,” she says. “They do billion-dollar deals and all the grown ups are somewhere else. They don’t realize that the goal of this application is really not to make yourself stand out but simply to tell your story.”
  • Lack of Diversity: "A superb, off-the-charts person in an interview may not get admitted because at the end of the day the interview isn’t meant to be the lightening round where how you perform in 30 minutes determines your fate. It’s not, you’re in or you’re out. You might say this person is a star in the interview but we have a lot of people with similar backgrounds who did well and we just can’t take them all. So the shaping of the class can become more of a driving factor than the evaluation."
Regarding the last point about diversity, Dee specifically notes that diversity is not simply about your race or gender, or even where you've spent the past few years working. Rather, there could be five different applicants with PE experience, yet they all would approach a case differently because they all have different life experiences. Life experiences are what makes someone diverse. 

So that's what makes a "bad" interview, accordingly to the head of HBS admissions.

To all my fellow applicants, good luck! We will all know our fates in 13 more days!
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2014, 20:00
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FROM MBA Data Guru: Tuck Admissions Analysis
Tuck Admissions Analysis

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The final decision for the Tuck MBA January round applications is being released tomorrow. Tuck calls the students who have been accepted either the day of or the day before the decision is released. Today, mostly international acceptance calls were made, and I have not been called yet. I am based in the US so I am not super nervous yet, but I am finding it difficult to think of anything other than the Tuck decision. I was incredibly unproductive at work today because I spent the entire time hoping my phone would ring. To help ease my worries I created this elaborate Tuck admissions analysis to try to figure out my chances of getting in. Each of the following graphs are only acceptance rate vs. one variable. In reality there are probably interaction effects between different variables, so this is by no means especially accurate, but my final conclusion is that I have a 53% chance of being admitted. I was hoping the number would come out higher, but it is a lot better than the 20.8% acceptance rate overall at Tuck.

Tuck Admissions Analysis
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The first variable I looked at was GMAT. I did a scatter-plot by acceptance rate and found the best trendline for fitting the trendline. This line has an R squared of .82, which is a fairly strong correlation. I then created the smoothed out graph below, which probably does a better job of estimating the impact of GMAT on your application odds.

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My 770 on the GMAT really helped to boost my Tuck admissions chances since it is significantly higher than the 718 average. However, I know my GPA is below the average Tuck GPA of 3.5. So next I looked at how GPA impacts acceptance rate.

Image

For Dartmouth, GPA is highly correlated with chance of acceptance, as one would expect. The GPA scatter-plot has a .89 R squared, which is very high. However, the line is not nearly as steep as it is for GMAT. Similar to GMAT, I smoothed out the curve to account for noise and came up with the graph below.

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After GPA, I looked at how your industry impacts your chances of getting into Tuck. I only included an industry if it either had a high number of applicants or had a very high acceptance rate, like Venture Capital and Commercial Banking. I lumped all other industries into “other”. The trends for Dartmouth are similar to what I saw in my Wharton industry analysis. Manufacturing fared better with Tuck, but it is still significantly below average.

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Finally, I looked at Dartmouth acceptance rate by years of work experience. The results of this graph do not seem to be as conclusive as other variables. The acceptance rate kind of jumps around. My interpretation is that in general the more years of work experience, the higher your chance of admissions is, until you reach 9+ years. Then the admissions committee starts to wonder why you are even applying for an MBA.

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All in all, my predicted chance of getting into Dartmouth is pretty decent at 53%. My chance is theoretically a little better than a flip of a coin. I know that very few people who don’t do a applicant initiated interview are invited to a Tuck interview. An admissions committee member told me that roughly 55% of applicants self-initiate interviews, and I am going to guess that only 5% of total applicants are invited. If this is correct, then the fact that I already interviewed means that I have a pretty good chance of getting in. On top of that, I had one recommender who wrote an amazing recommendation for me. I sent it to NYU, Wharton and Tuck. I was admitted to NYU and I have been interviewed at Wharton and am waiting for my final decision. I was rejected from every school that he didn’t recommend me at. I am hoping the trend continues that I get into every school that my super recommender submitted to.

For those of you who are still waiting for the Tuck admissions decision, I hope that this article is able to distract you for a little while while you wait for the decision tomorrow. I wish everyone the best of luck.

The data used to create this Tuck admissions analysis is from GMAT Club. I used the data from the class of 2014, 2015 and the first two rounds of the class of 2016.

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2014, 06:00
FROM Sarah's MBA Journey: Not going to America
I Sat by the phone and waited; and then waited. Nothing. (In reality I spent the day freezing in Salem.) I Finally got an email but couldn’t even see the outcome of Duke’s decision until I got back to the hotel to use my computer.

Final outcome: didn’t get in.

I’m ok with that. In recent weeks I was was thinking how to balance working and paying off a £100,000 loan and in ideal world getting married and having kids. I just couldn’t think how it would work. Yes all my uni friends are laughing their socks off as I make that statement. if I went to an American uni I would 35 before I graduate. And I would want kids before I was 40. That’s Very limited time to pay off loan as I don’t think these loans allow you to take maternity payment holidays.

The other reason why I’m ok. After going to a HBS class I wasn’t in love with the experience. The girls hardly talked; and the class was really young. I want to learn from people who have a bit more work experience. A part time MBA might be a better fit.

So I won’t be reapplying next year. In its current format my American adventure is over. I’m very glad I tried. For me the journey is as important as the destination.

Upside my hockey team will be happy.

But the MBA dream lives on. Next step the part time MBA.

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2014, 06:00
FROM Defying Gravity - The MBA Journey: The True Cost of an MBA
Back when I was deciding between Kellogg and Tuck, I came across an interesting page on Kellogg's financial aid website. It contains a table showing average indebtedness and the sample repayment. These numbers are astounding (not in a good way)!

It's hard to fathom taking on $150,000 in debt at this point in my life. I've never made such an expensive purchase before, and I honestly find it incredibly frightening. I keep reminding myself that its an investment, but that doesn't make it any less scary.

Below are sample debt figures from the Kellogg website and "the average monthly payment calculated using an interest rate of 7.6% (an average of the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan fixed interest rate of 6.8% and the Grad PLUS Loan fixed interest rate of 8.5%)."

Average Indebtedness/Sample Repayment

Loan Balance: $150,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $1788.37
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $214,603.52
Total Interest Paid: $64,603.52

--------------------------------------------------------------
Loan Balance: $125,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $1490.30
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $178,836.76
Total Interest Paid: $53,836.76

-------------------------------------------------------------
Loan Balance: $100,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $1,192.24
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $143,069.41
Total Interest Paid: $43,069.41

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Loan Balance: $75,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $894.18
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $107,302.06
Total Interest Paid: $32,302.06

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Loan Balance: $50,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $596.12
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $71,534.71
Total Interest Paid: $21,534.71

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Loan Balance: $25,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $298.06
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $35,767.35
Total Interest Paid: $10,767.35

Note: The above data was calculated by the Kellogg Financial Aid Office. These numbers may be somewhat outdated. 

So basically, if I took out a $150,000 loan, I'd end up paying over $60K in interest alone, and would have a monthly payment of $1700 for the next ten years -- that's like a mortgage!

Thanks to the full scholarship I've been offered by Tuck, I'd only have to worry about the cost of living expenses and other fees, which would be a huge weight off my shoulders. However, if I were to be accepted to HBS or Stanford, I have no clue what my finances may look like. 

Readers, how are you planning to finance your degree? Do most people have huge savings that they're planning to deplete, or are you going to take out major loans? Feel free to post in the comment box below. I'd love to hear your plans!
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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http://DefyingGravityMBA.blogspot.com/

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2014, 08:11
Expert's post
Tried commenting on your blog - not sure if it went through (sorry if submitted twice)

Yes.... It looks pretty gloomy. $1,780 as a payment on a monthly basis.... the MBA tuition more than doubled in the last 10 years and that's annoying.

At the same time, there are some bright spots to the story:
1. You get 6 months as a grace period after graduation to give you breathing room
2. MBA's have the lowest default rate, indicating that we are not necessarily trustworthy but rather capable of producing income
3. Most starting salaries/bonuses for your schools will be in the $100K territory, so as long as you are careful with money you will be fine. 100K is not 2x of $50K due to taxes and psychological reasons
4. If you don't make 100K, your interest will be tax deductible
5. As to what $1,700 buys you per month, our family mini-van (I am not ashamed to admit I drive a Toyota Sienna sometimes), is $850 per month, so it is the same as buying 2 $40K cars or a Tesla/high end car.
6. You will get raises so $1,700 will be easier over time with inflation (it is closer to $1,800 actually).

Just trying to paint a brighter picture :-)
Congratulations on getting into the amazing bschools! with that kind of success (which indicates effort, commitment, and quality of work), I don't think you need to worry too much about the recruiting process and eventual repayment.


DefyingGravity wrote:
FROM Defying Gravity - The MBA Journey: The True Cost of an MBA
Back when I was deciding between Kellogg and Tuck, I came across an interesting page on Kellogg's financial aid website. It contains a table showing average indebtedness and the sample repayment. These numbers are astounding (not in a good way)!

It's hard to fathom taking on $150,000 in debt at this point in my life. I've never made such an expensive purchase before, and I honestly find it incredibly frightening. I keep reminding myself that its an investment, but that doesn't make it any less scary.

Below are sample debt figures from the Kellogg website and "the average monthly payment calculated using an interest rate of 7.6% (an average of the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan fixed interest rate of 6.8% and the Grad PLUS Loan fixed interest rate of 8.5%)."

Average Indebtedness/Sample Repayment

Loan Balance: $150,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $1788.37
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $214,603.52
Total Interest Paid: $64,603.52

--------------------------------------------------------------
Loan Balance: $125,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $1490.30
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $178,836.76
Total Interest Paid: $53,836.76

-------------------------------------------------------------
Loan Balance: $100,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $1,192.24
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $143,069.41
Total Interest Paid: $43,069.41

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Loan Balance: $75,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $894.18
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $107,302.06
Total Interest Paid: $32,302.06

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Loan Balance: $50,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $596.12
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $71,534.71
Total Interest Paid: $21,534.71

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Loan Balance: $25,000
Loan Interest Rate: 7.6%
Loan Term: 10 years
Monthly Loan Payment: $298.06
Number of Payments: 120
Total Loan Payments: $35,767.35
Total Interest Paid: $10,767.35

Note: The above data was calculated by the Kellogg Financial Aid Office. These numbers may be somewhat outdated. 

So basically, if I took out a $150,000 loan, I'd end up paying over $60K in interest alone, and would have a monthly payment of $1700 for the next ten years -- that's like a mortgage!

Thanks to the full scholarship I've been offered by Tuck, I'd only have to worry about the cost of living expenses and other fees, which would be a huge weight off my shoulders. However, if I were to be accepted to HBS or Stanford, I have no clue what my finances may look like. 

Readers, how are you planning to finance your degree? Do most people have huge savings that they're planning to deplete, or are you going to take out major loans? Feel free to post in the comment box below. I'd love to hear your plans!
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2014, 03:35
Expert's post
The more time I spend on gmatclub the more helpful links/discussions/statistics/tables I find!!!

Very helpful discussion. Thanks !!!
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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2014, 08:00
FROM The MBA Journey of an African Doctor: INSEAD Update Sent… Now considering Columbia
No, I am not a masochist.

A lot has happened between January and now. After settling down into my new role, and getting involved in a few other activities, my application has changed dramatically. I am glad to be able to send this update to INSEAD, and at the prompting of my Consultant, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring for a seat in Columbia.

I don’t know how it will go yet, but I am not one for shying away from challenges. I don’t believe in failure. You can only fail forward, and not backward. You have only failed when you fall and you stay down. I don’t know how to stay down.

To keep myself going I have just ordered for two books from Amazon: The Upside of Down by Megan McArdle and Pitch Perfect by Bill McGowan. (Pitch Perfect is actually a pre-order since the book will only be published and made available in April 1, 2014.)I should get the books next week. How the heck I am going to read those books while working an 80 hour week and writing applications and nudging recommenders (yikes! those pesky recommenders thing again) and getting a visa to attend the CFA Annual Conference in Seattle in May, I have no idea.

Maybe I am a masochist…

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Blog: The MBA Journey of an African Doctor

Blog updated: July 27, 2014

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2014, 23:00
FROM MBA Data Guru: GMAT Preparation: How I Scored a 770
GMAT Preparation: How I Scored a 770

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GMAT Preparation is a challenging experience. The average GMAT score at top schools has increased significantly over the past 5 years. The GMAT score is up at 19 out of the 25 top schools in that time period. It is critical for aspiring MBA students to study for the GMAT in an intelligent manner so they can maximize their chance of admission to their dream school. Here is how I was able to score a 770 on my first attempt at the GMAT.

Do Not Rush Your GMAT Preparation, I Studied for 6 Years
I know right now you think I am crazy for studying for 6 years, but it’s not what you think. I first started my GMAT preparation during the summer between my junior and senior year of undergrad. I had free time and GMAT scores are valid for 5 years. I studied for 10 to 15 hours and then life got in the way. I never ended up taking the test at that time. Since then, every year or two when I had some down time I would begin studying again, once again finishing about 10 to 15 hours of GMAT preparation before something would prevent me from finishing studying. Each time I came back to studying for the GMAT it was easier.

I finally got serious about studying for the GMAT in January 2013 because I knew I would be applying in the Fall. I studied from January until October when I eventually took the test. Studying over a long period of time has several benefits. Your brain can only absorb so much information per day. When you rush your learning by cramming last minute, you will forget almost as much as you learn, and it will not become second nature. The human brain commits information to memory during the rem cycle of sleep. If you are up late at night cramming last minute then you will not be getting enough sleep and benefit from all your studying. By studying slowly over time and getting enough sleep, you will absorb more information and your GMAT preparation will be more efficient.

I do not recommend studying over a 6 year timeframe for anyone. It is much more reasonable to plan for 6 months to a year of GMAT preparation. So if you are planning to apply for the class of 2017, now is the time to start studying.

Set a Date Test Date as Soon As Possible
When I began studying last year, my plan was to take the GMAT two months later. My goal was to study five to ten hours a week. Since I did not actually commit and schedule my test, I did not feel motivated to stick to my study plan, and the date I wanted to take the test slipped further and further. If I had a fixed date I needed to be ready by, then I would have done a better job of prioritizing my GMAT preparation. During January through May, I probably only studied two or three hours a week instead of the five to ten I wanted to. Spreading out my studying over nine months did end up benefiting me by allowing me to slowly absorb the material and get plenty of sleep, but it forced me to miss the round 1 application deadlines.

Diversify Your GMAT Preparation Techniques
GMAT preparation is not fun, but it is necessary in order to achieve a high score. Between work, social life and chores, I did not have a ton of time for GMAT preparation. I decided to try to optimize my limited time so I could study as efficiently as possible without letting the other areas of my life suffer. I found that a great way to multitask is to watch GMAT videos while doing chores or other low brain function tasks. Manhattan GMAT has some great GMAT videos posted on Vimeo that I used to study. There are also hundreds if not thousands of GMAT preparation videos on YouTube. I watched these videos every night while I cooked dinner, folded laundry, and cleaned my room. Over the course of 9 months of studying, I watched approximately 40 hours of GMAT videos without losing any time I needed for other tasks.

In addition to the videos, I also studied from traditional GMAT preparation text books. I found the official Guide by GMAC to be the best book. GMAT books are helpful for practicing problems. The books usually have problems in order of type of problem. On the test the questions will be in random order, so be sure to spend time practicing problems in random order rather than doing all algebra questions for an hour then all trigonometry questions for an hour.

Remember that the actual test is computer based, so be sure to practice doing some questions on your computer. There are a lot of great website such as GMAT Club and Beat the GMAT that offer resources for studying.

Practice Tests
GMAC offers two free practice tests that are very similar to the real GMAT. I don’t recommend wasting one early in your GMAT preparation because you only have two. Take a pen and paper test, Kaplan test or Manhattan GMAT test to roughly see where you are early on in your studying. Take your first real GMAC practice test about half way through your GMAT preparation to measure your progress. You can take the first practice test more than once. If you retake the first practice test, a lot of the questions will be different if you get certain questions right that you missed the first time. This give you a mostly different experience. I recommend retaking the first practice test once or twice. Take the second official GMAC practice test approximately two weeks before your actual test to see if you are close to the score you are hoping for.

The Human Brain Has Limited Capacity
I did all of my studying and practice tests after a full 10+ hour day of hard thinking at work. All of that thinking drains your brain’s capacity to perform on the GMAT and will slow you down. On my first official practice test I scored a 740. On my second official practice test I got a 730. Both of these tests were taken at 6 pm after working around 10 hours. On my actual test day, I took the test at 10 am without having worked all day. My brain was fresh which allowed me to move through the test faster and achiever a higher score of 770. I was in the 97th percent for quantitative and 98th percent for verbal. If you do decide to take your practice tests at night after working all day, you can be reasonably sure that you will perform at least as well as you score if not noticeably better.

GMAT Timing is Critical
Most GMAT questions can be answered pretty easily with enough time, but test takers have limited time to complete the test. Be sure to not only practice getting the questions right, but getting them right in the appropriate time period. If you can figure out within 30 seconds that you have a low chance of getting a question right, then make an educated guess and save the extra minute or so for a question you have a better chance of getting right.

The more answers you get right, the harder questions get. Some test takers go with an unconventional approach of randomly guessing on the first two questions. If you get them right then you have bought yourself 4 free minutes on the rest of the questions. If you get them wrong then the next several questions will be easier, so you can complete them faster and save time for the later more challenging questions, plus you still have the 4 free minutes for later in the test during the difficult questions.

Some people try the opposite approach, spend more time on the early questions so they can get them right. This is a bad approach because you will end up with harder questions faster and end up having less time for the hard questions later since you spent extra time on the early problems.

Good luck with your GMAT preparation. Studying is difficult and boring, but it pays off in the end. Having a high GMAT score significantly increases your chance of acceptance at top schools like Wharton.

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2014, 05:00
FROM Defying Gravity - The MBA Journey: One more week until Stanford calls!
I'm trying not to think about next week, but I can't help it. At this time next week, DB will begin his marathon day of calling all Stanford GSB admits! 7 more days...
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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2014, 09:00
FROM Defying Gravity - The MBA Journey: Waiting for March 26th
I downloaded a countdown app on my iPhone that keeps track of the time until final decisions are released. It just buzzed to remind me that HBS decisions come out in one week... as if I could have forgotten.

I've found myself spending too much time lately googling HBS and Stanford. I've even looked at nearby housing (I have a pet so I can't live in on-campus dorms). There is absolutely no benefit in me looking at housing for schools in which I haven't yet been accepted, but I can't help it. I clearly have way too much restless energy waiting for March 26th.

I've also spent a lot of time researching everything I can about Tuck. This is one of the few sane things that I'm currently doing. Interestingly, I recent found out that there will be a tech trek in August for first years. While schools like Haas or Stanford may traditionally be more well-known for tech, Tuck is currently doing a lot in this area and it's pretty exciting!
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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2014, 20:00
FROM Sarah's MBA Journey: Underwhelmed by Boston
I give Boston a four out of ten.  I was surprisingly underwhelmed.  Harvard and by default Boston is someplace I’ve wanted to live since I was 21.  Overall, I wasn’t convinced that this was the place I would want to study or live. The reality does not live up to the hype.

Caveat: In an effort to be fair to Boston my friend rated it as seven out of ten; but wouldn’t live there.

Boston in general

The people were amazing, friendly and chatty. We had a great time chatting to the locals. But Boston look wise wasn’t very inspiring. My camera hardly came out! I think, I have ten picture of Boston and four of them are the Duck and dDckling sculpture in Boston Commons.

The underground thing; well it is odd.  The Green line which I rode on most days is not a train, a tram or a tube.  I’m not even convinced it is trolley.  But it does squeak, a lot! No one heard of WD40?  Now the Red line out to Harvard, that is a train!

The Freedom trail; it’s follow the red line to lots of places that don’t exist.  Highlights I got to see Mother Goose’s grave and we accidentally came across Mike’s (the place where you obviously have to buy cakes.) honestly the trail needs a bit more work.

There not a lot happening in Boston.  There was lots of sport, but little else to do.  Though King’s Bowling was very good!

 

Harvard Business School

The highlight of the trip was a bit of a let down.  HBS is over the river from the main college; and stuck in the middle of nowhere.  The campus has some pretty bits and some 1970′s special concentrate buildings.

I sat in on a first year finance class.  The section gave us guests a very loud round of applause; and then I managed to leave without saying a word to anyone.  After the terrific support I got from HBS students when I was researching HBS, I was expecting better.  However if they have guests in every class; I do get the point that they get a bit tired after a while; and don’t really need to see the reason to engage.

The female participation of the class was very low.  The girls generally spoke if directly asked by the professor and generally didn’t volunteer.  Large tracks of the conversation as dominated by four blokes (I suspect they were the section’s usual suspects.) I was surprised.  Seriously girls; speak up! (See the NY time articlefor more background.)

The discussion wasn’t that engaging or dynamic. (Though my accountant friend said the lecture on WACC was a lot more interesting at HBS than what she had when learning about it for her ACCA qualification.) The professor was engaged, knew the students and knew the case and the issues very well.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention; The case study method.  It worked!  I learnt about WACC and how to apply it; and how would I use to inform a business decision that was actually made.  Stopped the subject from being dry and put it a real world context.

On a side note; almost all students had laptops or tablets in the class.  Most students had apple air notebooks. One or two had the black ugly IBM laptops and one or two enterprising ones had the Microsoft surface pro.  They got the benefit of having excel and a tablet.

Burgers

After the class chat we went to Cambridge’s famous burger place.  It had burgers like the fiscal cliff, bill Clinton, Obama healthcare.  Burgers were good.  But neither me nor my friend could see why the sweet potato chips or onion rings had won prizes.  Just not that good!

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2014, 01:00
FROM MBA Data Guru: Stanford GPA Impact on Acceptance
Stanford GPA Impact on Acceptance

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Stanford is the most select MBA program in the country. If you hope to be accepted, then you need to put together a very strong application. It is important to understand how at Stanford GPA will impact your chance of admission before deciding if you want to apply.

Unfortunately, once you finish your undergraduate degree, you GPA is set in stone. At this point the only metric you can improve is your GMAT. However, knowing where you stand with GPA can help you to set your GMAT goal so that you still have a competitive chance of being admitted by Stanford.

Stanford GPA by Acceptance Rate
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As you can see, at Stanford GPA has little impact on acceptance rate until it increases over 3.6. Above 3.6, acceptance rate increases by almost 50% compared to below 3.6. Applicants who have a GPA that is higher than 3.9 have a 200% higher chance of being admitted compared to students below 3.6. Although the below 3.0 applicants do not seem to suffer from a lower acceptance rate than applicants with a 3.0 to 3.6, the data for that population is very thin and is likely to have significant error. It is reasonable to assume that it will be difficult to be admitted at Stanford with a GPA below 3.0.

If you are luck enough to be invited by Stanford for an interview. It is important to work hard during interview preparation to maximize your chance of admission. Top MBA programs put a lot of weight on interpersonal skills, so you don’t want to slack off when it comes to the interview.

To create this Stanford GPA analysis, I used data from GMAT Club. The data included applicants for the class of 2014, 2015 and round 1 of 2016.

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2014, 13:00
FROM The MBA Journey of an African Doctor: Changing plans..
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. ~ Proverbs 11:14

I had finished filling the online form for the Columbia MBA, and polished the second draft of the essays when I met a Columbia graduate. It was fortuitous that I did and I had to squeeze out all the information that I could get from him. Graduates from top business schools are scarce commodities in this part of the world. He had coached many Nigerians to a few business schools in the US. I was lucky.

He made me understand that American and European business schools don’t usually like Africans applying in the last application rounds because of visa issues. It was possible to scale through but the chances were slim to none. When I raised my age issue, he objected that my age had very little, if any, to do with the dings I got. He liked my resume but he did not like my essays. That was a shocking revelation. He pointed out a few things, and everything came altogether. My post MBA goals were a stretch, and there was no clear cut plan between my short term goals and long term goals. While they played to the strength of my experience, they were not that convincing enough.

At that point I was grateful to have even been considered for the INSEAD wait list. I have been able to correct this weakness and updated the changes in my circumstances in the last correspondence with INSEAD.

So, to cut long story short, I have come to the end of the application season for American schools. No more Columbia, no more Booth. However, I went on the London Business School website, and it was stated there that getting visa to study at LBS is “a straightforward process”, and it takes about 3 – 4 weeks to fully process. Yes, I know that there is only one round left, Round 4, and it is going to be highly competitive. But I will try.

My new plan is to stay on the INSEAD wait list, and then apply to LBS as a back up. After submitting my LBS application, I will start preparing for one last shot at the GMAT. But if INSEAD calls at anytime between now and the day I chose to re-write the GMAT, for the fourth time, everything application process comes to a halt, and I prepare myself for Fonty or Singy.

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2014, 10:01
FROM Defying Gravity - The MBA Journey: Accepted to Stanford GSB!
This morning, I made sure that my cell phone was sitting next to me as I began my work day. I checked the volume and eagerly hoped for a call from Derrick Bolton of GSB. I saw a few people from Asia and Europe post admits on the gmatclub forum. Then, at around 10am, I casually glanced down at my phone and noticed that I somehow had a missed call from 9:45am. I listened to the voicemail and jumped up from my seat when I heard the message saying I had been admitted. I listened to it again 2 more times just to make sure I had heard correctly.

OMG, I've been accepted to one of the best business schools in the country!

If you recall from an earlier post, I actually didn't think my GSB interview went very well. It wasn't bad, but I had a hard time reading my interviewer and I wasn't sure whether my personality came through as well as it did with prior interviews. Whelp, somehow it worked out, I guess.

I still cannot believe it. I'm beyond happy, amazed, and simply thankful. I'll probably post something else here later, but for now I am too excited to focus and to type anything more than these few lines.
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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2014, 04:00
FROM Domotron's Blog: Dinged at Kellogg, end of my MBA application journey
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Kellogg was the last school I was waiting on. It was definitely the best decision day I had in the sense that I did not feel there was a huge amount riding on the end result. As it happens, the result was a ding. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a tiny bit disappointed because hey everyone wants to feel wanted right! However, being completely honest, if given the choice I would have picked Tuck over Kellogg because I have visited Tuck and not Kellogg and just felt a real fit with the community there. This decision was the only outstanding thing to my confirming my place at Tuck. It feels like a weight off my shoulders now that my application journey is over and I am officially a Tuckie!

Final scorecard

  • HBS (R1) – Dinged w/o interview
  • Wharton (R1) – Dinged w/ interview
  • Booth (R1) – Dinged w/ interview
  • Tuck (November round) – Admitted w/ self-initiated interview
  • Kellogg (R2) – Dinged w/ interview
P.S. Accepted.com are running a free webinar for Class of 2017 applicants on Thursday, March 27th at 5:00pm PT / 8:00pm ET sign up at http://reports.accepted.com/get_accepted_in_2015

Full disclosure I did not use Accepted.com or any other admissions consultant. However they do offer a lot of useful (free) advice, so do take advantage of it and make your own mind up as to whether you feel you require the services of an admissions consultant.

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*Updated 25th July*: Embracing the downtime
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Elements of an MBA application series
GMAT (28/02) | Profile (11/03) | Networking / Research (01/04) | Recommendations (30/05) | Essays / Online applications | Interview

My 710 (Q50, V36) Debrief + 740 (Q48, V44) Update:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/710-q50-v36-phew-i-m-done-with-the-gmat-probably-150067.html

Please share your profiles for this application season below:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/2014-profiles-w-admit-dings-results-no-discussion-162160.html

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2014, 10:00
FROM Coffee Beans And Tea Leaves: DING Report
I would like to say that I have been really busy and so swamped with the awesome stuff happening around, that I did not get time to come back to my blog and update it. And if I did, I would be so wrong. I gave my Kellogg interview last month on 17th February through […]Image
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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2014, 10:00
FROM Defying Gravity - The MBA Journey: In at HBS!
When I applied to HBS in round 1, I was given "further consideration." This bumped my app to round 2, meaning I applied 6 months ago. It was a long wait, but it was beyond worth it. This has been an incredible journey filled with stress, anxiety, happiness, and triumph. From the days and nights I spent agonizing over the GMAT, to now being accepted to Harvard Business School, I feel beyond fortunate.
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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2014, 03:00
FROM MBA Data Guru: Protein Folding and Gamification
Protein Folding and Gamification

Right now I am taking a class through Coursera taught by a Wharton professor Kevin Werbach called Gamification. Gamification is the process of adding game like elements to non-game activities. Gamification makes those non-game activities more fun and engaging. In one lecture, professor Werbach talkes about a gamified research tool called Foldit. This tool is used to help solve protein folding problems.

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What is Protein Folding
Proteins folding can be used to help understand how the body works and assist in finding cures for diseases such as HIV and cancer. Solving protein folding is an incredibly complicated problem and requires expensive supercomputers. Interestingly, human intuition is actually better at solving these complex problems than supercomputers. Researchers at the University of Washington decided to tap into the power of the human mind to solve these problems. The researchers turned protein folding into a game. Players score points for finding the best way to fold a protein.

In three weeks the gamers were able to solve problems that researchers had been working on for ten years. They helped to find targets for drugs to neutralize the AIDs virus.

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My Experience Protein Folding
I downloaded and played Foldin. It is an extremely unique game. I actually really enjoy it. It gets difficult quickly. I finished the first 10 levels without major problems but am getting stuck on the 11th. In order to beat a level, you need to reach a target score. If you are really close to the target but can’t quite get there, it is really frustrating to start over. I don’t think I have solved any diseases yet because I am still on the 32 introductory levels that teach you the game.

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs   [#permalink] 27 Mar 2014, 03:00
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