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Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice

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Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2008, 08:42
Which MBA program is best for you? Well, what are you interested in?11:43pm - Jun 26, 2008As a graduate of Duke's MBA program, I wish to describe which MBA programs excel at which concentrations. By including the schools that are 1st or 2nd at your concentration, you'll be compiling a list of B-schools that are best for you.

First, I divide the Top 15 MBA programs into three categories: The Top 5 MBA programs (Wharton, Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, Columbia -- each is the best at something and excellent at everything else), The Top 10 MBA programs (Chicago, Michigan, MIT, Duke, Dartmouth -- each is second-best at something and excellent at most everything else), and the Top 15 MBA programs (Virginia, UC-Berkeley, NYU, Cornell, and UCLA -- each is excellent at most everything).

First, the main disciplines in which MBA programs compete are: Finance, Marketing, Operations, Management, and Entrepreneurship. Finance is how to value a business venture; Marketing is how to create a niche and get/keep customers; Operations is how to bring a product to market; Management is how to lead the totality of a business; Entrepreneurship is how to develop and market a new business. As much as anything, your personality will direct your interests.

Only Wharton is at or near the top of every disciplines. With top-ranked undergraduate and graduate business programs, Wharton is better conceived of as a business university than a business school. In recent memory, Wharton has catapult its parent school, the University of Pennsylvania, to a top ranking. In contrast, the other top business schools draw their prestige from their parent schools (seriously, go ask people if they've ever heard of Sloan, Ross, or Fuqua). Only Wharton has prestige above and beyond its parent school.

Among the other Top 5 MBA programs, Harvard is best at Management, Stanford at Entrepreneurship/IT, Northwestern at Marketing, and Columbia at NYC connections. All five of these schools are excellent in all areas. Even their struggling disciplines are still in the Top 10 -- even Harvard is thrown a Top 10 Finance bone, even NW a Top 10 Operations bone.

The next 5 schools, The Top 10 MBA programs are all second-best at something. Don't underestimate second-best in an area because second-best is typically beating both Harvard and Stanford. Chicago is second-best in Finance; Michigan is second-best in Management, MIT is second-best in Entrepreneurship/IT, Duke is second-best in Marketing, and Dartmouth is second-best in Strength of Alumni Network.

Attending a Top 10 MBA program works best when you concentrate in the area in which that school is the second-best MBA program. Conversely, I hate to see people who pick a school for its name, such as client of mine who went to MIT although she wished to emphasize Marketing. Talk about a mistake.

I did the right thing -- I concentrated in my school's strength. While at Duke, I took all the Marketing (and Entrepreurship) courses. The primary act in business is Marketing: identifying what people want and developing the best offering possible service to serve that market. Further, I know that I'm better in a small entrepreneurial business and lousy in a large business. Again, your personality can direct you to where you are most likely to thrive.

So if you wish to make it on Wall Street and you don't get accepted at Wharton, Columbia, or Chicago, forget Michigan or Duke -- dig down to a so-called Top 15 MBA program: NYU Stern. Although its typically ranked only 11th through 15th, Stern is a Top 5 MBA program for Finance. Typically, 5 of the Top 15 MBA programs are very impressive in your desired concentration, 5 more are impressive in your desired concentration, and 5 more are best avoided for that concentration.

Finally, do your best to go to a Top 5 MBA program because if you change your mind on your field of concentration, you'll still be at a leading school in your new concentration.

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Mental Endurance Correlates well with Physical Endurance4:15pm - Jun 12, 2008Although many of my future blog entries will discuss either the importance of scoring 700+ (for your prospects of MBA admission, MBA scholarship/fellowship, on-campus interview, ...) or the fundamentals of PS, DS, RC, CR, & SC, today I start my blog history with a simple idea: the GMAT-CAT is 3.5 hour test that is administered to you over a 4 hour period and you had better have great mental endurance to perform your best on the GMAT.

To some people, these 4 hours may not seem like a long stretch. They may reason that, "hey, I spend 4+ hours at my desk every morning and 4+ hours at my desk every afternoon, no big deal." Well, the reason that we can work for 4+ hours straight is that we are performing many repetitive tasks that we can do with our brains half-on. Certainly, working with you brain half-on isn't too demanding, even for 4+ hours. But, except for the AoI and AoA essays, the GMAT isn't about working with your brain half-on. To tackle the incredibly difficult material that the GMAT can throw at you -- such as 140 line RC passages -- you need your brain fully-on. In fact, I'd equate the GMAT with its one hour of essays (brain half-on or three-fourths-on) and two and one-half hours of Quant and Verbal (brain fully-on) equates to working 6 or 7 hours with your brain half-on.

So how do you cultivate nearly 4 hours of high-level mental endurance? Well, two paths come to mind.

My path has largely been a hybrid where both my mental endurace (cultivated through 3-4 hour study sessions, back-to-back classes in college, and half-day academic competitions, actuarial exams, GMAT tests) and physical endurance (cultivated by 3-hour wrestling practices, 10 mile runs, 2-hour weight lifting sessions, and intense interval training in track practices) have benefited each other. In short, my mental endurance helps me keep my focus during a long run or weight-lifting session and my physical endurance helps me keep my focus during a long class or test.

The other path that I have seen work is through sheer mental endurace such as a computer programmer/designer who can push himself to code for 6-8 hours at one sitting, with his brain maybe three-fourths-on most of the time. I have also seen some mathematics graduate students effectively study for 6 hours at a time, but I have the distinct recollection that that study method worked only for the most focused (typically introverted) people.

I offer this as a caveat, because 80-90% of people at business school are extroverts who are not driven to cultivate the skill of being immersed in their (brain-intensive) work for 6+ hours at a sitting. Frankly, even though I have great mental endurance, I have never done brain-intensive work for 6 hours straight. After 4 hours, I am due a break, some sunshine, some food, some fresh air, .. and most people who want to go to business school feel the same way. Heck, I remember one guy from Duke's MBA program who couldn't stand to go 6 weeks living in the same place without taking a vacation.

As such, I recommend that introverts do what they have always done -- develop your mental endurance through sheer mental focus. Good for you if you can do this.

But for the rest of us, the extroverts, we can best develop mental endurance with my hybrid approach: push yourself physically and mentally because the two activities complement one another. The important thing to remember is that you need to push yourself. Walking doesn't count. Jogging doesn't count either.

Running is the best path and I recommend it highly. If you are new to running, start with running just one mile and focus on running faster. If you are man, push yourself to run a 7 minute mile before proceeding to a 2 mile distance run. If you are a woman, push yourself to run a 7.5 minute mile before your proceed to running a 2 mile distance. Keep making yourself meet these speed goals before you allow yourself to run farther. Remember, quality counts much, much more than quantity.

In addition to running, I suggest that you lift weights 3 times a week for 1.5 hours each session. I divide my workouts into Day 1: Legs (Squat, Deadlift, Leg Press, Lunges, Leg Curls, Calf Raises), Day 2: Back and Chest (Wide-Grip Pullups, DB Bench Press, BB Rows (Smith machine), BB Incline Bench Press), and Day 4: Shoulders and Arms (BB Shoulder Press, DB Shoulder Press, Upright Rows, DB Curls, BB Tricep French Press). Each session should be a real challenge.

My recent client in town from Philadelphia, Vinit, joined me for 4 weeks of weights workouts while he was in town and I saw how he improved both his strength 10 to 20%. No doubt his improved physical condition and endurance benefitted his mental endurance as he improved his GMAT score -- with my GMAT prep --from 620 to 740.

One more example, my client James -- who was a national level tri-athlete (swim, bike, run) and who competed in the Ironman held in Hawaii, a 6 to 8 hour race -- had such great endurance that he was always at his highest mental performance level. I prepared him to score 760 on the GMAT and that was with him only taking the GMAT just once. Talk about a client whom I could have prepared to earn an 800 GMAT if he was willing to take the test a second time. To this day, he is my only client whose mental and physical endurance just blew mine away.

So, the moral of the story is get out there and run and lift weights, doing so will not only reduce the stress of GMAT preparation, but also improve your mental endurance that is critical on GMAT test day.

http://perfectgmat.com/cgi-bin/ebb/blog2/index.php
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2008, 08:55
That's a good article. I think it's solid advice about school selection. Whether he scored 800 once or twice, who cares?
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2008, 09:00
jallenmorris wrote:
That's a good article. I think it's solid advice about school selection. Whether he scored 800 once or twice, who cares?


he claims that he is the reason why GMAC deviced the policy that bars 800 takers for 5 years. Just an interesting read dude - though i agree with who cares part!

http://www.perfectgmat.com/shawns.html
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2008, 09:18
I'm the reason my school created a lot of rules ;-), but I don't go bragging about it! (just kdding)

When did GMAC start that rule? I've hever heard of that rule.

mbawaters wrote:
jallenmorris wrote:
That's a good article. I think it's solid advice about school selection. Whether he scored 800 once or twice, who cares?


he claims that he is the reason why GMAC deviced the policy that bars 800 takers for 5 years. Just an interesting read dude - though i agree with who cares part!

http://www.perfectgmat.com/shawns.html

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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2008, 05:43
I think MGMAT has an instructor who has scored 800 twice.
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2008, 05:55
I believe that anyone that can score 750+ could score 800 with enough prep (and a little bit of luck on testing day). Scoring 800 twice doesn't impress me all that much. My questions are:

Which school did that person attend?
Can they hold a conversation with a "normal" person like the rest of us GMATClubbers (not a plumber guy like that Yale professor)?
What is that person doing now?

I'd rather analyze that person holistically, similar to the way the adcoms do. I think if we start to think that our GMAT Score is everything, we run the risk of reading a post by a plummber and not having anything to post in response. :-D
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2008, 05:56
Hope his toilet doesn't clog.
aaron22197 wrote:
I think MGMAT has an instructor who has scored 800 twice.

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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2008, 14:41
Shawn Berry is the only person to have scored 800 twice ever. He is very good at what he does, and yes, anyone who can score mid 700's with enough preparation can nail a 790-800.

What he says about mental endurance is 100% right on the money. Your brain is a muscle too. If you condition it to function in a certain way (ie long sessions at near 100% capacity) it will adapt by growing new neurons and optimizing its glucose consumption. This is much akin to how your muscles adapt-- if you train them to produce maximum power output for short interval (type 2B fast twitch fibers), your muscles will adapt by growing new neurons and maximizing the number of muscle fibres each neuron control unit actives, as well as optimizing the sequence in which they contract. This is how relatively small lifters such as Pyrros Dimas, 85kg (170 lbs), can hang clean 200kg (400 lbs).

Getting to the low to mid 700s requires knowing all of the fundamentals and the proper approach; nailing a high 700 or 800 requires the same thing but you need to be a speed & stamina demon.
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2008, 21:19
getting an 800 requires ability and some luck
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 07:33
Maybe he's very good at the gmat, but I wouldn't ask him to review my essays:

"To cut your GMAT errors in half, you should ask me, Shawn Berry, to teach you the GMAT because: (1) I know the GMAT better than anyone else, (2) I teach the GMAT better than anyone else, and (3) I've devised the best GMAT preparation system."

:roll:

The Shawn Berry facts!!
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 08:06
Scoring 800 on the GMAT is not as easy as you think. 51V is probably a score given to 1 in 1000 at most, and without 51V, you don't get 800 (as far as I know). An 800 GMAT is like running 100m in 10.5 seconds- you need to be exceptionally talented.

The great news is that unless you are applying for a merit-based scholarship or want to earn a living as a GMAT instructor, a 730-750 GMAT is just as valid as a 780-800 GMAT. Adcoms of top business schools really don't give it another thought. It's just an indication of your ability to handle the academic component of an MBA program, and if you have 720 or higher on the GMAT , your essays, recommendation letters and interview are far more important.
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 08:17
I'm sure he's a bright guy and makes a lot of interesting points in the blog article. He's still a doobie haha

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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 09:14
Tarmac wrote:
I'm sure he's a bright guy and makes a lot of interesting points in the blog article. He's still a doobie haha

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Classic. :lol:
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 09:16
So how is he doing now? He scored 800 twice on the GMAT, is a tutor / mentor now for testers. I guess we have to ask ourselvse: doobie or not, would we be happy with the career/life style he has now?

I think I would be.

He charges a boatload for his services. Works when he wants to. Has tons of successful educated b-schoolers that equate their success with acceptance to school (and all that comes with that) to him. Not bad.

smkrn wrote:
Tarmac wrote:
I'm sure he's a bright guy and makes a lot of interesting points in the blog article. He's still a doobie haha

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Classic. :lol:

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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 09:46
I wouldn't want his lifestyle. He's well-known as a doobie. I heard he is very hard to work with at times. He's been sued more than once in open court for breach of contract. He seems to do all his tutoring himself, basically so he doesn't have to pay any teaching staff. His income is not very scalable, if he wants 20% more money next year, he has to work 20% more hours next year. What is he going to do when he is 50 years old? Take the GMAT every 5 years to get an 800? Would you want that?
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 09:52
Does he have anyone else that works under him and tutors? He could create the Shawn Berry brand and whoever he has teach under his name may not have gotten 800 twice, but I'm sure they'd still be impressive. There is more he can do than just work 20% more hours. But that's a con of being a one-doobie show.


Tarmac wrote:
I wouldn't want his lifestyle. He's well-known as a doobie. I heard he is very hard to work with at times. His income is not very scalable, if he wants 20% more money next year, he has to work 20% more hours next year. Would you want that?

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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 10:40
For $10,000, one would hope one was getting the 'real deal'! What make him hard to work with ?
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 10:46
He wouldn't be able to charge $10k if he were not going to be the person's tutor. Whatever tutor did work for him would be getting the reputation of being "screened" by Shawn Berry. Like when Microsoft says "This is a great product!" We know to be skeptical about it, or if Google says "This is a great product!" We all run out and start using it. We trust Google.

kevincan wrote:
For $10,000, one would hope one was getting the 'real deal'! What make him hard to work with ?

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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 10:47
kevincan wrote:
For $10,000, one would hope one was getting the 'real deal'! What make him hard to work with ?


do an internet search for perfectgmat and you will see many threads regarding him.

His business model is terribly flawed. It is based on the appeal of working _directly_ with this person who got 800 x 2. It makes it extremely problematic to insert a surrogate tutor and claim that is the same experience. And from internet message boards, his training does not seem to use anything new, he just teaches you himself from the OG11 and charges 10k for it. If he has not developed any new training method and he has no way to extend his teaching to other tutors, he is at a dead end.

From a career perspective he would have probably been better off applying at MGMAT as a tutoring manager and working his way up to being Director of teaching staff so that he can try to add improvements or his own knowledge to their method. But, I bet he is either too hard to work with, or too egotistical, or too stupid.
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Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2008, 11:03
If he gets 25 students a year, that's not a bad income for a low-pressure job! It is thrilling to feel that you are making a difference in someone's career, and it's nice to be your own boss. If you feel like giving someone a free class to boost his/her morale, you can do so!
Re: Interesting blog from someone who scored 800 twice   [#permalink] 16 Jul 2008, 11:03
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