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My Rough Start (A Tad Long)

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My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2010, 01:14
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Hi everyone,
This is my first post. I have been lurking here for a bit and thought it was high time to actually post something. It being nearly 2 a.m. and unable to sleep, now seems like a good time. Oh, and a nice bit of venting will soon commence in the hope that it gets all the frustration out and sleep can finally come!

So first, my background is a tad unorthodox. I did a fine job on my undergrad at a local school and graduated with my bachelors…in European History. Now, at that time, I thought teaching was the direction for me. After a few years, I figured out it certainly was NOT. I love to teach, but kids’ parents are annoying, admin is a joke, and the pay is absolutely insane. So, a career change was in order.

Looking around, I figured I would give business a shot. I landed a job as a secretary of all things. I did well at my job, though I’ll admit part of that is I’m very good at looking busy/intelligent/industrious while screwing around. After a couple of years, and a few promotions, I was the office manager of a nice little consulting firm in S.F. Now I had the problem of hitting a ceiling. In that position, there wasn’t much higher I could climb. Darn it all to heck and back, I was frustrated (I'm a tad ambitious)!

So, again looking around, I thought of how I was good at using my company’s accounting software and seemed to just ‘get’ numbers. Now why I ‘get’ numbers is beyond me, but I find myself counting random things in a meeting. If someone is throwing around numbers, I naturally start adding them, or doing something with them mentally. Also, not that I really understand it, but according to those funky tests you take in school for aptitude, I seemed to always score high with pattern recognition and pulling order out of seeming chaos. Whatever.

Now, knowing I had a knack for numbers and such, I thought accounting was the way to go. So I jumped right off that safe (and highly overpaid) bridge to take a big pay cut as a lowly bookkeeper. At the same time I was back in school taking a huge number of courses (working and going to school full time is NO joke) to prep for the CPA (did I mention that I’m ambitious?).

Fast forwarding a few years, I now have my CPA, an additional piece of paper as a CFE, and am manager of my company’s accounting department. Quite a jump in only a few years (stupid ambition). The problem is, I don’t know what the heck I’m doing half the time (remember my comment earlier about my skills at looking industrious?). The accounting is fine, though I could wish for more challenges. My weakness is the management stuff. I just don’t seem to get it. So, once again, I’m looking for a way to fix this and came up with the idea of an MBA. I really want to climb the ladder to CFO or something comparable some day. As I am now, with this skill set, that isn’t too likely (nor would I deserve it). I know there are holes in my knowledge, I admit them, and am very motivated to fix this.

I decided that only a little while ago. Like I do so much in life, I’ve jumped in with gusto ordering stuff and studying like crazy (while still working full time). The problem is, I forgot just about EVERYTHING in math that I used to know. Holy crap on a crutch! My last college math class was my freshman year, which was 13 years ago! I will admit that, after only a few days of studying, and finishing 2 of the Manhattan Quant books, that I feel better about some of the stuff. Still, great googlymoogly, some of this stuff is dense. I don’t know if my experience is the same as others. I can only hope, as sad as that is, that some of the members with big scores were in the same boat as me. I might just be self-delusional enough to convince myself of that, even if it wasn’t the case.

So….I take heart from some of the posts on here and hope I can someday say I got some crazy score. I look back on all this and think, how did I get here?

OK, venting done. I think I might finally get some sleep. If you actually read this, kudos to you, and why are you reading all of this anyway???
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2010, 10:27
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nah im just kidding. why I read all that? I don't know. Maybe to better my reading comp skills? Math isn't bad. If you're serious about the GMAT I would recommend the Manhattan series and Kaplan and OG. Everything else is pretty garbage.
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2010, 10:57
I guess I should have mentioned that I have the 8 book Manhattan set as well as the OG Guide (all 3 books). It seems to be taking me ~10 hours per Manhattan book so far.

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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2010, 11:21
A CMA (Cost & Managment Accountant) welcomes a CPA!!! :)

I wanna tell you a secret, so dont share with any one else. If you wanna go to your dream school or even to a low elite MBA, believe me you can do it, provided you stay here at gmat club. When I joined this forum, I used to set 670 as my target gmat score but now I dream for 700+ (no matter what happens in real day). Give some time to this forum daily & you will get huge benefit.

OG + MGMAT = Sufficient, no need for Kaplan. GMAT Club tests are great so that can be an extra source too.

No more IFRS chapters to remember, focus on MGMAT :)

Best of luck!!
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2010, 12:03
Expert's post
I will join the group and say - you can definitely do it.
Not sure, however, that an MBA can teach you good management skills - i have doubts. Mostly because you won't have anyone to manage (except your team mates and that's different). An MBA is absolutely valuable but I would suggest hitting up somebody you see/admire as a good manager and as to be mentored/hang around them as much as possible. That's the second best way to learn management if you don't have "built in" skills, and many/most people don't. Only a few are really good managers...

that will give you 2 things:
1. Management skills fairly quickly
2. Save $100K on MBA
3. Strength to go into MBA if you need it (to a better school)

Just venting back :)
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2010, 18:29
Hi Hussain, thanks for the welcome. It's nice to see a fellow bean counter on here, even if both of us are bent on a transition away from it. I agree that this forum should be quite a help for me. I've been reading a lot of the posts, especially the ones concerning the posters' success stories. Just reading that others have gone through the rough patches helps a lot. It's great to see that the old adage, "misery loves company" is still alive and well.

BB: Thanks for the advice. I perhaps shouldn't have been so flippant in saying my problem was just in management. I should say that my background from school and the years immediately after were in no way business related. I didn't even take a business (or marketing) course until I was doing my prep for the CPA exams. So the problem I face in business seems to be the assumption of knowledge people have. I am often in the dark about things others find fundamental or basic. I know I've been guilty of this myself when I assume someone that isn't a CPA understands me when I start in on some dense topic. Now there are ways around this, only one of which is pursuit of the MBA. I realize that there are trade-offs involved. Heck, the sticker shock alone is a big trade-off. That being said, after research on here as well as other sources, it seems like the right path. I can't say I've always picked the 'right' path in life, but I've never regretted all that I've learned. I doubt I would regret the MBA either. As for finding a good manager as a mentor, I would be all for it...now if I could only find such a manager...
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2010, 22:02
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2010, 23:20
Kissthegmat: I definitely plan on taking the GMATclub tests. That seems like almost a must, according to others on here with high scores. Still, thanks for the tip. I am open to any tips as you never know where a nugget of gold will surface!
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2010, 23:56
VinceCPA,

Sounds like you are quite a motivated guy - if you had the perseverance to get through all four sections of the silly but yet extremely frustrating CPA exam, I'm confident that you'll succeed in the GMAT arena.

It's great that you've found this forum - many people who score well on the GMAT, or quant specifically, are not super duper math geniuses. (My apologies to those of you who truly are "super duper math geniuses") The test definitely can be "learned" via practice and just getting used to all the shortcuts to save you precious time. You didn't mention where you stand for Verbal, but I'm assuming that you've scoured the rest of this forum for advice on how to succeed, so I won't beat a dead horse here.

Just wanted to send you some encouragement and good vibes your way - best of luck studying! It won't be fun, but it'll all be worth it when you see a 700+ score on your screen come test day. Feel free to PM if you have any additional questions!
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2010, 20:36
bosunnusob: Thanks for the encouragement, it's definitely appreciated. As for verbal, I'm not nearly as worried about it as the Quant. I did a random sampling of verbal questions from the OG12 and found much of the questions right up my alley. I will still work on the strategies from the Manhattan guides after finishing the Quant. I'm not nearly cocky enough to imagine I'm that good at the verbal stuff to skip good tips and strategies.

At this point, I'm on the third Quant book of the Manhattan guides and I'm starting to feel much better about the whole thing. I was hoping this would happen and am glad it has. The guides are written in such a way that they complement each other. Things that were confusing in the first two books are becoming clear at this point and I'm not missing too many questions now. I can only imagine things will get even better as I work through the rest of the 8 part set. Then, I have all the OG books to work towards. Things are definitely looking up!
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2010, 20:46
I thought I'd throw in a quick update: I've completed the first four books of Manhattan as of this afternoon. I decided to try a quick test on the Quant, just to see how I was doing. I took the OG prep a couple of weeks ago and bombed it (only took the first Quant section and gave up in frustration). That hurt but wasn't surprising. What was surprising is that I scored at 87% a few minutes ago in Quant (not GMATprep). That seems like quite a jump! I think I can chalk it down to finally starting to remember all the junk I forgot all those years ago. Oh, and studying my butt off too! I haven't even cracked Geometry yet, so I'm hopeful. Still, one practice test is only a little motivation. In the end, it doesn't mean too much. Oh, and I wonder if I was a tad lucky. Some of the early questions were downright simple! Also, I'll have to see how GMATprep treats me next.

Last edited by VinceCPA on 05 Aug 2010, 15:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 03 Aug 2010, 15:15
Vince,

I'm diggin your blog bro! Keep up the good work. I'll update mine as soon as I start the MGMAT series.
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 03 Aug 2010, 16:05
Hey Womiwom, sounds good. I replied to your own thread. It is a good feeling to know that there are other people in the same boat as me.
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 03 Aug 2010, 16:28
VinceCPA wrote:
I thought I'd throw in a quick update: I've completed the first four books of Manhattan as of this afternoon. I decided to try a quick test on the Quant, just to see how I was doing. I took the OG prep a couple of weeks ago and bombed it (only took the first Quant section and gave up in frustration). That hurt but wasn't surprising. What was surprising is that I scored at 87% a few minutes ago in Quant. That seems like quite a jump! I think I can chalk it down to finally starting to remember all the junk I forgot all those years ago. Oh, and studying my butt off too! I haven't even cracked Geometry yet, so I'm hopeful. Still, one practice test is only a little motivation. In the end, it doesn't mean too much. Oh, and I wonder if I was a tad lucky. Some of the early questions were downright simple!


I'm about to start working through the MGMAT Quant books and hoping for the results you are seeing. I only ordered the Equations and Number Properties books from Amazon since I am the weakest in these areas, but if I see the kind of improvement you are after these, I may just have to get the others too. Thanks for the story, it's giving me some home :wink:
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2010, 05:19
The MGMAT guides are legit. At first before any prep, I was struggling to get through the first 50 problems on OG 12. Now going through every single MGMAT guide, I have a good chance of figuring out all of the PS problems on OG 12 (Untimed).
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2010, 08:23
Dawgie wrote:
The MGMAT guides are legit. At first before any prep, I was struggling to get through the first 50 problems on OG 12. Now going through every single MGMAT guide, I have a good chance of figuring out all of the PS problems on OG 12 (Untimed).


I agree. I actually have the GMATclub app for my iPhone, which I downloaded before I cracked the books. I went through a couple questions a few weeks ago and gave up as they seemed impossible (little did I know at the time that they are considered "hard" questions). Last night I looked at a few and actually figured out some right answers. I'm not getting every single one, but some is definitely better than none. I can only imagine I have the Manhattan series to thank for that.
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My Rough Start Is Getting Smoother [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2010, 15:12
Another quick update for my story. I took a first crack at the GMATprep exactly two weeks ago. I scored a 420. I didn't have the heart to type that earlier as that was just sad. Now, after just two weeks and only getting through the Quant section of the Manhattan series, I just scored a 590 on the GMATprep. The breakdown was pretty even (36Q, 35V). I'm feeling a bit better. I always knew that Quant would be the death of me. Also, I haven't even touched the Verbal stuff in any of my guides. So, in summary, I have worked my way through the first 5 Manhattan Guides, have the 3 Verbal to go, and then on to the OG Quant, OG Verbal and OG 12th. After I finish those, I think I'll take a second quick run through the Manhattan Quant stuff, just as a refresher. Oh, and of course I'll be going through questions on here as well as other practice material and tests.
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2010, 15:57
Vince,
That's a great improvement! 170 points in just two weeks! Just think of where you'll be in two months. Keep up the good work.

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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2010, 16:04
Thanks Womiwom. I just did a quick review of my practice test and I can see where I made some silly errors. I really should have done better. Oh well, that's something to take into the future. My problem really comes down to my pace. Time Management and I don't get along. It isn't that I run out of time, far from it. I finished Quant with 10+ minutes left and over 20 minutes left on Verbal. Shoot, I really need to slow down. I guess the idea of timing has me going faster than necessary. I guess I'll just have to get better with practice.

And yeah, on the positive side, I feel really good about the improvement. I think I have a great chance of a home run on Verbal, which should give my score a very nice bump. I really don't think I'll max the Quant, but I can definitely do much better.

Also, to those that say you can't improve your score with studying....MEH to that thought!
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Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long) [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2010, 16:32
Congrats man! thats a great improvement in such a short time. I been keeping up with your blog, I need to update mine lol, but im in a similar situation from you starting from scratch essentially, its good to read about the progress of others at the same stage
Re: My Rough Start (A Tad Long)   [#permalink] 05 Aug 2010, 16:32
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