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It's my first post on this website. First of all, I would like to say that you guys have done an amazing job with this website! It is extremely helpful! Good job guys! Recently, I decided that I would like to do an MBA from a top 15 school at some point in my life. Therefore, I would really appreciate it if you guys can give me some advice on doing well in the GMAT. Thanks in advance!
Background: Nationality: Canadian/Pakistani Age: 20 - will turn 21 right before graduation Current Status: Student - B'Com June 2012 Rotman Commerce, University of Toronto Expected GPA upon graduation: 3.4 - Graduating with Distinction (anything above 3.2 at U of T is distinction - just mentioning it because I don't know how relevant it will be) Work: Auditor - Will be working towards a CA designation at one of the Big 4 accounting firms in Toronto starting Sept 2012. Additional Info: I am thinking about sitting for the CFA exams as well. 1st Exam is in June, I have nothing better to do as I start work in September, my friends are giving it, so might as well study for it and give it. Practical Experience requirement for CA is 36 months. Therefore, will be at the firm for at least 3 years hopefully - which is more than enough time to sit for CFA levels 2 and potentially 3. Post-Audit: Not sure what I want to do, maybe move into Advisory or Corporate Finance for 2 years before applying to Grad School.
GMAT: Expected Age: 26 Experience: 3 Years of Audit and potentially 2 of Advisory/Corporate Finance Objective: 700+ for top 15 school Worst Nemesis: Reading Comprehension, I haven't done any mock test but I am pretty sure I will not do that great - I am saying it based on how I fared in the SAT 1 back in high school. I am sure that there is no comparison between the SAT and the GMAT - but I remember I aced the Math section, but I bombed the reading comprehension section, and the GMAT is even more difficult - so point being if I sit for the GMAT I will probably screw up the reading comprehension. Weakness: English Solution: Develop a reading habit. Goal: Reading a book a week for the rest of my life.
QUESTION: What else can I do for the next couple of years in my life or what habits should I develop so that I am in top shape when I start preparing for the actual test? So far the only thing I can think of is to become an avid reader and to develop a strong reading habit. I saw the post with the list of books to read, I am going to start with it right away.
Schools like people who are involved in the community. Find something to get involved with that you care about and stick with it.
Other than that, your profile looks good. Just remember, you need things to stand out in your application. There are lots of auditors/accountants who apply to b-school, you need to answer why are you a better fit than the others.
Thanks Zay! I'm trying to pretty hard to plan and take control of my life. Unfortunately, every time I do that - Joker's dialogue from the Dark Knight comes to my mind: "Everbody's got plans. You know they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I try to show schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are"... and then I get discouraged. Sigh.
Welcome! Just take your time and get familiar with admission criteria and test overview. As you have some more time to prepare, i would not rush into it at all. Extracurriclum activities and community work are good points on your cv. So consider things like this for the next few years.
As an ex Big 4 myself... I will give you this advice. Between the accounting exam and getting adjusted to the new job you will not know up from down for the first 2 years. I would say CFA will make your life even more difficult that it needs to be.
So I propose: Year 1 - Focus on work... you will be thrown into tons of trainings and the learning curve is steep. Make sure you are ready for it. Busy season on its own will test what you are made of.
Year 2 - CA exam focus and Big 4 will give you plenty of opportunities to get community service involvement. Pick one of their causes and stick with it.
Year 3 - Do CFA here (if you want to, you may decide it wont do much in terms of career advancement by this time). This is also promotion year for most Big 4s so kick career into overdrive... At this point you will be reading tons of accounting literature so you are working on your RC skills. In addition, you will be expected to read various industry publications so that will help as well.
Year 4 - GMAT should be here... but also ensure that you are on track for manager promotion. Great time to do an overseas assignment... looks good on applications and Big 4 almost require it for manager promotion.
Year 5 - Hey you should be manager by now... another promotion year! Kicker here... Big 4 may pick up the cost of an EMBA at this point. You already took the GMAT or have been studying for it to take soon. Get your ducks in a row and you are ready to apply!
Hopefully this helps!
Last... you will live in excel... dont forget how to do mental math... I sure did!
Unfortunately, every time I do that - Joker's dialogue from the Dark Knight comes to my mind: "Everbody's got plans. You know they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I try to show schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are"... and then I get discouraged. Sigh.
Joker also said, " Why so serious? " . You are too young at this stage, and 5 years down the line, you might not want to do an MBA at all . Thinking ahead is good, but leave 5 year plans to government policies. For now, Live your life, see the world.
P.S. You should definitely think about GMAT if you want your MBA punched right after college. But, in your case, I assume that you have ruled out that possibility altogether.