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Did I lost two years studying GMAT, or I didn't?

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GMAT 1: 500 Q32 V28
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Did I lost two years studying GMAT, or I didn't? [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2016, 07:12
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Hi dudes,

I have been a regular visitor of this amazing forum since 2014 and I have always desired to write down my experience.
I have spent 2+ years studying for the GMAT and during these 2 years the situation changed quickly, as my thoughts about GMAT and MBA as well.
I have read many posts of many users saying they spent 1-2-3 even 4 years studying for the GMAT, sacrificing friends, parents, life, opportunities ect. for a 700+, but is this exam so important to get into a good Business School? Taking an MBA degree is also important to get the job, salary and lifestyle you want? above all considering the current macroeconomic situation?

If you are curious to read a different opinion, I invite you to keep reading.

BACKGROUND:
I am an European Lawyer with international experience, currently working for a Big 4 consulting firm. After a couple of months I joined the firm, I realized I didn't like my job at all and wanted to go abroad, having a more challenging job (not in the law field!). What could I do to achieve my new goal? Well, an MBA seemed to me the most straightforward way to be more competitive and to get what I wanted. For this reason I started to gather infos about Business Schools, MBA programs and all the necessary requirements I should have had, including the GMAT.
For this reason, I decided to keep my job (because BSchools see it as good) and started to open the books for the GMAT, thinking it would took me no more than 9 months... :D
As you can imagine, as a lawyer, I studied law for many years and forgot completely every math notion.... I remember that when I started studying for the GMAT, I wasn't even able to perform a simple algebraic expression or division :| , so embarrassed...

STUDY TIME:
I started to study alone in February 2014, just to familiarize with the test format and to cover some basic math and verbal notions. I used the MGMAT books, which are very good for donkey like me (especially the math foundation).
After a month of studying I decided to take my first CAT, where I scored only 360!!!
Considering the very bad situation I took my first GMAT live course, thanks to which I got some basics, but I spent a lot of money and, honestly, the course was nothing special even if instructors were always nice and ready to help you!
After this course, I practiced a lot, studying 15-20 hours per week, getting some improvements, but the score I wanted was still so far (my score in CATs was between 500-520).
6 months later, after spending all the energy I had, I didn’t know how to reach a decent score, so I decided to hire a tutor who could help me. This guy was from USA and he previously worked for a big GMAT brand (e.g MGMAT, Princenton, Kaplan ect…just to get the idea) – I thought I am in the right hands now.
We spent the whole winter together, covering the basics and applying some strategies e.g. that one of spending as much time as you can to get the first 10 questions right. For this guy, the only way to score high was to get these first 10 questions right and then, if time remained, trying to get the others right as well. FYI, THIS STRATEGY IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG FOR THE GMAT!!!
If from one side I spent the whole winter covering the basics and refreshing some arguments, form the other side, I spent a lot of time and money in private lessons.

In the meanwhile, I kept studying as much as I could, doing a job I didn’t like, losing many friends, girls, life experiences, networking opportunities, career opportunities. I did just 3 things: Working, Studying and Gym twice a week, that’s it!

Anyway, when the 2015 summer came, I decided to take my first GMAT real exam, considering I was scoring in CATs around 580. On the exam day, the real score was around 490…so nasty 
After the exam I emailed the tutor to inform him about it and I remember he neither got back to me…

Up to this moment, if from one side my quant skills didn’t increased a lot, my verbal skills improved dramatically. This was the only positive note anyway…
After the exam and during summer of 2015, I took a break of 1 month and then I started to follow a new GMAT course for about 5 months: EMPOWER GMAT COURSE.
This course was very good (and cheap compared to other courses), because I was already acknowledged of the foundations of quant and verbal it boosted up my score a bit. When taking CATs I was used to get something between 580 and 640, so I decided to take a new GMAT exam- in January 2016. Unfortunately, the exam didn’t go well and I didn’t get the score I was aiming to, so I canceled the score.

In the meanwhile, other 5 months passed, I kept studying as much as I could, doing a job I didn’t like, losing friends, girls, life experiences and ABOVE ALL networking and career opportunities. I have also spoken with many MBA graduates in order to know more about their Bschool and post MBA opportunities….

I was fed up and my motivation decreased dramatically, I wasn’t able to study alone anymore so I decided to make my last “poker ALL IN”: spending all the necessary money and time to get this f***ing GMAT and move on with my life.

I took some research and realized that MGMAT is one of the best company for GMAT. I have read also feedbacks about MGMAT tutors and they were all positive, so I hired a tutor for 10+ hours, spending an avalanche of money.
The MGMAT staff was nice and available to get back to my emails always. The tutor was nice as well and he gave me some good advice, but, to be honest, he was almost always busy (replying to my emails after some days) and for the amount of money spent I was expecting to acquire the Stephen Hawking’s knowledge. What I learnt I could get reading some books by myself… Even if the course helped me, it was so expensive guys!
When I finished this course, I took another real GMAT exam, but my score increased slightly…so nothing changed more or less.

And again, In the meanwhile, other months passed, I kept studying as much as I could, doing a job I didn’t like, losing friends, girls, life experiences, networking and career opportunities. Keep talking with different MBA graduates at the same time…

Fortunately, after a while I talked about the GMAT with a friend of mine who studied with a statistic professor and- mu friend- scored 650. Considering that my verbal skills were quite high (sub score:36,37 almost in every CAT), I took some hours with this professor who really helped me to fix in my mind some quant concepts. He was cheap, always available and competent- he also never tried to make me purchase more hours, compared to other instructors.
After studying with him just 8 hours my quant sub score increased 40-44 in every CAT, so I said to myself “this is the right moment”. I took the exam 2 weeks ago and I have been able to score slightly below 600, which is not at all the score I was used to get during CATs (650-640).
Even though I have never reached this score before, I decided to finish here my GMAT journey.

MATERIAL USED:
- OG13 and OG 16;
- MGMAT books (ALL!!!) + MGMAT CATs;
- Princenton review, 1037 excercises;
- OG exam pack 1 and OG extra question bank;
- EMPOWER GMAT;
- PRIVATE TUTORING (3 different tutors)

GMAT ADVICE:
Avoid Tutors if is not necessary! They are expensive and you can understand whatever concepts alone. If I did, you can as well;
Cover very well the basics of Verbal and Quant, then track your errors and study the concepts related to that mistake you made.
USE THIS FORUM TO SEE HOW A QUESTION SHOULD BE ANSWERED, IT IS AMAZING!
Do not spend more than 1 year studying hard. If you don’t get your desired score in this time frame, take the score you get and move on, or study a different strategy than taking GMAT or MBA. Life outside promises you many opportunities (not only for business), of different types, and you cannot afford to lose them.

PERSONAL CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT GMAT AND MBA:
If you are very talented and have a track of success stories, but BSchool don’t accept you because you didn’t get 700 or because you don’t come from a top company it is their problem not yours, you still can reach your goals in another way.
During these years I talked with many MBA graduates from different BSchools (HBS, Columbia, LBS, ISNEAD, Tsinghua, Warwick, HKU, IE, Cambridge, HKUST, CEIBS ect.) and I got a lot of feedbacks both positive and negative. What I have realized is that having an MBA degree from a top notch BSchool doesn’t guarantee you at 100% the best job of your life, as happened some years ago. Currently, the cost of an MBA is always increasing, the competition is higher and spending tons of money for this degree is not anymore the only way to reach your goals (e.g. see many entrepreneurs that spent their money to run their own companies instead of getting an MBA).
What I am saying is that having an MBA is still a life-changing experience (and, in my particular case, I am determined to get an MBA from a good BSchool, considering that with a degree in law I won’t go too far into a company organization), but maybe doesn’t worth the time, effort and money that many people devote.
The same could be applied for the GMAT I guess; this test is not a reliable indicator of Business acumen or success. Many MBA graduates told me they had classmates who got scores of 750, 780 but they were socially incapable and able only to be ruled, while, on the contrary, other classmates who got low GMAT scores were very smart and talented (maybe with many success business stories on their shoulders).
Just to don’t be misunderstood, I am not saying at all that the GMAT is useless, as it is getting a top MBA, only because I didn’t get my desired score. I still think that reaching a good GMAT score and getting into a top BSchool is something amazing, but, considering my personal experience, I see things differently now, that’s it.

I hope that my personal experience helped you to see things differently or to improve your determination to get 700+ and get into a top tier MBA :)

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Status: On a 600-long battle
Joined: 22 Apr 2016
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Location: Hungary
Concentration: Accounting, Leadership
Schools: Erasmus '20
GMAT 1: 410 Q18 V27
GMAT 2: 490 Q35 V23
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Did I lost two years studying GMAT, or I didn't? [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2016, 02:11
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Hi Pepo,

Thank you for your debrief. You persevered for over 2 years and did not give up. That's truly amazing.

I feel as if I am on your shoes. I have just reneged on a job offer because I want to continue focused on my GMAT studies. My relationship has been on the verge of collapsing ever since the GMAT got into my life. Friends, well, only the true ones remained.

Anyways, I hope you succeed with your plans and let us know how your school selection and application go!
_________________

"When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!"

|Welcoming tips/suggestions/advices (you name it) to help me achieve a 600|

Kudos [?]: 21 [2] , given: 392

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Status: MBA Admissions Consultant
Affiliations: MBA Prep Coach
Joined: 24 Mar 2015
Posts: 842

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Farrell D Hehn: MBA
Re: Did I lost two years studying GMAT, or I didn't? [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2016, 15:32
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Congratulations on your success. In defense of tutors, not all teachers are the same. Many of my clients have made massive huge breakthroughs with me and the tutors they had before didn't care weren't helpful and basically were just phoning it in. My course actually has specific strategies you can apply not helping you upgrade skills or teaching you English. There a lot of people that would not have gotten into a top business school if not for me . So I just had to chime in on that :-)

Farrell Dyan Hehn, MBA
Admissions Consultant & Verbal Tutor MBAPrepCoach.com
_________________

Farrell Dyan
http://MBAPrepCoach.com
http://PoetsandQuants.com/Consultants/Farrell-Dyan
"You don't often come across people so perceptive and empathetic." - EM, NYC

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Location: Viet Nam
Schools: Booth '19
GMAT 1: 770 Q60 V60
GPA: 4
Did I lost two years studying GMAT, or I didn't? [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jul 2016, 00:15
Sorry to hear of your bad experience with tutors and courses. Unfortunately, tutors and courses vary in teaching style quality as much as students vary in learning style and background. Mismatches are hard to avoid - most of the time, you have to be lucky to find just the right course or tutor, whereas you may have only one shot at the test. I would suggest to other GMAT students though, that when you pick a course, be sure to read its reviews on this forum, and that when you pick a tutor, try to get recommendations from this forum. Many of the frequent, helpful posters on this forum are also GMAT tutors; if you like their styles, reach out to them. If they are too busy to spend time with you, they will probably be able to refer you to someone else as capable. Posters on this forum often have a reputation to uphold. ;)
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Offering top quality online and offline GMAT tutoring service in Vietnam, Southeast Asia, and worldwide.

$50/hour as of February 2017.


http://www.facebook.com/HanoiGMATtutor
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Did I lost two years studying GMAT, or I didn't? [#permalink]

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New post 23 Mar 2017, 06:40
pepo wrote:
I took some research and realized that MGMAT is one of the best company for GMAT. I have read also feedbacks about MGMAT tutors and they were all positive, so I hired a tutor for 10+ hours, spending an avalanche of money.
The MGMAT staff was nice and available to get back to my emails always. The tutor was nice as well and he gave me some good advice, but, to be honest, he was almost always busy (replying to my emails after some days) and for the amount of money spent I was expecting to acquire the Stephen Hawking’s knowledge. What I learnt I could get reading some books by myself… Even if the course helped me, it was so expensive guys!


Hi pepo,

I absolutely agree with you: IMO, MGMAT is soooo expensive and there is no point to purchase private tutoring at that price.

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Re: Did I lost two years studying GMAT, or I didn't? [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2017, 19:40
Hey, Firstly congratulations on your success.

Thanks for the detailed write up about tutors or courses. I am considering something on this line and your experiences will help me choose carefully.

Cheers :)

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Re: Did I lost two years studying GMAT, or I didn't?   [#permalink] 10 Apr 2017, 19:40
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