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Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2015, 02:14
1
Gnpth wrote:
FROM GNPTH: I have been screwed up so many times in life. And it’s not gonna stop me!!
Yes, I have been screwed up. Not the first time though. After a long preparation, I scored a 680(Q47, V34). I was literally shocked to see that score. I took a break for 2 days to completely forget about it. I have decided to give it one final shot, hoping to reach the elusive 740+ Score!!. Since I want to put a solid application, I will be retaking the GMAT and apply for Round-2 application cycle.

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I asked to bb(GMAT Club Founder), my fellow moderators Gmat Club & my family. They really motivated me. The words and encouragement from them gave me needed charge/boost to give it final shot. But this time, I’m gonna give it all and see what it takes to reach the elusive score. I have put a plan and no matter what, I’m going to stick to it.

It’s an intense 40 days plan before my last & final GMAT(November 2nd week). Materials to prepare are hard to come by as i almost finished everything. Since, the basics are still fresh in my mind, i will be just concentrating on my weakness and practicing to improve them. I have got the ESR, and analyzed where I need to concentrate more. And I will be working towards to it in these 40 days.

First of with the Quant, I need to increase the Q47 to Q50 and then maintain that level while I prepare to improve my verbal from V34 to V42 or V 44. I believe it will work, and I believe I can reach.

This is my first post after a long time. There have been so many changes in life and work. Lot of work related foreign trips and Lot of fight within myself to pursue the dream and many more. I hope to see failure behind me; and I hope to see perseverance and success ahead of me!!

Finally, I wish luck for all my fellow applicants who are applying for R1 and I wish luck for all those who are taking/retaking GMAT to get their target score and target schools.

Until next time,

GNPTH.

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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


Are you sure that you mentioned your correct score because I appeared for GMAT last week and scored 670 (Q47, V35). How did you get a score of 680 when we both scored same in quant and my verbal score in 1 point higher. :roll: :roll: :shock: :shock:
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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2015, 14:01
1
FROM MBA For Tech: Bloomberg Businessweek 2015 ranking analysis
Ok, a disclaimer: I really like it! Do I agree with it? No. Do I love the fact that they actually tried to address the problems they had? Yes.

Before we start:

Bloomberg BW 2015 ranking

I’m really interested in rankings and the fact that I scored most popular MBA rankings on the first day of this blog should say a lot about that.

As I have written just a few days ago their methodology was really bad, I assigned a score of 2/10 to it and recommended to stay away. No more!

I think there is no point in discussing changes in rankings of schools, because no school in top-25 has the same rank they had last year and that’s not because the schools changed, but because of the methodology.

Methodology

Well, this is the source reason for all of other changes, the methodology is substantially different from the old one, which was as follows:

Student survey (45%), Employer survey (45%), Research (10%)

Quoting my main points against it:

“Another ranking I don’t use, as I wrote before, research has nothing to do with the quality of Business school and 45% weight to graduating students? Seems like there might be some bias going on.

Any school that invests more time and money to “experience” will get a higher place than rigorous programs, that might explain how Duke Fuqua came before M7 + Tuck. It’s important to remember that students that get into Fuqua are different from those in HBS in terms of expectations, hence it is easier to satisfy them, while HBS students might consider getting into MBB and not PE/VC a fail (many of them come from MBB already).”

That didn’t even touch on every problem with the methodology, but overall correctly reflected my unwillingness to spend time using/discussing/thinking about Bloomberg BW ranking.

New one is much better: it incorporated the best points from other methodologies, but stayed true to BW survey based nature:

Employer Survey (35%), Alumni Survey (30%), Student Survey (15%), Job Placement Rate (10%), Starting Salary (10%).

Employer Survey (35%) decreased from 50%, but seems the approach didn’t. What I think is missing is ’employers rating’! Probably, the employers themselves should be ranked as some are more demanding than others, an MBB has higher expectations than a regional advisory, in former you compete with the cream of the crop and the latter is more diverse in terms of ability of employees, hence it’s easier to shine there. Maybe the students should be asked to rank their employer among direct competitors? I mean, some thought should be given to this, there are a lot of opportunities for improvement.

Student Survey went from 45% to 15% and, as expected, Duke fell down and HBS got higher, actually they swapped places, from 1th to 8th and vice versa. Funnily, these are the exact two schools I discussed in my blog a few days ago!

They added Alumni survey and gave it a considerable weight, after 2 happy years at their school, people lose the euphoria and are better able to assess the role the school has played in their professional lives. Still, different people have different expectations, Chicago is placed 29th and I’d like to know why exactly to better understand how Alumni survey works.

Introduction of Job Placement Rate. Ok, this one I don’t like much, they say that: “We define job placement rate as the percentage of graduates who secured full-time employment within three months of graduation, out of all graduates who sought it.”  And that’s a great approach, but let’s use common sense test, let’s compare an ultra-elite HBS (ranked 35) with some 2-3 tier school from the same region, so BU Questrom (31). So, how comes? Well, I don’t know exactly, maybe HBS graduates, even the ones seeking a job, after not being able to find a high-level position they expected, just choose to continue they searches or try to start a business or just take some time off, because they can afford it? I don’t know, but it seems unlikely that HBS students are less employable than Questrom students (no offence meant), so direct comparison of two is wrong and some adjustments should be made. Probably similar to what I have proposed in Employer survey discussion above.

Starting salary is another comparison point introduced this year and honestly it’s great, they have taken into account regional and industry variance and adjusted properly (at least they say so). Actually, now that I think about it, this in combination with Alumni survey can partially act as an ’employer’ rank that I proposed above! (see ‘Adjusted’ below).

Research was dropped, a brilliant idea that doesn’t need any more discussion.

Final ranking is calculated as weighted sum divided by top school, so the top school has 100% and every other school is compared to it. Interestingly I’ve recalculated and got different results, probably they went deeper than just top level rank analysis (and that’s great, but I wish they shared their calculations), but still I like mine better:

School
BW 2015
Recalculated
Adjusted*

Harvard
1
1
1

Chicago

(Booth)
2
5
11**

Northwestern

(Kellogg)
3
2
3

MIT

(Sloan)
4
4
5

Pennsylvania

(Wharton)
5
7
7

Columbia
6
8
9

Stanford
7
3
2

Duke

(Fuqua)
8
9
6

UC

Berkeley (Haas)
9
6
4

Michigan

(Ross)
10
14
16**

Yale
11
12
10

Virginia

(Darden)
12
10
14*

UCLA

(Anderson)
13
13
12

Dartmouth

(Tuck)
14
11
8

Emory

(Goizueta)
15
15
15

*using Alumni survey and Starting salary I have adjusted Employer surver report (higher the salary higher the expectations) and Job Placement report (higher the alumni survey and salary higher the prestige of jobs).

**these schools placed lower due to low alumni survey rankings.

But that’s just a fun exercise – don’t put much though into my recalculations, as I don’t have actual survey results they have used and seems like Alumni survey results need to be reassessed. Anything that has ‘survey’ in it should be evaluated very closely and I hope they will do just that.

What I really like is that they actually update and improve their methodology and are not afraid of that.

Anyways, I think that rankings are just that – rankings, consider them in your initial research, but never make the final decisions solely based on rankings.

Useful links:

Old methodology in detail: link

New methodology in detail: link

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New post 23 Oct 2015, 17:02
1
4
FROM MBA For Tech: Thoughts on MBA Interviews
After the second Skype interview I feel like I can give some advice:

  • Be dressed appropriately from top to bottom, that will help you feel comfortable.
  • Ensure that your video is clear and light is set right, so that your interviewer can see your face and your emotions, don’t be a moving blur.
  • Check your microphone! This is very important as many laptops lack quality microphones and require some additional work in order to guarantee high-quality voice input. I have used mic on my Bluetooth headphones, while still employing laptops speakers (I don’t think interviewing with headphones in your ears looks any good).
  • Make sure that your camera is on the same level as your eyes, so that you won’t be looking down when glancing at the monitor. I used my GMAT books for that!
  • You should look into the camera, not monitor! I only glanced at the monitor in order to see the interviewer’s facial expressions and be able to tell their reactions and adjust accordingly.
  • TURN OFF your phones! Ask people not to bother you for 50-60 minutes (interviews are shorter, but allow some extra time just in case).
  • Have your Resume and memorize it.
  • Sit straight and smile!
Interview question flow:

About yourself > Resume > Why triplets > How will you contribute to the school > Behavioral > Wrap up.

I want to comment on ‘Wrap up’, I am talking about the two following questions: “Is there anything else you want to share?” and “Any questions for me?”, while the second is quite trivial (yes, prepare your questions and use this one to make sure that interviewers knows that you did your research, his answer should build on knowledge you already have), the first one is a great tool to add stories / information you feel can improve your standing, it’s basically like an optional essay, but make sure your story ties in nicely into MBAnarrative and gives a reason to choose you, don’t try to brag. Really, I think of wrapping up with “I would like to add” from now on!

And, I think one should never answer “I have nothing to add” or “I don’t have any questions for you”!

Anyways, I created a cheat sheet for myself, feel free to use and contribute with ideas:

Excel file on Dropbox (it looks much better after download, I promise!)

Tagged: Interivew, thoughts Image
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New post 14 Nov 2015, 05:02
1
FROM MBA For Tech: Today we are all French
What a horrible day for the world. In a day like this it’s important to not back up and stand for the values terrorists try to attack. Together we are strong and will not let fear subdue our determination to make the world a better place.

Stay strong France, stay strong humanity.

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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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New post 18 Nov 2015, 01:03
1
1
FROM MBA For Tech: Chicago Booth Interview
My first in-person interview! I had an invite pretty early on, but the interview itself took a few weeks to arrange.

Anyways, I met with a ‘0x alum, who joined MBB after graduation and recently left for another company. The meeting was held in a coffeshop downtown.

Alumna was very positive, nice and friendly. Really, my best interview, it was very informal, but I still was asked all the traditional questions:

  • Walk me through your resume
  • The most challenging project
  • Why did you change the jobs
  • Why MBA/Why Chicago/Why now
  • What are my ST and LT plans (got into great details here)
  • How will you contribute
  • etc.
Everything was very convesational, I made a point to show her that I’m very familiar with the school, professors, curriculum and overall reputation.

Actually when I was in Big4 and she in MBB, we worked for the same client, the one that she recently joined, so we shared some memories about some funny specifics working there. She shared her experience with the school, I asked a lot of questions and I think I really clicked with my interviewer. If that’s the type of people Chicago admits, then I’m sold.

Well, now we wait. Fingers crossed.

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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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New post 06 Jan 2016, 04:02
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2
FROM MBAMiss: After You get that interview call ! ( MBA interview self Preparation Strategy)
If there is something that can beat my happiness  of going to a Ladies Night at my favorite club on a weekday , it is definitely an email from my Dream School inviting me for an interview . (Yeyyyyy !!!!!) I was so happy since I had put so much effort behind my Oxford’s application . And the dream then felt a step closer .

But having said that , an interview invite is obviously great but can never guarantee an admit . So I decided to work my ass off to crack the interview . All in all I am an above average speaker and confidence is not that much of an issue with me  . But in some of my previous interviews I had been extremely lazy to prepare and went completely blank . So I had faced a few rejections lately which even motivated me more to devote days and nights practicing for my Said’s interview .

Now , a few of my friends advised me to take up mock interview packages with some consultants . I actually gave that a thought and started shortlisting a few of them . But during this process I started discovering so much about self preparation of an MBA interview that I decided to skip the consultant and do it on my own .

I came across this beautiful article by Adam Markus on interview preparation . Adam Markus interview Strategy

I really love the way he advises to make a tabular chart of all the prospective questions, your examples against each and the keywords with them .

I made one for myself and trust me it was such a great help . Image

I can’t thank Adam Markus enough for this really cool idea . I made close to 20 keywords against which I identified the situations that I wanted to highlight in the interview from my work experience . And trust me this method is not boring at all , I took out a print out of this entire worksheet and stuck it on my clipboard at home .

So this was actually the first time I was preparing for an interview this much , and to my surprise this was becoming a great confidence booster . Then I asked my husband to take 2 mock interviews and we decided to be very formal in them ( I know its so funny to behave like an interviewee with your husband when it usually happens the other way round :D :P ) Any ways , I gave these and my husband acted way too formal and made it so much like a stress interview . But , i think it was good that he did so , since I became prepared for all kinds of situations .

I spent 7 days ( actually 7 nights ) on  practicing this strategy. The results were stupendous .  I was damn confident to face anybody and answer any question . Last 2 days I bought my formals and kept my mind a bit calm (actually had 2 glasses of wine a day before the interview and watched a Rom Com before sleeping  :D  ) .

So all in all I took help from no one and spent not a single penny  in the entire preparation . So if you have got a call and preparing for any of the interviews . Just keep calm and follow this strategy ! I am sure you will win !

P.S : I shall post my interview day experience in the next post .

Views expressed are personal to the author . Comment below if you opted for this or any other self preparation strategy ! Reach me on ojasvisoni100@gmail.com

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~MBA Miss

 

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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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New post 19 Jan 2016, 10:01
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FROM Pulling That MBA Trigger: So what changed this time?
Okay, so let’s look at the cold, hard facts.

My GMAT score stayed the same (710)

My GPA is the same as well (9.03)

The last time I checked, I was still an Indian engineer

My work experience moved up from about 19 months to 26 months

My job title is now “Product Manager” and not the dreaded “Software Engineer” it was before

My post MBA goal looks legit now because I have the experience to back it up

A senior colleague at my new job wrote what I can only assume was a stellar letter of recommendation

Let me tell ya, I had to work my butt off to transition from being a code monkey to someone making actual product decisions. I must have applied to nearly a 100 places and interviewed at about 25 until I finally got the job I wanted. But I persevered because I knew that MBA or not, this was where I wanted my career to go.

I guess the lesson here is: don’t let the fact that you got rejected bring you down (if you are a reapplicant like I was). The lofty goals that you’d written about in your essay? You can still get closer to achieving them without an MBA. By self-selection, most applicants are ambitious, go-getters who honestly don’t need an MBA to get where they want to go. Of course, if you still think business school is right for you, then your application will be stronger than it ever was before.

Apart from switching jobs, I also narrowed down my goals even further. Previously, my short-term goal was to “work in company X as a PM”. I changed that to “work in company X’s Y division as a PM”. I backed it up with very relevant experience that I had and tied it in neatly to my long term goal. I’m sure it wasn’t a huge distinction, but it became super relevant during my interview, where surprisingly enough I spoke to a 2nd year student who had a ton of knowledge about my field of interest (odd because it’s quite a niche area).  I believe that this worked in my favour since I was immediately able to establish common ground and our conversation centered more around the latest developments in that industry than the usual “tell me how you…” stuff.

Finally, in my reapplicant essay, I called out what I believed were the weaknesses in my application. I addressed the age/work experience thing head on, I made a stronger connection between my short term and long term goals and finally, I mentioned in passing the gazillion students, alums and admissions officers I’d spoken to over an entire year.

Now, I do want to caveat this by saying that I did pretty much the same things I mentioned above in my reapplication to Fuqua as well, but surprise surprise, I got dinged without an interview. There is a pretty big element of luck involved, plus the relative quality and composition of the applicant pool, so there is no “fool-proof” method to this madness. It’s just doing the best you can and hoping for the best.

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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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New post 10 Feb 2016, 02:02
1
1
FROM MBAMiss: Waitlisted at Cornell ! My strategy to handle this
You know what’s worse than getting a ding at one of your dreams schools . Yes its getting that horrid wait-listed email . This limbo is frustrating as hell .  Somewhere back of my mind I know that getting wait listed is a far road from being accepted, but it’s even farther from being rejected.

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So Dear Johnson Adcom  ,  Bring it on ! I am ready to embark on this rough journey of constantly pleading you for a place at the 2 Yr MBA Program . I promise you I won’t be a pest but at the same time sitting and waiting is definitely the last thing I would do . I know you don’t hate me but you also don’t love me enough . So this Valentines week let me give you some reasons to fall for me :D

I chalked out a strategy last night to deal with this . Quoting the same below :

  • Requesting the school for a feedback : Was it my GMAT or was it my recommendation ? Or may be it was my Table of Contents essay . But let me stop judging myself and ask from the school directly . So step one is writing to them requesting for an honest feedback on my candidature
  • Writing an update essay : There have been some changes ( all for good) in my roles and responsibilities on job which obviously the school should know to assess me better . So I am planning to write a 300 word essay as an update to the school .
  • Getting an additional letter of recommendation : This is something which is highly advisable by so many admission consultants . Hence planning to speak to a few of  senior leaders in my firm with whom I have worked , to help me on this . Also , my previous two letters focused on my current job role . This time I am planning to get it from someone who mentored me on a different project I did earlier   . I feel this will give the school a varied angle of my personality .
  • Getting an informal support letter : I had built connections with some of the Cornell alumni while I was applying . Planning to seek support from few of them who know me well .
  • Signing up for MBA Math :  I think this will give them an idea of my seriousness for the place at Cornell’s MBA program . I have read a few good reviews for this one so taking this up since this will any ways help me during my MBA whichever school I go .
  • Making a campus visit : I was anyways planning to travel to New York this April since my husband is moving there for work . Now this waitlist strengthens my decision to accompany him to New York and then visit Ithaca and meet the admissions team directly .
So the next few months will be hectic but I am sure exciting and I cant wait to start executing this plan .

Ending this note on this beautiful song by Lenny Kravitz going on in my head since yesterday : “It ain’t over till its over “



Cheers !

MBA Miss

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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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New post 15 Mar 2016, 13:05
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1
FROM Anshul Sharma: Top 7 things that make an MBA in the USA unique
What makes MBA education in the USA so unique and desirable in the job market?

You might be a working professional or someone running your own business. An MBA from a good school in the USA has proven to be a great return on the investment for students or professionals wanting to advance to the next level in their careers or switch to a different career.

Below are the top 7 things that I believe makes an MBA from an American university so unique and one of the most sought-after graduate degrees for students and recruiters in the marketplace.

Let’s see what they are.

#1  Robust MBA curriculum – the powerhouse of knowledge
Image
Source: http://worditout.com/
Upon joining an MBA program, you gain unprecedented access to information. Professors with high intellect, qualifications, and industry experience are the backbone of any good MBA program.

  • The 1st year of an MBA curriculum is quite robust. Students learn about different functions, including—but not limited to—Supply Chain, Information Technology, Marketing, Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Leadership.
  • The 2nd year is more about customizing the curriculum, based on your specific interests, and aligned with achieving short- and long-term goals. A two-year MBA program gives you the time and flexibility to choose the right career path for you.
  • Skills learned in any good MBA program are quite niche and relevant to solving real-time business problems. Over the years, these two factors alone have made MBA graduates desirable in the job market, both as candidates to fill strategic positions in any organization and as employees who can positively impact the bottom-line of the business.
#2 Access to alumni network – One global family
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Source: www.alumni.cam.ac.uk
From day one, students have access to a global alumni network that students should take full advantage of during and after the MBA program.

Alums can help current MBA students in a variety of ways, some of which are listed below, in no specific order:

  • Alums have helped current students prepare for internships and full-time job interviews through simulated interviews sessions, before recruiters start pouring into campuses, as early as September or October, for recruiting.
  • Alumnus can help current students tailor the MBA curriculum for the second year and help make choices, based on their short- and long-term career goals
  • Alumnus can help vet out ideas and projects coming from external clients (which are quite common) during the MBA program. There are lots of opportunities, and both 2nd-year students and alums can be instrumental in making the decision.
  • Active alums have an affinity to come back to their alma mater and hire students for internships and full-time In the past, coming out of the MBA program, I have had the privilege to hire students in this way, so it is very real.
  • Post-MBA, alums can be your mentors and help you navigate through the rigors of the corporate world as you step into new jobs at different points in your career.
#3 Classroom discussions – you will be cold-called
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Source: www.prnewswire.com
The MBA is one of those programs where you reap the most by actively participating in classroom discussions. Being a lizard on the wall will not help you learn the concepts and cherish what the program has to offer.

  • Case study methodology is a unique way to approach solving real-time business problems. Live discussions in the class help amplify your learning on a certain topic.
  • Listening to your fellow MBA classmates opens doors to new ideas and perspectives, based on their diverse work experience, gained in different countries, industries, and business functions.
  • Every year, admission officers strive for diversity in backgrounds and levels of work experience in the incoming class. They want students to come into the classroom prepared to share their unique perspectives and contribute to the overall discussion in a meaningful way.
#4 MBA classmates – your partners in crime
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Source: www.pinterest.com
If there is anything to cherish most—and piques the enthusiasm—about joining a B-school, it is your classmates. In truly international programs, like the one at Smeal MBA at Penn State, you get to meet students from across the planet, each having a unique identity, ideology, philosophy, culture, food preferences, and work experience to share with fellow classmates in the program.

  • Although each program is structured a little differently, you can expect that you will be assigned to a group of individuals, who will be your teammates for the next semester or year. The purpose of setting up a group is to work together on class assignments and projects designed to be undertaken in a group setting.
  • As a group, students team up together to participate in presentations and case competitions, which are quite common and integral to the curriculum of any good MBA program.
  • There are several other group projects and events during the course of the MBA, where you are required to form groups to achieve a common goal. A good example of this is consulting projects.
During these times, you are not only working on the “task at hand” but also sharing life experiences and unique skills from past jobs, which the MBA curriculum might not necessarily have to offer. You get to exchange subtle, cultural nuances, business etiquettes, and best practices prevalent in other countries outside of the US. To say the least, at the end of two years, you end up making good friendships that will likely last for the rest of your life.

#5 Internship – No strings attached

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                      Source: stantoncomm.com

One of the most exciting things to happen in an MBA program is the internship. The internship is a must-have and integral to any good MBA program.

  • Especially for international students and career-switchers, internship is a MUST-have. This is a real chance to get out of the classroom and gain real-world experience. This is your chance to apply the skills learned in the MBA program and experience corporate America while solving real business problems. Trust me, it can’t get any better.
  • For a career enhancer, the internship is the perfect way to accelerate your career and move to a management career track.
  • Entrepreneurs can also take advantage of internships to learn about a specific niche industry or business and how it operates.
The best part about internships is that they typically last for 12 weeks. If you do not like what you did during the internship, you have a chance to drop it and try something else during another internship or during your full time next career opportunity.

#6 On and off-campus MBA job fairs – they are for real
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Source: news.smeal.psu.edu
MBA job fairs are the real deal. Students DO NOT have to be solely dependent on positions that employers post on the MBA school job bulletin. Students must realize that they have far more options to work with than they think, and that’s exactly what MBA job fairs have to offer.

  • MBA job fairs are a legitimate opportunity for MBA students looking for an internship or full-time position in areas like supply chain, finance, marketing, or information technology, to name a few. These MBA job fairs last a day or two and are hosted on school campuses.
  • Some of these on-campus fairs are big, where hundreds of employers from across the US gather at one location to hire students for challenging-but-rewarding internships and full-time positions. Students may end up being offered positions on-the-spot or within that same day, following the interview. How exciting is that?
  • There are other MBA fairs that happen off-campus. One of the most prominent fairs is the National Black MBA Association, which hosts hundreds of employers who come to find the right students for their organization.
  • For other students, Offsite MBA fairs can be a safe environment to rehearse for important, upcoming job opportunities.
Overall, MBA fairs are great avenues to explore your interests with employers from varied industries and network with them to find your dream job.

#7 Student organizations, cultural clubs, and social gatherings – fun & learning
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Source: blogs.smeal.psu.edu
A lot of learning and fun happen outside the classroom. You will spend a significant amount of time in the classroom during an MBA; however, there is an amazing life outside the classroom environment, where students comes together to solve challenging business problems in a fun setting.

Students Organizations:

  • Some of the prominent Student organizations that can be found in most B-schools programs are the consulting club, marketing club, supply chain club, finance club, entrepreneurship club, and MBA women’s club, to name a few.
  • Guest speakers and employers are invited to shed light on specific industry topics, career paths, and job roles post-MBA.
  • NOTE: these clubs necessarily are not the avenues to search for jobs or carry your résumé. These are informative events for students to share their career aspirations with other likeminded students, learn more about the industry, and prepare for jobs and interviews in a group setting.
Cultural groups:

With students admitted from across the planet in a truly global MBA program, it is natural to celebrate major cultures and festivals during the year, as they appear on the calendar. These events are loads of fun and provide opportunities to learn about other cultures, sets of beliefs, and ways of life. The experience and familiarity with different cultures is handy when working in global organizations and having team members from different regions and countries. Some of the events that I celebrated at Smeal MBA program are:

  • Chinese New Year
  • Diwali
  • Thanksgiving 
Social Gathering

A social gathering is a way for MBA schools to operate outside the classroom environment, and many are ingrained in the culture of a B-school.

  • At Penn State, we celebrated Thirsty Thursday every week. It provided students an opportunity to catch up with classmates in an informal setting after a stressful week of working on assignments, giving presentations or preparing for interviews.
  • It all happens at the same time, and time management is another skill that MBA students learn as a by-product of the program. You have to manage your time to experience all the action that an MBA program has to offer and still complete assignments on time.
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Thanks for reading.

Anshul Sharma
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New post 07 May 2016, 15:02
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FROM Tech MBA Girl: Haas Interview Invite! Some Light In The Long Long Tunnel
I sunk into a sea of depression after I discovered I was waitlisted at Tepper. I had turned down my Rotman offer and only had the waitlist offer to hold on to. I panicked. I wasn’t going to let my future depend on one yes or no decision so I applied to every decent program that was still … Continue reading Haas Interview Invite! Some Light In The Long Long Tunnel →Image
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New post 22 May 2016, 10:56
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FROM DLo's BSchool Debrief: b-school debrief: intro
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Well well, a new project! Since my previous effort didn’t stick, I’ve decided to move on to a new focus. The previous one (Precisely 603) was actually just an effort to keep my writing and introspective thinking fresh for the purpose of having a sharp pencil when it came time for b-school essays. It was just part of the activities that would engulf most of my 2015. I didn’t keep it a secret, but I didn’t air it out publicly: I was applying to business school.

Anyone that’s familiar with the process or has witnessed anyone else go through it knows that the application is pretty damn involved. Experts recommend polishing your credentials and working on yourself 1-2 years ahead of time to even have a leg to stand on when you hit that “SUBMIT” button. Personally, business school had been on my map since my first year as an engineer at Raytheon; sparing the details, I joined their leadership rotation program, which threw me across business units and roles that helped me understand the ins and outs of how the company itself functioned outside of my schematics and lab equipment. I knew I wanted a larger role in all of this.

A few years later, when it came time to seriously work on the application, I realized just how much it would involve. I had applied to grad school before, and that only required me to take the GRE, write a two-page ‘personal statement’ copy-and-pasted for each school, fill out my academic credentials and cross my fingers. It took only a few months from deciding I wanted to go get an MS to when I had my UCLA acceptance letter in my hand. While applying to grad school was not easy, b-school was a whole different beast.

I spent more than 2 years on the entire process, from opening my first GMAT book to getting the last of five decisions from schools. As I recount the journey in my head and occasionally on the gmatclub.com forums, I find myself excited to tell parts of my story.  And so here we are, at the start of something I hope can act as both an explanation of this struggle and its effects on both my professional trajectory and personal life, as well as serve as a guide for anyone about to embark on or currently amidst the chaotic battle that is the business school application.

What I hope to cover in the next several entries (and I’m not going to put a timeline on it this time for fear of dropping the ball again like my last project) are:

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- The GMAT

- Costs of the process

- School research and targeting

- Self research and reflection

- Putting in the legwork at schools

- Writing those damn essays

- Destroying those damn essays

- Re-writing those damn essays

- Putting the apps together

- Hitting Submit

- Waiting in agony

- Interviews (or not)

- Waiting in more agony

- Decision time

I may or may not structure it as above, but we’ll see. I’m really excited to have gotten to where I am now, with a promising and new future ahead (hopefully) and am eager to share this whole process that I poured hours, weeks, months, and years of my life into. Hope you enjoy (if anyone does end up reading these). Until then!
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things that got me through app season: essaysnark, touchmba and a bottle of hibiki 17
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FROM BschoolEng: GRE vs GMAT
My last blog post highlights my experience taking both the GRE and the GMAT. I would advise people who feel like they didn’t do well or at least meet their expectations on one test to try the other.

Each test tests different skill sets of an individual. I’m assuming that you are here because you are interested in applying to bschool and the first test that you would probably think of is the GMAT, the more commonly used of the two when applying.

For me, the quantitative was not the hard part. It was the verbal so when comparing the two tests, I looked at which one catered more towards my strengths. Whereas the GMAT has a critical reasoning section, the GRE has vocabulary. I knew memorization was not an issue for me so this fact alone was the sole reason why I decided to take the GRE. If you commit yourself to studying a set of vocabulary words every single day, you’ll do just fine. My studying plan to conquering this was simple:

  • Read a chapter of Word Power Made Easy every single day, writing down the words by hand onto a sheet of paper. After every three chapters, I would spend the next two days memorizing and reciting the 100+ words over and over again. For chapters 4 – 6, you would do the same but now you would have to memorize the 100+ from the first three chapters on top of the words from the next three chapters.
  • This one book alone can cover most of the words presented on the GRE and if not, at least you give the prefix, suffix, etymology of root words to infer what certain words may mean.
Doing this was super helpful because not only does it help with the vocabulary section but makes the reading comprehension portion much easier as well. It is within the reading comprehension that the GRE also tests vocab so essentially you’re killing two birds with one stone. To this day, I still remember some of these words and will throw them in when sendings emails to sound a little bit smarter :)

As far as the math section goes, the downside to taking the GRE is that it is somewhat expected to get a perfect score. Because there are so many international students taking the GRE and you’re competing against them when it comes to calculating the percentile, anything short of a perfect score will bring it down. The one thing I recommend when it comes to tackling the quantitative section is to take your time. The GRE math section is highly prone to stupid mistakes.

The strategy I would implore you to take is to go through each problem and if after reading the prompt you’re stumped for more than 5 seconds, put a marker on it via the ETS tool and move on.

As far as the AWA goes, what I did was memorize (yay for memorization) the general structure of how I wanted to structure my essay. I had a generic opening paragraph, the opening lines for the following two paragraphs that would support my argument, and a generic closing paragraph that can easily be adapted for any use case. I then would familiarize myself with 4-5 high level themes, know the ins and outs of each theme such that I can speak to those issues. Your themes should also come from disparate sources. For instance, I chose a novel as one, global warming as another, virtual reality as a third and the women’s suffrage movement as another. You want to choose a range of topics such that you can cover any question they throw at you.

More and more business schools are starting to accept the GRE so you shouldn’t be scared to take it. I will admit that there is still a little bit of unease when I think about possibly being dinged by bschool adcoms for being different from other people but in reality, what the admission committee is looking for is just a general sense of your general aptitude, albeit not a very good indicator. If you score say a 720+ on either the GMAT or the GRE, that should be good enough. I don’t think a 720 on a GRE vs a 730 on the GMAT is going to be the deciding factor between getting into the business school of your choice. It’s simply a checkmark on the list of things that the committee is looking for and if you are above a certain threshold, regardless of the test you take, you should do just fine.

Just find the test that works in favor of your skillset and go for it. If you’ve tried one and you didn’t do so well, try the other. If anything you might get some smarter sounding emails out of it?

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New post 14 Jun 2016, 01:17
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FROM BschoolEng: Deciding between schools
When I think about business school, I think there is no better time for me to apply than now. Having worked at Google for the past 3 years (will be 4 years by the time business school starts next fall), I believe the time is now.

Now the question is which schools to apply and for which rounds? Many people may question as to why I am preparing so many months in advance but when I think about it, there’s really not that much time remaining.

Brief timeline:

  • June  – speak to alumni, make college campus visits, research the schools
  • June / July – draft essays for round 1 schools
  • July – get / source recommendations (allocate at least 1.5 month’s time for recommenders to write their letters)
  • Aug – wrap up resume, final editing of essays
You want to feel comfortable by the end of Aug, early September that your package is complete and not going through the stress of scrambling around to try and tidy things up.

As far as the timeline is concerned, since it’s June, let’s talk about point number 1.

Initially, I had started with 14 schools on my list (in no particular order):

  • Harvard
  • Stanford
  • U Penn
  • MIT
  • U of Chicago
  • Northwestern
  • Columbia
  • UC Berkeley
  • Duke
  • Yale
  • Insead
  • CEIBS
  • UCLA
  • NYU
After speaking to various alumni from some of the schools, I soon narrowed it down to 6 (maybe 7).

  • Harvard
  • Stanford
  • U Penn
  • MIT
  • U of Chicago
  • Northwestern
  • Columbia (Maybes) – This school is a maybe because of ranking and if it would justify the cost of a getting an MBA. Columbia being in the center of NY, heavily prepares its graduates towards the finance sector. The one factor that has me on the fence is the fact that it is in NY and I know that I will have an extremely fun time there. The other half of me is thinking that if I do get into any of the above 6 schools that I will be close enough to NY where I can visit.
  • UC Berkeley – I already have the connection and network with UC Berkeley faculty and alumni given both my BS and MS from that school. Plus, I have lived in the Bay Area all my life (San Jose to Berkeley to San Francisco) and would like to live in another part of the country for a change…except if it was for Stanford!
  • Duke – Ranking doesn’t justify the cost of getting an MBA there.
  • Yale – Ranking doesn’t justify the cost of getting an MBA there.
  • Insead  I actually really wanted to apply to an international school but the one thing stopping me from applying to Insead is the fact that it is a 1 year program. Despite Insead being the # 1 business school globally according to financial times, the 1 year program is most suitable for those people that know what they want to do coming out. More specifically for people who are going to return to the industry they came from, hence why Insead “produces” so many MBB consultants is because a lot of consultants return back to their industry after 1 year. The 2 year US bschools allow for students to go on summer internships where they can explore the various industries and practices that one may not necessarily be able to try through a 1 year program. On top of that, if you plan on working in the states post MBA, having a degree from the US will carry more weight. If you know that you want to work internationally sometime in the future, a degree from Insead would definitely be valued, especially in Europe.
  • CEIBS – My parents wanted me to work in China and brought up the idea that I should attend bschool there. Given that I can speak both Mandarin and English, having an MBA from CEIBS would give me the upper hand when it comes to doing business in China. The reason I ended up deciding not to apply was the quality of education compared to a US MBA from the 6 that I have chosen (that is if I can get in). From the preliminary research that I have done, not all professors are fluent in English and what is taught in framed from the perspective of the Chinese economy. In addition, the salary that you come out with is based according to China’s living standard which will be lower than the salary post MBA in the US.
  • UCLA– Ranking doesn’t justify the cost of getting an MBA there.
  • NYU – Ranking doesn’t justify the cost of getting an MBA there.
An important note that an HBS alumni recently told me was the following, when deciding whether or not you want to get an MBA, imagine yourself being accepted to all the schools you apply? Would you instantly go? Would there be any hesitation in accepting the offer?

I will admit that initially my perception of an MBA was that it was a necessity, no matter the circumstance, I would be willing to pay the $200K for an extra line on my resume. However, the more I have thought about the essay prompts and where I see myself in the next 5 – 10 years of my life, I do find value in the connections, personal development, and interpersonal skills that I can get out of the business schools I narrowed down to. I would highly recommend you reach out to the alumni of the schools you are interested in or even thinking about. There’s no harm in trying and you have nothing to lose, what you’ll come to realize after these chats is that each school has so much to offer that extends beyond what is laid out on their website.

 

 

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New post 15 Jun 2016, 11:02
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FROM BschoolEng: Fall 2017 Deadlines
I’ve been trying to monitor the deadlines of all the schools I am anticipating on applying to see when deadlines are due and how I should be prioritizing my time writing the essays.

Here are the current deadlines for the schools that I will be applying to (still waiting on the release of MIT’s application deadlines):

School
R1
Decision
Essay Release

Harvard Business School
9/7/2016
12/7/2016
Yes

Stanford GSB
9/21/2016
12/1/2016
Yes

Northwestern (Kellogg)
9/21/2016
12/14/2016
No

Chicago (Booth)
9/22/2016
12/8/2016
No

Pennsylvania (Wharton)
9/27/2016
12/17/2016
Yes

UC-Berkeley (Haas)
9/29/2016
12/15/2016
Yes

School
R2
Decision
Essay Release

Harvard Business School
1/4/2017
3/22/2017
Yes

Northwestern (Kellogg)
1/4/2017
3/22/2017
No

Chicago (Booth)
1/4/2017
3/16/2017
No

Pennsylvania (Wharton)
1/5/2017
3/29/2017
Yes

UC-Berkeley (Haas)
1/5/2017
3/23/2017
Yes

Stanford GSB
1/10/2017
3/1/2017
Yes

School
R3
Decision
Essay Release

Pennsylvania (Wharton)
3/28/2017
5/3/2017
Yes

Harvard Business School
4/3/2017
5/10/2017
Yes

Chicago (Booth)
4/4/2017
5/18/2017
No

Stanford GSB
4/5/2017
5/1/2017
Yes

Northwestern (Kellogg)
4/5/2017
5/10/2017
No

UC-Berkeley (Haas)
4/6/2017
5/11/2017
Yes

I would highly advise for those applying to strongly consider applying round 1 (that is if you have the time and feel like you are well prepared). Obviously what matters is the strength of your entire package, but if you feel like you are ready and have finished the bulk of the application (namely have taken the GMAT/GRE by now), I would recommend looking into starting the applications for your top 1-2 schools and focus on submitting them during round 1. This not only shows your commitment to those schools but 1) it will give you the ease of knowing the outcome sooner than later (which may influence your choice of round 2 schools) 2) not be subjected to possibilities of caps on starting class size (i.e. schools accept students as they come so if there is a strong candidate pool during round 1 that may influence the number of students the school decides to accept for round 2).

For the deadlines of more schools, definitely check out and bookmark poets and quants site: http://poetsandquants.com/2016/05/25/2016-2017-mba-application-deadlines/

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New post 22 Jun 2016, 13:02
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FROM MBAble: I’m in! Chicago Booth, here I come!
I’m a little delirious because I’m a little sleep deprived. But whatever. I have to write this post because…

I’M IN!

Funnily enough, I actually missed the acceptance phone call yesterday. After the grade from the GSAL class I took this past spring was published, I sent an email to Booth admissions to inform them of my final course grade. I was then told that I would be hearing back soon with a final decision.

When my phone rang mid-morning yesterday, the timing seemed right, but the area code looked off (not a 773 or a 312). Some time after missing that and letting a voicemail register on my phone, I sent an email back to admissions saying that I’d keep my eyes peeled for any communications, and they responded right back with a note to “check (my) voicemail”. Lo and behold, the good news was there! AND I have a keepsake voicemail to hold on to as a memento.

I am especially happy because I had spent the past week planning out the courses I would take and student organizations I would join and/or make, assuming I got in. Needless to say, it would have been super embarrassing if I just wound up getting denied after doing all that work.

Once I was sure my acceptance wasn’t some kind of fluke, I started the endeavor of reaching out to everyone I knew who played a role in my application journey to send them thank you notes. I also got a head start on some of the pre-work for orientation in August.

I plan to continue blogging as a current student once I get started on classes and also get the ball rolling on that podcast idea I have. I hope to share content on making the most of the MBA experience, financing your MBA, studying abroad in biz school, and other fresh ideas as they come to mind.

Yeehaw! I’m beyond pumped.

As someone who swore that she wouldn’t do anymore schooling after undergrad and that she would never take another economics class…well, looks like I’ll be breaking a couple more self-promises. But somehow I’m OK with that!

So thank you, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, for giving a girl with a low quant score on the GMAT, who just barely scraped by as a economics major in undergrad, who is currently out of a job, who spends most of the time on most days writing stories about people with superpowers in pre-apocalyptic settings, and who thinks she is pretty all-around unspectacular a chance to pursue an MBA at your fine institution. THANK YOU!

And so the journey (soon) begins.

 

Cheers!

Durian

P.S. The Booth swag in the featured image is stuff I had already bought or received in the past. I’m not yet sure if admission comes with a swag wagon.

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New post 23 Jun 2016, 00:02
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FROM DLo's BSchool Debrief: b-school debrief: the GMAT – part 2
Part 2 of the GMAT: How I tackled the GMAT and improved a disappointing score



Apologies for the month gap. I went on vacation and had to finish up a good deal of prep work for Anderson. But this will continue with far more frequency! In this entry I’ll go over the general strategy I used to study for the GMAT, how I rebounded from a bad first test, and what I think was most effective in improving my score.

Just a note, since I had most trouble with quant, most of what I write here will reflect my experience improving my quant score; however, in general these tips should apply to both verbal and quant.

Effective Studying

Best utilizing your resources in order to understand your weaknesses is one of the core differences between a 650 and a 700. Manhattan had a great method to examine my CAT performance through the types of problems, and break down each category and subcategory (Geometry > Triangles, Word Problems > Statistics, Sentence Correction > Parallelism, etc). To that end, effectively using the Manhattan GMAT CAT tests and the Assessment Reports that they give are what gave me an edge. Combine that with excessive problem drilling based on those reports, and I had a decent recipe for success.

Drill, Baby, Drill!

The key to keeping your attack fresh and efficient on any of these subjects is drilling. That doesn’t mean to just do problems and spend hours trying to figure them out, though. You need to use the repetition of drills effectively as well. This is where it is essential to learn and understand the problem strategies that your resources put forth. Each category of GMAT problems defined by Manhattan (and all other test prep programs) has a general strategy developed by common knowledge, patterns and Manhattan’s curriculum to use. Go through these back and forth, do the practice problems given to solidify them, and know how to use them without looking them up. Once you get comfortable using these, then it’s time to drill! Attack the OG problem sets with a timer – give yourself two or three minutes max, and eventually try to do 60 seconds for quant problems and 90 seconds for verbal problems (you’ll inevitably spend more on harder problems, but trying to push yourself to think faster is best while drilling). This method forced me to recognize the type of problem in front of me and immediately pull up the right strategy to tackle it, saving precious seconds. If you have to sit and think about the math for more than 20 seconds, it may be worth it to move on. Don’t look up the answers until you’ve done 10-15 problems in a row in under 15 minutes.

The second part of this process is to assess how you did, which is always the hardest. I remember breezing through 30 or so problems, and then afterwards going down my list of answers with the answer key and marking O (sweet!), O (nice.), O (damn, I’m good), X (crap), O (better), X (another one?), X (AGH), etc. Coming to terms with my initial perception of how I felt I did, compared to how I actually did, took a little while because I kept giving myself a pass by saying:

-        I was just making careless mistakes

-        I really knew what the right method/answer was

-        I’d definitely figure it out better during the real test, I was too relaxed

-        It was an anomaly

In reality, it’s not excusable or an anomaly; if you got it wrong in this environment, you’re not going to magically figure it out and correctly answer it during test day. Pressure is not going to drive you to do better on these. You really need to understand fundamentally why you made a mistake, and how to correct your thinking. Look at your weak problem types, go back to the strategies on how to tackle them, find a better way to quickly solve these problems, and drill some more.

First Failure

The first time I took the test, I got the “drill!” part down, but didn’t put much weight into truly understanding the minutiae of problems that I got wrong. As a result, I kept doing broad ranges of problem types, over and over, and unbeknownst to me my stronger categories stayed strong and kept my score afloat while my weaknesses stayed weak and never let me truly improve. My CAT diagnostics stayed near the 670 range, and I kept reasoning with myself that I’d do better on test day, and that Manhattan CATs were notoriously more difficult than the actual test. I had the general strategies down in my head, I had a decent pace at attacking problems, and I figured I was ready.

Test day came and I was nervous. To understand how I operate, I’ll give some info. I’m a night owl; I stay up until 1-2am every night and struggle in the mornings to get my day started. I’m a caffeine fiend but by the time the sun sets I’m usually my most productive with or without it. All of my GMAT studying was done after work, and all my CAT tests were done in the evenings after I had a full day of work.

With that said, when I scheduled my first test I set it at 8AM on a Wednesday. Given my profile above, this was not my optimal time for brain function. I slept early, woke up early, had a cup of coffee, took BART to Oakland’s test center and got started. I was tired, wired on coffee and clearly not in my zone. I had several moments during quant where I struggled to remember the correct approach for a problem, felt jittery, or got so lost in my thought process that I had to clear my test board and start a problem over. I rushed through the last few problems as a result. When I hit “FINISH”, I already knew I wasn’t going to do well. The number came up. 640. My heart dropped. I couldn’t even crack close to my diagnostic scores. What do I do?

Re-approaching Studying: CAT test strategies

I wasn’t crushed, because I knew I could have done better if I had been in a far better state of mind, so that was the first factor to eliminate. I re-scheduled another exam 2 months later. This time I set the test at 4:30PM on Thursday, because I realized I was at peak brain function during the latter part of my days. Then I set out to figure out my actual weaknesses on the exam.

The first thing I did was go back to my CAT exams on the Manhattan site and use the Assessment Reports. These allow you to select one or more of your previous tests and get a full breakdown of your performance, sorted by problem category, subcategory, and difficulty, as well as evaluate your timing on each problem. With the assessment reports, I was able to see that I spent way too much time on certain problem types, and the time I spent on problems I got wrong were considerably longer in many cases. This is a fact of the test, though, so I decided to concentrate on two things:

1)     Singling out my weakest problem types and concentrating my studying on them

2)     Recognizing when to blow off a problem I’m stuck on and move on

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Take the chart above, for example. in Fractions, Decimals and Percents, I did horribly in Ratios and FDPs. My average times for wrong problems in those two subcats were around 3 minutes or more; moreover, the difficulty level for my wrong answers in the whole category were relatively low – 700 or below. I spent a few days poring over the strategies for these two subcats, and drilled myself on these types of problems until I felt I had a far more intuitive mental response when they popped up in front of me. I also kept a mental count in my head of how long I was spending on a problem; if I hadn’t skipped or guessed in a while, I would decide to just pick an answer and move on. The hit from a wrong answer is always better than the hit from missing questions when the test ends. I did this over two rounds of CATs, in every subcat that I felt was weak, and was able to increase the difficulty level of problems that I got right and wrong. I didn’t always get them at a better right-to-wrong ratio, but since the problem difficulties were higher, and I was spending less time on wrong problems, it was a better indicator for me that I was in a better place.

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You can see from the table above the improvements in time spent as well as average difficulty on wrong answers. I concentrated on wrong answers because I felt better getting answers wrong in the 720-750 range than getting them right in the 650 – 700 range; they indicated that I was at a higher overall problem difficulty throughout the test.

So just in general, you can see how targeted evaluation of your CAT performance can help push you above where you were on a baseline or first-run of the GMAT. This is probably what all the thousand-dollar courses work with you on, but since I was running at this on my own, this is what I learned was the difference between mediocre studying and truly effective studying.

CAT test types

Just a quick note on these practice tests – I have heard consistently around the web and on GMAT club that the Manhattan CATs are a tick harder than the actual GMAT or its official diagnostics. While my highest score on a Manhattan CAT was 700, my scores on the two free GMAT tests from the official GMAC application were 720 and 740. So take your results from these practice tests with the caveat that none are truly representative of how you’ll truly do on the test, but will give you a decent figure as to what shape you’re in.

Extra Resources

In addition to all this studying, I used a few Android GMAT apps to do on-the-fly GMAT problems while I commuted since I took the train to work. These were questions that I did purely in my head and helped to sharpen my response time and approach. At publication time of this article I can’t remember which ones I used (I’ll need to dig up my old phone to find them), but I’ll update this section later with what I used. In general you should be conditioning your brain to recognize and solve these problems, as well as memorizing common patterns of numbers and rules that are laid out in most test prep programs / books, anytime that you’re not actually studying or working. Get your mind into the GMAT zone and approach everything with some type of logistical, problem-solving methodology to keep your brain fresh.

Redemption Test Mode

2 months later, and my chance at redemption came. After feeling far more prepared, confident and ready to go, I went about my week and days as normal. I planned a celebratory (or consolation) dinner with a friend immediately after the test to have something to look forward to. I gave myself one day of complete brain rest on Wednesday; went to work, came home, watched some TV, went to sleep a little earlier. On Thursday I woke up, went to work, and had a normal day. I left an hour early and got to the test center and jumped right into the exam, no caffeine (except my morning coffee at work), calm and alert. My mindset going in was far better than the first time. I got through IR and Verbal just fine, and then came quant. I took a deep breath, yawned to slow my heart down Apolo Ohno style, and went to task. 75 minutes later, I came out feeling far better. I hit “FINISH” and saw the screen: 710. I almost screamed out in joy at that moment, but realizing Pearson VUE would have probably kicked me out, I simply threw a silent fist in the air and called the proctor to pull me out, grinning ear to ear.

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If at first you don’t succeed…

Try again! And again! Really, one bad first experience should not discourage you from your true abilities. Perhaps it’s your study approach. It could be the circumstances of when you took the test. It could just be that you weren’t quite ready. But my experience showed me that a targeted study approach, calm nerves and possibly the familiarity of the process and test center that comes with a 2nd try can give you quite the bump up to what you wanted – 70 points in my case.

As a side note, I had a few stumbles during the 2nd exam still, and I knew in my heart I could probably have done 10-20 points better. But I didn’t want to touch this damn test again and wanted to move on with my life and app process, so I trusted the rest of my application to carry me after this point. The GMAT is getting more and more competitive, so recognize where you feel your cut-off point is and don’t get too obsessed with your score on this exam. You have a whole application for bschool, and this is just a portion of it.

Good luck!

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New post 06 Jul 2016, 19:01
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FROM MBAble: Lessons my MBA Taught Me — Part 1: Research Phase
Call this a Wayback Wednesday post, but I want to post a little something from my old blog (now defunct) about what I learned from the MBA application process…granted that was from last year and I hadn’t actually applied yet — being in the research phase was more like it.

I plan on making this a periodic series in which I reflect on what I’ve learned throughout the MBA application process and, later, my experience in the MBA program into which I will soon be matriculating. That said, get ready for some seriously painful introspection in the coming months!

Anyway, here goes Part 1, republished from this post of mine:

Thursday, April 9, 2015
What Can an MBA Application Teach You About Yourself?
Maybe the sheer act of getting into B-School shouldn’t be what we consider the biggest win in the application process for an MBA. Perhaps, it should be the exercise of fully fleshing out what you want in life and getting to know just who you really are.

I had an extremely eye-opening lunch conversation last Friday with a woman I had heard speak last year as a panelist at an MBA conference geared toward women.

We got off to a running start for lunch, simulating an alumni interview for an MBA program. Not long after diving into a lively discussion, she dropped a bomb of a question on me: “why do you want an MBA?”

I gave my usual response: I work in online advertising now but would like to get into product management—a role that usually requires an MBA. Ultimately, I want to build a robust tool kit to prepare me for that kind of thing since it’s an intuitive career move for someone in my position, etc.

Needless to say, she saw right through my scripted response.

“What makes you happy? Why do you really want an MBA?”

Well, if this blog makes anything clear, it should be that one of my major personal gripes is that I don’t invest enough in myself.

Truthfully, I’ve zipped through the last 10-or-some-odd years of my life without ever having done an honest evaluation of what my passions are and spending hardly any time (or money) on self-improvement and personal well-being. The products of that way of life are summarily the following:

  • A burgeoning corporate career that many people I’ve spoken with envy—for a kid who almost didn’t graduate from high school, I worked at a couple of Fortune 100 companies by age 20 (yes, I did miss some company parties because I couldn’t legally drink yet).
  • A college diploma by age 21 (could’ve been 20 if I didn’t concentrate on working beginning in my sophomore year to help me pay my way through my education)…and a college life virtually devoid of the partying, travel, and self-discovery that was prevalent in the lives of many of my collegiate peers.
  • An inability to pivot when I desperately needed to. Long story short: my questioning of authority in a previous job caused me to bump heads the most senior leader on my team, and I had basically no choice but to leave. However, since I was so immersed and invested in my work there, I never thought to advance my knowledge and skills in areas of interest that would also have allowed me to be more nimble in times of trouble.
  • A number of neglected relationships and lost friendships that I’m now examining to see what can be salvaged.
  • An almost complete absence of a sense of purpose. I’ve been going through most of my adult life so far moving at the speed of light, and until recently, I never took a moment to stop and think about my reasons for doing what I’ve been doing. In fact, having recently taken a step back, I’ve learned that the personal value proposition I’ve been pushing onto prospective employers (as a self-starting digital marketing whiz) isn’t who I really want to be or what I want to be thought of as.
I made a list of goals not long after I started my post-grad corporate career…and now I want to scrap it.

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I had a solid plan for myself back in 2013, just months after graduating from undergrad…?
At the time I made that list, all I was concerned about was whether I was putting myself in a good position to take “the next logical step” for a marketing career that more or less started (and maintained) itself. As I reflect more on my career so far, I primarily did what I did to make others proud, to get a prestigious line on my resume—all reasons outside of personal motivation.  I spun myself into a vicious cycle; the problem was that I wasn’t aware because I never made a conscious effort to ensure that I was fully present in living my own life.

Now that I have allowed myself to think further about what I’ve genuinely enjoyed in my life, I think I’m better equipped to answer the question of why I want to get an MBA.

At the end of the day, admissions committees can easily call your bluff if you’re being disingenuous.

The woman I met with candidly shared with me that at the end of the day, top B-Schools want to admit the best students in order to help sustain the institution and even to grow the high profile. These top-tier B-School want to matriculate high profile alumni who can inspire future generations of students, and eventually haul in the huge naming gifts.

In reflecting on my life and what made my happy, I told her that about when I motivated my disenchanted colleagues and took strides to change our company culture in addition to how I mentored students to guide them in using writing as a means to express themselves. She said it was only then that she saw the certain sparkle in my eye that she was looking for with the big question of “why” that she had posed early on.

Although I’m not 100 percent sure that the field of human capital is what I want to focus on long term should I return to the corporate world, I know mentoring and motivating people in addition to using creative means to shape corporate culture are things that make me happy now—things that are worth highlighting in my personal statement for B-School.

But even more importantly, they are good things to know about myself as I continue to get deeper into the process of finding out what it really is that I’m after in my life.

Cheers,

Durian

 

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New post 11 Jul 2016, 06:01
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FROM The MBA Manual: Use the Right Application Perspective
One thing that I always felt was daunting about applying to B-schools was the selectivity of the programs.  I would read the stats on Poets & Quants and feel overwhelmed–selection rates of 7%, 11% and 13% were common and slightly disheartening.  I didn’t want myself to get bogged down in self-assessing and questioning, so I decided to change the way that I thought about the admissions.  The simple change was to think in terms of raw numbers rather than percentages. 

For example, let’s look at the top 10 business school programs, as ranked by StartClass.

  • Harvard Business School
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • MIT Sloan Business School
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  • Columbia Business School
  • Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
  • University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School
  • Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business
  • Yale School of Management
It’s a solid list.  More likely than not, there are a few schools on the list that are on your list, as well.  However, the list is also a little intimidating.  Even looking at it is enough to make your palms start to sweat.  This is only furthered when you add in the admission rates of each school.

  • Harvard Business School – 11%
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business – 7%
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business – 24%
  • MIT Sloan Business School – 14%
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business – 13%
  • Columbia Business School – 18%
  • Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management – 23%
  • University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School –21%
  • Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business – 22%
  • Yale School of Management – 24%
Yikes.  At any given school in the top 10, there’s less than a 1/4 chance that any given applicant will be admitted.  Now, I know every applicant is not created equal, and some people have much better odds than others, but still.  This looks pretty darn tough.

This is where a re-frame helped me, and hopefully can help you, too.  The thing about some of these schools is that they have massive class sizes, so even an admittance rate of 11% equates to nearly 1,000 people.  So, instead of thinking about admissions in terms of percentages, I opted to think about it in terms of raw numbers.  Let’s look at the top ten again, but by raw admits this time.

  • Harvard Business School – 935
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business – 410
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business – 583
  • MIT Sloan Business School – 406
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business – 241
  • Columbia Business School – 743
  • Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management – 691
  • University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School – 859
  • Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business – 281
  • Yale School of Management – 323
For me at least, this started to put things into perspective.  So, instead of thinking, I have an 11% chance of getting into HBS, I would think 935 people are going to get into HBS, and I’m going to do my best to be one of them.  There was just something about picturing a roomful of 935 people that felt better to me than thinking of the percentage that get in, especially given that it was so low.

I took this a step further and rationalized to myself that, Hey, these numbers all have to be mutually exclusive.  It’s not like someone can occupy a seat in two different programs.  So, I added the admits from all of the top schools together.

935 + 410 + 583 + 406 + 241 + 743 + 691 + 859 + 281 + 323 = 5,472

Now, this number made me feel a ton better.  There were going to be 5,472 people who got a spot at a top 10 business school each year.  I asked myself if I thought I was in the top 5,472 applicants, and I felt I was.  That’s the kind of thinking that you need to approach the application process with.  It’ll keep you motivated and hopeful rather than nervous and pessimistic.

 

 

 

 

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New post 10 Oct 2016, 01:55
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FROM Oh Kay MBA: The sweet waiting begins
It’s done: all my applications are submitted. Wharton was the last one. So, now, the -not so- sweet waiting begins. Next week, I will start to prepare for the interviews even if I don’t know whether I would get the invitations. However, I don’t want to think about the application right now.

During the next months, even though preparing the interviews will demand great dedication, I will still have more time to spare without studying for the GMAT or writing essays. Therefore, I want to focus in other activities, some of which will indirectly help strengthen a potential interview.

  • Work twice as hard: Mainly, because work will be the perfect place to occupy my mind. Besides, I could always find an opportunity to decrease costs, increase efficiency, reduce production time or anything that would make a good story for the interview.
  • Focus on my dancing: I have missed many dance lessons in the last three months because of my full dedication to the application, so now I want to focus on improving my moves! Moreover, the physical activity helps relax my mind and as I don’t really enjoy going to the gym that often, dancing is the perfect alternative.
  • Practice English: This one is important for international students like me. I don’t really have the chance to speak English every day and I will definitely need to sound fluent in the interview. Therefore, I will start going to some language exchange events or even recording myself speaking.
  • Use my leadership skills: At work or at the organization where I volunteer. It is always a good moment to start an initiative or make a difference. Besides, it will be great material for the interview.
  • Visualize my life at B-school: I love visualizing; it really helps me stay positive about a situation. So, I would just picture myself already at B-school, choosing classes, participating in activities and more. Doing this will help me have good vibes and survive the drama of waiting.
I guess, I will just have to keep myself occupied while waiting. To be honest, patience has never been my strong point.

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New post 15 Oct 2016, 19:02
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FROM Oh Kay MBA: Keep moving forward
After days of waiting, sharing the tension with other applicants in forums, coming up with different theories about invites patterns, and, overall, refreshing my inbox every five minutes to see if the so awaited mail was already there, I finally have my first 2 answers from B-schools.

HBS: Dinged

Booth: Invited to Interview

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The HBS ding

I finally got a mail from HBS – “Your application status has changed”. No warm greetings, and to make it worse everyone at the gmatclub forum was reporting dings. Therefore, when I logged into my application page I did not have my hopes up anymore. Indeed, I found the dreaded message – “Thank you very much for your interest”. The next minutes were a mix of emotions: sadness, anger, fear. But then came acceptance, as I said “well, game over, maybe it wasn’t the best place for me”. I am sure I can take a big step in my career path with any MBA. However, HBS will always be the golden brand, the one that makes a resume shine. In the end, I guess I just wanted the validation.

To be honest, what I am most worried about is what this rejection could mean regarding my GSB application. Stanford is my dream school. I love the culture, the methodology, the small class, the great entrepreneurship spirit, and besides many other things, of course, California! If it really is all about the fit, I think my fit with HBS was only good enough, but I am positive I fit in Stanford in every sense. However, I know how low the odds are.

Invited to interview with Booth!

I was so excited to get my first interview invite that I contacted my interviewer in the blink of an eye. I will have my interview off-campus as I don’t have the time nor the means to go to Chicago at the moment – I live in South America. So, as my interview is only a little more than a week away, right now I am 100% focused on killing it.

Soon, I will be sharing my progress and ramblings on my interview planning.

 

 

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs   [#permalink] 15 Oct 2016, 19:02

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