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The mbaMission Blog

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Entrepreneurship at Northwestern Kellogg and Chicago Booth  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2019, 15:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Entrepreneurship at Northwestern Kellogg and Chicago Booth
How about a quick game of word association? We will start.

“Kellogg.”

Okay, go ahead. “Entrepreneurship,” right? No? Aspiring MBAs may be surprised to learn that Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management offers a number of courses in this discipline and that its Entrepreneurship and Innovation major is among its most popular areas of study—defying the stereotype that Kellogg produces only marketing MBAs.

As part of Envision Kellogg, the school’s strategic plan, the MBA program introduced four new impact initiatives in 2012, one of which is the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI). Overseen by the Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice, the KIEI offers numerous opportunities for students to develop their entrepreneurial acumen and currently features a total of 43 professors in its faculty. In addition to business plan competitions, the Levy Institute manages the Kellogg Entrepreneurial Internship Program Stipend and the Entrepreneur in Residence Program, an experiential learning option through which, for a day, an experienced entrepreneur hosts half-hour one-on-one sessions with students who aspire to careers in this field or are seeking advice on their already active projects.

The school’s Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital offers the Private Equity Lab, wherein rising second-year students intern with small businesses or private equity firms—receiving a stipend—to facilitate career transitions that would otherwise be challenging for those without experience. MBA student entrepreneurs coming from or planning to enter a family business will likely be interested to learn that Kellogg’s Center for Family Enterprises not only publishes research and cases on such businesses, but also confidentially consults with family-run companies. Indeed, this is all just the tip of the iceberg.

Let us continue the guessing game: Chicago Booth is just a finance school, right? Not at all. We feel that not enough applicants are aware of Chicago Booth’s robust “hands-on” entrepreneurial offerings, which are available through its Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Where to begin?

Chicago Booth’s practical academic programs extend into the field of entrepreneurship with the school’s “New Venture and Small Enterprise Lab.” Herein, students work within a host firm or take on a dedicated project in a class designed to train those who intend to ultimately join start-ups or provide consulting services to them. In addition, the Polsky Center sponsors the annual Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge, a business plan competition that awarded a $100,000 prize to its 2018 winner.

Further, entrepreneurially minded Chicago Booth students can apply for funding from the Hyde Park Angels (HPA), a group of former Chicago Booth Executive MBA students who make investments in start-ups—in 2019 so far, the group has invested nearly $12M. Although the HPA is an arms-length organization and does not source investments exclusively from Chicago Booth, it maintains a connection to the Polsky Center, which supports the HPA’s mission. So, students hoping to get in front of the HPA’s investment committee will have a built-in networking advantage. Also, the HPA offers students the opportunity to intern as associates and gain venture capital experience while pursuing their MBA at Chicago Booth.

Believe it or not, we are just scratching the surface here. Again, Chicago Booth is most definitely not “just a finance school.”

For more information on Northwestern Kellogg, Chicago Booth, and other leading MBA programs, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Waitlist Strategies for MBA Applicants  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2019, 15:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Waitlist Strategies for MBA Applicants
Each admissions season, many candidates receive a response from MBA admissions committees that can sometimes be far more frustrating than a rejection: “You have been placed on our waitlist.” What should you do when your status is uncertain?

The first and most important thing is to listen to the admissions committee. If the committee tells you not to send follow-up material of any sort, then do not yield to temptation and send material that you think will bolster your case. If you misguidedly choose to do so after being specifically instructed not to, you will most definitely identify yourself in a negative way—not the type of message you want to send to the group that will decide your fate.

Does this rule have any exceptions? Yes, actually. If you know a current student or an alumnus/alumna who can tactfully, diplomatically, and independently work on your behalf, you can have this third party write a letter to or otherwise contact the admissions committee in support of your candidacy. But again, this is acceptable only if this individual truly understands the delicate nature of the interaction. If you have no such person on your side, you will have to wait patiently, as difficult as that may be.

Conversely, if the school encourages applicants to provide updates on their progress, the situation changes. In the previous scenario, the frustration candidates experience derives from a sense of helplessness. But in this scenario, candidates tend to lament the lack of time in which to have accomplished anything significant, often thinking, “What can I offer the MBA admissions committee as an update? I submitted my application only three months ago!”

First and foremost, if you have worked to target any weaknesses in your candidacy—for example, by retaking the GMAT and increasing your score, or by taking a supplemental math class and earning an A grade—the admissions committee will certainly want to hear about this. Further, if you have any concrete news regarding promotions or the assumption of additional responsibilities in the community sphere, be sure to update the admissions committee on this news as well.

Even if you do not have these sorts of quantifiable accomplishments to report, you should still have some news to share. If you have undertaken any additional networking or have completed a class visit since you submitted your application, you can discuss your continued (or increased) interest; when you are on a waitlist, the admissions committee wants to know that you are passionately committed to the school. If you have not been promoted, you could creatively reflect on a new project that you have started and identify the professional skills/exposure that this project is providing or has provided (for example, managing people off-site for the first time or executing with greater independence). Finally, the personal realm is not off-limits, so feel free to discuss any personal accomplishments—for example, anything from advancing in the study of a language, to visiting a new country, to completing a marathon.

With some thought and creativity, you should be able to draft a concise but powerful letter that conveys your continued professional and personal growth while expressing your sincere and growing interest in the school—all of which will fulfill your goal of increasing your chances of gaining admission.
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Professor Profiles: Vijay Govindarajan, Dartmouth College Tuck School   [#permalink]

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New post 22 Oct 2019, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Vijay Govindarajan, Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business  
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Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we focus on Vijay Govindarajan from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Vijay Govindarajan, affectionately known by students as simply “VG,” is the Coxe Distinguished Professor at Tuck and has been cited by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and The Times as a top-ten strategy professor. His research focus includes global strategy, strategic innovation, strategy execution, and strategic controls. Govindarajan has been a consultant to several well-known companies, including Walmart, FedEx, and Microsoft, and in 2008, he served as chief innovation consultant to General Electric. In addition to his residency at Tuck, Govindarajan was named a Marvin Bower Faculty Fellow at Harvard Business School in 2015 for a two-year period. He was also the 2015 recipient of the Association of Management Consulting Firms Award of Excellence.

One alumnus told mbaMission, “VG’s class is great, and the cases have been interesting. Most of the cases are about manufacturing companies; however, they are not boring at all. He’s a great speaker and great lecturer.” Another graduate described Govindarajan’s classroom style to mbaMission by saying, “VG maintains a balance between lecture and class participation. He never cold-calls because he believes that students will be prepared. He doesn’t want students to comment for the sake of commenting and wants people to say something meaningful, which might be different from the approach at other schools.” Another alumnus shared that Govindarajan often brings great speakers to class.

For more information about Dartmouth Tuck and 16 other top-ranked MBA schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Admissions Committee Will Not Noti  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Admissions Committee Will Not Notice My Weakness(es)
Our clients frequently ask, “If I write the optional essay about my [low GMAT score, low GPA, bad semester in college, long stretch of unemployment, etc.], will it call attention to that weakness and overemphasize it?” In short, no. Writing the optional essay about a weakness will instead allow you to control the narrative about that issue and thereby better mitigate any negative effects it might have.

The admissions committee very likely will take note of a low GMAT score or a low GPA and will be left with unanswered questions about that weakness if you do not use the optional essay to address it. Rather than putting the committee in the position of having to guess at an explanation, take control of the situation and grab the opportunity to explain the details behind the weakness.

For example, let us say you have a weak GPA overall because you worked full time in your first two years of college, but your GPA from your last two years is much stronger. Not writing the optional essay means that you are hoping the admissions committee will take the time to search through your transcript, note the change in the GPA, and then examine your job history—then make the connection between your two years of full-time work and your subsequently lower grades during those years. On the other hand, if you use the optional essay to explain exactly what happened, you no longer have to simply hope that they will put in that extra effort and will know for sure that they are evaluating you using complete information. Likewise, they will not have to guess at the reason behind your low GPA, because you will have proactively filled in the story.

The bottom line is that the admissions committee is made up of professionals whose obligation is to examine all aspects of your profile. They are not punitive, but they are also not careless and will certainly note any weaknesses like those mentioned here. Keep in mind that these individuals are only human and are dealing with thousands of applications. Any way that you can save them time and effort by guiding them through the story of your application can only work to your advantage.
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Understanding Number Properties on the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Understanding Number Properties on the GMAT
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Is the GMAT topic of number properties driving you crazy? This concept covers things that we often call “basic”—topics that we learned in middle school (or earlier), such as divisibility, factors and multiples, odds and evens, positives and negatives, and so on. I assure you, though, that number properties questions on the GMAT are anything but basic.

I strongly urge you to develop a solid grounding in this topic, particularly because the test writers are so good at disguising what these problems are really testing.

You will need some kind of book or e-book that covers this topic thoroughly, but I have some resources to help you get started.

Start with this article, “Disguising—and Decoding—Quant Problems.” We talk about how the test writers disguise material that you probably do already know, and how we can learn to “decode” the problem or strip away the camouflage.

If you feel good about the concepts discussed in that article, and you are at a higher math level, try out this challenging problem next.

In the article “Patterns in Divisibility Problems,” we examine two GMATPrep problems that share some interesting characteristics. In this article, we discuss some interesting topics related to prime numbers.

Many questions address basic characteristics of numbers, such as whether they are positive or negative, odd or even, integer or fraction/decimal. These can be disguised in various ways; two of the most common are inequalities and absolute values (which we normally associate more with algebra).

Here are two that use inequalities as a disguise for number properties concepts, one in this article and another from this article, as well as a third one that plays around with absolute value. All three of these are generally hiding issues that deal with positive and negative properties of numbers.

And finally here are two more: a number line problem and one dealing with consecutive integers. The former tests positive and negative properties, as well as some others, and the latter covers a less-commonly-tested but still important number properties category.
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Wharton Team-Based Discussion 2019: What to Expect and How to Prepare  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Wharton Team-Based Discussion 2019: What to Expect and How to Prepare
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The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania plans to send out Round 1 interview invitations on October 29,  and once again, the school is using its team-based discussion format rather than a traditional admissions interview to evaluate its candidates. Understandably, Wharton applicants get anxious about this atypical interview, because the approach creates a very different dynamic from what one usually encounters in a one-on-one meeting—and with other applicants also in the room, one cannot help but feel less in control of the content and direction of the conversation. Yet despite the uncertainty, here are a few things that interviewees can expect:

  • You will need to arrive at the interview with an idea—a response to a challenge that will be presented in your interview invitation.
  • Having the best idea is much less important than how you interact with others in the group and communicate your thoughts. So while you should prepare an idea ahead of time, that is only part of what you will be evaluated on.
  • Your peers will have prepared their ideas as well. Chances are that ideas will be raised that you know little or nothing about. Do not worry! The admissions committee members are not measuring your topical expertise. Instead, they want to see how you add to the collective output of the team.
  • After the team-based discussion, you will have a short one-on-one session with someone representing Wharton’s admissions team. More than likely, you will be asked to reflect on how the team-based discussion went for you; this will require self-awareness on your part.
To give candidates the opportunity to undergo a realistic test run before experiencing the actual event, we created our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation. Via this simulation, applicants participate anonymously with three to five other MBA candidates in an online conversation, which is moderated by two of our experienced Senior Consultants familiar with Wharton’s format and approach. All participants then receive feedback on their performance, with special focus on their interpersonal skills and communication abilities. The simulation builds confidence by highlighting your role in a team, examining how you communicate your ideas to—and within—a group of (equally talented) peers, and discovering how you react when you are thrown “in the deep end” and have to swim. Our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation allows you to test the experience so you are ready for the real thing!

The 2019 Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation Round 1 schedule is as follows:

    • Group A: Saturday, November 2 at 12:00 p.m. ET
    • Group B: Saturday, November 2 at 3:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group C: Sunday, November 3  at 3:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group D:  Sunday, November 3  at 6:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group E: Monday, November 4 at 9:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group F: Tuesday, November 5 at 6:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group G: Wednesday, November 6 at 9:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group H: Thursday, November 7  at 6:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group I: Friday, November 8  at 3:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group J: Saturday, November 9 at 12:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group K: Saturday, November 9 at 3:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group L: Sunday, November 10  at 12:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group M:Sunday, November 10 at 3:00 p.m. ET 
    • Group N: Monday, November 11  at 9:00 a.m. ET 
    • Group 0: Monday, November 11 at 12:00 p.m. ET
    • Group P:  Monday, November 11 at 9:00 p.m. ET 
To learn more or sign up for a session, visit our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation page.
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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While Waiting Patiently for Interview Invitations, Consider What to Ex  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: While Waiting Patiently for Interview Invitations, Consider What to Expect
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As interview invitations from business schools roll out, do your best to remain calm and let the admissions committees do their work. Although becoming a little apprehensive is natural if you have not yet received an invitation, you will certainly not increase your chances of receiving one by calling the Admissions Office and asking if the school does indeed have all your files or if an interview decision has been made. In fact, such calls can actually have a negative effect on your candidacy, inadvertently making you seem pushy or even belligerent.

Admissions Offices are increasingly transparent and should be taken at their word. If they say they are still releasing decisions, then they are in fact still doing so. If they say that the timing of your interview decision does not signify an order of preference, then it does not. Unless something has changed materially in your candidacy, all you can really do—as painful as it may be—is wait patiently and try not to think about the decision or second-guess your status.

As the 2019–2020 MBA application season approaches Round 2, we thought now would be a good time to discuss some challenging interview situations you might encounter. Most business school interviews are straightforward opportunities for an interviewer to learn more about a candidate’s personal and professional background, goals, reasons for selecting a specific school, and leadership/team experiences. Yet interviews can vary dramatically from school to school, and they sometimes include a few peculiarities. So, what constitutes a “tough” interview, and how can you best navigate one?

Stoic interviewer: Some interviewers can be unemotional, refusing to give you any indication as to whether you are making a positive impression or not. And amid the intense pressure of an interview, you may perceive this lack of clear positive response as a sign of disapproval. The key to managing such a situation is to tune out the interviewer’s lack of emotion. Focus on your answers and do your best to not be distracted by anything about the interviewer, ignoring everything except the questions they are posing. “Reading” the interviewer in real time can be challenging, so concentrate instead on showcasing your strengths.

Philosophical questions: Most candidates are ready to discuss their experiences and accomplishments, but many are not prepared to discuss their values and philosophy on life. Harvard Business School, in particular, likes to understand applicants’ motivations and will ask questions like “What is your motivation to succeed?,” “What drives you?,” and “What gives you purpose in life?” The key to answering these sorts of questions is pretty simple: expect and prepare for them in advance (after all, you are being warned right now). Do not assume that all the questions you will receive during your interview will be experiential.

Persistent questioning: Sometimes a tough interviewer will continuously delve deeper into a subject, such as by repeatedly asking, “Can you be more specific about [the topic under discussion]?” after posing an initial question. These kinds of unusual pressure tactics can be disconcerting, but the key is to simply stay on topic. No matter how persistent they are, interviewers are always essentially asking you about a subject you know quite well—you! So again, by avoiding the distraction of the tactic and sticking to your agenda, you should be fine.

mbaMission offers even more interview advice in our free Interview Primers, which are available for 17 top-ranked business schools.
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Kelley School of Business and Fisher College of Business Offer MBAs in  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2019, 13:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Kelley School of Business and Fisher College of Business Offer MBAs in the Midwest
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Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business

As the demand for business-savvy health care professionals grows, business schools are taking notice. Leading the way is the Business of Medicine Physician MBA at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, which is designed to train practicing physicians to assume management positions and face a changing health care business environment. The two-year degree program was launched in the fall of 2013 and presents a new kind of opportunity at the intersection of business management and medical practice.

The degree combines the basic curriculum of Kelley’s full-time MBA with specialized health care courses supported by the school’s Center for the Business of Life Sciences. Idalene (Idie) Kesner, who was interim dean at the time but has since been appointed dean, said in a Financial Times article regarding the launch of the program, “With this degree, physician leaders will emerge with the full skillset to transform individual institutions, the broad healthcare field and, most important, patient outcomes.” Part of the Business of Medicine Physician MBA program—approximately 10–14 hours a week—is taught online, drawing on Kelley’s pioneering strengths in distance learning, while the other part entails one weekend residence per month, allowing for a more flexible time commitment.

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Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business

Despite the size of its parent institution, the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, another Midwestern business school, boasts a relatively intimate classroom experience—with approximately 100 students in each incoming full-time MBA class—and a close-knit community. Fisher students consequently benefit from the school’s wider university network (more than 550,000 alumni) and its proximity to major companies based both in Columbus and throughout the Midwest. Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Fisher 53rd in its list of top U.S. full-time MBA programs in 2018.

The Fisher curriculum consists of a core sequence spanning the first year of the program and offers a plethora of optional pathways in which students can major, including Corporate Finance, Brand Management, and Supply Chain. Of the 60 credit hours required for graduation, 7.5 credits consist of experiential coursework, including Business Lab Projects and the Core Capstone Experience. In these hands-on projects, students work with local and international businesses to apply the skills they have learned within the classroom to real-life scenarios. Nearly half (27 credit hours) of the required credit hours are dedicated to elective courses, proving that the Fisher MBA is a widely customizable program.
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Professor Profiles: Adam Brandenburger, NYU Stern School of Business  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2019, 15:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Adam Brandenburger, NYU Stern School of Business
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Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we focus on Adam Brandenburger from New York University’s (NYU’s) Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

An expert on game theory and its practical application to business strategy, Adam Brandenburger was voted the NYU Stern MBA Professor of the Year in 2006, and in 2008 he received an NYU Excellence in Teaching award in recognition of his teaching and course development work. From 2011–2014, he served as vice dean for innovation at NYU Stern, and he is now the J.P. Valles Professor at the school. His latest book—called The Language of Game Theory: Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games (World Scientific, 2014)—contains eight papers coauthored by Brandenburger and his colleagues over a period of 25 years. Students with whom mbaMission spoke reported being consistently impressed by his capacity to make the complex simple in the classroom, stating that Brandenburger is able to take the “complicated, theoretical and intangible” world of game theory and make it “easy to understand and practical.” Brandenburger holds additional appointments at NYU as global network professor, distinguished professor at the Tandon School of Engineering, and faculty director of the university’s Shanghai Program on Creativity and Innovation.

For more information about NYU Stern and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Stressed Out? Meditate to Lower Your Anxiety and Boost Your GMAT Score  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2019, 15:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Stressed Out? Meditate to Lower Your Anxiety and Boost Your GMAT Score
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With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Are you feeling overwhelmingly stressed out when you sit down to study for the GMAT? Do you find that concentrating on the task at hand is difficult?

Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara published the results of a study following 48 undergrads preparing for the GRE. Jan Hoffman details the research in a blog post at the New York Times.

The motivation for the study

“We had already found that mind-wandering underlies performance on a variety of tests, including working memory capacity and intelligence,” said Michael D. Mrazek in the NYT blog post.

We have all had this experience. We are taking a test, the clock is ticking, and we keep finding ourselves thinking about something other than the question we are supposed to be answering at that moment. Maybe we are stressing about our score. Maybe we are thinking about applications. Maybe we are even distracted by work, significant others, family, or other issues that have nothing to do with the test!

How do we stop fixating on other things and concentrate on the task at hand? This study tried to find out.

The study

First, the students were given some “baseline” tests, including one verbal reasoning section from the GRE (yes, the GRE, not the GMAT).

The students were then split into two groups. One group (group M) attended meditation classes four times a week; these students learned lessons on “mindfulness,” which focuses on breathing techniques and helps minimize distracting thoughts.

The other group (group N) attended nutrition classes, designed to teach the students healthy eating habits.

Afterward, the students did another GRE verbal section. The performance of students in group N stayed the same; the nutritional studies did not make a difference.

Group M students, however, improved their GRE scores by an average of 12 percentile points! The students also reported (subjectively) that they were better able to concentrate the second time around; they felt that their minds wandered less than they had before. Here is the best part: the study took just two weeks.

How did that happen?

The students did not become smarter or learn (much) more in that time frame. Rather, the mindfulness techniques helped the students perform closer to their true potential by reducing negative thoughts or habits that were interfering with performance. Think how much better you could do if you could turn off, or at least minimize, all those distracting thoughts that interrupt you when you are trying to concentrate!

How can I use this?

That short, two-week time frame is both good news and bad news. The good news is that you can achieve results without having to study meditation for six months. The bad news is that we do not know whether this provides only a short-term boost—the effects may fade over time.

So let’s speculate that the effects will fade unless you keep up with a regular meditation schedule. Let’s also assume that most people are not going to make meditation a regular part of their daily life; most will try it for a time and then drop it.

Here is what to do, then: Start learning some of these mindfulness techniques about eight weeks before you plan to take the test. Give yourself enough time to learn what to do, and then make these meditation sessions a part of your regular study schedule until you take the test. (If you would like to continue after that, great!)

Here is a resource to get you started: the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. They offer free meditation lessons and podcasts. They also periodically offer a six-week online course (for a small fee, less than $200 at the time of this publication); in addition to the prerecorded classes, you will be able to take advantage of live chats with an instructor. If you would rather meet with someone in person, run a Google search to find someone in your area.

Take a deep breath, exhale, and start learning how to minimize distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. Good luck!
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Explaining Your Contribution and Using School-Specific Info in MBA App  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2019, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Explaining Your Contribution and Using School-Specific Info in MBA Application Essays
Many business schools use their essay questions as an opportunity to ask about the unique contributions you will make to their particular program. Unfortunately, candidates often make the mistake of thinking that a bland summary statement like “I will bring my leadership skills to XYZ School” will sufficiently express their intended contribution. One reason we prefer to work with business school candidates “from start to finish” is so we can prevent such problems. Simply relating a story about a past experience and then repeating the main point does not demonstrate that you can or will make a meaningful contribution to the school. Ideally, you want to go further, explaining how you would apply and use your experience and skills while at the school in a way that would offer some benefit to others, thereby demonstrating a true understanding of your fit with that particular program.

Example 1:

“My experience as a stand-up comedian will allow me to bring humor to the Kellogg environment.”

With this statement, the MBA admissions committee is left wondering, “How exactly will this applicant bring humor to the environment? Does this person really know what our environment is about?” In contrast, consider our next example.

Example 2:

“My experience as a stand-up comic will prove particularly useful at Kellogg, a dynamic environment where I will be constantly joining new and energetic study teams. I anticipate using my sense of humor to create more relaxed team environments, helping everyone feel comfortable contributing, though I will use my humor judiciously, such as to diffuse tense moments during late-night study sessions, rather than as a distraction. I believe my skills and experience being funny on stage will also allow me to play an important role in the Kellogg Follies.”

In this example, the writer has applied their personal experience and intended contribution directly to the Kellogg experience and has thereby shown a clear connection with the school, proving that the candidate truly identifies with it and accurately understands its nature.

At times, candidates also tend to unintentionally describe their personal experience with a specific MBA program in a vague and general manner. Because they are writing from memory and discussing their authentic experience, they do not realize that they are not being specific enough. Consider the following example:

“During my visit to Cornell Johnson, I was struck by the easygoing classroom discussion, the warmth of the professors, and the time spent by the first-year student who not only toured the facilities with me but also took me out for coffee and asked several of his colleagues to join us.”

Although these statements may in fact be true, the text contains no Cornell-specific language. If the Yale School of Management, Michigan Ross, or the name of any other school were substituted for Cornell Johnson here, the statement would not otherwise change at all, resulting in a weak and generic essay.

In contrast, the following statement could refer only to UVA Darden:

“While on Grounds, I was impressed by Professor Robert Carraway’s easygoing and humorous style as he facilitated a fast-paced discussion of the ‘George’s T-Shirts’ case. Although I admittedly felt dizzied by the class’s pace, I was comforted when I encountered several students reviewing the finer points of the case later at First Coffee. I was impressed when my first-year guide stopped mid-tour to check in with her learning teammate and reinforce the case’s central point. It was then I recognized that this was the right environment for me.”

If you were to substitute the Darden name and even the professor’s name with those of another school and professor, the paragraph would no longer work. Including the Darden-specific information regarding the day’s case, First Coffee, and learning teams ensures that these sentences have a sincere and personal feel and shows that the candidate truly understands what the school is about. This is necessary to craft a compelling personal statement that will catch the admissions committee’s attention.
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HEC Paris Enters the Top Five in The Economist’s MBA Ranking  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: HEC Paris Enters the Top Five in The Economist’s MBA Ranking
The Economist released its 2019 full-time MBA ranking last week with a familiar name in first place: the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Although the number-one program was unchanged from the 2018 ranking and many schools in the top ten—including Harvard Business School, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania—were the same, this year’s ranking also featured something notable: for the first time since 2015, a European school landed in the top five. HEC Paris, which was ranked 13th last year, was third this time—its highest position since The Economist started publishing its rankings. Another European institution, IESE Business School, came in tenth, down four spots from the previous year, while Italian powerhouse SDA Bocconi School of Management took a notable leap from last year’s 24th position, landing in 13th place this year.

Among the most notable U.S.-based risers in the top 20 were the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, which was in 11th place last year but seventh this time, and Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, which gained six places and was ranked 14th. Conversely, Columbia Business School was tenth in 2018 but 15th this year, and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia was ninth last year but 16th this time.
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Professor Profiles: Julie Hennessy, Northwestern University Kellogg Sc  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 07:36
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Julie Hennessy, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
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Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we focus on Julie Hennessy from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Before students even began describing the quality of their educational experiences with Julie Hennessy to mbaMission, they noted that she “cares a lot” and “makes herself available to chat and talk about recruiting.” In addition to teaching Kellogg MBA students as a clinical professor of marketing and serving as associate chair of the Marketing Department, Hennessy teaches executive education at leading firms. Students we interviewed reported that she draws on these experiences in class but does not just tell stories. Instead, Hennessy challenges students and teases out the responses that facilitate learning. Students with whom we spoke also referred to her as “funny and energetic.”

Not surprisingly, then, Hennessy won the school’s L.G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year Award—which is voted on by Kellogg students—in both 2007 and 2017. In addition, she has won seven student impact awards and five Chair’s Core Course Teaching Awards—most recently in 2018 and 2010–2011, respectively. And in 2016, Hennessy received the school’s Certificate for Impact Teaching Award.

Kellogg’s website notes that Hennessy focuses her writing on producing new cases for class discussion; she has completed cases on such brands as TiVo, Apple iPod, Invisalign Orthodontics, and (as separate cases) the antibiotics Biaxin and Zithromax.

For more information about Northwestern Kellogg and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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Cold Calls and Capital Management at Darden  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 07:36
FROM mbaMission Blog: Cold Calls and Capital Management at Darden
MBA students at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business are known to work quite hard amid the rigors of the case method. Each day, they are expected to read a business case and perform their own analysis of the situation presented. Then, they must compare and reason through their analysis with a small, diverse group of fellow students—their Learning Team. Students can often spend two to four hours prepping on their own and then two to three more with their teammates to arrive at an answer (as opposed to the answer). And what might be the reward for all this work? The student may be selected for a “cold call” to start off the class.

At Darden, most first-year and some second-year classes begin with a professor randomly selecting a student to lead the day’s discussion by presenting their case analysis. This student can be subjected to anywhere from five to 20 minutes of questioning, as the professor teases out key points of discussion for the broader class to explore. Many students have sweated through a cold call only to gain the applause of their peers at the end. (Others, of course, may not do as well.) These cold calls can be daunting, but they force students to prepare thoroughly and think on their feet—a key feature of the Darden learning experience.

Outside the Darden classroom, students can apply principles of the school’s general management program in the Darden Capital Management (DCM) club, where they evaluate equities to understand the entire firm while also specializing in asset management to further their careers in this finance industry niche. Many think that because Darden casts itself as offering a general management program, the school has no specialties. General management, however, is a philosophy that suggests that no business problem can be viewed in isolation—for example, a finance problem relates to marketing, a marketing problem relates to operations, and so on.

Through DCM, first-year students pitch long and short investment ideas to second-year student fund managers who oversee approximately $18M of Darden’s endowment, which is divided among five funds, each with its own focal area. The first years ultimately “graduate” and run these funds themselves for credit as second years, reporting on their investment decisions and performance to Darden’s finance board. Students who manage these funds report that they have had an advantage breaking into asset management, because this hands-on experience gives them plenty to discuss in interviews. Managing around $18M will do that…

For more information on Darden or 16 other leading MBA programs, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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What the GMAT Really Tests  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: What the GMAT Really Tests
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

The GMAT is not a math test. Nor is it a grammar test. Sure, you have to know something (well, a lot of things!) about these topics to get a good score, but this exam is really testing your executive reasoning skills.

The term might be unfamiliar, but you already have—and use—these skills every day. Consider the following:

You arrive at work in the morning and think about all the things you could do that day. You cannot get it all done, so which things will have to wait until this afternoon or tomorrow or next week? Which one thing should you start working on first?

You have a choice between working on Project X or Project Y. Project Y will result in about 5% more revenue to the company, but Project Y will also take 50% longer. Which do you do?

None of those decisions are easy ones (and many would likely require more information than I gave in the little scenario). This complex decision making is exactly what a good executive needs to be able to do well—and this is what the test writers and business schools actually care about.



How does that help me take the test?


Great decision makers have both expertise and experience: they have thought about how to make various kinds of decisions, and they have actually practiced and refined these decision-making processes. While the clock is ticking, they do not hesitate to make a decision and move forward, knowing that they are going to be leaving some opportunities behind.

If you know how the GMAT works and you know what kinds of trade-offs to think about when deciding how to spend your time, then you can learn how to make the best decisions to maximize your score.

Okay, how does the GMAT work?

Glad you asked. I talk to students nearly every day who tell me that they just cannot give up on a question, or they figure that, if they “know” they can get something right, they might as well take the time to get it right, even when that means running out of time later on.

(Note: I put “know” in question marks there because… well, you do not really know. In fact, the longer we spend, the more likely we are to get stuff wrong.)

So here is what you need to do: you need to grow up.

I am not saying, “Oh, grow up!” in a harsh way. I am saying that you need to graduate from school. The way that we were trained to do things in school is often not the way things work in the real world. You already know this—you learned it when you got out into the working world.

In school, you are supposed to do what the professors assign. At work, you are supposed to think for yourself.

So get yourself out of school. Graduate to the real world. Approach the GMAT as a test of your business ability and decision-making skills.

Graduation day

If you can graduate to the business mind-set, you will have a much better shot at hitting your goal score. If you stick with the “school” mind-set, then you are almost certainly not going to get the score you want.

So first, keep reminding yourself that the GMAT is a decision-making test, not an academic test. React accordingly.

Next, the two articles “In It to Win It” and “But I Studied This—I Should Know How to Do It!” will also help you make this mental switch.

Follow those up by educating yourself on the subject of time management. Great businesspeople know how to manage their time and make trade-off decisions; great GMAT test takers have this same skill.

Finally, remember that your ability to get better hinges on your ability to analyze your own thought processes and the test questions themselves. Your goal is not academic. Your goal is to learn how to think.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Already Have a Good Resume  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2019, 10:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Already Have a Good Resume
Many MBA candidates do not properly rethink and revise their resumes for their business school applications. Because they already have a resume saved on their computer, they often dismiss this important element of their profile. We are here to warn you not to underestimate the value of this document—the admissions committees actually review applicants’ resumes rather carefully, because they serve as a road map of each candidate’s career.

As we have noted in the past, your resume is not the place to “stuff” all your life experiences. Somewhere between cramming your resume with information and ignoring it altogether lies the ideal: crafting a clear, easily scannable, action-/results-oriented resume that tells a story. This kind of document will capture the attention of an admissions officer who has reviewed hundreds of similar files.

One of the most common errors candidates make is leaving their resume in an industry-specific format, filled with jargon and acronyms recognizable only to an expert in their field. Remember, the admissions committee is not hiring you for a task, but is trying to understand your progress, your accomplishments, and even your character. Each bullet point in your resume needs to highlight achievement more than positional expertise.

As you prepare your resume to be included in your application, think about your audience and recognize that your resume can be a strategic tool to reinforce certain characteristics that are important to you—characteristics that may complement information provided in other parts of your application. For example, if you aspire to a career that is international in nature, you may place more emphasis on your international experience in your resume. Or, if you come from a field that is not known for its management orientation—you were a teacher who administered a school’s $50,000 student activities budget, for example—you may use your resume to emphasize disciplines that are important to an MBA admissions audience.

Some candidates are surprised to realize that one page can communicate so much and therefore deserves a significant level of attention, but investing some time in this short but crucial document is definitely worth the effort.
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Begin Your Essays with Your Strongest Accomplishments and Enliven with  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Nov 2019, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Begin Your Essays with Your Strongest Accomplishments and Enliven with the Active Voice
When preparing personal statements that require significant information about career progress, many MBA applicants choose to discuss their accomplishments in chronological order. Although the simplicity of this approach makes it an attractive one, we encourage you to consider an alternative to showcase your more recent and thus potentially stronger accomplishments first. By taking this approach instead, you may capture your reader’s imagination more quickly and reduce the risk of being lost amid similar candidates.

Consider these examples: (1) a software analyst who is now a project manager managing a budget and leading a team of 20 programmers and (2) an investment banking analyst who is now in their third year with a company and has been sent abroad to work directly with a CFO.

The Project Manager

Chronological: “Joining ABC Technology as a software programmer, I…”

Reverse: “Scrutinizing my plan one last time, I waited to present my team’s $3.7M proposal to our client…”

The Investment Banker

Chronological: “As an investment banking analyst at Deutsche Bank, I started…”

Reverse: “Arriving in Taipei, I was admittedly nervous to finally meet the CFO of XYZ Co. and lead my firm’s due diligence process…”

In these examples, the candidates immediately present their standout accomplishments and thrust the reader into the excitement of their stories. Although this kind of reverse introduction is not “all purpose,” it can be a feasible option in many circumstances. Still, in choosing this approach, candidates must be able to fluidly return to earlier moments in their career later in the essay—a task that requires creativity and skill.

Another task that requires skill is determining when to use the active voice. Many writers use the passive voice in their essays, but the best writers know it should be used only rarely, if ever.

The passive voice puts the verb in the “wrong” place in the sentence, thereby removing the “action.” Subjects become acted upon rather than performing actions. Sentences with the passive voice typically include verb phrases such as “was” or “has been” (e.g., “it was determined,” “the project has been completed”).

Consider this example of the passive voice:

“The marathon was run despite my injury.”

In this sentence, the verb (or action) is diminished because the writer says the marathon “was run.” A better way of describing the same activity is to use the active voice, as illustrated in this example:

“I ran the marathon despite my injury.”

Here are two more examples:

Passive: “The contract was awarded to us.”

Active: “We won the contract.”

Passive: “It was decided that I would be in charge of the project.”

Active: “My boss selected me to be in charge of the project.”

 

Remember—you are the center and subject of your essays. The best way to tell your stories and explain your accomplishments is to make sure that you are the catalyst of the stories you tell. Using the active voice ensures that the admissions committee(s) will see you as an active person who makes things happen.
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Professor Profiles: Jeffrey Carr, NYU Stern School of Business  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Nov 2019, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Jeffrey Carr, NYU Stern School of Business
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Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we profile Jeffrey Carr from New York University’s (NYU’s) Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Having taught at Stern for more than a decade as an adjunct associate professor (and earning the 1996 Stern/Citibank Teacher of the Year Award), Jeffrey Carr joined Stern’s full-time faculty in 2007 and is now a clinical professor of marketing and entrepreneurship. Carr also serves as director of the NYU Stern Fashion and Luxury Lab, which was launched in 2017. He was formerly the executive director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and has garnered a reputation as one of the school’s most respected marketing experts, featured by such major news outlets as NBC and the New York Times. Carr is president of Marketing Foundations Inc. and has worked on projects for such companies as Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, General Electric, Pfizer, Kodak, Time Inc., and Unilever.

As one first year we interviewed said of his experience at Stern, “So far, the most impressive class has been ‘Marketing’ with Jeff Carr,” adding, “He’s super engaging and makes you think more about the consequences of your actions in marketing than simply teaching you the tools. The class structure is very informal, but all of the students are learning a ton.”

For more information about NYU Stern and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Should I Consider Chicago Booth and Wharton for Marketing?  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2019, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Should I Consider Chicago Booth and Wharton for Marketing?
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The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

You may be surprised to learn that the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is making inroads into an area that its crosstown rival (Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management) is known to dominate: marketing. Through the James M. Kilts Center for Marketing—named for the Chicago Booth alumnus who was formerly CEO of Gillette and Nabisco (and is now a partner at Centerview Partners, which he co-founded)—Chicago Booth offers students roughly ten marketing electives. In particular, the school is growing its experiential opportunities in the marketing field, with students taking part in marketing management labs (semester-long consulting projects) at companies that in the past have included Abbott Laboratories, Bank of America, and Honeywell International. Further, professors in the department saw opportunities for increased practical involvement and created “hybrid” classes such as “Marketing Research Lab” and “Lab in Developing New Products and Services” that involve a lecture component but also allow students to work on shorter-term consulting projects. In addition, students can sign up to be paired with an alumni marketing mentor or apply for Marketing Fellowships, which provide scholarship funds and a two-year mentoring relationship.

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The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Another potentially overlooked destination for marketing-driven MBA applicants is the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, which might be best known for its reputation in finance (as its original name, the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, would imply). Nevertheless, the school prides itself on the breadth and depth of its expertise in a multitude of business areas.

For instance, consider these facts about Wharton’s highly regarded marketing program:

  • Wharton has “the largest, most cited, and most published marketing faculty in the world,” according to the marketing department’s website.
  • The school’s marketing department was ranked #2 in the 2020 S. News & World Report MBA rankings by specialty.
  • A Wharton marketing professor developed conjoint analysis, a tool that has helped shape 20th century marketing practices.
  • The Wharton Marketing Conference brings together approximately 300 students, faculty members, alumni, and leading marketing experts to explore various themes central to the industry. The latest conference—held in October 2018 with the theme “Leveraging Technology for Innovative Marketing”—featured keynote speeches by the co-founder and CEO of The Clear Cut, the co-founder and CEO of Red Antler, a brand director of P&G Ventures Labs, and the president of Supergoop! Panelists hailed from such companies as Anthropologie, Boxed, Comcast, and Burrow.
Indeed, to dismiss Wharton as simply a finance school would be a mistake.

For a thorough exploration of what Chicago Booth, UPenn Wharton, and other top business schools have to offer, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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The Dos and Don’ts of GMAT CATs, Part 1  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2019, 10:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: The Dos and Don’ts of GMAT CATs, Part 1
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

What are the Dos and Don’ts to get the most out of your CATs? Learn more in this three-part series.

Know WHY you take CATs

Practice CATs are very useful for three things:

(1) Figuring out your current scoring level (assuming you took the test under official conditions)

(2) Practicing stamina and/or timing

(3) Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses

The third item is the MOST important—this is how we actually get better at this test!

Practice CATs do not help us to improve while taking the test. If you have been training to run a marathon, you will not learn how to get better while running the marathon itself; at that stage, you are just trying to survive. Rather, you learn how to improve in between races while doing all kinds of training activities and analyzing your performance.

DO take a CAT at the beginning of your study

Many people put off taking their first CAT, often because they say that they have not studied yet, so they know they will not do well. Your goal in taking your first CAT is NOT to do “well.” Your goal is simply to get a handle on your strengths and weaknesses. Whatever they are, you want to know them right away so you can prioritize your study.

One caveat: Familiarizing yourself with the five question types before that first exam (particularly Data Sufficiency) is important, but definitely do not worry about learning all of the formulas and grammar rules. Your first test performance will tell you what you do and do not yet know.

One caution in particular here: a decent percentage of the people who put off their first CAT do so because they are feeling significant anxiety about taking the test. These are the people who do need to take that first test early—pushing off the practice tests will just exacerbate your anxiety.

DON’T take a CAT more than once a week

Have you ever had this happen? You take a CAT and you get a disappointing score. Maybe you even really mess things up—run out of time or finish 20 minutes early—and your score plummets. So, a couple of days later, you take another CAT to “prove” to yourself that the bad test was just a fluke.

If you have ever done that, you wasted your time and a practice CAT, both of which are very valuable.

That bad test was not a fluke. Something happened to cause that performance. Figure out what that thing was and fix it before you spend another 3.5 hours taking a second test.

In fact, whether you like the score or not, whenever you take a CAT, do not waste time taking another until you have addressed whatever issues popped up during your analysis of the first test. (This article will help you analyze MGMAT CATs.)
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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