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|All Reviews > OrbitalDecay's Reviews|
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
730 Q49 V41
Improvement 50 Points
Instructor Stacey Koprince
A little about me: I'm an American male aerospace engineer living in the southern US. I received a decent GRE score (Q168/V158) ~710 GMAT equivalent I used for entry to my master's program at UCLA. I found GMAT material to be slightly tougher than GRE material, and needed all the help I could get in the midst of this supposed 'GMAT arms race' amongst the top schools. I have recently been accepted to one top-15 school and one top-10 school despite some crummy grades I had in undergrad because I lacked maturity (and still do!) The GMAT was doubly important and ended up proving to be a much-needed bright spot on my application.
I recently received a 730 (Q49V41) GMAT score after a 6-month journey. I owe some of this success to Stacey Koprince and the Manhattan GMAT live online course, which gave me an excellent introduction to some of the key principles that are paramount for successfully handling the GMAT.
I enjoy structure in my life and usually work harder when there's human interaction and accountability involved in some way. I used Manhattan live online for my GRE prep, and found it to be great. I thumbed through some reviews and found some very positive stuff about Stacey Koprince, and enrolled in her live online section.
Since time is finite, studying efficiently for the GMAT was important. I feel the direction MGMAT offered was essential, with weekly homework assignments on key problems in their excellent guide books. When I first started with the verbal section, I usually had no strategy and ran out of time and couldn't find any rhyme or reason to why the right answers were the right answers. Stacey changed this. Stacey is a seasoned veteran who had a talent for explaining in the simplest language possible what was happening in the verbal section with respect to sentence correction and choosing the best answer for the RC/CR. If I was hung up on some caveat with sentence correction like parallelisms, she intuitively knew how I was thinking about the problem and was able to explain it and shift my focus to the 'correct' way of approaching the problem.
On the quant side, Whitney (the co-instructor of the course) offered some good tips and timing strategies that I ended up using to get my 730. The course and the practice tests were good at exposing where I was most weak in the quant sections, so I could focus my study time to those areas.
A couple of areas that weren't as strong in the course and experience were the MGMAT practice tests, and difficulty of the questions presented during the class sessions.
The MGMAT practice tests were good for practicing timing on the quant, but the truth is nothing can mimic the elegance and inherent trickiness that real retired GMAT questions have. Thankfully the course provides the OG, which is the best place to practice for the quant. Top schools require top quant scores, so heavy exposure to algebra-intensive problems is important, and during class sessions the pace can sometimes be a little slow- so I would just dive into the OG and start doing stuff until the class moved on. In defense of the course, they've got a lot of cats to herd.
Lastly, I want to say that I enjoyed my experience and the social interaction with Stacey, Whitney, and the other students in the course. I found myself looking forward to my Monday night GMAT course. The GMAT can be a long and painful journey, but Stacey encouraged me to not take it all too seriously and that persistence is what was important. Having the expert guidance and interaction with the MGMAT crew definitely put some wind in my sails:)
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
730 Q49 V41
I would like to share my experience working with Menlo Coaching and David White.
I can say without reservation that if you work with Menlo Coaching, whether it's David or Alice, you will be able to craft your story in the best way possible to elevate your candidacy and produce writing that you can truly be proud of. You'll have someone in your corner who sees you and your MBA candidacy far more accurately than you can see it yourself- and you'll have someone who can help you shape your application materials to be the best they can possibly be. This, along with a little luck, can get you results that will surprise you (in the good, life-changing way).
I’m far from being the perfect candidate for a top-MBA program. I achieved poor grades early in undergrad (mainly due to maturity issues). Although I made my best attempt to pull my grades up my final two years, I still came out with a GPA that would be significantly lower than a top-MBA program’s average. I have somewhat of a rough past, and am very un-diverse (ahem, white male). Currently I’m an engineer working in the defense industry. I’m good with numbers, but not words, and MBA applications use a lot of words. I knew it was going to be an uphill battle, and I needed a tailwind. I read some incredible reviews on this site for Menlo Coaching, contacted them, and was lucky enough to get David White as my consultant. David has spent several years working in tech in Silicon Valley, and knows the landscape of the tech world quite well- so our working relationship was a good match, professionally and culturally, since my goal was to make it into the tech industry.
David gave a clear picture of exactly what is going on with top MBA programs: elite employers rely on MBA programs to pre-screen the pool for top candidates, so they know they’re not wasting time when it comes to recruiting those candidates. Yes- you learn extremely useful practical business knowledge and build the all-important network- but I’d say the main thing is that elite employers use it as a screen.
Our first order of business was to find out everything about me, and get all of my cards on the table. This took the form of an hour kick-off phone call with David, where I shared with him the story of my life (seriously, starting from early childhood): how I decided that engineering was for me, why I chose the undergrad that I did, any struggles I had, and what I wanted out of my career. This laid the foundation for essay material, and also helped with school selection- which came next.
David and Alice have a pretty good idea about how the schools differ, and intuitively know where your best chances may be. I thought I knew the schools I wanted to apply to, but I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear from David. He gave an honest assessment that my chances at the tippy-top schools were pretty much zilch. But that’s how I knew I had found the right consultant. No funny stuff or “sure, we can drop an app into Harvard!” I didn't want to choose the 'wrong' school and one that wasn't a good fit for me. David and I chose schools that I truly wanted to attend, and I think this sentiment came out in my essays and helped me. Yes, it's important that you go to a great top-ranked school to be successful, but you'll be even more successful if you go to a top-ranked school that's the right fit for you.
Essays and Applications
The material shared in our initial conversation was combined with my goals and the product was a goal statement of sorts, which ALL of the applications required, whether it was 150 characters or 150 words. This was an important piece- "packaging" me such that it made sense that I'm transitioning to the career I wanted. David knew that schools cared about this, because ultimately they are concerned with employment numbers, which are important metrics that go into their rankings. David helped take my engineering and programming background and craft it into a palpable statement arguing that I'm a good candidate for the technology sector but I lack business knowledge needed for product management (true). David also helped me craft a resume that concisely communicated the best of my professional accomplishments and my competencies as an engineer. Menlo Coaching's approach to essay and short response writing is very efficient. I'd start with some bullet points (shooting in the dark) of what I thought were good topics or points to make, and David would filter those to the 'best' items. Then came a few drafts, each becoming more polished and concise and natural with diligence between myself and David and the editor. I was particularly fascinated with the quality of my essays in the end. I was also impressed that the essays were the truest reflection of myself and the highlights of my candidacy. Additionally, getting down to the right word count (a pain in the ass) was something that David and I working together were able to achieve with relative ease.
During all of this, David kept encouraging me to retake the GMAT based on my practice test scores, and directed me to a tutor that ultimately proved to be the best decision I made with respect to GMAT prep. I studied hundreds of hours for the exam (I know because I kept track!) and my efforts finally came to fruition with a score that was above every school’s average except Stanford’s.
Visits and Interviews
David encouraged me to visit all the schools I was applying to ahead of time (before interviews), something I'll admit was a big expense but something that definitely moved the needle for me. It helped me speak with authority about why that school was the right fit for me. David also prepped me for interviews (I interviewed at all 4 schools I applied to) via skype, and we got my responses to where I was confident to field any question, but not at all canned or scripted. It helped. David has executive experience in the tech world, and been on both sides of the interview table a LOT.
So back to my main point: I was somewhat of a longshot at the schools I applied to- I have some obvious holes in my candidacy that would make it easy for an admissions director to throw me in the ding pile without second thought. But with David and Menlo Coaching I was able to do each little thing right- the visits, the essays, the GMAT, the interviews- and while individually those things may not have moved the needle enough, together [I believe] they turned the tide. I applied to four schools, interviewed at all four, and was accepted to 2 out 4 of those schools- one top-12 program and one top-10 program. This fall I will be attending a top-10 school that was absolutely a reach for me and is my dream. I'm amazed and proud of what David and I were able to accomplish with a shit ton of hard work and competent execution. I'm convinced that I gave it my best shot and got into a first-rate school that's a terrific fit for me. I left everything out on the battlefield and at the same time I had a lot of help from David. Don’t ever count yourself out if you’re an ugly duckling.
Yes, the cost of services was not insignificant, but it also wasn’t far off from the average of what other consultancies charge. But I’m in this thing for the long haul, and it’s really just a drop in the bucket compared to what I will gain, pecuniary and otherwise. David was very generous with his time, and the services ended up being cheaper than what I had projected.
I'd recommend contacting David or Alice ASAP (at least 5-7 months before deadlines) to land a coveted spot on their client list. My journey began about 12 months ago, when I was in your shoes, reading this same thread from 2017. Good luck, and reach out to Menlo Coaching.