AdmitMBA360 Blog formerly Journey to my MBA

Journey to my MBA

Friday, July 30, 2004

GMAT, Studies, and B-School application strategy

Since neglecting my class studies last week because of the GMAT, I'm now caught up with my class studies. I just want to take the test now. I'm 90% ready for the test. Just a few more diagrams and minor facts to make sure I've got down. On a good note, the professor and I had a talk and he informed me that he normally gives 25% A's. He deviates from standard deviation to accomplish this. This is good news. Moreover, he and I will be working together to get him more technology savvy. After the Final, we'll be working to move his overheads to preventing.

I have no plans on asking for a letter of recommendation from him unless an academic "rec" is required or needed. I really have no hidden motives with this Professor. He's a good guy and is definitely passion about his work. I've learned a lot from the class as well. For example, I've learned just how Dams mess up a rivers and the fish life. China, India, Brazil, Thailand and Vietnam are just plain screwed. I've seen videos of what the Dams have already done and statistics on economical impact. Government and special interest are building thousands of dams over the next 10 years and the Dams utterly destroy the fish and plant life that so many people depend on. After seeing and learning what is going on, I feel so bad for the average villager in these countries.. Especially the generational fishing families. This is all intriguing to me...

I've done zero GMAT studies since taking the GMAT. Although I did take the GMAT Challenge yesterday and scored a 26 out of 37. I ran out of time and without even reading the question, just guessed on the last 6 or 7 questions. I was just too relaxed while taking the test. I know I could have done way better. That's about what I got on the GMAT. As I feel pretty good about the class studies, I'm starting to do some more GMAT studies.

By the way, why the heck do Indians always say, "I wrote my GMAT" or "I will give my GMAT" instead of "I took my GMAT" ? Weird, must be a grammar thing from Europe or something. (addendum-Actually give or write a GMAT is actually better grammar as I think about it. We Americans have bad idiom expressions when it comes to testing.-Dave)

As far as applications are concerned, I had a talk with Graham over at two nights ago. For many years, he was on the Wharton Admissions Staff and knows many of the other schools admin committee members personally. Despite the perceived notion that various school admission committee members may be bitter enemies, going to all the student presentation events together because multiple schools are represented helps them to get to know one another well. These events end up in nights where they'll share the inside scoops on things and exchange war stories over drinks.

I learned quite a few things in talking with him. Albeit, since he's in Paris, I ended up talking with him from 1:30am to 3 or 3:30am. Didn't get to sleep till 4:30am. So I was a bit tired the next day. is based out of he U.S., but he is working out of their Paris branch office. Anyway, here's a summary of the recommendations from Graham and conclusions I've drawn on my own that I'm mulling over.

1) Because of my age, I need to write the essays in such a way that the experiences don't emphasize my age. The reader needs to see the key points, but not have to go through extraneous stories or job after job illustrations. This issue probably cannot be emphasized enough for people over 32 or 33 applying to B-School.

2) My GMAT quant score needs to get pumped up to 49 (scaled score) or more... bottom line. Get whatever help I need. Take a math class, get tutoring whatever. My verbal is relatively fine as long as I can maintain a similar score or improve on it.

3) My GPA is average and fine for now. My school reputation and education background is above average.

4) I need to present my 8 years of working with College students as a) my source of community work b) the reason I didn't get aggressive with my career. (Which is truly how I feel about it, but my presentation of it will be a key factor for me)

5) Round 1 applications are no longer in my planning strategy for nearly all schools. Round 2 is the key planning deadlines for me.

6) Whether we are talking about or, they have buy in specials this month that allow one to purchase hours cheaper now than later. Despite the fact that applying right now depends on a good GMAT score.. I was hesitant about putting down money or considering finalizing any plans to go with an Admin Consultant. However, one statement he made had me saying, "Oh, that's going to make it hard for me to say no." It's that you can get a refund for whatever hours you don't use. So even if I don't get my GMAT scores up this year, I should make the decision now to buy in despite the GMAT score outcome.

7) I'm probably going to do an admin consultation. Uh, let me clarify that. If my wife is ok with it, I'll do it. This involves filling out an extensive questionnaire which is then sent back to A 10 page or so response comes back with a) assessment of schools I had planned on vs realistic possibilities based on my background and portfolio of GPA, experience, GMAT etc... b) suggested additional schools to consider and why c) essay big picture strategy d) clear honest feedback about my weaknesses and strengths coming from a similar perspective as one might find an Admissions committee doing at a top Business School.

8) Not only do I need to consider the overall essay presentation, but also the points I write about need to show how I could contribute to the school as well based on my extracurricular activities from undergraduate days and up till now.

9) Last point, because of my age, I need to consider an Executive MBA or part-time program seriously and change up my list of schools to reflect this. Age age age... everythings about my age dangit. POOF, I want to be young again!

There was more, but if you're interested, you should probably contact yourself.
If you're interested in contacting Graham, you can reach him at or contact their general e-mail and they'll contact you.

Now if ClearAdmit would give me a discount for even mentioning them... that would be cool! Graham... are you reading this? :)


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