AdmitMBA360 Blog formerly Journey to my MBA

Journey to my MBA

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The definition of quantitative.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on this topic lately. I’ve come up with some ideas on what a quantitative personality means to a top Business School and why they emphasis a pretty good score in this area.

First of all, a Quant person is not necessarily a good math person. It is someone who can look at independent ideas and facts, look at a situation and be able to come up with a response in a step-by-step fashion. It also means looking at a situation and not respond in a typical fashion of, “what is the right answer?”, but rather, “I have a possible answer…. However, how could it be the wrong answer based on the facts given?”. In short, a quant person is not just a memorizer, although they might have a great memory and often do, but rather someone who reasons very well.

So when a quant person looks at a math problem with 2,3 or 4 various combinations of theories.. they don’t get confused, but rather pull the question apart and can see where one theory leads into the other and can merge and manipulate the combinations to get the final answer.

Let me summarize my points. A great Quant person is one who 1) Doesn’t jump to conclusions unnecessarily and make rash decisions 2) Can take various experiences and knowledge points to extrapolate a very good position and direction even though they haven’t had exposure to a particular situation. In other words, with few instructions, they will be able to perform and handle many possible situations well 3) Doesn’t answer with “can’t” until they’ve exhausted all possible knowledge, theories, and experiences before asking for help. Even then… a great Quant person will often realize exactly what pieces of information are missing and ask for them before a conclusion can be drawn.

With regard to Business Schools, it has become clear to me that great Quant scores are indicative of the people with the capacity to be great business people. They are looking for people who can handle the diversity of business challenges and great Quant people have what it takes. Of course, this isn’t the only characteristic they are looking for, but I think this is a good foundational quality to look for. It makes sense that you don’t want a math head only, but someone who can take their Quant ability and be a good to great communicator. It also makes sense that great Business School candidates are also decisive. I know a lot of great quantitative people who suffer from, “paralysis of analysis” where they don’t know when to say they have enough facts. They need to know when the rest is gut, intuition, experience and economic circumstances to take a calculated risk. Or as some would say, they ought to be able to “bet the farm” on a calculated initiative occasionally and have the courage to follow through.

With regard to the GMAT, a topic much on my mind these days, a good quant person understands the content (the formulas, geometry rules, work problems and etc…), but don’t just rely on their memory to be able to handle a problem even though they haven’t seen a particular combination of theories in one problem. They are able to proficiently take apart the problem into its’ constituent theories and manipulate them in any combination they run into. The idea of doing a lot of problems to see the various possibilities one might see on the test is therefore NOT the way to do well on the GMAT. However, doing a lot of problems should be a way to test ones ability to manipulate possibilities of questions. Do you see the difference? Therefore, each area of the GMAT are all dependent on ones ability to understand the rules first.. then be able to perform step by step reasoning of independent ideas to come up with a well reasoned answer.

The practical side to all of this is getting used to doing the problems as a great Quant person would.

My wife who graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree tells me that she feels like she didn’t learn anything in school. She would always tell me that she didn’t need to memorize every single formula because many of them were derivations of combinations of a core set of formula theories. She understands that her education taught her to be an incredible quantitative math person. She mentions that some other schools are well known for education emphasizing formula learning however and that those students generally didn’t do well in situations where they didn’t see the exact permutation of a problem before.

Glad I got that off my chest. If you want to do well on the GMAT, you MUST be able to do what a good quant person does. Having 20 different resources of GMAT problems just to see more problems is a vain approach to preparing for the GMAT and is frankly a big waste of time. One ought to have enough problems to go through with 4-5 resources like the Official Guide. If one requires more than that, then you’re relying too much on memory and you may need to get with a tutor or get personalized help to learn to handle the GMAT as a great quant person would.

Before you conclude in disagreement with me on these ideas, I suggest you take a hard serious look at the way you approach your GMAT studies and see why you are getting wrong answers. The bottom line is that, if you get a question wrong, there are only four reasons why. You don’t know enough content (rules, theories well enough), you were careless, you were tired and unfocused, or your process to handle weird permutations is not solid enough (this last one is the case for me right now). One final comment. I've noticed that if I get a questions wrong... it's not necessarily because I was "careless", but rather because my "process" in doing a problem is not solid enough. Thereofore, we ought not to look at a problem that we got wrong and just see that the fault was due to an overlooked fact, but perhaps our process of step-by-step problem solving was not solid enough or focused enough.

Well, back to my studies.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Journey to my MBA Locations of visitors to this page
Stay up to date with this Blog
Monitor changes to links on the sidebars of this Web Site
Dave's E-Mail

Subscribe with Bloglines Subscribe with My Yahoo! Subscribe with Google Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe in Rojo Subscribe with Pluck RSS reader Subscribe with Bloglines Add to AOL
Get Updates of this Blog via Email:

Powered by
Some Noteworthy Blog Postings
Cornell-Johnson Visit Experience-Dave
MIT-Sloan Visit Experience-Dave
Wharton Visit Experience-Dave
Darden Visit Experience-'04-Dave
Darden Visit/Interview Experience-'06-Dave
Darden Pictures-'06
HBS Visit Experience-'04-Dave
HAAS Visit/Info Session-'04-Dave
Columbia Visit/Info Session-'04-Axechick
Tuck Visit/Info Session-'05-Laser
Tuck Visit/Interview '06-Dave
Tuck Pictures1-'06
Tuck Pictures2-'06
Michigan Info Sess. Experience-Dave
Columba Info Sess. Experience-Dave
Tuck Info Sess. Experience-Dave
World MBA Tour Experience-Dave
Travel Guides-Dave
Columbia Open House I-Droodoggie
Columbia Open House II-Droodoggie
Application Essay Advice-Dave
Application Essay Advice II-Dave
MBA App advice-Consulting/Management-Dave
Good Essay question Prep-Uniqpath
The MBA Journey Begins-Dave
The MBA App Process-MarketWiz
Picking Target Schools-Sghama
Pre-App Tips-Bloghorn8
How to interact w/ B-School Staff-Dave
Managing Your Recommenders-ClearAdmit
Schools I Picked & Why-Anand
Import App Elements-Redwolf056
A Successful Essay(Chicago GSB)-PowerYogi
Why Chicago GSB-Paul Jan
Stanford GSB Dean on Essays
------------------ Application Process ------------------
Advice on Admissions Consultants-Dave
Why get an MBA now?-Dave
Why do I need an MBA?-Dave
Story of Tenacity-Dave
MBA App Advice-Dave
Maximize your MBA Info Sess. Exp.-Dave
Low GPA Stories-Dave
Introspect on being resolute-Dave
Why Attitude Matters-Dave
Wharton's Interview Policy-RedWolf
Dealing with a Low GPA
Tuck's App Review Process
UCLA's App Review Process
Wharton's App Review Process
Every Essay Tells a Story
Your Story is so Interesting
What is a great essay?
Am I too young to apply?
When is the best time to apply?
Applying and not sure where to start?
Is school XXX any good?
The B-School Admit Hate List
Hey Applicant, Lay off the Buggin
Should I interview on or off campus?(See comment)
MBA Tour/Info Session Tip
The Interview
------------------ GMAT ----------------------------------
Low GMAT Success Stories
GMAT Score Needed in Europe
GMAT Score Needed
GMAT Score Needed by Age
GMAT Score Needed by Country
GMAT Score Needed by Race
GMAT Score Needed by Major
Budgeting time for the GMAT
Breaking the 700 Barrier
The B-School Route to Career Change
Pre-MBA Resources
MBA Math Build math and spreadsheet skills
MBA Resources show all
--------- Video Interview's of B-School Deans -------
Video Interviews of B-School Deans
------------ B-School Visit Experiences ----------------
Admin Director Interviews
Visit Reviews
------------ MBA Forums ----------------------------------
Business Week Forum
Wharton Student Forum
Chicago GSB Forum
Yale Forum

----------- B-School Articles and News-----------------
How B-Schools get their name
BusinessWeek(B-School Headlines)
The Economist(News from Schools)
The Financial Times(Business Education)
Wall Street Journal(MBA Center)
----------- Gen MBA Info ---------------------------------
MBABuzz MBA Blogs, Forum, App Stat Plotter
MBA Info
MBA Studylink
MBA Jungle
MBA Game Plan
MBA Official Guide
MBA Depot
Top 10 MBA
Ivy League
MBA Podcaster
MBA Jargon
MBA School Directory
MBA 4 Success
Military MBA

------------ MBA Program Summary for Applicants---
ClearAdmit School Guides
WSJ School Snapshots
WSJ Who's Recruiting Where?
MBAPrepAdvantage School Profiles
------------ MBA Foreign Related -----------------------
Canadian MBA
Infozee "Foreign MBA"
------------ MBA Conf/Foundations --------------------
The MBA Tour
The MBA Diversity Alliance
Forte Foundation
Catalyst Women
Knowledge@Wharton Podcast
Association of MBAs
------------ Resume Help ---------------------------------
Darden Resume's
MBA Game Plan Resume Help

------------ Essay Help ------------------------------------
American Dream - (Dave's Pick) (Samples) (Getting Started)
MBA Essay Strategy(download)
MBA Game Plan Essay Help
Some Classic Advice from Wharton Boards
Clear Edit Automated writing editor
MBA Studio

------------- Interview Insight --------------------------
B-School Interview Braindump-Accepted
B-School Interview Braindump-Clearadmit
------------- Ethnocentric Assoc. ----------------------
LEAD Program for minorities
------------- Post-MBA ------------------------------------
MBA Concepts
------------- MBA Articles---------------------------------
If you want your application to B-School to stand out;first do your homework properly, and then apply early
Admissions Tip:HBS Essay #2
Writing good essays from an ADCOM perspective
Top 5 MBA programs Article
The Full-Time Advantage
Overcoming Procrastination
Why B-School is good for our Economy

MBA Ranks show all
Ranks by Industry Sector Show
Forbes ranking measures the graduates' return on investment
Economist ranking reports how students and alumni rated their MBA experience
BusinessWeek surveys students and corporate recruiters and measures intellectual capital
Wall Street Journal is a corporate recruiter based poll (21 criteria)
U.S. News & World Report evals student selectivity and placement data and gathers the perceptions of deans and program directors to develop the ranking
Financial Times poll measures career progression of alumni, program diversity and a school's track record in producing new ideas in management
BusinessWeek '06 Rank
BusinessWeek '06 Slideshow
Financial Times '08 (PDF) (Interactive)
US News&World Report 2009
Economist 2008 Rankings
------Wall Street Journal Rankings--------------------
WSJ 2006(US)
WSJ 2006(International)
WSJ 2006(Academic Discipline)
WSJ 2006(Women)
WSJ 2006(Ethics)
WSJ 2006(Minorities)
WSJ 2006(Industry)
Forbes Rankings 05' Results - 07' Results Rankings
Beyond Grey Pinstripes 2009
DTU Research per School
B-School Research Rankings
Financial Times E-MBA Rankings '06 PDF
BusinessWeek E-MBA Rankings '05
Money's top 100 MBA Employers '06
US News Category Ranks '06
Financial Times Category Ranks
Asia B-School Rank 2000
Australian 2005 Financial Review
German B-School Rank
Computerworld top techno MBA Survey
Consus Group B-School Rankings top 100 Entrepreneurial Colleges
Find MBA Rankings
International Education Commission's Top 10
Marr/Kirkwood Comparison Rankings
Official MBA Guide:MBA Program Ranking and Screening

GMAT Resources show all
GMAC-Register for GMAT
---------- GMAT Articles ----------------------------------
GMAT 700+ Stories(download)
Why Prepare?
About the GMAT
How someone got a 760 score
How someone got a 790 score
Mark Rice GMAT Advice
Low GMAT Success Stories

---------- GMAT Forums ----------------------------------
Beat the GMAT
GMAT Club Forum and Files!
TestMagic Forum

---------- GMAT Companies ------------------------------
Bell Curves
GMAX Online(Online GMAT Course)
Manhattan GMAT
Perfect GMAT
Princeton Review
Test Prep New York
Test Prep Review(Online Course)
Veritas GMAT Prep
790GMAT GMAT Guru(SF based)

---------- GMAT Self Study Guides ----------------------
Corrections to Official Guide 11th
Advanced GMAT Math Study Guide
GMAT Study Strategy
Micro Edu GMAT Prep Material
Probability Review(download)
4GMAT - Math Books (India)

---------- GMAT Resource/Reference -----------------
GMAT Scratchpad
Dr Math
Dr Math-Pascal Triangle
GMAT Official Guide Question Info
Manhattan GMAT Study Guides (Dave's Pick) (Math Skills Review)
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Texas A&M-College Algebra
The Math Page (For Basic Math Skills)
101 Basic Radical & Exponent Review

---------- GMAT Tests ------------------------------------
PowerPrep GMAT CAT (Dave's Pick)
Ascent Education
800 Score (Dave's Pick)
English Test
GMAT Practice Tests
Gorilla Test Prep
Manhattan GMAT Tests (Dave's Pick)
R&B Consulting Prep Software
ScoreTop Online Verbal-Quant Tests
TestPrep New York
Upstart Raising GMAT Simulator

Financing your MBA show all
Financial Aid Podcast
Fundsnet-Search Engine
Graduate Fellowship Database info
Sallie Mae-MBA Loans
US Government's E-Scholar
MBA Admission Consultants show all Forum
Brody Admissions
Cambridge Essay Service
Clear Admit
Essay Solutions
Global Now
Maxx Associates
MBA Apply
The MBA Exchange
MBAGameplan Article
MBA Studio
Stacy Blackman
Veritas Consulting
-------- Brazilian Admin Consultants ------------------
MBA Empresarial
-------- Commentary on Admin Consultants ----------
Why use them?
Comments about some of them
Not all Consultants are good
MBA Life show all
Chicago GSB Online Newspaper
Chicago GSB Magazine
Columbia B-School Wkly Online NewsPaper
Columbia Spectator Daily NewsPaper
Cornell Univ. Daily Sun (Main Campus)
Cornell Daily News Service Highlights
Dartmouth Online Newspaper
Tuck Today Online Happenings
Duke News & Community
HAAS Weekly
Harvard B-School Online Newspaper
Harvard Gazette Online Newspaper
Harvard Online Magazine
Kellogg Online Newspaper
News at MIT
Michigan(Ross) Newspaper
Texas McCombs Weekly
Michigan Daily Online Newspaper
Stern Online Newspaper
Stanford Online Newspaper
Stanford B-School Reporter
UCLA Qrtrly Assets Mag
Univ. Virginia Daily Online News
Wharton Online Newspaper
Yale Daily Online Newspaper
Yale Herald Online Newspaper
Blog & Other Resources show all
IQ Test
Computer Interval Clock
T-Mobile Coverage Check
Picasa Send large files Send large files
Understanding Blog Template Code
SSI Developer - CSS Monitor
Fodey.comNewspaperclip generator
MBA Related Books
Search Now:

Site Meter