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Journey to my MBA

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Tonight was my 2nd class with Veritas. I just keep getting more impressed. By the way, the class is $1,400. Here's why I'm impressed.

1) The material is thorough regarding basic IMPORTANT concepts. NOT just formulas, BUT concepts. We also spent time on efficient problem solving. Not simply backsolving, but stepping back and doing the problem with a strategic view. For example, we had a problem that went something like the following.

John and Mary are at 30% and 40% tax brackets respectively. They each make $45,000 and $78,000 respectively. What is their cumulative tax bracket percentage?
A) 10%
B) 30%
C) 35%
D) 35.6%
E) 60%

Most people would have multiplied 30% with 45,000 and added that to 40% of 78,000 then divided that by $45,000+$78,000. The math would have taken 3 to 3.5 minutes.

ETS rewards people who see the strategy that saves time. Today's class, helped me to see this problem as one that tests for that. By the way... this question is a real retired GMAT question.

First of all, we know that 10% and 60% are way off. 1/2 of 30% and 40% is 35%. The problem is skewed to be slightly higher than 35%. Therefore, the answer must be 35.6% by process of elimination. Never had to solve the problem. Why is the problem skewed to be higher than 35%? We'll, the 40% was of the higher dollar valued Salary. In other words, if the Salaries were reversed where it had been 30% of 78,000 and 40% of 45,000, then the answer is skewed to be slightly less then 35%. So an answer choice of less than 35% would have been the answer in this second scenario.

2) I really want to improve my Verbal score. Imagine how excited I became when I learned today that my instructor out of all the Veritas instructors was the major contributor and author of most of the Verbal solutions material for the company. I'm stoked!

3) Arithmetic number properties are not covered well in any GMAT prep book.(Barrons, Arco, Princeton, Kaplan) In fact, I'd say that the conceptual material covered by the books is at about 35% max. The Veritas material we covered tonight for my first Quant class not only covered all the research GMAT number property and advanced math material that I'd found on the internet and in various books, but 30% more background material than I had ever had found on my own. And boy, did I look for material on my own. By looking at my Blog and resources.. that should be very obvious. Why the heck is this stuff not in the Kaplan and Princeton prep book material!!!!! Now I see why the class material is 3-4 times more than the actual Kaplan and Princeton prep books. I can now say with confidence that these books you buy at book stores are really only good as a sources of problems to go through. Sure the solutions help... but why should one have to get the question wrong before you realize a concept you didn't fully understand. Even then... a solution to a problem doesn't do a concept justice. I spent the evening during class saying to myself that I'd wasted so much time do all the work on my own. Even then, with all the time I put in.. I wasn't as thorough as I needed to be. I'm not saying that the Veritas material is perfect nor 100% thorough. No material can ever be. But it sure has been compiled well.

4) The Veritas class has so much of the prep material that I should have had from the beginning of my GMAT prep. I wish I had spent my time more effectively before by just sucking it up, paying the money and taking the darn class.

5) The class format is good in that we go through some basic to advanced concepts, do some group examples and then spend some time on our own doing more difficult problems that stretch us and then we go over the answers before moving onto the next block of material. I really like that. It's structured, focused and interactive.

6) My instructor has tips and additional prep-work that he's done on top of the existing Veritas material that I really like. He cares that we do well and tries to do his best in presenting ideas, material and outside of the box thinking. I can see that the class time is a bit short. Although we meet for 3 hrs, I can easily see each class going for 4 hrs.

For homework, I'm to finish off the Arithmetic book before next Wednesday. There must be 80-90 questions. I have also been given several charts to memorize and some speed drills. I'm to memorize a chart of fraction to decimal equivalents, a chart of squared numbers, a chart of exponents. The speed drills are great. I have 2 minutes to solve X number of basic to advanced number property problems. (i.e. 2^10=?, 4/10=?) There are 1 or 2 other drills that I need to practice as well. These aren't quicky simplistic drills either. They were difficult and extensive and I'm sure they'll help me improve my Quant problem solving speed.

============= Other =================
Met with Mr. Daily Travails this afternoon for Coffee. Had a great talk. We talked for 3 hrs. Could have gone longer too. He has such an inspiring story of getting into B-School.

Now I'm done with my Accounting I class. I'll find out how I did in a couple of days. Still have to sign up for Accounting II. I also plan on taking a Calculus class in the Summer. I have a job prelim interview on Monday. Let's hope something comes out of that. Y Y <-- Both fingers crossed

=============What's New - B-School Related =================
Darden Look like Darden's dean search is coming closer. They have narrowed their search down to academic and non-academic candidates and are looking to have a new Dean in place by this summer. >>>>>>> Source

Wharton - Thomas Caleel was appointed director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He'll be replacing Rosemaria Martinelli, who is becoming the Director of Admissions for Chicago's GSB. I find this to be a choice that I understand from a business perspective, but not from an academic one. He graduated from Wharton in '03. He worked as a student in the admissions office doing admissions applicant work with the admissions staff. But, he has never worked full time as an associate admissions director. And he'll be "the" director of the office. Wow! He must have really impressed the admissions staff as a Wharton student.
>>>>>>> Source

Stanford Their march newsletter is an interesting read. There are 1st and 2nd year perspective journal notes as well as a an admissions director comment on how Stanford GSB measures their success. >>>>>>> Source Article


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