AdmitMBA360 Blog formerly Journey to my MBA

Journey to my MBA

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Chicago GSB confusing deadlines

Initially, I thought Chicago GSB announced it's dates tonight as well. Their deadlines page is titled 2005-06 Full-Time MBA Admissions Deadlines. Just like all the other schools that announced. Despite the new title, none of the dates are changed. Typo? Update job only 1/2 way done? You be the judge.

Chicago GSB Deadlines


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Stanford announces 2006 deadlines

Calendar for the 2005/2006 Application Year

All credentials must be received in our office by 5:00 p.m. PST

Round 1
Application received by: 19 October 2005
Interviews: Early November to Mid January
Decision posted: 19 January 2006

Round 2
Application received by: 04 January 2006
Interviews: Mid January to Late March
Decision posted: 30 March 2006

Round 3
Application received by: 15 March 2006
Interviews: Late March to Mid May
Decision posted: 11 May 2006

Here are the essays
ESSAY A: What matters most to you, and why?
This essay is very open-ended and there is no "right" response. This essay is a story about you, about your beliefs, about your passions. Write about something that is important to you -- not what you think is important to us -- and write it from your own perspective. It should be descriptive and told in a straightforward and sincere way. It also should be a story only you can tell, which means describing not just what they are, but also "how" and "why" those things have shaped your conduct and attitudes in your personal and professional life.

ESSAY B: What are your short-term and long-term career aspirations? How will an MBA education further your development? Why does the academic experience offered at the GSB appeal to you?
The question has multiple parts -- please think about and answer each. Why do you want an MBA degree? Why specifically at the Stanford GSB? How will the Stanford MBA make a difference in your life and career? We don't expect a detailed, lifetime plan. But we do expect you to be specific about why you are applying.


Take time to think, then write -- these are not easy questions to answer.
There are no "right" answers.
Tell us your story in a natural and honest way.
Most applicants find that three to seven pages double-spaced per essay is appropriate, but there are no minimum or maximum lengths.


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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Mac or PC Laptop?

For those of you heading into B-School... you may want to consider this announcement that came out today before making that decision.

Educational customers who buy a Mac through September 24th will get a free iPod mini and a chance to save up to $480 when combined with their student discount. "Choose an iBook, PowerBook, iMac or Power Mac, then select your favorite 4GB iPod mini." Alternatively, stuents can apply the $180 savings toward the purchase of a higher priced iPod. With the student discount, iBooks are available starting at $950, PowerBooks at $1400, and iMacs at $1200. (Find this story and other iPod news every day on iPodNN -- the best resource for iPod news.)


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Monday, June 27, 2005

Kellogg Deadlines out for 2006

2005-2006 Application,

Apply by... Oct 21
Complete On-Campus Interview by Dec 19
Request Off-Campus Interview by Oct 7
Announce by Jan 16

Apply by... Jan 6
Complete On-Campus Interview by Feb 27
Request Off-Campus Interview by Dec 23
Announce by Mar 20

Apply by... Mar 10
Complete On-Campus Interview by Apr 10
Request Off-Campus Interview by Feb 24
Announce by May 1

Take notice that Off-Campus interviews MUST be scheduled before the application date!

The online version of the Kellogg application is currently disabled. The 2006 application will be available late summer.

Kellogg Application for 2005
(PDF 595 Kb / 20 pages)

Kellogg Full-time Viewbook for 2005
(PDF 2.10 Mb / 100 pages)

>Request Information


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NPR broadcasts results on University of Washington business-plan contest winner - Listen to it

Future Entrepreneurs Get Down to Business
by Wendy Kaufman

or go to

All Things Considered, June 11, 2005 · At the University of Washington's business school, participants in a business-plan contest had to defend their proposals in front of a jury of investors and professionals. The top plan won a $25,000 award.


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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Consulting firm needs a consulting firm?

I thought consulting firms had it made. I guess not. This article was pointed out to me from a close friend who works at A.T.K.

EDS to sell A.T. Kearney
Tuesday June 21, 12:31 pm ET
Electronic Data Systems Corp. has decided against a management buyout of its management consulting business A.T. Kearney, and has decided instead to sell the business, an EDS spokesman said Tuesday.

"We believe it's in the best interests of our clients and EDS to pursue a third-party sale," said EDS spokesman Travis Jacobsen.

EDS (NYSE:EDS - News) expects to complete the sale by the end of September. Jacobsen declined to comment on potential buyers.

The Plano-based technology company is in discussions with Monitor Group, according to a Wall Street Journal article Tuesday quoting sources close to the situation.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Monitor is a privately owned consulting and advisory firm.
Alan Kantrow, Monitor Group's chief content officer, was not immediately available for comment.
EDS bought Chicago-based A.T. Kearney in 1995 for more than $600 million. In February, EDS said it planned to ask A.T. Kearney to take part in a management buyout. A.T. Kearney has been seen by analysts as a drag on EDS' performance.

A.T. Kearney posted an operating loss of $10 million and generated about $806 million in revenue in 2004. The company has about 3,000 employees.

EDS is looking to make about $1 billion in cuts this year as part of a cost-savings plan. In a separate announcement Tuesday, EDS said it plans to sell its global real estate business to Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. (NYSE:TCC - News).

EDS to sell A.T. Kearney
Tuesday June 21, 12:16 pm ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Electronic Data Systems Corp. (NYSE:EDS - News), the world's second-largest consulting firm, said on Tuesday it plans to sell its A.T. Kearney management consulting unit instead of pursuing a management buyout as it had previously planned.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based consulting and investment firm Monitor Group Inc. is in talks with EDS to buy the unit, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the situation.

"EDS is not pursuing a management buyout of A.T. Kearney by the consulting firm's officers," company spokesman Terry Balluck said. "EDS is pursuing a third-party sale."

Bob Brand, another EDS spokesman, said the company expects the sale to occur by the end of the third quarter.
EDS would not comment on any potential offers for the unit. Nor would Alan Kantrow, Monitor chief content officer, say whether his company is looking at A.T. Kearney.

Monitor is less than half of the size of A.T. Kearney, generating about $300 million revenue a year, mostly from advisory services.

EDS bought Chicago-based A.T. Kearney in 1995 for about $300 million. The unit has suffered from a slowdown in demand for consulting services in recent years.

"EDS was not able to sufficiently leverage the AT Kearney asset due to cultural gaps and the natural tendency for management consultants to desire independence," Bernstein analyst Rod Bourgeois said.

EDS Chief Executive Michael Jordan, who had an early career as a consultant with McKinsey & Co., said a month ago that a straight sale would not work. The company recently notified A.T. Kearney of the change of plan, saying that selling the business to another company will be in the best interest of all parties.

"I think EDS is essentially indifferent between a management buyout and a straight sale," Bourgeois said, "as the cash EDS will raise is not needed and the effect on our EPS estimates will be immaterial."

Separately, EDS said it would outsource the management of its global real estate function to Trammell Crow Co. (NYSE:TCC - News) as part of its global facilities consolidation plan.

EDS will also sell 20 company-owned properties and lease back a portion of them within the next few months. It expects the efforts to generate about $200 million in cash in 2005 and $200 million in cost savings over the next three years.

EDS shares fell 3 cents to $19.68 in midday New York Stock Exchange trading.


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HAAS announced deadlines

Thanks to Clear Admit for announcing this.

Deadline and Decision Schedule
Round 1:
Deadline - Nov 4, 2005
Decision - Jan 30, 2006

Round 2:
Deadline - Dec 12, 2005
Decision - Mar 20, 2006

Round 3:
Deadline - Jan 20, 2006
Decision - April 24, 2006

Round 4:
Deadline - Mar 10, 2006
Decision - May 22, 2006

Even though the application won't be available till August, according to the website, HAAS has left the 2005 essays questions up for us to get an idea of the kind of questions they ask. I imagine that at least half the questions will stay the same... especially the required essays.


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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Star Wars TV?

I saw this posted today. All I can say is that my eyes never rolled up any higher than when I saw this. I think Peter Sciretta's comments about the situation below were informative. I especially liked his comment about why one particular time frame was chosen over another. By the way, I still haven't seen Star Wars III. Can you believe it? That's what happens when you get married. If you're wife has no interest, it takes a while before you get an opportunity to go see the movie you want to see. So instead, I got to see The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill because that's what the wife wanted to see. It was actually a good movie.

Star Wars producer Rick McCallum revealed the details of Star Wars television series at a Japanese press conference yesterday. Apparently the story will take place in a 20 year span between Episode 3 and Episode 4. McCallum said it will depict how characters end up being together, but wouldn't mention who. But he did mention it will depict how Luke grows up. This doesn't sound right to me though, there's not much interesting in that. Why not show Darth Vader's Empire taking over the galaxy and the few remaining Jedi's fight to stay alive? Who cares about a farmer's kid when he's not going out on space adventures?George Lucas will apparently start working on the series as soon as he finishes Indiana Jones 4., he said. The production will start next year, and the whole series will be about 100 hour long episoders.McCallum also mentioned the 3-D versions of all six Star Wars movies should hit theaters “within two to three years."


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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Terrible Book - Ace the GMAT

Here's a book that I absolutely want to highlight as one big waste of money. "Ace the GMAT" should be renamed, "Anything but, Ace the GMAT". For anyone that found this posting via Google or Yahoo because you were searching for information on this book.... read on!

Today, I received an e-mail from regarding MBA news and upcoming conferences. By the way, anyone planning on applying to Business School should be paying attention to their upcoming events. I've attached a schedule of when they'll be in your area at the bottom of this posting.

Anyway, at the end of the e-mail, there is a column called "Expert Advice". In it, a book called Ace the GMAT written by Brandon Royal is highlighted. It sounds good when you read about it. There's even a quote from a former McKinsey employee, which adds credibility to the whole ad.

So now I'm thinking, if Word MBA Tour can endorse this.... then it might be an ok book right? Although, I've done a lot of research over the last year on GMAT material, I found it odd that I'd never heard of this thing. I thought perhaps that I was missing the boat. So yours truly did some sleuthing. Look, if the book sucks, I'll say so. I'll stick to my guns and say that anyone that doesn't pick up the Official Guide and the Manhattan GMAT books is just spinning their wheels. You'll save yourself a lot of trouble by starting with these books. Brandon, Brandon, Brandon... nice try on the 1st edition. It's a shame too because your 88 Great MBA Application Tips and Strategies to Get You Into a Top Business School 2nd Edition was an ok book. Not great, but ok.

You know.... being able to sift through the nuggets from the chaff in trying to find helpful MBA application and GMAT prep resources was one the key reasons I started this Blog and my other web resource, "Future MBA Resources" . It's nearly impossible to know who's selling you a bridge unless you do a load of research. The application process is amazingly difficult as it is. There are numerous individuals & companies that hover around the MBA application race who prey on the insecure, the naive, and the fearful. At the same time, I also know that there are honest companies out there as well.

Here's an example of some people preying on MBA applicants that I've noticed begin to creep into forums this last year. When I got married, my wife seriously considered changing her career to become a wedding planner. She did one wedding with me and suddenly she's an expert? If you're reading this... you can yell at me later ok! Anyway, I've seen 1/2 a dozen admission consultant pop-up in the past year. These are former MBA students or the like. Maybe some of them are good. So, let me ask you.... "You would seriously put down $3-$5,000 grand with these newbies when you have guys from other admission consulting firms that have been doing this for years who charge a bit more, but are probably worth more?" Why?

Moreover, I hear the same thing from newly accepted MBA students all over saying the same thing.. "that they can do the same thing that a 10 year MBA Admission consultant can". I'm not saying that everyone should use them. I'm just saying that a few people have learned to prey on the weak and have really taken advantage of them. It gives really good MBA Admission Consultants a bad name and indirectly hurts other MBA application process vendors as well. That's why I've done my best to filter them and post them on this blog and my resource web page. Best wishes to all and don't let crappy resources like this GMAT prep book rob you of your hard earned money.

Whew... that was an interesting tangent. Now back to the book.....

What I found written about this GMAT book had me absolutely giddy. I've run across some seriously messed up GMAT resources, but this one definitely earns my GMAT resource crappy award for the year. Yes, the year! I have to also give a GMAT expert advice screw up award to Somebody reprimand the person at who signed off on accepting money from Scoretop advertise with you. Stupid move! Why even associate with this book guys! Watch out from whom you get money from guys!

The first 3-4 reviews call this the best book they'd ever seen. This is typical new book behavior from the publisher, author or author's friends. Throw those comments away and then read the reviews that come later. I've taken the liberty of putting some excerpts of a few of those reviews from Amazon here:

"within the first fifteen minutes had realized that I had made a mistake. Not that the content is horrible, but within the first chapter there were so many misspellings, miswritten formulas, questions with the wrong answer choices ........Do not waste your money or time."

"the book has a substantial number of errors: typos, mismatched answer keys, missing questions in the answer key and mislabelled diagrams. In addition to the obvious errors, there are publishing and layout concerns. Compressed text and headers making it difficult to identify different sections of the chapter. Quizzes with answer choices printed across two pages. Questions that are labelled with titles rather than numbers making it tricky to use the answer key. Answers that don't highlight the correct answer choice. All of these errors while minor and not too frequent, provide for a frustrating study experience...."

"This book is so bad that it is not even worth this review that I am writing. I want customers to know that by buying this book, I have made such a mistake that I would just throw it away, because If I were to try to return it it wouldn't be worth the trip. I have seen books that would actually lower your score if you used them because they are based on the old paper and pencil GMAT format instead of the CAT format. For example, the REA Testbuster's GMAT kit includes verbal vocabulary games, despite the fact that vocabulary is not tested on the GMAT as it is on the GRE or the SAT. This book, however, is even worse than those: you cannot possibly lower your score by studying from this book, because you will figure out immediately that something is wrong and you will have enough sense to throw it away. "

Body Blow! Blody Blow! Upper Cut! ..... thmmmmp! and the book is down for the count! 1! ... 2!.... 3!........

Latin America
29th Aug - 9th Sept
SÃo Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Lima, Caracas, Mexico City

North America
11th Sept - 1st Oct
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Toronto, Boston, Chicago, Houston

6th Oct - 2nd Nov
Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Madrid, Paris, Zurich, Milan, London, Budapest, Athens, Istanbul, Moscow, Kiev

Asia Pacific
4th Nov - 24th Nov
Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok

India & Middle East
26th Nov - 8th Dec
New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Dubai, Cairo

The World MBA Tour is the largest series of business school fairs in the world and is now in its twelfth year of operation. 19 of the top 20 US and all of the top 20 European business schools travel with the Tour and in all over 300 key international business schools participate.


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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Top 30 MBA Schools who have posted app deadlines so far this year

*Babson EA 11.30.05,R2 1.31.06, R3 3.15.06, R4 4.15.06
-- Essays out possibly in Aug
*Columbia EA 10.12.05,R2 4.20.06
-- Columbia Essay Questions
*Cornell EA 10.15.05,R1 11.15.05,R2 1.15.06,R3 3.15.06
Login to see
*MIT Sloan R1 11.2.05, R2 1.11.06
-- Essays out in August
*Rochester R1 12.1.05, R2 2.1.06, R3 4.1.06, R4 6.1.06
-- Rochester Essay Questions
*Virginia R1 10.19.05, R2 12.1.05, R3 1.12.06, R4 3.1.06
-- Darden Essay Questions
*Wharton R1 10.13.05, R2 1.5.06, R3 3.2.06
-- Essays out mid-July '05


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanx a ton mate!! it is truely an amazin post..

11:00 PM  

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What one person did to score 790 on the GMAT

Saw this posted on It's very a very good account of what resources and big picture progress he made as he prepared.

Disclaimer:I'm sorry if this post is a bit convoluted or too long, I just figured that since many people (especially those new to the site) use these debriefings as a guide, I would put a lot of the great resources from this site together in one, easy to find spot for them and for everyone else on this site. However, I have tried to make the transition between each section clear (by using boldface), so that if you want to only find my advice on particular sections then it will be easier.

Disclaimer #2: Before I get started on prep strategy, I want to note that I took the LSAT before I took the GMAT, and thus while it may seem like I have not prepped much for CR and RC, it is because I felt that prepping for the LSAT was more than sufficient prep for these two sections. "But I'm not taking the LSAT, so how does this advice help me" you ask? Read on...

Starting Out:
Originally, I had planned to start prepping for my GMAT as soon as I finished the LSAT, which was in early February (in fact I think it was February 12th, exactly 3 months before my GMAT). However, I was exhausted after prepping for the LSAT, and so I decided to wait until I was finished with Winter quarter finals in mid March.

I had already been frequenting this site for quite some time at that point, and so I knew that starting off with PowerPrep was a great way to know your standing. I took PP1 and the results were:

710 (q47, v40)

Upon looking at the questions I missed, I realized that in quantitative, as is the case for most people, I was mostly hurt by stupid mistakes. However, I had finished that section 15 minutes early, and I knew that if I properly distributed that extra time then I would be in much better shape. Nonetheless, I realized that I was more rusty than I would like in some areas, and so I decided that quant would be the first area I would work on.In verbal on PP1, I did not get any CR or RC questions wrong. Yup, that's right, I dropped to a v40 SOLELY based on SC. Needless to say, I realized SC was a big weakness of mine that I needed to work on. However, I think that SC is probably the easiest section to improve your skills in, as a large percentage of it is just memorizing the necessary rules.

My General View on Prep:
I liken prepping for these tests to an athlete preparing for the season. Rather than sort of work each muscle each day, they specifically target one muscle at a time, spending one day doing bicep only workouts, another doing chest workouts, etc. In the same way, I believe that you should target each specific aspect of the test, concentrating on it and really getting in the mode for it, then moving onto the next type of question. However, when you move on, still do 10 questions a day for each previous section you've done. So, for example, if you start off with quant, then two weeks later you focus on SC while doing 10 quant questions a day. Then, when you move on to CR, you do 10 quant questions and 10 SC questions a day, while still keeping your main focus on CR. Note that using this method, you will be spending progressively more time as you get closer to the test, which is probably a good idea anyways.

I think that your knowledge of each subject will become much more solid in this way than it will in the wishy washy way of just doing a little bit of everything all the time. Then, once you start getting closer to the test (i.e. perhaps two weeks before), and after you've targeted each specific section and feel you're sufficiently prepared, then just work on all of them together, the same way an athlete starts doing more general stuff rather than working out once he/she gets closer to game day.

How to Decide Which Aspects to Target First and For How Long:
I believe that, in general, 2 weeks on a specific subject will give you an absolutely solid grasp on it. However, if there are some sections that you feel need more work than others (i.e. if you're strong in CR but weak in SC), then you could spend only one week on the one you're strong at and 3 weeks on your weakness.In my opinion, it is best to put quant first for two reasons:

1) this site has a lot of great quant questions/resources, and it's easier to utilize them if you're caught up and fresh in quant,

2) Quant is the easiest to keep fresh by doing a few problems a day, so if you put it in the beginning then you still probably won't forget most of it by the time the test comes around.

As far as what to put second, I believe that it is best to put your biggest weakness in verbal second. Why? Because the topics you put near the beginning will be the ones you get the most practice on, since you'll spend 2 weeks targeting them and then will also do 10 questions a day in these topics from then on.

In other words, here's the prep plan:
I would recommend to most people:
Quant (2 weeks)
Biggest Verbal Weakness (2-3 weeks)
2nd Biggest Verbal Weakness (2 weeks)
Verbal Strength (1-2 weeks)
All Types of Questions, General Prep, and Practice Tests (2 weeks)

For a total of about 10 weeks.

My own prep was a little different from my recommended, namely in that I didn't prep for CR and RC and thus only targeted two types of questions (quant and SC). However, as I said before, I basically had already targeted CR and RC by preparing for the LSAT.My prep went as follows (spread over 8 weeks, with two weeks of non-prepping because I had midterms):Quant (2 weeks)SC (2 weeks)General Prep (2 weeks)

While I certainly spent a good amount of time preparing for this test, I didn't do some amazing number of hours (i.e. Ursula's 200 hours). I did about an hour a day on weekdays (not including time spent on TestMagic, which I found to be a great way to procrastinate!), and around 5 hours a day on weekends for a total of about 90 hours. However, if you include time spent on CR and RC for the LSAT, which was about 60 hours, then it totals to 150 hours. I really would have liked to spent more time preparing, but I knew it was impossible, since the University of Chicago is famous for its enjoyment in torturing undergraduates with a ridiculous amount of work (the school's nickname is "where fun comes to die", or "the level of hell daunte forgot").

Note: Any time I found some helpful information on this site, I copy and pasted it into a word document. In general I think this is a good way to keep track of all of the important stuff you see on the site. And, because I did that, now I have a ton of stuff to share with you guys (see resources for each section).

How I Targeted Each Section

General Strategy:
My prep for quant consisted of three parts (in this order):

1) Going through Kaplan's Math Workbook, underlining all of the important concepts, making notecards of these concepts, and doing the practice problems to strengthen these concepts.

2) Scouring TestMagic for all of the great resources that I knew it had on quant, and making notecards of the concepts in these resources. (resources listed below).

3) Doing tons of quant problems from my many question sources (sources listed below).

I think the most important thing in quant is knowing how to set up an equation from a word problem. If you can do this, you will get 95% of your quant questions right, guaranteed. How can you get good at this? Through practice. See my list of sources of quant questions below to see where you can get practice at this.

Probably my biggest weakness starting out in quant was number theory, as I believe is the case for many people. My advice on cracking this type of question would be to do several of these problems, because it's really just the kind of thing that you get better at with practice. There are several great number theory problems on this site, as well as in the sources I'll list below. As you do more of them, you just get a knack for knowing how to go at it.

Here's how I went at number theory problems: First, I would try to use mathematical logic to lead me to the correct answer. Most of the time, this would work, and I would pretty much know what kind of numbers are relevant to the question (i.e. negative fractions, positive intergers). I would then think what would occur with these types of numbers, and this would lead to the answer.

However, if I was unable to crack it using mathematical logic, I would simply try to plug numbers in, using Alakshma's strategy of plugging in (-2, -1, -0.5, 0, 0.5, 1, 2).

Generally, I would come to the answer sooner or later.

For permutations and combinations, I initially spent way too much time on them (hence the plethora of probability and comb/perm links below) but then realized that I need to take everyone's advice and stop paying attention to them so much. All of you would be well advised to do the same! There's much more important things to spend your time on.

For Statistics, as I said, I just took a class on it last quarter and thus didn't prepare much for it. However, even had I not taken the class, I still feel that most statistics on the GMAT is fairly easy, perhaps because they know that most people don't really know the concepts in statistics. So just learn the basic concepts (i.e. what a median is, the fact that standard deviation measures spread, how it is calculated--although I doubt you'll actually have to calculate it, it is helpful to understand how to get it when trying to analyze what it means).

Sources of Quant Questions:
1) Kaplan's Math Workbook did every problem in the book
2) Kaplan 2005 (with the CD) did every problem in the book, as well as all the Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency Tests on the CD. However, I didn't do any of the CAT full length tests, which I'll discuss in practice tests.
3) Official Guide only did the questions categorized as hard bin by this document.
4) I bought Kaplan 800 but never ended up having enough time to get to it. However, I've heard great things about it, and would thus recommend getting it.
5) TestMagic--Quant Section. Like Grey said, if you search all topics started by Nuthan in the DS section, you'll get hundreds of DS questions to practice on. Also, searching posts made by Lego, Grey, and Shaq can be a great way to find the best problems on this site, and it will also show you how the math geniuses approach problems. But while we're on the subject of math geniuses--don't be intimidated if they come up with brilliant solutions you never would have thought of. Many of the quant questions on this site are much more difficult than what you'll see on the real GMAT.

Quant Resources (note--I probably shouldn't even include all the comb/perm stuff on here b/c I know you guys will spend too much time on it then , but I figure if you're going to waste your time on it, might as well have an easier time finding the stuff ):

Must Have:
Great Math Review
Arithmetic and Geometric Progressions
Overview of Combinations
Overview of Permutations
HCF and LCM Stuff -- The beginning is simple, but further down there are some helpful tricks I didn't know about
Venn Diagram -- check out my post second from the bottom on the first page. Has everything you need to know about 3 category sets.Note: For two category sets, it's simply P(AuB) = P(A) + P(B) - P(AnB)
Everything You Need For Prob/Comb/Perm
Compilation Of Prob/Comb/Perm Questions
Compilation of Tough Problems

Also Helpful:
How to do well in quant
Basic info on standard deviation (math reference in Kaplan tells you how to calculate it)
Info on Probability
More Permutations
More Combinations
More Prob/Comb/Perm
Angles and Arcs

Sentence CorrectionGeneral Strategy:
As I said when discussing my PP1 results, I only got around 65% of these right on my first test. By the time of the test, I averaged 1 wrong out of every 100 questions. Here's how I improved so much:First thing I did was buy Manhattan GMAT's Sentence Correction Guide. While it's true that, as everyone says, OG is the bible for practicing verbal, I would say that this book is the bible for learning the rules of SC. This book is so comprehensive it's amazing. I cannot emphasize enough what an important role this book played in achieving my score. Also, the friend I told you about who got a 750 without studying did actually spend a couple of days studying. The only thing he studied was this book, and as a result his verbal score jumped from 40 on PP1 to 44 on the actual GMAT.

Here's how to utilize the book:
First, go through Manhattan GMAT's SC guide, highlighting every important point (which, in my opinion, is almost every point in the book) and then making notecards out of those points. Memorize them every chance you get (I did this whenever I rode the bus). At the end of each chapter, Manhattan GMAT lists a set of problems in OG which test the concept you learned about in that chapter. Doing the problem set knowing what type of error you're looking for will make you adept at noticing that problem.

Then, once you have gone through every chapter in Manhattan GMAT, and done the corresponding problems in OG, do OG again, starting from problem number 1. This time, you won't know what type of error you'll be looking for, but you'll have become so good by doing the problem sets that you will start noticing that you've gotten MUCH better at SC.

Regarding doing the problems in OG more than once: I remember someone saying in their debriefing that as long as you're not memorizing the answers in OG, you can do the problems over again, and you can also take PP and have it be an accurate predictor. I couldn't agree more. Read the explanations, but don't memorize them, so that you can practice as much as possible on real GMAT questions.One final note: I never ended up using the 1000 SC doc because I found that repeating OG was enough, but if you feel like you're running out of questions, there are several great questions in 1000 SC as well as in the FREE ETS paper tests that I'll provide links to later.

Resources for SC:
Spidey's SC Notes
1000 SC's
Grammar Reference Didn't use it myself, but looks pretty comprehensive for anyone who wants to check it out.

Critical Reasoning

General Strategy:
The way I approached CR problems was much different than the way Kaplan (and most books) recommend it. Unlike most people, I don't read the question stem before I read the stimulus. Rather, I read the stimulus first, trying to get a thorough understanding so that regardless of what the question is, I'm ready to attack it. I really think that this helped build my logic skills, so that I was better prepared for any kind of CR question than I would have been if I had a more question-type-specific approach. I feel that had I tried to read the question first, I'd be so focused on trying to find the assumption/implication that I wouldn't understand the argument as a whole intricately enough to analyze the answer choices appropriately. One reason I trusted this approach is that TestMasters, the company known for being the best LSAT prep course, recommends it (and the LSAT is 1/2 CR, so you figure an LSAT prep course would be particularly privy to how to approach the problems). However, each person should take the approach they feel is best!

Recommended Prep Approach:
I think that the reason I was so good at CR is because, as I said above, the LSAT is half CR, and its CR questions are MUCH more difficult than those on the GMAT. They are extremely nitpicky, which helps you become very logical and helps you spot the errors in GMAT arguments in a second. Thus, I would recommend buying the "Next Ten Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests", which contains 500 LSAT CR questions. If you don't want to buy the book but still want a few LSAT questions, download this free LSAT test. Do those when you're targeting your CR skills, and then start doing the CR in the OG once you start getting closer to the test (just to get used to the GMAT's style of CR).As far as boldfaced questions, I didn't specifically prep for them, although the LSAT contains some questions which are similar (argument structure questions). Like others have said, process of elimination is pretty helpful in the boldface.For those of you still looking for boldface questions, I heard that akasans has posted a lot of boldfaced CR's on the site.

Resources for CR:I don't have any, I'm sorry. (Dave - I'd suggest the Manhattan GMAT CR/RC book. It's great. Probably the best book I've seen that walks you through drills and practice methods.)

Reading ComprehensionGeneral Strategy: I don't really have much of a strategy on reading comprehension, I just sort of read it and answer the questions. One thing that I found was that reading on the computer was very easy for me, perhaps because I read articles online all the time. Many people suggest using the economist online, but that costs $$. Instead, check out McKinsey Quarterly, which will help your ability to read on a computer screen, your knowledge of business examples (if you get a business issue on AWA), and will probably help your career too by making you knowledgeable on several business issues!

One thing which I think helped me a lot on both my RC and AWA was the fact that I read the editorial section of the Wall Street Journal every morning on the way to school. It does several things for me:

1) Exposes me to complex arguments similar to those in RC and CR
2) Gives me practice reading on topics which I am often unfamiliar with
3) Keeps me informed, so that I have more real life examples to use in AWA.

Finally, perhaps my most important piece of advice on RC is to use the RC's that come in that LSAT book (linked above in the CR section) as practice. The LSAT passages are much more complex, and the questions are much more specific, so that you'll be forced to get better at remembering what you read! Use the LSAT book when targeting RC, and then as the test nears, start doing the OG RC's.

Resources for RC-- I'm not sure regarding the quality of any of these because I haven't gone through them, but I did copy good links whenever I saw them in case I needed more practice for RC, so I figured I might as well share :-) :
Ten Vocabulary Learning Tips if you feel like not knowing some of the words in the RC's is hindering your ability to do well (although it's very normal not to know some of them).
More RC MaterialsEven More

Analytical Writing Assessment

General Strategy: Spend a couple days before your test thinking of some big fancy words (my words of choice were eludicate, juxtapose, paucity, dearth, and some other ones that I have now forgotten), as well as some real life examples. I have found that if you have 6 real life examples, odds are 3 of them will be moldable (if that's a word) to become relevent to your topic in analysis of an issue. Attached are my AWA templates (sorry Stormgal, I only know how to attach things in threads!). They are essentially a hybrid of Erin's, Sybersport's, and several other templates that I have found on this site.

As far as prep for AWA, I didn't have any. I simply checked a couple topics out, thought about what I'd say for them to get my mind in the writing mode, and that's about it. However, if you would like a book to build your AWA, Spiderman recommended this book which seems like it would be helpful because you can see how others approach it and steal some of their arguments!

Resources for AWA:
Erin's Template for Analysis of an Issue
Template for Analysis of an Argument
Sybersport's (who got a 6.0) Advice
Formatting Rules (makes the grader nice to you!)

More General ResourcesThere's tons of good (free) stuff I found through TestMagic! Here it is:
All 9 Paper Tests
Calculating Paper Test Scores
OG Softcopy
Free Manhattan GMAT CD
Dave's Categorization of OG Questions (I know I've linked to it already, but just wanna make sure everyone gets it, it's really helpful!)
Too many resources to name
Answer Grid that Times You
Dave's Prep Strategy Site
Dave's Prep Strategy Site #2
Prep Strategy Site #3

I didn't put much effort into working on timing, mostly because the LSAT is far more time constrained than the GMAT and I was thus able to work very quickly on everything. In other words, by working in high-pressure, time-constrained situations, my timing got better. Thus, I would recommend doing the same, e.g. only giving yourself 15 minutes to do 10 problems rather than 20 minutes. However, only do this once you know the concepts, because otherwise what's the point of going quickly when you don't even know what it is that you're doing quickly!I think Kaplan's CD is really good for improving timing in Quant...while giving you only 25 minutes for 20 DS questions may seem ridiculous, it sure makes the actual GMAT, with 2 minutes per question, seem much easier.

Practice Tests:
I know it's really helpful to see what people's practice test scores were so that you know where you stand relative to them. Unfortunately, I don't have many practice scores to give you guys! I knew my timing was alright, and so I felt that doing more problems and learning more concepts was more beneficial for me than doing more practice tests. But again, this is pretty unique to my situation because the LSAT had improved my timing so much. For most people, I would recommend taking SEVERAL practice tests. Anyways, here's the scores on the tests that I did take:

PP1 (before any prep): 710 (q47, v40)
PP2 (after targeting math and SC): 780 (q50, v47)
Kaplan diagnostic--the one in the book: 700 (q49, v45).

Don't know how the hell this score breakup comes out to a 700, but I didn't care b/c I knew Kaplan's tests were horrible.

Day Before the Test:
Unlike most people, I didn't go out to dinner or relax the day before my test. Instead, I did several practice problems, because I noticed that whenever I would take a couple days off from the GMAT, my mind would get out of the GMAT mindset. So, as I've said earlier, do what you feel best fits your own situation!

Hit Rates:
Problem Solving (in the beginning, when I was making stupid mistakes): 90%

Problem Solving (once I got better at preventing stupid mistakes): 97%

Data Sufficiency (when making stupid mistakes): 85%

Data Sufficiency (once I got better at preventing stupid mistakes): 93%

Sentence Correction (first time around, going category by category as assigned by Manhattan GMAT's book): 95%Sentence Correction (second time around): 98-99%

Critical Reasoning (did about 80 q's from OG): 95%

Reading Comp: Only ones I did were on the practice tests, and I think my hit rate was around 97%.

Note, however, that pre-LSAT, my CR was around 84% and my RC was 92%, so don't be discouraged if yours are below mine. Also, for SC, remember that my hit rate before Manhattan GMAT was 65% on that one test. So regardless of where you're at, you can get much better by prepping appropriately.


Blogger Master of fundae said...

Have you heard of anyone with score 800?

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey what does OG mean, whic book you are talking about.


12:37 PM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

Clarification of terms:

OG= The Official Guide -see book links on the side of this Blog(Currently at 11th edition as of 3/25/06)

SC= Sentence Correction
RC= Reading Comprehension
CR= Critical Reading
PS= Problem Solving
DS= Data Sufficiency

1:53 PM  

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Monday, June 13, 2005

New Deadlines Out (Darden, Cornell, MIT)

From the look of things, the trends of these schools plus Columbia and Wharton seem to be setting up for another crazy first two weeks of October. Just kiss your personal life goodbye in September. Gear up for it now. It won't be so bad if you know it's coming. You can let those tears out now, I'll turn my head.

Darden's are out now. Take note that Darden seems to have removed the term "Early Application" Round and changed it to Round 1. Hmmm interesting. That's a change from last year. Don't know if R1 is still like an EA round or not.

Essay's are
Use your best judgment in determining the appropriate length of the following essays.
1. What led you to pursue an MBA? How do you plan to leverage your MBA in meeting your short- and long-term goals?
2. How does Darden fit with your background, personality, and learning style?
3. Describe how your experiences have shaped your leadership philosophy and style.
4. (Optional) Please use this opportunity to present any pertinent information not previously addressed.

Round 1 October 19, 2005
Decision by Dec 5-9 December 5-9, 2005

Round 2 December 1, 2005
Decision by February 6-10, 2006

Round 3 January 12, 2006
Decision by March 20-24, 2006

Round 4 March 1, 2006
Decosopm by April 17-21, 2006

MIT Sloan Released

Round1 11/2/05
Decision by 1/30/06

Round 2 1/11/06
Decision by 4/3/06

Essays will be out in August
Cornell-Johnson released?

I can't quite tell, but Johnson looks like they've released as well. No date change other than the year changed :)

First apps can be submitted on Aug 8, 2005.

EA 10.15.05
R1 11.15.05
R2 1.15.06
R3 3.15.06
I doubt if we'll ever figure out Purdue's.

Hello Purdue (knock, knock, knock, McFlyyyyy) Put the year on the web page!
Just reading off of the URL, is that app deadlines for entering in 05, or app deadlines starting in 05? Better Q&A guys!

I'm guessing, but by my records.. no change for Purdue yet. Whew.. got that figured out.


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Friday, June 10, 2005

New Application Submission Deadline Section of my Blog

With Columbia's announcement of their schedule and application release, I've decided to keep the old schedule of app deadlines and create a new section for '06. I've also begun a format to create links to the essay questions or application pdf itself.


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What your schedule should look like if you're planning on applying early

Thanks Graham for posting this. It's great.

I've also added some points that should be on the task list as well. I've highlighted my additions in red.

June and July:
1) Address your weaknesses - retake the GMAT, take outside classes, take up additional activities or increase your involvement in existing ones, etc.
2) Identify and research your target schools, arriving at specific courses and clubs that would be of interest to you.
3) Approach potential recommenders to present your plans for business school and determine whether they will support you.
4) Request college transcripts.
5) Schools begin to release deadline and essays. Pay attention to when they come out. Most schools will have released all application info by the end of August.
6) If you're planning on using an Admissions Consultant, June and July are when you should be calling them to get to know them. They'll give you an hour at no charge to discuss your candidancy. Here's my 411 on using Admission Consultants.

1) Develop a one-page resume appropriate for the MBA admissions process.
2) Create a general career goals essay (that also covers your work experience and your reasons for wanting an MBA).
3) Sign up for interviews at schools that allow you to do so.
4) Meet with your recommenders again - provide them with your resume, career goals essay, and other materials, and discuss the letter they will draft on your behalf.
5) Begin to write other essays.
6) Most schools begin nationwide and international information sessions. It's a good idea to attend them. Sign up on their web sites. The only info sessions that you may have problems not signing up in advance are when they meet at corporations. Don't risk it, sign up in July for most info sessions.
7) Write a list of those people who might be able to critique your essays. Contact them and get them familiar with your timeline. Prepare thank-you gifts when it's all done.

1) Write and carefully revise your essays in order to produce the most polished responses possible.
2) Visit your target schools and interview, making sure that you present a message that is consistent with that in your essays.
3) Complete application forms with attention to detail and accuracy (don't leave these until the last minute!).
4) Maintain contact with recommenders to ensure that they will finish their letters on time.
5) Sept - MBA Tour & World MBA Tour Start (Register online)

1) Make your final revisions and put the finishing touches on your application materials.
2) Submit applications.


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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Dean Clark... see ya

I just got back from Seattle to visit family, before hitting the sack, I found this letter that had been sent out regarding this huge event.

Oh boy... can't say I didn't see this coming though.

Graham @ Clear Admit has some reference links to this situation and so does Linda @

Dean Clark message to HBS Community. According to HBS insiders, John Quelch will replace Clark on June 31st.
His bio is available at

Dear Colleagues and Members of the Harvard BusinessSchool Community,

I am writing to let you know that I will be stepping down as Dean of Harvard Business School on 31 July 2005, in order to accept the role of President atBrigham Young University-Idaho shortly thereafter.

This is a bittersweet moment for me. I arrived at Harvard University as an undergraduate, and it has been my home for more than 35 years. My tenure at HBS
-- as a faculty member and, for the past decade, as Dean
-- has been an extraordinary experience, both professionally and personally rewarding. I have been fortunate to serve as Dean during a period of remarkable renewal at the School.

We have launched innovative and important new initiatives, in entrepreneurship, in information technology, and in globalization, to name a few. Each of these, and many others underway at the School, enriches the classroom experience for our students and helps the faculty develop new insights with power in practice. The Leadership and Values Initiative, building on the work of our predecessors,has resulted in a full-length course in the required curriculum and a commitment to the highest standards of integrity in our community. New efforts, in healthcare and the sciences, will help ensure we are focused on issues of deep importance and relevance in the global arena, and will create opportunities for increased collaboration with our colleagues in the University.

At the same time, we have made certain that our core values remain strong. Our commitment to the classroom and to a transformational experience still lies at the heart of everything we do. We strive for excellence in achieving our mission.

It has been an honor and a privilege, as well as a great pleasure, to work with you. Harvard Business School is a special place. It is you -- the community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends -- who make it so and who, through your dedication and commitment to our mission, move the School forward. I am deeply grateful for your support and friendship these past ten years.

Best regards, Kim B. Clark


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Friday, June 03, 2005

Ouch, I've been tagged

This is Friday Fun - let's play tag! Linda, you got me. Ok, so now it's my turn

-Total number of books that I have: about 1,200. 300-400 of them are my wifes. Believe it or not, I've given away about 120 to a used book store last year and I've sold about 50 via Amazon in the last 6 months. I have a stack of about 150 that didn't get sold on my first Amazon book sale pass. Time to lower the prices and get the rest out of the door.

-Last book I bought: The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel - It's a book on techniques and how to be the most amazing consultant. I read the first couple of chapters and got bored out of my skull. I'm about to get back into it again. The first couple of chapters were about "the way" Which quite frankly is a bit text bookish. The latter part of the book appears to be more about how to impress others.

-Last book I read was State of Fear by Michael Crichton Starts out slow, but reads like a movie as Crichton books tend to be. Were it not for his exciting way that he builds his climax's I'd stop reading his books. He just can't write a good ending to any of his stories to save his life in my humble opinion. Someone please give him a lesson on writing good story endings! please!

-The previous book that I read was Leading at the Edge. Interesting read, but you kind of have to remember that despite the fact that the captain's action are touted as huge leadership models to follow.... it was his stupid decision to go through the ice under the riskiest of conditions to begin with. All in the name of fun risk taking? I wish people would just drop it about this story. How can you put this guy on a throne of leadership and say, "we should all be like this". He and his crew were damn lucky to make it out alive. Remember, he made one HUGE stupid decision to begin with. The guy nearly lost his life and nearly destroyed everyone around him. It's like an Enron story. Here's where my wife gives me a stern look and yells, "put down the book Dave and walk away from it very slowly before I have to hurt you."

- Read "The New New Thing" by Michael Lewis - The most rivety SiliconValley story I have ever read in my life. It's amazing how one guy completely turned venture capital on it's head. This is a huge inside look into one of the biggest causes of the Silicon Valley bubble.

-Perhaps it's not a book, but a couple of weeks ago, my wife got me a one year subscription to the Wall Street Journal. I used to be a die hard USA Today kind of guy. Now I'll take either one. I absolutely love the story previews on the front page. I read it every day now. Not everything. About 30-40% of the stories interest me enough to read the entire article. I started reading this newspaper whenever I could get a copy about 6 months ago during my B-School application period back in January. I read that everyone would have to stay up to date with the Wall Street Journal once one got to B-School, so I started early. Months ago, I used to go to the public library a couple times a week just so I could read it.

-The 5 bloggers who I now tag are:
Atta Girl

Directions: Name 5 books you last read and then tag 5 other Bloggers to do the same.


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