AdmitMBA360 Blog formerly Journey to my MBA

Journey to my MBA

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What books should I get in preparing for my GMAT, my MBA app, my essays....

I'm often asked what should I do to get my GMAT score up or what should I do based on my profile this or that. Each person has their own story and their own need for customized answers. I can't answer all questions, but there is one question that I can factually answer that might help visitors to this web site. And that is, "what books are people getting?"

I've been fortunate in that I've been able to have bits of interaction with a majority of the authors of the books I've listed on my Blog. I thoughtfully list only those books that I would suggest to a friend. Even so, just because you tell someone to get a book, they don't often follow through. Below is a list of books purchased via links from this Blog for the last 12 months. If the book sold 1 book or less (zero) I did not list it. I'm sure you'll find this to be of some use. I certainly did.

Some trends that I fully expected and encourage are the overwhelming number of people who picked up the following books:
1) The Official GMAT Guide 11th Edition
2) Kaplan's and Princeton GMAT prep books
3) Manhattan GMAT prep books

A couple of surprises though that I should mention. The "How to get into the top MBA programs" book was weak in numbers. This should be a book that everyone has on their shelf. I'm really surprised people. Don't skip this one.

The other surprise was the drastic difference in those who purchased the 11th edition Official GMAT Guide, but didn't pick up the Verbal and Quant books as well. When you buy the 11th Edition book, you need to get the Verbal and Quant books too. It's a given. The only exception to this would be if you have gone through the 10th edition book. If you haven't, then get the two add on books. It's silly not to. Kaplan, Manhattan GMAT or Princeton Review should only be considered after one has purchased the books containing test questions created by the actual GMAT authors.

The other book that I'm surprised that is not receiving more traction is the book I highlighted a couple weeks ago--- "Great Application Essays for Business School" This book is a jewel. I'm surprised this book didn't outsell the 11th edition Official Guide. It's a big loss for any applicant not to have read through this book. If you've read this Blog long enough... you know that I don't sing the praises of many books. There is absolutely no other MBA essay book on the market that goes to the extent that this book does in guiding you through the writing of your essays like this one does. This book is about $10. How much is your future worth?

I put the number of books sold just after the book name below.

MBA Application Related
Great Application Essays for Business School-18
65 Successful Harvard Business School App Essays-5
ABC of Getting the MBA Admissions Edge-3
How To Get Into the Top MBA Programs (How to Get Into the Top Mba Programs)-9

Kaplan GMAT Prep Books
GMAT 2006, Premier Program (Kaplan Gmat (Book & CD-Rom))-31
Kaplan GMAT 800, 2006-2007 (Kaplan Gmat 800)-51
Kaplan GRE & GMAT Exams Math Workbook : Fourth Edition (Kaplan Gre and Gmat Exams Math Workbook)-11
Kaplan GMAT, 2007 Edition: Premier Program (Kaplan Gmat (Book & CD-Rom))-18
Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook, Third Edition (Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook)-2

Princeton Review GMAT Books
Cracking the GMAT with DVD, 2007 Edition-41
Math Workout for the GMAT, 2nd Edition (Princeton Review Series)-12
Verbal Workout for the GMAT, 2nd Edition (Princeton Review Series)-18

Manhattan GMAT Books
Critical Reasoning & Reading Comprehension(Manhattan GMAT)-49
Equations, Inequalities, & Vic's Gmat Preparation Guide (Manhattan Gmat Prep)-29
Fractions, Decimals, & Percents Gmat Preparation Guide (Manhattan Gmat Prep)-30
Geometry GMAT Preparation Guide (Manhattan Gmat Prep)-30
Number Properties GMAT Preparation Guide (Manhattan Gmat Prep)-31
Sentence Correction Gmat Preparation Guide (Manhattan Gmat Prep)-53
Word Translations Gmat Preparation Guide (Manhattan Gmat Prep)-31

Official GMAT Books from the test authors themselves
The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review-18
The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review-22
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 11th(Official Guide for Gmat Review)-214

Math review books

Short-Cut Math-5
Speed Mathematics: Secret Skills for Quick Calculation-6


Anonymous Freeway said...

Manhattan GMAT or Kaplan which one do you personally recommend, well If I have to choose one which one do you really feel can result in an above average GMAT score, if one puts same number of study hours into it. Please comment, Thanks....

12:51 PM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

The Kaplan is book has 3 things going for it. 1) A review of a majority of foundation material. 2) A lot of sample questions(Albeit they are harder than what you'll see on the actual GMAT). 3) Computer based CD of several tests to help you experience a computer based exam.

The Kaplan books are low on strategy, especially in Math.

The Manhattan GMAT books are designed around strategy for the different types of problems that Kaplan or Princeton don't do well.

One should be able to reason or logic out the answer in the GMAT about 60% of the time. That is assuming you already have foundation knowledge down. That means... no solving, but seeing patterns, logical sequencing and the like. That's how Manahhatan GMAT puts this together.

Having said all this, one area is lacking in Kaplan and Manhattan and that is the concept of drills and customized help in narrowing in on where you're weak. By targeting these areas, one should be able to drill in on them and drill the heck out of it. Neither are designed for that. I have found the Kaplan CAT Cd to be of some help in this regard by telling you what kinds of problems you may be getting more wrong.

These days, I'm recommending to people. For $30/month, you can get the customized drills and targeted help you need. If necessary, you can buy a few hours of private tutoring. You can buy some private tutoring hours with Manhattan as well. But I think the system is a better buy because it ties into the drills.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I picked up "Great Application Essays for Business School" after your comments in a post a few weeks ago.

It is awesome , I had been handicapped without a book like this.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Sandy said...


The World MBA fair is tomorrow in SF. I have 2 questions and would appreciate your feedback.
1-It starts at 5pm. Should I eat dinner beforehand? Do they serve snacks there?
2-I've done so much research on the schools that I don't have much to ask them tomorrow night. Any ideas on what would be the best way to use my face time with the adcom at the fair?


5:15 PM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

The Tour offer no food. There is only water provided by the hotel; sometimes they have coffee. Here are some questions that you might want to consider using. Remember, they bring along Alumni too sometimes.
-What kind of impact has your MBA had on your career? (Alumn)
-In what ways does the material you studied in school assist you in your position?(Alumn)
-Were your professors approachable and open to student contact?(Alumn)
-In terms of administrative support did you find the school supportive?(Alumn)
-Did you and your classmates find positions easily?(Alumn)
-What were the other students in your program like?(Alumn)
-What are those most challenging experiences during your MBA years?(Alumn and Staff)

-You should also inquire about the following areas:
-Internship Opportunities and Job Placements(Alumn and Staff)
-Recruiting Companies & Industries Salary Potential and Ranges Reputation in the Business World(Alumn and Staff)
-Variety of Career Options - Sectors and Mobility(Alumn and Staff)
---Long-term Career Path
---Short-term Career Opportunity

-Who are some of the favorite profs and what do they teach? (Alumn & Staff)

- What directions is the school looking at adjusting, Whether by staff or student initiative, over the next year or two. (Alumn & Staff)

- How does xxx institute influence students and the classroom instruction. (Alumn & Staff) - Remember that Institutes are the pride and joy of all schools. They were not formed in a vacuum. They are meant to highlight and grow a quality of the school that they want to be recognized for. You may know the things the institute does, but you may not know what new things are happening with them.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING to find out about are those areas that interest you the most and those areas that align with your application profile strategy.

All schools love to find out that you love them. How do you love a school? You find out all about them and let them know how much you do know; especially about nuances you don't see on the web or in brochures/viewbooks.


Roughly 80 plus % of all the questions admin staff and alumn get are early investigative, insecure.. what are my chances talks, and repetitive questions that anyone can find on their web or in viewbooks. It's refreshing if you show how much you did your homework. That in of itself is MEMORABLE.

Send a thank you after words, get their card and describe a unique characteristic about yourself to have them remember you. Be sure to have your elevator story about yourself ready as well. Be able to summarize your profile in 1 minute. See for further info on creating your profile. Have fun. Get there on time an you'll have more face time.

All my best- Dave

7:56 PM  
Anonymous NK said...

hi dave,
i have found that the gmat (the quant part), unlike the prep books, is less about calculations and more abt reasoning/logic. which book is best suited to tackle such questions?

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

Good advise. Thanks Dave!

9:05 PM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

NK, no book does the Logic/reason thing for Quant to the level I would like to see. However, the best I've seen are the Manhattan series of books.

6:02 AM  
Anonymous NK said...

thanks Dave. and would you recommend the kaplan quant workbook?

6:42 PM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

NK, it's really up to you to get it. Work with the Official Guide first. Or the main Kaplan book. That's 2 months of solid work with just that. What you have to remember is that if you are not reflecting on what your getting wrong by considering what concepts, skills and thought processes you are not paying attention to... then you're not studying wisely. If you just want as many problems as possible ... then you won't be ready for the multitudes of permutations you'll find on the actual test. GMAT is about logic and thinking. Not memorization.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Dave,
What score did you end up in GMAT. Hope you are in the thick of your app process.

4:51 PM  

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