The laundry list..

Now that GMAT is over and I have decided to apply for schools. I am not taking chance with R2 so I will apply to schools in next cycle. Before that lets talk about my target schools. I have been in Banking industry for around 5 years and have developed a special interest in finance. So I am focused on finance specific schools. Apart from that I have another point to think about. Should I go for 1 year MBA or 2 years MBA. Lets discuss that in detail.

1 year MBA:


  • Lesser opportunity cost
  • Lesser costs – specially cost of living
  • I will not have to go far (I am in Asia) to pursue 2 year courses
  • Less time away from my husband


  • Scope of internship is lesser
  • Very intensive course

2 year MBA:


  • Internship opportunities are good
  • More time to network and hence more chances of landing the desired job
  • 2 good years of college life ūüôā


  • Again the opportunity cost is higher
  • Cost of living is also high
  • Will be spending 2 years for something that can be done in1 year as well.

Of all the pros and cons, the one that is most bothering me is internship. As I am planning for a change in function, it is very important to get a hands on experience in the field before really jumping into it. So while I ponder more into this decision, here is the list of schools I am thinking of right now:

  1. INSEAD –¬†this is a sure choice as it is in Singapore. Why Singapore is good because I am here and Asia is in a much better shape than US or Europe. Will be applying to INSEAD for Jan 2013 intake. Also the schools ticks almost all the items in my checklist such as international diversity, strong alumni etc.
  2. LBS – LBS is another strong choice because of its focus on finance, because its a 15/21 month course and the chances of internship are good and because its in London – the heart of finance.
  3. Said Business School, Oxford РHowever, the school is not known for finance but has got amazing brand equity  and the educational experience is enriching.

There are few other schools I have been thinking about but have not done proper research on them. Will update once I do that and will post more on reasons for me choosing INSEAD, LBS and Oxford.

Other schools in mind:

  1. NYU Stern
  2. Wharton
  3. Chicago Booth
  4. Cornell one year course
  5. Tepper
  6. Darden
  7. UNC

Now I am off to doing research. Till then..happy apping guys!!

Now what??

So the GMAT thingy is over and since I am planning to apply next year (if I do…yes, there is still a possibility I don’t), what is it that is keeping me busy these days apart from my daily routine. Well I am back to reading. Apart from books, I love to browse blogs – financial, personal, gossips etc. In that, I came across this interesting list of financial blogs and found a couple of interesting ones to follow. So all those MBA aspirants who are looking to focus finance, this may be the food for soul for you. Let me see if I can write a review of my¬†favourite¬†blogs from this list in coming days from an MBA aspirant’s perspective.

I am also planning to learn mandarin. I am waiting for my friend to come back from her vacations and then may be both of us will join some classes. Language learning is fun when you have someone to practice it with..isn’t it!!

Thats all for now. Will keep you guys posted on the updates and most importantly on updates related to the bid dream – MBA.

The wait is over with 700 (Q49, V36, AWA 6.0)

So finally I was able to touch the 700 mark. Last two months were really torturous for me and I am sooo happy with the 700. However, I do think that if nerves had not taken better of me in Verbal, I could have managed a 720, but I am happy its over. Now I can think about other important things. In all I have given GMAT thrice to arrive to a 700:

1. September 2011 : 680 (Q46, V37, AWA 6.0) : I was fairly confident during my first attempt and a 700 looked possible. However, I screwed up in quants, could not manage my time well and had to guess last 5-6 questions. So after the exam I thought my quants is not that bad and I can easily manage a 49 so I should retake. I took a week’s break and booked the test for October.

2. October 2011: 620 (Q49, V27, AWA- dint even care to look at AWA) : It was a nightmare and specially when my mock tests were telling a different story. You guys know about it right!! So I went fairly confident for my test this time and was pretty sure of getting something around 720. The AWA went fine and then the quants was ok and I was very calm for verbal as well. I did verbal with patience and on time. Did not rush through any question and somewhere in the middle I even felt that the level of questions were increasing. I completed the test and was expecting to see a 700+, and was shocked to see a 620. A 27 in verbal was unexpected. I was shattered. I had not scored less than 35 in verbal even in the diagnostic test I gave before starting any prep. I was also unable to comprehend the reason for this dismal score. I was really disappointed with myself after this take. It was after my husband counselled me and made me realise that 27 in Verbal is not at all my true potential, I decided to retake.

3. November 2011 : 700 (Q49, V36, got AWA recently:6.0): After my second attempt I was little sceptical of my strategies for Verbal so I revisited the basics. Read the Manhattan SC and Powerscore CR bible again and analyzed all my mistakes during the practise sessions thoroughly. btw…I studied only for 10 days for this attempt as I went on a vacation immediately after the October attempt. Gave two mock tests one Manhattan (750: Q48, V44) and Gprep (710: Q48, V38) and was again confident that the preparation is fine. However, after the second attempt I was little scared of the unexpected. But went to the test centre with complete faith in my abilities.
Test experience: I gave this test in New Delhi, India. AWA went fine, I followed the chineseburned template and trust me it works (I did get a 6.0 in my first attempt using that template only). Started quants fine. The first question was very easy number properties question and was able to solve that in 30 seconds and I am pretty sure that I did the next 5 questions also correct since the difficulty level kept on increasing. But somewhere around 9th question I got a very basic geometry question. So basic that for a minute or so I tried to find the hidden trick in the question. But the question was indeed very basic and I realized that I have done something wrong in the last couple of questions. I gathered myself up and decided not to make any further mistakes. Time was on my side so I double checked every question and I am pretty sure I did not commit any mistake as the difficulty level of questions kept on increasing and I got some real difficult questions on Standard Deviation and some real lengthy word translations. I was however struggling with time in the last 5 questions but managed to crack them all. Verbal went fine and I think I did fine. However I do think that my score was hampered by an incomprehensible RC on some political issue. I also think that if I was little more calm during verbal I may have scored a 38 or 39 but what the hell…I am glad its over.

Study material used:

Manhattan SC – a must read
1000s for SC – however this document had some doubt able questions, it still is a good practice
Powerscore CR bible
LSAT test papers for CR
RC 99

Manhattan strategy guides – again a must read to build up basics
Gmatclub forums – I practiced quants form the forums only.

I am happy with the score and happier that its over. As a final note to fellow test takers, GMAT is not at all about your IQ, its more about your preparation, perseverance and hard work.
All the best!!

Its tomorrow…and then…

The exam is tomorrow and I am feeling pretty confident this time. I am relaxed and not really studying much. Just gave Veritas’ free test t get in the exam mode. Scored a 710 (Q51, V41). I particularly did not like Veritas’s exam because quants was too easy. Very straight forward questions in line with first 100 questions of OG. Verbal was better but SCs were more idiom based and RCs were excruciatingly loooooong. Also, a breakup of Q51 and V 41 will add up to something like a 740-750 on the real exam. I guess they (Veritas) are discounting the fact that the test is easy and are giving a lower score.

I am waiting for GMAT to get over so that I can focus on so many other important things which I have held for this exam. Before coming to that, I am giving exam on the best possible day. Immediately after the test, the fun begins. How? Read on:

  • Immediately after the test, I am going for a “teen patti”, which is a version of poker, night.
  • Next day, which is Sunday, I am leaving for 4 weeks vacation to back home – India.
  • And then the festive season begins – its Diwali – my first as a married woman.
  • And when I come back from the vacation, the next day is my first wedding anniversary.
What else could I have asked for. I just need an amazing start tomorrow. The score I have been dreaming about, the score I have been working so hard for.
Now to that part where I will talk about things I would do in the time I will have once GMAT is over. I will:
  • Learn Mandarin.
  • Read books and write more often here and on my other blog.
  • Practice yoga more often.
  • Research about the b schools. So far I was very focused on INSEAD, LBS and Oxford but now a days I have started thinking about US schools also.
  • Spend more time at Aidha – a not for profit organization I have been associated with.
Wish me luck guys!!

MBA is not all about being an Investment Banker and making money…

(Disclaimer: If you don’t want to read all this gyan, please go to the end of this post and do watch the video. I have provided a link, which will open in other window once you click on it)

I am a strong believer in the virtues of good education. Good education can create revolutions, change the world and create opportunities for those who need them most. Now that we all are thinking about going for an MBA and I bet an MBA from any of our target schools will provide us with unparalleled exposure, will empower us with the tools to be a successful professional and will open the world of opportunities for us. And I am sure we all already have set eyes on the job we will get after that MBA and the money I will make and the company I will start and there is nothing wrong with it. Even I have some vague goals and expectations set in my  mind but on and off the not-so-materialistic-me thinks about how can I best use the education I have got. And today I am going to share my thoughts with you guys:

  • I can create opportunities for others and still make money. How? I can start a business and employ people. All I need is a good idea and good execution. And guess what, idea is not the difficult part of it; the difficult part is the effort and lack of motivation.
  • I can give it back to the society. Trust me, the society needs fortunate people like us a lot. People who know about things, are aware of both sides of coin and are willing to share and teach and educate others. We are not aware how even a minutest of effort from our side cam change lives. And the skills we are going to acquire in those top schools will be our asset. Those skills are like the pot full of more which never empties if you spend it. The more you use for the benefit of society, the more bigger and fuller the pot becomes. Well, maybe the monetary rewards may not be big but there are still amazing rewards.
  • I can do both of above. I can create opportunities and still give it back to society and make little less money. I can create something which caters to the needy ones, spread education and still make money.
Think about it. And then think about how happy and satisfied we all can be. I am sure the job satisfaction will be huge here!  Watch the following video for motivation:
                                                   Barefoot School

Gprep 1

All I have been writing these days is about my mock tests…but with just 2 more days to go for the G day, what else do you expect :P. I gave Gprep 1 today and got a 770 (Q50,V44). Sounds great..isn’t it?? But there is a catch, I think the score are little inflated because I knew 2 questions in Quants and 3-4 in Verbal. And when I get known questions, it not only helps me in getting those questions correct for sure but also gives me benefit of more time on hand to solve other problems. So I will like to discount this score a bit and would say that maybe a 730 (Q49, V40) is the right representation.

What I am happy about this test is that I was very focused and consistent. I did not tick any question just because I was tired of reading or solving problems (sounds¬†weird…but I tend to do so) and I did manage my time well. I did both sections with 9-10 minutes on the clock on each test. ¬†However, time has not been a major issue with me but sometime I tend to get stuck on a question or two in Quants and that eats up lot of valuable time. I did not do so this time. So my confidence levels are high and I think I may not take Gprep 2. With 2 days to go, all I want to do it revisit the problems I did wrong and read notes.

Regarding AWA, since I got a 6 in my first attempt (I followed chineseburned template), I am pretty confident on that part. I will just revise the template and maybe practice writing just one argument to get into the mode.

The countdown has begun!

P.S. forgot to mention my score in Gprep 1 during my prep for first attempt. It was 670. Don’t remember the breakdown though.

Third mock and lessons learnt..

Guys, I gave my third mock yesterday (Manhattan) and got a 730 (Q46, V44) and man was Quant tough. It was so difficult that I had to practically guess6-7 questions and got them all wrong :(. I hope and wish and pray that this doesn’t happen to me in the real exam which is just 3 days away (shivers). I am however surprised by my performance in verbal. Did not get even any 2 questions in a row wrong. Got the second question wrong, which pulled my percentile down to 75% (Manhattan does punish you badly if you get initial 10 questions wrong) but then did next 10 or so correct and¬†maintained¬†the percentile.

Since I always compare my score with the corresponding score while I was preparing for the first attempt, I will do that in this post as well. My score in the corresponding MGMAT was 680 (Q49, V34). 

The lessons I have learnt from all of the tests so far are these:

  1. DONOT get a question wrong in first 10 questions. Yes, its very important.
  2. Even if you do get a question wrong in first 10, make sure you get atleast next 10 correct.
  3. DONOT get 2 or more questions in a row incorrect. It pulls the percentile down drastically.
  4. Manage the time very effectively. The questions on which you apend more then 2 minutes should be very few and that should be compensated by time management on other easier questions. Its better to guess one question in middle, get it wrong but save valuable 4 minutes than having to guess 5-6 questions in the end and getting them all wrong.
  5. Keep it in mind that if you are guessing a question, the chances are it will be wrong so do the next question well. Remember point 3 above.
  6. RCs are very important ¬†in verbal. Understand the passage well and try to get them correct. I normally read the passage twice ¬†(since I am blessed with good reading speed, I can afford to do that) but do whatever you can within the constraints to read the passage¬†thoroughly. Again, reiterating point 3, if you don’t understand the passage, the chances are you will get 3-4 questions in a row incorrect and the percentile will be damaged beyond repairs.
I hope to remember these things in my exam and this time I really want to crack it. I will be giving GPreps in next 2 days and then hit the test centre.
Pray for me people!