• Beat the Gmat

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  • May 2009
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The end of the beginning…

There is no going back from here. Starting this blog is the end of the beginning of my application process for business school. In the coming months I hope to share my successes and failures (probably more failures than successes) with all who choose to read this blog. The first post feels like the beginning of a roller coaster, with my stomach in knots from the anticipation of what is to come. In reality, I am somewhat further along in my MBA preparation than most who decide to start a blog, but after reading a compelling appeal from a fellow MBA applicant blogger (Mission MBA) I could not help myself.

A little background about myself. I work in the financial services industry for a very large brokerage firm, as a credit analyst. I am trying to get my MBA in order to become a buy-side research analyst and eventually a portfolio manager. With goals like these I am trying to shoot for a top 15 school, anything outside the top 15 will probably not give me the payback I need to justify giving up 2 years of income and risking being jobless when i get out of school. I have done some research to cut my list of possible schools, but I have not finalized a list by any means. My first step towards an MBA began with the GMAT.

Many applicant blogs begin with the grueling slog that is the GMAT. I have already completed a Kaplan prep course (pretty good, but more on that in another post) and have taken the GMAT. My score was 680. I was initially not very pleased with the score because I was shooting for something over 700 and 680 is so agonizingly close that I wanted to kick a puppy. Probably an overreaction, but in the heat of the moment puppy kicking seemed like the easiest way to take some joy out of the world. After a little reflection and an equally disappointing Subway sandwich (seriously put some meat on there) I began to reflect on how far I had come.

My journey to the GMAT began at the Hudson school in Hoboken, NJ. I was taking a diagnostic test to see how much help I truly needed. I scored 550 on the test and realized that I needed a lot of hard work to reach my goal. I went to every Kaplan course and did every HW assignment, even the optional ones. I took 9 practice tests, (including the Ultimate Practice Test) here are my scores:

Diagnostic: 550 (32Q, 36V)
CAT 1: 630 (36Q, 43V)
CAT 2: 620 (32Q, 41V)
CAT 3: 670 (36Q, 52V)
CAT 4: 580 (37 Q, 31 V) 31V, what the hell happened here?
CAT 5: 640 (44 Q, 33V) Again, wtf?
CAT 6: 710 (44Q, 50V) Back in the saddle baby, first 700+
CAT 7: 680 (44Q, 43V)
UPT: 660 (36 Q, 50V) Took this 1 week before the GMAT
GMAT: 680 (44Q, 38V) Boooooo Verbal

This is where I have come from and now we get to learn together where I am going. This is an incredibly exciting time in my life and I couldn’t think of a better way to cope with it (embarrass myself) than sharing it with strangers. My idea for the blog is complete openness. This will included posting of essays, application status, AWA essays (when I finally get my score). Once you start this process it will consume you. I find myself thinking of nothing but different business schools, how I can ever get into them, and what my life will be like after them. I hope this is a fun and interactive forum for people to share their thoughts, successes, and agonies. Until next time…

Next few posts – Should I take the GMAT again, review of Kaplan course


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