GMAT

Club-MBA 2.0: live!

Quizá recordéis el artículo que escribí el 1 de febrero a raíz del segundo aniversario de Club-MBA: Club-MBA cumple dos años: pasado, presente y futuro. En ese artículo comenté que estábamos estudiando apostar fuerte por la web, de cara a asegurar su sostenibilidad e incluso fijar metas mucho más ambiciosas contemplando vías para generar ingresos. Pues bien, desde ese día Rocío y yo hemos estado trabajando día y noche en una nueva sección de la web que esta semana, por fin, hemos lanzado: Servicios Club-MBA, que es un subdominio de la web principal www.club-mba.com.

El lanzamiento de esta nueva sección es un grandísimo paso adelante para la web. Además, estamos convencidos de que vamos a crear mucho valor entre los usuarios de la web, e incluso entre estudiantes actuales MBA, ya que muchos de los servicios serán realizados por ellos.

Trabajando de día ...

Trabajando de día …

working_night

y de noche.

Estos últimos meses están siendo duros por las mil horas que le estamos metiendo al proyecto y por los sacrificios que hemos tenido que hacer en nuestra vida MBA, pero está siendo una experiencia brutal y que era ahora o nunca. Para que os hagáis una idea, solo en esta semana, por ejemplo, le habremos metido fácilmente 50 horas de trabajo a la web, y eso que el trabajo de desarrollar la web ya estaba hecho. Entre otras muchas cosas, hemos tenido más de cinco reuniones para llegar a acuerdos con empresas y gente que realizará los servicios que ofrecemos.

La verdad es que estamos aplicando mucho de lo aprendido en el MBA para un proyecto que nos ilusiona a más no poder. Además, hemos hecho una gran reorganización en el equipo de la web, que ya cuenta con más 30 personas. Hemos asignado nuevos roles con responsabilidad, que nos ayudarán en el día a día.

¿Qué servicios ofrecemos u ofreceremos en la nueva sección?

A principios de enero hicimos una encuesta a todos los usuarios de Club-MBA. En ella, preguntamos si estarían interesados en que la web ofreciera diversos servicios de pago. Más del 90% de la gente se mostró interesada o muy interesada en que lo hiciésemos. Así que nos pusimos manos a la obra. A continuación hago un resumen de los servicios que ya ofrecemos o que ofreceremos próximamente.

Por un lado, ofrecemos descargas de documentos:

  • Descarga de ensayos de estudiantes admitidos: los usuarios pueden ya comprar ensayos de estudiantes que fueron admitidos en varias escuelas (en no mucho tiempo tendremos ensayos de todas). El leer ensayos de gente que “lo consiguió” sirve como referencia para saber el nivel que uno debe mostrar en los ensayos, y puede hacer que algunos no tengan necesidad de contratar a un consultor de admisiones. La idea viene porque recuerdo muy bien el momento en el que me enfrentaba a la famosa presentación de la solicitud de admisión de Booth, y realmente no tenía ni idea de lo que hacer ni de lo que se esperaba de mi. Me hubiera venido genial el tener un par de ejemplos. Además también creamos valor entre los autores de los ensayos ya que éstos se llevan un porcentaje de cada descarga. Aquellos que hoy compran ensayos, muy probablemente serán los que vendan los suyos el año que viene.
  • Descarga de cartas de recomendación: los usuarios podrán comprar cartas de recomendación de estudiantes admitidos. Puede servir tanto para los recomendadores (para ver qué nivel es adecuado o cuánto hay que escribir), como para los propios candidatos, que deben hacer entender a los recomendadores lo que se espera de ellos.
  • Descarga de otros documentos:  plantillas TOEFL (muy útiles para preparar el examen), plantillas de CV estilo americano, frameworks de consultoría para preparar las entrevistas de empresas tipo McKinsey, y otros.

También vamos a ofrecer servicios como:

  • Traducción jurada de documentos: nos hemos puesto de acuerdo con un intérprete jurado oficial para que ofrezca servicios de traducción. Traducirá lo típico que los candidatos necesitan: traducción de títulos y expedientes académicos.
  • Consultoría de admisión o “Coaching MBA”: Aún no está cerrado, pero estamos teniendo muchas reuniones con los grandes del sector en Estados Unidos. Con una de estas empresas estamos muy cerca de llegar a un acuerdo. Lo más curioso del asunto es que no fuimos nosotros los que les encontramos sino ellos a nosotros. Están en proceso de abrir el mercado hispanohablante y tenían referencias de nuestra web como la líder de este mercado :). El caso es que nos reunimos con el fundador de la empresa la semana pasada y estamos muy cerca de llegar a un acuerdo con ellos, que pueda ser interesante tanto para nosotros como sobre todo para los usuarios de la web.
  • Revisión de currículums: Ofreceremos servicios de revisión de CV para solicitudes de admisión o de trabajo. Esto muy probablemente lo haremos a través de estudiantes MBA de segundo año o recién graduados MBA. En las escuelas (al menos en Booth), los estudiantes de segundo año hacemos esta labor durante el año ayudando a los de primero a que construyan un buen CV para el recruiting. Es gente que sabe muy bien qué tipo de CVs funcionan en las solicitudes de las escuelas de negocio (y en la búsqueda empleo). Además, también crearemos valor a los estudiantes MBA, que podrán tener ingresos durante el programa, ayudando a los futuros estudiantes. Vamos, que un match es perfecto.
  • Preparación de entrevistas de admisión: El mismo modelo que la revisión de CV. Estudiantes MBA actuales harán mock interviews por Skype de sus escuelas a los candidatos. ¿Quién mejor que ellos saben cómo son las entrevistas?
  • Preparación de entrevistas de tipo caso: Muy parecido a lo anterior. Estudiantes MBA que hayan trabajado en consultoría antes del MBA o durante las prácticas de verano, y que tengan experiencia haciendo casos a otros, harán mock interviews por Skype a gente que esté preparando entrevistas de consultoría (o de otras empresas que hagan entrevistas tipo caso). Lo normal es que la gente que hemos pasado por el proceso de selección de una consultora, sepamos hacer muy bien este tipo de entrevistas de prueba, tanto la parte fit como la de casos. Y además, tenemos experiencia. Yo este año quizá he hecho unas 20 entrevistas de prueba a compañeros de Booth.
  • Cursos GMAT, TOEFL, etc.: Estamos en proceso de ponernos de acuerdo con profesores de GMAT para que ofrezcan sus cursos en nuestra web, ya sean online o presenciales.
  • Seguros médicos: Estamos muy cerca de llegar a un acuerdo con una aseguradora para que nos haga precio de grupo a todos los usuarios de Club-MBA que busquen un seguro médico para su estancia en el extranjero. Este tema puede marcar un antes y un después entre los estudiantes ya que normalmente las universidades destino exigen contratar sus propios seguros médicos (que suelen rondar los $3.000 anuales), o contratar uno que cubra lo mismo o más que el suyo. El seguro que espero podamos ofrecer en la web costará menos de la cuarta parte del seguro de las universidades, y cubre aún más cosas. Vamos, que sería un ahorro muy grande. Este seguro es el que he usado yo durante mi MBA, al igual que muchos compañeros europeos de Booth.

¿Next steps?

Acabar de cerrar todas las negociaciones, acabar de implementar ciertas funcionalidades en la web de servicios, acabar de organizar todo para asegurar la sostenibilidad una vez empiece a trabajar en McKinsey, y también darle una vuelta a la web de Club-MBA, que necesita un cambio para afrontar esta nueva etapa: Club-MBA 2.0 :).

A todo esto, en dos semanas nos graduamos y seremos oficialmente MBAs de Booth!

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Rankings MBA

A la hora de elegir a qué escuelas solicitar admisión siempre surge el tema de los rankings, herramientas útiles pero polémicas, ya que cada ranking tiene su propia metodología y hay grandes diferencias entre unos y otros. Considero que la decisión de solicitar a una escuela no debe hacerse únicamente por los rankings, y hay que hacer mucho trabajo de investigación sobre las mismas. De todas maneras, los rankings prestigiosos (Business Week, Forbes, US News, Financial Times y The Economist) en su mayoría están basados en “datos”, por lo que me parecen mucho más objetivos que la opinión de gente en los foros de una web, o lo que diga “la gente por la calle”. En mi opinión los rankings, tomados en conjunto, dan una buena idea del nivel de las escuelas (si están en las top-5, top-10 o top-20). Todos los rankings tienen alguna excentricidad (algunos más que otros), así que no se deben mirar de forma individual sino en conjunto. Por ello, los rankings que más me gustan son el de Club-MBA y el de Poets & Quants, que hacen una media de los cinco rankings. Y entre ellos, prefiero el de Club-MBA al de Poets & Quants porque mezcla escuelas americanas con el resto, al contrario que Poets & Quants.

Aún así, cada escuela es muy diferente de las demás, y dependiendo de los objetivos de cada persona hay escuelas mejores o peores. Por ejemplo, en el mundo de la Tecnología, algunos pueden pensar que MIT o Berkeley sean mejor opción que Wharton. O en el de las finanzas Booth y Wharton mejores que Harvard. En mi caso tengo mi ranking particular que he ido formando durante los últimos dos años, en los que he estado investigando sobre las escuelas, hablando con actuales alumnos y antiguos, y con gente del mundillo.  Os aseguro que hace cinco años mi ránking (que estaba basado en nada…) de escuelas era muy distinto al actual. Menos mal que dediqué tiempo a investigar, no quiero ni pensar donde hubiera acabado.

Hay que saber que también depende mucho de dónde se quiera trabajar. Por ejemplo, si uno busca trabajar fuera de España o de Latinoamérica, entonces es posible que una escuela española no sea la mejor opción, ya que desgraciadamente no las conoce mucha gente fuera de allí.

Qué criterios utilizan los rankings para medir lo buena que es una escuela? Depende de cada ranking. Por ejemplo, uno de los criterios que siguen bastantes rankings es lo difícil que es entrar en cada escuela. En escuelas tipo Stanford, Harvard, Booth, Wharton o MIT solicitan admisión miles de personas y no cogen a más de un pequeño porcentaje. En cambio, en otras escuelas (por ejemplo, las españolas) este porcentaje es mucho más alto. Otro baremo muy utilizado es el GMAT medio de los admitidos. En las top americanas suele ser alrededor de 720, mientras que en las españolas está por 660. Otro famoso es el “yield” de cada escuela, que viene a ser el porcentaje de los alumnos que, una vez admitidos en una escuela, aceptan ir a esa. Por ejemplo, es de sobra conocido que la escuela con mayor yield es Harvard con un 89%. Es decir, de cada 10 personas que son aceptadas en Harvard, 9 aceptan la oferta y acaban matriculándose ahí. La mayoría de las escuelas top 5-10 tiene un yield de entre 50 a 70%, ya que pierden alumnos aceptados que también son aceptados en otras escuelas y acaban yéndose a las otras. Si la escuela no está en el top 10 ya ni te cuento. Digamos que una persona que es aceptada en Harvard, Columbia y Berkeley. Si se decide por ir a Harvard, entonces el yield de las otras dos bajará.

En el siguiente enlace podéis encontrar los rankings más famosos, incluyendo los rankings de Club-MBA y de Poets & Quants Rankings MBA – Escuelas de Negocios

The 7 phases of the Business School application

Are you applying to MBA Schools this winter? Read this, I’m sure you will be identified ;).

I’d like to share with you this great summary of what most of us are going through.

This great post is originally written in gmatclub by lepium.

i.Introduction

Let’s say you are 2 or 3 years out of college and the thought of an MBA starts lingering in your mind. Either you’ve heard some stories of former colleagues going for it and are curious about it or you think the name sounds cool.

You can talk to MBA alumni (if you have access to them) to start your research, or maybe to some friends. But this initial conversations can be biased (name 1 alumni who “officially” thinks his/her school sucked and you’ll get a bonus!) for all you know.

So you decide you need some “objective data” to continue your research and you go pick up the latest issue of US news/ B-week, or whichever one is available at newsstands. You browse through their pages and start wondering:

1st phase (the MBA honeymoon)

– Wait, wasn’t Kellogg a cereal brand?
– What’s with the GMAT scores? why 700? over 1000? that’s weird. What’s GMAT btw?
– Ah, finally, I know Yale, I know Harvard, I know Stanford, MIT and UCLA. But where’s Princeton? And Brown?
– I like International Business, so as per these rankings I should better be attending Thunderbird. But why are the starting salaries from there so much lower than from other schools?
– I loved Miami when I visited on spring break. Lemme see what their school’s like.

2nd phase (Delussional optimism)

– I’m a wise person, so GMAT shouldn’t be a problem for me. Maybe I’ll take one of these intensive 1-week courses and go for it! Why would anybody spend months studying? That doesn’t make any sense. I mean it’s high school level math and English for crying out loud. Heck, I can speak English, I’ve taken Calculus classes.

– I’m a clear admit at HBS, plus I’ll get a full scholarship. After all I’ll get a top GMAT, I do speak four languages and have made steady progress at work so far.

3rd phase (Depression while taming the beast)

– GMAT sucks. My friends no longer talk to me. My girlfriend broke up with me and spending 150k for an MBA doesn’t make much sense to me anymore (nor does it make sense to my family, my former friends nor my girlfriend). Do I really, really want to do this? Otherwise I could go back to having a life right now.

– Ok, so I’m headed for a 600 score, if I’m lucky. Let’s see what that would do for me. Hmm, I’d better score at least 650. Wait, 650 ain’t that bad! Oh boy, I’d kill for a 650.

– “So Johnny (an acquaintance of yours), how did your GMAT go?”
Johnny: “Oh man, I’m so depressed. I bombed my 7th attempt. I just can’t get past 550. I’m about giving up”
You: “Crap, Johnny, after all the effort you’ve put into this, I can’t believe what you are telling me. I mean, I’m still a zillion hours away from your study record to date. By the way, I’ll better be heading home and attack those SCs again!”

– (at 4am in the morning on a working day): I suck, I suck, I suck! I can’t believe the silly mistakes I’m making. Sigh, I wish I’d remember more about Statistics…

4th phase (post GMAT preliminary research)

– Ok, so I got a pretty decent GMAT. Now let me write sth and send my app right away so we can finally bring this “I’ll pretend I read your app.” game to an end. Let’s check the instructions.

1st question) What matters most to you an why? [3 to 5 pages]
Hmm. Maybe I’ll leave this one for tomorrow. Or let me brainstorm and write a shortlist:

1st shortlist (prior to any research):
a) Money.
b) Success.
c) Beer.
d) Getting my ticket stamped to land an IB job.

2nd shortlist (after some research):
a) Being mother Theresa.
b) Saving humanity.
c) Saving the environment.
d) “Changing the world”.

– I’ll apply to 147 schools. That way, I’d maximize my chances of getting a scholarship.

– What’s with the letter of recommendation? Should I tell my boss about my plans? It looks like the point of no return to me.

5th phase (applying, AKA the emotional roller-coaster)

[staring at essay#1 version # 84]: This sucks! I can’t believe how boring I sound. I should re-start from scratch!

– I should write about the snooker tournament I won when I was 16. That’d be original, plus I can spin it to show how I used my leadership, analytical and teamwork skills.

– Beh, I can apply in Round 2 as well.

– Crap! my recommenders haven’t even accessed the website yet and it’s only 2 days left! I’ll send them “friendly reminder #27”. No, wait, I sent #26 just 5 minutes ago. Maybe I’ll wait another half hour.

– Wait, was Kellogg’s deadline on the 5th? Or was that MIT? Maybe I should drop Wharton. I can’t make deadlines on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th. OK, I’ll just drop Wharton from my list and have it as “fresh” backup for next year just in case.

– I wish I had applied to more schools in Round 1. Look at all these people getting interviews and admits!

6th phase (post application blues)

– Shoot, I won’t get in anywhere. I mean look at the profiles of applicants! I should retake GMAT. My 700 is not enough. I should aim for 790+.

– Crap! Yale dinged me without interview! Ohmigod! If they did it, ANYONE can do it! THEY COULD ALL DO IT!

– I have an idea! I’ll check which schools have rolling admissions and apply to those. I still have time!

– Suddenly University of Phoenix Online doesn’t sound that bad.

– Why? Why? Why didn’t apply to more backups? Why did I have to shake my interviewer’s hand so firmly? Why didn’t I coach my recommenders more thoroughly? I wonder what they’ve written. Probably nothing good. I wish I had submitted my app. a day earlier, that way I would have looked as a well organized person. I read that Kellogg dings all applicants above 28 years old who haven’t made directors positions. Wait, is that a typo on my MIT essays? That’s one school less, buddy. I’m soo doomed.

7th phase (endless joy)

– Hell yeah! I’ve made it! I’ve been admitted [dream school X] next year! I rule! I can’t wait to get recruited by [dream employer]. When is admitted students weekend?

– 2nd admit! I rule!

– Should I go to [School X] with a 7k scholarship or to [School Y] with a 25 k scholarship?

– Work? What’s work? Ah, right, that thing I’m supposed to be doing daily on weekdays from 9 to 5…

– I wonder whether spending this 150k makes sense after all…

– I’m so gonna get grilled at B-school! What if I mess up? I’d better start brushing up on some skills.

Cracked the GMAT, 740!

Hi guys,

I’ve taken the GMAT again, and I scored 740 (Q50, V40)!! I’m, finally, very satisfied.

As you probably remember, I took the exam last month and scored 690 (visit GMAT is done… but not over), after having a big trouble sleeping the night before. At that time, I was pretty deceived and wanted to retake it as soon as possible. I was strongly convinced that I would score higher with no much effort, as last time the practice tests showed that I could break 700.

How did I prepare this time?

First, I tried to focus on my weakness and to think about “what I did wrong” last time and “what I should improve”.

What I did wrong was easy to answer: I didn’t sleep the night before. What should I improve? I thought I was already well prepared last time to break 700. However, I needed to keep the current level, so I decided to do again a lot of exercises.

I prepared it for around three weeks. This is the material I used:
– Official Guide 11 and 12 (OG11 and OG12): I did the last 50 questions of PS, last 75 of DS, all SC, all CR and around 30 questions of RC. From OG12 I did only the exercises that were not in the OG11 using this useful site What has changed?.
– Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction book: I reviewed my notes, which contained the most important concepts explained on it.
– GMAT Club: I have free access to all their GMAT quantitative practice tests because I’m moderator of this community. The tests are much harder than the real thing, but quite useful for people targeting +Q49.

I made the following practice tests:
– GMATPrep1 720 (50,38)
– PowerPrep 750 (50,42)
– PowerPrep2 740 (50,41)
– Knewton 690 (47,37) -> Knewton scoring algorithm is totally faulty. I only missed 3 questions in Quant and 4 in Verbal…
– GMATPrep2 760 (Q50,V41)

In the real test I wanted to secure a +700 score, and I knew that it was very important to not getting stuck in any question that could put at risk the whole exam (i.e. spending 8 minutes in one question). I was decided to guess one or two questions if I fell short of time, as I wanted to reach the last 5-7 questions with enough time to finish the exam.

Quant section started well. I knew I was doing good because all questions were difficult (many DS, probability/combinatorics, geometry), in line with my practice tests. I had to guess one or two questions but by the time I finished the section I was confident to score at least Q49.

Verbal section, however, started much worse. I received soon two very tough RC texts. In the second one, I doubted in the 5 questions. Usually, when I doubt in RC questions, this almost always means that I choose the incorrect answer. After this RC text, the level went down considerably, and I received in a row quite easy SC and CR questions. Although the level increased by the end of the exam, it never was as tougher as it was in the first 10 questions. By question 37, I thought I was going to score around V36-V38, and I realized that I haven’t received a bold CR question yet (the bold ones are used to be difficult, meaning that you are doing good). Luckily, I received the first and unique bold question in the 40th question.

I finished the test and before clicking on view score, I tried to imagine my score. I was expecting good quant mark, but I didn’t have a clue about Verbal. The only thing I wanted to see is a 7 in the hundreds digit, and I was not convinced. However, I clicked and saw 740. I felt relieved, the pain was gone. It was worth the effort I put on this. I finally felt accomplished: I cracked the GMAT!

GMAT is done… but not over

Hi guys,

Today I’ve taken the GMAT but unfortunately I will retake it. Why that? because I’ve performed much worse than expected.

I ended with a 690. You might think that it is not a bad score, but considering that during the last week I’ve taken several mock tests and in all of them I scored above 700, then I consider it a failure.

It is likely that the main reason of my under-performance today is the fact that I had big trouble yesterday night to fall sleep and I ended sleeping 2 hours. As a result, I wasn’t in the best physical conditions during the exam.

Well, I have written a long debrief of this GMAT experience. During my preparation, I read many other people’s debriefs and they helped me a lot, so now it is my turn to contribute.

Preparation

My preparation started more than a year ago, when I bought OG11 (Official Guide 11th Edition) and Kaplan Premier books. At that time, my English and my motivation regarding GMAT weren’t too high and after a month reading the Kaplan’s book my scores in the Kaplan CATs were pretty low. As I didn’t plan to apply to an MBA that year, I made a break in my GMAT preparation and focused on improving English.

Then, beginning this year I did some research about what preparation books were a must and I bought some MGMAT (Manhattan GMAT) guides and a friend let me OG12 and some other material.

My preparation started reading MGMAT books one by one, and doing many of their exercises. At the same time, I was doing the exercises of the OG11. In general, I studied Maths and Verbal alternatively.

While I was studying/practicing, I maintained a small notebook with Math concepts that I wanted to learn by heart. For example things such as:
11*11= 121, 12*12 = 144… 18*18=324, etc.
180(n-2) = Sum angles of polygon.
Number of zeros of 30! = 30/5 + 30/(5^2) = 6 + 1 = 7

a^n – b^n is always divisible by a-b, and only by a+b if n even
a^n + b^n is divisible by a+b if n is odd, and never if n is even


For this notebook I found extremely useful the Bunuel’s Math Fundation. At the end, my notebook had many pages with key things.
During the last month of preparation (May) I checked the MGMAT comparison between OG11 and OG12 to select the new exercises in OG12 and I did all of them (by the way, I found much harder the Quant exercises from OG12 than from the OG11).

CAT results from May to July in order:

[*] Two months to go
MGMAT1 630 (Q44, V32)

[*] One month to go
Princeton 730 (Q46, V45)
MGMAT2 650(Q40, V38)
MGMAT3 680 (Q47, V35)
MGMAT4 770 (Q50, V45) —- untimed
Kaplan free test: 700 (Q45, V43)
PowerPrep1 710 (Q48, V38)
GMATPrep1 730 (Q50, V40) — 1st time
GMATPrep2 740 (Q49, V41) — 1st time

[*]Last week:
GMATPrep1 760 (Q51, V42) – 2nd time
GMATPrep2 730 (Q50, V38) – 2nd time
MGMAT free test: 730 (Q48, V42)

Exam day

Things started very badly the night before. Even if I didn’t open a book during the afternoon (tough I did a CAT in the morning), I started to feel nervous and anxious, a very bad combination.
As a result, when I went to bed I couldn’t stop thinking about the exam, consequences and all sort of crappy things. The night was a nightmare for me because I knew the importance of sleeping well the night before, but everybody knows that “when one MUST fall asleep, then everything can happen EXCEPT falling asleep”. At the end, the last time I watched the clock was 5:30 AM, and my alarm clock rang at 7:15. Thus, I slept less than 2 hours.

When I woke up, I took a coffee, a good breakfast and before leaving home I drank a redbull to wake me up. In the way to the test center I tried to forget about what happened during the night but it was difficult as I felt soooo tired. However, I wanted to take the test without a doubt and tough some thoughts about rescheduling crossed my mind, I was convinced that I could score 700 even tough my physical condition.

* AWA

The test started well. I managed to write acceptable AWA essays. I used the Chinese burned template with some little modification. In the first 5 minutes I wrote the full template without even looking at the prompt (this is how I had practiced). For me this worked much better than writing the template at the same time that completing the sentences, because doing so I used to forget parts of the template or to spend more time thinking about the template than if I did otherwise.
So when I finished writing the full template I had about 25 minutes to complete the template with my own ideas. Another 5′ were enough to find good arguments and examples so I spent 20 minutes writing each essay and reviewing them.

* Quant

I was happy with the AWA and my confidence was high even if I would have loved to do a 4-hours nap.

However, in Quant things started in the worst way. In fact, I didn’t know how to solve the first question! I didn’t believe it. It seemed a root straightforward question but none of the answers matched mine. I started to panic and after 4 minutes I decided to make a guess and continue….
Then in the second question I tried to stop thinking about the first one: “You failed the first but it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t… CRAP WHAT THE **** YOU DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO ANSWER A ***** ROOT QUESTION, ****** MORON!!! ?!!”.
I don’t know what I did in the next 4 or 5 questions but I struggled in the third and fifth. By the time I was calmed I was about the 10th.

I knew that my super-star debut had hurt a lot because between 10th and 20th I received the easiest questions I had ever seen during my preparation time. Between 20th and 30th things started to be more complicated but I wasn’t feeling very well. By question 30th, I was about 15 minutes ahead of time and then I received the first real tough question. It was the 34th or so. I thought, “Oh god… finally I’m going to use my brain! last time I used it was in the first question, a 550 level roots question that by the way I missed….crap how the hell I could have missed it?… ok come on, shut up! and lets answer this well so you might fix this”.

After thinking peacefully about the reasoning I was sure that it was correct, so then I started solving the question (I had even time to go to the restroom and come back if I wanted). By the time I got the result (something like 4565) I was completely sure that it was correct. Then a quick look at the 5 answers… but…. “what? where are you? Pearsons forgot to put the correct answer or what?!!” “OK OK lets try again, review your calculations…” 2 minutes after… 4565. “I can believe it!” Well, I have a lot of time, in fact I’m how many minutes ahead…… .?.. WHAT!!? NO WAY! 2 minutes behind the clock!!!! I have spent like a century solving this question again and again and 4565 still doesn’t appear in the answers!!! Well, lets click C and continue”.

By the way, after the exam my wife, who received that same ‘tough’ question, told me about the part in the prompt saying (X inches…. Y centimeters). Oh come on!!! I had not only missed that, but also the whole last sentence where it was indicated the conversion (1 inch = 2,54 cm).

In conclusion, my Quant part was a pain and I should have missed many many questions because I wasn’t in good condition, I was nervous and I wasn’t concentrated.

* Break
Half redbull, half banana, chocolate bar.
I tried to find some good thoughts: “I can crack verbal” “first root question was experimental”, “Vamos!! I can do it, lets go!”, “Spain will win the World Cup!”

* Verbal
I don’t have much to say about Verbal, only that it seemed much harder than GMAT Preps and I wasn’t able to find the answers to CR questions or understanding well the RCs. Usually, I was very strong in CR and most of the times I knew the answers of the questions even before looking at the answers. However, in this case every answer of the questions seemed confusing and I had to guess between two answers a lot of times (very bad sign). The RC passages were unbearable and during the exam I was constantly looking at the question number “oh come on! still 10 to go? I only want to finish this pain and have a beer with my friends, or two, or ten”.

By the time I ended I knew that my score wasn’t going to be as high as I expected before taking the test. However, I would never cancel a score so I had no doubts in the screen “Do you want to report this score?” Of course I want to know my score, even if it is a 500.

Then I saw 690 (Q47, V38). One of my worst Quant score in all my preparation time, and a Verbal score worse than any of my last practice tests.
Even if I knew during the exam that I was doing very bad, I always had the hope to score 700 (I’m an optimistic guy…).

Well, that’s it. This is a not a very successful story about GMAT, but I hope it can help some others. I feel disappointed right now but I will retake it 99%. Anyway, I’m sure that in a few days I would feel better…. most of all because Spain is going to win the WORLD CUP!!!!! 😀

GMAT Test date: July 6

I didn’t have much time during the last weeks, and I forgot to tell you that I finally booked a date for the GMAT exam. I will take it on July 6.

For that reason I will start studying as much as possible. That is about 1h during weekdays after work, and 5h/day during weekends).

My goal is to get 700 or more, so during the next weeks I need to improve the accuracy and timing in Quant, and practice Verbal as much as possible.

The problem is that I have some friends here in Hong Kong the next days, so I need to combine work, social life and GMAT at the same time: mission impossible. Anyway, I’ve decided to take some days off from work just before the exam so hopefully they will help me to reach my goal.

GMAT in a nutshell

Once TOEFL is passed, my next obstacle in the marathon towards MBA admission is the dreaded GMAT.

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test, and it’s a 4 hours “Computer-Adaptive standardized test (CAT) in mathematics and the English language for measuring aptitude to succeed academically in graduate business studies. The exam measures verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that the examinee has developed over a long period of time in his/her education and work.”

Basically, it is one of the most important selection criteria for admission into Business Schools MBA programs.

The sections of the exam are:

Quantitative
– Problem Solving (PS)
– Data Sufficiency (DS)

Verbal
– Reading Comprehension (RC)
– Critical Reasoning (CR)
– Sentence Correction (SC)

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
– Essay 1: Analyze an argument.
– Essay 2: Analyze an issue.

The score ranges from 200 to 800 and it covers Quantitative and Verbal sections. AWA is evaluated separately and the score ranges from 0 to 6.

To give you an idea, the GMAT score average of the students accepted in the top Business School is always higher than 700. For non-native English students the task is much harder as the exam’s English is extremely complicated.

I’ve planned to take the exam at the beginning of June. In fact, I want to have some time to retake it in case I don’t get the desired score (700). In August I will be on vacations for almost the whole month and in September I plan to focus only in the essays, so on July 31st the GMAT and TOEFL scores will be definitive.

I have less than 3 months to prepare it, and it’s going to be a though task as I don’t have much time during weekdays, and I won’t be able to study all the weekends (I have some trips planned in April, friends are coming in May,  etc.).

I’ve just finished a 3-months preparation planning and I will be taking test exams starting this weekend. I will be posting my test exam’s results so I will track my progression. On the other hand, I’ve just got some 2009 GMAT books to help me to prepare the exam: GMAT Official Guide, Kaplan and three Manhattan GMAT guides. I will start reading them very soon.

“How to get into a Business School” marathon

Pursuing a MBA in a top business school has been my dream for a long time, and I’ve been working on achieving that goal for months.

You can never imagine how hard is to get accepted in a top school, at least I had no idea until I started wandering around the schools’ websites.

In short, you have to provide to AdComs (Admission Committee) the following:
– Transcript of all undergraduate/graduate academic institutions attended
– GMAT score
– TOEFL score
– Three recommendations letters.
– Four to six essays
– CV

To give you an idea, a good GMAT preparation takes weeks or even months. In a few words, GMAT is an exam that last about four hours, that measures verbal, mathematical and analytical skills. Difficult by nature, it becomes a real challenge when your English level is not perfect, which is my case. It is like running a marathon race with a broken leg.

First of all, almost half of the GMAT exam is about complex text reading comprehension, including inference questions or critical reasoning. Besides, you have to write two essays during the test. But this is not all, because your English can also undermine the Math section.  Just imagine you have to solve a complex math problem in less than two minutes, but you don’t understand completely the statement, which is often crucial to solve the problem. Then you are screwed up.
Well, I won’t bother you more about GMAT for the moment. I will have time to do it later in the future as I’m planning to take it in June or July.

Another required exam is the TOEFL, which evaluates the ability to use and understand English in an academic setting. Basically it is a 4 to 5 hours exam divided in four parts: reading, listening, speaking and writing. Once again, the importance of the score is capital as many schools require a minimum. By instance, Harvard “discourages candidates with less than 109 to apply”, score that is out of my possibilities right now. I will talk about TOEFL in the near future as I’m planning to take it on March 13.

On the other hand, you have to provide essays that are of vital importance on the future of your application. My thoughts are that transcripts, GMAT and TOEFL scores are a way to rule out candidates quickly. Once they have a shorter list, they start focusing in the candidate’s essays and recommendations, trying to choose the most interesting profiles and create the best class possible.

Finally, you need to provide recommendations and at least one must be from your current or recent supervisor. I have already two people in mind for my recommendations and they are already aware of my MBA plans.

As you can see, I have just started this marathon that hopefully will end with me being accepted in one of my dream business schools. I have in mind applying in round 1 to Chicago Booth, Wharton, LBS, MIT and Harvard, we’ll see if I have the time!

A bit about myself

Hi everybody,

This is my first post of my blog and I feel nervous!

Lets introduce myself in a nutshell.

Who am I? I’m a Spaniard guy working in High Frequency Trading technologies for a French bank in Hong Kong (weird isn’t it?). Before coming to Hong Kong, I’ve lived and worked one year in New York and more than three in France, after finishing my studies in Madrid (where I was born). I studied at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Computer Science) and at the ENSIMAG in Grenoble (Telecommunications).

Why have I decide to write a blog? The idea has been going round and round in my head for many months and even years. I like writing and I would like to share the things that happen in my life.

What I plan for the near future? To be honest, right now I’m focused in preparing TOEFL, which I will take in March. In fact, I will apply for an MBA program next winter, and for this purpose I need a very good mark in TOEFL. Unfortunately I’m not gifted with innate language skills and my English is far to be good, so it is going to be tough to reach my needed mark. Anyway, lets postpone TOEFL/GMAT/MBA matters for future posts.

Besides working and preparing toefl/mba stuff, meanwhile I’m trying to enjoy Asia as much as possible and I will travel a lot during the next months (Vietnam in February, Malaysia and Thailand in April, China in summer, etc.).

What I will be blogging about? Uhm… almost anything that crosses my mind, such as places I’ve been and I will visit, MBA stuff, news, etc.

See you around here,
rid