Friday, December 2, 2011

ISB application submitted...

yay! I submitted my first business school application. The lucky school is Indian School of Business, Hyderabad ;) I feel the essays could be better though. I am pretty sure I have been given good recommendations. One recommender was out of town and gave me a scare by submitting the reco in the last moment. I just hope I have done enough for ISB, because I really want to get into it.

As they say, first application is always tricky. I just hope I will improve from now on. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

700(Q:49, V35)

Took the GMAT today and scored what I thought would be the minimum I should get - 700. Not happy about the verbal score though - only once I got such a low score in the mocks. Having said that, my section scores just reflect the amount of effort I put in the respective sections. I have apparently overrated my verbal skills :)

GMAT experience was just normal. It did nothing to upset me. I think I have upset myself by not performing to my potential. Entire test felt too easy. Then itself I sensed something's not right.

I am happy that I touched the magic mark of 700.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

GMAT Prep 2: 720(q:49, v:40)

Done with practice tests. I came a long way in two months - from 710 in prep1 to 720 in prep2; 10 points that is ;) Jokes apart, given my current situation, I will be really really happy if I get such a score in the real GMAT. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Practice Test Marathon...

I am down with fever. So I went crazy and took three practice tests back to back yesterday - GMAT Prep 2, GMAT Life by CATPREP, and Manhattan CAT2.

Quant scores: 47, 51, and 47.
Verbal scores: 35, 42, and 40.

The above scores just show how different various tests are. Though I got a disappointing score in GMAT prep2, I identified my weak areas in quant. Verbal, I am unable to focus - could be because of my fever. I just hope I will be able to concentrate in the real GMAT, which is less than a week away.

Taking off till I get rid of the fever. I just hope I have enough time to brush up my weak areas, and to solidify my strong areas... 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OG Math Marathon...

I fully leveraged today's Diwali holiday by solving ALL the problem solving questions from the Official Guide under timed conditions. Yes, I did all 230 of them. And I feel like starting the DS part now, but I think it's better to leave it for tomorrow :)


  1. 219 questions out of 230 were correct
  2. Average time per question: 86 sec
  3. Goofed up questions: 46, 69, 84, 112, 124, 152, 163, 197, 198,  221, 223

It was a cake walk except for the last 30 questions. I think the key to conquer quant section is the ability to realize when to move on from a difficult question.

Will conquer Data Sufficiency tomorrow. On that note, Happy Diwali.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Critical Reasoning in my pocket too?

At least, I would like to think so :) I consider CR as one of my strengths. So didn't allocate much time for its preparation. I hope this won't turn out to be a mistake. 

Materials used
  1. GMAT Official Guide 12th edition
  2. Powerscore CR Bible
  3. Veritas Prep CR booklet I
  1. Skimmed through the first few chapters of PowerScore CR bible. Few important takeaways: conclusion is the key, understand the stimulus clearly before jumping into the answer choices, treat answer choices/stimulus differently based on the question type etc.
  2. Solved the Veritas Prep CR booklet - though some of its questions are not very convincing, it opened my eyes in that CR questions can be tricky and time consuming
  3. Solved the OG 12 questions in timed conditions.
  1. OG questions: 113/124 - 11 wrong
  2. Average time per question: 1:41sec (I timed only last 80 questions)
  3. Questions I goofed up: 33, 47, 57, 70, 74, 82, 89, 99, 102, 110, 114
  4. Veritas Prep CR questions: 9 wrong
I don't think I have the time or energy to do anything else for CR; however, if I get time, I will solve the CR questions from Official Verbal Review.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sentence Correction in my pocket...

Sentence Correction was the apparent problem area for me when I started my preparation. I am done with the preparation part of it finally. I think I am pretty comfortable at it now. Though my speed in solving SC questions leaves something to be desired, I don't have the bandwidth to work on it. But, no complaints whatsoever. I am pretty happy with my progress :)

Materials used:
  1. Manhattan SC guide.
  2. Aristotle SC guide.
  3. Total GMAT verbal.
  4. GMAT Official Guide 12th edition(OG).
  5. Aristotle's one minute explanation to the OG SC questions - very useful.

What have I done:
  1. First I went through the Basic part of the Manhattan SC guide. At the end of every chapter, I solved the corresponding questions from OG. 
  2. Then I read Aristotle SC guide cover to cover - except the chapter on idioms. Solved 100 questions given at the end of the book.
  3. Then I read Sentence Correction part of Total GMAT verbal. Solved 60 odd questions from it.
  4. Read the advanced part of the Manhattan SC guide.
  5. Solved all the OG questions in untimed conditions.
  6. Took the SC portion of the OG diagnostic test under timed conditions.
SC Scores
  1. SC OG score: 128 correct out of 140.
  2. SC OG diagnostic score: 15 correct out of 18.
A word on Idioms:

I skipped idioms chapters in both Manhattan and Aristotle guides. I think I already know the most tested idioms anyway as I have seen quite a few in the OG questions. I Hope not memorizing idioms won't come back to haunt me in the exam.

PS: I know, I know; the heading of the blog is a run-on sentence :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Life takes over GMAT...

Attending weddings, receptions; Work-related late night problem solving; Playing Table Tennis, Lawn Tennis; Roaming around Passport office; Catching up(read: night outs) with old friends who are in town... you get the essence - life takes over GMAT :)

Irony is that when I had lot of time, I didn't utilize it properly. Now when I actually need time, I just can't have it :) There's got to be a name for this phenomena. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A genius scored only 710 in GMAT...

Today, my dear friend took GMAT without much preparation and scored (only)710. This is the guy whose intellect inspires me. He didn't do justice to himself with that score; he is definitely 800 material. This is the guy who cracked IIT entrance without preparation. This is the guy who got 750 in GMAT prep without preparation. But then everyone has his or her own priorities. In my book, a score of 710 for a doting husband and father is equivalent to 750. All the best mate. You truly amaze me.

Friday, September 30, 2011

To get the creative juices flowing...

Desperately felt that a break from the preparation is needed; creative juices were just not flowing :) So took a five day break from GMAT. Will resume the prep tomorrow. Would like to think this as a "decisive" break ;)

Meanwhile, I attended the MBA tour and UCLA's info session.

MBA tour complicated my already existing problem of finding the best-fit schools. There are simply TOO MANY good schools to choose from. I will have to take a pretty hard look at Rottman and UC Davis.

UCLA is simply irresistible  - people, location, culture, RA/TAships, scholarships, hassle free loan process, and the list goes on. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

GMAT Prep I Retake 720 (Q48, V40)

Finally a sigh of relief. After taking three Veritas tests and scoring in the 600's, I started doubting my abilities and went for the big one - GMAT prep I; scored 720. Moral of the story - don't take scores awarded by test prep companies seriously. Use the tests to improve your timing and strategy.

Even though 720 is a good score, I am really disappointed as I have done many mistakes in quant - 13 mistakes altogether(11 in DS, 2 in PS). Clearly Data Sufficiency is killing me. Now what do I do to tackle Data Sufficiency? Anyway, I haven't done much for the verbal till now. I will concentrate on it for now.

Friday, September 23, 2011

GMAT Focus diagnostic 1: tough road ahead...

Took the GMAT Focus diagnostic to identify my weak areas. Focus predicted with 80% confidence that I will get any where from 47 to 51 in the quantitative section of GMAT :) Not very useful, right? But at least it's honest :) Apart from that, I am pretty much satisfied with GMAT Focus. The questions are exceptional. I don't think I have seen such questions anywhere else. May be I will see similar questions in GMAT :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Work-GMAT balance

Let me first confess that GMAT gets to you. In the beginning, I just can't stop thinking about GMAT. All I want to do is study for GMAT. It's hard not to prepare for GMAT all the time. But, at the end of the day, GMAT is just a means to an end. Work is much more important.

When I started the GMAT preparation, I made it a point to keep my work & GMAT preparation separate, and not to neglect the work. I have a great boss and he is very supportive of my MBA plans from the start (yes, I am one of the few lucky guys). He is supportive to the extent that he offered me to reduce my work load(yes, you read that right). Worst thing I could do, during the whole MBA application process, is straining my relationship with him. So I compartmentalized work and GMAT. And boy, am I happy! I am much more efficient at work now as I am utilizing my time optimally. And you know what, my boss was saying the other day that I don't seem like putting enough time into my GMAT preparation :) See, the beauty of compartmentalization!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

ESADE's info session at New Delhi

ESADE's information session is, well, informative! Two things I liked about the school: Flexibility and emphasis on team work and collaborative learning.

  1. Flexible curriculum with an option of doing the MBA in 12,15, or 18 months
  2. Truly global school with students coming from diverse backgrounds
  3. Small class ~ 175
  4. Collaborative learning - all the classes require team work
  5. LEAD program for personal transformation
  6. Learning local languages is a must for those who want to work in Europe post-graduation.
  7. If you have solid experience currently and plan to comeback to India post-graduation, ESADE's 12 month program is the best bet for you - best of luck choosing from INSEAD, ISB and ESADE :)
  8. In 18 month MBA, if you plan properly, you could spend 6 months in a region (where you want work post-graduation ) doing both internship and exchange program.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Darden's Delhi Reception: Wah hoo wah!

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend the MBA information session conducted by Darden at Oberoi hotel, New Delhi. I have attended many information sessions but this one is the best. The amount of time the prospective students got to spend with the school alums is priceless. A special thanks to Darden alumnus Gokul Chandrasekaran who was really helpful. Dean's speech was excellent to say the least.

I was not so sure about Darden before, but if the alumni I have spoken to are any hint, it's a great place to be part of.

Things learnt:

  1. Darden is THE best school for general management
  2. If you want to learn the philosophy of business, with its case method based teaching, Darden is the place to be
  3. Darden has a very rigorous curriculum
  4. Class size of 300 and small city setup contribute to a very close-knit community(similar to Tuck)
  5. Typically, Indians constitute 10% of the class
  6. Darden = learning + fun
  7. At Darden, people greet each other with the words "Waa hoo Wah," meaning a fish that drinks a lot. 
Overall a very satisfactory event; gave me a break that I needed from work and GMAT. Completely recharged.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dragon Scroll

The more I am into the application process, the more I realize that there's no magic thing that can get me through. It's all about ME. Unless I understand the following about me, there's no point wondering what's going to happen.
  • What kind of a person am I?
  • What have I done till now?
  • What I want to do with my life and how MBA can help me achieve that?
Introspection time ahead!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Takeaways from Kellogg's information session

Attended the information session conducted by Kellogg. The director of admissions was really nice.

Some facts I learnt about the school:

 1. Team work is given a lot of prominence at Kelogg
 2. Flexible curriculum except for core courses(which can be exempted)
 3. Curriculum has approximately 70% non-lecture sessions(case-based/projects etc)
 4. Kellogg has experimental courses which is really cool
 5. Rather large class: 1200 students
 6. Uber cool KWEST program
 7. 2-week foreign country business trip
 8. 50000+ alumni. Good presence of Kellogg alumni in India
 9. 27 Indians in the most recent branch
10. Not sure about the loans to international students.
11. Good school for married. Lot of activities for spouses(called JVs) of students. They can take part in quest, business trip etc. Separate clubs for JVs and Kellogg kid program. JVs can even sit in the lectures.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MBA admission events in New Delhi, India

In my opinion, visiting schools you plan to apply is very important. Unfortunately, I can't afford to visit them. So I plan to do the next best thing - attend the information sessions/admission events conducted by the schools.

The following are the list of events I'll be attending in New Delhi. Too bad Tuck is not conducting the info session in Delhi;  I'll be attending their session in Hyderabad.

I've included the registration link, if you you are interested in attending any of the sessions. I am too time crunched to create a table out of the following. Posting as it is :)

Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Crowne Plaza - Gurgaon
Sector 29, National Highway-8
Gurgaon 122001
New Delhi (NCR), India
Registration Link

Kellogg School of Management. Northwestern University
Sunday, September 11th, 2011
India International Center
40, Max Mueller Marg,
New Delhi - 110003
Tel: 011-24619431
Registration Link

Yale School of Management, Yale University
Monday, September 12th, 2011.
7:00 p.m.
Smart Analyst Office
12th Floor Of Building 9A In Dlf Cyber City
Gurgaon, Haryana 122002
New Delhi, India
Registration Link

Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia
Thursday, September 15th, 2011
7:30 - 9:30
The Oberoi New Delhi
Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg
New Delhi, Non-U.S. 110003
Registration Link

Saturday, September 17th, 2011
4:00 PM
Taj Palace Hotel
2 Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave,
New Delhi - 110 021
Registration Link

MBA tour
27th september
Cornell jhonson
UNC kenan Flagler
Michigan Ross
Registration Link

UCLA Anderson School of Management, University of California
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
07:00 PM IST
United States-India Educational Foundation
Fulbright House, 12, Hailey Road
New Delhi 110001
Registration Link

Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Saturday, October 15th, 2011
Registration Link

Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
Monday, October 17, 2011
6:00 - 9:00 p.m
Sardar Patel Vidyalaya
Maharishi Raman Marg
Lodhi Estate
New Delhi 110003
Registration Link

Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
Monday, November 7th, 2011
7:00 PM IST
Taj Deccan, Hyderabad
Road no. 1
Banjara Hills,
Hyderabad 500034
Registration Link

Monday, September 5, 2011

The road ahead: GMAT

OK, I booked the date with the destiny. On October 10th, 2011, I will try to tame the GMAT beast(hopefully, not the other way round). That leaves me with a month to do my magic. I am hoping to spend 4 hours a day.

After taking GMAT prep1 and scoring 710, I analyzed the results and came up with the following plan.

To read
  1. Total GMAT Math by Jeff Sackmann
  2. Manhattan Sentence Correction guide
  3. Manhattan Advaced quant strategy suppliment
To practice
  1. Veritas prep Sentence correction guides - 2
  2. Veritas prep Data Sufficiency booklet
  3. Jamboree Sentence correction sets
  4. GMAC Official guides 10th, 11th and 12th editions
  5. GMAC Official reviews - both verbal and quant
  6. GMAC paper tests
Mock CATs
  1. GMAT prep - both one and two, twice.
  2. Manhattan GMAT - 7 tests
  3. Veritas prep - 5 tests
I am overwhelmed by the amount of study I need to do. Can I do it?

update: The new test date is November 4th, 2011. Had to post-pone the exam as my passport didn't arrive in time.

The beginning...

Hi there,

My first post. 

I created this blog to share my experiences while I travel through the exciting path of pursuing an MBA. I have a feeling that this journey is going to be one hell of a ride and probably the most difficult of my journeys. I am not sure about where I end up but one thing I am pretty sure is that this journey is going to teach me a LOT.

OK, that's enough blah for one post. My plan is to write predominantly about the pieces in the MBA puzzle - GMAT preparation, school selection, and application process.

More later.