Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's been going on?

Greetings from chilly New York!
I haven't updated in a while because there is nothing to report.
I lost my motivation after I took the GMAT in October and stopped studying.

I recently sat down last week with my friend who professionally tutors SAT students. She went through a couple chapters of my number properties book with me.
She said I am a whole picture kind of person and that is why I am missing questions: I am not paying attention to the details!

Anyway, I started studying again. There is no time to meet Round 2 deadlines. I may still apply to schools that have very late deadlines in the spring. If I don't make these deadlines I am also playing around with back up plans in my head.

I hope everyone is doing well this holiday season. I flew back to New York on Friday for my brother's wedding and I am staying here for Christmas.

It's been really fun reading everyone's notifications from Round 1 schools. I hope that one day I will be able to write about my acceptances/dings/waitlists.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kaneisha's at it again: Free Webinar!

Kaneisha from The Art of Applying is hosting another free webinar. This one is about editing your essays down to the word count limit.

You can register here:

She is going to edit a real essay that she's never seen before LIVE and get it down to the word limit.

I always enjoy Kaneisha's webinars. She's really upbeat and LOVES answering questions.

The webinar is this Wednesday November 17 at 9:00AM Pacific time (my time!).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just for Kicks - GRE

I just took a practice GRE CAT from Manhattan GRE (yes Manhattan GMAT now does GRE prep!). It has been six years since I last took the exam and after all this GMAT frustration I just wanted to see how the tests compare to each other.

The GRE math section is way easier!!! Obviously it does not have data sufficiency, instead it has a data comparison section where you are given a question and then two separate values in two columns. You must determine if Column A or B is greater, equal, or you cannot determine with the amount of information given. I did best in this section; I got a 550! I think that score may be higher than when I took the real thing. There is also a section where you have to interpret graph information. I didn't remember that section so it was a surprise when it popped up.

The verbal section is very different than the GMAT. Our buddy reading comprehension is there but the other question types are completely different: sentence completion, antonyms, and analogies. I did worse on this section than I did on the real thing: 390, ouch! There were lots of words I probably knew at one time but I don't know them any more and it made it impossible to get any of those questions correct.

Taking this GRE CAT has given me a better appreciation as to why b-schools want a GMAT score and not a GRE score. The GMAT is a much more difficult test. I have a better understanding as to why the AdCom uses it as an indicator for how you will handle the rigorous MBA curriculum. This just means I have to study harder!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New and Improved Beat the GMAT Practice Questions Review

Happy November everyone!

Today launched its new practice questions!

There are two sections: math and verbal. Each section is broken up into question types. You can customize your own practice session by choosing different question types in the filters options. Let's say you just want to practice 700+ level data sufficiency integer property and percent questions; just check the boxes and begin. Or you can practice just math and have the question difficulty adapt to how you answer them, just like the real GMAT.

I think what I like the most about the new practice questions is the video explanations. The videos go over not just the question and the answer, they also go over the wrong answer choices and explain why they are wrong. Understanding what makes the other answer choices wrong is really an important part of GMAT studying. practice questions is reasonably priced at $99. BUT WAIT! It's on sale for $49 until November 15th! Discounts are my favorite! Plus you get access for a year.

I highly recommend the Beat the GMAT Practice Questions. It's really showing me that I have major work to do in math. The video explanations are helping me as a private tutor would because I need to SEE someone do it for me before I fully understand how to break a question down.

Friday, October 29, 2010

End Vacation

I have taken a huge break from the GMAT after my dismal score. My AWA score came back and I got a 3.5. I'm not surprised by this since my essays weren't stellar, but they weren't the greatest either.

It's time for a new plan. Back to the basics. My boyfriend had a gift card and bought me Number Properties and Fractions, Decimals, and Percents by Manhattan GMAT since those seem to be my weaknesses.

I need to stick to a schedule. Since all my classes are done, my availability has opened up at work and I hope to go back to closing shifts. Opening the store at 4:30a was killing me. it made it very difficult to absorb information and concentrate later in the day even if I had a nap. I found it easier to study after my TV job because I get there between 7-7:30a and that's like sleeping late compared to 4:30a.

I'm still on the fence for trying to meet Round 2 deadlines or just try again next year. I have already secured one person for my letter of recommendations.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Epic FAIL wahhhhhhh

I mean it's not really EPIC considering its right in range in all of my practice test scores. Was that 530 a fluke? I thought I could only get better.
I didn't understand a lot of the problem solving questions.

I need to take this time to figure out what to do next. I need to obviously take it again but will i be able to improve in time for Round 2 deadlines (January 15th)?

Here's the breakdown:

Quantitative 27 19%
Verbal 28 47%
Total 470 27%

I already ate half a tube of cookie dough and I'm going to break open the wine soon. I really thought I was going to break at least 500. I put too much weight on that 530 practice score.

The test experience itself was lovely. I drove 32 miles to Westlake Village. Traffic was not an issue. I got there 50 minutes early. The staff was surprised to see me so early. I was the only one taking the GMAT. I did the palm scan and got my picture taken. She gave me ear plugs and set me up on the computer. The essays were alright. I took my first break. The proctor was prompt in coming to get me. She said she had my back because the other test takers were giving me dirty looks for typing. She forgot to warn them that there was going to be someone typing during her test. Oh well for them. No one said anything to the dude that kept clearing his throat.

I was 48 seconds late coming back to quant because a different proctor tried to log me back in three times before she realized caps lock wasn't on. I didn't let that throw me off because i always have time left in math. I finished with about 15 minutes left. I took my second break. I hit the bathroom again, finished my bottle of water and my cliff bar. I palm scanned back in and did verbal.

The proctor changed out my scratch pad without me asking her to do it. That was so considerate.

I knew I was bombing the whole thing but I was really surprised to see 470.

I can't apply anywhere with that score. I know that. I need to finish my Veritas class and get a tutor.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I just want to express my level of irritation with the GMAT right now.

Last night I took another practice CAT (MGMAT) and scored 50 points lower than my last practice CAT.


Have I reached burn out? The test is coming up soon and I hope I can perform.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Is that...rain?

It's been so hard to write a blog entry lately between work, studying, and class. Somebody call me a whambulance!

IT RAINED YESTERDAY. I stepped out of my building and I thought I was in Boston or New York. It usually only rains in Los Angeles a few times a year in the "winter" months of January and February.

I've been amping up the studying. Veritas assigns so much homework! I'm not complaining. It's just a lot of problems and then you have to review every problem you did whether it was right or wrong. It just adds up to a lot of time. I hope it adds up to a big score as well. ;-)

I haven't started any essays yet. I have been jotting down ideas here and there.

GMAT Day is approaching fast and I don't want to burn out. I have been using Grockit and Beat the GMAT practice questions for in-between "fun" studying. Is studying ever fun? Ha Ha

Six - seven years ago when I was preparing for the GMAT I would study math maybe twice and then take it and get an abysmal score. But the AdCom was looking at my essays, transcripts, and reel of my work. GRE was a formality. GMAT is a whole different beast. AdComs look at it as an indicator of how you will perform in b-school. Under 65% in quant? Your ass may FAIL out so that's a big strike against you.

My next steps in the application process rely heavily on how I do on the GMAT.
GMAT GMAT GMAT GMAT GMAT Let's get some pump up music, GMAT!!!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Touch Base

Hello loyal readers! I just wanted to check in because its been a long time since I've last blogged.

-I still have to finishing writing up my visit to UCI.
-I attended the Forte Foundation 2010 Forte Forum: The MBA Value Proposition last Wednesday.
-I attended an MBA Admissions workshop this past Saturday that was presented by Veritas Prep
-This Saturday is The MBA Tour in Downtown Los Angeles. I'm excited to sit in on the individual school presentations that I read about in this pre-mba blog.
-I just got back from a paper and pencil practice test in my prep class. I brought my scratch pad with me. I got a 420 V16 Quant 21 I've never scored that low on a CAT and I've never got a higher Quant raw score than verbal before. These results mean nothing to me.
-I read on an MBA blog somewhere that a student drank zipfizz instead of coffee or tea while at bschool. I tried it today and I'm still awake without the anxiousness and nausea I usually get while drinking caffeine. I may experiment with drinking this powder when taking CATs instead of chugging a tea or red bull in between sections. It's expensive though. I bought a 3 pack at the store and it was $5.99.

Now I must force myself to go to sleep. I have to be at work at 4:30am tomorrow, which is in less than six hours. I'm going to be most displeased then.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


My verbal score has skyrocketed!!
My overall score is still crap but it went up:

Quantitative 31 31 %
Verbal 32 67 %
Total 530 46 %

I was getting consistently in the 20th something percentile in quant and 40th something percentile in verbal.

I finished the quant section with 20 minutes left, shortest time ever, and a little over 5 minutes left for verbal; also the shortest time ever.

I still have a lot of work to do, which sucks because its already September, but I still have to keep going.

I started a post about my visit to Paul Merage at UC Irvine. I shall finish it tomorrow. Now it is bedtime.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

still coughing

I didn't take my cough medicine in the afternoon so I was the annoying coughing kid during my GMAT prep class. I feel a little better about the quant prep of the course. The math instructor seems to be on top of it with tricks and techniques. We shall see how it goes.

You all know how I love freebies, right? is hosting a bunch of webinars that break down the top b-schools' essay questions. A lot of schools have similar essay questions (why mba? why now? long term and short term goals), so even though I may not apply to Columbia or Haas I can still get something out of the presentations.

Last week I attended Kaneisha's August master class for Despite the odds applying to b-school. She went over things like when to ask your potential LOR writers if they would be willing to write your LOR, how to prepare them for it, tips on sitting down and starting your essays and choosing the school that fits you the best.I really enjoyed it. Kaneisha's webinars are like sitting down and talking to someone over lunch. The way she speaks is just so welcoming and friendly; but informative! I think the biggest thing I took away from the webinar is that I should prepare packets for my recomenders with bullet points of my accomplishments at work, descriptions of each school I am applying to, and the essays questions and my responses. It should take a lot of the pressure off of my recommenders.

::cough cough::

Hi everyone!

I've been so busy I haven't posted anything with much substance in a while.
First off I was sick for a while. I had another sinus infection which made it hard to do anything. I missed work, I slept, and then I went to the doctor! Exciting stuff I know!

Also school started again. I am taking a geometry class at SMC. So many people tried to add the class on the first day. There were 45 people registered in the class and another 33 people tried to add! The teacher said he wanted no more than 50 people in the class. Then he said he wasn't sure if he really wanted to add anyone at all. It depended on how he felt later. Sounds like if you aren't already in the class, you're out of luck.
Right now we are working on logic which kind of reminds me of CR GMAT questions.

During my lunch break at work I have been going through PowerScore's Critical Reasoning Bible and then after work I go through a MGMAT SC Chapter and do the associated problems in the OG Verbal Book.

I haven't touched my prep course materials in a week partly due to being sick, but mostly because there are no explanations for the question sets. If I get something wrong and I can't figure out why, I will never know because there are no explanations for the answers. I am going to save those questions for when I have a better grasp on the material.

Tomorrow I am going down to Orange County to attend an information session at the Paul Merage school at UC Irvine. My cousin lives near there so I am hoping to meet up with her while I am in the area. I'm planning on heading down there early to avoid traffic and to study in one of their libraries.

I also need to schedule another practice test to see if I have improved at all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I have a $50 Coupon for Kaplan's Advantage Anywhere course that expires Tuesday but Veritas Prep's Online course isn't that much more expensive.
These courses weren't an option for me previously because they required their fees to be paid upfront. Now both companies have a monthly payment plan.

Self study isn't working too well and the prep course I am enrolled in now really isn't up to date with the latest questions or techniques.

GMAT is priority right now.

I have more thinking to do.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Boo grammar

Hello everyone!

It has been hectic as usual in my world. I'm three weeks into my GMAT Prep class, and well, I'm disappointed. I mean, you get what you pay for.
There are no fancy textbooks. The materials we are using are very old paper GMAT tests. Some of the questions are ones I haven't seen in the OG such as roman numeral questions. Actually I just googled roman numeral questions and the first article that popped up is Manhattan GMAT stating roman numeral questions have been removed.
What frustrates me the most is that the materials given do not have answer explanations. I am assigned a ton of verbal questions and I am getting them wrong without knowing why.

I have been focusing on Manhattan GMAT's Sentence Correction book. MY success rate for SC is very low. I usually get 11/26 right. I am enrolled in an online intensive grammar course at Los Angeles Southwest College that begins Monday. I hope that the class really helps my with SC weakness.

Right now I am watching the free Grockit GMAT class. It's free to watch live, if you want to download it, the cost is $99.99.

I'll update more later!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kaplan's Road to Business School- Part 2

My notes were so long from the AdCom panel I decided to split my post about the event into two posts.

After the panel the b-school fair opened but I stayed for the GMAT strategy session. The session went over a few tricks for quant. We tackled a sentence correction question and there was some time spent on how your GMAT score compares to top schools and post MBA salary.

After the GMAT session there was an admissions strategy session, "The Dos and Don't of Business School Admissions."

Some facts thrown out were
-each application takes 40 hours of time to complete
-most people spend about an average of 100 hours studying for the GMAT
-students scoring 700+ study an average of 114 hours
-a score of 700 is the 90th percentile

I headed over to the b-school fair. By this time, 3:45p, I was really hungry and feeling sick and weak. I ate breakfast around 10:30a. Registration started at 12:30p and the only snacks available throughout the day were cookies and the thought of eating cookies made me feel sicker. This made it hard for me to really make the effort in engaging the schools I am interested in.

I started with Boston University because I went there for my MS in TV. I spoke with an alum. The only question I really wanted answered was how many alumni move to and work in Los Angeles? I want to settle here so if I am going to leave for two years I need to come back to a big network. The gentleman said it was only him; He didn't know of anyone else that came out here. Most BU SMG grads stay in Boston or move to New York. That was easy to scratch that school off my list!

The next school I spoke with was UC San Diego Rady School of Business. I am nervous about this school because the MBA program is only five years old and is not yet accredited by the AACSB (the university as a whole is accredited but the Rady school itself is not). The representative said she expects the school to have its accreditation by Spring or Fall 2012. She said accreditation depends on what organizations you would like to be affiliated with post-MBA. She went on to tell me how she got her Masters in Education from Columbia, and ivy league school, but it was not accredited by this one educational organization. So if she wanted to be affiliated with this specific organization, she had to fill out a 50 page application instead of a 2 page application. She said the advantage of such a young program is that students come into their offices all the time with suggestions for classes and events to help shape the program. She also said that they are being very selective in who they choose to offer admission. They want to be taken seriously as a competitive program; they can't afford to not be choosy.
I asked her if the alumni stay in San Diego and is there a presence in Los Angeles? She said the alumni either stay in San Diego or move up to San Fransisco. I'm on the fence about how I feel about that.

There was a big crowd around UCLA Anderson table. I wasn't worried about speaking with them because I have already attended an information session and sat in on a class.

The Pepperdine Graziadio table was pretty empty but I went to an open house so I wasn't too concerned if I missed talking to them. I still wasn't feeling so hot at this point.

UC Irvine and USC were the two big schools I wanted to talk to. There were big crowds around both these tables. USC was out of brochures when I got there. I tried to listen to other people's questions and listen to the representative's answers. USC is a big entertainment school but many of the internships are unpaid because so many people want to work in entertainment. A lot of smaller entertainment companies aren't sure how to use MBA graduates. I'm not going to drop all this money on loans and get a masters degree to wind up in the same position I am now. Think about that anyone that may be interested in specializing in entertainment.

I was out of energy at this point so I went home.

I learned a lot from this event and Now I know a few things for the next fair:

-hit up the schools you want to talk to first and as early as possible. You and the representatives will be drained of energy at the end of the day.
-Have your questions written down on a note card and review them before you go to a table. I only had a couple of questions in my head and there was so much more I could have asked.
-EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST, and hide snacks in your purse that will give you energy throughout the day. If I wasn't feeling so sickly by the end I probably would have spoke with UCI and USC

Another thing I wanted to touch on was dress code.

It was a business dress event and I saw one guy in jeans and one guy in shorts. They stuck out like sore thumbs and if they spoke with any schools at the fair I'm sure they will forever be remembered for how they were dressed.

Dress code isn't as defined for women as it is for men. I bought a suit specifically for this event. My only suit before this one is at my mothers house and I bought it in 2004 when I was interviewing for undergraduate internships. Then I realized NO ONE IN TELEVISION PRODUCTION WEARS A SUIT so I never bought another one.

There were maybe five other women I saw besides me in a full suit and three of them were wearing skirts. I was wearing pants and I felt out of place. I also look much younger than I am (I still get carded at restaurants and they scrutinize my ID very hard to make sure its real); I felt like I was playing dress up more than dressed professional. This probably added to my feelings of not feeling what I was wearing fit in. If wearing a skirt will make me feel confident, that's an easy thing to control. I have to be able to sell myself to the representatives that I will be an awesome addition to their class.

Kaplan's Road to Business School- Part 1

Here are my notes from Kaplan's Road to Business School in Los Angeles.

The event started out with a panel of Admissions staff from Cornell (Johnson), UCLA Anderson, UNC- Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler), and Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles (LMU).

The moderator asked each school to give their stats:

Cornell - 2200 applications last year
-less than 500 offers for a class of 270

UNC Chapel Hill - 1700 applications last year
- admitted 38% for class of 290
- has 4 rounds for application cycle

LMU - Class of 100
- admitted 57% of applicants
- it's an evening program with both full and part time students, 33-35% full time

UCLA - 2500 application
- 700 offers for class of 360 students

The next question was asking about what is diverse about its class

UCLA- work experience
- professional background
- personal background
-interesting extracurricular
- interesting background

LMU - over 40% female
- 1/3 minorities
- mainly Southern California residents
- age range from early 20's to early 50's
- more and more students from non-profit and education sectors

UNC - diversity is important
- what you learn from interactions with classmates just as important as what you learn from lectures
-makes an effort to recruit internationally
Cornell – all different aspects
-perspective and skill set you bring that sets you apart
-how will it add to the classroom?
Cornell went on about the Admissions Committee and networking
-Adcom consists of career management center and admissions representatives
-establish a relationship with someone on the admissions committee or the receptionist
-if you are rude to the receptionist it could hurt you. He will tell the admissions committee that you were rude to them when you were waiting for your interview
-keep in touch
-drop a note if you’re going to visit and if you’re going to apply
-don’t take it too far by emailing everyone on the AdCom!
-don’t be a stalker!
What is the AdCom’s philosophy on the application? How do you weigh everything?
LMU- GMAT is important
-key indicator if you will have difficulty in the program
-low GMAT coordinates with those that struggle with the program
-GPA is less important the longer you have been out of school
-typos in essays and resume raise red flags

UNC- agree that GMAT is one common denominator but uses a holistic approach
-everyone interviews
-look at quality of your work experience
-your progression
-team oriented
-two people read your application and one person interviews you
-even if you have a high GMAT but do not have solid work experience you may still not get in

Cornell- GMAT is important but lots of people are qualified to enroll
-other things have to set you apart
-argue you would be a good addition to the class because of other things
UCLA- reads every application from cover to cover
-tell us why Anderson is the right school for you
-look at balance of experience and extra curricular
-very collaborative environment
-terms of fit: how are you comfortable working in teams?
How important is the GMAT quantitative section?
Cornell- quant section is key crucial
-correlation between quant on GMAT and quant core classes
-have to get through core to get your MBA
-score above 65 percentile on the quant section to do well in the program
-Also look at your writing section
-can you convey your thoughts?
-can you write under pressure?

Personal Statement:
LMU- be careful what you write
-make sure you are using the write words
-be consistent
-be professional
-don’t write an essay like a text message

UCLA- read questions carefully
-questions may be similar between schools but they aren’t exactly the same
-address the question asked
-read instructions
-do not go over word count
LMU- comments about people you know that donate to the school do not make a difference on yojur application
-ex: calling out certain priests at the school
- doesn’t matter
-comes off as sucking up

Work experience:

Cornell (she said she had a very strong opinion regarding work experience)
-result oriented resumes
-what you accomplished or achieved at your job
-ex) cut costs, increased sales by X%, increased participation
-Cornell wants people that make things happen
-start an achievement journal
-what did you do this week personally and professionally?

After business school:
UCLA- wants to see you thought about your goals
-what you will get out of the program
-don’t have to map out the next ten years
-wants to see you put thought in and have done some research
-Anderson understands that goals change
UNC- be authentic
-it reads thousands of essays a year
-if you think your stud isn’t good enough or the right fit, you may be miserable here
-don’t make your essays read like someone else wrote them

Letters of Recommendation
UNC- who you choose is a reflection on you
-less than stellar or bland recommendation makes you look bad
-choose someone that knows you well
-someone who has seen you work in teams
-think ahead, give them enough time to write
-have bullet points
-let them know what you are writing about in your essays

LMU- tell your recommenders beforehand
UNC- its okay to ask them if they would be comfortable writing a positive letter of recommendation
-gives them the opportunity to opt out
Cornell- only ask a subordinate if the school asks for a subordinate specifically

Non- Traditional Background:
UCLA –showcase strengths
-project management experience
-great leadership roles
-highlight why you want to come to business school
-tie experiences with future career plans
-Liberal Arts background
-take supplemental courses
-bring a unique perspective
-bring unique ideas to the classroom
-strengths of being different

Sunday, August 8, 2010

This week

This week is my last week of the summer algebra class! I take my final on Thursday.

This week I also start my GMAT Prep class at UCLA Extension. The professor posted our "textbook" materials on blackboard. It's hundreds of pages to print out. We also need the Official Guide 12th edition, which is the first book I bought back in March.

This week is Kaplan's Road to Business School Event! I hope to speak with Boston University, USC, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego, and Pepperdine. Is anyone else is going in Los Angeles? If you recognize me come say hi!

This week I hope to figure out if I have enough time with the GMAT prep class to take geometry. It's a prerequisite to precalculus. I plan on sticking with one math course a semester to get up to basic calculus. I want to be able to handle quant heavy classes whether I make into business school for Fall 2011 or Fall 2012.

Right now the GMAT is the most important thing on my plate so if the class is really heavy duty I will just wait until spring.

Also I decided to stop saying which schools I want to apply to because the list keeps changing in my head. So When I start writing applications I will discuss it in more detail.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another freebie!

I finally had some time to sit down and watch the free webinar, B-School Despite the Odds by Kaneshia. She is a recent Harvard Business School graduate that is starting her own essay coaching business. Essentially the webinar is about how she got into business school despite her non-traditional applicant status. I liked hearing her story and she gave details about herself that gave you an idea why it seemed like the odds were against her (ex. GMAT score, no professional experience).

I would like to hear more about other female non-traditional applicants. If anyone out there knows of any blogs please send me the link. I would love to hear about similar stories for inspiration!

Kaneshia is actually having another webinar on Thursday, August 12. It's not free but if you join her program you get access to it. This webinar talks about how many schools to apply to, which round is best, dos and don'ts of MBA essays. Here's the link:

Anyway, I recommend watching the free webinar because it answered a lot of questions I had rolling around in my mind. Plus she had a Q and A session as well and she answered questions that were emailed to her.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Updating My Resume

Today I'm taking a break from all math all the time to work on my resume a little bit.
A few months ago I had a free consultation with MBA mission. The consultant assigned to me coached me on my resume.

Just to give you a little background I have been working in television production since I moved out to Los Angeles in 2006. Now television is not like other industries where you get hired at a company and you work there for a few years and work your way up. It's a little different. Most of the jobs you get are freelance and last a certain amount of time. For example a few years ago I worked on an awards show. We started production in mid July and the awards show was scheduled to shoot in September. My position ended a week after the awards show. This job is now on my resume and my dates employed at this job are July 2007-September 2007. Now fill your resume with many jobs like this. To an employer looking at my resume that is not in the television business thinks I am a major job hopper! But in TV many people have similar resumes to me.

The MBA mission consultant was very familiar with the television world. She told me to use one set of dates: September 2006- present with the heading "Freelance Television Production" and put all of my other jobs under it (Yes, other jobs because surprise! television pay is low and I've worked 2 or more jobs at the same time to make ends meet).

Now I look less like a job hopper because I've never had a staff position in television and I demonstrate great time management because I've held other jobs at the same time.

I still have a lot more work on crafting my resume just right but I have a good working next draft started.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Plan

The day before I was going t take the GMAT reality hit me and I went into a panic, "I CAN'T TAKE THE TEST AND MAYBE SCORE A 500 THAT LOOKS STUPID!!!!"

I rescheduled for October 29th.
But wait, if you reschedule less than 7 calendar days it costs another $250. Yes. I ate the $300 I already paid and shelled out another $250 to reschedule. I hate life and I hate how GMAT Prep just eats money, but at least I won;t have a 500 on my score report.

My GMAT Prep class starts next month. Instead of taking college algebra and retaking intermediate algebra online, I am just going to take elementary statistics.

I am going to put all my focus into an application to one school : UC Irvine The Paul Merage School of Business. I will apply round 1 for Fall 2011 and if I don't get in I can decide if I want to apply to Pepperdine University's Graziadio Graduate School of Business and Management since their deadline is usually in May. Or I can spend the year strengthening my application by retaking the GMAT and taking business calculus and accounting and applying to UCLA and USC.

The road to an MBA is epic, even before you get into a school!

My algebra class ends in a few weeks. I'm so excited! Working seven days a week and going to school four days a night is exhausting!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Getting there, but not quite

I took GMAT Prep 1 CAT:
Total: 510

I mean its a big jump from 460 but the only tests I took before that were Manhattan GMAT CATs.
I'm reading all over the beat the GMAT forum that GMAT Prep is a good indicator on how you will do on the real thing. It's great that I squeaked into the 500s, but I don't have enough time before the actual test to bring it up much higher.

I've already taken the day off work to take the test and I've invested a lot of time and money into it, I may as well still go. It's possible that I can improve another 10-20 points as I learn more and more math concepts, but it it safe to say I should score in the low 500s.

My prep class starts in a month and lasts through the end of September. I should probably take the GMAT again in November and just plan on applying for Fall 2012. It's still a little too early to decide. I'll make that decision after I take the real test.

I try not to focus on the negatives. I work 7 days a week and that is what it is. I have to accept it will take me longer to get a good score because of my work schedule. I will do better!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

A great place to start

This was the first website I read in my research about applying to business school:

MBA Applicant

It's really out of date. It was the GMAT was $84 two years ago, but the content is really good. It talks about preparing yourself for applying and what the admissions committee looks at.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

.15x + .20(4) = .17(x+4)

I don't know if I just didn't pay attention enough in high school or these concepts were just never taught to me, but I am learning a lot. I CAN SET UP AND SOLVE A MIXTURE PROBLEM! Little victories like this keep me going.

I opened up my OG Quant book and I can now identify how to set up and solve many of the problem. Back in February or March when I first purchased this book I couldn't do ANY of the problems. I'm sure some people would argue that I could just buy a book and teach myself the basics but I know I learn better when shown a concept first in the classroom then I try on my own to do it multiple times. Plus while taking these math classes I can work my way up to business calculus so I won't be so lost when I get to b-school.

My money from my canceled UCLA Extension class was refunded so I put it toward the UCLA Extension GMAT Prep Class.
I will have the basic skill set to be able to understand what goes on in the prep class and not get lost so easily.
I'm excited!!!

Also I am planning on retaking intermediate algebra which I originally took at a community college in New York. they have the course available online and I can take the final exam when I go home for Christmas.

I plan on taking another practice test tomorrow after work. Since its a holiday I don't have school, which is a great break. Working and going to class four days a week, with three of those days opening the store at 4:30am is EXHAUSTING.
I really feel like things are falling into place. Wheeeeee!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

dramafest summer 2010

My Beginning Algebra UCLA extension class got canceled due to low enrollment. I had to scramble to Santa Monica College, which started at the same time to try to get into a beginning algebra class. The teacher said he would add me even though I had missed three days of class and we had a quiz that day. Luckily all that I missed was a review of the math refresher class I just finished and I was able to complete the quiz.

It got worse. I have four days of homework due Monday and a test on Chapters 1 and 2. The bookstore was already closed because its an evening class and it would be closed for inventory on Friday. The bookstore is not open on the weekends.
My search for the book adventure began!

There was someone on campus selling the book through a flyer they left, but they wanted $140 for it used. It cost $155 new at the bookstore. I tried emailing a few people I knew that had attended SMC to see if they or someone they knew had the book, no dice. One person told me there was a bookstore across the street form the school that had it but they were only a few dollars cheaper than the SMC bookstore. This would be my backup. Ordering on amazon would not get me the book until Monday afternoon at the earliest so that wouldn't help either.
I looked at the Los Angeles Public library and other surrounding libraries online. They only had earlier editions of the book. The SMC library has that book but they too are closed on the weekends.
Craigslist listings for the book were old, so the people had already sold it. One person sent my info to his classmate beacuse he wanted to sell his book, but he never contacted me.

I started emailing people on and where it said ships from California. In my email I said, I live in Los Angeles, I added this class late. I have homework due and a test on Monday. I will meet you in person to buy this book and pay you cash."
Two people responded from Northern California so this did not work (California is a HUGE state. It takes something like 10 hours to drive from top to bottom).

One girl in Los Angeles was willing to do this! She emailed me back around 11pm Friday night. She called me and she sent her friend to meet me with the book. We met at the 7-11 at Venice and Sepulveda after midnight. It was so sketchy like we were doing a drug deal, but for a textbook! I got the book safely and today I am catching up.

This class is GMAT GOLD! We did a bunch of word problems at Thursday's class and I am still having problems figuring out the wording to set up an algebraic problem. I think this is going to help me a lot. Plus its way cheaper than UCLA extension. Now I can use that money toward the GMAT Prep class that starts in August and I will have the basic skill set for quant that I didn't have before.

All this prep may push my application back for another year, which ideally I do not want to do. If I start in fall 2011 I will be 28; 30 when I graduate. if I start in fall 2012 I will be 29, 31 when I graduate. I want to have myself on a career path earlier rather than later because my biological clock is ticking in the back of my head.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A little something to celebrate

I got an A- in my Math Refresher Class!
90% of the grade was the final exam. Super pressure. But I didn't crack!
My beginning college algebra class starts tomorrow. That means I open on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the coffee shop. I have to be at work at 4:30a. I do not miss that hour AT ALL.
Positive: I will be done with work by 12:30p and my class doesn't start until 6:30p. That leaves plenty of time to work out, take a nap, and study.

My friend is a tutor and offered to help me in verbal. Sentence Correction, here we come!

I take my GMAT in a month!!

I hope everything is going well for those studying.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

let's catch up

I've been gone from my blog for a while. I hit burn out last week. The combination of two jobs and homework and studying my brain was fried. I was not absorbing anything. I took a break. I watched some Kaplan videos on Beat the GMAT so I wasn't on a complete and total break.

Saturday I had a day off. I thought I was going to work at my TV job so I took off from the coffee house. Turns out the person I was going to cover for did not take that day off. I drove down to orange country and met up with my cousin. We went to Laguna beach. It was so much prettier than Santa Monica, Venice, or Marina del Rey beaches. It was almost like the ocean was bluer.
I brought my sentence correction book with me, but since it was a holiday weekend there were so many people around. It was hard to concentrate. Usually if I go to the beach to study its on a Tuesday and there's maybe four other people on the sand.


I got a stupid cold because one of my coworkers came to work with a cold and didn't try to get his shift covered. Then I had to do the same thing because I am a shift and we are short one and our manager is on vacation, there was no one to cover me. If I call in sick I get fired. I can't afford to do that. I washed my hands a lot in front of customers to show I was not trying to spread any germs in case they suspected I was sick.

Being sick made it impossible to concentrate on any studying. My head was just filled with snot; so gross. I finished my homework for my math class last night and ad the final exam today. I feel I did really well considering I didn't study at all. I forgot how to figure out a rate of percent increase and I was asked to graph the plane of y=-3/4x. I spent 30 minutes on that last question. I think I made up a solution. We shall see how I did over all.

Before I got sick, on Monday, I took a practice test AND I WENT DOWN. I scored a 450. So I bit the bullet and rescheduled my test. The original date was 6/18, I will now be taking the exam 7/20. It gives me enough time to take it again before application due dates.

Also I am contemplating at this rate I am going now, if I still can't get into the 600s by August, I will have to apply for the Fall 2012 school year. I want to go to UCLA or USC and if I'm not even in the mid 600s it's not worth wasting my time and money to put in an application that will result in a ding.

Math class is over and I am signed up to take Beginning College Algebra in 3 weeks. I think I am going to withdraw from that class and sign up for UCLA Extension's GMAT Prep Course . It's way cheaper than any of the top prep companies, almost half the price.

Now I am off to work. Saturdays are our busiest bean days. Time to grind!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kind of Progress.

This time i finished the test even faster. :-X
I had almost 30 minutes left in quant and 20 min in verbal.
I had a similar score
28 Quant 24%
26 Verbal 44%
Total Score 460 26%

I went down in Verbal but I went up in Quant.

I honestly didn't get to study as hard as I had hoped last week. It's so hard working two jobs, going to a math class and fitting studying on top of it. My brain is mush. I have less than a month til G-Day. I don;t have class next Saturday and the week after that is the final exam. My GMAT is two weeks after that.

I need to focus more and make myself dedicate two hours a day to studying. I wish I could afford to have only one job. I could do CATs on the weekend.
I can't wish. I have to work with the time I have available.
Right now dinner is cooking. After I eat I will go through the Critical Reasoning Bible.

I was reading the Critical Reasoning bible during my lunch break at my TV job and one of the people from corporate said to me, "oh are you studying to be a minister?" I told her I was going to take the GMAT and hopefully go to business school. She told me how she went to a catholic school but she didn't have to take any bible classes. I tried explaining that critical reasoning was also on the LSAT, but it was useless. Maybe I am smart? lol

Time for chicken! Yum!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I couldn't do it.

I woke up at 5:45a to eat breakfast.
About ten minutes into my first essay my mind just starts wandering.
I'm too tired. This is going to be a waste of a practice test.

Instead I went back to sleep and I am working on my homework for Saturday's math class.
I'm going to do the practice test tomorrow after work. I should be home by 4p and awake enough to focus on what I am doing.

I know its recommended to take the practice test the same time as your real test.
My real test is at 11:30a and with my work schedule it is impossible.I either work at noon at one job or 7a at the other job. Wah Wah.

I have no life anyway so what does it matter if I dedicate my Friday night to a practice test?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Two months ago I opened up the Official Guide Math book and I couldn't do any of the problems because I couldn't remember how to do them.
Last night I went through the first two pages and I got most of them right!

My boyfriend has had the book for the last two months and he has been doing all the problems so he can help me with them. He's so nerdy. He actually said he wish he could take the GMAT because tests are fun. I majored in Television. I did presentations and videos. How are we together? lol

Tomorrow will be my second practice test. I have to get up super early to take it because I work at noon. Last week I had a princess shift and didn't have to work until 3p. I will be taking another Manhattan GMAT practice test to see how I have improved. Next week I will take an official GMAT Prep test to see where I stand.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fifty Dollars??

I looked into rescheduling my GMAT test date and there is $50 rescheduling fee. Eff that! They already have $250 of my money, they don;t need fifty more. This just means I need to amp up the studying. My original plan was to take the test twice anyway since I usually go up in score the second time (I did this on both the SAT and GRE).

Today in my math refresher class we went over rates, proportions, and linear equations.
It's amazing how I am reactivating all these brains cells that have formulas hidden in them. Remember ax + by =c ? As soon as this formula was written on the board I had a flashback to 10th grade math and Mrs. Mahoney writing the same formula on the board. I really recommend this class to anyone that needs a foundation in the basics. It's taught on Saturday mornings at UCLA Extension and it's not super expensive at $275. Or you could just use the textbook.
I'm going to be able to do more Problem Solving questions now that I relearned the formula for rate and how to figure it out from a word problem.

Since I have been so math heavy I need to focus on verbal more. Today I am bringing my Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible to work to do on my lunch break and I will take more of it when I get home this evening.

I will take another practice test on Thursday to see if learning the new concepts improves my score.

I'm coming for you GMAT!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oh the hilarity

I took my first Practice CAT. I used Manhattan GMAT because they give you a free one. Other sites have free ones too I just picked this one today.
I scored a hilarious 460 27 Quantitative (20%) and 27 Verbal (46%).

What was great about Manhattan GMAT's practice CAT is they give you a detailed excel sheet with the level question, if you got it right or wrong, what it tested you on and how long you took on each question. Most of the questions I spent less than a minute on I got wron. The ones I spent 1:30 or more on I got right.

I finished the Quant section with over 7 minutes to spare and the Verbal section with 23 minutes to spare. I guess I need to slow down! I recall doing he same thing when I took the GRE six years ago and got abysmal scores. Yet I still got into grad school, ha ha.

I think I should buy the Manhattan GMAT Word Translations book because I had a lot of problems just interpreting what the problem solving question was asking.

There were a couple questions I had no idea how to do, like finding a standard deviation, and finding the area of a circle. I'm sure I learned how to find the area of a circle at point, but I have NEVER done a standard deviation. I wonder if I should take another math class this summer? What would standard deviation fall under?

I have been focusing primarily on relearning math basics. I have done a few questions from the OG Quant Book and whatever questions in the trial class.

I didn't familiarize myself with too much of the verbal so I was surprised when I saw bold faced and complete the conclusion Critical Reasoning questions.

This experience is a good diagnostic test and i know what I need to work on. I may reschedule my test date. We shall see.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Free Means Free

I don't have a lot of money, I work two jobs are I barely pay all of my bills. It's a combination between the economy and the industries I work in.
I have been taking advantage of as many FREE GMAT seminars and prep courses as I can.

If you go to the prep companies' website they have a search for free events.

I went to the Princeton Review's Math Boot Camp a few weeks ago. It went over decimals, fractions, FOIL method, all the basics. Unfortunately the website posted the time as 10:00a-11:30a, but the class went over that and I had to leave early because I had to work at noon.
There was a girl who sat behind me who was really irritating. Every time someone asked a question or asked the instructor to go over a concept she would mumble under her breath "are you serious?" She even said in front of the class "The questions on the GMAT aren't like this they are much harder."
She was late to the boot camp and missed the part where we were going over foundations, not strategy. She wound up leaving when I did because she was so frustrated. She said to me "I learned fractions in like 6th grade it was so pointless."

I thought the math boot camp was great because if you don't remember the basic math you can't do the questions on the GMAT.
I'm glad I'm taking my math refresher course. It's amazing how many things you forget over the years. For example, 1 is not a prime number. 2 is the lowest prime number and the only even prime number. I'm sure I learned this at one point, but it's been at least 8 years since I took a math class so I forgot it.

I've also done a few free online seminars through Kaplan and Veritas Prep.

I went to a free trial class for Veritas Prep last night. So far I liked theirs the best. The whole class focused on Arguments which better helped me understand the Critical Reasoning section a little better.

Clear Admit, an admissions consultant company is giving a free 20 minute initial consultation for your candidacy for business school. This was SO HELPFUL!
She told how to reword my resume focusing on accomplishments rather than tasks and focus on the GMAT. I have an nontraditional background (television and retail) so I need to get a really good GMAT score; 80th percentile at least in quantitative. She also recommended taking quantitative courses at UCLA Extension to build an alternative transcript. I need an A in those classes to prove I am serious and can handle business school coursework. she also recommended Harvard Extension online but the classes are waaaay more expensive than UCLA extension and like I said before I'm poor!
I told I was interested in applying to Pepperdine, UC Irvine, UCLA and USC. I asked her if the only school I get into is Pepperdine, is it worth going there or should I just trying again and apply to UCLA and USC next year? She said Pepperdine would give me the education, but I would not have the career opportunities that I would get if I went to UCLA.
So now I have to decide if Pepperdine is even worth applying to. All this information was FREE FREE FREE! I highly recommend sending Clear Admit your resume to get a admissions committee perspective.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

UCLA Class Visit

Today I sat in a Business Strategy class at UCLA Anderson.

I got to see the case study method I've heard so much about.
The case the students read the night before was about oil rigs and they had to graph them for homework.

The class was very diverse. There were students of different ages and from different countries. The professor led the exam by calling on random people from a list. Everyone had a name tag on their desk. The class debated how the graph should curve. After the case study there was a short lecture.

The student assigned to meet me was a news producer in Boston. I thought we would have a lot to talk about but he had to go turn in a paper so another student showed me around the school instead.

Anderson is really nice and it's my number one choice. I think I will sign up to sit in another class in the fall in a topic I am more interested in.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Manhattan GMAT Free Course

Happy Passover to those that celebrate it.
I spent the evening at a free Manhattan GMAT course.
They let you take the first one free and if you want to stay in the course you have to pay the tuition.
I am very poor and cannot afford a GMAT prep course so this is the first of my free GMAT rampage.

The first half of the class explained the GMAT format. It's similar to the GRE in that it starts with the essays, then the math, then the verbal. I took the GRE six years ago to go to grad school for television. If I had knew what I know now, I would have waited and saved the money on loans for my MBA. Oh well.

The second half of the course explained how the course would work over the next coming weeks and went into strategy for data sufficiency and sentence correction.
I need to relearn a lot of math concepts because I didn't know how to break the questions down.

Overall I was really impressed with the class and wish I had the $1500 to drop on it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

UCLA info session

After work I headed up to Westwood for an info session at UCLA Anderson. I was the first person to check in. I was given a viewbook to look at while I waited. After everyone showed up an admissions officer took us upstairs to sit in a classroom.

-UCLA Anderson has 360 students.
-the smaller class has very dynamic backgrounds as well as dynamic future interests.
-when the committee looks at an application they compare you to other applicants with the same profile.
-Anderson is a very international program.
-they reserve 1/3 of their incoming class for international students.

What UCLA Anderson looks for in an application:
-academic power
-management potential and leadership potential
-do you help train people at work?
-did you recruit at your Alma mater?
-extracurricular activities
-community service
-do you have a sustained commitment?
-did you rise up to a leadership position?
-strong undergraduate transcript
-high GMAT score (Anderson's average is 712)
-letters of recommendation from direct bosses
-Essays are important
-vision for post MBA is the most important

The admissions officer said Rounds 1 and 2 to apply are basically the same.
Round 3 does not have too much space for certain profiles. They basically use Round 3 to fill in the holes they are missing in their well rounded class.
Applications are not read until the round is closed so it does not matter if you submit early round 1 or 1 minute before the Round 1 deadline. They are all looked over at the same time.

What I found most interesting about UCLA Anderson is they do not offer official concentrations. You pick your own curriculum from the variety of electives the school offers.
There are mentors available to send you in the right path if you are interested in a particular area.

Fellowships are offered based on merit only. The range of fellowships are from $10,000/yr to $30,000/yr.

After this info session all I could think about was how the crap can I even get into this school???
But it was a very informative session!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pepperdine Open House

Today I attended Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business Open House.

The agenda said it started at 9:30a but there would be a Q&A Session beforehand at 9:15a.
I parked in the lot and I was told to follow the balloons. There was only one set of balloons. I ran into another couple looking for the school of business as well and we entered the room from the wrong side, next to the facilitators answering questions. This was super embarrassing! I made my way to the other side and the woman checking people in said people get confused all the time and this happens a lot.

I took some notes during the Q & A.
-GMAT is very important, but so is the overall package of you as an applicant.
-the admissions committee looks to see if the campus is a fit for both parties
-Graziadio is a very tight community. There are only 320-330 students in the school including MS, and joint JD students.
-most projects assigned are team oriented
-only 25 students in each class which means everyone knows each other.
-the school meets in trimesters in 7 week modules, 4 classes once a week for four hours each
-No class on Fridays
-minimum one year work experience required for application

The Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution presented.
A student can choose Dispute Resolution for his or her concentration and take classes through the law school. In addition to your MBA degree a student also earns a certificate in dispute resolution. The three areas studied are negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. The goal is to manage conflict within your environment.

My undergraduate degree is in Mass Communication so naturally this option appealed to me. However this time in going back to school I want to study something that will give me specific jobs to apply to. I feel that studying something so broad got me into the situation I am in now: struggling to survive with a job in television and a job at a coffee shop.

I late spoke with the woman who gave this presentation and I asked what type of things you could go into with a concentration in dispute resolution. she said you could do a lot of things. I can do a lot of things with my Mass Communication degree too. Pepperdine is the number 1 dispute resolution school in the country, even above Harvard University, but I don't think it would help me.

A panel of faculty was brought out to answer any questions. This panel was all men. A couple of professors identified themselves as in the decision sciences department. One of the professors explained that decision sciences can be called management sciences at other schools. They teach quantitative, statistics, risk analysis and other math courses. They said they teach usuing evidence to make better decisions.

One of the gentleman worked in the career services office. He said use careers services from day one. He spoke of a student whose background was "nontraditional," in film and how he worked with that student to set him up for success. Film is similar to television so I now know one thing I need to do when I attend business school.

After this panel there was a break. I took the opportunity to help myself to the fruit and bagels. Other people took this opportunity to speak with members the the previous panel. I took notes as I ate my fruit.

The gentleman on the admission committee said the school wants at least a 600 on the GMAT. This score seems really attainable because in comparison to UCLA Anderson, the average GMAT score for the full time program is 712!

During this break I realized I need to stop being so shy and listening to other people's questions and answers. I have to learn to strike out on my own so I can learn to network better.

After the break a student panel came in. All but one student was female. Such a drastic change from the faculty! I am happy to see females because I keep reading articles on how there are less women in business school and MBA salaries are lower for women.

The student panel did say not many students had less than three years of work experience. This made me feel better because the room was made up primarily of people younger than me. I'll be 27 in ten days and I was starting to question the fit with the student body when I saw the group of people for the open house.

One of the students lived on campus her first year. She said it was weird being 27 and living in the dorms but she participated a whole lot more in on campus events that year because she didn't have to get up as early on a Saturday morning to drive to campus. But you can't have alcohol or members of the opposite sex in your room. University rules.

I asked about recruiting by companies and one student said since they are farther away from Los Angeles proper they don't get as many companies recruiting on campus as compared to UCLA or USC.

After the panels we got a tour of the school.

Overall Pepperdine was beautiful. They kept saying how beautiful the campus was and graduation is on the lawn overlooking the beach.
However I'll need more than a beautiful school to succeed in the business world.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Test Prep Materials

Books I have purchased:

The Official Guide 12th Edition
Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction
The Official Guide Verbal Review
The Official Guide Quantitative Review
Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible
Manhattan GMAT Simulation Booklet

After opening the Official Guide math book and not knowing how to do any of the problems I signed up for a Math Refresher course at UCLA Extension.

I dropped so much money on test prep. I know it's worth it. Well, I hope it's worth it.

Here We Go

This sentence has been ringing in my head since my second semester of graduate school, "You should have got your MBA."
My post production teacher said I should have got my MBA instead of my MS in Television Production. Four years later I know why: an MS means NOTHING in the world of TV production!

Last fall I thought about going back to school to get an associates degree in business. I thought paired with my other degrees it would get me a job. I then realized it would be two steps backward and the community colleges out where I am aren't as good as Dutchess Community College, where I started my college career nine years ago (to say I started nine years ago is scary! Time flies!).

In January I decided to start researching MBA programs.

I scheduled my GMAT test for June 18, 2010.

My friend, Dorian, started a blog to chronicle her Peace Corp application and current service in Mali, West Africa in hopes it would help other people thinking about applying.

I searched for MBA applicant blogs and it gave me a lot of insight and strategy for my GMAT studying.

Since I started this blog three months into the process I'm going to post separate updates about what I have been doing up to this point in hopes others will find it useful too.