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.