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.