Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Studying Continues...

First off, thanks to all those who left comments talking me down from my anxiety attack. I think at some point we all question whether this journey is truly the one for us, and I thank everyone for telling me I can do it and to keep at it. It meant a lot to me!

I went through and redid the CR questions from the back of my Kaplan GMAT book, and got 10 out of 11 correct. Yay! I've also spent all of yesterday and today focusing on geometry quant questions, as those seem to be my weakest points. I ordered the OG11 and Manhattan GMAT SC book, the so called bibles of studying. I don't know why I didn't buy them sooner, as everyone and their mothers has recommended them as essential to any GMAT studying.

In other news, it appears I've been named a moderator over at the GMAT Club forums, which is awesome. For those of you who don't know what it is, head on over to and click the Forums link. I started a thread for 2009 applicants, and I encourage all of you to join in on the discussions. There is an insane amount of knowledge there; those who used it as a resource tend to stick around even after they have matriculated, so it's an awesome resource.

I'm hoping Friday after work I can sit down and take another Manhattan GMAT test. This weekend will be pretty busy, with a wedding Saturday and driving to Youngstown to see the GF's mom and step-dad - first time meeting them! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Random Thoughts...

First of all, congratulations to all the Best of Bloggers award winners and nominees! You guys do an amazing job, and are very helpful. You may not realize it, or set out for it to happen, but I can honestly say that those of you active on Hella's list are an amazing resource for MBA hopefuls such as myself. Congrats to all of you!

The word for the day is confidence. Or, lack thereof. Lately I've been feeling like I may not be cut out for this whole thing. Sometimes it's hard to study. Sometimes I think I'm making headway, then I falter. My GMAT practice scores are 580 and 600, respectively. With my GPA being what it is, I need that score to be 700. I had heard that doing CR questions from the LSAT is helpful for the CR portion of the GMAT, so I took some practice sections. I got 38 out of 39 correct; I started wondering, why doesn't this translate to the GMAT, where I got 4 out of 14 correct on my last practice? What am I doing wrong? Does my mind not work to properly answer these questions.

I read stories of people with 750 GMATs and 3.6 GPAs from Ivy schools getting rejected from every single school they applied to. If they couldn't make it, how can I? What will set me apart and above them? I've started reading current student blogs to see their journeys from start to finish, and it has helped me focus on my dream, but not instill too much confidence. I want to proceed, I want to set my first test date and stick to it, knock the GMAT out of the park, and get accepted and move on.

Any thoughts or words of wisdom blogosphere?

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I realize I've been sorely lacking in motivation to study for the GMAT. Ever since I got back from my USC visit, I don't think I've opened a book or taken a practice test! This must end, and will do so tonight. I need to do a better job of preventing outside influences (read: friends at the bar or the GF) from keeping me from studying.

I also realize that I should set a date, to give me an end goal. Right now I just sort of float through the process, knowing it's ok if I don't study because I haven't set a date. Well, that also will change. I'm thinking the middle of June would be ok. If I need to retake the test, that would give me time to study and fix my errors and take it again a month or so late, and leave plenty of time for a possible third test (if needed...God I hope not!)

I know I need to focus on sentence correction and data suffiency, as those are my two worst areas. Any tips on DS?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Campus Visit Recap: USC-Marshall Pt 2

OK, here's what you all came for, the recap of my campus visit to USC's Marshall School.

I got there early on Monday morning so I could walk around campus and get a feel. The weather was perfect, a nice cool breeze, and the campus was just coming alive. The students I saw seemed happy and engaged. At 11 it was time to check in with the Admissions office for my info session. There were maybe 11 or 12 others with me, and it was led by Veronica Ho. She went into great detail regarding the admissions process. One thing she stressed was that, if you have a sub-3.0 GPA, use the supplemental essay to explain this, and try to take classes to create an additional transcript (she even gave specific classes at certain schools to take, which I was thankful for!).

She also stated that applications were up over 20% from last year, and doesn't expect that number to drop next admissions season. Everyone knows, when the economy goes down, grad school admissions applications go up. Guess i just need to present myself in the best possible way. She also reiterated that applying early is better than late, but if you must go late, use the supplemental essay to explain why. She also mentioned that you should always make sure you change the schools name on all correspondence and essays; yes, people do forget. She said it's not such a big deal with recommenders, but there is no excuse for the applicant.

After the info session with Veronica, a student ambassador came in to speak with us about student life issues: housing, social, what to do once you get accepted. She was extremely friendly and helpful. She then took us to a class visit, a global strategy class dealing with the Russian oil market. Now, I found the class extremely engaging and interesting; the hour and twenty minutes flew by. The students were well-prepared and had very insightful comments and questions. The professor was very good as well.

After a quick tour of Popovich Hall, we were left to our own devices. I visited the campus store (had to bring home shirts for the family), then cabbed it back to my hotel. A note about the surrounding area: I don't think it's as bad as people make it out to be. It's not exactly Compton from Boyz N The Hood, and you're not constantly getting harassed or anything. Would I be careful about where I live? Absolutely. Then again, I lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for three years, in a very nice part of town, and I got held up at gunpoint and shot at, so trouble finds you wherever you go.

All in all, I absolutely loved my visit. It's definitely on my short list now, though I've got more schools to visit. If you have any other questions, please ask

Campus Visit Recap: USC-Marshall

I apologize for how long this has taken me to write up. Things are very hectic, both at work and with life, so blogging got put to the side for a bit. I should be posting more frequently, so no worries! First post today will be a write-up of my trip in general. I'll post the school specific info in the next one.

My flight to LA left Cleveland at 7AM...needless to say, I got zero sleep, but I slept on the flight, so it was OK. I also got some reading done (The Mailroom...highly recommend it). Landed, got a cab (expensive!) and checked in to the hotel. That first Saturday I walked around the city for a bit, saw some parks and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, then went for a nap...and promptly woke up 16 hours later! Oops!

Sunday I took the subway (first time on the subway, believe it or not. Thanks to the Aussie kid who was searching for the same train as me) to Hollywood and Highland. I spent a good bit of time walking around Grauman's Chinese Theater - I was actually there the day Charlton Heston passed away, so I got a picture of his hand prints with flowers all around it. I saw the characters, walked up and down the walk of fame, and took some pictures of random stars and stuff. Ate a good lunch at the Pig N Whistle and learned an important lesson: California loves avecados!

Sunday night I ate at LA Prime, and spared no expense for myself, as I was dining alone. Evian water, a few glasses of riesling, chilled jumbo shrimp in a mango salsa, a perfectly cooked piece of filet mignon with sauteed shrimp, cappuccino and creme brulee. It was basically a perfect meal. Afterwards, I went downstairs to the rotating bar and had a $15 martini, then bed.

Monday was USC day, and I'll cover that in a separate post. Quick thoughts: I loved it! That night I had dinner, watched the NCAA championship, then woke up early and caught my flight back home. Total cost of trip, including hotel, airfare, meals, cabs, and shopping: $1500. Eek!