I’m off to the States on Monday :). It’s a bit of shock, my holiday has crept up on me almost unnoticed. Thankfully my friend who coming with me kept me updated with a count down! This was planned back in November to allow me to go campus surfing. Now it’s finally here and I might not even need to visit a campus!
We’ve got of a bit of road trip planned. First we land in Boston, then head up to Niagara Falls, then swing down into North Carolina, and finish off the trip in D.C. First time ever renting and driving a car in the states. Excited and scary at the same time.
Anyone got any hints or tips on what to see, how to get the best bargains? Already got a distillery tour in Chapel Hill off Groupon.
What’s even more scary is is that decision day for Duke is on the 13th March; same day as I’m having a nosy round HBS. Now that’s bad planning.
Hopefully my MBA blog will briefly change into a travel blog, please forgive me. But to keep in the spirit I will post my thoughts on HBS and Duke (if I take a tour.)
I read a really interesting article in the FT today. It explained that while an MBA might not help Indians in the job market it might help in the marriage stakes. Essentially a MBA is a good selling point and less common than a degree.
This got me thinking what are the unusual benefits of studying for a MBA?
- Successful author; publish a book on the experience: What they teach you at Harvard Business School.
- Another chance at the uni marriage mart. Here’s a blog entry on the rules.
- Play a new sport; anyone heard of a signing?
- Form a successful music group. (There is bound to be a story; anyone heard of it?)
I was really pleased with Magoosh GMAT online GMAT prep. It is Good value and does what it says on the tin. I bought complete package both quant and verbal and it done the business. Definitely recommend it for GMAT prep.
The look is fairly basic. It’s mainly PowerPoint with voice over but it does the trick. There is an opportunity to personalise practice questions to reflect what you learnt and there are good video explanations of every question, Which is very useful. You can also adjust the time you have on questions which I appreciated.
I could even use the app for lessons on the go. However it would have been great if this also extended to their question bank.
The section helped moved my score from the 60th percentile to the 80th percentile. So it definitely works. It shows you the key strategies for critical reasoning and they work. Disliked the sentence correction as there was too much focus on grammar. However I do know more than I once did and it has improved my general writing.
It’s really good at teaching you the content you need for the test.
This combined with my maths tutor moved my quant score on paper from 24th percentile to about the 50th. So it certainly teaches the content. It is broken down in to very digestible chucks. I would say its suitable for someone starting from a low base. I’m not convinced at how useful it is for learning the advanced strategies you need to score 700+. Though I think Magoosh recognises this and there advanced study plan recommends using manhattan study guides.
Good value for money, if you need to brush up in the basics go here but if need the advanced content go elsewhere.
I just had my interview for Duke with a lovely alumni, at a Starbuck’s in London. Overall, I thought it went O.K, but you never know. I find out whether I get into Duke on the 13th March.
I done a fair amount of prep which worked really well. For start I bought the Clear Admit’s interview guide and the book about the school. It saved a lot of time and gave me more of a insight into the school and the type of questions that could be asked. However, I think I over relied on the questions in the guide and I should have done a bit more thinking myself. I got floored by two questions; but they weren’t hard questions and I should have expected them.
My friend threw practice questions at me for two hours at the weekend and coached me on how to answer questions. Which proved really useful and I nailed one questions we had practiced at the weekend. One of the female managers at work also provided some useful tips. These included, have one large bag and have a cheat sheet with you. I had one page spilt into four areas with bullet points for each of the four topics I wrote down. This really helped when my mind went blank in the interview and glancing down at it helped me refocus.
Downside of interviewing in places like Starbucks is that it lends an atmosphere of informality and I think I ended up being too informal. I’m not convinced the location helped me answer my questions succinctly. On a couple of questions I went round the point rather than straight to it. I was a lot more succinct on the questions I had practised and been coached on. So practice does help.
However I got on well with the interviewer; and it felt more like a conversation at times rather than an interview so that part of the informal approach really worked.
I got floored by two questions and as a part of my thank you note I a sent my improved version. This is risky strategy, but as my manager at work said, interviews are not a memory test. The approach I’ve taken through out the application process asking myself; would I regret not mentioning it?
This is interview season.
My interview with accepted.com has just been published: http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/17/mba-applicant-blogger-interview-with-sarah/
Below are some my favourite posts from their back catalogue:
As there now a small chance I could be living in America from September here’s my list of random questions:
Should I be worried if there are roaches living in the same building as me?
What facilities are should I expect in a reasonable flat? Should I expect a washing machine or swimming pool?
Where can I get decent tea bags?
Does America sell kettles? (Yes, I’m British.)
What a decent chocolate brand? Hersey doesn’t count.
I have questions more about North Carolina and Durham, but I’il ask those if I get in.
I’m in shock. Duke has invited me to interview. I still can’t believe it.
My shock has slowly turned into excitement. Mainly when my friend asked me at lunch what would I wear? And then banned me from using my small hand bag.
Next step is preparing
for the interview. Last time I done an interview was for my promotion. GULP! Tips and suggestions welcome.
On Friday I get to find out whether I’ve been invited to interview by Duke and Harvard.
Would I love an interview invite, yes. Do I think I will get one, No.
For start Harvard sent out its first set of invites last week. I was good and didn’t check my emails until 7pm and only had a quick check on gmat club forum pages to make sure Harvard sent them out. I didn’t get an invite. Next and final batch is this Friday.
Harvard receives 9000 applications a year for 900 places. So competition is tough. For me, part of the joy of the whole process has been applying for Harvard. That fact that I’ve applied there is Amazing in itself.
Duke before my GMAT saga, I was reasonably hopeful of an interview. After writing the essays and looking at my GMAT score, I’m no longer convinced.
So if Friday comes along and no interviews where does that leave me? Part of me thinks, great! I’m in exactly the same place 18 months ago. Other part of me is going, O.K what next?
So I wonder what Friday will bring.
P.s just got an email from Harvard so will let you what it says.
Well I just had a very frustrating evening. Off I went to a posh hotel with over priced tea for the Access MBA one -to -one event. And found out it’s not a one -to -one event they instead offered me group discussion with admissions reps. What good is that? I can find out the same information by reading the website and not get wet!
Tried group discussions before and I don’t think they work. You can’t have a conversation and obtain tailored information. Or the other person dominates the conversation. Kinda like spare room hunting, if you get a two on one situation, you know you ain’t getting the room.
So I wasn’t impressed!
So was it worth the money? Mmm wouldn’t say no. Mainly by stamping my feet I got to see one MBA course on one-one basis and they told me about scholarships I wasn’t aware of! Now that’s worth more than the five pounds entrance fee.
But I would say it was a waste of time. I got to see one school and didn’t see the other schools I was interested in, mainly as I declined to do group discussions.
And no I didn’t ticket the box to say I would recommend this event to others.
What are your thoughts and experiences on one-to-one versus groups at MBA events?