We offer you today the saga of yet another
BSer STBBS who is, as we speak, right at this very moment, sitting in an MBA classroom! After having gone through an extended journey to get there – well over 1.5 years, in fact. Don’t let that be a discouraging statistic. Instead, recognize that sometimes it does take longer than we’d like – and learn from the missteps that this person made on the way to their success, so that maybe it won’t take you quite as long!
To the STBBS who wrote this up: CONGRATULATIONS! It was a bit of a rocky ride but you pulled it off in the end – in a FABULOUS way – thanks for bringing us along for the journey!!! And have fun in bschool! You deserve this.
Journey to the Center of America
Part 1: The GMAT
I invite you to join me on a journey. A journey to the center of the eart…err center of America. The prize is a Master’s in Business Administration and a much needed career pivot. The journey is one filled with perils, pitfalls, and challenges along the way. Embark on this journey at your own risk, but know that the fruits of your effort will reap a lifetime of rewards.
My journey started in July of 2011. I was an American consultant living in London, and had just rolled off a project, so I had some bandwidth (would anyone but a consultant use that kind of word?). I was free from the distractions of my friends home in NY, so I decided to take a GMAT class. I had GMAT books I had bought from a colleague, and while I read them casually, I never had the discipline to create and stick to a syllabus. On top of that, my company agreed to cover the cost of the class. I used Manhattan GMAT and had a fantastic instructor, though he is sadly no longer with them. My pre-class GMAT score was 700, so I was hopeful for some exciting results in September when the class wrapped up and when I had my GMAT scheduled.
I got to the test center early, had a full stock of rations including sandwiches, trail mix, powerade, orange juice, and water, and was ready to go. I breezed through the AWA and left for my first break in order to refuel. When I tried to sign back into the test room, the proctor didn’t know what he was doing, and a queue developed. By the time he figured out how to sign people back in (it was his first GMAT exam) the clock was ticking on my quant section. I couldn’t have been more out of the zone. I rushed through the section, and only finished by guessing on the last 3 questions without barely reading. Not a great start. The verbal section went smoothly, and I didn’t cancel my score, because I’m far too curious to do something like that. When my score popped up, it looked familiar. Far too familiar. It was the same 700 I had scored before my gmat class. I was in the mid 700s in the week leading up to the actual exam, so this was truly disappointing. My score was also heavily skewed toward verbal. The biggest disappointment was that I knew I wouldn’t make any Round 1 deadlines as a result of this.
I scheduled my next exam for December 21st, since I knew I’d have time around the holidays to be relaxed from project work and to prepare for the exam. I practiced by doing test questions in the Official Guide, using the electronic service provided by ManhattanGMAT, which tells you average answer time, the types of questions you are weak on, etc. Then I practiced by doing test questions in the Official Guide. Then I practiced by doing questions in the Official Guide. Get it? I did the entire quant section in the big maroon book, and come December 21st, I was ready to sink my teeth into some algebra, geometry, and number properties.
I felt supremely confident during the quant section felt it went great, and had to force myself to calm down for the verbal, so that I wouldn’t blow it on my strength. I wanted to rush through just to see my score, so some deep breaths were certainly had. Once I did click that button to reveal my score, my heart leaped: 760. My score was much more balanced, though my verbal actually improved as well.
GMAT, I’ll miss you old friend. Contrary to most people, I actually enjoyed the GMAT, with its concrete results, measurable improvements, and the cathartic feeling associated with finishing a section and getting answers right.