Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's The Approach That Counts

I like watching Nat Geo and Discovery channels on Astro. On one of the series about the US aircraft carrier, one of the fighter pilots talked about how he and his fellow pilots are trained to focus on the guide on the cockpit when they land on the carrier. They only have a small "window" of opportunity to land and if they missed that, they had to throttle to the max to fly away. They are not even supposed to worry about the guide cable which will hook at back of the plane and halt the plane when it lands correctly.

My study group members asked me how should they tackle GMAT questions. Well, the answer is and as I always reminded them (again and again) - it's the approach that counts.

Very often, the moment we see a question, we like to jump straight into working and only to find out that it took us more than 2 minutes and yet not getting the answer. When I practised, I took the above approach as show in the diagram.

Spend first 30 or so seconds to read, understand, rephrase the question, if necessary and formulate the approach. Remember, you only have this 30 seconds to think through and determine your best approach to solve in 4 or 6 steps.

The next 60 seconds is used for working. Start by eliminate not-possible answers. This improves your chances of striking the right one. By eliminating 2 not possible answers, you improve your odds from 1/5th to 1/3rd. If you can eliminate 3, then you increase it to 1/2th.

Don't forget that you need to click the answer in the computer. It takes time to move the mouse and click Next and Confirmed.

All this is done within 2 minutes window.

So, GMAT "pilots", start practising your approach.

Jimmy Low

Thursday, February 5, 2009

MBA Admissions, Scholarships & Careers - Facebook

QS Network, the organizer of QS World MBA Tours, now has a Facebook group called "MBA Admissions, Scholarships and Careers".

Jimmy Low

Waitlist is Worse than Death Sentence

What's worse than a death sentence? Being kept on your school waitlist.

Read what Jeremy Shinewald, Founder/President of mbaMission has to say about responding to "Waitlist":

In recent weeks, many candidates have received responses from MBA Admissions Committees that can be even more frustrating than rejections: “You have been placed on the waitlist.” So, what do you do when your status is uncertain? First and foremost, listen to the Admissions Committee. If the AdCom tells you not to send follow-up material of any sort, then you should not yield to temptation and send material you think will bolster your case (bold emphasized). If you (misguidedly) choose to send additional information when it has not been requested—and especially when the AdCom has asked you not to—you will definitely identify yourself in a negative way—not the type of message you want to send to the group that will be determining your fate.

Still, some schools will ask that you provide additional information. In this case, you may also experience some frustration: “What can I offer the MBA Admissions Committee as an update? I submitted my application three months ago!” You can start by explaining (if applicable) that you have been targeting certain weaknesses—retaking the GMAT and increasing your score, for example, or taking a supplemental math class and earning an A grade. Further, if you have any concrete news regarding work promotions or the assumption of additional responsibilities in the community, you should definitely update the MBA Admissions Committee on these points.

Even if you do not have these sorts of tangible accomplishments, you should have some news to share. If you have undertaken any additional networking or completed a class visit since the application deadline, you can offer a window into your burgeoning interest in the school. (When you are on a waitlist, the MBA AdCom wants to see evidence that you are passionately committed to the school.) Further, even if you have not been promoted, you can creatively reflect on a new project that you have started working on and identify the new professional skills/exposure this project has provided (for example, managing people off-site for the first time or executing with greater independence). Finally, the personal realm is not “off limits,” so you should also feel free to discuss any accomplishments, from advancing in your study of a language to visiting a new country to completing a marathon (just as examples).

With some thought and creativity, you should be able to craft a concise but powerful letter, showing your recent professional and personal growth, while expressing your sincere and ever increasing interest in the school—all of which will serve to increase your chances of gaining admission.

Taken from GMATTERS: ManhattanGMAT Newsletters

Jimmy Low