Posted by: AC | July 8, 2009

MBA Online Event: Essay Writing

As I am nearing GMAT Test Day*, and many of you have already taken them, it will soon be time to focus more on essay-writing.  On July 14th, there is an MBA event hosted by The topic? “The Roadmap to Bold & Brilliant MBA Essays” The event will include advice from MBA admissions consultants on choosing an essay topic, essay structure, and writing techniques.

Their last event was interesting and helpful, and if nothing else left me more motivated that before.  Sometimes it helps to just have someone spell it all out in front of you.

When it comes to MBA applications, it seems that as programs become more and more competitive due to a higher number of applicants, more top MBA programs are looking at the essays as indicators of quality applicants.

I will be participating in this event on July 14th, and I will let you know how it goes as always!

* T – 1 Month to GMAT Test Day!

Posted by: AC | July 6, 2009

GMAT Daily Question

Jeff Sackman, author of GMAT Hacks started a new website with a daily GMAT question, which I now enjoy with my morning coffee.

Here is today’s question:

Today’s Practice GMAT Question:

If the two-digit integers A and B are positive and have the same digits, but in reverse order, which of the following could be the sum of A and B ?
(A) 108
(B) 120
(C) 132
(D) 144
(E) 156

The best part about these questions are Jeff’s wonderful explanations.  Most GMAT books just give the mathematical explanation behind the answers, often not including strategies and helpful hints.

Here is Jeff’s helpful answer:

Answer: C

It might be tempting to try a series of numbers until you find something that works, but there must be a deeper pattern the GMAT is asking you to discover.

Let’s say the tens digit of A is x and the units of A is y. So if A is 73, x = 7 and y = 3. Algebraically, A = 10x + y. If the digits are reverse to create B, x is the units digit of B and y is the tens digit of B, meaning that B = 10y + x.

We can add those together:
A + B
= (10x + y) + (10y + x)
= 11x + 11y
= 11(x + y)

Since x and y are digits, they must be integers, so the sum of x and y must be an integer. 11 times any integer is a multiple of 11, so we’re looking for the choice that is a multiple of 11. You aren’t expected to know multiples of 11 off the top of your head, so start with an easy one, like 110. Add 11: 121. Add 11 again: 132. That’s choice (C), which is correct.

I am a big fan of GMAT Hacks and Jeff’s strategies, and I am really enjoying the Daily GMAT Questions!  Be sure and check out these sites.

34 days to GMAT TEST DAY!

Posted by: AC | July 6, 2009

Saturday Morning Practice Test: A Disaster

So, I woke up at 6:00am to take the my usual Saturday morning practice test.  I got plenty of sleep the night before, had tea and toast before the test…  (which I mention only so you know I was, indeed, awake) … and I tanked.  It was awful.  Disastrous.  No, I am not being dramatic.  I scored worse on this test than on the very fist practice test I took before I started studying.

I would be too easy to say it’s only a fluke, or that it was just an off day.  So instead of brushing it aside (which I desperately wanted to do)  I waded through the test questions one at a time with a big bowl of ice cream as a condolence and I analyzed my errors (there were so many errors!)

Here is what I found:

– A large proportion of errors were made towards the end of the test, in both quant and verbal sections.

– I made lots of careless mistakes.  Upon attempting to answer the incorrect questions a second time, I found the answer to be glaringly obvious.  Not sure if this is nerves or what!

– Most importantly: over half the questions I missed in the quant section were data sufficiency questions.

With these observations in mind, I am mixing up my study techniques and focusing on those DS questions this week.  I will practice data sufficiency when I wake up, when I eat lunch, and probably even in my dreams.

Anyone have any good suggestions/strategies for DS?

Happy Trekking!

Posted by: AC | July 1, 2009

MBA Event:

The Princeton Review and the American Association of University Women are hosting this online event for women who are considering getting their MBA.

Tuesday, July 14th at 8:00pm.  Click here to register.

Topics include:

  • career opportunities for female MBA graduates
  • the value of an MBA
  • a full-time vs. part-time MBA programs
  • developing a strong network
  • common fears for women and
  • GMAT misconceptions and test-taking strategies

In May I participated in the Best Pratices MBA Webinar, and found it very helpful.   I am excited that this event is focusing specifically on women and the MBA.  I hope you women MBA applicants can make it, but as always I will let you know how it goes!

( Thank you to The GMAT Club Blog )
Posted by: AC | July 1, 2009

Where did they go, the last 2 weeks?

Wow, the last two weeks have flown by! Here is what the last two weeks of MBATrekking has looked like:

– Studying studying studying for the GMAT.  I came dangerously close to burnout, so I had to back off a little bit last weekend. My scores were actually going down!!!  But after a little R&R this weekend, I have been studying before and after work, on the T, early in the morning before the world awakes… seems to be going a bit better.

– Updating a database of schools I am interested in, with their deadlines, essay questions, and other information.

– Talking to everybody I know who went to MBA programs, getting feedback and on their experiences and some guidance for post-MBA plans.

– As far as my scores go, I have plateaued a bit the last two weeks, and I am looking for ways to break out of that.  New and different ways of studying: I ordered a new book and bought some flashcards.  I’ve also tried to mix up when I study and where I study, and shifted from long hours of studying to brief periods throughout the day.

So, now, back to the grind, with renewed diligence to this blog and the MBA applicant community!

Still feeling really nervous/anxious about the GMAT.  Only a month left to study and get that score up!

Posted by: AC | June 17, 2009

Personal Statement: Oiy!

I’ve finally started my personal statement.  Except it’s not on paper yet.  It consists of staring mindlessly off into nowhere while riding the train home from work, when my brain has flatlined as a result of a hectic workday and a couple hours of GMAT studying… I think I have a pretty good start.  At least, I’m starting to answer questions like “What do I really want to do?” and I’ve started asking questions like “Why am I applying? Why now?” and “Why am I Top MBA material?”

I had a commute full of these questions this morning, floundering around ideas for a personal statement.  I just couldn’t bring myself to take out my GMAT flashcards.  It just so happens that today I stumbled upon this post on  It’s called, “Personal Statements are Difficult”.   Okay, good, so I’m not the only one.

The post included three helpful themes to include:

  • Motivation: What makes you tick? Why have you made the decisions you have made? Why do you want to go into your chosen field?
  • Aspiration: Where are you headed? What do you aspire to immediately after you complete your degree and sometimes long term. HBS asks for “vision.”
  • Perspiration: When in the past have you sweated to achieve? When have you dedicated yourself to a cause or goal? When have you worked hard to have impact and contribute?

Goal:  Start writing this weekend.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Posted by: AC | June 17, 2009

Update: MBA Oath

A recent article in BusinessWeek examines whether or not the MBA Oath will continue, raising the question “Can it really make a difference?”

At the Thunderbird School of Global Management  graduates have been take a moral pledge since 2006.  Although that pledge was met with harsh criticism when instituted, Angel Cabrera, President of the school, believes that the economic environment provides an opportunity for change in the MBA world:

  • “It’s not just a temporary thing,” Cabrera says. “I really think there’s also a generational shift.…There is a demand, a thirst for this type of value-based ideology.” He sees the events of the last month as setting the stage for a larger overhaul of what he has often said is a failed system of management. Business education, he says, has reached a “tipping point.”

Will this be a long-term change, or is this just a temporary reaction to the current business climate? Is it a publicity stunt by HBS, or something more meaningful? What do you think?

Posted by: AC | June 4, 2009

Clear Admit Wiki

The ClearAdmit Wiki is a great source of admissions info from applicants: all in one place! I have found this very helpful, and hopefully you will too.

For each school, the wiki features applicants reactions to interviews, visits, and applications. Also, the wiki features blogs from current students as well as from applicants.

It’s free to contribute, either send an email to  or create an account  

Posted by: AC | June 4, 2009

The MBA Oath

Earlier this year, somethign called The MBA Oath was started by a group of students from the Class of 2009 at Harvard Business School in order to promote responsibility and ethical action among managers and business leaders.  (Applause!)

The short version of the oath I have posted below, to read or download the full version click here.


As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater good by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single individual can build alone. Therefore I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term. I recognize my decisions can have far-reaching consequences that affect the well-being of individuals inside and outside my enterprise, today and in the future. As I reconcile the interests of different constituencies, I will face difficult choices.

Therefore I promise:

  • I will act with utmost integrity and pursue my work in an ethical manner.
  • I will safeguard the interests of my shareholders, co‐workers, customers and the society in which we operate.
  • I will manage my enterprise in good faith, guarding against decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise and the societies it serves.
  • I will understand and uphold, both in letter and in spirit, the laws and contracts governing my own conduct and that of my enterprise.
  • I will take responsibility for my actions, and will represent the performance and risks of my enterprise accurately and honestly.
  • I will develop both myself and other managers under my supervision so that the profession continues to grow and contribute to the well‐being of society.
  • I will strive to create sustainable economic, social, and environmental prosperity worldwide.
  • I will be accountable to my peers and they will be accountable to me for living by this oath.

This oath I take freely, upon my honor.

Imagine for a moment, that we gave this to top managers around the world and told them to fill in the blank:  “As a manager, my role is to _________________.”   Do you think any C-suite executive would answer with the first sentence of this oath, “As a manager my role is to serve the greater good…”?  What do you think the most common answer would be?

This sentence is redefining the role of manager.  If future executives and managers focused decisions and businesses primarily on bringing “people and resources together to create value” in order to serve the greater good, think of how different so many businesses would become!  I am not suggesting that all businesses should become nonprofits with specific causes, nor do I think that is the purpose of this oath.  If the context in which managers operated were to shift from creating pure profit to creating sustainable value, then the landscape of the corporate world as we know it could very much change.

It is also important to note the mention of “economic, environmental, and social” sustainable prosperity.  Success is no longer a seven figure number or a positive balance sheet.  In the light of the last 18 months around the world, with financial meltdown and Ponzi schemes, this oath seems necessary.  Looking forward, in a world MBAs and business leaders will be the ones to create change, this oath is even more important.

For more information, check out

Posted by: AC | June 1, 2009

Best Practices Webinar: Online Recording

If you are interested in listening to the recent webinar I posted about, you are in luck because the recording is posted online. 🙂

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