Articles published in March 2013

Free GMAT Events This Week: April 1- April 7


Here are the free GMAT events we’re holding this week. All times are local unless otherwise specified.

4/2/13– Boston, MA – Free Trial Class – 6:30PM- 9:30PM

4/3/13– New York, NY- Choosing the Right B-School presented by mbaMission– 7:00PM- 8:30PM

4/3/13– Online- Free Trial Class- 9:00PM-12:00AM (EDT)

4/3/13– Evanston, IL- Free Trial Class- 6:30PM- 9:30PM

4/4/13– Online- Thursdays with Ron– 7:00PM-8:30PM (EDT)

4/7/13– San Antonio, TX – Free Trial Class – 5:30PM- 8:30PM

4/7/13– Online – Free Trial Class – 5:30PM- 8:30PM (EDT)

4/3/13– London – Free Trial Class- 2:00PM- 5:00PM

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page.

Friday Links: Great Jobs for MBA Grads, How to Borrow for an MBA, & More!


iStock_000012655127XSmallCatch up on some business school news and tips with a few of this week’s top stories:

6 Great Jobs for MBA Grads (U.S. News Education)

Trying to decide what to do after you’ve been accepted into an MBA program? Here are a few outstanding careers that may be a good fit.

Mistakes to Avoid During the MBA Admissions Process (Graduate Guide)

It’s important for prospective business students to be aware of the common admissions mistakes. Here is some helpful advice to avoid application pitfalls.

An Interview with Stanford Dean Garth Saloner (Poets and Quants)

The dean of the most expensive MBA program in the world talks about why business school is worth every penny.
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Lifting Your GMAT Score


lifting gmat scoreHow do you maximize your score on the GMAT? Sure, you have to learn to answer harder questions correctly “ but that’s not actually enough.

Let’s stipulate a couple of things. First, whenever I say easier or harder in this post, I’m referring to easier or harder for you, the reader; everything here is relative to your current scoring level and your desire to lift that level to whatever your goal score is. In other words, this works at every level and for every goal. 🙂

Second, as a general rule, you take (on average) more time to answer harder questions than you take to answer easier ones.

Okay, what does that mean? Most people don’t spend much time studying the things that they generally already know how to do; they don’t analyze questions that they answered correctly unless there was some other issue (such as spending too much time).

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Update of GMATPrep software is definitely worth downloading!


The new release of GMATPrep, version 2.2, is a significant upgrade!

gmatprepThe biggest improvement is that the software now allows you to review previous practice problems and tests. I was excited when I saw this feature listed in the README and I was thrilled when I found that I could actually review the practice problems and the tests that I took last year! Thank you, GMAC! This is enormously helpful for test takers.

The default for both practice problem sets is now to do what most people want to do, which is to save the test for later review, and the new user interface makes it very hard to accidently delete a practice test. You have to press a test ˜reset’ button and then go through a dialog to reset your tests, another big improvement.

I was also delighted to see that in the practice utility, the Reading Comprehension problems are now grouped correctly. In the previous versions of GMAT Prep, each RC practice problem included an entirely new passage, unlike the real test, where of course each passage has 3 or 4 associated questions. This is another significant improvement and makes the practice utility more helpful for people who are working on RC or who want to do mixed verbal sets. Since this new feature works correctly with mixed drills as well, you can now use GMATPrep to specify realistic verbal mixed sets, with SC, CR, and RC problems, as well as realistic quant mixed sets of PS and DS problems.

Although the two practice tests still seem to have only one IR section, an IR percentile ranking is now computed, which is helpful.

There are is also some new timing analysis available in practice sets, along with some at least moderately useful progress tracking graphs for examining progress on practice sets.

And speaking of time, you can now pause a practice exam or question session. Although you really shouldn’t do this if you want a realistic practice experience, sometimes it is helpful, such as when you are writing a review of the software and need to test features and then write about them. J

GMAC must be thinking more about customer support because you can now generate system information at the click of button, which makes things much easier if you ever need to call of email GMAC about a software problem.

And finally, if you are a test taker with a GMAC approved timing accommodation, you can ask for a special code that you enter that will allow you to take practice tests with the appropriate amount of extra time.

All in all, very well done GMAC! I noticed a couple of weird little bugs that I’ve listed below, but they are minor compared to the improvements and have easy workarounds, which I’ve described.

Weird Little Bugs:

  • You have to enter your account name and password when you first launch GMATPREP and if you are logged in to when you try this, you will get an unhelpful unknown error message. If you see this message, just log out of’s website and try starting GMAT Prep again.
  • When you solve an IR table question, the ˜submit’ button will be grayed out until you click on sort by a column “ even if you have filled in all of the answers “ so just remember to click on something to sort by if you didn’t actually have to sort (and usually you will have to) to answer the question.

What is this Quant Question Hiding?


A certain class of questions tends to have more going on than might be apparent on the surface. (I’m being intentionally vague as to the certain class “ I’ll tell you what it is after you’ve tried the problem!)

Give yourself approximately 2 minutes to try the below GMATPrep problem. When you’re done, take a look at it again and ask yourself, What was this testing? What was it hiding?

*  If n is a positive integer and r is the remainder when (n “ 1)(n + 1) is divided by 24, what is the value of r?

(1)  n is not divisible by 2.

(2)  n is not divisible by 3.

Got something for me? Sure?

what's this gmat quant questions hidingLa la la. I’m just adding words here so that you don’t inadvertently glance down and see the answer while you’re still figuring things out up above. : ) Okay, what are the clues? Integer and remainder tell us that this is likely a number properties problem “ this is the class I was referring to earlier. I can tell this is number properties from a couple of key words, but it turns out there’s even more going on. The words divided by bring up the idea of divisibility. Finally, the problem begins by talking about the variable n, but also later mentions n “ 1 and n + 1. Put those three terms together and what have we got? Consecutive integers!

So we’re going to need to think about consecutive integer properties for 3 numbers in a row, and yet the divisibility info in the question stem talks only about the first and third numbers, while the info in the statements refers to the middle number. Okay.

Are any rules popping up in your mind right now? What have you learned about consecutive integers in the past, in particular for a set of 3 consecutive integers?

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Challenge Problem Showdown – March 25, 2013


challenge problem
We invite you to test your GMAT knowledge for a chance to win! Each week, we will post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for a free Manhattan GMAT Prep item. Tell your friends to get out their scrap paper and start solving!
Here is this week’s problem:

Which of the following cannot be the sum of two or more consecutive positive integers?

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Free GMAT Events This Week: Mar 25- Mar 31


Here are the free GMAT events we’re holding this week. All times are local unless otherwise specified.

3/25/13– Houston, TX – Free Trial Class – 6:30PM- 9:30PM

3/26/13– West Hollywood, CA- Free Trial Class- 6:30PM- 9:30PM

3/26/13– Online- Free Trial Class- 8:00PM-11:00PM (EST)

3/28/13– London- Choosing the Right B-School presented by mbaMission [London Center]– 7:00PM- 8:30PM

3/29/13– Online- Choosing the Right B-School presented by mbaMission– 8:30PM-10:00PM (EST)

3/30/13– Boston, MA – Free Trial Class – 2:00PM- 5:00PM

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page.

Friday Links: Five Ways MBA Applicants Go Wrong, MBA Grads Earning Six-Figure Salaries, & More!


iStock_000012655127XSmallCatch up on some business school news and tips with a few of this week’s top stories:

Where Six-Figure MBA Pay is a Done Deal (Poets & Quants)

According to John Byrne at Poets & Quants, there are 39 business schools in the U.S. alone whose graduates make six-figure salaries and bonuses right out of the gate.

Striking Out: Five Ways MBA Applicants Go Wrong (Bloomber Businessweek Business Schools)

What happens if you don’t receive an acceptance letter from anywhere? Here are five common pitfalls that applicants experience in the application process.
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Higher Acceptance Rates: If Only History Could Predict the Future


Note: This post is by Liza Weale, Senior Consultant at mbaMission

mbamissionThe news is out: as our friends at Poets & Quants shared this week, selectivity at top business schools dropped during the 2011“2012 application cycle, with a few exceptions.

While almost all the top-ranked MBA programs saw a decrease in selectivity, the biggest change was at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Two years ago, Ross reported an acceptance rate of 32%, but for the most recent application cycle, the reported rate was 41%.

So, if you’ve been considering applying to business school, you may be thinking you’d be a shoo-in now, right? If only history could predict the future.

What exactly will the acceptance rate look like at Ross next year? Will the school see a flood of applicants hoping to benefit from the higher acceptance rate”therefore actually lowering the acceptance rate? Or will candidates choose to apply elsewhere? Will Ross see a higher yield (the percentage of admitted students who enroll at the school) and have to ask people to defer their offer, as the MIT Sloan School of Management was forced to do this past summer?

The reality is that you cannot possibly know how many people”or especially, how many qualified people”are applying to a particular program in a given application season.

Business school is a long-term investment; it’s not day trading. If you’re hoping to capitalize on short-term market fluctuations, you are likely going to be disappointed. So, instead, assume that the schools are going to be just as competitive as ever and put together the most compelling application possible. Here are some thoughts to help you get started.

  1.  Get to know the schools in-depth to find the right fit for you”visit campuses, sit in on classes, talk to alumni, scour the information available online. Not only will this firsthand research help you better identify the proper programs for what you are seeking, but it will also come in handy when you are asked to explain in your essays and interviews why Yale/Ross/Anderson/Kelley/etc. is the best fit for you. And a side note: if the MBA programs are feeling pinched for applicants, their students will surely benefit in the end. Whether through new or improved facilities, added courses, star faculty, or other significant investments, the schools are eager to do what they must to attract the best and the brightest.
  2. Invest in the GMAT”follow a plan that builds both skills and endurance over time. All too often, candidates assume that because they did well on the SAT, they’ll do well on the GMAT; as a result, they fail to study properly, are disappointed with their results and find themselves scrambling after their first attempt. Assume that you’ll be studying at least a half dozen hours a week for a few months, and realize that only 10% of test takers achieve that coveted 700 score.
  3.  Be thoughtful about your candidacy. Are you, say, a consultant”as are so many other applicants? If so, think about the stories from your life that highlight your atypical qualities and achievements. Perhaps you traveled to China for two months to work on a start-up or helped your little sister rebound academically after some low grades. Do you come from a nontraditional background like education? If so, focus on showcasing experiences that illustrate your critical thinking skills”skills an admissions committee might not otherwise assume that you have.

Bottom line: do not stress (or relax!) too much about the numbers. Getting into business school is hard work, and it always will be. Gaming the system is impossible, so don’t waste your time wondering about questions you can’t answer and things you cannot control. Direct that energy instead to crafting the best application you can, and you will be fine. In fact, you may even enjoy the process.


The Role Of Confusion In Your Prep


Wait, is that a typo? Maybe I meant Confucius, the Chinese teacher and philosopher?

I actually do mean confusion. ? Journalist Annie Murphy Paul recently contributed a post to KQED’s Mind/Shift blog: Why Confusion Can Be a Good Thing.

gmat confusionGo ahead and read it “ I’ll wait. It won’t take you more than 5-10 minutes. Take particular note of item 2 on her 3-item list.

Why Is Confusion Good?

Ms. Murphy Paul supports her thesis with an important point: When we don’t know the right way to do something, we open up our minds to many potential paths “ and sometimes an alternate potential path is better than the official path.

We’ve all had the experience of reading an official solution and thinking, “Seriously? That’s how you have to do this?” only to find a better way on an online forum or via discussion with a teacher or fellow students.

Further, as far as a test like the GMAT is concerned, the discomfort inherent in figuring out that best path allows us to determine why a certain approach is preferable. That knowledge, in turn, helps us to know when we can re-use a certain line of thinking or solution process on a different (but similar) question in future.

How Can I Use Confusion To Help My Prep?

Murphy-Paul offers three suggestions (quotes below are from the article; the rest is just me):

(1) Expose yourself to confusing material
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