Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Business School Application Round…


Our good friend, Jeremy Shinewald, over at mbaMission is writing a two-part article for our weekly newsletter, GMATTERS about how the current crop of prospective business school candidates face distinctly unique challenges other rounds of applicants have not had to face. Jeremy touches upon a lot of great points in the first part of his article, so we thought it would be a good idea to share it. Enjoy!

Long-Term Planning: The Big Picture

By: Jeremy Shinewald of mbaMission

With the final round of MBA applications for almost all of the top schools upon us, we can take a brief moment to reflect on the main story of the year thus far: application volumes are up significantly as a result of economic turmoil. So, with the promise of increased competition for a finite number of spaces going forward, it is best that prospective MBA applicants who are targeting admission for next year (or even beyond) start working to improve their chances now. Further, regardless of this macro-trend, by being proactive, candidates can remove a great deal of stress from the process and ensure that in July, when the 2008 applications appear, they can simply focus on mastering the applications. We at mbaMission have several big picture recommendations for candidates to consider so that they can be as competitive as possible.

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Conventional Wisdom


It’s conventional wisdom that, in a weak economy, more people will apply to business school to wait out the bad times in a productive manner.

Well, it appears that conventional wisdom is correct, as we’re seeing a bit of a rush to apply, including people trying to make 3rd round deadlines for Fall, 2008, just as the economy hits a rough patch.

Anecdotally, business schools have caught on that there may be a late rush of qualified applicants – they seem to be employing their Waitlists more than in past years, presumably to keep their options open in terms of filling their final slots.

What does all this mean? Well, it likely means that 3rd round applicants for this Fall are going to face even steeper odds than in past years. Most admissions officers will tell you that you’re better off applying for the 1st round rather than the 3rd round in any given year. So if you’re on the fence, you may want to consider trying to sharpen your application for next Fall rather than rush to get it in now.

Recipe for Acceptance (from


The following article was provided to us by our friends at Accepted is hosting a number of telethons in mid-2008 that allow MBA applicants to call in for a free 15-minute consultation. Click here for more details.

Recipe for Acceptance

Take a few buzzwords like synergy, global village, sustainability, social responsibility, leverage, empower, diversity. Season with acronyms B2B, B2C, ETF, M&A,CDO, TLA, and PE. Stir in generous platitudes about forces that molded you into the person you are today and the top-notch faculty, diverse student body, and outstanding alumni network at the schools to which you are applying. Cook on your smart phone while seeking feedback from a bevy of your fifty closest colleagues, friends, and relatives. And voila! You have an MBA application essay.

No, you may have a recipe for rejection.

All too often MBA applicants grope for a recipe for success, a one-size-fits-all approach to writing the essays. Push the right buttons, stir in the tried-and-true ingredients, and you’ll have it made. Right? Wrong!

That recipe doesn’t exist. You aren’t making pancakes here; you’re trying to portray yourself as a multi-faceted, one-of-a kind gem. How do you do that? Use the Ten Tools for Terrific MBA Essays below to focus on your uniqueness, accomplishments, and strengths as you refine your essays.

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Top 5 GMAT Test-Taking Strategies


by Chris Ryan, Director of Instructor and Product Development, ManhattanGMAT

You’ve studied all the content, you’ve done hundreds of problems, you’ve taken practice test after practice test.  And now, it’s GMAT game day.  You’re following all the logistics tips: you got enough sleep last night, you’ve shown up early, you haven’t eaten anything funny, you plan to take the breaks while giving yourself enough time to check back in with the proctors.  But what about actually taking the test?  What do you have to remember while you’re in the thick of battle?

Here are five strategies to guide you:

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If you like podcasts . . .


The best resource around for MBA-related podcasts is the aptly named MBAPodcaster, which includes Admissions tips and discussions with admissions officers from various institutions.  Their library is deep enough for you to constructively fill many a morning commute or jog on the treadmill.  Something else to do when you’re not prepping for the GMAT!  🙂

B-School Mixer: Shaken Not Stirred


If you’ve ever wondered how you could combine planning your forthcoming business school career with your previous undergraduate lifestyle, look no further. ManhattanGMAT, in conjunction with MBA Admissions Consultant Firm, Clear Admit, is holding a networking mixer in Philadelphia on Wednesday, February 6, 2008.

At the event, you’ll have the opportunity speak with ManhattanGMAT Instructor, Brian Lange, and Clear Admit co-founder, Graham Richmond. This is truly a great opportunity to get a head start on the admissions process while networking with other young professionals.

As if alcohol and food isn’t enough of a draw, for those who can’t wait to experience their senior citizen side, we’ll be raffling off various goodies throughout the night, including a 9-session GMAT prep course, a complete set of ManhattanGMAT course books and some school guides from Clear Admit.

Just click the Martini glass below to register! After all, there’s nothing quite like Happy Hour (or getting into a top business school).

(Click Here to Join)

Happy New Year from ManhattanGMAT!


New Year ManhattanGMAT

Good luck to all business school candidates who have recently submitted (and perhaps may continue to submit) their applications for consideration! To all those who are just starting the process of applying to business school for Fall ’09 admissions, congratulations for doing your research sooner rather than later. We hope you strongly consider ManhattanGMAT for your test prep needs.

Have a safe and healthy New Year!


The Team at ManhattanGMAT

Veritas Prep vs. ManhattanGMAT – Instructor hiring and training


We are often asked to compare and contrast MGMAT to Veritas. The primary difference between ManhattanGMAT and Veritas is that the two organizations have vastly different approaches to Instructor hiring and training. We have several Instructors who have had direct experiences with both companies – their accounts follow below.

“The quality of any business is reflected in its hiring process. Manhattan GMAT’s excellent hiring process is the main reason I decided to work for it rather than for our competitor, Veritas Prep. Before applying to both companies, the only thing I knew was that they both advertised in Craigslist seeking instructors. I soon found out that the similarities end there.

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Insight from GMAC


Last month, GMAC hosted a seminar to brief us on facts, data, and trends from the test-takers out there. Here (somewhat belatedly), are some of the key points that they presented:

1.  Scores are creeping upwards – the average in 2007 was 537, 12 points higher than in 2005.

2.  The Number of Hours spent studying correlates to Higher GMAT Scores – people that achieved a score of 700 or higher reported studying an average of 114 hours for the test. In contrast, people that scored between 500 – 540 reported studying for 84 hours.

3. The Number of Weeks spent studying correlates to Higher GMAT Scores – 50+% of the people that studied for 7 weeks or more received a 600 or higher. This number dropped to 43% for those who studied between 4 and 6 weeks, and 37% for those who studied between 1 and 3 weeks.

4. Taking the Test more than once Tends to Result in a Higher Score – the mean score increase for someone who takes the test a 2nd time is 31 points. It should be noted though that this tends to be inflated by a couple of self-selection factors (i.e. the numbers tend to reflect people who underachieved on the 1st test relative to their college ranking, didn’t finish the quantitative section, etc.). 30% of re-testers saw no increase (or even a decrease). 40% of test-takers had their score increase 50 points or more, and 10% had results increase 100 points or more. I think ManhattanGMAT is responsible for some of that 10%. 🙂

From the above, it’s clear that even the administrators of the GMAT realize that this a test that you can prepare for in order to improve your performance. So your scores are certainly not fixed!

GMAC also reaffirmed once again that spending extra time on the first 10 questions does not help your score, and tends to hurt your score by ruining your time management throughout the section. There is enough variability in the algorithm such that some early mistakes are not necessarily critical to your score – you can quickly push yourself up to higher levels by getting later questions right.

These were the main points. They’re working on a new diagnostic test that can be downloaded, and the next edition of the Official Guide is targeted for late ’08. Still, this would not affect the average student substantially.

Last, they also indicated that most people rely upon word-of-mouth for choosing a test prep firm. That was possibly the best news of the event for us here at ManhattanGMAT!

GMAC Briefing


Last Friday, GMAC (the publishers of the GMAT) invited a few of the senior people from ManhattanGMAT to a presentation in a hotel in New York to let us know what GMAC has in development.

The event was very interesting, to say the least.  Much of it consisted of applicant profile data (i.e. how many people are taking the GMAT, average scores, average score increases if someone takes the test more than once, etc.).  But there was  the odd announcement concerning some of the newer resources GMAC is working on for 2008.

We’re going to be posting a more detailed write-up later this week.  However, if you’re studying for the GMAT right now, the important takeaway is likely that there are NO changes forthcoming in terms of the format or nature of questions tested.  So no major changes on the horizon, through mid-2008.

More to come!