Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog

5 Tips for 1st year MBA Students


We get a lot of good news here at Manhattan GMAT from students who have been accepted into the MBA program they had their sights set on.  Now, as many of them are packing their bags to get settled into their new environment, here are some words of wisdom compiled from some of our Instructors who have been through it themselves.

Top 5 Tips for Entering Business School Students

So you’re about to start business school “ congratulations!As you hit your first orientation events and get to know your companions for the next couple of years, here are a few things to keep in mind to make the most of the experience:

1. Networking: Depth as well as Breadth.  The message about networking is ubiquitous in business school, and for good reason.  Chances are you’ve already witnessed how important it is to build relationships and make connections in the world of business.  A good portion of your classmates will be movers and shakers in their respective industries, so it’s a wise investment to network with them at every opportunity.  But one thing to keep in mind is that effective networking is not about collecting a stack of business cards during orientation weekend and accruing hundreds of connections on LinkedIn.  It’s okay to have a fair number of “weak ties” in your network, but also strive to cultivate strong, meaningful relationships along the way.  Ask yourself, Could I really call this person a couple of years from now and have them lend me a hand? These types of relationships take time to develop, so start early and make it a priority.

2. Make use of Clubs and Groups. Maybe you weren’t a big club person in college, and you made friends in other ways. Well, business school groups ought to be a different story. This is especially true if you’re interested in switching careers and/or industries. Clubs can often be a crossroads for cutting-edge ideas, speaker events with industry leaders, and job opportunities. Listing significant involvement in one or two clubs on your resume can make all the difference in your job search.  And participating in groups is a great way to build networks outside of your graduating class.

3. Stay Current.  The case method employed by most b-schools is about looking into the past to discuss key dilemmas and decisions that managers have faced.  But that does not allow you to lose sight of the present business landscape.  Consider your daily business newspaper/periodical/website reading a critical part of your coursework.  Not only will it contextualize and enhance your coursework, but it’ll help you understand the environment when you’re looking for a job.

4. Mix It Up.  You probably crafted an articulate and convincing argument about your short- and long-term career goals in your application essays.  But rest assured that no one will hold you accountable to anything you wrote or said during the admissions process.  Don’t be afraid to deviate from the path you envisioned for yourself. Take some electives outside your comfort zone and try new things, even consider registering for a course in one of the non-business schools of the university (e.g. law, public policy, etc.).  And while you’re mixing up your course plan, also avoid grouping up with the same three or four people project after project.  It would be a shame to miss out on the different talents and backgrounds of your classmates, and you could make a new friend or two.

5. Explore your idea.  There are not that many times when you’ll be free of the demands of a full-time job and surrounded by smart people with a natural interest in helping you flesh out that business idea you’ve had rattling around your head. Business school is a fantastic opportunity to give an idea a try in a supportive, relatively risk-free environment. Enlist support from classmates. Ask a professor what he or she thinks. Build or join a team. Think of it as yet another part of your education. At a minimum, it’ll make a great story for your job interviews down the road. 🙂


by presented a very interesting and informative write-up of the GMAT prep landscape earlier this week.  We’re glad that Businessweek included us, and grateful that many of our core values (top Instructors, rigorous curriculum, organizational focus) came through in the article.

Breaking the 700 Barrier


One of the great GMAT myths is that the first 8 questions in each section “make or break” your score and that nothing you do after that point has much of an effect on the score you end up with. False! Eight questions are not enough to determine your score. If they were enough, each section would consist of 8 questions.

One of the consequences of the myth is the belief that in order to break 700, you must answer those first 8 questions correctly. Untold numbers of test-takers have labored over the first eight, afraid that any mistake will send their scores plummeting to unthinkable depths. While it is true that you should give each question your best shot, the absolute number of questions answered correctly is not as important as their difficulty level. Better to have a 50/50 success rate at a high level than a 50/50 success rate at a lower one, even though the percentage of right and wrong answers is the same.

The most serious upshot of this myth is that its believers spend far too much time on the first eight questions and then find themselves racing to finish the section. Often, these test-takers run out of time and leave some questions unanswered at the end of a section. Given that unanswered questions are essentially counted as incorrect answers, it makes more sense to move at a steady pace throughout the entire section rather than concentrate on any particular subset of questions. In fact, spending too much time on early questions may actually damage rather than help your final score.

Read more

Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review – 2nd Edition (preview)


Following up on the release of the 12th Edition of the Official Guide for GMAT Review, GMAC is now releasing the 2nd editions of both the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review (released this week) and the Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review (to be released in the next couple of weeks).

As was the case with the 12th Edition, we will be breaking down the new guides in detail.  As a preview, 81 of the 300 verbal questions in the 2nd edition of the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review are new, in that they didn’t appear in the 1st edition or the Official Guides.  That means that 219 of the 300, or 73%, appeared in the 1st Edition of the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review.  We’ll be analyzing the 81 newbies in detail later in the week.



Here in Manhattan, Time Out New York is THE source for fun, practical information. So we here at MGMAT were excited to be included in the latest issue in an article about finding jobs.

On a related note, MGMAT IS hiring.  Click here if you’d like more info on currently available positions.  Warning – we’re very picky!

August is TEP Month here at Manhattan GMAT


Here at Manhattan GMAT we are incredibly proud of the exploits of our founder and chairman, Zeke Vanderhoek.  Zeke departed MGMAT in order to found TEP, a charter school in Washington Heights dedicated to attracting better teachers to the profession. TEP is paying its teachers $125,000 per year plus bonuses to teach underprivileged children.  The school has generated a lot of attention as a result of its innovative approach; the New York Times has been covering TEP every step of the way (here and here).

Imagine a world where teachers are paid handsomely (without increasing overall costs, TEP pays higher salaries by removing administrators and asking more of its teachers).  More talented young people would choose and stay in teaching as a profession.  Better teachers would produce better outcomes.  In a generation or so, we’d be in a lot better shape!

Now, TEP is only a month away from opening its doors to 120 fifth graders.  TEP will be making use of a temporary facility for the first several years, but will need a permanent home by the time it expands to its full-size of four grades.

To help TEP in its drive for a permanent facility, Manhattan GMAT is proud to donate 10% of the Company’s revenues in the month of August to TEP.  The donation will be made early next year.  We’re tremendously excited to support Zeke’s vision, as we know from experience that if you pay teachers more and expect more out of them, they’ll deliver results!  🙂

Here’s to TEP, higher pay for teachers, and improving the American educational system by making teaching the attractive profession it should be for the best and brightest!

Foundations of GMAT Math Workshops


About 2 years ago, one of our L.A. Instructors, Mike Kim, suggested that we provide a math curriculum  for students who want a refresher on fundamental math topics (e.g.  fractions, algebra, etc.).  We thought it was a fantastic idea.  Being an extraordinarily productive guy, Mike went on to author the Foundations of GMAT Math Workshops I and II which take place online (it turns out there are too many fundamental math topics to teach in one sitting).

Now, the Foundations of Math Workshops will be available for free to any Manhattan GMAT course student.  If you are a course student, you can simply go to the website and add the Foundations workshops to your account.  You will immediately receive access to dozens of practice problems in your student center as well as class recordings, and you can attend the next scheduled Foundations workshops live.

For non-students, the Foundations of Math Workshops will each be available for only $95.  Additionally, if you end up signing up for a course after taking the Workshops, we’ll credit you whatever you spent on the workshops, so they’ll essentially wind up being free for you too.

Remember, these workshops review foundational math topics such as algebra, basic geometry, fractions, etc.  They’re very useful if you need a refresher because you haven’t seen the math in a long while, but if you’re comfortable with the math already you can feel free to go straight to the Official Guides, Strategy Guides, etc.

P.S.  The Foundations of GMAT Math Book is due out this Fall, as Mike’s original idea is taking multiple forms to reach as many people as possible.

MGMAT on Clear Admit


Clear Admit did a recent profile on Manhattan GMAT on its blog as part of its series on GMAT prep companies.  The profile had some good info about MGMAT’s upcoming offerings that really ought to appear in this space.  🙂

GMAT Breaks Shorter as of July 17th


We’ve received word through the grapevine that GMAC is shortening all break periods during the test by a total of 15 minutes, effective July 17th.  This change has yet to be confirmed – we’ll update this blog post as soon as we receive official confirmation.

The primary change for students is that breaks between sections will be 8 minutes each instead of 10 minutes.  Those 2 minutes can be significant, as most people go to the bathroom between sections.  So it’s something to be aware of.

The other 11 minutes come from the time allocated to read Instructions, fill out background info, and decide whether to see your score.

However, none of the allotted times for GMAT Content areas will be affected (i.e. 2 30-minute essays, 75 minutes for Quantitative and 75 minutes for Verbal).

Why is GMAC making this change?  Hard to say.  It could be that shortening the total appointment time by 15 minutes would allow more appointments at the margins.  Or it could be an added security measure so that people have less time to do anything non-test related during break periods.  Whatever the rationale, a stressful experience just got a little bit more intense.

The OG 11th Edition – Collector’s Item

Andrew and Tom commemorate the passing of Big Orange

Andrew Yang (NY) and Tom Rose (Boston) commemorate the passing of Big Orange

Among the many topics of discussion at the Manhattan GMAT Instructor Convocation was what happens to the 11th Edition of the Official Guide now that it’s about to leave print.  Here at Manhattan GMAT, we have something of a library of the various editions of the OG, starting with the 4th Edition or so (our copy of that one is pretty tattered).

Most students automatically gravitate toward the 12th Edition of the Official Guide for GMAT Review as soon as they hear about it, because, well, the newer the better.

But the fact that the 12th Edition is one-third new questions also means that the 11th Edition has several hundred other fairly representative problems of recent vintage for the thorough student to pore through.  So if you’ve got Big Orange lying around, don’t punish yourself for having an earlier edition.  Instead, praise yourself for picking up what could soon be a Collector’s Item.