Spoke to recommenders

Hey all,

I finally told my boss that I am planning to go back to school. It was a shock to him as he would have never thought me going back to school or for that matter even leaving the company. But I had to tell him as I need a RECO from him. Despite of being shocked he gave me a patient hearing and in fact showed interest in knowing which school I am applying to or the specialization I am looking for and how I will manage finance. This discussion went on for 2 hours and he looked very positive about writing recommendation letters for me. I had to warn him that he would have to spend a lot of hours in doing so as I am planning to apply to almost 10 schools!

The other recommender is my Mentor and former boss. My current boss told him about me before I could inform him. So he was not much shocked. But he was very happy. He has been my inspiration since last 4 years so hearing encouraging words from him was quite satisfying. He was also ready to spend any number of hours for my letters! Infact he told me that if I need any financial help once I am in US I can count on him! Such a positive attitude!

I am yet to tell my 3rd recommender. He is a peer but plan to tell him around early next week. I think he would be a cake walk after speaking to the first 2. He will be shocked for sure!

I have almost finalized my resume and have now started working on HBS essays and RECO. I have rough points ready but need to work on putting on paper and mercilessly edit it. But before that I have to crack TOEFL this weekend. So, I will write more once I am done with my TOEFL. 

TOEFL or Resume or Reco?

As the first round deadline OF HBS (Oct-2nd) coming nearer day by day, I am getting more anxious on what all I should include in my resume, essays, reco, cover letter,etc… I have my TOEFL scheduled next week but somehow I cant concentrate on it.

People say if you have done well on GMAT and have good English skills then scoring 110+ is easy. Well I do have good GMAT score and (I believe) have good oral and written english skills but then a standardized exam like TOEFL is also important part of your app. I am going to give 2 TOEFL tests tomorrow to build up my stamina to and hope to do well. That will boost my confidence.

App Process – I have been working on my resume since last 4 days. I didn’t touch at it for last 4 years as I grew to higher designations every 12-18 months and have been with same company. But it presents a new set of challenges. WHAT and HOW MUCH I should include in resume. Some schools say it should be only 1 page (like MIT) whereas some says 2 are fine. I just can’t understand how to include your profile, edu, work history, extras in single page. But do I have an option of not following it? NO. So, will have to cut down my “achievements”.

What I am currently doing is put all that I can recall from my last 4 years at this company in a document and then trying to make bullet points out of it. As they say, I have to mercilessly edit my resume to make it less wordy, concise and to-the-point.

More on resume and other parts later… I have still not told recommenders but I am confident that they will write good recommendation letters for me. I may tell them today itself. Well, once I tell them I am sure I am not going to get that next promotion (which was very near to me!) but will not mind if I get in to my dream school. Let’s see how it goes!  

TOEFL Preps

My TOEFL is scheduled in 10 days and I had started with TOEFL prep with ETS book around a week back. I gave my first Kaplan Test with many interruptions and didn’t do that bad. But somehow I am not feeling satisfied with my preparations. That could be because we work so hard on GMAT that your PREP for TOEFL looks incomplete even though you are almost ready.

I am trying to find out some more listening section and speaking section practice questions. Found out Kaplan book and will go through its audio section CD for better prep. Found out CDs for Cambridge also but haven’t been able to locate corresponding Cambridge book so the CDs are of no use right now. If anybody reading this has it please forward the link of that treasure to this beggar!!

It was really awkward to speak and record your own voice while practicing but I feel much comfortable with it now. I guess my inherent nature of summarizing and opinionating helps me to talk about anything on various questions. But I need to be more clear and consistent in speech. I am praying that I don’t get cold and cough around my TOEFL days!

Well, once I am done with my TOEFL I will post some links for TOEFL resources till then keep doing the best in whatever you’re doing.

Posted in TOEFL. Tags: . 1 Comment »

Too many MBA Rankings – which one to follow?

I have been reading, re-reading and again visiting school websites and resources to finalize the schools I want to apply. Like many others, I take help of different rankings available online. But each one shows different schools in top 5. So, I researched to find out what each ranking is based on and below is what I found out. I hope this becomes useful to many others like me! [Check out my new blog post on this]

BusinessWeek MBA Rankings

BusinessWeek bases its MBA rankings on:

  • 45% on student satisfaction surveys of recent MBA Program graduates
  • 45% on surveys of corporate recruiters based on their experiences with a school’s graduates
  • 10% on “intellectual capital” calculated by BusinessWeek, which tallies points for appearance of the faculty’s research in 18 specific publications

Detailed MBA Rankings Methodology

BusinessWeek surveys MBA graduates and corporate recruiters, and measures faculty publications.

Every two years, BusinessWeek asks the graduating MBA classes at schools to complete an online survey. MBAs evaluate “everything from the quality of teaching to the efficacy of career placement offices” using a scale of 1-10 for each question. Responses from the graduating class account for half of a school’s student satisfaction score. The other half of the MBA program rankings comes from the responses of the two previous BusinessWeek rankings classes, which carry a weight of 25% each. The resulting student satisfaction score receives a 45% weighting in the overall MBA program ranking.

BusinessWeek also asks corporate recruiters who hire MBAs to complete an online MBA ratings survey. Recruiters rate their top 20 schools based on their company’s experiences with a school’s graduates. Each school’s total score is divided by the number of responding companies that recruit from that school. BusinessWeek reported that there tend to be greater differences among schools in the corporate survey, so recruiter opinion can have a greater impact on the overall ranking. In 2006, BusinessWeek no longer based each school’s recruiter score on a single survey and, instead, combined the three most recent polls, as it does with the student surveys. The 2006 recruiter survey counts for 50% of the recruiter score, while the 2004 and 2002 surveys contribute 25% each. Combined, the three recruiter polls accounted for 45% of the final ranking. The recruiter score accounts for 45% of any MBA program’s ranking score.

Finally, BusinessWeek calculates each school’s “intellectual capital” rating by tallying faculty’s publications in 18 publications, and adds points if The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or BusinessWeek reviewed a professor’s book. Tallies are adjusted for faculty size. The intellectual capital score accounts for 10% of a school’s MBA ranking.

Financial Times MBA Rankings

The Financial Times bases its MBA rankings:

  • 55% on career progression by surveys of alumni, with salary data as the largest measure
  • 25% on diversity of faculty, students and board members and the international experience of students, by surveys completed by the schools themselves
  • 20% on research, calculated by the Financial Times

Detailed MBA Ranking Methodology

The Financial Times measures three areas in its annual MBA ranking:

  • Career progression
  • Diversity of faculty, students and board members, and the international experience of MBA students
  • Research

The Financial Times sends a questionnaire to alumni three years after graduation to chart their progress from pre-MBA program, through graduation and into the workplace. Their “career progress,” for which the salary data is the largest measure, accounts for 55% of the MBA ranking.

Each school completes a survey, which measures diversity of faculty, advisory board members and students, and international experiences of the MBA students. These diversity and international measures account for 25% of the overall MBA program ranking.

Finally, the Financial Times rates each school for “ideas generation,” which accounts for 20% of the weighting of the overall Financial Times ranking. This research ranking is based on a rating of faculty publications in 40 international academic and practitioner journals (10%); the percentage of faculty with doctoral degrees (5%); and the number of doctoral graduates from the last three academic years with additional weighting for graduates who took faculty positions at one of the top 50 schools in the most recent FT ranking (5%).

Forbes MBA Rankings

Forbes ranks return on investment of MBA programs based on:

  • Average 5-year increase in compensation compared to pre-MBA salary for each school’s graduates
  • Cost of each MBA program, including estimated foregone salary

Detailed MBA Rankings Methodology

Forbes ranks “return on investment” for MBA programs. For its most recent MBA program ranking, which was released in 2007, Forbes surveyed 2002 graduates of 102 MBA programs around the world.

To determine the five-year MBA gain, Forbes asked alumni for their pre-M.B.A. salaries as well as compensation figures for three of the first five years after getting their degrees. Forbes compared their post-M.B.A. compensation with their opportunity cost (tuition and forgone salary while in school) and what they would have made had they stayed in their old jobs. Forbes adjusted for cost-of-living expenses and discounted the earnings gains, using a rate tied to money market yields.

U.S. News & World Report MBA Rankings

U.S. News & World Report bases its MBA rankings:

  • 25% on ratings by business school deans and MBA program directors
  • 15% on ratings by recruiters of the schools at which they recruit
  • 35% on placement statistics provided by each school
  • 25% on school-reported “selectivity”, the percentage of applicants the school accepts for admission

Detailed MBA Rankings Methodology U.S. News & World Report sends surveys to all accredited MBA programs. The annual MBA ranking includes:

  • Surveys of deans and MBA program directors who rate programs (25% of the overall ranking)
  • Corporate recruiters rate the programs where they recruit (15% of the overall MBA ranking)
  • “Statistical indicators,” which include placement success (35% of the overall MBA ranking) and student selectivity (25% of the overall MBA ranking)

Specialty MBA rankings are based solely on ratings by deans and program directors, who can list up to 10 MBA programs for excellence in each area listed. The 10 schools receiving the most votes appear in the ranking.

The Wall Street Journal MBA Rankings

  • The Wall Street Journal bases its MBA program rankings 100% on surveys of recruiters’ perceptions of the MBA programs from which they recruit.

Detailed MBA Rankings Methodology

The ranking components for all schools measured in the 2006 survey include three elements: perception of the school and its students (21 attributes); intended future supportive behavior toward that school; and mass appeal. For national and regional schools, mass appeal is defined as the total number of respondents who recruit MBA graduates from that school. For international schools, mass appeal is defined as the number of countries in which the school’s recruiters are based.

Each of these three components – perception, supportive behavior and mass appeal – accounts for one-third of the overall 2006 rank. The 2006 ranking of schools that were ranked in 2005 and remained within the same cluster is based on an average of the 2006 and 2005 rank. For schools that are new to the MBA program ranking survey or moved between clusters, the ranking is based on 2006 results only.

GMAT Verbal Section Strategy Tips – How to score 40 plus in GMAT Verbal

I have been reading several debriefs where slightly improper time management costs a lot of the eventual score on GMAT. So, I thought of sharing my strategy on verbal section on how I tried to manage my time. I call it “How to score 40 plus in GMAT Verbal” tips! I hope some of fellow test takers may find it useful. [Also check out my quant section strategy tips]

§ DO NOT BE AFRAID OF VERBAL SECTION. Instead, ENJOY IT!

§ Divide your verbal section in 3 phases

§ Phase 1 [30 minutes]: Take sufficient time for first 15 questions, approximately 2 minutes. You will get at least 1 RC in this but try to gain momentum because once you are in momentum you will be able to make up the extra time lost

§ Phase 2 [25 minutes]: Be quick between questions 16 and 31. Say approximately 1.5 minutes per question or 25 minutes overall.

§ Phase 3 [20 minutes]: Leave almost 2 minutes per question for last 10 questions as they will contain fewer experimental questions. Please click here why I recommend doing well on last few questions.

§ Numbered scratch pad: Use your time during the school selection screens to create numbered scratch pad with 5 choices. Use this scratch area to execute POE (point of elimination). Make sure you use POE method for majority of your verbal questions. It will help you narrow down the choices and quickly answer. [Please click here to see where you should have numbered scratch pad.]

Reading Comprehension (RC):

  • Almost all study guides will recommend you to do “active reading” by taking notes. BUT, do NOT write too much. Gaze through one paragraph at a time and just list a few words or sentences (say 1-2 sentences or 5-8 words.)
  • Note down point for first 2 RC and try to reduce your dependency on writing for active reading. You can remember 4 paragraphs if you read them carefully. Ideally you may not write more than a few words (or no words) for last RC. This will ensure that you will have enough time to answer last 5-7 questions which are typically SC or CR.
  • For last RC you may want to start your reading aiming to answer first question instead of getting overall understanding if you’re running out of time.
  • Try to follow 7 step strategy of Manhattan.
  • ALWAYS, read the first question before reading passage.
  • USE POE in RC. 3 out of 5 choices are irrelevant.

Critical Reasoning (CR):

  • Be quick to remove irrelevant choices. Any words which don’t appear in original passage may actually be irrelevant.
  • Try to find out words which match the words from passage. Choices with such words are more than likely to be correct choices.
  • Use your numbers scratch pad to remove irrelevant choice by POE. Please click here to see how to create such scratch pad.
  • Concentrate a little more on CR that follows RC. Usually you feel fatigued after reading a passage, questions and answer. Another small passage of CR can add to fatigue and a hazy reading may lead you to choose wrong choice. Just a little concentration not too much so that you run out of time afterwards J

Sentence Correction (SC):

  • Treat SC as if you’re doing math section. There are predefined grammar rules and if those rules are compromised, the sentence is wrong. This is as simple. Use Manhattan SC guide as bible.
  • Read the sentence and try to spot the error. As soon as you spot the mistake USE POE and remove those choices.
  • If an answer choice seems to make compromise with grammar rule(s) then cancel it even if that’s the only less wordy choice or probably the last one after you crossed off other 4 choices. It’s very likely that there is another choice that you misread at first attempt.
  • When you are left with 2 choices try to find out which one can be wrong. This strategy will help you correct answer.
  • Don’t ignore your strength in an attempt to do better on your weak points. SC was my strength so I concentrated on each SC question and tries to pick the right choice. Remember: Your strength will earn you more points than concentrating too much on weakness.

GMAT Quant Section Strategy Tips

I have been reading several debriefs where slighltly improper time management costs a lot of the eventual score on GMAT. So, I thought of sharing my strategy on quant section on how I tried to manage my time. I hope some of fellow test takers may find it useful. [Also check out my Verbal Section Strategy tips]

Test taking strategy:

§ DO NOT TAKE IT EASY. Yes, although it’s relatively very easy to score high in this section, your little complacency can greatly kill your chances to get close to 50’s in Math section and your dream to see 7xx figure.

§ Try to get in to rhythm. Focus on first 15 questions a lot to answer all of them correctly. You can take up to 30-35 minutes to answer them.

§ You can be a little quick for next 12 questions. Try to answer them in around 20 minutes as it’s more likely to have experimental questions.

§ Save approximately 20 minutes for last 10 questions to ensure that you don’t have any incorrect answer. Please click here why I recommend doing well on last few questions.

§ Although it’s very important to have first 10-15 questions correct but if you encounter a new type of question which literally stumps you then don’t get bogged down and spend too much time. Guess and move ahead. Don’t let the disappointment of not getting it right bother you. You can get a score of 48 even at 10-12 mistakes. Try to get less than 5 mistakes, I believe it ensures that you have around 50 in quant.

§ Double check: Quant is not about knowing all the formula. It’s about answering what is asked. GMAT maths is tricky in its verbiage. Make sure you’re not doing the following.

o Selecting answer for percentage and not for number (specially in DS)

o Selecting answer for number where it asked for ratio (esp. DS).

o Selecting answer for x whereas the question asked for 4x or y

o Selecting answer for a reverse order (ascending or descending) than originally asked.

General Quant Tips:

§ Probability: If you are not master at it than don’t worry. It should not bother so that you make mistakes in your strong area. If you’re not comfortable than follow 800score techniques for PnC. Their way is really simple for many non engineering students!

§ Practice: Please commit yourself to do at least 50 maths questions every day in last month prior to your test. This will ensure that your calculation speed is well and you’re continuously in rhythm.

§ Do a timed practice: Doing 50 questions in 4 hours will not help. Get into a practice of doing 25 questions in 20 minutes so your speed is near to what is required.

GMAT Issue – Competition is beneficial (How to write GMAT Argument Essay Example)

Another from GMAT Issue Archive:

 

“The presence of a competitor is always beneficial to a company.  Competition forces a company to change itself in ways that improve its practices.”

 

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above.  Support your views with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

 

The author believes that the presence of competitor is always beneficial because it forces a company to improve continuously. There are many circumstances in which this statement holds true. For example, improvement in product, services,delivery of the goods, continued research and development, etc… However there are many circumstaces where the presence of competitor is not so beneficial. For example, presence of an established competitor in a market where a new company wants to enter. However, after a careful consideration I believe the competition is always beneficial to the company.

 

First, the comptition makes the company always on a lookout for improvement opportunities in various departments. If the company doesn’t act as quickly as the  competitor then there are chances to loose market share and hence a dip in profit. This way it helps company to stay agile to changing market and customer requirments. For example, in consumer toothpaste market the presence of several major players make it impossible for any one of them to become complacent and it always helps them to do continuous introspection in the way they manage processes and practicies inside the comapny. This introspection can force them to change the unsuccessful or incompetent practices.

 

Second, the competition makes the company invest more into the research and development and innovation to come out with better products for consumers. For example, we have seen consumer electronics companies to present new and superior quality of TVs years after years. Such strategy always helps them to stay ahead in the game.

 

However, the competition can also be detrimental to some companies in some scenarios. For example – if there are too many competitors in a market such as refrigerator market, it becomes incresingly difficult for the companies to meet shareholder expectations on return. Such fierce competition forces the companies to cut the prices and profits which may lead them to a difficult financial position. In such cases cosolidation of market is more required than entry of another competitor.

 

Another example where the competition is not so helpful is where there is only one significant player enjoying a monopoly. In such case it becomes increasignly difficult for the new player to present it products and earn profits. For example, it would be difficult for a new retailor to enter in US market and compete with Wal Mart. The new retailor would have hoped that Wal Mart was not present in market so that new retailor doesn’t need to compete with price of Wal Mart which buys goods in bulk!

 

However from a higher level perspective it has been observed that a competitor in the market makes the company thriving for better results, products and earning. Sometimes only such tough competition has given birth to the innovations which has led to revival of several multi-nationationals such as Appel with iPod. Compe. So competition is a boon to the company and the market in which it works.