Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interview with Cornell Student

A few months ago, I spoke to a first-year student interested in social enterprise at the Johnson School at Cornell to get her insight.  She really opened my eyes to some of the more ‘non-traditional’ ways to pursue social enterprise interests.  She mentioned that there are several Fortune 500 companies with focuses on emerging markets.  Like for example, one role she mentioned is through a major a credit card company that needs employees to explore emerging markets in Africa.  AWESOME JOB!

She mentioned that she went to Johnson because she felt like the program was more well- rounded compared to other schools with strong Social Enterprise focuses.  She really likes Johnson’s sense of community and the focus on teamwork.  Also because it is a smaller class, compared to most top business schools, she pretty much knows everyone in the class.

She said her favorite courses were her Sustainable Global Enterprise class where she had the opportunity to go to a developing country to work with a start-up.  Her other favorite class was her core finance class since it strengthened her business acumen. 

Other things to mention, based on my own research of Johnson, is that it seems like the community is tight-knit which extends to the Alumni network as well.  After speaking with this student, I spoke with an Alum who connected me to several other alums not only from Johnson, but also from other schools I am interested in.  I could not believe how helpful that Johnson Alum was!  I think Johnson is a good school for those who are interested in a small, collaborative, teamwork environment and someone who wants a true campus atmosphere.

To learn more about Johnson check out:

Any thoughts/insights?



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Update on GMAT Studying: Sentence Correction

As I keep mentioning…I am studying fervently for my GMAT retake. While I’m still using all the resources I mentioned previously…I’m also trying out Ms. HR’s tip that she suggested a few months ago here. I’m really trying to work on my weaknesses and trending it out to focus my last few moments of studying. In the verbal section my weakness is sentence correction. It is the bane of my GMAT existence. However, on the blogs, I’ve been reading how it is one of the easiest elements of the GMAT to improve upon, so that is why it has been my focus. I have seen a few improvements, but I could stand to do slightly better. It’s helped that I made some flashcards and the MGMAT Sentence Correction Book is by far one of the best resources I’ve had up to date.

I will say that trending my flaws has really helped me. For example, I thought parallelism in Sentence Correction was my weakness. I focused so hard on trying to spot parallelism errors and memorizing tricks. However, once I trended the flaws of my most recent CATS, I realized it was not parallelism at all…but it was really verb tenses I was having issues with. :-/

Also, at the end of each of my study sessions, I have been going through the Beat the GMAT flashcards . I like them because #1 they are free and #2 I can scribble and highlight all over them with my personal notes.

Lastly, Google and YouTube have been my friends. When I encounter a problem that I cannot figure out the explaination. I just google it. And a YouTube video or a random message board will pop up with some GREAT explainations.

I hope this helps me out...and you too!

Anyone else hate sentence correction as much as I do?

Back to the books.

P.S I have not been paid/told to endorse any of these products


Monday, June 20, 2011

Wharton Visit

Last weekend I was in Philly going to a high school graduation. Since I was there I figured I better go visit some schools in the area. Turns out the only school I wanted to visit in the area was U. of Penn – Wharton. Obviously Wharton is one of the top schools in the country so I couldn’t waste a visit to Philly and not visit, even though classes are out, but I said what the heck.

First stop was straight to the admissions office to see if maybe there was someone I could talk to. Nope. The receptionist in the MBA office politely told me no you idiot classes are over, sign up for updates on the website, told me applications would be out in August, gave me a map and sent me on my way. I decided to wonder around the Wharton building for a minute and found the marketing department…empty also. Also in this building were a bunch of study rooms and some lecture halls from what I could see.

After I had gotten my map, I decided to walk around the “campus” a little. Mind you that Penn is in downtown Philly so the “campus” I am referring to was like a street area called Locoust Walk, you could walk from one end of campus to the other end of campus, but today there was some construction going on, so I had to walk around. It was there that it actually felt like a traditional campus to me. Coming from Michigan the whole dang city is campus as my bf kindly pointed out so I didn’t know what was going on being all downtown in a big city. It was cool though. I could see myself going to a school in a city, would just take some getting used to which I easily adapt so its fine.

All and I since I couldn’t talk to anyone and had my own little tour, Wharton LOOKS like…from the outside…a great school to consider.

Oh by the way one of the little graduates that I went to see graduate high school is going to Penn. and the other Stanford. Congrats to them!

-mads mom


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Part III: Guess its my turn for what I look for in schools

So I don’t really have a set way in how I am going about figuring out what schools I am going to apply to. People keep asking me do I know where I am applying yet and the answer is no. First off it depends on my GMAT and I am not positive about it but will probably be taking that in August and applying Round 2 for Consortium and other places. I am different for Motown and Ms. HR because I have a family so they are a main consideration that I have to think about it looking at schools. The order that I pretty much think about when looking at a school is: concentration, recruiting, location, scores/academic performance, and also will it fit for my family.

  • Concentration – My concentration is Marketing…well high-tech marketing because I want to work for a company like Apple or Google as you know. Most schools have marketing so it’s not like I can’t find a school that doesn’t offer it.
  • Recruiting – Since most schools have marketing I am looking at what companies recruit there for full time and internships. 
  • Location – The companies I want to work for are pretty much Silicon Valley areasish (not a word, I just made it up) so I am looking California, but I’m not going to just look there because I am also looking at the good ole alma mater…Michigan.
  • Scores/academic performance – I know I’m going to be outside of the GPA for schools so I am not even going to worry about that at this point, so the GMAT is what I have to focus on and try to apply to schools that I fall at least within the range of the GMAT when I eventually take it.
  • Family fit – This also goes with location because my bf has a job with a big company that has locations all over but who knows if he wants to be in a rural place or city or wherever. Pretty much will figure that out when I get accepted places haha. Since my little one will be about 4 I will need to be looking at schools for her, so that goes with location and school selections for her/daycare places. Also I want a school that is welcoming to people with families (ie. Penn – really good about people with families).

I mean costs, class size, clubs, and culture are also things I consider but not at this point because I am still trying to narrow down my list of schools both for the Consortium and non-Consortium. Since essays and application deadlines are starting to come out I should start working on that, but I’m not going to have a real list until after my GMAT.
Anyone else with a family got some ideas or recommendations? I’m open.

-mads mom.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Part II: What I'm looking for in a School....

Its always interesting to see how individuals narrow down their school choice. Motown nice selection critera! I also have a list of things that I'm looking for when choosing an MBA program. Check it out...
  • Concentration: Since I'm making a career change my #1 criteria is that the school I'm interested in have the concentration I'm looking for ( HR Management). I feel the best way to prepare me for my future career is to make sure I receive the best fundamental knowledge available.
  • Culture/ Student Clubs: Making sure the schools culture will be a fit for me is another important thing that will keep a school on or off my list. I can't visit every school before I apply so talking with students and alumni will have to do. The student clubs that are available will also heavily influence my decision. Student clubs are one of the many reasons why I fell in love with my number #1 school choice. They have so many clubs that sound so cool for example "extreme sporting and outdoor club". Sounds fun to me and the description sounds even better!! ... its the little things that make me happy :)
  • Class Size: Coming from University of Michigan and a big company , I want to try a smaller class size out. The expectation is that almost everyone going to business school will become someone great one day. I hope with a smaller class size I will be able to build a stronger network with my classmate.
  • Cost : Hefty loans are something I wish to avoid if possible so I am definitely looking at the tutions cost vs the percentage and profile of students who receive scholarships and grants. Lets be real, Money matters! No one wants to come out of business school with more debt and the same pay or even less pay. The avg starting salary for school is something I also like to look at. It sort of lets me know how valuable companies think that schools MBA is.
Those are my top things I look for when school shopping. Madsmom & folks out there, what are yours?!

-Ms. Hr


Monday, June 13, 2011

Part I: What I'm looking for in a School

 Sometimes I think looking for the 'right' school, similar to posting a personal ad:
Top MBA program with robust academics, pretty campus and cool people.  Low tuition/High # of scholarships distributed desired.
If only it was that easy.  Basically I’m looking for a few things that will make a school from good to great (in my head)

  • Ranking/Recognition – This does NOT mean I need to go to a #1 school; I’m more concerned with what a school is known for.  Are they known for developing quant jocks? Do most people end up in supply chain?  I want to know where most graduates end up and how well they are known in the few fields I’m interested in (as a reminder…I’m looking at social enterprise, consulting and marketing)
  • Location – I’ve had a slightly nomadic lifestyle in the past 3-4 years so I’m starting to get a little particular about where I reside.  I prefer an urban environment that isn’t too far from home (Michigan),  so I can:  #1 travel home cheaply and #2 volunteer in a urban environment.  On that note, I’m not 100% opposed to schools in more remote environments, but its not necess what I prefer.
  • Culture – This is a hard one to put in words.  But I rely on student conversations/school visits to bring this one home.  As I speak with students/alums I think: #1 Could I be friends with this person? #2 Is this person similar to the last person I spoke to? #3 Can I fit in?  Also, I look at a few statistics of the makeup of the student body and see how I could mesh/not mesh into that.
  • Academics – Most schools are on par with each other it seems.  I desire a wide curriculum and also I prefer schools with a Social Enterprise course track or something similar to it.
  • GMAT/GPA – Although I’ve already preached about “How im not a number”….If I’m well below…or well above the ranges…I’ll just say, it plays a factor :-)

What else do you look for in a school?  Any tips?


Friday, June 10, 2011

Chat with a Stern Alumni

I had the chance to talk with a brilliant friend from the University of Michigan. She just finished her MBA at stern. CONGRATS!!!! Below are some highlights from the chat

What criteria did you use to decided what schools to apply to?
  • Class size ( 450 or less). I wanted a small intimate class
  • Ranking
  • Making sure the firm/company I wanted to work for recruited at the school
  • Extracurricular Clubs
  • Reading class descriptions to see if the classes sounding exciting/interesting.
How did you prepare for the GMAT? Any tip?
  • First took a class (Kaplan). It kept me on track with studying.
  • Used Official Guide to study.
  • Series of practice exam. With my hectic schedule, I would sometimes break it up the practice exams if I did them during the week. Did quant one day and verbal the next.
What’s are some of the BEST things about bschool?
  • How diverse it is. Everyone has a different professional background. (opera singer in class)
  • Everyone is really smart
  • Professor and student dynamics. Professors are very approachable and helpful.
  • So many things to be involved in. People are culture curious. Friends from all over the world. Official school sponsors trips
  • Nice to feel like you have so many options as far as professional careers.
-Ms. HR


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Guest Post: The Gmat Coach & Mixtures

Hello All,

I hope you all are preparing well for your GMAT test. We “The GMAT Coach” sincerely wish you great success in your test. As a part of a series of articles to help students ace the GMAT test , today I am writing on the topic “Mixtures”. This “Mixtures” is an extension to the topic “Ratios & Proportions”.

The topic “Mixtures” is very interesting and sometimes tricky if you do not know how to set-up the questions the right way. Today I plan on discussing a strategy to tackle “Mixtures” problem by setting it up in the right & smart way.

“Mixtures” is basically when you combine two or more things in different proportions to form a new product. The best example of mixtures that we use in our day to day life is when we take a shower.
In our shower we mix hot water and cold water in a certain proportion depending on our comfort levels.

A typical GMAT question on this is going to be something like –

A hot water which is (80 degrees) and cold water (30 degrees) solutions are mixed to form a solution which is 50 degrees. What is the ratio of Hot Water to Cold Water in the mixture for 50 degree water solution?
A. 3 : 2
B. 2 : 3
C. 3 : 1
D. 1 : 3
E. 3: 4

Now taking this an example, lets learn a  strategy and smart way to approach this question.

1. First you set-up the questions as hot & cold water with their respective temperatures (80 & 30)
2. After you mix them we get 50 Degrees.
3. 80 – 50 = 30 and  30 – 50 = 20 (Ignore Negative Sign)
4. 20 Relates to Hot Water & 30 relates to Cold Water
5. After reducing we say that to get 50 degrees solution we need to mix Hot & Cold Water in the ratio of 2:3

This strategy helps you in solving the question in less than 30 seconds. Save you a lot of time and stress.

Any questions/concerns on this and for extra practice questions on this topic please feel free to e-mail me, Dhiraj co-founder of “The GMAT Coach” at

Wishing you all a great success in your GMAT prep and test.


Monday, June 6, 2011

And It Starts...

I"ve been reading on several blogs and websites about how June is the beginning of application season.  I had no idea…
So with this in mind, I decided to listen to a few consultants’ webinars and even did one of those [free] 15 min consultations with a major MBA consulting company.  Both were REALLY helpful and helped me get a realistic look at my story and my profile.  The verdict is still out if I’m going to pay for one or not, but I figure I have time to hash that out.  I also looked at a few essays from some schools on my radar to see what I’m in for once I start writing.  Basically these were the main takeaways from my activities over the past few weeks.
  •  Figure out your story into Short Term and Long Term Goals
  •  Determine what defines your values and passions
  • Divide your bio into academics, personal, Work Experience, and goals

With this in mind I just started thinking about what stories I definitely want any school's admissions committee to know about me.  I definitely have one story in mind that I plan to share with all the schools I’m applying too....but that’s about it :-/.  I'm realizing that it’s hard to know what makes you unique when you are YOU (if that makes sense).  So I just plan to bounce some things off some friends and mentors to see if my stories sound generic or interesting.
How have you started your b-school application season?
Okay...back to my books lol


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