Tuesday, August 31, 2010

45Q Score! Must be a mistake

So as prescribed by my tutor I took a practice exam today - only the Quant section though.  One good thing for me being able to have access to all of these exams is that my tutor can just tell me to do x,y, and z and just assumes I have the books/resources.  It's funny actually...kinda sad... but more comical!

So anyway I took the exam today and look:

I died when I saw that score.  Literally DIED ahah...  I'm still dead actually.  Once I got the score, I posted on BTG to see how that relates to the real exam.  Then I texted Brandon to see what his highest Veritas score was. I emailed Eric and David from BTG to see what they thought.  Then I emailed Brian at Veritas to see if he thought that was a good score.  Then I emailed my tutor to see what he thought.  Hahaha I'm a hot mess I know.

Needless to say.. I told you guys I was feeling good!  So now after I come down from my high I'm going to forget about this score and focus on what I did incorrectly.  (I was going to say - "did incorrect" but did was a verb and needed an adverb to modify it!  I think...)  Yeah SC is going to be a hiccup in my life again, but that's ok I'm ready for it.

On another note - I get this text message from my friend today:

He has no idea what he's in for!  I'll try to take it easy on him!  Now it's time to watch Hulu and get back to House Hunters International!  Tomorrow is another day of CR...  ::taking deep breaths::

THURSDAY IS THE TUCK RECEPTION @ THE YALE CLUB... note to self.. pick up dry cleaning tomorrow!

Money 9111

Hello everyone... I'll tell you now that you can ignore this post.  I was looking at my organic traffic and saw that a lot of people type in money9111 to find my blog, but I didn't see any traffic coming from money 9111 (with a space), so this post here is simply for me to add content to my blog about money 9111 I can move up in the Google organic rankings.

So I thought maybe now I will tell you guys where money9111 or rather money 9111 came from.  Remember back in the days of AOL and Dial up?  Well I was in high school and I changed my screen name a couple times a year.  I'm trying to think of what my screen names used to be...here are two others I remember:  Nautica916 and B1llionaire.  Then around my junior year of HS I changed it for the last and final time.  I chose Money9111 for a simple reason.  MONEY because I like money and 9111 because 911 (emergency) was taken.  So that's how I settled on money9111 which I obviously still use, not to be confused with money 9111.  But...

Let's see if this post helps my blog move up in the SERP (search engine results page) in a couple days/weeks - Here is a screen shot.

money 9111 organic listing


Oh now looky looky... it looks like GoogleBot (the name of Google's spider) is out and about!  The Google spider just crawled my site and now I show up in the organic listing for Money 9111!  Sweet deal...

Just FYI - usually it's not this easy to get listed in the top spot of the organic SERP, but because it's a niche keyword it was very simple.  Welcome to the World that is Richard Battle-Baxter!

Nighty night!  I made another post tonight that can be found HERE:  

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm Getting There... Slowly but Surely

Today I was thinking to myself about what I write about and nothing pertinent came to mind.  Then I went back to studying and figure it would be a good time to let you know how I've been doing on that front.  Let me back up and tell you about my Friday. 

After work on Friday I walked 10 blocks south to meet with my tutor.  The first thing we did was go over my CR mistakes.  The interesting thing here is that the last batch of CR questions I did ended with 14/26 incorrect.  This was a huge blow to my ego so I was anxious to see what he had to say about my performance.  More times than not I could narrow down the answers to two choices, one being the correct one.  It got so bad that I remember saying to myself as I was mulling over two choices 

"Ok... I want to choose this one, but because of my track record, I should probably choose the other one even though I don't know why it would be right."  

Yeah!  I know right.. it got to THAT point.  But I would inevitably choose the incorrect answer thinking that "well maybe...just maybe I am correct."  Nope... EENNNT  WRONG!  So my tutor couldn't find a pattern in the types of questions I was getting wrong.  I was literally all over the damn place!  Then he said that he thought my problem was that I wasn't being LITERAL.  Hhmm I thought... I think it got to a point for me where I was thinking the answer choices were trying to trick me.  While they can be confusing... if you take it literally there really isn't a gray area.

So today when I did a batch of RC passages, I wrote "Be Literal" and "Modifiers" to remind myself to well... Be Literal... and watch out for Modifiers.  The modifiers thing got to me a couple times because I didn't like answer choices because of the "at least some" or "a little."  Needless to say, taking that advice to heart I only got 7/27 incorrect which is my best RC hit rate to date.  Now I know some out there may be saying "um... Richard... that's still a lot" and to that I say... "HUSH!"  The next time I'll do better, but at least I'm moving in the right direction!

So I was feeling good about that performance today and decided to do some Quant.  I was going to do a math section from one of the Veritas practice guides, as prescribed by my tutor, but I was cutting it a bit too close to the Real Housewives of NJ Reunion.  So instead I started doing problems from the BeatTheGMAT practice set, just to keep my brain in working order.  

What I enjoyed about these sets is that I felt myself being good at some things I would have struggled with before.  It was to the point where I was finishing problems in a minute ON THE REGULAR.  I definitely feel like NOW is when the uphill battle ensues on the way to a 700, as my tutor cringes as he reads this knowing the road ahead of US for me to get there!  ;-)  

It's amazing that I have sooooo much GMAT material and yet I feel that I'm making the most progress from an LSAT book, some worksheets and problem sets, and the Official Guide(s), both OG Review guides.  When I say I have so much GMAT material... I'm not joking!  I was definitely THAT guy who wanted to get all the material out there and just bulldoze through it.  Clearly this was not fruitful, otherwise I wouldn't be in the position I'm in now.  

Or I wonder if it could just be my biorhythms - right Nick? Read this it's interesting...  http://bit.ly/affR4c maybe when I do decide to schedule my GMAT I'll pay attention to my biorhythm.

Sidenote - Do you guys know what Thursday is?  I'm uber excited for it!  Tell you more tomorrow... right now it's time to go to sleep!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

10 Most Important Business Lessons My Friend Learned...

Hello All.. I was just on Facebook and I saw this post that my friend Ryan Allis made about the 10 Most Important Business Lessons that he's learned.  I should give you some background on Ryan, but some of you have definitely seen his company's advertisements online.

Here is some background info on Ryan Allis -

"Ryan Allis is a technology entrepreneur and social entrepreneur from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ryan has been an entrepreneur since he started Allis Computing at age 11 in 1995. Today, Ryan is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of iContact, the leading global provider of email marketing services to small and mid-sized businesses."

"Ryan has built North Carolina-based iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with over 190 employees, 60,000 customers, and $35 million in annual sales. iContact has raised $13.3M in investment from NC IDEA, Updata Partners, and North Atlantic Capital."

So how did I meet Ryan?  Well... it will come as no surprise that I met Ryan online back in 2001, before iContact was even a thought.  We met on the Rich Dad Poor Dad message board as college Freshman (him) and Sophomore (me).  I was working on a project that was similar to ZeroMillion and then I worked with him to help him start ZeroMillion.com to promote his book.  We were both young ambitious college students who had something on common.  This is also the website, where I got in touch with, now good friend, Bryan Sims who owns Brass Magazine.  If you don't believe me look here - Me on ZeroMillion.com, so yeah I'm not lying but it's MUY out of date.

You'll notice that one of the things I put in my bio was that NYU Stern School of Business was a plan back then.  Well it's funny how things come full circle, because clearly I wasn't thinking about business school then - at least not seriously.  I still need to give him a call to have him remove that.. or at least alter it a bit.  I'll do that right after this post.

So anyway that's a short background on that... but I wanted to post the words that Ryan shared about what he's learned over the years... One day I will write more about my challenges with the group of young entrepreneurs that I've become friends with over the years.  There's an internal struggle there.  Maybe I can write about that in an essay!  

In any event here are Ryan's comments.

Here are the most important business lessons I’ve learned building iContact from 2 to 220 employees over the last eight years.
  1. Just get started, have a bias toward action, and don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis.
  2. To grow your sales, it is critical to calculate the lifetime value of an average customer, calculate what you’re currently paying to acquire an average customer (total monthly ad spend divided by customers acquired in that month), determine the maximum you’re willing to pay to acquire an average customer, and scale your marketing scientifically by testing relentlessly and finding the channels in which you can acquire customers for less than your maximum acceptable customer acquisition cost and then growing spend within those channels.
  3. Never raise more equity capital than 1x your current annualized revenue (monthly revenue x 12). If you raise too much money too soon you’ll give up too much ownership and control of your company and be tempted to spend the money in ways that aren’t carefully controlled. Wait to raise a large round until you have proven mathematically than $X amount of additional spending with generate $Y amount of additional revenue. (once you figure out #2 this is easy).
  4. If you choose to raise money, raise it from investors you like and get along with well. You’ll have to hang out with these people for the next 3-7 years, make sure you enjoy spending time with them.
  5. After the first year or two, your success is determined by the people you hire, not by you. Stop trying to do everything yourself. Scale yourself by hiring people more experienced than you in their field as soon as you can afford to.
  6. Every member of the team should have a significant portion of their compensation based on the company’s success and their department’s success, quantified and communicated clearly in advance.
  7. Your job as CEO is not to micromanage/tell your team members what to do, but rather to hire experienced people who can do their jobs better than you could, collaboratively set numerical goals, and hold your direct reports accountable for their performance individually and as a team.
  8. Once you get past the start-up phase when you’re responsible for everything, the five parts of a CEOs role are 1) Set strategy and vision 2) Manage the senior team 3) Communicate with stakeholders 4) Oversee resource allocation and 5) Build the Culture.
  9. It is possible to become more socially and environmentally responsible and increase your financial returns at the same time
  10. If you create a great culture (a fun work environment filled with people who are high performers and who care about their work and their impact on the world) you will be able to attract and retain better people who will be much more engaged and productive and create a much more financially successful company.
Right now I'm going back to studying before the Emmy's come on tonight.  Chow

Friday, August 27, 2010

MBA Application Readiness

Today I came to the tough realization that I will have to push back my applications.  While I believe I can put in a very good application, aside from the GMAT, I think am important part of applying is knowing your weakness and doing the very best you can to mitigate it.

For me scoring well on the GMAT is imperative.  Absolutely imperative, so the question then becomes, why have I surrounded myself with a bubble thinking that I can deal with the added pressure of attending events, writing essays, getting letters of recommendations, all the while studying for the exam that could make or break me in the decision process anyway?  Well I don't have a straight answer for you.  I don't think my brain has switched from my plan back in the beginning of the year.

The plan was to take the GMAT in May and be done with it.  Then I would have all summer to prepare essays.  In September I would work on letters of recommendations and then applying in October/November.  Well of course things have not gone as planned...  It's funny that EVERYONE around me sees what I'm going through and the added pressure I've put on myself and they can't understand it.  They all say, hold off on essays....focus on the GMAT.  I agree with them to an extent.

I say to an extent, because once you get into applications - at least for me - I'm constantly thinking about essays wherever I am.  The formality of writing the essay is the easy part.  Nevertheless, I've decided that I will tone down the essay writing, yes I know I wrote that post earlier, but hey this blog is about what a pre-mba applicant goes through, and this is real.

I think a lot of it is me wanting to get this process over and done with.  I just sent an email to my tutor saying, 

"What does your schedule look like for the month of September? I want to try to make as much progress in September as possible...while I'm not feeling the slightest bit burnt out.. frustrated of course but that's fine... the thought of another four months is daunting.

I really need to stop using ellipses...  (doh)"

I've been at this thing for almost a year (January 1st - remember my first blog post).  Now I'm beginning to feel if I'm supposed to be at a top business school.  I mean OF COURSE I BELONG THERE (and will get there), but I think for those of us struggling with the GMAT there comes a time when you think to yourself... "Ok... I've been studying for X months for this test and have not reached my goal, while so and so studied for 2/3 months and got over a 700!  What makes me think I belong in a class with them?" 

I know the correlation isn't necessarily accurate, but trust me, there are some of us who have been struggling for a while who let that thought creep in.  Of course I know I belong at schools X,Y, and Z over some people who will be admitted, and I believe I'll be able to make that come through in my application, but simply on the GMAT front - ::shrugs::

I've also been thinking a lot about work too.  I've been given some extra responsibilities - no title change though - but responsibilities are better, and I feel that given another month or two I may be able to get a different recommender who "gets me."  So now as the time moves forward, that is becoming a consideration.  

So as I mull over what I've heard time and time and time again - submit your application when you are ready!  I will take this to heart...

At this point I'm in this for the long run.  I realize that the next 6 months, will determine the rest of my life.  If I cannot continue to sacrifice and see this process through to fruition then THAT'S when I don't belong in business school.  But for now... I'm In!  I'm All In!  and THAT is all she wrote folks!

::sigh:: GMAT

Whoever decided to come up with this exam should have his or her head examined!  That's all I have to say about that!  I feel better now...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More Insult to MBA's Video!

Here are some more funny MBA video's I've found like THIS ONE.  I'm not sure why I find these so comedic!

Uploaded by dilbertanimations. - Watch more comedy videos and sitcoms.

Feeling Good About Everything - Update!

I told you guys earlier this week that I thought that this week was going to be very good!  Maybe I was speaking it into fruition...  But I'm feeling good.  Just have to keep up the momentum!

B-School Email Overload - Did anyone notice that the B-schools sent out a ton of emails yesterday?  I think I received 8 different emails from schools.  I was like "Whoa horsey what's going on today?"  I think we're officially in the swing of things!

NYU Stern Event - Is anyone attending "HEC/NYU Stern Luxury & Retail Event: A Celebration of Fashion Week"?  I received a memo about this event on September 16th.  ::sigh:: I'm excited to attend but it requires some work.  Here's the link for those interested.

 To apply I need to send the following:
- Resume
- Summary of why I would like to attend the event
- Date of Birth
- Program of Interest

Essays - So I know that last week I was feeling really down about my essays.  I received another email with some feedback and it completely turned my perspective around.  I know which direction I need to take my essays in now.  ALL of my essays to be exact.  One essay I'm going to totally nix so I can take it a different route. It'll work out for the best.  I actually have to write a debrief about my experience up until this point with my consultant.  Actually let me send an email right now giving a deadline for the debrief...  (hold please)...ok I'm back!

GMAT Prep - So I can honestly say that 13 of the last 14 days I have studied!  I'm going through the OG yet again doing sets of 37.  I'm proud to say that when I do these sets I may get 2 wrong of questions that I should not have gotten incorrect, and I may mark 4/5 with question marks as those that I just don't know how to conquer because I don't see them often enough.  I'm slowly beginning to see that the OG does not provide enough problems for those wishing to score 700+  but that's ok because if I'm still unable to get everything right, then I don't need anything harder at the moment.

Now you may be asking yourself... well... if you're getting things wrong, why are you feeling good?  Well... I'm feeling more confident about what I do know.  Also there are types of questions I didn't have a clue how to solve months ago that I now consider easy because I see them frequently.

Some days I do Quant and Verbal... and other days I do one or the other, but if I do Quant one day I make sure that I definitely do Verbal the next day in some regard.  Charles told me that I must either do Verbal everyday or every other day because it's a marathon, not a sprint.

GMAT Exam - A lot of people keep asking me when my GMAT date is... well.. it's...on...  Not Telling!  No really... I won't be telling anyone except for my tutor, Charles, this time around.  The last time I had too many congratulations coming at me that it was distracting and I got caught up in everything.  So this time around to prevent that from happening, I will simply post my score the day that I take it.  Sorry folks, I'm all for disclosure, but there's too much riding on this one!  <3 ya though.. haha

Meeting at Work Today - So people have asked me "What do you do?"  Well... my title is Search Engine Marketing Analyst for Bloomingdales.com, but I also do display media, mobile, and SEO.  So what is a Search Engine Marketing Analyst?  Well let's break it down..  Search Engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing).. Marketing (Sell our products on Bloomingdales.com)... Analyst.. I analyze and optimize performance.

So anyway today we had a Paid Search meeting where they brought our team into the Marketing Council weekly meeting.  Basically the conversations revolved around how to attribute online media budgets and conversion to in-store lift in sales, WHICH THERE IS A RELATIONSHIP!  People keep talking about a shift in budgets from traditional media to digital media.  This is most definitely true, but where the industry is going now is that we are beginning to be able to attribute clicks and impressions online, to in-store sales!  So yeah if you go to Google, and click on a paid search advertisement... we can track that back to see if you actually purchased something in one of our stores!  - the caveat is that we have to already have your email address.

So why is this the topic of conversation?  Well... let's extrapolate this to a larger company.  Let's take a Proctor & Gamble for instance.  We all know that these companies have large marketing budgets - mainly traditional media.  Imagine if now we can tell if someone clicks on say a banner ad online... and then buys the product online or in a store.  How valuable would that be?  Well pretty valuable.

Now here is where I come in... a lot of people in say brand management roles or CMO positions do not understand the influence that digital media has on the larger organization as a whole... I need to be in a position where I can bring my background into the conversations.

Now I'm just tired of typing about this... so I'm going to end it now hahaha...  I'm going to watch American Greed.  LOVE THIS SHOW.  This one is about Bernie Madoff

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guest Blogger (Osirus) - His Story! Pt 2

Short and sweet... Here is Part 2 of Brandon's Guest Blog Post...Read Part One Here

Giving People Advice and Having them not take it...
Once I started MLT, I was basically my cohort’s go to GMAT tutor.  I have spent many hours at the Harold Washington library in Chicago helping members of my cohort with the GMAT.  The biggest thing I would try to impart to people that would take was to develop a systematic approach to each question type.  I think this is probably the most important thing that anyone could do to help improve their score, and I was just surprised by how people just didn’t get that.  The people I would help would put in a lot of time to study but would get frustrated that they weren’t seeing results.  The main thing that you have to do is be intentional with your study.  When you are studying math don’t just do a random set of problems.  If you struggle with divisibility problems, make sure every math day you are doing at least 2 divisibility problems.  You have to be intentional and you have to develop an approach.  On test day, anxiety will play a role in your test day experience, this is why having an approach will be very helpful because anxiety won’t be able to steal your moment.
Another thing that people don’t do that I tell them to do is to have complete faith in themselves. The only way that you can achieve a top score is to have an unwavering faith that you are capable.  Once you allow fear and doubt to take over your thoughts, your chances of a top score decrease dramatically.  Confidence is huge.  Even when I was only scoring 550s on my practice tests, I knew that I was going to get above a 700.  You have to truly believe in yourself.  Richard wrote a post about how introspective essays are, but in many ways, I think preparing for the GMAT is introspective as well.  Everyone hits a wall in which they stop making progress or even regress some.  It is at those times you have to make a choice not to doubt yourself and believe that you are capable of achieving your score.  You have to believe that you belong at HBS, or that you belong at Wharton, or that you belong at Tepper.    
Watching people deal with the pressure of the GMAT and application deadlines...
When I watch people struggle with the pressure of the GMAT and watch people freak out I think that they are playing things wrong.  I think the people that are doing essays and studying at the same are doing themselves a disservice.  I think the biggest thing that people don’t realize is that it is better to apply round 2 with your highest GMAT score, than to rush the GMAT to apply round 1 and leave 20-30 points on the table.  From what I have observed, the biggest reason most people are rushing and stressing out is a result of them having too many schools that they are applying to.  This is not undergrad.  You should not be targeting 7 plus schools.  There are probably not 7 schools that you would actually attend.  I think if people had a more manageable list of schools they would have a better perspective that they can get the GMAT done by mid-November, and still have more than enough time to do a great job on their essays for round 2.
In Closing...
I want to add something that most readers will never have heard before that I think would be useful.  Well here it is.  After setting your time table for studying and taking the test, add two weeks.  You want to add two weeks to focus on your STRENGTHS.  The one thing I learned about the CAT is that what’s difficult for you may not be difficult for others and vice versa.  What does this mean for you?  A CAT can make a topic that is normally a strength for you a weakness.  I remember on my second attempt, I got a a ratios problem.  I always considered ratios a strength, and as a result, I didn’t focus too much on them in the last few weeks of my prep.  I got a problem on the test that dealt with surface areas and areas and the ratios.  It was so awkward that I know I got it wrong.  
I think you should spend at least 2 weeks seeking out overly difficult problems in areas that you consider to be an area of strength for you.  Getting you to miss problems that you are normally strong at is the strength of the GMAC and CATs in general.  That is the one thing I wish I had done before my last attempt, because I feel that it would have gotten me into the 99th percentile.  Seek out problems that will be difficult in areas that you think are strengths.  This will help to ensure that you bank all of the points that you should bank on the exam.
When most people think about getting really difficult 700-800 level problems, they envision really difficult probability or combinatorics problems.  The reality is that if those two areas are still weaknesses after you have studied for 3 months, odds are they will remain weaknesses.  During my prep, I thought I was strong at rate problems.  I could answer almost all of the rate problems I encountered.  I got thrown off though, when I encountered a rate problem that incorporated geometry.  It was a problem involving a circular track and that made the problem a lot more difficult than most other rate problems.  
With a CAT you can't choose your 700-800 level problems, and there is a good chance that you will encounter problems that you previously considered to be strengths packaged in such a way that you will miss them.  I truly believe that the reason for the 30 point standard deviation is that people miss problems that they thought were strengths because the GMAC gives them the problem in a package that they aren't used to seeing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guest Blogger (Osirus) - His Story!

Hello Hello... by the time you guys read this I will have reached another milestone with my blog = My 10,000th Visitor since February!  10,000th Visitor Post

For my 5,000th visitor I had a guest blogger so I figured I would do the same this time around.  
This guest is my dear friend Brandon aka Osirus!  You guys have heard me mention him on many occasions starting with the BeatTheGMAT contest back in February, when in all honesty, I wasn't too fond of him because he was outposting me!  Needless to say he has become the backbone of my studies.  We joke that he is the SVP of Team Richard... my mother is the President!  
In any event, I wanted to open up the floor for Brandon to comment because he's in what I think an awkward position.    For many of us, we want to beat the gmat (up) so we can forget about it and move on with our lives.  Even though Brandon has conquered the GMAT he's graciously helping those around him attempt to do the same.  So for those Admissions Officers out there, just know that Brandon WILL be one of the people helping his classmates at 1/2am in the morning.  I can speak from experience because I've sent him numerous picture messages with math problems at 1am, only to have him respond with an explanation ending with "...does that make sense?"
I don't want to hog the floor/blogpage but thought I would give people that background info.  I asked Brandon to give us some words of wisdom and he has done just that!  
So as I've used previously - Get a snack...get some soda... and enjoy!  This will be a 2 parter!

Brandon's Story...
My name is Brandon, but for those that have been following the blog since the beginning may know me better as Osirus.   I am honored that Richard asked me to share with the blog my GMAT experience and just my own MBA journey.  I will begin by discussing the history of my battle with the GMAT.  I applied to the Management Leaders for Tomorrow program in October.  If you get accepted into the program, then you have to have an official GMAT score by February 1st.  While I had studied some before, I would say that my serious GMAT prep began at the end of November.  My studying consisted of going through the Manhattan GMAT guides and the Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible.  My prep consisted of spending the first month learning the material and the second month drilling the material.  
The biggest issue I had was forgetting material after I learned it.  To combat this I developed a system where I would read through a chapter and then do a problem set dealing with that chapter.  The next time I studied, I would go through a new chapter and do a problem set dealing with that chapter, but I would also do two problems from the previous chapter I did.  So for example, if I were going through number properties, I would go through chapter one (divisibility and primes) and do the 15 problems at the end of the chapter.  The next math day, I would go through chapter 2 and do all of those problems, but I would go back and do two problems from chapter one.  I would do the same thing until I finished the book.  This helped to make sure that everything remained fresh.  This is what really helped me to see progress.  I went from my practice scores staying around 550, to shooting up to 610, and then 660.  
This strategy is really time consuming though, so I definitely understand why everyone cannot implement it.  My strategy definitely helped me improve my quant score, but I never quite got a handle on verbal.  My first attempt at the GMAT was Jan 29th of this year.  I scored a 680.  I know most people would be happy with that score, but I was pissed.  I remember going to see a good friend of mine and I was just in a funk that entire day.  She didn’t understand why I was upset.  I think the issue is that when you set a goal for yourself, and you put in the work, you expect to see the result.  
I was pretty disappointed in my score and I was planning my next move.  When I had my first coach call with my MLT coach, she was pretty excited about my score and didn't think that I needed to take the exam again.  I remember thinking what world does she live in...lol.  That brings me to an important point, regardless of what score you get and what others tell you about your score, if you think you can do better and improve your score, take the test again.  
My next step was to take a class to help me improve verbal.  I was really impressed with Brian Galvin on Beat the GMAT, so I took a course with Veritas.  The Veritas class definitely helped me improve my approach to verbal.  What I learned from that class is that you have to approach verbal in a systematic way.  You have to approach every Critical Reasoning Assumption question the same way.  You have to approach every Reading Comprehension Inference question the same way.  This will help you to gain consistentency in verbal.  To improve with quant I used my same approach but I did it with the Veritas materials.  
After studying for 3 months, I took the exam again at the end of June and improved my score by 50 points and scored a 730.  I think the main thing that I learned from my experience is that you can’t take short cuts.  You have to do a ton of problems.  I adopted the philosophy from my high school football team, practice hard so that the game is easy.  I would do 75-80 problems a day, to build stamina and to practice my approach.  Practice is more than just practicing the content, it is also about practicing your approach.  When you practice, don’t just practice to say that you did something.  Don’t just go through a book to say that you completed that book.  Practice how you will play.  Approach every problem how you would on the real exam, and approach each problems consistently.
I will post the rest of this tomorrow... it gets better and more personal!  STAY TUNED!

10,000th Blog Visitor! Congrats to Me!

Ok yeah so that title was somewhat self absorbed, but again... it's my blog and I'll "cry if I want too!"  So today I will pass the 10,000th Visitor milestone!  I'm excited about it simply because I remember when I had 1 visitor = me!  When I surpassed the 5,000th visitor mark I had Brett Nowak from IvyAppSuccess as a guest blogger, and this time around I have the legendary, on this blog at least, Osirus more formerly known as my friend Brandon.

With that being said I just want to give you guys some stats about my blog...

1. As I'm writing this I have received 9,977 visits to date.  I wanted to write this now because I have another post scheduled to post in a half hour!

2. Mean visits per day is approximately 100.

3. Mean pageviews per day is approximately 210.

4. 45% of the traffic to my site has been referral traffic from BeatTheGMAT...not surprisingly

5. The most visitors to my site came on the day when I made that post optimized towards Poets & Quants and began showing up in the organic listing on Google for PoetsandQuants.com.  Remember this day - http://money9111.blogspot.com/2010/08/new-mba-website-poets-quants.html, yeah well that day I received a total of 252 visits - surpassing my previous high (when I posted my GMAT debrief). That was an exciting day.

6. The top keywords typed into Google that generate traffic to my site are...ready for this...
- Poets and Quants - 111 visits
- Money9111 - 30 visits
- Poets & Quants - 28 visits

7. Top Three Countries by Visits:
- United States - 67% of total traffic
- India - 16% of total traffic
- Canada - 2% of total traffic

8. I have 56 Google Followers and 73 total subscribers.

hhmm let's see what else I find fascinating...

9.  Top Three States by Visits:
- New York - 1,611 visits
- California - 1,132 visits
- Texas - 431 (surprising)...

10. I have not received one visit from anyone in Montana, South Dakota, or Alaska!

Yeah that's all for now... I look at numbers like these all day every day at work, more complicated of course ;-), not to mention the White Collar episode that I missed last night just came on...


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Me + Starbucks = 5 Hours

So today I studied for 5 hours in Starbucks.  I hadn't planned on studying for that long but I simply lost track of time.  I worked on Critical Reasoning... then did some Data Sufficiency...then worked on some "annoying word problems" as so coined by my tutor.  I think in terms of time spent, the annoying word problems took the longest.

With regards to studying out there... has anyone felt that even though you get X amount of questions incorrect during your studies, you still think that you're improving?  Well that's how I feel right now.  I just gotta keep up the studying and I'll be good to go!  No big deal just had a rough week.  BUT... I have a feeling this week is going to be very very good!

I want to say Good Luck to my friend, we shall call her E.  She'll be taking the GMAT on Friday!  E, if you're reading this (and I'll make you read it), don't stress over it.  You will be just fine!  Remember that in the end it's just a test, albeit and incredibly important one.  But you got it this time!  All that hard work will pay off!  Also, let me know when you want to get together this week to study.  Seeing as though your exam is Friday, we should get together Mon, Tues, or Wednesday.  Thursday you need to watch a movie or something... preferably a comedy ie. The Hangover or Martin's RunTelDat.  If you want to go see a movie, let me know.

Later tonight I'm going to make a post about Why I Blog.  I think it's about that time to disclose that information.  Not that there will be any epiphany or anything but I've found that inquiring minds would like to know...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Am I Cut Out For This?

The level of introspection needed to write essays is unbelievable.  This week was tough.  I received feedback on my first round of essays and basically need to re-write them from the jump.  That's all I need to say right now.  I'm feeling defeated right now and am wondering if I'm cut out for this.  The balancing act between essays and GMAT is becoming unsettling.  

But!  Don't cry for me Argentina...once I redo my essays I'll feel better.  But right now... ::sigh:: is all I have to say.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Insult to MBA's - Funny Video!

A blog reader sent me a link to this video... I wanted to share it's absolutely hilarious!!!

I DIED!  If anyone else knows of any other videos out there like this please let me know.  It keeps things light on here!  Hahah...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Michigan Ross to be considered

Hello everyone... so tonight I had my whole night planned out.  I was going to get home from work... work on Critical Reasoning... then work on an essay... then do some Quant problems.  Well true to form, whenever I plan out my night it doesn't go as planned - in a good way though!

So before I left work and was pinged by a friend who will be attending Ross this year.  Monday he will officially be considered a 1st year...at least by me.  I've spoken about him before... he's one of the people I met during my Yale visit in the train station.  No not Jonathan... Jonathan is in Spain right now on a Ross trek.  But anyway... I met this person back in what February?  We kept in touch since then and even though he too is in NYC, we were never able to coordinate a time to meet up.

He's back from vacation now and is packing up his life here in NYC to ship it to Ann Arbor.  Right before I left work we made plans to meet up for dinner.  If you've never been to Blue Ginger on 16th st, I suggest you go.  It was quite tasty.  He doesn't know that I'm writing this post about him but I'll alert him to it tomorrow.  I won't write anything incriminating though!

So we talked about everything about business school.  What really struck me was his excitement about Ross.  For me, one of the things that attracts me to a school is how the current students feel about it.  To see his excitement was contagious and makes me want to get out there sooner than later to visit Ross.  It just says a lot about a program when someone who hasn't even started classes yet, is beaming with love for the program already.  I told him that Ross was definitely on my list of schools to consider.  I don't know when I'll be able to get out there to visit though.

From what I hear their new building is very very technologically advanced.  I'd love to see/experience it!  I'm going to pick the brain of my new coworker who is a Ross MBA grad and see what she has to say about her experience.

I think I'm going to slow down my research activity so that I can focus on this exam.  Tonight I did some more CR and found myself over thinking things and talking myself out of the correct answers.  I would have had a higher hit rate had I not done that.  So tomorrow I will be cautious about it.  The reassuring thing - if you want to call it that - is that out of the answers I got incorrect 75% of them I had gotten down to 2 answers.  So I know how to eliminate answers it's just that lassst hump that I need to get better at identifying but I'm confident that if I stick to what Charles (my tutor) says then I believe I'll be good to go.  At this point it's about remaining consistent with my studying.

I'm still not taking any phone calls and let me tell you.... IT'S INCREDIBLY HELPFUL.  My facebook page is filled with "Hey... what's up with your phone?"  or when I sign onto AIM people say "Where have you been?" They're starting to realize how much this means to me.  I will probably go out one day this weekend because I need it.  Or maybe I'll tell myself that if I get 21/25 CR questions correct I can go out this weekend.  That'll be my reward.

I have a guest blogger lined up for my 10,000th visitor.  Right now I'm at 9,402 so it should be soon.  It's going to be a really good post I'm looking forward to it.

Two last things:
1.)  Did anyone see anything odd about the Yale SOM class profile?  ::tapping foot:: I'm waiting....
2.)  Since I'm going to be updating frequently, I'm going to always include links from my Google reader that I find interesting and helpful.  I didn't see anything that caught my eye today though.

I'm going to go re do some quant problems that I swear are incorrect :-)

T T T T Thats all folks!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

B-School Journey Progress

Te Amo Google Images!  :-)

Hello Hello - Right now I'm just laying on my couch...watching George Foreman Bizography on CNBC.  I thought I would give you guys an update on my b-school journey.  It's been long overdue so this post will be filled with I guess bullet points...

Recommender - So if you guys remember, I Bagged a Recommender back in May.  The reason I broke the news to her so early was because she was pregnant and would be going on maternity leave.  So I could have posted this update last week but on August 6th she had an 8 lb baby girl named Emily!  She sent us pictures and of course the baby is adorable.  I'll be emailing her next week to check in on her and give her a progress report.

Letter of Recommendation letters - So I stumbled upon this website: Recommender Questions earlier with the questions that our recommenders will be asked.  I emailed Bryan to see if he had the Tuck questions, but he did not...not yet at least, so if anyone knows what the questions are feel free to share them!

Tuck Student - Do you guys remember the Tuckie I reached out too back in March who was a member of the CDS?  Well he graduated so in my most recent email to him, he told me to have him put me in contact with a current CDS member.  So I did just that and had a phone call with her at 9 tonight.  She provided a lot of insight into the CDS and ironically some other things about Tuck that I didn't know.  I walked away from the conversation with a renewed sense of me really wanting me to be there.

Kaplan: Personal Statement Workshop - Tomorrow is a Kaplan Personal Statement workshop down in Union Square.  The thing is... I don't think they sent out the information for the event.  I'm not sure what time it starts - the building it's in - or anything of that nature.  I think someone may have dropped the ball.  Granted maybe I'm simply overlooking it, but I keep checking my email and there's nothing there.  So again, if anyone has some insight about this event please let me know.

GMAT Progress - so tonight I did some more logical reasoning.  I ended up getting 8/26 incorrect, which is not good.  I'm kinda pissed about it but I didn't go through why I got each answer wrong.  I'll do that before I go through the next set of 26.  Charles told me that I need to be very conscious about doing CR prep every other day.  So that's the schedule I'm trying to stick too.

No Cell Phone - Still don't have a cell phone and I'm borrowing my friends ipod touch because I need music in my life.  It's not bad at all not having a cell phone.  It's quite easy!

Tuck self initiated interview - I will be back up there on September 24th!  I'm looking forward to it already.  This time I'm going to be heading up there with a friend whom I met through my friend Jess last year at the NYU Stern marketing event.  The next day - the 25th is my 10 year high school reunion!  So hopefully I make it back from Hanover in time haha.  

Cornell Student - So I was told to reach out to a Cornell Student two weeks ago...and I did.  This student is a member of Out For Business, which is the LGBT club on campus.  One day I'll write a whole post about this topic but I'd like to say that he said that here were 5 students in Out for Business at Cornell.  Just to give you some perspective - HBS has about 40 members in their LGBT club.  Now I know their class size is almost 4 times that of Cornell's but yeah... hhmm... definitely something for me to to think about.  I have to find some time to get up to Cornell and visit.  I actually think their diversity weekend is doable as it's the last weekend in October.

Ross Student - I was also able to find a contact a Ross who could answer my questions.  He's finishing up his internship right now, so conversations have been relatively slow.  It seems like all of these soon to be 2nd year students have their presentations this week.  I really really want to get out to Ross and visit.  Like Hanover, I think I would really like Ann Arbor.  Also, imagine how Game Day would be at Michigan.  Probably unreal!  Not that I would ever make a decision based on that opportunity but definitely something to look forward too if I were to end up there!

Just three more things to bring up... stay awake guys!!!  This is my brain dump of the last couple of weeks.... 

Reaching Out Conference - So after some more research and after speaking with a Tuckie, I have decided to attend the Reaching Out Conference in LA as a pre-mba student.  I have not registered yet... maybe I should get on that... But I'm already looking forward to it!  What is the Reaching Out Conference?  

"...mission is to promote the networking, visibility, and education capabilities of LGBT business leaders around the globe. This annual event draws over 1,000 of the brightest current and future LGBT students and executives from the world's leading business schools and companies."

Go here to find out more:  Reaching Out Conference

MBA's at my job - So when I started at Bloomingdales.com in January of 09 there were no MBA graduates on the marketing team.  My how things have changed.  We now have MBA graduates from the following programs - Kellogg, McCombs, Michigan Ross (she just started today).  I'm beginning to see a trend.  What's ironic is that none of them were in digital marketing prior to their MBA.  So now I'm wondering if that will give me a headstart when I start recruiting and am competing for internships at places such as Google and dare I say it.......APPLE?  I think it will serve me phenomenally.  Just saying...

Yale SOM class profile - So the Yale SOM class of 2012 has been released.  A couple months back I heard a rumor that Yale was very adamant about moving up in the rankings and that the mean GMAT score for this class would be about 730.  Well.. they didn't quite get 730 but it's damn high at 722!  Now... here is the link to the Yale SOM Profile - Tell me if you see anything alarming between this year and last year!  I see something that sticks out like a sore thumb!

Thanks for reading please come again!  

Sidenote - Yesterday I had my highest Visitor day ever with 252 visits! Story behind this to come at a later juncture.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Poets and Quants - Great Articles!

I just wanted to post a couple more links that I enjoy from Poets and Quants.  Tomorrow I'll get back into the groove of writing about ME - again since this is MY blog, but I'll explain the method to my madness and one reason for posting about Poets and Quants aside from it being a great website!  If I forget, just remind me...  by the end of the week I'll let you guys in.

Oh you should also find the login information on PoetsandQuants.com and register!  If you have a wordpress account, I think that'll work.  In any event here are some articles...  Just bear with me tonight folks!  Pretty please?

Blogging Your Way to an MBA - I found this article to be interesting because I felt like I was reading about myself!  You can read it and tell me what you think!

Quick update about me - I got home not too long ago from the Jets vs. Giants opening game.  It was a great experience because one of our potential vendors at work has a suite in the new stadium, which is GORGEOUS I might add!  On the train home I was editing my Tuck essays.  I just typed up the edits and sent them off to a couple friends to be reviewed.  I told them to rip them apart so we shall see how that goes.  As you can tell from my posts yesterday, I was up VERY "late"/early.  I didn't go to sleep until 4:30am because I was studying and writing essays.  So right now I'm exhausted.

Night Night!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

NEW MBA WEBSITE - Poets and Quants

Hello All!  I wonder if this is a record for me... I don't know if I've posted twice within a 24 hour period.  Actually I lie because on May 7th when I took the GMAT I definitely posted more than once.  

Anyway, by now you know that if I find a good resource related to MBA's, B-school, GMAT etc... I like to share the wealth.  So I'm not sure if you've read about this new website PoetsandQuants.com but if not, I'm sure you will in the future.  It's a new website related to Business school.

Here is what it says in the About Us section of Poets and Quants:

"The goal here is to create a helpful community of people interested in graduate business school education. It’s a place to give advice and counsel to MBA applicants, share information, and make friends. Create your profile, join a group, engage in a forum topic, and help to make this community a valuable resource for those interested in pursuing an MBA."

You can actually sign up and get a login.  The community is very very new but I think if done correctly, the site will become a top resource in addition to BeatTheGMAT and of course all of the helpful blogs out there!

John Bryne, who started the site, was once editor-in-chief of Businessweek.com, executive editor of BusinessWeek, and Editor-in-chief of Fast Company.  He reached out to me a couple weeks ago to ask if he could feature my blog post about Hiring a B-School consultant.  Of course I obliged! The more people who see that post the better!

You guys know how I do at this point in the game right?  You know that I don't promote things on my blog just for the sake of promoting them.  But I've read a lot of the articles on this site and they are like none other out there.  Poets and Quants has insights into this b-school process that other websites don't have - at least not in one place.  

Anyway I'm done for now... must get back to writing my essay.  Just visit the site www.PoetsandQuants.com and get it over with already!

I'm Going Off the Grid!

Good Afternoon everyone - as you know I don't usually post in the middle of the day, but there are some things I want to just put out there in the mba blogosphere.

First an update about me:  So as I told you all yesterday I went sailing!  It was an absolutely gorgeous day! We definitely lucked out with the weather.  I actually got to steer for about 20 minutes and the captain said "GLAD YOU'RE HERE... I DON'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING... YOU DEFINITELY HAVE HAD EXPERIENCE BEFORE!"  -  My response to that was "must have been all that rowing I did as a boy scout!"  He just laughed.

Today I am going off the grid!  What do I mean by that?  Well last Saturday I lost my phone... (iphone4)... yeah I think it fell out of my pocket in a cab!!!  I've been through the mourning stage and I've come to terms with it.  My phone was my life, and I didn't know if I should buy a new phone and just get on with my life.  Then I thought about it and decided to hold off on buying a new one.  I did the cost/benefit analysis of buying a new phone and decided against it.  It would be better for me to use that money for my tutor so that I can get into business school!  So... I won't have a new phone until about November!  I do have a prepaid phone though for emergencies.

The upside to what I'm calling "Going off the grid" is that my friends cannot contact me and distract me with nonsense to go out and party.  I figure that if I get into b-school, there will be many parties in my future I can sacrifice 2 weeks of my life.  It'll definitely be MUCH cheaper too!

Today my schedule is as follows:

1.  Exponents Practice worksheet
2.  Conversion Drill worksheet
3.  Geometry worksheet
4.  Tuck Essays
5.  25 CR questions.
6.  Tuck Essays

I'll post tomorrow about how this schedule went.

The main reason I wanted to put up this post though was to add some links that I've found particularly helpful.  I've been "starring" these in my Google Reader for a long time now and feel that it's time to share the wealth!

Self Examination is a Varsity Sport

Why MBA Letters of Recommendation Matter

Ok I think there are enough links to keep everyone busy!  Enjoy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hhhmm Study for GMAT or Write Essays?

You're all smart - you know what this post is going to be about...  on my last blog post a comment was left asking this very question.

"How are you managing time between apps and gmat. Let me know when you get a chance and Good luck w/t your prep." - Blog Reader

So I've decided to simply write a blog post about it - also because the topic came up today at the end of my tutoring session.  By now I've seen all of the essay topics that I must write for this application season.  I began writing my Tuck essays a couple weeks ago.  Just recently I started putting more and more time into them, but not at the expense of studying.

Every time I open one of my essay topics (I have each one as a separate word doc in my Tuck folder), the voice in the back of my head says "YOU SHOULD BE STUDYING!"  I've come to terms with this  voice in my head.  We don't always get along and I want to tell it to SHUT UP sometimes, but I know the voice is simply looking out for me.  But that voice and I now have an understanding and it seems to be working.

I know that for me, my best ideas do not come when I'm sitting in front of my computer typing.  When I write my essays the writing part is the easy part, coming up with the proper anecdotes and ideas are tough.  I keep a notepad with me in my bag wherever I go.  If I think of something I want to add to one of my essays I simply jot it down.  Believe it or not some of my best ideas have come to mind while at work.  In that case I simply email the idea to my personal email account.  Then when I get home I add it to the rest of my thoughts.

The way I see it is that there are 24 hours in a day.  I sleep about 5 hours/day.  Don't ask... I've been sleeping that little since high school.  I function just fine...  So 24-5=19 hours.  I'm at work 9 hours a day. Let's say 1 hour a day for commuting to and from work, including showering and walking 3 avenues.  So what's that 9 hours left to account for?  That makes sense because I get home at 6:30pm and go to sleep around 2:30/3.  So even if I had 7 hours/day to myself, I dedicate about 2/3 hours to studying.  Some time to myself and some time gathering my thoughts on my essays.  

I realize I was all over the place with this post - sorry I'm watching Kathy Griffin's stand up - so basically I study and write essays because I do a lot of my essay idea generation when I'm doing other things.  Studying of course I need to find time to focus, but writing essays... while time consuming...can be done over time.  For me at least.  

I told my tutor today that my September was going to be pretty hectic.  Naturally he inquired as to why.  I told him that with events, and traveling to visit schools, and writing essays, it was just going to be one hell of a month.  He reminded me that it's great to visit schools and write essays but to just make sure that I make time to study.  If I didn't have to worry about the GMAT life would naturally be much easier at this juncture, but nooooo....  things rarely go as planned right?

So my advice to others out there in a similar situation.  Find time to think about your essays whenever you can.  You don't need to be in front of your computer to work on your essays.

I was actually supposed to send my essays over to someone to review tonight, but life got in the way.  I had to do something with my roommate.  I did work on my essays, but didn't get them all done the way I had hoped.  He said that I could have him review them one by one, but I want to send all five to him so that he can get a 360 view of what I'm trying to accomplish in each essay.  So my deadline is now Sunday!

Tomorrow - well in 4 hours!  I will be going SAILING!  That should be interesting... I didn't even pack my bags yet.  I'm a hot mess ahaha..  Enjoy your day!

Sidenote - I just Google image(d) - Business School Essays and saw a picture of London Business School.  That school is very gubernatorial(esque) look - 

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