Jason Goes GMAT

Instructor: Jason Chan

Location: 500 Fifth Ave (at 42nd street), New York, NY

[Editor’s note: Bell Curves instructors are required to have taken the GMAT and scored above the 98th percentile before they were invited to train with Bell Curves. After successfully completing training, our teachers take the test at least once a year so they can stay current with the GMAT experience and provide feedback that will allow us to continually improve our teachers and materials. In the interest of research, Jason was asked to go into the test and be the “obsessive methodical student.” He was required to spend an inordinate amount of time on any question he thought would be tricky to an above average, yet not stellar, test-taker. The intent was to get a score in the 600 range and see what types of questions and content showed up most frequently in that range.]

So it’s a random Tuesday and here I am taking the GMAT. Yay me!

Yale School of Management (SOM) Explore Diversity 2009 Event

This past Sunday and Monday (the 8th and 9th of November), the Yale SOM hosted it’s annual Explore Diversity event.  I was invited to attend and give a GMAT Presentation, and had a chance to meet many of the people directly involved in selecting candidates from the large pool of SOM applicants.

I have to say, first off, I was pleased to find that when Yale’s SOM touts a diversity weekend, they mean more than just ethnic or racial diversity. Their notions of diversity extend to include a great many parameters that would distinguish candidates, including career choices, country of origin, undergraduate education, and employment history, among others.

I also have to say I found the members of YSOM Admissions Committee to be a great bunch of people. Smaller, more intimate events such as this one give attendees a better opportunity to meet the people behind those the email addresses. The Admissions Committee seems as committed to diversity as the school is, with members clearly expressing very different personalities and perspectives. I imagine committee discussions about applicants are always interesting, and probably quite often heated. If you’re considering Yale, you should definitely meet some of these folks, and if they are any representation of the YSOM, it seems a great place to be!

Sitting in on the various events and talking to other people there, I got a few insights about the Yale SOM application/selection process.

From China to the GMAT

For the better part of five months, the GMAT was the bane of my
existence. I don’t think an hour went by without me thinking about it.
It was everywhere I looked. I one time even figured out the possible
combinations of the food items offered at the restaurant I worked at.
Ironically, I didn’t come up with the right answer.

At some point the GMAT stopped being a test and started being a fight.
That is a development I am certainly thankful for. Because once I
stopped thinking of the GMAT as a test and more of a mountain that I
had to climb, thing became much clearer.

Looking back, I realize that the concepts that the GMAT tests are not
complex. There’s no calculus, advanced physics, or expectations of you
analyzing Shakespeare’s later works. The GMAT is simply high school
math and grammar meant to stump the smartest people alive. It’s
slightly ingenious really.

Aesop’s Fables and GMAT Timing

As I listen to the bloggersphere and twitterverse, attend conferences, and talk to test takers, there is a consistent concern about timing on the GMAT and how much it impacts their performance on the test. Survey GMAT test-takers and I bet that 90% of them will claim their biggest challenge is finishing the test (especially the Quant section). This fear is further propagated by test prep “experts” who cite the lofty goal of answering all Quant questions in 2 minutes or less and all Verbal questions in 1:45 minutes or less. I, however, have not drunk of that particular flavor of Kool-Aid and don’t recommend you do so either.To all those of the 2 minute cult, I’d point you to the wisdom of Aesop and the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.

The GMAC Test Prep Summit

A few days ago the world had their eyes focused on New York City, where the biennial GMAC Test Prep Summit was held. Okay, so maybe the whole world wasn’t watching, but we at Bell Curves were, as were a great many others in the test prep community. Over ten hours, attendees were treated to a wealth of information (some new, some not) from GMAC, the company that develops the GMAT.

Presentation topics included world-wide GMAT testing volume and new developments for the test and its administration (by the end of 2009 every test center will require you to use the vein patterns in your palm as identification – and no, I’m not kidding, it’s called ‘Palm Vein Recognition’).

MLT, a Bell Curves Partner, featured on CNN online

A recent feature on Management Leadership for Tomorrow Founder, John Rice. Watch for the Bell Curves mug at 1:47 into the video.

B-School Profiles – The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Buiness at Rice University

In this installment of our MBA school profiles, we will be looking at the Jesse H. Jones School of Management at Rice University. Established in 1974, the Jones School has consistently ranked in the top 30 business graduate programs in the United States. Rice University, a highly regarded undergraduate institution, is located in Houston, Texas. Houston is home to a large number of Fortune 500 Companies (second only to New York in the category), which has helped Jones graduates find jobs on par with many top tier b-schools.

Admissions at Jones are competitive, with students scoring a GMAT mean of 667 and Jones accepting 31% of their most recent round of applications (according to BusinessWeek). Application deadlines are November 10, January 12, February 23, and April 6.

To find out more, visit business.rice.edu

A feel good story to start off your Tuesday

We’ve chronicled the current anti-MBA rhetoric, but what about the good guys? There must be some. The Economist chronicles a few MBA do-gooders that don’t get quite as much press as everyone else.

Check it out here - http://www.economist.com/businessfinance/businesseducation/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13892606

The MBA bashing continues, sorta…

Newsweek recently published an article discussing everbody’s favorite recession activity – bashing MBAs! Check it out here. The article makes several interesting points and does a nice job of discussing the overall phenomena of MBA bashing without taking much of a stand on the issue.

B-schools, the GRE, and you

BusinessWeek, which does a stellar job reporting on most b-school issues, turns in another solid article concerning schools and their acceptance of the GRE. Not only could this change the way applicants are chosen, but also the way the GMAT itself is run.


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