Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Study Plans for GMAT

As I am due to start my preparations shortly (from 1st July), it is time to draw up a plan that works. My past experience tells me that my weakness lies in verbal, particularly in sentence correction and reading comprehension. So, I am going to start with these areas and continue revising until the test day along side other preparations (Quants, AWA etc.).

Here is the plan

Week1 (5 days) Manhattan SC

Week2 Manhattan RC & Kaplan Premier verbal

Week3 Kaplan Premier verbal

Week4 Kaplan Premier Quants

Week5 OG 11 (20 questions from each section every day)

Week6 OG 11 (20 questions from each section every day)

Week7 (4 days) Revisions & AWA & Exam

In addition I am looking to do Kaplan 800 every day from Week 3 to Week 6 whenever I find time (if at all I do!). Manhattan SC is also on the list for revisions every day.

I am looking to take 6 CATs during the preparation as below

Power Prep 1 & 2
Manhattan CAT – 2 tests
GMAT Prep 1 & 2

Yes, it is a very tight schedule. Looking at the comments I have received in the Blog and through other sources, people think I am being over optimistic here. Taking that into consideration, I will assess my preparation by taking GMAT Prep 1 at the end of week 4. If I don’t score around 700 with a verbal score of 38 plus, I will have to reconsider my position. Hopefully I can stick with the current plan.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

What Next? - GMAT!

Next item on the agenda is GMAT. Some people say it is the easiest part of MBA application process, but not for me. Being away from competitive exams (any exams for that matter) for over 12 years, it is one of the difficult tasks. I had a miserable experience last year. As part of my smaller steps (as mentioned in my introduction) I wanted to do a part time MBA and took the GMAT in Oct 08. I scored 640. This score is sufficient to get a part time place, but I don’t think it will stand out in any of the schools I am looking to apply for the full time place. I have a big task ahead!!!

Here is my plan. I am doing a house move this week and I am coming back to where I lived for 5 years. I have too many friends to entertain and will have too much of unpacking and stuff to do at home. So, I can’t do much preparation. I will start my prep from 1st July. I will be having sleepless nights looking after the new born from September. So, I have to take the exam in August. I hope 6 weeks of serious preparation will get me there. So, I am going to book for the exam for the 14th Aug 2009. Is it being too optimistic?

I am not looking for top scores. I am looking for a balanced score of around 49 – 50 in Quants and 38 – 42 in Verbal and I hope that will get me into one of the schools on my list. I think it is achievable with good support from my family. I trust them. Among all my dissatisfactions I have a very happy and understanding family -;)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Why do I want to do an MBA?

Don’t be surprised! This is definitely not the first time I am trying to answer this question, but this is the first time I am trying to record my thoughts. Reading this back might change my mind or change the preferences. Let’s hope I make the right decision.

Let me start with the reasons against doing an MBA

1. A year out of employment
2. Loss of income when I am at my best
3. Drop in income after graduation
4. Loosing all my savings and possibly getting into debt
5. Fear of going back to school and competing with younger students
6. Getting back into employment in the recession
7. Possible disruptions to the family
8. Pressure on my wife to get back into employment while looking after young children
9. Most importantly, time with the family

Reasons for

1. A year of being with driven and intelligent people
2. The education that can help me to become a better person
3. The brand name that can help for the rest of my career
4. The possible break through I am desperately looking for
5. Possibility of getting exposure to different industries
6. Away from the job I am now bored of doing
7. Possibly an increase in my salaries after a few years from graduation
8. The challenge involved

Reasons against doing an MBA are one more than the reasons for!!!

To summarize,
I am worried about loosing the job, income and the time with my young family. Am I learning anything at work? No. So, in effect it is only the loss of income and the time with the family that I am worried about.

The advantages are possibility of getting an enjoyable and well paid job, exposure to subject areas I haven’t got a clue, the contacts I may get and the brand name.

I can further exclude the loss of income because I hope I can get a job from my MBA that will compensate for the loss of income in less than 5 years. So, it is between family and the education.

These are two things which can’t be compared. I can’t discuss this with my three year old son or an unborn daughter, but I have discussed this with my wife couple of times in the past. You have guessed it! Yes, I have a very understanding family and I am going to go with the EDUCATION. I owe my wife and children the pay back.

I just read back whatever I have written so far and found it interesting to see sentences like ‘I hope I get a better job’, ‘I may get contacts’, ‘Possible exposure to other sectors’ etc. It’s not bringing second thoughts about doing the MBA, but making me realise that I have the an additional (tough) job of converting the hopes and possibilities to realities.

Blogging definitely helps!!!

Monday, 22 June 2009

My shortest weekend

What a weekend it was! If things were normal I would have watched Sebastian Vettel winning the British Grand Pre and Pakistan winning the Twenty Twenty cricket, but I did neither. I had a 5 hour journey back home on Friday. At least 14 hours of cleaning and packing to do both on Saturday and Sunday. I couldn’t cope with the 5 hour journey back to work this morning. I stopped the car half way through my journey and had a little nap before continuing. Fortunately I didn’t have too much to do at work.

I am not regretting too much about the hectic weekend because I am doing a house move this weekend to a place very close to my work place. So, from next week onwards I will be living within 2 miles from work and get to see my family every day. More importantly I will have the time to do my GMAT and the essays. I am guaranteed to have this set-up for the at least the next 5 months (because that is how long I have the contract).

I was thinking about the championship so far with Formula 1 this season. It’s amazing for a team that had no funding secured until the last minute and who were under dogs last season to come back and win 6 out of 8 races so far this season and leading the championship. Last season, If you had asked me to describe Ross Brawn in one word, I would have either said Successful or arrogant. I now haven’t got a word to describe him. He is great! Having said that, I am now slowly losing my interest in F1. This week we saw the defending world champion Lewis Hamilton finishing at 16 and the team that was bottom of the table last season leading the championship by a big margin. This has proved one thing which is that the drivers in F1 have very little to do in the race. As a spectator I want to see a race between drivers. I can understand the race between Hamilton and Kovalainan, between Button and Barrichello and between Vettel and Webber, but is there a race between Hamilton and Button for example. The answer is No. In reality the race is between the engineers of McLaren and Brawn GP. Can I watch the race between the engineers? No. Is that entertaining to me? No. I do appreciate that Brawn GP engineers have done a great job by producing the best car this year, but I don’t really enjoy the race when their drivers are more than half minute in front of rest of the crowd. I think this successful sport needs some serious thinking to keep its big fan base. FIA and Fota needs to stop the infighting and look at things like these.

I think the race last season was more enjoyable because there was a championship potential for Massa , Raikkonen, Hamilton and Kubica and also Alonso scored maximum points from the last 6 races. I hope other teams will catch up with Brawn like Red Bull did this week and make F1 interesting.

Sorry for boring with my F1 interest/ loss of interest. I promise my next post will be more towards MBA and GMAT.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

My preference list for schools

Today I have been thinking about the schools at which I want to do my MBA. I came up with the below schools.

1. ISB
2. LBS
3. Said - Oxford
4. Judge - Cambridge
5. IMD
6. Insead

The reasons are quite simple.

I currently live in the UK , but looking for the right opportunity to go back to my home country, India . ISB will definitely help to do that, but the scariest thing is it has mostly young kids in its class!

By continuing to live in the UK , I can avoid the relocation and be with the family. Naturally LBS, Oxford and Cambridge will help.

I am considering IMD and Insead because the number of students they have in my age group is high. At least fellow students won’t call me Uncle D.

These are my preferences at the moment, but things are likely to change as I continue to research.

Friday, 19 June 2009

My first Blog - Who am I

Let me introduce myself here so that you can decide for yourself whether it is worth spending your time reading my Blog.

I am one of those people who are competing for the most dissatisfied list on earth (if there is one). In the last 12 years of my working life I have changed jobs 5 times and lived in 4 different countries spanning 3 continents. The primary reason for the moves was job satisfaction.

My dissatisfaction has never been worse before like today. My job is similar to a number of my fellow country men. I am an IT professional, who got bored a couple of years ago of doing the same job year on year. I then decided to go freelancing with the expectation that I will get exposure into different business sectors and can do a variety of work. Here I am today complaining about the situation again. Everyone is blaming the recession for their failures; let me have my share of it! Yes, the recession has made it difficult for me to break into any other sector and I am still sticking to the same old job, but as a freelancer. Today I even have doubts as to whether breaking into those sectors will give me the satisfaction.

Looking back on what I did so far, my problem has always been not taking the big steps. Even though I took all the right steps and never failed, they were either too small or just temporary solutions. I think my dissatisfaction today is down to my hesitation to take big steps. I think I have a lot to offer and I am capable of doing much more than what I am doing today. I get bored very quickly by claiming the ladder one step at a time (not unusual I hope). This is my problem.

What is the solution! Some people say this is decease and there is no cure for it. I think an MBA from a top school will cure, if not help to find the remedy. I must be mad; I didn’t take these big steps when I was single or even before having kids. I know it will be the most difficult thing I have ever done. There you go! It is like paying for your credit card after the payment date, I will have to pay the late fee.

I am going to be 34 in a month’s time (Typical MBA age range !?!?!). I have a 3 year old son and another one is on the way (sleepless nights will help for my GMAT and essays!?!?!) and adding to that I live abroad and no family around to support us.

If you are still reading this Blog, I am sure you will be curious to know how I am progressing. So, please do come back and read. I definitely need your support and valuable comments.