Time Management Hacks by KA


First thing first, I do not consider myself pro in Time Management neither I think I have achieved great things in my life by managing my time. But since many people have asked in the past and present, I think there is no harm in jotting down a few points about it.

DISCLAIMER : This post is strictly objective and not preachy, which means, I am writing how I manage my time, it is not necessary that these points will help the one too who is reading this post.

About myself: I am a Dentist-turned-Manager, currently working as a Marketing Manager at Oliveboard. I also have my own venture- I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief of International Dental Journal of Students’ Research. I also work for The Bootcamp, where we help students to prepare for GMAT to get through ISB Admission process. I am an Early Entry Admit to Indian School of Business and I will be joining the batch of 2017-18. I am an avid reader and you can find my book reviews on my page The Booktrack. I love learning new languages and have cleared basic proficiency level exams in Spanish and French and currently I am learning Italian (Online) and Japanese (Weekend Classroom Course) simultaneously. Also I go food/drinks hunting every weekend and I also love to cook and. For more details, please visit my LinkedIn Profile.

I have been a multi-tasker since my college days and have been able to manage different things decently enough so far. I would like to share a few pointers that, I feel, help me to manage time and get stuff done.

  1. I do not drive, I strictly use public transport to go to the office or anywhere. Apart from saving money, this gives me a lot of time to read.
  2. I am NEVER without a book in my bag, no matter even if I am going to a party. You never know when you have to wait or sit idle and there is no harm in flipping through the pages of a book in that spare time.
  3. I use the ‘Hidden time’ to read- Time when you are waiting for the lunch to be served, time when you are waiting for the bus to arrive or even while you are in the washroom attending to your morning tasks *wink*
  4. I do not plan and mostly an ‘impulsive indulgent’. I feel planning kills a lot of time. If I feel like checking out a new pub in the town, I do not start making plans with friends. I try to call one or two people, and regardless of the fact that they are willing or not, I go out.
  5. Coming to my language training, I save a lot of time by immediately revising the lessons once the class is over- This is a great trick as you will be able to absorb more in less time when the lessons are still fresh in your mind and will save the time later. This goes true for any skill that you are learning- Revise as soon as the class is over and see how much time you will be able to save in the long run!
  6. I do not go for movies (once in a few months) and I strictly do not watch any sports (maybe Cricket World Cup matches when India is playing) or TV Series. The last TV Series that I watched was Mahabharata Star Plus.
  7. I tried to join a Gym/Fitness Center but realized that it was taking too much of my time. Now I get down at one or two earlier bus stop and walk home daily from there so that I get my daily dose of physical activity
  8. I prefer Whatsapp over Phone call- this generally allows you to multi task.
  9. I always try to meet new people- I think this is a great way of learning and picking up some good traits from others and it also improves your communication and interpersonal skills in less time.
  10. I do not sleep for more than 5 hours, no matter what (But I won’t advise it to everyone, do it only if it doesn’t affect your day-to-day activities).

    I don’t know how much this post will help you but if you appreciate this post, kindly do me a favor- FOLLOW this blog (Green colored button on the left side of the screen if you are reading this on your laptop, or on the end of this article if you are reading on your smartphone).

~ KA


How to build your profile for B-School admission.


“How to build my profile” is the most common question that the MBA aspirants face as some of the topmost Indian B-Schools (such as Indian School of Business and SPJIMR) are relying heavily on the profile of the candidate while considering them for the admission. Even for other B-schools, having a strong profile is always advisable as it will help you to stand out during the Interview stage and will help you to present yourself as someone having an all-rounded personality. Importance of a strong profile further increases for freshers as they have to compete with those having Work-Experience. I am listing a few ways through which you can improve your profile and increase your CV points. Please note that the list is not exhaustive and only includes of activities that I could think of while writing this post.


I am not from Engineering background so don’t have much idea about it but I am pretty sure that quality internships done during your undergraduation years help you a lot. You can search for internships in the following forums :-

Internshala :- An amazing website where you can enter all your details and requirements and they will mail you all the internship opportunities in your preferred location.

AIESEC  – AIESEC is making its presence felt in many campuses and it is a good organization to gain some leadership experience as well as international internships.

Campus Ambassador Programs

Various national and international organizations and institutes have campus ambassador programs. You can apply and be the face of the organization in your campus. This will provide you leadership opportunities and you can add this experience in your CV. Here are a few such programs.

Online Courses

There are various websites from where you can learn almost every skill on this earth online. Most of these courses are free while a few are priced very nominally. Join a relevant course, complete the assignments and earn a certificate! Some of the online learning forums are Coursera, EdX, Udemy, Iversity,  etc.

Content Writing

If you are good at writing, you can search for content writing jobs on internet and earn your pocket money. ContentMart is one such place where you can find such jobs. Do not forget to ask for a certificate from your employer


Voluntary Experience is valued a lot during B-school admissions and also during campus placements post-MBA. Find out the NGOs in your city and contribute on weekends.


CFA Certification for Finance Enthusiasts is an extremely valued certification. If you can afford, prepare hard (it’s not easy) and go for it. It will pay huge dividends. Join this facebook group for more info.

For Sales & marketing enthusiasts, you have SMStudy certification. Similarly, there are certifications for Product and Project Management.

Foreign Language Course

Join Alliance Francaise in your city for French, Cervantes Institute (or certified by Cervantes Institute) for Spanish and Max Muller Institute for German language. They have weekend courses too which you can conveniently join. For other languages and other centers, you can search on UrbanClap. If you cannot afford classroom courses or don’t have time, you can even learn online and earn certificates on EdX.

Paper/Poster Presentations

Undertake small research projects with the help of your faculty and present them in various national and international competitions. They will act like a jewel in your academic crown.

MUN (Model United Nations)

MUNs are extremely profound platforms to hone your public speaking skills, to keep yourself aware of recent happenings in the world and to make new friends. Find out which MUN is taking place in/near to your city and take part.


Nothing is considered more valuable than building up something on your own. It can be as grand as getting your own startup/NGO registered or having a regular tech/movie/food review blog. Think, speculate, brainstorm. Do not sit idle.


Apart from all these, you can also choose to just indulge in your favorite hobby and win accolades in that field. It can be music, sports or anything under the sun that interests you. The catch is to build an all-rounded personality.

That’s all I can think of now. Do FOLLOW my blog (Green colored tab on the left side of the screen) as I will be writing more on GMAT, MBA and Indian School of Business. If you are following the blog, you will get an email whenever I publish a new post.




Most Common myths about ISB (Indian School of Business)


Indian School of Business (Hyderabad and Mohali) has been ranked as the 29th Best B-School in the world by Financial Times 2016 Ranking. Even then, a majority of Indian MBA aspirants are not aware about the basic features of this school. Many consider it “Out of reach” and do not even care to apply. This post is intended to be a ‘myth buster’ and I hope it will be informative to the aspirants.

1. ISB is only for professionals with 4-5 or more years of work experience.  

It is true that 2 years of Work experience is mandatory for a seat at ISB (yes, it is not a school for the freshers). It is also true that the average work experience of a batch at ISB is 5 years. But around 20% of the batch (as told to me by an AdCom member) has 2-3 years of Work Ex.

2. I am still at college. So I cannot apply to ISB.

ISB has a unique program (or you can say “mode of entry”) for final year and pre-final year students. It is called the Young Leaders Program (YLP). If selected, one seat will be reserved for you, but you can only join when you complete the compulsory 2 years of work ex. You can find more details on YLP here.

3. I just joined a job after graduating for college. I need to wait for 2 more years before applying to ISB.

For working professionals with less than 2 years of Work-Ex, ISB has something called the EEO (Early Entry Option). The mode of application is exactly the same as the normal mode but if offered an admission, you will be allowed to join only when you finish the compulsory 2 years of Work-Ex.

4. My GMAT score is less than 700. So my chances at ISB are low.

This year (Batch of 2016-17) ISB has admitted an aspirant with a GMAT score of 600! If you have good amount of work experience and exceptional achievements at your professional career and you are able to portray them well in your application essays and recommendation letter, a low GMAT score won’t stop you from getting an admit. But it is strongly advisable to target a score of more than 730 (the more, the better). Also from next application cycle, ISB will also be accepting GRE scores.

5. ISB Hyderabad is the main campus while the Mohali one is the off-campus.

ISB strictly follows “One School, Two Campuses” concept by ensuring the following :-

1. The number of students (550 in Hyderabad and around 250 in Mohali) are divided in such a way that the overall diversity and average work experience in both the campuses remains similar

2. All the professors in both the campuses are selected from a common pool and many a times the same professor teaches at both the campuses in different terms

3. Placements for both the campuses happen together (Students from the other campus have to fly down to the campus where placement is being organized)

4. Students are not allowed to tell their prospective recruiters during the placements that from which campus they belong to(to remove any biasing)

6. The Fees at ISB is too high for me

IIM A, B, C and XLRI all have fees somewhere around 17-19 Lakhs. The fees at ISB is 25 lakhs (including hostel, excluding food). Also, you must remember that unlike other b-schools, you will be unemployed only for one year and not two (as PGP at ISB is only 1 year long).

Also, loans are easily available. For example, under the SBI Scholar Loan Scheme, ISB is the only college apart from IIM A which is listed as “AA institution”, which means 30 Lacs loan will be made available to you without any collateral. Here is the complete list.

I will be writing more on GMAT and Indian School of Business. Make sure you FOLLOW my blog (Green color button on the left side of screen) so that you get an email every time I publish a new post. Use the comment section for any queries and I will be happy to reply to each of them.


How do you know how stressed you are?

stress.png“Stress” has become just another word in our day-to-day life. In fact, the modern urban man is becoming accustomed to use the word “stress” for even a minor discomfort or inconvenience. I always used to wonder how to actually define and quantify this term (a few of my close friends know how much stressed I have been in last few years) that had become a invidious bedfellow of mine.

Last night, I was reading this book called Committed (Sequel of Eat Pray Love) by Elizabeth Gilbert) . Committed takes the story ahead from the point where Eat Pray Love had ended- Liz and Felipe are in love and now due to some unforeseeable circumstances, they must marry. This makes Liz to ponder and research on the entire idea and institution of marriage and the book begins with an extremely interesting account of the history and evolution of matrimony. While reading this book I came to know about the  Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), commonly known as Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, named after two psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe who formulated this scale.

To measure stress according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, the number of “Life Change Units” that apply to events in the past year of an individual’s life are added and the final score will give a rough estimate of how stress affects health.

Life event Life change units
Death of a spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Imprisonment 63
Death of a close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Dismissal from work 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change in health of family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Gain a new family member 39
Business readjustment 39
Change in financial state 38
Death of a close friend 37
Change to different line of work 36
Change in frequency of arguments 35
Major mortgage 32
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
Change in responsibilities at work 29
Child leaving home 29
Trouble with in-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Spouse starts or stops work 26
Beginning or end school 26
Change in living conditions 25
Revision of personal habits 24
Trouble with boss 23
Change in working hours or conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change in schools 20
Change in recreation 19
Change in church activities 19
Change in social activities 18
Minor mortgage or loan 17
Change in sleeping habits 16
Change in number of family reunions 15
Change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Major Holiday 12
Minor violation of law 11

You can add all the points and the final score can be interpreted as follows:-

11-149-You have only a low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future.

150-299-You have a moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future.

300-600-You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.

Did you notice something weird? Because I did. I have no idea how authentic is this scale, or how accurately it can measure your stress level but a few points did amuse me :-

  1. Divorce comes in the second place, next only to death of your spouse. It means even if you are in a failed marriage and it is in best of your interests to end it, the entire legal and emotional wreckage involved with the procedure called ‘Divorce’ can stress you out to the level of actually falling sick.
  2. Marriage itself has a whooping 50 points to contribute to your stress level. Interesting, isn’t it?
  3. Marital reconciliation is also among the toppers! Ofcourse! Don’t we all know that nothing can be as stressful as going back to the same person to live with, whom you have already considered unbearable for once. *grin*

Calculate your level of stress and have fun!

Also “Follow” this blog (Green colored tab on the left side of your screen) for more interesting updates right in your e-mail.


How to reduce the cost of your GMAT Preparation.


Let’s get this fact straight. For Indian candidates (specially when you are a fresher or in a low paying job), taking the GMAT is a costly affair. The exam itself costs you 250 USD (around 17,000 INR). Add to it the cost of coaching and mock tests and you end up spending quite a lot.

This post will help you (Indian candidates mostly) to save money while buying various resources to study for the GMAT. I will start with the preparation and then will move to the mock tests. Also, please note that whatever I am putting up is according to my opinion and your decision making should be completely dependent on your aptitude and comfort level in Quantitative and Verbal.

It is a common fact that an Indian GMAT aspirant is quite comfortable in the Quantitative section and his/her main issue is the Verbal section. So spending a huge amount of money on Classroom course is completely not worth (It is my personal opinion. Please use your own discretion while taking any decision)

So what to do? I will tell you.

  1. Enroll for E-Gmat Verbal Online Subscription. . At 199 USD, it is a complete value for money. Along with the course, you also get Scholranium (around 750 questions each in Verbal and Quant as well. Though I would suggest to leave its Quant as it is not at all according to GMAT level.)
    Added to it you get GMAT Club Tests (1500+ Questions, very famous for Quants, not so much for Verbal). GMAT Club tests cost 79 USD if you buy them separately.
    Also they provide a free mock test from 800score.com. So it is a good decision to buy E-Gmat Verbal Online Course. You can also choose to share it among your friends and hence reduce the cost. Or you can ask a friend of yours who has already taken the GMAT and had bought the course to get an extension to the course (The course is valid for only 6 months and can be extended by paying a price which is lesser than the original price).
  2. Those who must need Maths coaching also, can go for Magoosh. Their entire Quant+Verbal course costs only 99 USD, but since I haven’t used it personally I cannot comment about its credibility

How to save money on Books ?

Almost all books are available on torrent. Ask your friends. Join the GMAT Avengers group on facebook. Don’t ask publicly on the group as they do not support piracy. And I do not support piracy as well so neither ask me for the links. But with a little bit of networking you will get all the books. Which books you need? Read my GMAT debrief here.

Mahakali Book Centre, Mumbai- Call them on 09920411158/09820665661. They will get you OG + Verbal Review + Quant Review + All 10 Manhattan Strategy guides for an extremely cheap price.

Use Gmatclub.com download section extensively. There is almost nothing you cannot get there for free. Posting a few official questions downloading link (But see these questions only during revision, once you are done with OG + Verbal Review+ Quant Review and also all the questions from GMATPrep Software, else you will get repeat questions.)


  1. CR- http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-most-comprehensive-collection-of-everything-official-cr-140375.html
  2. RC- http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-most-comprehensive-collection-of-everything-official-rc-140373.html
  3. SC- http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-most-comprehensive-collection-of-everything-official-sc-140372.html

Use Veritas Question Bank. They are free and unlimited!

Use Beatthegmat forum for free questions and explanations

Use Quikr and Olx to search for used books. Or the old book shops at your city (Avenue road for Bangalore Junta is one of the places). You will find something for sure.

Use Prep4GMAT App. I haven’t used it but have heard good things about it from a friend who scored 710. Yes it is for free!

Use GMAT Prep Now(https://www.gmatprepnow.com/). This material is created by Brent- one of the best tutors for GMAT. He is active in both GMATClub and BTG. This is a full course and ABSOLUTELY FREE!! For all

Veritas Prep On Demand App- If you download the app(available in both itunes and play store) you can watch the videos for all the lessons for free. There are total of 12 lessons covering all the sections of GMAT. Once you are done, you can use their free question bank to solve the problems pertaining to a particular chapter

How to save money on Mocks?

  • GMATPrep Resetting :- The two mocks will come for free when you will register at mba.com and will download the software (For other 2 mocks you need to pay). Now, do you know that you can get 80% new questions by just resetting the already taken mock test? But make sure that you reset after a gap so that you do not remember the repeat questions (else you will get an improper score). You can keep resetting it again and again till you think that most of the questions you are getting are repeat.
  • PowerPrep :- 

    PowePrep is nothing but the old version of GMATPrep Software. You can download it from here and can get another 2 tests for free. But please use these tests at the very beginning of your preparation (as there is a big overlap between PowerPrep questions and OG, Verbal Review and Quant Review Questions)

  • Veritas :-

    Generally priced at 49 USD, Veritas provide discount at various points of time (for example, currently it is available for 20 USD and when I bought it was available for 15 USD). Keep checking.

  • Manhattan :-

    Buy any original Manhattan strategy guides from Amazon (kindle version) and forward the purchase email from Amazon to info@manhattanprep.com. This is the cheapest way to buy Manhattan Tests (within 600-700 INR).

  • Free Tests :-

    All test prep companies (Veritas, Manhattan, Princeton, Economist, Platinum GMAT, GMATPill etc) provide one test for free. Use them only for practice. Don’t rely on their scores. No one, I repeat no one can predict your score except the official mocks (i.e GMATPrep)

I hope that this post will prove beneficial to reduce the cost of your preparation.

Use the comment section if you have any more queries, I shall reply to them in due time. Also, Use the FOLLOW button on the left side of the screen so that you get an email whenever I update a new blogpost. Follow me on Quora as I have answered many questions regarding GMAT Preparation there.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about GMAT.


Before I start writing this post, I would want to make it clear that it is being written keeping in mind the needs and aspirations of Indian MBA Aspirants, who generally prepare for the Indian Management Entrance Exams (CAT, XAT etc) and hence have quite a few doubts about the GMAT.

Who conducts the GMAT ?

GMAT is conducted by GMAC. The Graduate Management Admission Council ® (GMAC®) a global non-profit organization comprised of leading graduate business schools around the world. GMAC is the owner and administrator of the GMAT® exam, the first and only standardized test specifically designed for graduate business and management programs.

When can I take GMAT ?

You can book your GMAT dates on any day of the year. Log on to mba.com to book your dates.

What sections are there in GMAT?

The GMAT has 4 sections- AWA (Analytical Writing Ability), IR (Integrated Reasoning), Quantitative and Verbal.

GMAT Test Section # of Questions Question Types Timing
Analytical Writing Assessment 1 Topic Analysis of Argument 30 Minutes
Integrated Reasoning 12 Questions Multi-Source Reasoning
Graphics Interpretation
Two-Part Analysis
Table Analysis
30 Minutes
Quantitative 37 Questions Data Sufficiency
Problem Solving
75 Minutes
Verbal 41 Questions Reading Comprehension
Critical Reasoning
Sentence Correction
75 Minutes
Total Exam Time 3hrs, 30 minutes

Please note that AWA and IR sections are graded separately. Your GMAT score (out of 800) is only on the basis of your performance in Quantitative and Verbal Section.

What is the examination fee?
250 US Dollars
How many times can I take GMAT?
You can take GMAT upto 5 times a year. But there must be a gap of 15 days between two successive attempts.
How can I prepare for GMAT? How long will it take? What materials should I use?
I have explained it very clearly in another of my post. Read it here 
Which Indian Colleges accept GMAT score?
Some of the major Indian colleges accepting GMAT score for the normal MBA are :-
Indian School of Business
Great Lakes
MISB Bocconi
For Executive MBAs, all the IIMs accept GMAT score. 
Do I need Work-Ex to take GMAT?
No, you can even take GMAT when you are in final year or before. The score is generally valid for 5 years (though it depends on the college to which you are applying)
How is the level of GMAT compared to that of CAT and XAT ?
Quantitative- Extremely easy
Verbal- It is on the tougher side but can be managed as the pattern is fixed and there is no unpredictability. There are only 3 types of questions- RC, CR and SC.
Integrated Reasoning- Many questions are similar to the DI (Data Interpretation) section in CAT/XAT and this can easily be managed.
I have prepared extensively for CAT/XAT. Can I crack GMAT easily?
Quantitative section- Definitely. Verbal section- Won’t help much.
Hope the post helps. Use the comment section if you have any more queries, I shall reply to them in due time. Also, Use the FOLLOW button on the left side of the screen so that you get an email whenever I update a new blogpost. Follow me on Quora as I have answered many questions regarding GMAT Preparation there.

How to Prepare for AWA section in GMAT


The AWA (Analytical Writing Ability) is an important section in GMAT where you will be provided with a situation/ argument and will be asked to critically analyze the same.

My AWA score is 5.0 (out of 6) so I guess I can tell you how to prepare for this section.
I read two-three templates online just a day before exam to get myself acquainted with AWA. So you actually don’t need to invest much time to this. Here is the format I followed :-
1st Paragraph- Introduction
Identify the argument in this paragraph and mention the points put forward by author to support/refute the argument. Also mention if you find the author’s point valid or not.
2nd and 3rd Paragraph– Explain your own points. For example, if you are refuting the argument, provide two strong points why and based on what reasoning you are doing the same. Be concise and precise. Don’t digress beyond the scope.
4th Paragraph- Suggest ‘Remedies’ in this paragraph. It means, put forward some premises which could have made the author’s argument more valid and sensible.

5th Paragraph- Conclusion. Sum up the entire write-up.

Hope it helps. Use the FOLLOW button on the left side of the screen so that you get an email whenever I update a new blogpost. Also, Follow me on Quora as I have answered many questions regarding GMAT Preparation there.