10 Things I learnt this Week- #Week1

This series has been inspired by Mr. Ankur Warikoo‘s(ISB Alum & CEO, Nearbuy) idea of collating and sharing collective wisdom. I intend to write a post every week on every new thing I will learn on professional & personal front (will also try to mention the sources of these nuggets of knowledge and wisdom). I hope to carry out this initiative for a very long time in the interest of everyone who follows my blog.

  1. GMAT’s time has been reduced by 30 minutes- The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has announced trimming of GMAT exam time by 30 minutes to 3.5 hours beginning April 16 worldwide. It’s been widely speculated that GMAC has removed the ‘experimental questions’ (which do not add any weightage to the final score) from the test.
  2. Keyword Research- When typing in your main keyword into Google, look at the auto-populated suggestions at the bottom of the search page. This will give you an idea of the keywords that people are entering to search for your service or product. Courtesy- Creighton Wong on LinkedIn
  3. Kakeibo- Kakeibo is a ‘budgeting journal’ used to set saving goals and spend wisely by Japanese people. It was first popularized in 1904 by Hani Motoko, Japan’s first female journalist, as a way for housewives to manage budgets. In case you don’t want to make one, you can buy readymade Kakeibo from Amazon to track your spending.
  4. World’s highest post office– World’s highest post office is in Hikkim (pin code 172114). Located at 15,500 feet, Hikkim is part of the Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh. I met a person during my last solo trip to Mcleodganj. “I went there and mailed a letter to myself and all my close friends”, he said.
  5. Zostel in Chitkul-   Chitkul is a village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border. The Indian road ends here. Zostel, the famous chain of backpackers’ hostels, just started its hostel in Chitkul.
  6. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome among Dentists:- Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), characterized by pain, numbness and/or tingling into the palm and first three and a half fingers of the hand and and it used to be prevalent among Dentists. However, use of Rotary Endodontics has reduced its prevalence.
  7. (New Book Alert) Infinite Variety: A History of Desire in India : This new book by Madhavi Menon is a historical account of Desire in India. “Same-sex dargahs, a Malayali Hindu god with a Muslim boyfriend, Bhabhiphilia, the queerness of the zero: you’ll never think about desire in India the same way again” says one of its descriptions.
  8. (Book Recommendation) The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld : Not in the last week, but this book was strongly recommended to me to learn sales tactics  by Mr. Rohan Kothari (IIT Bombay and ISB alumnus) during a one-to-one mentoring session with alums last year at ISB. I thought of including it here.
  9. Custom Audience for Facebook Ads : Apart from targeting through demographics and interests, you can upload an excel sheet (in csv format) of email id and phone number of people you want to view your ad. The ad will directly targeted to those people (provided they use the same email id to login to facebook and they have connected their phone numbers to facebook). You can read more about it here
  10. Prezi for impressive presentations : Prezi.com is a website to make visually appealing presentations and the results are much better than Microsoft Powerpoint. But, it is a completely paid website. Courtesy Kashish Khandelwal

I hope this post was insightful and helpful. If you found this helpful, you should FOLLOW my blog so that you get an email when I add a new post to this series the next week. The FOLLOW tab is on the right side of the screen (if you are reading it on desktop/laptop) and on the bottom (if you are reading it on mobile).

Please let me know in the comment section about your views on this initiative.

Be good.

-KA

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Applying to ISB- Everything you want to know

CAT 2017 results are out (and so are some of the IIM calls). While those having calls must be preparing for GDPI, others need to ponder what to do next.

This article has been exclusively written for ardent (and eventually disappointed) CAT aspirants, who are completely clueless about ISB and GMAT/GRE (and hence, be prepared for a lengthy article).

Before you go ahead, you must know who is the author (i.e. who am I). I am a student of the current flagship MBA program (called as PGP- Post Graduate Program in Management ) at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad Campus.

For more, please visit my LinkedIn Profile-Kumar Anshul

What is Indian School of Business?

ISB is a B-School with campuses at Hyderabad & Mohali, which is currently ranked 27th in the world by Financial Times for its flagship full time 1-year MBA course, called as the PGP (Post Graduate Program in Management.

Who is eligible for PGP from ISB?

Anyone with full time, paid work experience of more than 2 years is eligible to join the PGP course.

What is the total intake every year?

The class of 2018 is a strong batch of 879 students (Hyderabad + Mohali) and the annual intake generally revolves around the same number.

What do I need to apply to ISB?

You either need  GMAT or GRE score and then you need to apply online. The online application consists of 2-3 essays, details about your work experience, 10th, 12th & Graduation score, your awards & achievements, extra-curricular & hobbies.

What is an ideal/cut-off score in GMAT & GRE to get selected?

There is NO CUTOFF. Please understand that unlike CAT/XAT, the exam scores are only a small (though significant) part of your application. Your application is holistically evaluated by the admission team with separate weightage given to every part of the application. Though ofcourse, you should aim for a high score. Below is a screenshot for ISB’s website for the Class of 2018’s profile

ISB Class of 2018 profile 

As you can see the accepted GRE scores range from 303-335 and GMAT scores from 600-780.

When should I apply to ISB?

ISB has three modes of application :-

  1. YLP (Young Leaders Program)- This is for pre-final and final year students. If you get selected through YLP, a seat will be reserved for you and you can join when you have atleast 20 months of work experience.
  2. Early Entry Option (EEO) This is for working professionals who have less than 24 months of work experience. If selected through EEO,  a seat will be reserved for you and you can join when you have atleast 24 months of work experience.
  3. PGP- All working professionals with more than 24 months of work experience can apply through the regular PGP route

At this point, please keep in mind the following two facts :-

  1. YLP, EEO, PGP are just 3 different routes of applying to the same 1-year flagship MBA program at ISB. They are not different programs, just different ways of applying (depending on how many months of work experience you have) for the MBA.
  2. While the EEO & PGP applications are exactly similar, the YLP application differ. Since you don’t have any work experience while applying through, the essay topics and few other details in the application are different as compared to that of EEO/PGP

When do  I need to apply?

Every batch starts in mid-April and for that particular batch, there are two application rounds- Round 1 deadline is in October of the previous year and Round 2 deadline is in January of the same year.

For example, for the class that is going to start in April 2018, Round 1 deadline was on October 15th 2017 and Round 2 Deadline is on January 15th 2018.

If you apply to Round 1 and don’t get an admit, you can’t apply to Round 2. You can apply again in Round 1/Round 2 for next batch with the same GMAT/GRE score (as these scores are valid for 5 years).

The application cycle for YLP is different, please check the website for more details.

How can  I prepare for GMAT/GRE?

GMAT/GRE, unlike CAT/XAT takes 4-5 months of preparation (along with your work) and these exams can easily be aced with proper focused preparation. I have already written a series of articles on GMAT Preparation :-

  1. My GMAT Debrief- Kumar Anshul
  2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about GMAT
  3. How to reduce the cost of your GMAT Preparation
  4. How to prepare for AWA section in GMAT

I have personally no clue about GRE but I have heard that it’s comparatively easier than GMAT (Specifically the Quant Section) but the aspirants need to mug a lot of words to ace the vocabulary based questions in Verbal Section.

 How is the interview process?

If your application gets shortlisted, you will be called for interview (3-5 days will be provided). The interview panel consists of 3-4 people from the admission team and alumni. The interview majorly revolves around everything that you have written in your application. So it is extremely important to give enough time & attention to your application.

I have also written in detail about my interview experience.

How can I go ahead with my application now?

If you are thinking of applying to Round 1 deadline (October 2018), you should focus on GMAT or GRE preparation now and then start working on your application by September.

In May 2016, we, a group of 12-15 ISB Admits started The Bootcamp Consultancy Pvt Ltd with an aim of helping students apply to ISB and other B-schools in India & abroad. In less than 2 years we have helped more than 100 aspirants grab their dream seat at ISB (through YLP, EEO and PGP application) and many others at world’s reputed B-Schools such as INSEAD, HKUST, Columbia, Imperial College London, Michigan Broad, IIM A, IIM B, SP Jain among others. Also read- 5 Reasons to choose The Bootcamp for ISB

You can join our facebook group- MBA Aspirants Group- The Bootcamp (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MBAaspirantsBootcamp/) and post any queries and we shall be more than happy to help you out.

There is another important article that you must read before applying to ISB- Most common myths about ISB (Indian School of Business)

If you found this article useful, I have two requests:-

  1. Follow this blog (link to follow is in right side of screen if you are reading on laptop/desktop and in the bottom of article if you are reading on smartphone). This will encourage me to write more.
  2. Follow me on Quora, I have written many answers there to help prospective aspirants.

If you have any more queries, please use the comment section below and I would reply as soon as possible.

Thank you!

 

How to reduce the cost of your GMAT Preparation.

GPH

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.

GMAT FAQ

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
SPJIMR
IMT
IMI
XIMB
TAPMI
GIM
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

AWA

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.

My GMAT Debrief- 730 (Q50 V39) in 1st attempt

Apologies for an extremely long post (as many people have inboxed, so I will write each and every detail and try to elaborate)

Date and Center- 3rd January 2016, Kormangala Bangalore
Score- 730 (Q 50, V 39) IR- 1 (was completely clueless here)
Attempt- 1st
Started Preparation during Mid November (exactly during Diwali vacations)
Schools targetting- I got an admit to ISB (Indian School of Business) through EEO (Early Entry Option). I will be joining batch of 2017-18.

I was never consistent while preparing and the major chunk of my studies happened in last 10 days. Neither did I take a single mock in one sitting.

Quant

I am not from Maths background so it was always a nightmare for me. Bought Manhattan Strategy Guide and completed all topics. Then got myself GMAT Club Tets, tried 10 questions from 700 level but couldn’t solve a single of them. Decided not to touch those questions. Solved around 100 600 level questions with 70-75% accuracy. Hence, out of 1500+ Questions in GC Tests, 1000 are still lying unsolved.

Did OG 2015 + Quant Review 2015 + OG 2016 + Quant Review 2016 cover to cover. Marked the questions I got wrong and revised a few days before exam. There are 25% new questions in 2016 versions of both the book and many questions which were present in 2015 editions are omitted from 2016 editions. So, it is a good idea to get all 6 books (OG 2015, VR 2015, QR 2015, OG 2016, VR 2016 and QR 2016).
I never solved Quants questions posted in this group as even the sight of them used to give me shivers.

Verbal

Got E-Gmat Verbal Online subscription. Its SC is amazing (but you still need to be thorough with OG). I didn’t find anything spectacular in its CR. Didn’t touch its RC (neither the lessons nor the questions). After finishing started with its Scholaranium (700+ Questions). Did around 150 questions from SC (82% accuracy) and 80-100 questions from CR (72% accuracy). Got bored and didn’t attempt the rest of the questions (So, 60-70% of my Scholaranium is left unsolved as well). As already mentioned, didn’t attempt its RC.

CR– I also tried to do CR from CR Powerscore Bible. Couldn’t solve many questions and gave up in the mid. CR was always frustrating for me. In the end, I decided to stick only with OGs and VRs (both 2015 and 2016 editions). Also did a few (around 60 ) questions from Gmat Prep Question Document downloaded from GmatClub three days before exam.

SC– Re-revised all questions from OG 2015, 16 and VR 2015,16 2-3 days before exam. Was confident as accuracy in these questions was 90% (and had done well in E-Gmat SCs as well).

RC– I had only attempted 5-6 RCs (all from OGs) before the actual exam. Comprehension was never an issue as I have been a voracious reader (My Goodreads analytics show that I have read 43 books in 2015 and 12,500 pages in total). Even last night before the exam, I read one short story by Alice Munroe.

Mocks- Princeton 1- 630, Princeton 2- 650, Gmat Prep 1- 700 (got a few questions which I had already solved before in Verbal) , Veritas- 650, Gmat Prep 2- 620 (10 days before the exam). Didn’t bother to look for the solution of questions I did wrong as I was too frustrated and had almost given up (But had to take the exam anyway as I had booked the dates during the beginning of preparation itself). Never took any mocks after that and decided to build upon what I already knew.

Exam Day

I had screwed up my sleep pattern during the last days (took 10 days off, used to study at night and sleep during the day time). As expected, couldn’t sleep for a single second last night. Kept revising SCs from OG and solved a few easy Quant questions (I had always known that I won’t be able to solve tough quants, hence I focussed on getting the easy ones correct no matter what). Reached near the center two hours ago, sat in CCD which is just in front of the centre. Had coffee and a sandwich. Just before entering the centre, popped up a Modafinil 200 mg (Google what it is) with a can of Red Bull and smoked an iceburst (to keep myself alert).

AWA- Had never practiced this before but wasn’t of much issue. Took 10 minutes to frame my answer and wrote it down in 15 minutes. Revised for grammatical/spelling errors in last 5 minutes.

IR- Solved a few, randomly answered rest of them. I found it too tough. Also, I had never attempted this section in any of the mocks.

Quants- EXTREMELY EASY is the word. I would say it was easier than OGs . Confidently solved 9 out of first 10 correctly (guessed 1). Next questions were easy as well. And I used to get to know by the first look of the question that whether I will be able to solve or not. Hence, randomly guessed 3-4 questions without wasting any time on them. Even then, I missed the last question as time was up (yeah I am that slow in Maths). I got sh** scared thinking about the heavy penalty for leaving a question unanswered. Calmed myself down during the break and ate a chocolate.

Verbal– SC was tricky but easy if you have been a consistent reader and are thorough with basics. Had questions on Comparisons, Rhetorical Construction, Idioms, Use of Present Perfect Tense and so on.

CR as expected was too tough (for me atleast). Infact wasn’t even able to understand the question stem of two CRs. I guessed them randomly and made smart guesses for others. While I was confident of getting most SCs correct, I was hardly sure of 2-3 CRs in total.

RC- 2 short + 2 long. The last one was 4- 5 paragraphs long and was extremely difficult to comprehend (was based on finance and economics). Couldn’t get the gist but tried to eliminate wrong answers somehow.

Couldn’t believe when it showed 730 on the screen (Q 50, V 39 and a dismal IR 1 ).

Key Takeaways :-

1. Official Questions are god (specially in Verbal). Do not digress much.
2. In Quants know which question you can’t solve, make a smart guess and move on without wasting time.
3. Mock scores may suggest what you are going to get in the actual exam, but this is not a rule (who knows it better than me ) Don’t stop studying till the last day.
4. Instead of solving tough questions, focus more on making sure you don’t get the easy ones wrong.
5. Make SC your strength. Why? 1st reason- You can easily master it. 2nd reason- It’s the least time taking type of question in Verbal.
6. Never stop reading.

Disclaimer- Above strategies worked for me but there are many people in this group who have scored much more than me, so its better to have their opinion as well.

Follow me on Quora, as I have answered many questions regarding GMAT Preparation there.

If you are looking for ONE-TO-ONE mentorship for GMAT Preparation from a group of 15 recent ISB Admits, please join our facebook group.