Making a Date With The GMAT

The other day I was driving in my car to the gym and Avril Lavinge’s latest song came on: “All my life I’ve been good but now, oooh I’m thinking what the hell.” I won’t get started on her lyrical abilities or her “relationship” with the Hills “star” Brody Jenner (Really? Matching tattoos?). But this song struck a chord with me, no pun intended.

Taken into the context of my B-School preparation, I’ve not been good as I was with my preparation, and am seriously thinking, what the H— is going on because I need to get back on track! Since my decision late last year to apply, I’ve been so focused, up to the point of constant immersion with B-School dreams and information. Unfortunately in last month or so, my preparation has weaned and my GMAT studying has been minimal.

There are several things to blame (myself first and foremost), in no particular order of significance:

5. Travel schedule, consisting of on-site client work/conferences/workshops during the day and catch up at night. With the last month, my schedule has been totally caddywhompus due to some last minute business trips, which where snuck onto my calendar.  My study schedule, especially with study buddy “H” had gotten off kilter and it has been difficult to stay focused. My boss has assured me that July will be slower in terms of travel, where as last July I was on the road 3 out of 4 weeks. I remind myself that the last time he said that, I flew out last minute to Singapore shortly after.

4.  Distractions in social life; spending time with friends/people of the opposite gender and a sudden spike in out of town friends visiting and staying with me. I’ve resolved to tourniquet these social distractions…we’ll see how well it works!

3. Doubt! Other than being a fantastic movie in my DVD blue ray collection which I have yet to watch, doubt is an incredible deterrent from preparing, and throughout the process, reasons to not apply have kept coming back. The price tag of the education is pretty steep, which can’t be ignored. Timing for going next year as opposed to later, where I can build up additional experiences. All the reasons referenced in previous posts. I’ll probably continue coming back to this, but even as I have committed to at least APPLYING, doubt is like crack to my procrastination.

2. No set deadline for taking the GMAT – it is hard when you have an amorphous amount of time to prepare.  I will continue this thought below…

1. LIFE.  You will always find some other excuse to get occupied. In all honesty, for a short period of time, I was loathing studying because it was so discouraging. I kept forgetting the same basic math concepts relating to exponents and number theory. I got simple questions wrong, and I had the hardest time getting back into good study habits.

Then, I read this Poets & Quants article, which correlated increased GMAT Scores (10 pts) to a rise in salary ($3,000).  I’m usually skeptical about these things and am not obsessing about graduating salary at this point, but I realized the overall message – the better you do on the GMAT, the better your chances are of getting into your dream school (regardless of how high it ranks or selectivity) and then the better your odds are of getting to that dream job.

In the scope of things, prioritizing GMAT studying for a few months could yield great results.  Besides, when I put my mind to something and I do well, the satisfaction makes it all worthwhile!  I know I might have slacked recently, and tend to be hard on myself for these sorts of things, but it’s not too late to get back on track.

Mango is a consultant in the Pacific Northwest who is applying to business schools so she would graduate in the Class of 2014. This report is adapted from her blog posts at Por qué MBA? One Girl’s MBA Application Journey!

  • Ron

    Interesting story as I’m facing the same deals here … hardly have enough time during workdays, and so many temptations during weekends to rest or entertain myself to justify the tedious work committed during the previous days. But, coming back to the questions you posed, I believe that most b-schools require both excellent GMAT score and career development. Theoretically, you should not choose one at the expense of the other. But practically, if you really have to choose between taking more professional responsibilities and allocating your time for GMAT, I think that you will be better off sticking to the former.

    Nevertheless, I recommend that you give a very careful thought on how you can excel both rather than quickly believe that you have to make that difficult decision to eliminate one on top of the other, because you need to see this dilemma as a pre-MBA test. Very often, people are faced with challenging tasks in which the easy answers would be to choose one amongst the others, but those who stand out of the crowd are really the ones shrewdly completing all the tasks and not hastily picking one while dropping the others. Undoubtedly, you want to stand out of the crowd when it comes to MBA application.

    In my case, while I cannot dismiss additional responsibilities given to develop my skills and quality as a person and as a leader, I can refrain myself on the weekends from doing things that would be counterproductive to my objective of excelling the GMAT