Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Other stuff, not necessarily related to MBA admissions nor GMAT.

tell your partner to take the GMAT

During a break in my GMAT tutoring festivities today, I felt like reading some MBA applicant blogs, and I stumbled upon a blog written by the wife of a Booth MBA student. And now I’m incredibly jealous.

Let me explain: I came to NYC last summer because my girlfriend was starting law school in White Plains, about 45 minutes north of NYC. I now consider myself a law school widow. If I’m lucky, Amber will pull her nose out of the law textbooks once or twice a week. The rest of the time, she spends a solid 12-16 hours per day either in class, applying for internships, or studying. Not fun.

One of my good friends even suggested that I adopt a “stunt double” girlfriend for the next three years. There would be no conjugal rights involved, but I at least would have a reliable date on the weekends. My friend even found a suitable, willing, recently-divorced faux girlfriend for me… but she moved out of NYC before we started faux-dating.

Anyway, I got a big kick out of reading Elizabeth Dark’s b-school partner blog–she actually seems to see her husband more than she did before b-school. Quite the opposite of law school partner life. Case in point: Amber allowed me to take her out on Valentine’s Day, but we had to spend the entire afternoon and part of the evening in coffeehouses so that she could study.

I know that plenty of people (my girlfriend included) give some thought to both business school and law school before settling on one or the other. If you’re in doubt, take the GMAT and go to business school. And if your wife/husband/bf/gf is thinking about taking the LSAT, do whatever you have to do to make him/her take the GMAT instead. You’ll spend far fewer lonely nights crying your eyes out because you miss your partner.

OK, I’m completely kidding about that last part. But seriously, b-school doesn’t have to be torturous for your partner. So if you’re on the fence, hire a GMAT tutor and get to work.

a hearty congratulations

It always feels a little bit like Christmas morning when my students start receiving acceptance letters, and MBA “admit season” is my favorite time of year–at least when the news is good. I work with a lot of great people who work like crazy to achieve their goals, and watching them succeed is one of the best parts of my job as a GMAT tutor.

I’ve heard some great news from some very deserving people already this season, but one stands out, even though I did relatively little to help his candidacy. My friend Hari (please visit his blog if you haven’t already) probably put in more hours of research, studying, and writing than anybody I’ve ever seen. He did everything humanly possible to achieve his MBA goals, but still received a disappointing (and incomprehensible) string of rejections a few months ago.

Well, Hari finally got the admit that he so richly deserved, and he’s headed to IESE in Spain this fall–one of the world’s best business schools, and one of Hari’s top choices.

Congratulations, my friend. You absolutely earned this.

fun with search engine queries

We’re getting into the heart of MBA admissions season, which means that I’ve been running around like a madman these past couple of weeks. Several graduates of the Ninja GMAT program are now focusing every ounce of their spare energy on application essays, so most of my non-tutoring time has been occupied with application essay editing. No time for GMAT blogging, really.

That said, I have several half-finished posts in the works. A full breakdown of the 2nd edition of the Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review might be coming soon (there are only 74 new questions–they ripped us off!), along with a lecture about why you really shouldn’t stress about 1st-round MBA deadlines. This is the time of year when people start to lose their heads, and I’ll do my best to encourage some rationality and calmness.

But for now, I’m a little bit tired after an insane couple of weeks, and I feel like writing a nice, frivolous post that has nothing to do with the life of a GMAT tutor in NYC. So here comes nothing particularly useful. You’ve been warned.

Thanks to the miracles of WordPress, I can access a list of all search engine queries that lead people to my little GMAT tutoring site. And some of them are pretty funny. Here is a random sampling of my favorite queries, along with some completely unnecessary, non-GMAT-related responses:

query: “gmat tutor in new york, $20”
response: Good luck with that, buddy. Funny, I think they found my website because I said something about other companies’ tutoring rates exceeding $200 per hour. Google forgot a zero?

query: “what are my shortcomings”
response: I have no idea, but I can tell you about my shortcomings if you want. First, I’m not a perfect GMAT tutor all the time. There. I said it. And sometimes, I leave just a little bit of orange juice in the carton in the fridge.

query: “gmat essays who cares”
response: Nobody, really, unless you really embarrass yourself; get something above a 4.0, and you’ll be fine.

query: “gmat real illegal questions”
response: *gulp*

And a few more, without my dumb responses:
“many dumb mistakes gmat math”
“an essay about nyc”
“worried about gmat”
“gmat gifts”
“gmat is expensive”

And my personal favorite, which led several different users to my site: “gmat is hard.”

snarky Yale college advice, 1975 edition

This has absolutely nothing to do with the GMAT, MBA admissions, or GMAT tutoring. Just warning you.

I was wandering around NYC with some visiting friends this weekend, and we decided that it would be fun to take them to Strand Bookstore, which is one of my favorite places in New York. Eighteen miles of books (supposedly), many of which are piled on sidewalk carts for $1 each. If you’re from somewhere else and you come to NYC, the store is worth a visit.

My bizarre little $1 treasure for today was tattered paperback copy of The Insiders’ Guide to the Colleges, written by The Yale Daily News in 1975, long before college rankings became such a huge national obsession. I was curious to see how top schools were perceived more than three decades ago.

I’m not sure that I learned all that much, but I had a good laugh. The writers are snobby and snarky, and definitely have some Ivy League bias.

I reflexively opened to their commentary on Stanford, my alma mater: “There is a certain trendiness in the air which often stifles any serious attempt to approach an academic problem. The school’s California provincialism can be extremely irritating.

“One manifestation of the student body’s provincialism is their penchant for calling the school ‘the Harvard and Yale of the West,’ or even for terming Harvard and Yale ‘the Stanfords of the East.’ The analogies simply aren’t true.

“…There are also a huge number of students who only care about getting good grades… and another, almost equally large percentage who aren’t really interested in doing anything…. If you want the best education (and the most heterogeneous student body) available anywhere in the country, look to the Ivies.”

Lest they be accused of east-coast bias, the goofballs who wrote this book crapped all over plenty of other schools. In their commentary on Tufts, they said this: “Everybody knows, of course, that it is the goal of most high school students in the Northeast to go to college in Boston. That way you can get a lot of hippie, loose-moraled girls if you are a guy, or a lot of radical committed free guys if you are a girl… and you can get a good deal of dope to tide you over the bad times.”

Fordham: “Fordham University is a Roman Catholic institution, and therein lies its problem.” (!!)

Davidson: “The fact is, many of the students have never been north of the Mason-Dixon line, and occasionally those in the administration and faculty act as if they haven’t either–and what’s more, they don’t care.”

Harvard: “The college atmosphere sometimes seems to ruin those personalities that weren’t warped to begin with.”

Columbia: “…Columbia is unbeatable. But the decision whether to take that beating should be made very carefully.”

Hilarious, right? Of course, the Yale dorks who wrote the book included a glowing four-page review of Yale itself. Not exactly an unbiased piece of writing, but highly entertaining. I’d love to see somebody write a similar book about MBA programs now–can you imagine the lawsuits?

a quick acknowledgment

Most of you really don’t care, but I wanted to thank my friend (and GMAT student) Mike DeMeo for inspiring this website title.

I’ve been teaching and blogging for a long time, but never bothered to put all of my thoughts on GMAT tutoring in one place.  Mike, like many other people, gently harangued me for failing to have a concentrated web presence, and then jumped all over me (in a good way) when I accidentally used the phrase “GMAT ninja” during a lesson.  He was convinced that it should be the name for my GMAT business, GMAT blog, and GMAT website.

And I (eventually) agreed.

Thanks, Mike.  May the GMAT gods grant you a big, fat, juicy 750 on your next GMAT score report.