A GMAT state of Mind


I took the GMAT about 18 months ago, and through hard work (and a little bit of work), I was able to score a 740 (49Q, 42V). I’m  a native English speaker, so on the verbal portion, I didn’t really have to learn any subject matter. For other native english speakers, I would recommend you just practice as many questions as you can.

For the verbal portion, I used the Official Guide to the GMAT, as well as the Kaplan Books.

One tip  – Read the economist weekly if you already don’t. Their style of writing, as well as their content in general, is great practice for the reading comprehension portion of the GMAT. Read the economist enough, and you’ll be able to answer arcane questions on abstruse passages on the GMAT easily.

Now, onto the Quant portion:

I used the Manhattan series of books as my bible, and I can’t attest enough to how awesome they are. Seriously, make sure you use them, they’re totally worth the investment. As an engineer, I come from a heavy quant background, and am pretty good with mental math. To really do well on the quant portion, I had to focus on correcting any shoddy mistakes or errors I’d make in haste. To iron these out, I practiced, a lot. I can’t emphasize how important it is to do literally every question on all the Manhattan books.

Test Day Tips:

I’m sure you all have taken a lot of  tests in your lifetime, so I won’t rehash the usual pointers that you’re probably already familiar with. Just a couple that I found useful:

1. Just like how a pitcher or a hitter in baseball has a warm up routine, I’m sure you have one too. Make sure you come to the test site early enough to give you at least 20 minutes to check in, use the bathroom and get all that out of the way.

2. Make sure you bring a bottle of water with you to the test site. Its a 4 hour test, make sure you hydrate.

3. While hydration is important, make sure you don’t drink too much water. Seems obvious, but I personally know of a friend that had to use the bathroom during the test, and yes- he lost 3 minutes of time on the AWA portion.

4. By the time the test has rolled around, I’m sure you’ve practiced, a lot. Just remember to stick to the script, keep it simple, and you’ll do just fine. You’re better of pacing yourself and making sure you get all your questions right instead of rushing through the questions in order to beat the clock.

5. Adderall usage- Some of you may have tried it, some of you may have not. Some of you may have a prescription for it (in that case go forth and use), but most of you likely don’t. I’m not going to recommend its use (I don’t use it), although I know friends who swear by its potency in allowing them to focus. My only advice is this- if you haven’t used it before regularly, don’t debut its usage on test day. That’s just a recipe for disaster.

A brief introduction


I’m a 26 year old Civil engineer working for an engineering and construction firm in the Midwest.

-I graduated in 2010 with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, from the University of Illinois.

– Due to being too focused on my social life, and immaturity in general, I only have a GPA of 3.0. I averaged about a 3.4 in my heavy quant classes, but struggled and slacked off majorly in some of my electives in the humanities.

– I took the GMAT once, in 2013, and scored a 740 (49Q, 42V).

-I come from a fairly unique background (construction management) – at least from a B-school perspective. I also spent a significant amount of time growing up abroad, which has allowed me to develop a fairly unique and global perspective.

– In my current role, I lead collaborative teams of architects and engineers to construct buildings for real estate developers. My immediate post MBA goal is to work as a development associate at a global real estate development firm like Tishman Speyer. As a development associate, I will evaluate the financial feasibility and ROI of potential land development, procure appropriate funding from banks or the capital markets, meet with city and zoning officials and then hire a team of architects, engineers and construction experts to construct the property.

– My long-term goal is to lead a real estate development and investment firm in India with a focus on sustainable and green development. My passion for and experience in green design and construction, complemented by my MBA will allow me to implement this vision in a country with a burgeoning middle class with rapidly growing metropolises. India’s population growth, mass migration from villages to cities and relative dearth of natural resources only heighten the importance of growing cities’ sustainably.

MBA Programs:

1. I have already turned in R1 apps to Kellogg, Booth, and Cornell. I am currently working on and targeting Duke and UCLA round 1 deadlines that are due in the next 2 weeks.

This blog will document my journey to Business school, and also serve as a cathartic tool for me. I realize that I’m starting this blog pretty late in the admissions process, but I am going to upload my journal entries from the past year (including GMAT, school selection and prior applications).

To any other MBA applicants, good luck, and as Narendra Modi just said – May the force be with you