GMAT Sacrifices, unpaid leave?

Hi All,

Boy I sure go from strength to strength with my posts (see previous post here: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/mba-change-...).

Since the time of my last post I've made commitments to a routine study plan. I've familiarised myself with the majority of content, made notes and have taken a second test, scoring in the low 500s.

All this has been an immense struggle with the current sell-side deal i'm managing and it's definitely taking a toll on my health.

I want to take time off to prepare for the GMAT as It is proving too difficult to do so with the current and foreseeable work-load. I have approximately 2 weeks leave in the bank which I don't believe sufficient enough.

I'm considering taking unpaid leave (I won't have enough annual leave saved) for a month to prepare for this, which I believe sufficient. For those who were in similar positions, I wanted to understand your thoughts around this move and any advice you can part.

Cheers,
D

Comments (19)

Jun 16, 2017

Please respond

Jun 17, 2017

If you can (i.e. won't ruin your rep at work) and if you think that's what it will take for you to raise your score, I would do it.

I feel like I am hitting a plateau score-wise also, but unfortunately can't take unpaid leave. Definitely would if I could.

    • 1
Jun 19, 2017

Two weeks should be plenty. Most people who score 700+ on the GMAT put in ~100 hours studying. If you study for 8 hours each day, two weeks will yield you 112 hours. Gage where you are at that point and schedule the test accordingly.

Jun 16, 2017

Update:
I was tentatively approved one-month off. Will report back.

Best Response
Jun 21, 2017

If you're going to take time off work and only have one real shot at this, do yourself a favor and buy into Manhattan or Veritas. I used to tutor for one of them and it's worth the money both to have a set schedule and to have the frameworks hammered in to you. I really recommend the tutoring packages. As a tutor myself, I've worked with a number of students who had the mental capacity for the test but just had bad study habits or were focusing in the wrong areas.

For example, students typically rush their problem solving, don't properly review material that they've already covered and spend too much time moving on to new questions and feeding the beast rather than learning from their mistakes. A tutor can help with this.

Additionally, students misapply or underapply the frameworks that good test prep companies focus on. There is a reason that so much space is devoted to teaching you framework approaches to problem solving. They work, and they reduce errors. In three years of working with GMAT candidates I've found that probably 50% of my tutoring is content and concept application; the other 50% of my time is spent reducing errors. If you're losing points due to making framework or math errors, those are free points - you don't have to use any more brain space to get the problems right, you just have to stop fucking up. The problem is, many students learn a framework, do some practice problems but don't identify areas in the weeks ahead to apply the frameworks or try to short cut around them so they lose the skill in their toolkit. A tutor can help spot check and ensure you keep a robust toolkit to minimize errors.

One more example - students read the mental math/shorthand math tricks, try them, find them weird and don't practice them (reverting back to longhand). This is bad, bad, bad. The math shortcuts you learn from a tutor not only save you time, they drastically reduce the errors that come from longhand calculations and provider a cleaner way to double check your work. I've found a big correlation between those students that learn how to do shorthand math and keep it organized on paper and those that see big score increases on their test. A tutor can be a big help here.

A final tip - as someone who has done my fair share of study marathons (CFA I, II, III; CFP; GMAT x2, etc), diet and exercise in that leading month is key. Staying active for an hour a day will help you focus when you need it.

Just my 2 cents. Best of luck.

    • 9
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Jun 16, 2017

Thanks for taking the time to write a detailed response.

Most of my mistakes are silly mistakes or not understanding the question/ not solving in a consistent, structured manner. I hired a tutor locally so will perhaps raise this with them. I have approximately 2 months left (intending to take 24th August at the absolute latest) so do you think it's worth looking into the Manhattan tutors?

I'm Australia based as well so time zones would cause issues.

Jun 21, 2017

Manhattan and Veritas are the market leaders for tutoring and have high hiring standards. I personally had to validate a top 1% gmat score, exhibit prior teaching experience, have a live interview where I taught GMAT concepts to a member of Veritas Prep's leadership team and then "TA" for one of Veritas' courses before I was allowed to sit in front of a student. Manhattan has a similar process. Other firms have much lower standards and training. I'm not going to call out individual firms but they are other 'top' names in the tutoring world.

Also, the online courses, physical materials and online platforms for Veritas and Manhattan are second to none and their practice problems and tests are superior to the industry standard. These are all included in the tutoring packages.

There are, of course, equivalent tutors on the local level who prefer not to pay a deep cut to Manhattan or Veritas. You can buy the materials separately. Bear in mind that the level of consistency amongst tutoring talent is not the same though when you're not working with a big brand name. If you're dead set on saving some money (Manhattan and Veritas cost a pretty penny) I'd definitely ask for references before hiring somebody.

For the record, I recently left Veritas' platform and now work independently myself, so while I'm biased, you're not getting the company line here.

    • 4
Jun 29, 2018

.

Jun 29, 2018
BreakingOutOfPWM:

If you're going to take time off work and only have one real shot at this, do yourself a favor and buy into Manhattan or Veritas. I used to tutor for one of them and it's worth the money both to have a set schedule and to have the frameworks hammered in to you. I really recommend the tutoring packages. As a tutor myself, I've worked with a number of students who had the mental capacity for the test but just had bad study habits or were focusing in the wrong areas.

For example, students typically rush their problem solving, don't properly review material that they've already covered and spend too much time moving on to new questions and feeding the beast rather than learning from their mistakes. A tutor can help with this.

Additionally, students misapply or underapply the frameworks that good test prep companies focus on. There is a reason that so much space is devoted to teaching you framework approaches to problem solving. They work, and they reduce errors. In three years of working with GMAT candidates I've found that probably 50% of my tutoring is content and concept application; the other 50% of my time is spent reducing errors. If you're losing points due to making framework or math errors, those are free points - you don't have to use any more brain space to get the problems right, you just have to stop fucking up. The problem is, many students learn a framework, do some practice problems but don't identify areas in the weeks ahead to apply the frameworks or try to short cut around them so they lose the skill in their toolkit. A tutor can help spot check and ensure you keep a robust toolkit to minimize errors.

One more example - students read the mental math/shorthand math tricks, try them, find them weird and don't practice them (reverting back to longhand). This is bad, bad, bad. The math shortcuts you learn from a tutor not only save you time, they drastically reduce the errors that come from longhand calculations and provider a cleaner way to double check your work. I've found a big correlation between those students that learn how to do shorthand math and keep it organized on paper and those that see big score increases on their test. A tutor can be a big help here.

A final tip - as someone who has done my fair share of study marathons (CFA I, II, III; CFP; GMAT x2, etc), diet and exercise in that leading month is key. Staying active for an hour a day will help you focus when you need it.

Just my 2 cents. Best of luck.

Hi,

Do you think taking a Manhattan prep GRE class is worth it?

Jun 21, 2017

If you have taken a serious attempt already, having gone through the materials, and are lower than a 670/680, than yes, it is likely worth the investment.

You should attempt once before spending all the cash. You might get lucky. Most people take it twice anyways. An exception might be if you're especially bad at standardized tests and think you need the help up front.

If you're over 670, and looking for extra points, I suggest self-studying for a second attempt.

Jun 29, 2018

I really enjoyed Manhattan's materials, worth the investment

Jun 30, 2018

Same here. :)

Everything's in the textbooks.

Jul 5, 2018

I agree with @BreakingOutOfPWM. Get a qualified private tutor to help you both with the mechanics of the exam and the mindset. My experience has been that you need at least 4 sessions but ideally 6 sessions with a private tutor to see impact. Then, take the exam and pay the money for the extended score report. From there determine your next steps.

I'm not worried about your location...I know Manhattan, for example, has tutors all over. Doesn't have to be in person. Virtual is fine.

Good luck!
Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
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Jun 16, 2017
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