Saturday, November 28, 2009

MBA aspirants preferring Indian Bschools over foreign Bschools

As per figures available with GMAC, 42% of the full time MBA programs in the US reported a decline in the number of foreign applicants, of these as many as 70% reported the largest decrease in number of applications from India, says a recent report.
Many MBA graduates claim that a one-year program from an Indian Bschool will get a better job profile in India (if he wants to settle and work in India) than a foreign MBA. Cost is also another major factor which makes MBA aspirants apply to Indian Bschools (which use GMAT scores for admission). MBA aspirants perceive that Indian schools offer quality education at a comparatively lower cost.
There are 24 Indian bschools (including select programs from the IIM’s) which accept GMAT scores.
A partial list:
ISB Hyderabad, GLIM Chennai, NMIMS Mumbai, IIMA PGPX, MDI PGPX, Exec MBA programs from top B-schools…..

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hypothesis testins as a tool for GMAT math problem solving

Certain problems require you to formulate a hypothesis and verify. The relationships between relevant variables which are yet unknown but promise to offer solution in full or in part forms the basis of this method. Such formulations are tested for validity and accepted or rejected. More than one hypothesis can be formulated in a problem context. These hypothesis have to be examined and reformulated.

Errors which occur during hypothesis testing
(1) Overlooking certain data
(2) Overemphasizing data which give positive conclusions while failing to give sufficient importance on data which falsifies information.

The following sum is a tough mathematical problem where skill of hypothesizing information and testing it comes forth.

Fifteen years back Mrs. John had only three daughters Rachael, Annie, Mary and their combined age was half of hers. During the next 5 years, Thomas was born. At that time Mrs. John’s age equaled the total of all her children’s ages. After some years George was born and then Rachael was as old as Mary and Thomas together. And now, the combined age of all the children is double Mrs. John’s age, which is only equal to that of Rachael and Annie together. Rachael’s age is also equal to the combined age of the two sons’.
What is Mrs. John’s age?
1. 39        2. 34          3. 29         4.24

This sum takes a long time if you solve by writing equations.

It can be solved faster by hypothesizing a data and testing the hypothesis wrt to other conditions.

First let us interpret the problem carefully and diagram it.


Information which is direct
• 15 years back Mrs. John had only three children Rachael, Mary and Annie. Mrs. John’s age was double the sum of the ages of her children.
• Sometime between 15 and ten years back, Thomas was born. At that time Mrs. John’s age was equal to the sum of the 3 children
• Between 10 years back and present time, George was born. At that time Rachael was as old as Mary and Thomas together.
• At present the combined age of all the children is double Mrs. John’s age. Mrs. John’s age is equal to the sum of Rachael and Annie. Rachael’s age is equal to the sum of George and Thomas

Implicit information
• All the ages are whole positive number, there are no fractions.
• Thomas’s age must be less than 15 and near 15. As 15 years back Mrs. John had only 3 children
• The last statement states that Rachael’s age + Annie’s age = Mary’s age + Thomas’s age + George’s age.
Rachael’s age = George’s age + Thomas’s age and Mrs. John = Rachael’s age + Annie’s age


Mrs. John -  Time line- Rachael-Annie-Mary-Thomas-      George
T+G+A    -   Present  - T+G    -A      -A      -T         -G

Where T is Thomas age, A is Annies age and G is Georges age
We can conclude that Annie and Mary were twins

We will assume data from the questions
Let us hypothesize that Thomas’s age is 12. (9 is far away from 15).
{If we don’t get the answer using T =12 we can conclude that T = 9. Other options are wrong.}

Lets verify our hypothesis.

Rachael must be the eldest daughter . Let us assume that Rachael age must be 21 other options are close to 15 and as she is the eldest we will assume the biggest number
So George’s age must be 9 ( question 4 seems to be satisfied)

Mrs. John -  Time line- Rachael-Annie-Mary-Thomas-George

                    15 yrs back-6     -
                     12 yrs back-9    -                         -0(Thomas born)
                      10 yrs back-11 -                        - 2
                      9 yrs back - 12 -                        -3     -0(Georges born)
                      5 yrs back  - 16-                        7       - 4
T+G+A              Present  -21 -     A-   A-       12      -   9

Using the info: Between 10 years back and present time, George was born. At that time Rachael was as old as Mary and Thomas together.
It can be concluded that Mary was 9 as 12 = Mary’s age + 3
Hence Annie’s age was also 39

Mrs. John -  Time line- Rachael-Annie-Mary-Thomas-George

                    9 yrs back- 12     -  9      -9     -  3        - 0(Georges born)

Filling our table
All the children’s age 9 yrs back can be calculated.
Their present ages can also be calculated including Mrs. John age

Mrs. John -  Time line- Rachael-Annie-Mary-Thomas-George

39            -  Present   - 21        -18    - 18   -   12      -  9

Mrs. John -  Time line- Rachael-Annie-Mary-Thomas-George

24          -  15 yrs back -  6     -      3  -   3
               -12 yrs back  -  9      -    6   -   6 -  0(Thomas born)
               - 10 yrs back - 11                        -  2
                - 9 yrs back  - 12     -   9    -   9  -  3       -0(Georges born)
               -  5 yrs back   -16                         - 7        -  4
      39       -Present     - 21       -  18    -  18  -12     -   9

Now the table can be completed and the all the answers can be calculated

What is Mrs. John’s age? - 39
What is the age of the eldest daughter? - 21
What is the age of the eldest son, Thomas ? -12
What is the age of the youngest child? - 9

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How do I start my GMAT prep

For GMAT first timers

To all of you who are starting you GMAT math prep try these set of sums and check your math readiness. Email me your score and the approximate month you will be taking your GMAT. Ill mail you your study plan along with the relevant study resources.


You can email me your scores at

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Financing your MBA

Recession or no recession, a MBA degree from USA or UK remains the number one priority for many undergraduate/ graduates in countries across the world. The only constraint for many students is the huge fee.

Public sector banks in India for instance offer loans up-to INR 20 lakhs, interest rates vary from 10-13%.Banks abroad provide similar funding. In fact there is a concession ranging from 50 – 100 basis points for female students.

Banks insist on students depositing 15% of the total loan if the overseas loan size exceeds Rs.4lakhs. No collateral is required for loans up-to Rs.4lakh. For loans beyond INR 4lakhs it is required to furnish suitable tangible collateral security like fixed deposits, NSS etc.

Repayment of loans begins immediately after student secures employment or six months, post completion of the course. Repayment tenure is 5 years to 7 years.
It is also possible to get loans from banks based in the US. Several B-schools have tie up with banks, it is advisable to apply to those colleges which offers loan cum admission.

To get scholarships in the UK visit and check whether your educational provider is registered with UK border agency.

Cost of MBA program in the US : $25000-$70000 per annum*
Cost of MBA program in the UK : 10000- 40000Pounds per annum*
*inclusive of tuition fee and living expense.

Source- The Economic Times

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Science of high performance in the GMAT -1 : Is GMAT Official guide sufficient?

Official guide- published by the GMAC has a list of 800+ questions (11th edition). There are around 230 problem solving (math) questions.. However I feel that this list represents the easier problems in the GMAT.

To break into the 720+ it is imperative that you have to solve tougher higher difficulty problems. (This is true for the verbal section also)

What is a higher order problem?
A higher order problem is problem which has
• A situation which can otherwise be solved by identifying the concept/formula and applying the same directly
• A complexity present in the problem which acts as a stumbling block, thereby preventing you from getting an answer directly.

When approaching a higher problem first
  1. Identify the concept involved
  2. Identify the complexity in the problem
  3. Remove the complexity and if possible arrive at a result
  4. Modify the complexity in such a manner the complexity gets integrated into the problem and this results in  a   newer problem
  5. Solve the new problem by directly applying the concept.
Let me highlight a higher order problem. Watch how I analyzed the problem and how I solved.

A car moving at 45 kmph and is chasing a two wheeler that is moving at 30 kmph. The distance between the car and the two wheeler at 10:00 am is 48 kms. The car stops at 11:30 am for 15 mins to fill fuel and moves at 45 kmph. When will the car meet the two-wheeler?

1.12.42 pm      2.1:42 pm           3.1:57 pm          4. 1:47 pm  5. 1:30pm

Try this problem independently first, then read further.
Let me take you through the problem in the science of thinking* approach toward higher order problem solving.

The concept – Time, speed and distance, Relative velocity involving two bodies moving towards each other.
The complexity – The stoppage time of the car. At 11:30 am the car stops for 15 mins.

Eliminate the complexity first
If the car didn’t stop at 11:30 then the time taken by both the bodies to meet is determined using the relationship
Time taken to meet = Initial distance between the bodies/ relative velocity
= 48/(45 -30) { Relative velocity when two bodies move in the same direction = difference of their speeds, hence 45-30 =15)
= 48/15= 3.2hrs

Modification of the complexity
As you would have observed if the complexity is eliminated the problem can be solved directly. As per the problem. The car travels till 11:30 and then stops for 15mins. So you might calculate the distance travelled by each body from 10:00 till 11:30 and then calculate the distance travelled by the two wheeler for that extra 15mins and then proceed. This complicates the problem.
Instead you can restructure the problem in such a way that the complexity gets integrated into the problem and doesn’t get noticed.

Here you can shift the 15min time interval from 11:30 to 10:00 such that the car starts only at 10:15 instead of 10:00. Hence the initial distance increases from 48 to 48 + (distance travelled by two wheeler for 15mins) = 48 + 7.5 =55.5kms

Hence now there is no stoppage time at 11:30.
Time taken to meet = Initial distance between the bodies/ relative velocity
= 55.5/(45 -30) = 55.5/15= 3.7hrs = 3hrs 42minutes
Meeting time =10:15 + 3 : 42 = 13: 57
You would get higher order problems only if the adaptive algorithm decides that you deserve questions of this difficulty.
So for those of you who aim to crack the 720+ barrier. Practice on higher order problems.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pattern recognition as a skill to solve GMAT math problems

Many math problems are based on patterns. These problems may involve a set of numbers or a set of alphabets or maybe even a set of figures.

The skill is in
  • Identifying patterns
  • Taking a sample and deriving meaning full relationships between the various elements in the pattern
  • Expostulating the pattern to encompass the entire series
  • Use this new knowledge to arrive at an answer
Lets take a problem

The sum of the even numbers between 1 and n is 79*80, where n is an odd number, then what is the value of n?

This sum involves a set of even numbers from 1 to n.(n is an odd number)
Lets derive the pattern
First let n =5
Then the even numbers involved are 2,4
Hence, Sum = 2+4 = 6
6 can be written as 2 *3( Same pattern as 79*80)

Now let n =7
The even numbers are 2,4,6
Sum = 2+4+6 = 12 i.e 3*4

So you get a pattern 2*3, 3*4…………………….79*80, when n = 5,7……n
Do you observe that 2+3 =5 and 4+3 =7, 4+5 =9

This leads to the answer.

In a nutshell: when you encounter problems which ask you to compute the value for n terms
Take a small sample and analyze.(Relate the analysis to the answer)
Take another sample and analyze
Write the result together and derive a relationship among the numbers
This leads to the answer.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

How to cross the magical 700 score barrier in the GMAT -1

So you are at your fag end of your preparation. You have just completed a GMAT CAT, you got a score of 640. You also notice that your score has been hovering around 600 to 650. Well you are not alone.

A recent survey states that the average GMAT score is 560, down 10 points when compared to last years average. How is that few people cross 700 whereas the rest of the test aspirants(approximately 2,00,000 out of 2,65,000 GMAT takers) languish in mere 600’s?
Here is my 2 cent

The GMAT score is an indicative of the current aptitude level of an individual. Your aptitude quotient doesn’t improve over night. It takes at-least 3 months of preparation to improve your score. So what is POA right now.

It is better to work on a question 10 times than working on 10 different questions. Aptitude exams don’t test your knowledge of formula. It tests you on your application of concepts.
Study each problem 10 times, observe the parts a problem
Variables: elements in the problem which maybe independent, dependent or hidden vis-à-vis other variables.
Conditions: relationships that relate variables
Constraints: Conditions that limit the scope of the problem
These parts of the problem indicate the steps and the time taken to solve the problem. This factor results in effective time management.

2. Reason with math
To improve your math preparation, reason with mathematical problems.
For example
What is the product of 5^25 x 2^32?
To solve this sum reason with the problem:
Observe a sample and derive a pattern:
5^1 and 2^1 gives 10
5^2 and 2^2 gives 100 or 10^2
5^3 and 2^3 gives 100 or 10^3
The pattern is one 5 and one 2 gives 10, two 5’s and two 10’s gives 100…. The number of 5’s and the number of 2’s gives the number of 0’s.

Conclusion one 5 and one 2 gives one 10 or a number with one 0.
Hence 5^25 x 2^32 = 5^25 x 2^25 x 2^7
Which is 128 …….(25 times)

3. Do not revise just the formula, learn how to derive it.
Most mathematical problems in the GMAT are related to the method of deriving certain standard formula than the formula itself. For example
While deriving the area of the equilateral triangle = sqrt(3) side^2/4
You will notice that the altitude bisects the triangle into two halves of equal area
The altitude splits the base into two halves of equal length.

4. Compare critical reasoning questions and derive generalization.
Study the CR questions in groups. For example study all “the weaken the argument” questions together. You will observe standard steps every time.
For example you will observe you have
• to first find the conclusion
• then identify the logic( whether its an analogy, a statistical data, a cause effect relationship or an example)
• then choose the option that negates the logic

Simple aint’ it.

5. If you are not strong with sentence correction and reading comprehension till now and if you have only two weeks to go, then there is nothing that can be done. It requires at-least 3 weeks of structured learning.

Use any course ware you have or use the course ware which I have recommended. Its on your right pane. Or if you don’t have the right material mail me ill help….:-)

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Number of GMAT test takers

GMAT was taken 265613 times in the testing year 2009*. “Total GMAT volume is up, but by breaking down the figures by country, by world region, by gender, by intended degree, and by age, we see a very complex picture emerge,” says a senior official from GMAC.

Some highlights from the GMAC report
  • The number of GMAT test takers have been rising for the past five years
  • The number of tests takers under 24 continues to rise rapidly
  • The percentage growth of number of tests takers has increased the greatest in central/south asia followed by Australia/Pasific islands, Europe and finally Canada.
  • The overall mean GMAT score is down one point, to 539

* source GMAC
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

GMAT sentence correction

The GMAT verbal section is the toughest section in the test. For this the section that appears after two long sections of writing and math. It induces undue strain on the test taker. Besides this section is concept intensive unlike any other aptitude test.

Besides, each question type is long sentence or paragraph based requiring extensive reading of verbal information.

The sentence correction questions (14/15) of them tests correctness and effectiveness of expression. You have to choose the option that conforms to standard written English; you have to pay attention to grammar, syntactical constructions, diction, clarity and semantic conformity.
Listed below are those concepts that you should learn for excellence in the sentence correction question.


1. Subject Verb disagreement
2. Parallel structure
3. Idiomatic constructions
4. Misplaced Modifier
5. Tense consistency
6. Countable, non-countable nouns
7. Pronoun-noun agreement
These are just 7 of the 25 errors tested in GMAT.

Read more about the errors at

Misplaced Modifier: example

“Annoyed by the corporation’s apathetic attitude, it was decided by the residents to install an incinerator for garbage disposal.”

Here “Annoyed by the corporation’s apathetic attitude”, should modify the residents, hence the correct construction is
“Annoyed by the corporation’s apathetic attitude, the residents decided to install an incinerator for garbage disposal.”

Ambiguous use of which/it: example

“The intake of analgesics causes irritation in the stomach which can be avoided if it is taken in capsule form”

Here which and it are unclear are ambiguous. Which can wrongly refer to stomach, analgesics or irritation.
The unambiguous construction is
“The irritation caused in the stomach by the intake of analgesics can be avoided if the analgesic is taken in capsule form.”

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Math Problem solved using ScoT

I got a query from a in this problem. I solved using Science of Thinking(ScoT) approach.Observe the problem solving process.

The sum of the even numbers between 1 and n is 79*80, where n is an odd number, then n ?

These type of sums can be solved using my thinking skills – “pattern recognition” and “hypothesis testing”

Take sum of even numbers when n =5( N has to be an odd number)
Sum = 2+4 = 6 i.e 2 *3( Same pattern as 79*80 i.e n*(n-1))
Now take sum of even numbers when n = 7
Sum = 2+4+6 = 12 i.e 3*4

So you get a pattern 2*3, 3*4…………………….79*80
When n = 5,7……n
Do you observe that 2+3 =5 and 4+3 =7.

So our hypothesis is that n should be sum of the product of the numbers(in the form n*(n-1) which yields the sum of the even numbers.
Now lets check our hypothesis
When n =9
Sum = 2+4+6+8 = 20 = 4*5
4+5 is equal to n
Hence n can be concluded as 79+80=159

For more details visit
My math Ebook has all the thinking skills tested in GMAT.You can access the demo at Title GMAT higher order problem solving.


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Great schools for MBA in Europe, Australia, Asia

Here is a list of Business schools in Europe, Australia and Asia. I have also mentioned the country also.

Feel free to add schools apart from this list

FRANCE:  INSEAD, HEC School of management


: Esade, IESE

United Kingdom
  • London Business School
  • Manchester Business School
  • Said Business School
  • Judge Institute of Management
  • Cranfield School of Management
  • Edinburgh University of Management
  • University of Bath: School of management

  • University of otago, School of Business
  • University of Auckland
  • Australian Graduate School of management
  • Melbourne Business School
  • Monash university
  • Macquaire Graduate School of management
  • Queensland University of Tech:BGSB
  • Curtin University of Tech: Graduate
  • University of Technology Sydney.graduate School of business

  • National University of Singapore
  • Nanyang Technological University

  • The business university of Hong Kong
  • Cheung Kong graduate School of business
  • China Europe International Business School

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Monday, November 2, 2009

GMAT reading comprehension

How to answer central ideas and organization/structure of the passage questions?
These passages are organized on certain templates. We need to know these.

Because there are questions that seek you to identify the structure or organization of the passage
What are those structures?

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