We all know the drill by now: study your verbal and quant concepts, do lots of Grockit practice questions and tests, and review everything to learn from your mistakes. But isn’t there anything you can do to improve your score without opening a book or turning on your computer? Well, maybe. Science seems to support these little tweaks to your routine, and they certainly can’t hurt!
1. Chew gum while you study and while you take your exam
According to a study presented at the 2008 10th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine, "An investigation into the effects of gum chewing on mood and cortisol levels during psychological stress," chewing gum can help to improve alertness, relieve anxiety, and reduce stress among individuals performing a variety of multi-tasking activities in a laboratory setting. There is also evidence that chewing gum may significantly improve performance on “multi-tasking activities.” All of these benefits have the potential to translate to a less stressful, more productive GMAT experience. So go ahead and unwrap a stick—and make it peppermint, because…
2. Aromatherapy can give you a boost
There are many different scents that can improve your mental and physical state as you prepare for the GMAT. One of them is peppermint, which can uplift the mood, relieve mental fatigue, improve alertness and enhance memory. And who doesn’t need a little relief from mental fatigue while studying? Once you put the books away for the night, try using some lavender or chamomile to help you sleep or relieve an upset stomach. Like peppermint, eucalyptus is said to help with stress and fatigue, but according to some, it has the added bonus of boosting your immune system, helping to keep your healthy for test day. Used in large amounts, eucalyptus essential oil can be toxic, but in small doses it can be beneficial. And finally, to reap all of those benefits, look to rosemary, which is said to improve blood circulation, relieve a sore throat, improve digestion, improve mental alertness, memory, and mood, and relieve mental fatigue.
3. Have a cup or two of java, but don’t go overboard
Drinking coffee is known to increase short term recall and boost performance on a variety of mental and physical tests. Studies have shown that both regular and occasional coffee consumption can boost memory, reasoning, and other cognitive skills. Too much of it, though, can make you jittery and paranoid, which can have negative implications for your studying and test day performance. So know your caffeine limits, and don’t push past them—but if coffee is something that you enjoy, by all means, take advantage of its benefits!
4. Get off the couch and move!
Studies have shown that regular exercise is not just good for your body; it can also help to relieve mental and emotional stress, plus neutralize some of the physical effects of that stress. One study, reported at the 2001 Society for Neuroscience conference, found that, young adults who followed a 12 week regimen of jogging for 30 minutes two to three times a week significantly improved their performance on a number of cognitive tests. The scores fell again if the participants quit their running routine. Researchers suggest that the increased oxygen flow to the brain may explain running’s beneficial impact on test scores. Even if it’s just a quick walk around the block, getting your body moving can be a big help to your mental and physical condition, and that can translate to improved numbers on test day!
Overall, there’s no substitute for knowledge and preparation when it comes to your GMAT score. But these little tips can give you an extra boost, and might just be the difference between a so-so score and one with which you’ll be satisfied. What’s your favorite way to relieve stress and improve your mental and physical condition as test day approaches?
Get a Great GMAT Score – Study Online with Grockit.
If you’ve completed your research, you should be ready to move on to the next step and begin some real work. But before you start plugging away, it’s smart to organize your application process. With that in mind, here’s the next step on our list:
Step 2: Manage the application process.
Managing the process– much like you might manage a project at work– will help ensure you meet all deadlines and obligations while maintaining high quality standards in your applications. Here are the most important elements you’ll want to be sure to work into your routine:
Tend to your relationships with potential recommenders.
Your recommendations will play a big role in your applications, and you should ensure that you’re getting absolutely top-notch recommendations. And while noted alumni are great recommenders for targeted schools, the most important characteristic of good recommendations is that they come from people who are credible, know you well, and can speak to your aptitude and preparedness for graduate work.
While your recommendations can come from a variety of sources (academic, professional, personal), most schools have preferences regarding at least some of your recommendations. In fact, many schools prefer to receive at least one academic and one professional recommendation. If you’ve been out of school for a while, it may take some time to hunt down an old professor who remembers you well and fondly enough to sign his or her good name to your application to graduate business studies.
Start early, and make sure you show your gratitude at each step of the process. If it’s been a while since you’ve spoken or seen each other, write a quick email to say hello. Maybe invite him/her to lunch (you’ll buy, of course). Make sure this person feels comfortable recommending you strongly; if you’re unsure, you might want to ask just that: “How strongly would you be comfortable recommending me to — school/program?” It never hurts to ask, as long as you are courteous.
Sort your list of possible schools into categories.
At this early point in your application process, you probably aren’t sure where you’ll score on the GMAT/GRE (many schools now accept both). But you should have done plenty of research on the schools that offer your desired program. Sort your list of possible schools into three categories:
* “reach” schools, where you may be unlikely to gain admission, but would nonetheless love to attend;
* “target” schools, where you are competitive for admission and would like to attend; and
* “safety” schools, where you have a very high likelihood of admission.
While you may not be absolutely certain which schools are “reach”, “target”, and “safety” schools until after you get your scores back, you probably have some early inclinations one way or the other about many schools. You can always rearrange your list later.
I’m a spreadsheet addict, so I personally recommend making a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is probably the best way to organize your list of schools. You’ll be able to add columns for “applied” (date submitted), “complete” (date application is “complete” at each school), “interview” (date), “financial aid” (dollar amount), “tuition” (total), and “decision” (outcome). You may want to include other columns as well, but these should get you started. A spreadsheet with all important information will make selecting the best school for you much easier once all the columns get filled out, and you can always delete a row if you decide that a particular school isn’t right for you.
Make an application calendar.
Get a calendar to track important dates for admissions process. Include the following:
Last acceptable test administration.
From your list of schools, determine the last possible test date you can take to meet all application deadlines. Since you’ll likely have multiple schools, be sure to note the earliest of the test deadlines. Write this date in big, bold letters. Red, preferrably. Then plan backwards for at least one possible retake, should the worst happen. Make that your target test date, although you may want to back up your target test administration date even further to reduce your test anxiety a bit.
Financial aid/scholarship deadlines.
Many schools have scholarship deadlines prior to regular admission deadlines, especially for larger scholarships. If you plan to apply for them, be sure to note the relevant dates and schools in your application calendar. You should also try to get your taxes done as early as possible, since most schools have a financial aid paperwork deadline of March 1st, and for U.S. schools, you’ll need to submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in order to be considered for any need-based assistance or federally-backed loans. While you can estimate your taxes, I recommend doing them and getting the right numbers in rather than stressing about whether or not your paperwork is correct.
Three rounds of application deadlines.
Many top business schools have three rounds of application deadlines. Applying to an earlier application round means there’s more space in the class for you. Deadlines for Round 1 are typically in October, Round 2 in January, and Round 3 in March/April. These vary by school so make sure you have the dates carefully organized by school. Apply early because by Round 3, there is a chance that there may not be enough room left in the program because of all of the Round 1 and Round 2 applicants.
Program start dates.
Don’t forget to mark the date that classes start at each school. That’s what the application process is all about! It’ll help you remember why you’re doing all the legwork, plus it’ll help you organize the major life changes you’ll need to make as you get ready to start graduate school.
Setup a both a physical grad school file box and a virtual file folder.
Go to Office Depot, Staples, or your office supply store of choice to pick up a portable file box and hanging file folders (unless you already have these on hand). Make a file for each school/program to which you intend to apply. You may choose to organize your files alphabetically or by preference (put your top choice program first, for instance).
Once you’ve made your physical files in your grad school file box, visit each school or program’s website. While you’re there, bookmark all important pages and organize them into folders in your web browser. Print out the admissions information, tuition and fees information, and the application form. Place a hard copy in the appropriate folder in your file box.
If you used a calendar program on your computer, then you should make an additional calendar folder. Print out a copy of each month between now and the final deadline for applications at the latest school’s deadline and slip the calendar pages into the folder so you’ll never miss a deadline.
Organize your finances for business school.
Since most of us will need some combination of personal contributions, scholarships, grants, and loans, you’ll need to make sure your finances are in order before you start the loads of paperwork that await you. Find out w
here you stand, and do your best to maintain or improve your financial outlook before your paperwork is submitted. Some tips:
Get a credit report.
Know your credit score so you’re not caught off guard by an instance of identity theft or some oversight from a move five years ago that can prevent you from getting loans. Do everything in your power to maintain a good credit score or improve a weaker one in the time allotted. Google “credit repair” and research the many options available to you.
Make an application budget.
Applying to business school isn’t cheap, and there are many “hidden” expenses people often forget. Be sure to include all application fees, standardized test fees, test prep/prep material costs (more on that in part 3 of 8), transcript/paperwork fees, recommender thank-you lunches, travel funds for school visits and interviews, a clothing allowance for interviews, interviewer and recommender “thank you” cards, and a seat deposit at the school you finally choose. Put the allotted budget into savings and don’t touch it until you need it (or start saving it, if you don’t have it available yet).
Put the amount you intend to pay out-of-pocket for tuition into savings and don’t touch it.
Based on your FAFSA and/or other financial aid information, you will be provided with an expected contribution. Try to get an estimate of that as early as possible so you can put that money away until tuition is due. Again, if you don’t have it, start saving now.
Once you have your process all setup, you’re ready to get to the first major hurdle: taking your test(s).
Check out other articles in this series:
Get a Great GMAT Score – Study Online with Grockit.
Over 30,000 enrollments in just a month - few MBA programs can boast of such enthusiastic participation. But this is reality today for one of the most innovative approaches to online MBA education in recent times
A little over a month ago, The London School of Business and Finance announced its new course - the LSBF Global MBA - that has made high quality MBA course material accessible at just a mouse click away. The program, available on popular social network platform Facebook, enables participants to access lectures, case studies and videos online from faculty and panel discussion groups at the School, including industry highflyers. The LSBF Global MBA application on Facebook has been developed by former Google employees, as revealed by Aaron Etingen, founder of the School who also conceived of this first-of-its-kind program.
What's more? The entire course content - spanning approximately 800 hours of multimedia material - comes free and students only have to pay at the point at which they opt for accreditation, if they do. Once exam requirements are met and accreditation fees paid, participants will receive an MBA degree from the University of Wales.
Till date more than 30,000 people have joined courses in corporate finance, accounting, ethics, marketing and strategic planning, indicate the latest reports.
Given that Facebook has now become a part of life for a mammoth 500 million plus users, the unique program offering is likely to continue attracting more and more students; however, for it to break barriers of skepticism and herald a truly revolutionary and cultural shift in the format of online education as well as industry acceptance might take a slightly longer time.
Find the LSBF (London School of Business and Finance) Global MBA here
Outsourcing is not a new phenomenon, since the industrial revolution business has outsourced activities in order to concentrate on their core capabilities. Transport into store and delivery to customers is a good example of this. Few large businesses run their own fleet anymore preferring to utilize transport companies who specialize in distribution and have the critical mass and expertise to deliver goods in the most efficient and effective manner. The word outsourcing however is relatively new and was created to describe the decision by businesses to find external suppliers to either perform their transactional processing or to provide their customer contact services. The supplier market for these services is relatively young with the first companies entering the market in the late 1990s. Although the industry is still in its infancy transactional service and customer contact companies are developing expertise in their field and using state of the art technology to provide high levels of service at a lower cost than companies can do it in house. No other outsourced industry has had artificial constraints imposed upon them so why would we consider placing artificial constraints on this new industry? The two arguments for imposing constraints usually relate to the levels of service being obtained from these new companies and the loss of jobs to overseas locations. Preventing companies from outsourcing transactional processing or customer contact activities will not guarantee high standards of service. The service level provided to customers is set by the company and in the case of outsourced activities is underpinned by either contract or contract and service level agreement. The best way to address inadequate service is to complain directly to the company and if dissatisfied change your brand. Artificially constraining a company from outsourcing is more likely to cause the company to become uncompetitive and force an increase in prices than an increase to service levels. Some companies have chosen to move these activities to outsourced providers located overseas where arbitrage costs are lower and as a result local people are made redundant. Since the time of the industrial revolution jobs have been lost to more efficient or lower cost methods of producing the result and over time the population becomes retrained in more highly skilled fields. Every day people are made redundant because of the introduction of new technology. Jobs in photographic film development have all but disappeared due to the introduction of digital cameras, should we recall all digital cameras and ban their sale because their use has caused people to be made redundant? It is also worth noting that in the field of information technology there are companies in the USA who provide around the clock support and disaster recovery facilities for companies located all around the world. Should we prevent these companies from taking on foreign clients because people in those countries will be made redundant? For employees working in the field of transactional processing or customer contact the new world of outsourcing actually opens up new opportunities for career advancement. Not all outsourced companies are located overseas. IBM and Accenture have well developed shared service centers that operate in the USA, Europe, Australia and other countries, they hold large contracts and see service as their product. Under this model activities that were once considered back office are now the primary purpose. No longer do employees have to do their time before getting a 'real job' in sales or production and for those who enjoy customer service a long term career path is now available within these service organizations. Outsourcing of customer contact and transactional processing activities is barely a decade old. As a strategy to remain competitive it is so far proving successful. Short term some job losses are experienced however in the longer term the employment market will adjust to these changes as it has done in the past. To place constraints on outsourcing will restrict companies' ability to operate competitively and will result in many more job losses than are being experienced now.
Suggested Reading: Smartsourcing: Driving Innovation and Growth Through Outsourcing
Job search is a competition and the first step to winning is being able to present a winning resume. Employers want to fill their vacancy and they will fill their vacancy with the person who can stand out from the pack. How can you make your resume stand out?
BusinessWeek - Reading List,
If anyone has plenty of choices in reading material, it's Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos. Wonder what his favorite business book is? Or what about a big B-school dean like Douglas Dunn of Carnegie Mellon? Well, here are some answers.
Over the past few months, we've contacted popular professors and business professionals and asked them about their favorite books, business or otherwise. What made those books inspirational, instructive, or influential in their thinking and their careers? What would they advise you to read if you had the chance to ask them?
Collins and Porras, Built to Last
Downes and Mui, Unleashing the Killer App
Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree
Kelly, New Rules for the New Economy
Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine
Lewis, The New New Thing
Pine and Gilmore, The Experience Economy
Shapiro and Varian, Information Rules
Tichy, The Leadership Engine
With the rising popularity of an MBA degree as one of the best post graduate courses worldwide, there are now practically thousands of business schools and an equal number of MBA programs available to those who
wish to obtain an MBA degree. With such a huge and diversified choice, it becomes very difficult to know which program is right for you. Choosing an MBA course that serves your needs best is indeed a tough job. Here are some things to consider when deciding on an MBA program.
1) Your Expectations from the MBA Program
No two MBA programs are absolutely alike and even though they teach you the same basics, they do not offer the same syllabus. So you need to ask yourself:
- Does this course give me the experience I am looking for?
- Does the syllabus include topics that are relevant to my chosen career?
- What electives does the program offer and am I interested in them?
- Is the content of the course suited to my needs?
- Do I have the required aptitude to successfully finish the course?
- Does the program offer practical training and real life experiences as well?
2) Your Physical Circumstances
You need to assess if a particular MBA program is feasible in terms of:
- Does the structure suit you?
- Whether you can do the full-time two year course or you need a shortened course.
- Is the program in your area or will you need to travel daily?
- Are the timings of the course suitable for you?
- Are you free to join the course on its start date?
3) Financial Considerations
An MBA program is an expensive program and thus you have to consider the financial impact of a particular program on yourself. Ask yourself:
- Can I afford the program fees?
- Will the living expenses, travel costs, and other expenses involved in the particular program put an immense financial burden on me?
- Will I have to borrow a loan to cover the costs and do I even want to?
- If I do take a loan, will I be able to bear the interest on the loan and how long will it be before I can repay it?
4) Impact on Your Lifestyle
- Will I be able to balance work and studying?
- Will I have to give up my job?
- How will a particular course affect my family life?
Once you have asked yourself the above questions in relation to the different MBA programs that may interest you, you can determine which of those programs is best for you and positively addresses all the above areas in which an MBA program can impact you.
Most people want to go in for an MBA program that is offered by the top A grade business schools and which have the highest ratings. If given a chance to enroll in such a program, they jump at it without considering how it can affect them, and later have to live with the consequences. Although an education from the top business schools cannot be compared to other programs, you have to decide which course is best for you according to the above guidelines.
If you choose to enroll into an MBA program just because it is THE best one available, but are unable to stay with the program or complete the course, then even the best of programs will not do you any good. So determine which program is best for YOU and then make the most of it.
Africa presents myriad opportunities for growth and investment in the near future and beyond. So says The McKinsey Global Institute, a think tank focusing on business and economics research worldwide. McKinsey partners presented the findings of their June 2010 report Lions on the move: The progress and potential of African economies at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) on 14 September. Their conclusions were both surprising and encouraging.
Mutsa Chironga, Engagement Manager in McKinsey’s Sub-Saharan Office observed that in the global political economy most growth has come from emerging markets, and that Africa forms part of this new dynamic fold. “Growth has headed South, while debt has headed North”, he said.
There are three types of strategic alliance; direct cooperation, joint ventures and minority investments. Every joint venture is always a strategic alliance but not all strategic alliances are joint ventures.
What is a strategic alliance?
Strategic alliances are agreements to operate collaboratively between otherwise arm’s length organizations to accomplish a strategic purpose. Alliances can be either equity or non-equity alliances but all are formed to achieve benefits for the organizations that would not be achieved by operating individually.
On September 9th prospective MBA students were able to inquire about various South African MBA Programs and sample the offerings of some of the best business education institutions at the SABSA MBA Open Day at the Sandton Convention Centre.