Monday, August 22, 2005

Searching for scholarships

Money, it’s a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
© Pink Floyd

You know, it is better to look earlier than later, so today I've been browsing through different sites and looking at available scholarships. And I've found lots of staff... which I'm not eligible for *sigh*.
So I'll post the most interesting two here, maybe it will help anyone ;)
1. Great fellowship for women, who want study in the US - at (deadline 1th of December, 2005, amount $18,000)
2. Motorola contest for current students - all about seamless mobility (deadline 15th of November, 2005, amount $10,000)

Oh, and if you see any relevant scholarship (Russian, female, want to study at LBS) - please, let me know :)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mostly transcripts

The future is yours, you hold the key
and there are no walls with freedom...
© Phil Collins

It's easy to say "I'm starting". But this week I got a brand new project, so I'm sitting at a client and no internet, just work, work and work. Not complaining, because that's really the job I love to do, but no internet when you need it - ah...
So deadlines and essays are out.
I decided to widen my list of schools with INSEAD: read the blog of willy-nilly, thought that if I enter, that would be great: French cuisine, revive my French, just a year - so no point in saying long goodbye to friends and family, etc. Yeah, but the first deadline to INSEAD is the 5th of October! I hope this will accelerate me and give me time to practice, before I really start doing essays for LBS. And no suprise there - great topics (I mean at LBS, because at INSEAD... this "culture shock" topic... I'm nonplused).
I know, that it difficult to start, so I decided to do the easiest thing - find out what 'transcript' is - and I found this article (text in Russian, but transcript example in English). I did myself a form in *.doc, I'll print it next week and take a take a day off on Friday (I hope I'll have the chance) and go to my alma mater (and I hope there will be someone at the university already). If I'm lucky, I'll have the course marks written out and stamped, if not, I'll ask one of my friends to do this for me the week after next. So then I'll need to translate that paper into English and sign and stamp again at some notary.

Phil Collins will give a concert in Moscow on the 20th of October - I definetely want to go there!

Monday, August 15, 2005


I’m here again!
© Take That

Enough rest for now, or people will keep asking me about my sunburn. Let’s return back to computer and to my normal greenish face color ;)

I decided to write some inspiring post, since the last one was of a ‘useful’ kind. Maybe this will, too.
Anyway, from time to time since I decided to take the first step on my way to MBA, I (and everybody else, perhaps) have a kind of desperate mood like ‘I won’t be able to’, ‘I’m not fit’, ‘Who do you think you are, Trump or Einstein?’, ‘I’m too young (too old)’, ‘enter-your-fear-here’. This is very dangerous mood and it is essential to get out of it as soon as you can. So here is my recipe:
1. You are smart, you know? Or you won’t figure out how to decipher M.B.A. and got thus far. So remove all doubts about your brain functions.
2. This MBA-game is not a point in life like get it or die. It’s just a moonlit path: if you look hard for it, you’ll find it. If not, it doesn’t matter, cobbles are not that big at night. When you spend time on preparation - you don’t lose it even if all this effort won’t bring you to a place of your dream - because you are growing, you are thinking, you are finding your way and you are investing this time in yourself.
3. Don’t take this too serious – it’s your great adventure!
4. Why don't you better go and do something useful like write an essay?
Cook your inspiration with these 4 ingredients and add your own to taste.

I'm thinking about coming to London at the end of October. How do you think - will they let me to attend Sundowners? ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

GMAT done!

I'm feeling glad!
© Gorillaz
So, I’ve made a frame for my picture - and I’m absolutely content with it. Now the time comes to think about brushes and paint ;)
But before I’ll go thinking about transcripts, recommendations, scholarships and all the other things – I have a pile of promises to fulfill (I’ve done some already – cleaned the flat, for instance, or written this blog entry) and a heap of books to read. I decided to give myself a week of a free life. But after it, I’ll make a plan for myself and will start fulfilling it.
So, how did it go? ;)
First, I should say, that I’m not a native speaker and I have never lived somewhere in an English-speaking country (that helps when you pass the test, sure), and I’m afraid this ‘backfired’ at my Verbal. I have spotted that if I see an easy problem, I understand it and do it in English all right, but as soon as I face a tough one, I have to translate it in Russian, so I lose time or answer wrongly. I checked that idea with a friend of mine, to whom I sent some of the toughest ones’ – when he translates the problem with a dictionary, he does it right, but under time-pressure he sometimes misses the point. I just wonder, how it is to pass the test for a native.
Second, I have a strong background in math, so Quant was no problem for me – it was important just not to forget the words like reciprocal, factor, multiple, range or gross profit… because I know what to do, when I see them in Russian, but if I don’t remember the translation, it won’t help me.
Third, I was lucky with AWA-topics – they were about job-candidates and some company crashing – so I had a lot to say. Well, AWA-results will tell.
Anyway, I know I could have done better, if I devoted more time to preparation (I began looking for books in May, started doing Official Guide in June, but have done only half of it or even less before passing the test). Yes, I have a lot of excuses for myself such as work, friends, family and the famous law of 20/80. But I said to myself, that I would be content with 650+. I actually got over 700, so I’m feeling glad.
AWA Tips (for non-natives, like me, mostly)
First, don’t worry about AWA. It won’t count towards your score and many AdComs don’t pay attention to AWA marks (or so they say). But there is still a possibility, that they will check your style – to be sure, it was you who wrote your essays for school and not some highly-paid consultant.
I have downloaded all the 280 essays from forum, written in quite a good quality and read about 1/3 of them (I devoted a whole week to this). I have made a template for myself and practiced it with 8 essays (4 Issue, 4 Argument), until I felt confident and words like ‘furthermore’, ‘similarly’, ‘in addition’ spread all over my texts. You can see, I’m still writing close to template with all those ‘first’, ‘second’ and ‘third’ ;)
Quant Tips (for 48+)
Be sure you know all the words concerning math. Check tough questions at forum (or any other forum of your choice). Understand the strategy that underlies probability and evaluation problems (they are usually appear as the top ones). Practice DS questions.
Verbal Tips
– there are a lot of guides and strategies about this one on-line, and it’s important to learn all about parallel constructions, apples and oranges and the rest. My strategy for difficult sentences is to use some sort of ‘bubble sorting’:
1. Eliminate as many chances as you can. Don’t panic if you see nothing to eliminate at first.
2. Compare A and B (if they are not eliminated, of course). What is worse? Why? (it’s very important to know ‘why’) Chose ‘the best one’.
3. Compare ‘the best one’ with the next one. Is the latter better? If yes, make it ‘the best one’
4. Continue until you have only one choice left, which is ‘the best’ :)
CR – practice to understand GMAT logic. Kaplan disc helped me a lot – they have some useful tips about finding the better choice if you have two left: try to refute both – which undermines argument most – is the answer.
RC – I’ve read a lot about strategies for this one, but I don’t use them, because I have no time to draw maps, etc. I do the following. As the text appears I read the first question. If it concerns some special part of the passage I read that part and answer the question. By the time I have a general question in front of me, I have already read and understood about half of the text.
Preparation for test-day
If you take test on Saturday, take a week of holiday at work. Revise your error log on Monday and Tuesday, do a ‘real test’ simulation on Wednesday (revise errors) and another one on Thursday. Don’t prepare on Friday – go for a walk, swim in the swimming pool, clean the house. If you definitely want to practice, revise some concepts for SC and read a bit of AWA essays.
On the test-day, have a good breakfast (if you love pasta, fried potatoes or roast beef – cook it in advance and get up with a feeling of ‘Vienna-waits-for-you’). Take with you a bottle of cold tea with sugar (your brain will need it during the breaks).
Use ear-plugs. Even if you’re alone in the test room, there will be a lot of distracting noises around - don’t let them get you out of your flow.
Have a good mood and a winning mind. There’re lots of people who did it and who did great. Even if you don’t do it now, you’ll make it a month later, so there’s nothing to worry about.
So, that’s it and enough of GMAT. I’ll write my database with all resources on a disk, sell all prep-books next Monday and forget about it for the next 5 years.
As soon as I wrote that, I remembered how I got my driving license: I passed the test when I was 19, got the document, valid for 10 years and… stored it in a box at home, since I didn’t have a car. I nearly bought one this spring, but changed my mind: I decided to leave the money for my business school, so I’m still commuting by metro ;)