June 2003

June 10, 2003


Posted by: pat @ 11:03 am

I was given an opportunity to research on MBA 101. I don’t claim to be an expert in this area but would like to share with everyone what I know. Louis has suggested a FAQ format for this. Nothing is in stone, please feel free to provide suggestions.

This is my first time attempting to post such article online. Please pardon me if the structure is web-messy. 🙂

Strive for continuous improvement (Doesn’t this phrase sound familiar?)!

Have a peek!!

MBA 101: Prerequisites

Q: What does MBA stand for?
A: It stands for Master in Business Administration.

Q: Oh I see. In that case, what are some of the basic requirements for
doing this? Do I need to run my business before I can attend?
A: It is not necessarily that you have to manage your business prior to attending Business School (B-sch). However, this additional experience will certainly spice up your resume during the application

The basic requirements would be GMAT, TOEFL (depends on the school), money for your tuition fees.

Q: What is GMAT?
A: GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admissions Test. It is an indicator of the candidate’s capability to succeed in B-sch.

Q: Is GMAT graded?
A: Yes. The score ranges from 200 to 800.

Q: Is there a passing mark for GMAT?
A: No. But to capture the eyes of the Admission Council, a 690 score will be a starter.

Q: How do I prepare for GMAT then?
A: There are several ways. You can either study on your own or attend classes. The former will require strict discipline and at least 8 – 12 weeks of good preparation.

Q: Does GMAT have a ten-years series kind of book?
A: Not really. There are several publishers in the market that consolidate a wide variety of questions. I would recommend publishers such as Princeton, Education Testing Service (ETS), Kaplan for a start.

Q: What is the system used for GMAT?
A: It is a computer-adaptive test. In layman’s term, it is a computerized test. The test has been programmed to generate questions for the candidates.

Q: How do I prepare for this computerized GMAT?
A: You may first begin practising the GMAT with pencil and paper. Once you confident, you can practice the questions from the provided CD. While practising from the computer, begin to time yourself.

Q: How long is the test?
A: It is approximately 3 hrs and 30 mins.

Q: What would I be tested on? Physics, Business jargons?
A: Neither. It comprises of 3 sections: Essays, Verbal and Quantitative.

Q: Can I start with any section that I am more confident with?
A: Nope! You have to start with essays, progress to verbal and finally quantitative.

Q: I am sure that if I can’t attempt a question, I can simply skip to the next one and come back later to answer the question.
A: Sorry, pal. Not a chance. It is computerized program which generate one question at a time. The next question will appear after your have clicked your answer for the previous question.

Q: Oh I see. What a pain? Could you explain more about the 3 sections?
A: Certainly. Let’s start with Essays.

Essays comprise of a two 30-minutes written responses. The range of questions is very broad. It doesn’t mean that if you read every journal or newspaper available, you can score in this area. It is testing on your analysis and interpretation of the questions. Some tips:

  1. You can use words such as “don’t” instead of “do not”.
  2. Use simple grammar.
  3. Present your stand confidently
  4. Don’t worry if you are presenting the “right” answer. It boils down to how confident you are in guarding stand!
  5. Try to avoid repetitive word
  6. No spell check. So when you can’t spell a word, please use an alternative.
  7. It is not Microsoft Word program. It is more like a Notepad program

Let’s move on to Verbal.

Verbal consists of 41 questions. It is about 75 minutes. It comprises of reading comprehension, critical reasoning, basic grammar. These categories will not come in a particular order. Basically, there will be an approximate of 4 reading comprehension. Each reading comprehension will be targeted to about 4 questions. The rest will be balanced between critical reasoning and basic grammar.

Quantitative consists of 37 questions and it is about 75 minutes. It is simply Mathematics!

Q: Wait a minute….When you mention maths, are you referring to college maths? Won’t the Arts or Commerce graduates be at a disadvantage with engineering math?
A: Don’t worry. Calculus is not included at all. It is simple math with certain level of difficulties.

Q: How difficult are the questions?
A: For the Verbal and Quantitative sections, the questions will begin with medium difficulty. For each correct question, the difficulty level will be increased until you get the first wrong. Thereafter, the difficulty level will be moderated to your standard.

Q: How do I have at least a 690 score?
A: This is not the rule of the thumb. Try to get correct answers for at least 2/3 of the questions in each category. Of course, the best way, is to answer all the questions in each category correctly.

Q: So, where can I do this?
A: You can do it anywhere in the world as long as there is an ETS representative. Go to, and click on Take the GMAT.

All the instructions are there. In Singapore, You may take your GMAT either in the morning (at 9am) or afternoon (1pm) from Monday to Friday. Saturday is only available on the First Saturday of the Month. If you favor Saturdays, register early.

Q: Do you happen to know how much is the GMAT?
A: USD 200.

Rescheduling of test date will cost USD 40. Rescheduling of the test date is no later than 7 days before your appointed test date. Likewise for canceling, it should not be later than 7 days before your appointed test date. But you will only be refunded for USD 80.

Q: What else should I know?
A: For candidates that are schooled in Queen’s English, you have to get accustomed to American English. Most of the questions are generally written in American English.

• • •


  1. Damn funny man! You are like talking to yourself in front of a mirror. Ask questions, but only to be answered by yourself…. hahaha …..

    But seriously, it is good info for aspiring MBA candidates. Are there more to come or is this just it??

    Comment by Joshua Hon — June 10, 2003 @ 1:19 pm
  2. Oh, Joshua, you are killing me! :laugh:

    Actually I put her up to it (for the Q & A format), so I am the one to blame… It’s a sort of in the style of those Confucius sayings: “Confucius said…” 🙂

    Well, Pat, there is already one request for a sequel. How about something else in the future, not so soon of course! I can already picture Joshua trying to milk you dry…

    Comment by yy — June 10, 2003 @ 1:28 pm
  3. yup, that’s kinda typical Joshua! Just like when he commented about me ramming into the tree 😛

    Pat, thanks for the information! Looking forward to the sequel 🙂

    Oh yes folks, for more rankings and MBA reviews, you can go to:

    Business Week has this section on B-schools and gives fairly detailed information. There’s always the latest news, opinions, forums, rankings etc. You can get all this “free” when you register (it’s FREE) for BusinessWeek Online.

    Enjoy! Oh yes, many thanks to Louis for this space for posting.

    Comment by angi — June 10, 2003 @ 1:44 pm
  4. There are more to come….But must give me some time to coordinate my thoughts.

    I wanted to segregate this DC2 into several categories though….give me some time…

    Angie is right about the link. But please be aware how the ranking is done.

    Comment by Pat — June 10, 2003 @ 2:31 pm

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