Wednesday, December 30

2009 -- Memories

There are 52 weeks in a year and i believe that i should have 52 memories at the end of each year, memories that can titilate me in the years to come. 2009 was a year where i conjured up some of the great moments and just wanted to record some of them on my blog"

1. My trip to Mcleodganj with Miss S...we went to Monastaries..travelled to remote places...

2. GMAT -- dated miss G...finally kissed the sweetheart

3. Trip to water park with Miss S on her B-day-- now that trip was awesome...

Dont want to paste the pics ;)

4. Dec-26 -- miss S and i had a blast today-- cloud no. 9 ;)

5. Back Injury -- :'( -- taught me patience -- never to go over-board -- realized  my weaknesses

6. Dad's new car -- pa bought his new car and was really excited --
Van huesen shirt -- $60
Chevy - $15, 000/- {i didn't make the payment ;) }
Watching the content smile on your dad's face -- price less

7. Bro becomes a doctor -- {but i wont go to him for the treatment -- old foes you know :) }

8. Visiting my Alma Mater with friends -- Tears of joy :'( -- miss those days...

9. Starting this blog -- Realized that i can write --

10. Got my passport {how can i forget this}

11. Registered my NGO --"The Illuminati" {and so is the name of this blog}...

With this post i bring an end to my blogging for the year. Wishing you all a very happy and fruitful New Year....

Tuesday, December 29

Permutation n Combination

This is one of the most dreaded topics that a candidate can face in the GMAT exam. But, there are limited patterns that are asked in GMAT and if we can master them then i don't think one will have any trouble in solving these type of questions on GMAT.

I just got hold of my notes and decided to share em with fellow bloggers {there are some good questions that i will paste at the end of this post}:

1 Permutation : Permutation means arrangement of things. The word arrangement is used, if the order of things is considered.

2. Combination: Combination means selection of things. The word selection is used, when the order of things has no importance.

3. Example: Suppose we have to form a number of consisting of three digits using the digits 1,2,3,4,

To form this number the digits have to be arranged. Different numbers will get formed depending upon the order in which we arrange the digits. This is an example of Permutation.

4. Now suppose that we have to make a team of 11 players out of 20 players, This is an example of combination, because the order of players in the team will not result in a change in the team. No matter in which order we list out the players the team will remain the same! For a different team to be formed at least one player will have to be changed.

5. nPr = n!/(n-r)!

6. Note : Factorial of negative-number is not defined. The expression  –3! has no meaning.
7. Number of permutations of n-thing, taken all at a time, in which ‘P’ are of one type, ‘g’ of them are of second-type, ‘r’ of them re of third-type, and rest are all different is given by :-

8. Circular permutations

(a) If clockwise and anti clock-wise orders are different, then total number of circular-permutations is given by  (n-1)!

(b) If clock-wise and anti-clock-wise orders are taken as not different, then total number of circular-permutations is given by (n-1)!/2!

Restricted – Permutations

9(a) Number of permutations of ‘n’ things, taken ‘r’ at a time, when a particular thing is to be always included in each arrangement:

r*( n-1) P(r-1)

9(b) Number of permutations of ‘n’ things, taken ‘r’ at a time, when a particular thing is never taken:
(n-1) P(r)

10. nCr = nC(n-r) {general formula}

11. Total number of ways of selecting one or more things out of n different things

nC1 + nC2 + nC3 + ------------- + nCn = 2^n - 1

12. Total number of ways of selecting ZERO or More things out of n different things

(nC0 + nC1 + -----------------nCn) = 2^n

13. (nC0 + nC1 + -----------------nCn) = 2^n {general formula}

14. Number of ways of selecting zero or more things from ‘n’ identical things is given by :- n+1

15. Number of ways of selecting one or more things from ‘p’ identical things of one type ‘q’ identical things of another type, ‘r’ identical things of the third type and ‘n’ different things is given by :

 (p+1) (q+1) (r+1)(2^n – 1)

Some good questions to apply the theory

Q How many ways can 10 letters be posted in 5 post boxes, if each of the post boxes can take more than 10 letters?

Q How many numbers are there between 100 and 1000 such that atleast one of their digits is 6?

Q How many ways can 4 prizes be given away to 3 boys, if each boy is eligible for all the prizes?

Q How many alphabets need to be there in a language if one were to make 1 million distinct 3 digit initials using the alphabets of the language?

Q How many number of times will the digit '7' be written when listing the integers from 1 to 1000?

Q Badri has 9 pairs of dark Blue socks and 9 pairs of Black socks. He keeps them all in a same bag. If he picks out three socks at random what is the probability he will get a matching pair?

Q How many words of 4 consonants and 3 vowels can be made from 12 consonants and 4 vowels, if all the letters are different?

Q If the letters of the word CHASM are rearranged to form 5 letter words such that none of the word repeat and the results arranged in ascending order as in a dictionary what is the rank of the word CHASM?

Q When four fair dice are rolled simultaneously, in how many outcomes will at least one of the dice show 3?

Q There are 5 Rock songs, 6 Carnatic songs and 3 Indi pop songs. How many different albums can be formed using the above repertoire if the albums should contain at least 1 Rock song and 1 Carnatic song?

Monday, December 28

For everything else there's mastercard!!!

Waiting for your beloved on a date, finally watching them come. Grinning and trying to control yourself -- Priceless

Getting an SMS from your beloved, Reading, Re-Reading and Reading that SMS again -- Priceless

Wanting to hold the hand of your beloved and to be able to do so -- Priceless

Fighting with your beloved and making them smile while she is still crying -- Out of the world

To just sit besides her -- sipping the coffee -- watching her talk -- watching her smile -- watching her act stupid and wanting to become one yourself {stupid of-course } -- Amazing

Thinking about your last meeting and re-living those moments -- Aha

I can go on and on and on but the left side of my Brain is now screaming at the highest possible pitch. The poor fellow is asking me to hang up my boots and change the name on this blog from Braveheart to Lovebird

How to tell this poor chap that it was love that inspired William Wallace to fight his enemies and change the course of the history.

"Love is like diarrhea you just can't hold it in" for everything else there's mastercard!

Tuesday, December 22

Miss S

I keep on mentioning miss S in my posts, few of the readers have asked me about her. Well, miss S is someone who lives in my dreams. As i wrote this line miss S screamed...i thought that was scream of joy...but her expressions told me that it wasn't the case. Her stare soon reminded me that she is a reality. ;)

So, coming back to the question "Who is miss S?", well she is a girl {obviously man, we know that miss is used for gals}. ok ok...Miss S is someone who lives with me {ok..she is my love...another stare and now she is actually dictating this post}...and is forcing me to write a post on her. She constantly complains that i write so many posts about miss G {miss GMAT} and none about her. How shall i tell her that she is so wonderful that i fail to find the right adjectives for her.

To say that she is lovely would be a misnomer. The only thing that comes to my mind when i think of miss S is { since miss S is not here and i have the freedom to pour my heart out, here i go}

"A Red Rose...with refreshing dew on its petals...sunlight scaterring through that dew drop...and creating a halo of rainbow over the rose..."  {i wrote this dictation }

Miss S you complete me and you move me. I am grateful to you for bringing a stability in my otherwise turbulent life. Every morning when i wake up i want to see your face and smile. Every evening i want to get back to you and hug you. You're the book of my life though i might be just one chapter of yours'.

I have got just one life, its been great, and at times terrible, i know i won't live eternally but i would love you till my last breath. It was a wonderful feeling to fall in love with you and i would die a 1000 times to fall in love with you all over again.

p.s: I love you {remember how you cried in the theatre :) }, i do

Thursday, December 17

B-school Ranking -- Which source is the best??

First thing that comes to the mind of perspective MBA candidates while shortlisting the target b-schools is the b-school rankings. Now, we have a number of b-school rankings in the market. How to determine which source is best? Obviously no two rankings place the same school at the same slot {for eg Businessweek places Tuck at 12th while forbes has recently placed Tuck at 2nd}. Things become tough for applicants when they see FT or WSJ or US news rankings. The top 5 would comprise of same schools but pegged at different places.

The big question is which ranking is the best and which one is the most accurate. While rankings cannot be ignored, they should not be the sole criteria for shortlisting b-schools. Why? ok, they should be a factor because the school from which you will pass will be the brand that you will carry for the rest of your life. Why not?ok, even if you go to harvard and cant learn a single thing and cant make it to the career of your choice then whats the use of brand name Harvard. {I might be in trouble when i say this :) }. Ok i will try to cover my @ss.

Prada means prestige but consider a stileto by Prada having 12 inch heels {i guess gals wud better be able to link up with this example}. While you will wear it, you will feel tall but will you be comfortable?? And how about the side effects that follow??{high heels may contribute to knee and back problems, disabling injuries in falls, shortened calf muscles, and an awkward, unnatural gait.}. People will be impressed by Prada but when you will have to walk you will curse your choice.

I would rather wear an inexpensive unbranded footwear than wear a prada and feel like a fool.

So before one peeps into rankings one must answer the following questions honestly:

1. Why MBA {what are the reasons apart from money??}
2. What are the skills that you want to learn {Now MBA bridges the gap between your existing skill-set and the desirable skill-set that you would aspire to have post MBA. }
3. What kind of  class environment you are looking for?? is it ultra competitive or collaborative??
4. What is the mix of class room learning and peer learning? or mix of case learning and theoretical learning?
5. What are the long term career prospects?? Whats the long term ROI??
6. Whether i will b able to switch careers {say you want to switch from IT to consulting, and you get into Harvard, now you will have to compete with best of the best for a place in the coveted firm. }
7. Whats the Alum network like at my perspective school?

Once you answer these questions in great detail start lookingat the rankings. If ROI is the biggest factor in your decision making process, go no further than Forbes Business School rankings.

Forbes Ranking
Forbes ranks return on investment of MBA programs based on:
Average 5-year increase in compensation compared to pre-MBA salary for each school's graduates
Cost of each MBA program, including estimated foregone salary

Detailed MBA Rankings Methodology 

Forbes ranks MBA programs based on return on investment (ROI) achieved by graduates. Forbes surveys alumni at over 100 schools and compares their earnings in their first five years out of business school to their opportunity costs (two years of forgone compensation, tuition and required fees). Forbes then:
  1. Adjusts for cost of living expenses
  2. Discounts earnings gains using a rate tied to money market yields
  3. Discounts tuition to account for students who pay in-state rates and for the non-repayable financial aid from schools
  4. Accounts for required fees that students must pay on top of tuition
Now let us consider FT rankings.

The Salary incremental {Outgoing salary - Incoming salary } is one of the biggest factor in FT rankings. Now this is something i dont like. ISB is ranked ahead of Kellogg {Man its not Kellogg corn flakes, its Kellogg Business School}. To make the matters worse FT uses some PPP conversion index = value provided by world bank. Thus weighted average salary calculated by FT comes out to be:

WAS = average of salary (with some adjustments) x PPP ;

thus ISB's "WAS" becomes larger than Kellogg's or Ross's or Duke's WAS...crap.

*Personally i dont give a **** to FT rankings after this debacle.

BusinessWeek Rankings

BusinessWeek bases its MBA rankings on:
  1. 45% on student satisfaction surveys of recent MBA Program graduates
  2. 45% on surveys of corporate recruiters based on their experiences with a school's graduates
  3. 10% on "intellectual capital" calculated by BusinessWeek, which tallies points for appearance of the faculty's research in 18 specific publications
Fairly good indicator of a school's worth!! {atleast i think so}

The Wall Street Journal MBA Rankings

The Wall Street Journal bases its MBA program rankings 100% on surveys of recruiters' perceptions of the MBA programs from which they recruit.

Now i dont like this method..Why? Where's the students Perspective?? Where's the ROI?? Good that you are asking the External customer about his satisfaction level but what about the satisfaction level of Students?? I dont think one goes to a b-school to make the recruiter proud {that might be one reason} but money, career opportunities, learning, ROI etc play a big role.

U.S. News & World Report bases its MBA rankings:
  1. 25% on ratings by business school deans and MBA program directors
  2. 15% on ratings by recruiters of the schools at which they recruit
  3. 35% on placement statistics provided by each school
  4. 25% on school-reported "selectivity", the percentage of applicants the school accepts for admission
Now this is again a good method to rank the schools.

Once you are done with the introspection part, i would suggest that Businessweek, Forbes or US news be used as a reference to shortlist schools of top reputation.

Monday, December 14


The emotional tsunami is killing me!!! I am feeling like a hollow man .. There is so much to express and so much to share but the cyclone of restlessness has gripped me and is going to rip me apart.

There are certain emotions that shape our lives {dont believe me ...emotion = e + motion = energy in motion, emotions are 14 times stronger than logic and these emotions eventually shape our actions and hence our destiny} and we still fail to recognize some of the emotions and our failure to recognize them causes restlessness. After a long struggle i have identified the emotion that is bothering me for so long , i was aware of its existense but kept myself busy in order to keep my mind distracted so that it could never figure it out {am going nuts i think :) }. Now while i am fully aware of the emotion, i am afraid of the consequences that might follow when i will express this emotion {reality might not be that bad but we oftn sketch scary scenes}.

I really want to express my feelings but am failing to find the right words. I am trying to run away from everything but this thought, this emotion won't leave me..

God help me! ... really the feeling is inexplicable...its really a nice feeling but my failure to express it is causing a lot of trouble.

Friday, December 11

AWA - 5.5

Finally, got my AWA result...5.5 ...So i would re-iterate don't spend much time on AWA...

i had not even spell-checked or proof read my actual essays...

i guess blogging helps ;) ...

Thursday, December 10

Reflections - GMAT do's and dont's

I am through with my GMAT but as i reflect on my preparation and GMAT experience, i have certain suggestions that will really help perspective test takers.

AWA: AWA score does not matter much but its better to write AWA on last 2-3 mocks. {Simply to build stamina.} Write AWA for 1 hour before you start the quant section.

Mocks: I guess 6 Manhattan, GMAT prep {with as many retakes as possible} and one free GMAT club test {quant is really good} are sufficient. Last 2-3 mocks should be given in a cyber cafe {would replicate the exam centre experience} under timed conditions.
if you get 750 on a mock dont think that you will get 750 on real thing...see the score as a range..750 mock means 700-800{omg 800 ;)} on real thing...

Mock Analysis: Analysis of mocks should take you more time than actually writing them.
1. Never look at the answers straight away if you geta problem wrong. Try hard and solve it, will help you in learning a lot of concepts. Simply looking at answer wont solve the purpose.
2. Look at the explanation of each and very answer choice...why a particular choice is wrong...GMAT repeats a certain pre set patterns...RECOGNIZE THE PATTERNS

Exercise: If you regularly train with weights nothing like it...else start jogging ...daily for 20-25 mins...will help a lot in relieving stress ... and will keep you energetic...i jogged till the very last day...and believe me it helped.

Eat Healthy: GMAT prep is stressful and often you will neglect your diet. Keep taking multivitamins {Zinco-vit was the one that i took}, have lots of fruits...keep hydrated {atleast 2 lt of water everyday}...

SLEEP: Sleep really well for 10-15 days before the should be so charged up before the exam that GMAT should be afraid of you...Think of GMAT as your perspective date and be eager for the meeting...

Meditate: Meditate -- breath gives strength

Exam day: Prefer morning time...because of exam anxiety a lot of people dont sleep well and get up too early on exam day...dont book afternoon or evening will un-necessarily tire yourself...

Eat a healthy breakfast...consume very paper or watch tv if you normally do so at that time...

Take red-bull or any other energy drink -- caffeine will keep you awake during verbal section....also keep some nutribars and chocolates for breaks...

Utilize your breaks wisely...STRETCH..WASH YOUR FACE..RE-CHARGE...


Keep an eye on the watch...guess intelligently if you have to....REMEMBER 30% OF QUESTIONS ARE EXPERIMENTAL...

and yes before the xam be honest and consistent with your prep,..Work smart --

all da best :)

p.s: i love you..oops watched this movie yesterday night..want to go to ireland..can someone sponsor me>>

p.s: Will post some DS fundae soon....

Saturday, December 5

The Debrief

q-50 --93 percentile, v - 41 - 92 percentile --overall - 740 -- 97 percentile.. AWA --result awaited

Prep time -- Approx 6 weeks --daily 2 hours
Study Material --
SC {accuracy rate at the start - approx 40% the end approx 90%}

Manhattan SC guide must have gone through it atleast 7 times. Don't just read it STUDY IT.

Once i grasped the basics well i picked up OG, did all the questions thoroughly. When i say thoroughly i mean to say that i figured out error in each and every answer choice. This helped me to understand the various patterns of error that appear on the GMAT. {Accuracy had improved to about 70%}

When i say ientify the error -- dont simply say that this choice is awkward or does not make sense etc etc --- pen down the error type...whether it is Sub-Verb or Pronoun or modifier ---

Adamjohn's Notes -- Has some of the finest questions and also superb explanations by an expert called 800Bob. Learnt a lot of tricks here and have posted some of them on my blog

1000 SC -- did approx 400 questions, some people say that 1000 sc is not a reliable source. Agreed! but the %age of poor questions is low. This source is good for practise once you are done with OG. Again identify the error type in each and every choice.

CR {Accuracy at the start -- approx 40-50% the end 70-75%, though hit rate in OG was 90+% but OG level is way too low as compared to the real thing.}

Powerscore Bible -- won't recommend it -- consumes too much time....though practice the following from powerscore:

1. Flaw in reasoning,
2. Evaluate the argument --- Saw atleast 3 questions on real thing

BTG {Beat The GMAT} Forum Questions -- did a lot of them and tried to support my answers with reasoning....Please share your reasoning with every answer...simply saying IMO A,B or C wont help a lot....

Approach -- Read the argument carefully -- Clearly mark out the conclusion -- understand the reasoning ---Paraphrase ---- read the question ----attack the answer choices

Be extra careful about the boundary words such as "many", "Some", "All", "only" etc.
RC {Starting hit rate --approx 85% --towards the end 90+% }

Read The Economist, The New scientist everyday for approx 20-30 mins. After reading each para pause for 5 seconds PARAPHRASE -- Tell yourself what the author is trying to say. --- MOVE AHEAD --- DO the same for every para --- In the end take out 10 seconds --- Link up all the paragraphs --- total reading time for a typical GMAT RC passage would be close to 3 Minutes....but by following this approach you will take very less time to answer the questions.

I won't recommend to skim the passage --- RC means READING COMPREHENSION --it tests your comprehension not the skimming ability.

Quant --Was good in quant but was making careless mistakes

{If you lack the basics then pick up any elementary school level book and brush up the fundamentals}

1. Read the question carefully
2. Pen down what you have to calculate -- the variable name and units--
3. READ THE CONDITIONS GIVEN IN QUESTION CAREFULLY AND KEEP THEM IN MIND --for eg if x  > 0 no need to put x = -2 or x = 0
4. Always test the inequalities for 0,1, -1, 1/2 and -1/2

Daily solve 20 questions --- i regularly solved 20 questions on BTG {Beat The GMAT} --- at times i failed to post my answer but religiously solved problems in DS and PS thread.

AWA ----- Simply prepared a template a day before and never wrote it in any of the mocks --- WAS ONE BIG MISTAKE

For last 2 or 3 mocks attempt AWA...
I would suggest give your last 2 mocks in a cyber cafe and write AWA
Mock CATS {always gave each section 70 mins of time}
I consistently hit 760+ in last 5-6 mocks. Scored 790 in one of the GMAT prep where 3-4 questions were repeat.
GMAT PREP is a must and re-take it as many times as possible. Because of the adaptive nature of test and large repository of the questions you will get to solve a lot of different questions.

Manhattan GMAT -- Verbal is very close to the real thing -- MARK MY WORDS HERE -- Manhattan's quant is way off mark the real thing but their Verbal is damn good, i would say i improved from V-18 to V-41 because of MANHATTAN

But their pool of 700+ level questions is too small and by the time you have attempted 3 mocks the quality of questions gets diluted....Please add a lot more 700+ questions to your tests.....

TEST Experience:
{i didn;t take any leave for prep ... i would say be consistent for 6 weeks or so and put 2 hours or so daily....on weekends i would simply give mocks and analyze them thoroughly}

Day before test

1. Watched Cricket --- Was in office -- went to Gym, ran for 25 mins -- took sauna and relaxed...
2. Tried to get my mind off the test, at one time i almost forgot that i have my test tomo
3. But as i tried to sleep ---> i got butterflies in my stomach....Slept for hardly 4 hours---this was a perenial Sin--- SLEEP WELL BEFORE THE EXAM

Test Day

5:30 am -- Woke Up
Deep Breathing
Lots of water
approx 8: Am -- news paper
Took shower, Had breakfast -- Bananas + Boiled Eggs

Watched Sehwag throw away his wicket after a blistering performance

Headed to a temple -- to gain some SPIRITUAL STRENGTH --- PRAY -- if you are an atheist then you can simply remember your parents or any person whom you idolize--- IT helps

Was in centre 30 mins before the test --- centre was empty --no test takers...I was allowed to sit 20 mins before the sched time

Fired off both the AWA in 30 mins --- 15 mins each -- never reviewed what i wrote...had a template and vomited it....above 4 everything would be a bonus :)

Had a nutribar -- Stretched -- total break time -- 4 minutes [By the Way You get only 8 mins of break in between sections now --- UTILIZE YOUR BREAKS PROPERLY}

Quant -- first ques -- co-ord geometry -- forgot the formula and felt frustrated after 5 mins guessed and moved on ---NEVER ALLOWED MYSELF TO FEEL DOWN BECAUSE OF THIS ACT--- My performance would be judged by how i fare on 37 questions not by my response to 1st question ----at times it is good to make intelligent guess and move on....

Lots of inequalities, modulus, number prop, co-ordinate geometry --> last 2 questions were esp tricky
Advise -- Pace yourself well -- i completed the section in 69 mins or so --- could have better utilized my time

SC and RC were predictable...CR -- Got 1 strengthen and wekaen ques each...most were evaluate and vulnerable to crticism type

Took a deep breath ----- honestly was expecting 750 --opened my eyes --Saw 740 --- was kind of mixed reaction --- But i would take it ....

Friday, December 4

Kissed the GMAT

I dont know whether i should be happy or sad, but i know that i won't have to date Miss G again {atleast i think so}.

My exam was at 10:45 am today, was in office till 21:00 yesterday night. Hardly slept because of anxiety and woke up at 5:30 Am today.

Heard "eye of the tiger" and "gonna fly now" from Rocky to pump myself before leaving for the centre. Went to a divine place to seek blessings of god {am a god loving man -- read it as god fearing ;) }Packed some nutri-bars, chocolates and a can of Red Bull to re-fuel myself during breaks.

will share lots of insights very soon...i am dead tired right now...

q50 - v-41 ..overall 97 percentile..740 {barely missed 750 -- so a bit sad also, was stupid to finish verbal in 70 mins}

gonna fly now....