This week I signed up for the Manhattan GMAT Live Online Prep Course. The course, as noted in the title, is held online and has attendees from all around the world. It lasts for 9 weeks and touts to have you prepared to score near the top 10% on the GMAT after completion. I honestly believe that I could have studied by myself for two months and scored over 700 on the GMAT. (The results of my first computer adaptive test will give me better insight on whether or not this is true) So why did I decide to take this expensive GMAT prep course?
Top 10 B-School or Bust
With my current salary, it simply doesn’t make sense to leave for two years and come back making the salary of someone graduating from a second tier business school. I know some people do make more than the average for a second tier school, but that’s a risk I’m not willing to take in this economy. Essentially, if I don’t get into a Top 10 (really Top 20 since the rankings change so much) School, then I simply won’t be going to business school.
To get into a top business school, I need a GMAT score within the 700-750 range. Therefore, in order to continue progressing my careeer, getting a low score on the GMAT isn’t an option for me. I can’t say, “Oh, I didn’t do that well, I guess I’ll go to a safety school.” It’s all or nothing for me on this exam. Therefore, while the GMAT course is expensive, it essentially acts as a career insurance policy for me.
I Have Attention Deficit Disorder
Okay, not really, but if you observed my study habits, you might think that I do. It’s just been so difficult for me to stay on track these past few weeks. In school, I’d often get behind in studies but I’d always work harder and catch up towards the end. I was able to do so because I had a support group consisting of teachers, other students, and an exam schedule. I’m afraid that without this support group, the risk of falling behind and failing to do well is too high for a test this important to my career. Plus, I’ve never had to take a final exam with a 40-hr a week job hanging over my head, so I can’t necessarily attribute my past success to this situation.
Awesome Study Materials
Manhattan GMAT’s study guides and Computer Adaptive Tests are regarded as the most beneficial for and most similar to the actual GMAT exam based on most online opinions. They even include simulation items, such as a replica GMAT scratch pad and a stopwatch to time yourself. The entire block of materials they provide with the course is worth nearly $300, so getting the materials alone is worth a good chunk of the admission price. The good thing about Manhattan GMAT is that they’re hardcore – average scores for all course participants is 690.
I Can Afford It
Running at nearly $1000, a GMAT course can be costly to anyone on a budget. The good thing for me is that I can easily afford it. Living with my parents after college while traveling as a consultant on an expense account has definitely paid off. Plus, I currently make a decent salary and at the end of the month I’m still going to be cashflow positive.
For those on a tight budget, I’m not sure I would recommend taking a GMAT prep course. As I said before, I felt strongly that I get my target score by studying on my own. I consider the GMAT course a “luxury,” a kind of insurance against failure. If I would have had to go into debt or put the balance on a credit card, I probably wouldn’t have signed up for the prep course.
Prep Course or Self Study
The total cost of the Manhattan GMAT course was approximately $990, after a $100 discount promotion. Since I’m doing the online version of the course, I don’t have to pay taxes on that amount. Again, while I still have the lingering feeling that I could have done this on my own, I did feel relieved when I finally signed up for the course. Given the amount of stress in my life right now, maybe just that feeling of relief was worth it. Anyway, if the above items all apply to you, then I definitely recommend signing up for Manhattan GMAT. If only some or none of these items apply, I would recommend that you go online and buy the Manhattan GMAT materials from Amazon first. Do self study and take the GMAT Test on your own; if you’re not satisfied with your scores, then consider signing up for the prep course.