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GMAT Student Post: From Engineering to Business School

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Hear from a Yale grad about his experience with the GMAT. Brendan is an engineer applying to business school soon. Thanks for sharing, Brendan! 🙂

About Me: My name is Brendan and I’m an Electrical Engineering Major from Yale University (2010). I have been a submarine officer in the US Navy for the past four years. My job is primarily concerned with operating the reactor on board, so I am looking to pursue energy marketing and infrastructure at business school.

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Biggest Challenge: I won’t lie, despite my engineering background, I was still weak on many quantitative skills required by the GMAT, and was also very weak on sentence correction (not surprising considering years of short hand engineering prose). I attacked this initially by skimming the lessons and really attacking practice problems with volume. In the end I realized two things:

1. Many of the lessons that seem simple have very valuable parts crucial to getting top GMAT scores. It wasn’t enough to skip the areas I thought I already understood. Take the time to expose yourself to all the information in the lessons.

2. Practice problems are only effective with a thorough review. Taking the time to understand why I got something incorrect (or often why I got something correct) was far more valuable than continuing to be incorrect on similar questions. Magoosh’s explanation videos are terrific and proved to be a great asset once I decided to go through them more thoroughly.

As my quantitative improved, I shifted my focus to my weaker verbal section. I poured in time with lessons and practice questions. In the end, I did very well in verbal (99 percentile), but actually a little worse than I expected in math (74 percentile). My first practice test with Magoosh was a 630, so I was happy with my overall score of 760 – but it was clear that I neglected my math studies during my last big push in verbal.

Tips for Others: Remember: if an engineer like me can beat the verbal section, so can you, but don’t forget to keep improving on your stronger areas to prevent reverse progress!

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