GMAT


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My Bible–The Ultimate GMAT Review Guide

Excuse my absence but I am taking the GMAT on Friday. All my energies are being channeled towards that one day at 12:30pm EST, when I will be taking the plunge. Stress levels are high, adrenaline is rushing to the head and well, a certain amount of fear is also setting in. What am I going to do about it? Right before the test, I will probably have a shot of some sort of alcohol, play “Jump” by Madonna, scream in the car…and just go do it!!!

After the GMAT, I will breathe and then I have to go to NYC, Vegas, San Francisco and Miami…so I’ll be on the road…I will try to write as often as I can…

But to keep you entertained in the mean time…

1. You should watch Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations-Argentina episode on the Travel Channel
2. Just watch the Travel Channel in general…lately they been having great shows
3. Read the following article on Where the West Bank meets Bavaria
4. Purchase the latest issue of Foreign Policy and read the article adequately named, “Legalize it”

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Hope all of you had a great Labor Day Weekend! I went to the Bronx for the first time in my life and let me tell you it was an experience to remember…other than that, I finally scheduled my date for the GMAT. Yes, on September 14th my fate will be decided. I am also coming down with an annoying cold that is not enabling me to think very clearly, so I will leave you with some lyrics that in my opinion are expiring.

Also remember this…It’s September. The year is almost over. Have you accomplished or are you on your way to accomplishing all of your goals for this year???

Jump by Madonna

There’s only so much you can learn in one place
The more that I wait, the more time that I waste

I haven’t got much time to waste
It’s time to make my way
I’m not afraid of what I’ll face
But I’m afraid to stay
I’m going down my road and I can make it alone
I’ll work and I’ll fight ‘till I find a place of my own

Are you ready to jump
Get ready to jump
Don’t ever look back oh baby
Yes, I’m ready to jump
Just take my hand
get ready to jump

We learned out lesson from the start
My sisters and me
The only thing you can depend on
Is your family
Life’s gonna drop you down like a limb from a tree
It sways and it swings and it bends until it makes you see

Are you ready to jump
Get ready to jump
Don’t ever look back oh baby
Yes, I’m ready to jump
Just take my hand
get ready to jump

Are you ready?

There’s only so much you can learn in one place
The more that you wait
The more time that you waste

I’ll work and I’ll fight till I find a place of my ownIt sways and it swings and it bends until you make it your ownI can make it alone
(my sisters and me)

Are you ready to jump
Get ready to jump
Don’t ever look back oh baby
Yes, I’m ready to jump
Just take my hand
get ready to jump

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In my quest for the perfect MBA program, I am doing quite a bit of research. Several B-Schools have monthly magazines where they publish different articles on research conducted at the school and on other current matters.

Columbia BS publishes “Ideas at Work: Connecting Research to the Practice of Business”. It is a great magazine with some interesting articles. I highly recommend it even if you are not that much into business. Today, I came across an article appropriately called “Jerk or wimp: What’s your assertiveness style?” In it, Daniel Ames who led the research on this topic, comments on how your degree of assertiveness can determine your success as a leader. I encourage you to read the entire article, but there is one portion that stroke a chord with me.

Given that assertiveness is partly a personality issue — and therefore difficult to change — what can people do to change their assertiveness style?

I like to think of it more specifically as assertive behavior, and people can change their behavior. We see a lot of our students doing this, and a lot of them end up becoming very eager and committed to doing it. Can you rewrite your personality? There’s a lot of debate in the academic literature about whether that’s possible or not. But we can set that debate aside and focus on assertive behavior. You have a choice about how to start a conflict. You can pound your fists on the table and shout and berate your partner and act like an alpha male, or you can open up and cultivate rapport and work hard to listen and put your partner at ease. Personality has a role in that, but that’s a behavioral choice. Can people become more aware of their behavioral repertoire and make different choices? Absolutely. We see it all the time with our students. We’re not asking people to rewrite their personalities, but we are encouraging them to rethink what behaviors are most appropriate in different situations. And we find with the right awareness and the right kind of coaching they can absolutely do it.

Getting candid feedback is the first step. Often this means some kind of multirater or 360-degree evaluation system, because the people around us won’t tell us to our faces that they think we’re a jerk or they think we’re a wimp. This may be especially true for people who are over-assertive. We found that while most people don’t really know how they’re seen by others in terms of their assertiveness, people who are low on assertiveness tend to be slightly more aware. They know the times that they’ve been pushed around. It might be a very frustrating but common occurrence for them. People who are highly assertive may not always see the consequences of their behavior, often because they see that they get their way. But what they don’t see is that their partner walks out of the room frustrated, angry, disappointed, feeling abused.

One additional reason for this is that highly assertive people may surround themselves with a handful of colleagues who are kind of like them. And so they’re around people whose behavior looks a lot like theirs, and they believe that this is the way that things should get done. Once they leave that environment and engage other people, they don’t realize the consequences of their behavior and how it’s affecting other people’s perceptions of them. I don’t think anyone has as their goal that they want to alienate and frustrate other people. Most people don’t want to be seen as a jerk, but they don’t realize that their behavior is causing other people to have these perceptions of them. If they can see what their behavior is doing to others, then they understand this. And then it becomes natural for them to try to recalibrate their behavior.

The second step is to think about the costs and benefits of your style. If you’re a very assertive person, think about what that allows you to do, and think about how that limits you. If you’re not very assertive at all, again, think about the costs and benefits. The immediate imperative is not that you must change or that everyone should seek some middle level of assertiveness. People should first be more aware of how their assertiveness is seen by those around them and think about what that affords them and what that prevents them from doing.

One response is not to change one’s personality but to think about reaching out to others who can complement your own style. A real wimp might team up with a hard-charging agent or representative when heading into a negotiation with a tough adversary. If your problem is that you’re overly aggressive or overly competitive, if you need to be in a situation that calls for tenderness or empathy, bring in somebody who has some of those skills to work with you on cultivating trust in a difficult situation. So there are ways to work around this without having to rewrite yourself. But we find that a lot of the managers and students we work with, when they hear this feedback, they want to change. They don’t want to change into a different person, but they want to be strategic about the repertoire of behaviors that they can bring to bear in a conflict or in interpersonal exchanges.”

In my life, I have found many times that I have an issue with “assertiveness”. I’m what you describe as a type-A personality. I consider myself to be driven, intelligent and just a go-getter. I like to resolve problems and I like to feel accomplished. Well, when it comes to work this could be a challenge when you are partnered up with some type-B personalities that are a bit more relaxed. You want to get the work done, and you want to do a good job at it, but you don’t want to be a jerk about it to your team. What to do if they don’t comply or they don’t want to do something??? It is a struggle. How you are viewed is almost as important as how productive you are. But at the same time how the above paragraph states, there needs to be a balance. It is a behavior and all behaviors could be learned and adapted.

In conclusion, I have been trying to “adapt” my behaviors and really scale my assertiveness to the appropriate levels depending on the situation. I’m experimenting with this at work and also at home. I’m working on my listening skills as well. I asked one of my assistants in my last job to describe my leadership style (in all honesty since it was my last day)? She said that I was tough but at the same time fair. She went on to say that she liked working with me because she knew her point of view could be heard and felt that she was given a fair chance. Above all, she said she learned a lot. I don’t know how honest she was, but I am trying to be a better leader. I do confess that sometimes in the face of authority, I do not feel assertive enough. So those are all points that I need to work on, but what about you? Have you experienced this in your life? How assertive are you? Are you a wimp or a jerk?

So y’all know by now that I’m studying for the GMAT…hence, I will not have time to write long posts. To keep you entertained I will be posting random little quotes that I just hear on a day to day basis…

Today’s quote…

“Running or moving away will only make you avoid yourself”

Hmmm…after touring the country, don’t I know that is true…

On other news…I watched this past weekend some of the episodes from the Johnny Cash Show. It was amazing. In half an hour I saw Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Elvis, a really young Eric Clapton, Jerry Lee Lewis and some others play…great TV…

K, back to GMAT

In my quest for procrastination for the GMAT, I’m going to tell you a little bit about SambaDa and a bit about Rodrigo y Gabriela…they are my two new finds for the week…

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SambaDa…

I discovered SambaDa a while ago. They are an Afro-Funk-Brazilian band residing in Los Angeles and I consider them to be one of the hottest things out there. Regardless of what you like you become captivated by the mixture of samba, capoeira music, hip hop, reggae and funk. They get your blood boiling and dancing in about 1.5 seconds. They are vibrant and bring a unique Californian and Brasilian taste to the table. I highly recommend them.

This Friday SambaDa will be playing at one of my favorite places Temple Bar in Santa Monica, CA…if you are nearby…should definitely check them out

This Friday
August 24th 2007
THE TEMPLE BAR – SANTA MONICA, CA
An evening of Brazilian music of RIO and BAHIA Brazil!!
1026 Wilshire Blvd. $12, 21+, 9pm doors.
http://www.myspace.com/sambada

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Rodrigo y Gabriela…

Well, some try to keep up with the Joneses and I try to keep up with the MTV generation. True confession since I arrived in the US (1989) I have never stopped watching MTV. That does not make me dumb either (for all of the judgmental minds out there).

This week MTV’s artist of the week is Rodrigo y Gabriela. MTV describes them as “acoustic guitar geniuses” and they are. These “metal” heads from Mexico extenuate a command over the acoustic guitar that is hardly heard anymore. They’re influenced by Metallica, Megadeth just to name a few, yet their style is a mix between flamenco, rock, and Mexican rhythms. All in all, it is just a delightful mixture of flavors that stimulates any ear. They are currently on their US tour and will soon go to Europe as well.

I suggest you check them out at http://www.myspace.com/rodrigoygabriela.
They have concert info, some songs and even an acoustic cover of stairway to heaven.

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I love to travel, and hence, I love the Travel Channel. While taking a break this past weekend from my GMAT studying, I started watching my adored channel only to find a new show I hadn’t seen. Anthony Bourdain No Reservations. It is a show hosted by renowned New York City chef Anthony Bourdain about travel and the search for the perfect dining experience.

If you do not know anything about Anthony Bourdain he is regarded as “‘the bad boy of cuisine’ for his rock-star look and blunt observations about the world of restaurants, chefs and cooking, Anthony Bourdain is not your typical celebrity chef. A 28-year veteran of professional kitchens, Bourdain is currently the executive chef at New York’s famed bistro, Les Halles.”

The episode that caught my eye was Anthony Bourdain in Beirut. It so happens that when the show was supposed to tape in Beirut, the Lebanon-Israel conflict started in July 2006. The episode depicts the arrival to the country, the first peaceful meal (that looked delicious) and then the beginning of the “July War”. Luckily, Bourdain and the crew were able to escape the country. But at the end of the episode Bourdain said something interesting. He went on to say how he had been able to cross all cultural differences just by sitting at a table and sharing a meal, and how he finds that “war” destroys that principle. The simplicity of just being able to share a meal with whoever be it your neighbor, brother or enemy is simply just broken by “war”. And that made me think. When the ability to share a meal is taken away, all conversation ceases. Is this the main cause of war??? Is this what causes us to think of our enemies as monsters??? The inability to converse and share a meal??? Maybe. In the gift of a meal one creates the environment to converse and share ideas. Whether you agree with your dinner companion or no, the interchange of ideas could be stimulating. Yet, if no interchange exists and only lead bullets and bombs are the source of conversation, what is to become of us???

I have shared some of my most memorable moments on the dining table, with friends and family. And so the meaning of a dining table and a dining experience goes far beyond the food being shared. For maybe, that is the source of peace for all people. These meals, at the end of the day, enrich our tummies and our lives.

Anthony Bourdain No Reservations
On the Travel Channel
Mondays at 10PM ET/PT

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As part of my goals for the remainder of the year, I stated I am planning to take the GMAT. Well, during the past few weeks I have been studying for the exam. It is not the most exiting thing in the world, but practice makes perfect.

So for the MBA inclined, there is also a competition that CNBC is hosting and airing. It is called the MBA Challenge. MIT Sloan, UCLA Anderson, Chicago, Texas, Columbia, Stern, Yale and Tuck all are competing against each other for a $200,000 prize along with bragging rights. The finalists are Texas and Yale and they will be battling it out live from the NASDAQ on August 22nd at 9pm ET on CNBC. If you go to the website, they have some interesting factoids as well as some MBA challenge online quizzes

I hope you enjoy…while I study 30-60-90 triangles…

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