Resources

This page contains a list of things you might find helpful. For more advice, just drop me a line.

*There are two new sections at the bottom where I’ve listed books ~ business-related and otherwise ~ that I think you might find interesting*

Study Books

You should start with the Official Guide, and any GMAT books you do use should help you get the most out of the OG. The OG and the official software have the best GMAT preparation questions on the market: if you understand them all, you should get an excellent GMAT score. I wrote The Ultimate GMAT Guide Part One partly because the official GMAT questions are so important and many students don’t manage to review them properly. But if you need more help…

The Edexcel IGCSE A Student Book 1 is excellent. It covers almost all of the Maths topics in the GMAT and several more besides. There are past exam questions which are often word problems, skills tests (mental arithmetic and algebra) and challenge and fact-finding sections. If you want a way to get really secure with the fundamentals of Maths ~ and with the thinking skills required to answer GMAT Quant questions ~ then this is the book for you (and no I’m not on commission! ~ I used a previous edition of this book as a secondary school teacher). Some of the topics involved are not included on the GMAT, but the level of Maths, the use of word problems and the lateral thinking required are all relevant.

Manhattan’s Sentence Correction is good for brushing up on your grammar (although I’d like to come up with my own material one of these days ~ if you’re desperate for a summary of the rules of written English grammar as featured on the GMAT, let me know and I may be able to put something together).

McGraw Hill have put out a book with 10 online tests on CD-ROM. Their quant questions are pretty tough but good practice.

Online tests

Manhattan tests have excellent functionality, but they can be a little wordy so time is even more of an issue. The Quant questions are generally thought to be harder than those on GMAT Prep; the Verbal questions are at the same level but one or two, inevitably, are a little unfair or unclear.

Strategy

MasterGMAT.com offers a 7-day free trial and you should take advantage. It’s good on strategy and has 80 hours of online material. After the free trial you can buy a subscription, but you might as well make the most of it while it’s free.

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Coaching

If you want to tackle the psychological side of exam preparation, or if you’re in need of support while you work out where life and work are going to take you next, I can highly recommend I Am Strong Coaching. Sarah has been through much of what you’re going through and can help you to acquire the discipline and the insights to ensure future success.

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Websites

There are many free educational websites: www.khanacademy.org is one of the best. But for brushing up on your core Maths, I’d recommend Saylor’s material on the basics of algebraGMAT-level algebra and more advanced GMAT-level algebra. You could usefully go through a lot of the secondary/high school Maths curriculum depending on your level. Anyway you get the idea. (Other Saylor courses are worth exploring too if you’re interested: the Philosophy degree links to Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time, which sold it to me.)

EducatorLabs may also be helpful if you want to request a specific resource, although I can’t speak from experience, and Accredited Schools Online has some information if you’re considering online education.

The lovely people at www.BusinessBecause.com contacted me and had me round for coffee. Their website, which is beautifully designed, is primarily aimed at MBA students, but they have a lot of useful stuff for MBA applicants as well. I know they’ve also helped some of my students with their business school-related questions (and bought them drinks!). Check them out.

You might also look at www.onlinemba.com, which features a recent (March 2013) article by Craig Mayfield on older MBA applicants (under the Blog tab). Craig took the trouble to write to me and he seems to know what he’s talking about, so I’m happy to give him a mention here.

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Other

The Times newspaper has a features section, Times 2, which contains many word and number puzzles that will help you to be methodical. If you only buy one newspaper a week, the Saturday Times has even more puzzles in its Saturday Review section. Particularly useful are Brain Trainer (for mental arithmetic), Killer Sudoku and Futoshiki (for number bonds), Ken Ken (for number properties), Cell Blocks and Train Tracks (for thinking logically) and any crossword (for synonyms and antonyms).

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Business books

Debt by David Graeber ~ a history of the first 5,000 years of debt (and credit, markets, money, economy, theology, philosophy, violence, interpersonal relationships and much more) written by an anthropologist. The style and structure are not always as clear as they might be, but there is a wealth of interesting (often anthropological) detail. There are also some provocative arguments about debt in its many forms, as either an economic, social or other obligation.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell ~ should be required reading for anyone working in a capitalist system. (One of my clients, who’s Norwegian, said that she had read this at high school, although I doubt it’s on many curricula in this country.) Seems to have inspired quite a few people. Warning: it might make you a bit of a socialist.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson ~ an engaging portrait of a businessman; a history of the personal computer; a series of examples of how a business can be run (although not always necessarily examples to be followed). Isaacson is an excellent biographer ~ if I ever want to know more about Einstein, Benjamin Franklin or Kissinger (and can find the time), I’ll be reading more of his work.

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss ~ take it or leave it, but there are some excellent suggestions here for both business and life, and Ferriss has certainly done well for himself (and not just financially). I think he’s still single though. If you want to escape your current working life and start living your dreams, this may be the book for you. (Alternatively, you could do an MBA.)

Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins ~ would be more convincing if Perkins had been assassinated (you’ll see why), but Confessions.. is a quick and entertaining read. Like John Grisham on global economic exploitation. Perfect plane literature.

Leviathans ed. Chandler & Mazlish ~ not always riveting, but worth reading if you want to know how MNCs came about and what their future may hold. A good one to dip into.

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Other interesting books

My Song by Harry Belafonte ~ the book I’d have taught in schools. If you barely know Belafonte, you may be amazed at what he’s achieved. He’s not particularly modest, but it’s difficult to argue that he should be. The story of a life well lived by one of the most influential men of the 20th century. Well-written and highly entertaining too, and a good history lesson if like me you missed most of the 70s and everything that came before.

Londoners by Craig Taylor ~ a fascinating tapestry of what it means to live in this great city. Highly recommended especially for those who really know London, or think they do.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach ~ brilliant on male relationships: with women, with their families, with each other, and with themselves. Even better if you like baseball.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell ~ here because I’ve just read Black Swan Green and remembered how good a writer Mitchell is. One of few books I would re-read.

Underworld by Don DeLillo ~ one of few books I’ve re-read (and it’s not short).

The 9/11 Wars by Jason Burke ~ a picture of the geopolitical landscape and its evolution since 11 September 2001, by the man who probably knows more of the hotspots, and the forces at work, than anyone on the planet. Burke presents the stories behind the news headlines and pulls together the threads of world politics to make sense of what has happened recently.

An Intimate History of Humanity by Theodore Zeldin ~ if you’re a thinker, you’ll love this. I think it’s brilliant. Enough said.

Sum: Tales of the Afterlives by David Eagleman ~ bedtime reading for those who can’t stop thinking about work.