Masters Of Business

Tips – Buying used college textbooks

My first class is Tuesday, Economics 502. I am looking forward to this quite a bit, my first course at the University of Indianapolis evening MBA program. We have been planning and saving for 5 years, and to know that my wife and I together have made this possible means it is a big day for both of us.

I am looking forward in particular, to having my laptop in class. This wasn’t a luxury I had the during my undergraduate coursework, and hope all of my in class discussion and seminar note taking can stay digital.

I don’t have my Economics book (ISBN 9780132289146 Principles of Economics (8th Edition) by Karl E. Case, Ray C. Fair) that I bought early last week on Amazon, I am hoping that I have it before the end of the week so I can stay on top of my reading this weekend. I don’t know that it will be crucial to have for the first class. As it is, when I checked last week for my course material for Business Law 500, the professor hadn’t finished it yet, so I may not have either of my books for either of my classes on Tuesday / Wednesday.

But back to the book topic. When I was in the midst of my undergrad in fine arts at the University of Michigan, I didn’t have a lot of courses that required books, and at the time I wasn’t as resourceful or driven…or something. (I am guessing here. I can’t figure out why I never bargin shopped for my books. Plus, I had a lot of art supplies, not as much in the way of hard covers, so I just attribute that laziness to the fine arts degree.)

Looking for used books was a couple hour ordeal. Not too bad if I don’t have to repeat my search. These were the main places I did a search using the ISBN number for a used Principles of Economics book.

  • Ebay
  • Alibris
  • Amazon
  • Campus Books
  • Half.com

There were a number of good options out there to beat the laughable price of $166 from the U of I campus bookstore. All I had to do was go to the bookstore, get the ISBN number, and search online. I imagine in the future, I won’t need to go into the store. I should be able to get a head start and find the ISBN numbers listed with the course syllabus online a month or so in advance, giving me some time to plan.

I found Ebay to be one of the better sources. I know personally, I would resell my text books on ebay once I am done with the course. What else will I do with them? Take them back to the U of I campus bookstore and get $20 back from my $166?
Everyone knows, with Ebay you can check the users ratings and usually see a photo to check for damage to the outside of the book. At best, most of the listings will only describe the inside, how much highlighting, writing etc, but won’t provide sample page photos. But the main downside to ebay is the auction time – plus shipping. If you are on a tight schedule, this won’t get you your book in time, which was the case for me.

Alibris was a good used book site, but about $20-25 more expensive on average than Amazon’s used book sellers.

Campus Books is a great comparison site and introduced me to other sites that carry the book I am looking for and I will probably visit this one again. But, you have to be careful. College textbooks are big business. People can sell you photo copied pages of the book, international editions, and like I said, books that should be recycled permanently and never reused due to damage. Do your research on each of the sites and their reputation before sending over your hard earned money. This should be a “duh” comment, but some people that are online still don’t get it.

I ended up going on Amazon, and did not opt for the absolute cheapest route, because I don’t want trash. In terms of using the used books section, I don’t like that there aren’t photos with the item, but usually the ratings of the individual stores are rich and plentiful so you can make an educated guess about what you are getting.

Hopefully I can make back about 75% of the cost of my book, that would be sweet. But that would never be the case if I paid $166 in the bookstore. You are an idiot if you do that. You’ll never see that money again, might as well giggle and roll down the window on the way to class, that might be a more fun way to blow that $145.

Visting PearsonVue Test Center Indianapolis

Last night was the night to finally get up to the northside and check out where I am going next week for my test. I know right where the Pyramids are, but I wasn’t sure where in the building I was going. But it is pretty easy. Suite 2080 on floor 8 is right off the elevator. One less thing I have to worry about on test day, where I am going. (Plus I got a Christmas gift that was only available on the northside.)

With less than a week left now until my test, I have a lot of mixed emotions. Questions about whether I am ready or not, but relief that I am done studying. It is challenging, and I appreciate the focus I have had to have in order to reach my goals, it emulates what I will need to do when I enroll in an MBA program and prepare me for that rigor. But I do like having a sense of finality, that I can move onto something new, and it will feel good to get back to some sort of normal life, even if it is only for a little while.

GMAT test date set

Last week in some of my time off I finally made my appointment to take the exclusive and challenging exam. My GMAT date is in the middle of December, so if it wasn’t real before, it sure is now.

At least I have a date to focus and plan around. If it was open ended, or early next year, the amount of time might have been intimidating and been harder to stay focused for so long.

I have to get up to Pearson Vue on the north side of Indianapolis, just so I know where it is and where I am going so that is one less detail I have to worry about on test day.

Choosing a date for the real GMAT

I think I have decided to wait and see what my test score is from the practice exam to guage when to take the real GMAT here in Indianapolis. I am still on the fence about how important it is to push to get into Kelly, and I want to see if I have a good base to start from with my score this weekend, or if I will need to study that much longer to be ready.

If I get a good score, I will hope that there are still test dates open in November. If I score not where I think I should, then I will have to see what my timeframes would be if I would wait to apply officially in April. That would give me time to take the classes necessary to go to Kelly as well for the pass/fair statistics and accounting courses.

Indianapolis testing centers and time tables for the GMAT

Found out today some information for the next step. I don’t have to have taken the GMAT before I submit my application, but I have to have an estimated time frame that I anticipate I will.

I found it a touch difficult finding information about the testing centers in Indianapolis. Apparently there is only one location in all of the city? It is on the northside, by the pyramids, and the testing is done by Pearson.

But, there are two positive things. It appears that tests are given on almost a daily basis. So, as long as I choose enough in advance my options aren’t too limited. Plus, I found out that the largest amount of lead time I would need is 20 days. That is the maximum amount of time that it should take them to grade the test and have it in the hands of the university of choice.

I figure that if I get the exam in sometime in late November, I should be right on track. I am eyeing the 17th, a Saturday, which after I take the practice exam would give me one month of crazy work to study and prepare for the exam and then hopefully be done with it. That isn’t too long of a time to endure.

Supposedly everything you need is at MBA.com. The site is nicely designed, and is very informative. I don’t know why I found it so hard to believe that the only testing location in Indianapolis is the Pearson location. I had to sign up on the website to have access to most of the information, and it was a lengthy process. I knew that I would be using the site more than likely as I went through this process so it was worthwhile.

I just wish this was spelled out a little more in most university literature.

Registered for the GMAT practice exam

I had plans for that weekend, but fortunately those individuals that I have plans with were flexible and allowed me to still take the test. I am all signed up, and it is the perfect amount of time. I plan on starting on Monday, study every night for up to 2 hours, and then see the areas I need to improve on.

All the while I had said, I am going to go to Kelly Business School. Their education ranks up there among other business schools nationwide, but, would that education take me out of Indiana? It is too early to make that decision, but the school is downtown. I can’t emphasize enough how convenient it is to have the University of Indianapolis less than 2 miles away, Hell I could bike to it if I felt like being gross.

There is one piece that concerns me. Granted, they both require the GMAT, so there is a certain level of inherent quality associated with that. But, U of I’s suggested score is 525-535, where Kelly is 600-650 and they still turn away 50% of their applicants. I would be remiss to not want the apparently better school on paper who wants the higher GMAT score. (800 possible points)

I will just have to take the exam and see where I fall. I may not have an option, and have to rely on soft skills to enhance my application.

University of Indianapolis infosession at Valle Vista in Greenwood

I have lost count. I think this is only the second one of these that I have been to, but it may have been the third. But finally, my ducks are in a row to pursue this with as much gusto as I desire. I have been working hard since I graduated, and I knew soon in that if I wanted to secure the future of my family, and if I wanted to get into a less subjective career, this just may be my best option.

The University of Indianapolis evening MBA is very appealing, but one of the biggest qualities they push in their literature is the personal attention you get when you enroll in their program. They have a great teacher to student ratio, and they say that they are there to help their students succeed. I think that most programs would say that, but from the moment I walked into the room and there were 4-5 professors there greeting me, wanting to know more about me, I was convinced that what they said was the truth.

The next immediately, and possible most important step to take is to plan for the GMAT. There is a free practice exam at the U of I campus in almost two weeks, and that is a great way to simulate the real test and get some real results to help focus the study sessions on areas of weakness.

It’s exciting, and it’s time to get to work.