The Knewton Blog

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Student Spotlight — Everett Duke: Aspiring NHL Executive, Auburn Tigers Fan, and Columbus Cottonmouths Mascot!

Posted in Student Resources on March 1, 2011 by

In this Student Spotlight, meet Everett Duke, a former Knewton student and current senior at Auburn University in Alabama. Everett saw an awesome 120-point increase in his GMAT score — a jump that will seem all the more impressive after you read about Everett’s many outside jobs, academic pursuits, and extracurricular activities.


Everett Duke


Phenix City, AL

Current Job:

Senior Double Majoring in Business Administration & Marketing at Auburn University. While that sounds like a full time job, I also work days in our admissions office, nights in our recruiting office, and the rest of my “free” time is spent working as the mascot of the Columbus Cottonmouths in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

Why do you want to get an MBA?

For me, an MBA is something that I planned on getting before I even stepped foot on campus for undergrad. I chose my major based on this. Having always been interested in business, I always looked at an MBA as a tangible asset that separates leaders from followers. Since being in college, I’ve learned that a large group of people have college degrees, but a select group of people have MBAs. Some of my favorite people that I’ve worked for have been MBAs, which has made my desire to obtain one even stronger.

What’s your dream job after b-school?

My dream job is to be a high ranking executive with an NHL team, preferably in Atlanta. A lot of people want to be professional athletes, but I’ve always wanted to be the guy that brings them all together and runs things on the business end. As a huge sports fan, it has always been easy for me to look at sports just like I view business – a game full of opportunities to win and lose each day.

Can you tell us about your experience prepping for the GMAT?

My first battle of GMAT prep came with another test prep company, and it is safe to say I am bitter with how it ended. I saw a 120 point increase with Knewton, from 510 on my first official GMAT to 630 on my second. I think one of the flaws in my original prep was thinking and being told to just work a ton of problems from the official guides instead of reviewing the concepts and hints.

Overall, I probably prepped for around 7 months, with 4 of them “nothing but Knewton”. I took the early morning weekend classes as I was also doing school during the summer of my prep. Obviously, the hardest part for me was just waking up. After a few sessions, my routine got incredibly predictable as I was waking up crazy early on weekends to cook breakfast, drink tons of coffee, and listen to the same pump up songs before each class. I sacrificed a lot of Friday nights to prepare for my classes, but it was totally worth it. I struggled early on and felt like I was behind others in the class, but as I did the homework and reviewed the slides week to week I found myself getting more and more questions right in class. This ultimately turned this challenge in to a strength as it really helped my confidence.

Any Knewton teacher shout-outs?

I’m almost embarrassed to say I remember my teachers, but I guess it is a testament to how much I liked them. Jen and Adam led my sessions and I typically tried to watch old lessons and office hour videos that they were involved in. Obviously, I haven’t been back in the Knewton classroom to tell them, so I’d like to say thanks to Adam and Jen! If I was in the New York area, I’d definitely owe them a beverage or two.

Lightning Round: Favorite song right now?

Over by Drake, but really I could have answered with any Taylor Swift song

Data Sufficiency or Sentence Correction?

Sentence Correction

Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

Steve Jobs

Harry Potter or Twilight?

Neither, although I read some of the Harry Potter books as a kid. I haven’t seen a movie from either series.