What is your favorite lesson to teach?
Arithmetic, and it isn't even close. Learning how numbers are built and where their quirky properties come from is about as wonderful as thinking gets. In the hands of most high school instructors, math feels lukewarm and premade: Here's a theorem some dead guy thought of. We won't tell you why or how this is relevant to anything, just repeat it 700 times. And make it quick. We have another dead guy's theorem to get to. But number theory is all about felicity and improvisation: how do we know that every number that ends in 7 has a multiple that consists entirely of 1's? The methods of proof are usually different and nothing is dull and predetermined, so you really get a chance to see what those philosophers meant when they called math the music of reason.
What is your favorite problem from the Official Guide?
My favorite math problem ever is 'Andrey's Broken Calculator', a great bit of whimsy from the old Soviet Union (and who knew they even had mathematical whimsy in the old Soviet Union! I thought all the math problems involved optimizing the output of a tractor). In it, your luckless friend Andrey has nothing but a sheet of paper with three integers on it - 0, m, and n, where m and n are unknown, coprime positive integers - and a calculator that can only perform one operation: taking the average of two even numbers, or the average of two odd numbers.
Andrey has been asked by the party officials to prove that no matter what m and n are, he can eventually produce ANY integer from 0 to n simply by performing computations on his calculator over and over again, and your task is to save him from plonking away miserably on the thing for eternity by coming up with a general proof. Poor Andrey had to wait a while for me to rescue him: considering I didn't even try the problem until 2008, he must've been holed up in some dour grey building for decades fretting over his calculations.
Real reviewsMatt Douglas is the King of Prep courses!
Matt Douglas is the King of Prep courses! If you want to take a GMAT prep course, take it with Matt! He knows his stuff and he keeps it interesting. He genuinely cares and wants you to do well. Its rare to find people that do it for more than a paycheck. Matt does it because he wants you to do well, he wants to help you succeed.
He demonstrated his ability to solve any question
Matt was simply fantastic. He demonstrated his ability to solve any question and answer every question. His knowledge went beyond just learning about the GMAT. He also made the class enjoyable and fun. He proved his willingness to assist each and everyone one of the students based on their ability and understanding of the topic.
I would highly recommend Matt
Matt is a wonderful instructor. He's very engaging and is eager to help you improve your GMAT score. I really enjoyed his style of teaching, working through pieces of the lesson then reinforcing it with homework problems. I really enjoyed his class and never felt intimidated if I didn't understand a concept and had more questions. I get the sense in his eyes there's no such thing as a dumb question. He's happy to help any student that is eager to learn and improve their score. I would highly recommend Matt to anyone in need of a good instructor.
Which is your favorite lesson to teach?
I'd have to say my favorite lesson is combinatorics and probability. Not only is it a topic I find truly fascinating, but from my day job in business intelligence I've learned just now lacking is an understanding of these concepts among business decision makers. So it feels like, while reviewing the fundamentals that the GMAT requires, there's a chance to make the business world a little smarter about how data behaves...that my students might just be a little better positioned even once they graduate from their MBA programs. It's also a topic that can be fearfully dull, honestly. A lot of people dread it because they've had bad instructors who drone on about formulae without explaining why things work the way they do. I try to upset that preconception and put all the passion I've got into delivering the content.
What is your favorite Veritas Prep success story?
Several years ago I had a student, a Captain in the Army from Fort Lewis just south of Seattle (now ”Joint Base Lewis-McChord). He was a veteran of combat in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Came in sorting in the mid-400s but had some really awesome goals for top-tier schools. You could really see the discipline of military experience and a certain resilience to being ruffled that probably built up from his time overseas. Anyway, the guy was also clearly sharp as a tack and it was great to see the combination of native intelligence and focused effort come together. He emailed me later, after taking the test, to say that he'd ended up with a choice between Harvard and Stanford and went with Stanford because they gave him a better aid package...and I guess that's all there is left to say about that!
If you weren’t teaching the GMAT, What would you be teaching instead?
My day job actually is teaching! I develop and deliver business intelligence training programs. A lot of the delivery is online, and sometimes all I do is make recordings, since most companies large enough to have BI organizations are pretty geographically distributed. That's one of the reasons I love teaching for Veritas Prep, it gives me a chance to get up in front of a live audience and have a little more interactive time.
Real reviewsIt is clear that he is brilliant and well suited to share his knowledge.
Nick Strauss was the perfect blend of humor and academic focus. It is clear that he is brilliant and well suited to share his knowledge. He continually demonstrated the many different approaches to simplifying the problem solving process required to be successful on the GMAT.
Nick is awesome.
Nick is awesome. He presented the material in a way that made it interesting and really engaged us. He also provided lots of great advice and tips/tricks on how to be successful at this test. He is very approachable and extremely helfpul.
He was very engaging.
Nick did a great job! He was very engaging. If I know of anyone that wants to do a GMAT prep course, I will make sure that they do the Veritas course when Nick is an instructor.
B.S., Washington State University
Which movie/TV character would do best on the GMAT and why?
Tyrion Lannister would destroy the GMAT, because the GMAT demands flexibility in our approach to problems. If you try to solve every problem using rote memorization or a fixed methodology, you will be disappointed in your results. Tyrion is adept at devising unique and clever solutions to each obstacle he encounters. While others around him try and solve everything with brute force, Tyrion is far more logical and clever. Now if only he could kick that drinking habit…
What do you love about teaching?
I love helping students turn their perceived weaknesses into strengths. Psychologically, we like to study problems that they we are already good at solving, shying away from working on our weaknesses. This approach may make us feel good, but it will give us a terrible return on our finite GMAT preparation time. I get a rush when a student walks in scared of a certain category of problems, and walks out the door 6 weeks later feeling good about that same category.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is by Maggie Kuhn on standing up for one’s principles: “Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” I find this quote applicable to a variety of circumstances in our day to day, whether it’s doing something about injustice or making a brave decision others may be cautioning us against. Deciding to go to business school is a bold step, and I admire my students for taking the plunge and demanding the best out of their education.