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Maxim Voltchenko
Student of the Month
August 2003

GRE 730

Our August Student of the Month is Maxim Voltchenko. Maxim is a lawyer with Coudert Brothers. We chose Maxim as Student of the Month for several reasons:

First, Maxim scored 730 on the Mathematics section of the GRE. The GRE score is written in three separate numbers—Math, Verbal and Writing. Maxim didn’t do bad on the verbal and writing either, but the Math score is especially exciting because Maxim went into his studies saying “I don’t remember any Math!” He was right because in his first practice tests he scored only 5%. That’s why we think his 730 is so great! He persevered to revive those long math formulas—sitting through our GMAT math classes, lots of home study, and a couple of individual sessions with our Professor Ali, and in 4 short weeks he brought his score up so high!

Second, we applaud Maxim for his tenacity in pursuing his goals. You see, Maxim now has the option of going for a J.D. (Doctor of Laws) program in the US, and it’s rather unexpected for a J.D. candidate to take the GRE. What happened with Maxim is that he took the LSAT about a year ago, and he bombed it. (Well, no one can win them all—and the LSAT, which is rarely taken by non-native speakers, is a very tough verbal test.) But the problem, you see, is that the LSAT is a paper based test that is only rarely offered outside the US. So it looked hopeless for Maxim to pursue his dream of starting a J.D. program this year. But Maxim again persevered and started thinking creatively. He didn’t give up but started negotiating with the admissions directors of all the schools he was interested in, and he found one that agreed with him that the LSAT was a tough test to impose on foreign J.D. candidates. The admissions director at Rutgers talked to Maxim about going through a pilot project to allow some students to enter Rutgers J.D. program with the GRE exam. So Maxim jumped on this chance and took the GRE. By now he should have his formal acceptance letter from Rutgers.

Finally, Maxim was selected because of the general seriousness with which he went about his career plans. You see, Maxim already has an LL.M. from Temple Law School, and already has a great job as an Associate at Coudert, so his career was already pretty much assured in Russia. For professional and personal reasons, however, Maxim needed to relocate to the United States, and he knew that an LL.M. degree might not be enough to make him competitive on the US legal job market, but he also knew that J.D. study would be expensive. He wisely chose to pursue Rutgers because it is one of the few US law schools that has both a daytime and an evening JD program, allowing him to work at daytime and study part time if needed. Maxim hasn’t made his final study and work decisions yet, but because of his careful planning and perseverance, all his options are open to him.

We think Maxim’s story is one of the most inspiring Student of the Month stories we have had in a long time. Maxim’s experience shows that if you work hard in your job and studies, then you needn’t give up your plans because of one little setback. Set your goal, and, if you really want to achieve it, talk seriously to the people who matter. Think ‘outside the box’ and see what options might really be open to you. And realistically evaluate your educational and career plans to keep all your options open for achieving what you want.

Congratulations, Maxim, on a plan well executed, and best of luck with your new country, new work, and new educational plans!