Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Salt, Meet Wound

Earlier this month, on April 4th, I "celebrated" the one year anniversary of my first encounter with the GMAT.  I've done everything I can to block that dreadful day out of my mind, but April 4th is one of those dates that's now permanently burned into my memory, the way that 9/11 will never again be just another day in September. 

And right around this time last year, after a brief, grief-filled break after the test, I decided it was time to refocus, buy myself some new study guides, and try to climb Mt. GMAT one more time.  I'd heard good things about the GMAT study guides from a company called Manhattan, so I went online and ordered Manhattan's complete "GMAT Math for Morons" package, which consists of five thick study guides, an even thicker math overview book, and a seventh book with a bunch of practice problems.

I still cringe and tear up when I think back on this time last year, as I spent every spare minute over the coming ten weeks with my face buried in books with painful, mind-numbing titles like Equations and Inequalities, Number Properties, Geometry, and Fractions, Decimals, & Percents.  Not to mention beautiful summer Friday afternoons spent taking four-hour practice tests...if heaven doesn't let me in, I imagine the afterlife will consist of eternal GMAT preparation.

The rest is history...I've already written at length about how that story ended.  On June 30th--another date now permanent etched into my memory--I tangled with the GMAT again.   We both walked away a little bloody and slightly wounded...I achieved slightly-better-than-mediocre results and put the study guides on the shelf for good, promising myself I would do everything I could to avoid drudging up those painful memories.  Then, out of nowhere, I received a letter in the mail last week with a familiar logo next to the return address:  Manhattan GMAT.  

Ugly memories came flooding back as I reluctantly tore open the envelope.  "Dear Manhattan Prep Customer..." (so impersonal...couldn't they at least use my name?) The letter went on to explain that Manhattan's website had been the victim of a security breach in late March.  Luckily, the hacker didn't get anything too important, just a few little nuggets of information like my name, address, date of birth, user name, password, phone number, and credit card information.  Fantastic, I really dodged a bullet there!

The whole GMAT process already took so much from me...but now this?  Why did Manhattan even have my credit card number on file for a one-time purchase? That *&#% test cost me hundreds of dollars, hours upon hours upon hours of study time, and it robbed me of a depressing chunk of summer in a state where summertime comes at a steep premium.  Now, on top of all that, potential identity theft?  Just when I thought I was on the verge of moving on, Manhattan and the GMAT reached through the mailbox and kicked me in the crotch one more time.  So far, no suspicious activity on the credit card, but we'll see how long that trend continues...

Manhattan GMAT: A new (low) standard for online security.

No comments:

Post a Comment