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Admissions Consulting - Worth the money?

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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 09:46
To respond to the original Q, I am not a fan of using admission consultant's services. I am not saying that some of the reputed ones lack quality. It is just that the prices are way too exorbitant!
I think applicants should completely own the process of researching and applying. It is a great opportunity to learn and develop oneself.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 11:18
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I have applied twice and used an admissions consultant twice. The first one was not a good experience. I was obviously unsiccessful but truly that was not the issue. They were not supportive, I felt very brushed off, rushed and unsure about every step. I definitely did not connect with my consultant. This time (new consultant) I have been very happy with the entire process. I have not received my results yet so I cannot speak to outcome, but I really felt like I received a very good service and will always know that I put out a strong application (the very strongest I could) regardless of what happens. So my answer here is that it is worth the money DEPENDING who you work with.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 12:51
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Last edited by jumbalaya112 on 03 Feb 2011, 16:34, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 13:40
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I used a consulting firm for my R2 applications. No results back yet, but my experience during writing / prep was great. I received a lot of very useful feedback, and was able to close some (large) holes in my essays that neither I, nor my friend / family editors would have caught. I was also very happy with the ethical aspect of the service - I can confidently say that the essays were written entirely by me, and that at no point did the consultant do any writing for me, or try to guide me towards anything I that hadn't already mentioned / brought up. The most useful part for me was the questions that the consultant asked me during feedback on the essays, highlighting areas that weren't clear enough, or that did not fit with the overall essay. It was an expensive proposition, but so far I've felt it was worth it. We'll see how I feel after I hear back from the schools...

I'll provide another update once I hear about R2 application decisions.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 13:56
I would like to see an MBA admissions consultant that encourages clients to post reviews on the forums, good or bad.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 16:45
Like many have mentioned, admissions consultants could be extremely helpful if you don't have a friend, significant other, and/or family member that has experience in the MBA application process, which is dramatically different from that of other graduate programs (MD, PhD, JD, etc.) that rely more heavily on tangible data and less heavily on the intangible stuff. Coming from a non-business background, I didn't have enough access to these types of people. I did some reading online, etc., but in the end, I didn't sell myself well enough -- or perhaps didn't market my strengths well enough. My family members and some of my friends thought my essays were good, but clearly they weren't good enough. Consequently, I was either rejected or waitlisted at all the major programs that I applied to (all top 10 schools). This year, I worked with someone at MBA Mission, and have had success getting into several top programs, including what I would consider my top choice. BUT, don't believe that a consultant will write essays for you or transform you into someone you are not (as this would be an obvious violation of the ethics agreement). The consultant is there to provide a perspective, just like a friend or relative will do, except he/she knows the industry pretty well. Everything still has to be your idea, vision, and work, otherwise, consultants can't get you into HBS, Sloan, Wharton, etc. even though you have the credentials. Personally, if you have the money, there's no downfall. The key is to work with someone who will spend the time to really think about what you are saying in your essays. And just like a friend proofreading your essays, the consultant will have several points, and it's your job to decide if you will or will not listen. Having spoken with numerous MBA students that used consultants, I can state clearly that some are really helpful initially, but once the volume of work increases, they do just enough to get by. Fortunately, I didn't have that experience with the consultant I worked with. If you want to know the details, PM me and I'd be glad to tell you his/her name, etc.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 17:39
jumbalaya112 wrote:
My Background

What I got from Sandy after paying him $2,600

1. 5 Template emails that had 4-8 disguised examples of each of the school's essays and sample recommendations (which I imagine are taken from his past clients)

2. Inability to reach him by phone ever again. Several email requests for a phone conversation went unanswered.

3. Yes/No feedback on essays. With a few exceptions, he either writes at the end of the essay, "this won't work" or "good" on your essays. Requests for "why" they wouldn't work (or why they would) went unanswered. And his feedback isn't said in a very nice way.

Wanted to add a bit more about essay feedback. On the career goals essay, he was actually pretty helpful. He has a template, and he makes you put stuff into that template. On the flip side, if I were an adcom reader this would be a red flag that someone has used a consultant. On two of the other essays, he essentially said "yes" to the first draft. On the last essay, we did a number of iterations - probably 7 or so. And when I say "we did ... iterations" I mean I would write a draft, he would say this sucks with little advice on how to improve, and then I would write another draft (rinse and repeat)

4. A piece of, in retrospect, bad advice. Historically, this school has wanted you to say, "Why us?" Because they rejected me, let's call them "I have an inferiority complex to HBS school". After reading through my essays, I realized I hadn't really gotten this point across and asked him about it. He said not to worry about it. I asked a college buddy who was a 2nd year reader at this school to look over my app after I got dinged without an interview, and his only feedback was that I hadn't gotten across "Why School X" in my essays.

5. The feeling that most recommenders lie in their recommendations (He mentions that recommendations essentially need to say that you are in the top 1-5% to get into HBS, etc). How the heck can there be so many people who are top 1-5% in their companies - that's like top 5 consultants at McKinsey when 100 students at HBS each year used to work for McK.


That sounds horrible.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 13 Jun 2011, 06:05
A very good question and just like any important thing in the life, there is no black/white answer, but rather grades of grey.

I would say there are several reasons WHY I would not use a consultant:
- I have access to MBA grads who can check my essays several times and provide their insights
- I can easily visit my target school (s)
- it's obvious that some consultants are there to milk you (PM me for my opinion on that matter)
- you're offered a ghost-writing service

Why I would go for a consultant:
- I am an international applicant and need adjustment of my essays for an American culture
- my profile is a rare one, so I cannot copy/paste IB/MC's guys strategies and career goals
- I cannot live w/o XXXX diploma and willing to subsidize Sandy :) No personal offence, I just think there is a way too much obsession with a particular institution.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2012, 04:55
mreevit wrote:
I would like to see an MBA admissions consultant that encourages clients to post reviews on the forums, good or bad.

I'm not sure if any consultant would proactively encourage clients to post negative comments about their services.

The GC thread that comes closest is this one --> Admissions Consultant Reviews, where the moderators have been validating the credibility of members who've posted.
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Sameer Kamat | Founder - MBA Crystal Ball | Email: info at mbacrystalball dot com


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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2014, 18:07
In my experience, a good way to find out is having the initial phone conversation with admission consultants of your choice. This is generally free of charge.

The conversation can:

a) help you figure out an initial direction regarding your application (choice of schools, fit, tone of essays etc), and
b) help you understand whether the consultant will provide value for your money - as they will discuss in detail the value they bring to the table
Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money?   [#permalink] 21 Jul 2014, 18:07
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