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Admissions Consulting - Worth the money?

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Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2008, 09:34
Just wanted to throw this question out there. Is it worth paying the money for admissions consultant if I am shooting for top 10 MBA schools? Any experiences with or recommendations for an admission consultant would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2008, 23:36
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I have a different opinion.

If you expect someone to write your essay for you or prepare your application, than Admission Consultants are probably not going to solve your problem.

If, on the other hand you do not have someone who is candid, will critique your work honestly and will put in the hours necessary to read and re-read; or you are applying to schools where you cannot afford to make a mistake (because you are a stretch applicant), I think having an admission consultant help can definitely be worth the money.

At the end of the day, you can read through these forums day and night, but you will never know the business as well as a professional. Having someone who has been a member of the admissions committee in a leading school on your side will keep you "coloring inside the lines".

You are going to be spending a LOT of money on the MBA process. If you feel you need the support, I would check which one is most recommended and try him/her out for one school.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2008, 15:09
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refurb wrote:
I think that if someone doesn't have access to someone familiar with b-schools essays to review their essays, or doesn't feel confident in their writing abilities, a consultant is probably worth the money, at least for the first set of essays.

I put together a set of essays for my first school, then sent it to my friend who got accepted at a top 10 school and he tore my essays apart. Looking back, I can honestly say they were absolute crap. Nice essays to read, but sorely lacking in the kind of information b-schools look for.

RF


If you don't have that buddy with b-school experience to review your apps, check out our website: http://www.MBAvolunteers.org. We're current or former MBAs happy to tear apart your essays (unless they are actually good). Unlike consultants, we only require that you donate to a non-profit.
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MBAvolunteers - Application feedback & interview preps in exchange for a donation to a non-profit

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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 04 Nov 2008, 21:02
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Great counter opinion Gil +1
Gil wrote:
I have a different opinion.

If you expect someone to write your essay for you or prepare your application, than Admission Consultants are probably not going to solve your problem.

If, on the other hand you do not have someone who is candid, will critique your work honestly and will put in the hours necessary to read and re-read; or you are applying to schools where you cannot afford to make a mistake (because you are a stretch applicant), I think having an admission consultant help can definitely be worth the money.

At the end of the day, you can read through these forums day and night, but you will never know the business as well as a professional. Having someone who has been a member of the admissions committee in a leading school on your side will keep you "coloring inside the lines".

You are going to be spending a LOT of money on the MBA process. If you feel you need the support, I would check which one is most recommended and try him/her out for one school.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2009, 12:32
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goose wrote:
What exactly are you calling me out on? That was my experience.

I would agree with you that not conveying specific enough career goals is probably a common mistake made by first time applicants. But, that's specifically why I hired an admissions consultant... to help me avoid those mistakes.

I want to hear the whole story. I don't like it when people tell 1/8 of a story and then leave the rest of the facts out in order to make their point. I think you left out many of the facts in your story in order to prove your point that Stacy Blackman's service was not worth the money. I have a hard time believing that the only thing they told you was that your career goals weren't specific enough, then took your $3,000 and you got dinged at 4 schools. Is that how it happened? Or did they work with you more in depth and you're glossing over that part of the story so your original point reads better?

The reason I'm making a big deal out of this is that many people trust what people write on these boards as fact. It is not right to degrade Stacy Blackman's services on an MBA admission board unless her company really deserves it. If they really screwed up, then I invite you to tell your story in depth so that others may learn from it. Tell us in more specific terms what happened and why someone shouldn't use their services, but what you posted on the boards was not in the spirit of GMAT Club. We are here to help one another, and not attack anyone - including outside MBA admission consultants. If they hosed you, then give us the facts and let the readers decide how they want to proceed or whether to use her services. I apologize if I seem harsh in any way, that is not my intent. I just ask that you explain your reasons further if you are going to post a negative opinion. That's all. And BTW, welcome to GMAT Club, Goose.
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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, 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 03 Nov 2008, 09:43
No
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2008, 09:50
If you are making tons of money and have little time (aka if you are an investment banker in the year 2007) then I can see how they would be useful. But if you have access to a forum like this one and do your research I don't think you need one.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2008, 11:13
Meowzilla wrote:
If you are making tons of money and have little time (aka if you are an investment banker in the year 2007) then I can see how they would be useful. But if you have access to a forum like this one and do your research I don't think you need one.


my thoughts exactly. Get your friends (preferably ones that know you but not THAT well) to proofread your essays, most will be happy to in exchange for a beer or 2. The only other case I could think of where it'd be worth it would be if English is not your first language and you could use some serious help / direction to write some good essays. Which would, even then, only get you as far as the interview. You're going to have to go it alone eventually.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2008, 00:00
Depends how prepared you are.

The GMAT club will help you a long way, coupled with self research, should typically be enough.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2008, 23:08
Thanks:)

I think part of the problem for some applicants is that, being very talented people who have been at the top at most of the things they've done, they naturally assume that they are also good writers.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case - especially when we are granted very limited space and need to answer complicated, structured questions. Think of how much information you have to condense into some of the tougher questions (HBS' 3 accomplishment question in 600 words comes to mind). You need to make every word count and you need to avoid run on sentences or anything that is not related to the question.

I used to be a professional writer (working as a reporter and editor). When I sent my answers to my brother who has an MBA from Chicago GSB, he sent them back to me completely crossed out. It took me several angry days of denial to realize he was right - I was way off. I didn't answer the question - I answered what I wanted to write. He kept harrassing me until the essay answered the question completely.

If you don't have someone like that in your life, I would definitely consider using the services of an expert. You will when you are CEO of a company and need expertise in a certain field. So why not now?
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2008, 05:18
I think there's also a risk to using people you have personal relationships with. My girlfriend, for example, won't read my essays because she can't handle the pressure. She's afraid she'll mess up my life if she tells me to make the wrong changes. I think having a professional is good because professional relationships make criticism a bit easier in a lot of cases. Some of the questions are really difficult or personal and when you feel attached to some part of it and then someone wants you to change it it can put some tension in a relationship.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2008, 06:33
I think consultants can be very helpful - if you are willing to put the work in as well.

I worked with Dan from MBAExchange, and found his service to be extremely valuable. He provided very good edits to my essays, and helped me position my candidacy (a bit atypical) in a good light. Now, the real value will be determined if I get accepted, but I certainly think I put the right foot forward.

PM me if you have any specific questions.

~Sam
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 07 Nov 2008, 07:38
Sleepy wrote:
I think there's also a risk to using people you have personal relationships with. My girlfriend, for example, won't read my essays because she can't handle the pressure. She's afraid she'll mess up my life if she tells me to make the wrong changes. I think having a professional is good because professional relationships make criticism a bit easier in a lot of cases. Some of the questions are really difficult or personal and when you feel attached to some part of it and then someone wants you to change it it can put some tension in a relationship.


Could not agree more! My GF read one of my essays, didn't like it and suggested I rewrite it on a different topic. Needless to say, I was NOT a happy camper. If I had gotten that advice from a professional, I wouldn't have been happy, but I would have been less reluctant to accept the critique.

I also worked with a professional on my first application. I really just wanted to make sure I was on the right track for my essays. She was extremely nice and knowledgeable. Don't get me wrong, it was expensive, but it was worth it to me to know that my essay was approved by someone who had a lot more experience with this process than me.

If anyone is looking for a recommendation, PM me.
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 07 Nov 2008, 08:16
LeftOut wrote:
Sleepy wrote:
I think there's also a risk to using people you have personal relationships with. My girlfriend, for example, won't read my essays because she can't handle the pressure. She's afraid she'll mess up my life if she tells me to make the wrong changes. I think having a professional is good because professional relationships make criticism a bit easier in a lot of cases. Some of the questions are really difficult or personal and when you feel attached to some part of it and then someone wants you to change it it can put some tension in a relationship.


Could not agree more! My GF read one of my essays, didn't like it and suggested I rewrite it on a different topic. Needless to say, I was NOT a happy camper. If I had gotten that advice from a professional, I wouldn't have been happy, but I would have been less reluctant to accept the critique.

I also worked with a professional on my first application. I really just wanted to make sure I was on the right track for my essays. She was extremely nice and knowledgeable. Don't get me wrong, it was expensive, but it was worth it to me to know that my essay was approved by someone who had a lot more experience with this process than me.

If anyone is looking for a recommendation, PM me.


I agree, a professional can definitely add value to your essays that a friend/relative cannot. They can provide perspective as someone who doesn't know you (just like an adcom will not) and as someone who knows the admissions process. I actually had the opposite problem where my wife loved everything about my essays even in 1st drafts...
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 07 Nov 2008, 14:01
I think that if someone doesn't have access to someone familiar with b-schools essays to review their essays, or doesn't feel confident in their writing abilities, a consultant is probably worth the money, at least for the first set of essays.

I put together a set of essays for my first school, then sent it to my friend who got accepted at a top 10 school and he tore my essays apart. Looking back, I can honestly say they were absolute crap. Nice essays to read, but sorely lacking in the kind of information b-schools look for.

RF
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 08 Nov 2008, 15:47
Very useful information, thanks all!

For those who hired a consultant, what type of service did you use - I noticed they have different packages (hourly, two-schools, three-schools, etc.) and which one you find most helpful?
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Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money? [#permalink] New post 10 Nov 2008, 08:07
I would think if you don't have anyone with MBA exp to help, and you can afford the consulting fee, go for it. It definite helps (but need to choose the service wisely).
I only have a friend in BBA helping to proofread the essays coz the $$ is substantial for me (need to save for my 2 yrs if I can get thru also since I am not from IB =)), but that all I can afford. Life still goes on as it must be phww
Re: Admissions Consulting - Worth the money?   [#permalink] 10 Nov 2008, 08:07
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