Any advice on using or not using consultants? : The B-School Application
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# Any advice on using or not using consultants?

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Manager
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30 Jul 2009, 14:05
I'm trying to decide if I want to use a consultant or not. I have heard a couple of opinions:

• I used a consultant and it got me into Stanford - Consultants will definitely help you and it is a small price to pay
• I used a consultant and didn't get in anywhere - Consultants will turn your story into cookie cutter essays. Stay away.
• I didn't use a consultant and got into my school - too expensive, not required

I haven't heard anyone say (yet) that they didn't use a consultant, didn't get in and they regret it.

Just to give some background - I have decent GPA and scores. I don't have any glaring weakness in my profile. But I think my personal experiences are a little messy and all over the place. It would be nice to have someone help me pull it together nicely.
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19 Oct 2009, 17:21
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just to shed a little bit more insight on this: i was at an HBS event last week. there were a number of students in the room during one particular session (no adcom/faculty present), and the question about whether to use a consultant came up. one girl (current student) said - definitely yes, that her consultant helped her through the whole process, and she owes a lot to him.

right after that, a guy said - definitely NO, and that it''s really just a waste of money, and you're better off working on your app by yourself to give it your personal touch. he also said that opinions on this will vary greatly from person to person.

if youve got a ton of money lying around, then i dont see why not. i mean people blow 2 grand on a home theater system.. why not pay a consultant to help you? on the other hand, if you're like me and don't have that cash to throw around - then save your money and get help from your friends/family/ this forum. your app will probably come out just as good - and more authentic - that way.
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31 Jul 2009, 02:35
Here's my take. As background, I talked to a few consultants offering free initial consultations, but didn't use any paid services. First off, I don't think any consultant, no matter how knowledgeable, is the silver bullet that will get you into the school of your dreams. In terms of knowledge of the schools, application process or what schools are looking for in an applicant, I think the collective knowledge of this forum is greater than any consultant, especially with the number of current students/alumni who contribute here. I think consultants could be valuable in reviewing your essays, if you do not have other reviewers you can use who are familiar with MBA admissions.

I guess in short, I don't see there to be a ton of value in using a consultant especially when you consider the pretty hefty fees that most charge. Do they provide good information and insight into how to polish your applications? I'm sure most do, but I don't believe you can't find the same information and insight from other sources, and for free.
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31 Jul 2009, 06:10

In general, I feel that a consultant will help you with the following:

1. Make sure you answer the question;
2. Keep you from falling in love with that you wrote (very easy to do);
3. Make sure you understand what the schools are looking for.

If you feel you don't need this or have someone in your life who can provide it, than you can do without. I actually found that a lot of people (myself included) need a push in the right direction every once in a while.
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31 Jul 2009, 06:26
I feel as though consultants who specialize in essay writing will be of most value. Since you're going to be spending the majority of the time writing essays, the consultant should be able to add insight and make your essay a lot better. i've heard some good things about sandy at hbsguru, but I don't have any first hand knowledge.
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31 Jul 2009, 08:54
how do you know when to trust the advice of a consultant or how to find a reputable consultant? i emailed a few of them my profile and target schools and all had the same cookie cutter answer - "these are great choices, you have a good profile, you should definitely get in, etc. etc.", i didn't get any type of hesitation or constructive criticism that made me feel like these people were actually interested in telling me the truth versus simply hoping i'd sign on with them.
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31 Jul 2009, 13:29
This topic comes up a lot -

Below are two threads where it is discussed a bit -

I personally worked with MBA Exchange and found them to be quite good, and I doubt I would have gotten into Ross and Duke without their help. Feel free to PM me with any questions.

If you want someone to do the work for you, then consultants will disappoint. I think there is a place for consultants to help guide applicants who may not come from feeder industries, or those who are unfamiliar with the intricacies of applying to Top 10 schools. Most of the info they dispense can be found online, but the essay editing services, and essay guidance really made a difference for me.

Just my two cents!

~Sam
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31 Jul 2009, 17:46
2012dreams wrote:
how do you know when to trust the advice of a consultant or how to find a reputable consultant? i emailed a few of them my profile and target schools and all had the same cookie cutter answer - "these are great choices, you have a good profile, you should definitely get in, etc. etc.", i didn't get any type of hesitation or constructive criticism that made me feel like these people were actually interested in telling me the truth versus simply hoping i'd sign on with them.

@bipolarbear and @2012dreams - you're both totally right. I spoke to 3 agencies and they all gave me very positive feedback about how I had a really good shot. I since emailed hbsguru and he told me my chances at HBS and Stanford are pretty low unless I can come up with a very compelling story. I feel his advice was more honest and in line with what I've been hearing top schools expect in an applicant.

That's not to say his services will be the right fit for me. I need to do more research... But it seems like a good option so far.
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12 Nov 2009, 10:49
I had a similar delimma a month ago because it seemed the consultants seem like a great idea but were too expensive for me.

I used every free service out there and didn't think based on my profile they were worth the cost.

I have decent writing skills and an average packet for any business school. Meaning I am not a Wow candidate but not a straight reject either based on my academis, gmat and work experience. I wanted somone professional to read through my essays and give me a thorough critique more than a friend could.

So heres what I did. I put an ad on craigslist for a professional editor. Got over 20 responses and chose a guy close to my home who is a law staudent who got into 2 great B schools. I write the essays and we meet once a week to improve the essays in every way a $250 / hour consultant could. Basically for$250 or so I got all my essays in good shape.

I can refer interested people to my editor, who is in NJ but craigslist is a very resourceful site for MBA apps help.
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12 Nov 2009, 11:13
No consultants can help me overcome my fatal point

LOW GMAT lol

Now if I can somehow squeeze out a 700 next month then I might think about getting a consultant to help me craft a better story for one of the top 5 schools
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12 Nov 2009, 11:39
Anyone know the rates for MBA Exchange? They don't publish online.
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13 Nov 2009, 00:28
Anyone know the rates for MBA Exchange? They don't publish online.

This is from one of their members who i got in touch.

Our charges for a comprehensive consultation for applications for up to four schools is USD 6250.
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13 Nov 2009, 06:15
How much is it for just one school? Do you know?[size=150][size=150][size=150][/size][/size][/size]

Anyone know the rates for MBA Exchange? They don't publish online.

This is from one of their members who i got in touch.

Our charges for a comprehensive consultation for applications for up to four schools is USD 6250.
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13 Nov 2009, 06:59
I did not ask that...but i am sure per school the charges will shoot up. They offer a free evaluation on your profile. Don't expect anything fancy. The free eval is meant to sell their services to you but hey....its free.

They are usually very prompt and responsive so i guess you can ask your questions to them directly.

Cheers!

Disclaimer: I am not using their services as of now. Will decide after my GMAT retake.
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13 Nov 2009, 07:17
This past Spring, after I was admitted to various programs and I was bored out of my mind…..I decided to send in my profile to all the free evaluation services offered from bschool consultants to see how accurate they would be.

They all responded back by saying standard "SAFE" response saying "your stats are good but top programs will look for other things. Your MBA goal is important, and ETC ETC ETC." Bottomline, these free evaluation services offered are really nothing tangible or significant. They will all give you safe response that will neither say you are a lock for school A or you are a definite ding at school B (although Ask Sandy will probably tell you that you will get dinged 90% of the time....)
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15 Nov 2009, 14:02
I think where they could be beneficial would be to string all your experiences/essays/goals into a coherent message to the adcoms if it is a bit scattered. I have not used a service, but I would think this would be their approach. I believe one can get to this point on their own if they put the time in.
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01 Feb 2011, 10:09
I would like just to reinforce this topic and kindly ask guys who have been admitted recently to post here with which consultants did they work.

I am currently considering to hire an admission consulting company/consultant and I am targeting 4-5 schools.
I plan to apply in R1 fall 2011.
What about MBA mission and MB exchange?

Please provide your feedback and if you want to remain provate just send me a pm.

thank you.
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Re: Any advice on using or not using consultants?   [#permalink] 01 Feb 2011, 10:09
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