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"Best" admission consulting companies?

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2011, 11:10
Av wrote:
ebonn101 wrote:
Does anyone have the pricing for MBA Exchange? Their site doesn't say and I've heard it can be very high, but according to admissions411, they come the most highly recommended and seem to have a very good acceptance rate.

Last time I researched all of the consultants, I found that MBA Exchange had the best reviews and results on admissions 411, and they also came highly recommended by other applicants. Although they might provide custom quotes for each person, the baseline package was somewhere around $6,250 for four (4) schools. That's probably cost prohibitive for most applicants, but there are plenty of other consultants out there that provide similar services at more affordable rate.


I was under the impression that most of the top consulting companies have similarly high rates as MBA Exchange. Maybe I am missing something. Who do you consider affordable (e.g. a 4-5 school package less than 4K (IMO))?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2011, 11:14
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contact Paul at Amerasia.. They have very good prices.. During my search, I found them to be competitive ..
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2011, 13:20
myturn2012 wrote:
Av wrote:
ebonn101 wrote:
Does anyone have the pricing for MBA Exchange? Their site doesn't say and I've heard it can be very high, but according to admissions411, they come the most highly recommended and seem to have a very good acceptance rate.

Last time I researched all of the consultants, I found that MBA Exchange had the best reviews and results on admissions 411, and they also came highly recommended by other applicants. Although they might provide custom quotes for each person, the baseline package was somewhere around $6,250 for four (4) schools. That's probably cost prohibitive for most applicants, but there are plenty of other consultants out there that provide similar services at more affordable rate.


I was under the impression that most of the top consulting companies have similarly high rates as MBA Exchange. Maybe I am missing something. Who do you consider affordable (e.g. a 4-5 school package less than 4K (IMO))?


Cost is one aspect - but dont just decide based on low cost -
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2011, 19:51
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myturn2012 wrote:
I was under the impression that most of the top consulting companies have similarly high rates as MBA Exchange. Maybe I am missing something. Who do you consider affordable (e.g. a 4-5 school package less than 4K (IMO))?

The biggest savings comes from buying a smaller package (1-2 schools), but many consultants have priced their packages to provide a very small discount for reducing your school count. I believe Amerasia and Avi Gordon both provide 1 or 2 school packages at rates that are much lower than MBA Exchange, MBA Mission, etc. Some consultants price their packages differently for each applicant, so you'll have to reach out to them on your own for a quote.

simmy818 wrote:
Cost is one aspect - but dont just decide based on low cost -

I know everyone wants to put their best foot forward, and I agree completely that cost shouldn't be a stand-alone criteria. However, I would encourage everyone who's shopping for consulting services to give a lot of thought to value.

My only advice is to be practical about your expectations. Once you get past your first two schools, you've typically covered the entire application process for the rest of your schools. You shouldn't be copy/pasting entire essays from one school to another, but you'll at least have built a well-written essay library to pull stories from. It doesn't matter if you spend $2k, $6k, or $60k, no consultant can change who you are or where you came from. You'll need strong essays that showcase your unique accomplishments to the adcom if you're going to be admitted at a top school, but don't forget that the adcom is admitting you - not your essays.

For some people, a great consultant will be the difference between an admit and a rejection. Writing is a very important part of the application and you might be one of those people that gets a lot of value from a $6k consulting service. For many (maybe most) other applicants, a great consultant will give them peace of mind, but the services provided by the consultant will not change the admission decision that they receive.

As stressful and expensive as the application process can be, try to make the most out of it and reflect on what's truly important to you. Genuine essays are the easiest to write and they're also what adcoms will find most interesting.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2011, 07:56
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I am editing this thread to update my experience with Amerasia-Mr.Adam Hoff. I missed out updating the thread after my consultation.

I contacted both Company Consultants Amerasia-Adam and mbaMission-Brian.

Initially I had my inhibitions with Amerasia HOWEVER my inhibitions were addressed and I was satisfied by the end of the consultation.

I attended a one hour consultation with Adam.
I consulted with Adam and he was very enthusiastic during the entire consultation. As a person, I found him to be accommodating in nature and I think its a very important aspect of any consultant (technical or management). I interrupted him at times to address some of my concerns, and he was sportive enough not to get upset or to let the consultation be affected by the interruption.

On a professional level, I found both Adam and Paul to be very knowledgeable. Their knowledge of schools, and the extent to which they commit themselves to learn more about the programs is very commendable. Adam gave me glimpses of how they gain insight into the focus areas of each school and I felt that was very refreshing.
Adam mentioned that a portion of his clientele is made of internationals and I felt that it was a good point as he would have gained significant information on the areas of concern that an Admissions officer has when dealing with international students.
He also spent a significant time taking about particular high target schools such as Columbia and by the end of the consultation process I was fairly satisfied.

I chose Amerasia for the following reasons

Their approach was unique and refreshing unlike other consultants who were giving cookie cutter responses.
Based on the consultation, I felt that Adam was approachable.
*I felt their level of knowledge of schools is very useful for international applicants, who don't live in USA and who have very limited resources to draw information.
I felt that as an international applicant, I would be able to draw upon their experience and address some of the concerns of admissions officers towards internationals, concerns which I would be unaware of.

mbaMission-Brian talked well; he went outside his comfort zone and queried about my application. He tried to scrutinize the mistakes I did in my essays and pointed out the points which I could improve and describe more succinctly to me-I did not sent any of my essays to mbaMission but I was asked to describe how I wrote my essays. I thought that was a positive point. He did not rush through the session, and did not sound as if he wanted to just conclude the session regardless of whether I may take up their packages.

I missed my first free consultation but I am glad I finally talked to its consultant. Some positive points but I am not 100% confident on their knowledge of schools, or the extent of support and dedication the consultant will be putting into strengthening the applicant essays. I did not get to gauge these two things in the free consultation.

I will update my experiences of working with Amerasia and please feel free to approach me for any information.
Regards.

Last edited by BlueRobin on 03 Jun 2011, 09:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2011, 08:55
Av has an excellent point.. Try the 1~2 school package.. There are two advantages.

1. You will know how the admission consultant works..
2. You might be able to save some $$ by doing the others by yourself, using the information and research from the 2 schools you've applied to.. They pretty much ask similar information.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2011, 09:08
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blahblahGMAT wrote:
Av has an excellent point.. Try the 1~2 school package.. There are two advantages.

1. You will know how the admission consultant works..
2. You might be able to save some $$ by doing the others by yourself, using the information and research from the 2 schools you've applied to.. They pretty much ask similar information.


To be honest, that's what I encourage all my clients to do.

Signing up for a bunch of schools upfront (i.e. 4-6 schools) is a bit scary. As a consultant, I don't like it because it reveals expectations that the client may be seeing the consultant as a surrogate. Or a co-dependency problem. To me, I see admissions consulting simply as a resource - and not a surrogate for the applicant.

As a client, you should sign up 1-2 schools at a time -- and chances are, you won't need more than that. While the essays aren't exactly the same from one school to the next, most people are able to intelligently adapt essay drafts from one school to another. An applicant doesn't need a consultant on every school they are applying to.

My competitors can sell the 4+ school packages all they want (more power to them), but in my experience over the past 8 years, I really never saw the need for clients to sign up for more than 3 schools at most (and if there's additional help on the 4th or 5th school, it's literally piecemeal stuff that could be billed hourly). Again, most clients are happy with just 1-2 on a comprehensive basis.

Now, you may ask why I would convey something that on the surface would be against my own interest - but it's not. Quite the opposite. My reasoning actually makes a lot of business sense, but I won't say why because I don't want my competitors to follow suit :)
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2011, 14:55
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blahblahGMAT wrote:
Av has an excellent point.. Try the 1~2 school package.. There are two advantages.

1. You will know how the admission consultant works..
2. You might be able to save some $$ by doing the others by yourself, using the information and research from the 2 schools you've applied to.. They pretty much ask similar information.


Also both companies I worked with were willing to let me add on additional schools later and just charge me the difference, so not really any downside from a cost perspective to starting out with only 1 school
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 07 May 2011, 14:31
I am looking to apply to European schools, does any1 has any recommendation of admission consultants for non-US schools ? Most consultants here are mostly focussed on US schools, I am looking for someone who understands and has some experience with candidates for European schools.

Schools, am targeting are INSEAD, LBS, IMD ...

Thanks in advance
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 09 May 2011, 06:45
I had email conversation with MBA Exchange, let me know if anyone needs feedback on that..
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 09 May 2011, 20:37
I thought I’d throw out another name that I haven’t seen mentioned on this thread as an alternative to the larger admissions consulting firms everyone is talking about: Tyler Cormney. Tyler used to work for a large brand name consulting firm specializing in top 5 schools but spun out on his own a couple years back. I was fortunate enough to embark on the admissions process with adequate scores, grades and work experience, but I had no idea how to navigate the application process itself. Tyler and I worked on my application together for about three months; he was always patient, insightful and responsive. We carefully selected essay topics to help distinguish me from the masses (I was otherwise a white male working in finance that went to a top tier undergraduate institution . . about as generic as you can get in b-school admissions speak). I was ultimately admitted to Wharton and Kellogg and waitpooled at Stanford GSB, which I thought was a phenomenal outcome. I had a number of friends apply to school at the same time as me that I perceived to be stronger applicants (750+ GMATs, Phi Beta Kappa, bulge bracket work experience) who were rejected from these same schools. I think this is a true testament of the value of Tyler’s services. I’ve already encouraged a number of friends to work with Tyler in the future and I would strongly recommend him to anyone considering working with a consultant. Feel free to message me with questions.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 10 May 2011, 03:03
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Hey mn2010:
If you would like to set up some time to speak about European programs, I can do that for you. Please e-mail me at MBA@amerasiaconsulting.com.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

mn2010 wrote:
I am looking to apply to European schools, does any1 has any recommendation of admission consultants for non-US schools ? Most consultants here are mostly focussed on US schools, I am looking for someone who understands and has some experience with candidates for European schools.

Schools, am targeting are INSEAD, LBS, IMD ...

Thanks in advance

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Last edited by PaulLanzillotti on 12 May 2011, 09:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 11 May 2011, 15:34
I worked with two companies in two diff years. The experience was vastly different so I learned that what you get can differ a great deal, and be careful choosing. My first time I used MBA Mission - not so good. Was very disappointed and frustrated. The second time I was planning to go it alone but on a friend's suggestion bought some hours from Stacy Blackman Consulting. Had a spectacular (and finally successful) experience, and ended up transferring to a full package. Am not a "sure thing" type of applicant (low GPA, reapplying), I know that, but ended up with results I am ecstatic about and felt that I received A+ service all the way through.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 13 May 2011, 10:29
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Got similar questions like below from other members about my experience with MBA Exchange initial chat, so I thought I will post the answers here ;) Edited version!

MBA EXCHANGE Feedback

(1) How did the meeting go for you?
Initial email exchanges were very prompt with Dan. But every email included the copy and paste of their testimonials and service they provide which looked like they are pushing their data on me.

(2) Do you know what they charge?
For 4 schools they quoted me $6700.00 Their quote varies for everyone.

(3) What is your opinion of them?
Initially I was very much impressed and liked the email conversation, but their advertized 97% admitted stuff .. No one can prove it right or wrong. Then I selected some consultant from their team I wanted to work with - and they denied. Then they provided me with a consultant who was only for 2 years with them (that too part time). And I didn't want to work with a consultant with so less experience.

(4) Anything about them you don't like?
- Not giving the information on their website - like other consultants.
- No free 1 hr or 30 min consultation
- After insisting so many times I got to speak with 1 consultant out of 4 that I requested and for only 15 min, and she exactly spoke for 14-15 min.
- Also it is 40 hrs for 4 school package, they might help more than that but if they can't you cannot go back asking why not, as 40 hr is included in their contract.


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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 13 May 2011, 12:48
I'm happy to help anyone who's got questions about:
1) Amerasia
2) MBA Apply - Alex Chu
3) HBSGuru - Sandy

I've worked with two of the above and a friend of mine worked with the third so we've got a pretty good idea of their pros and cons and some general thoughts about admissions consultants.

Feel free to PM me if you need any information.

------------------------------------------------

After being inundated by PMs, I've decided to summarize my thoughts online. Please continue reading and you'll find them. If you've still got any specific questions or would like clarification, I'd be happy to help.
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Last edited by redjam17 on 18 May 2011, 14:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 15 May 2011, 03:28
simmy818 wrote:
Got similar questions like below from other members about my experience with MBA Exchange initial chat, so I thought I will post the answers here ;) Edited version!

MBA EXCHANGE Feedback

(1) How did the meeting go for you?
Initial email exchanges were very prompt with Dan. But every email included the copy and paste of their testimonials and service they provide which looked like they are pushing their data on me.

(2) Do you know what they charge?
For 4 schools they quoted me $6700.00 Their quote varies for everyone.

(3) What is your opinion of them?
Initially I was very much impressed and liked the email conversation, but their advertized 97% admitted stuff .. No one can prove it right or wrong. Then I selected some consultant from their team I wanted to work with - and they denied. Then they provided me with a consultant who was only for 2 years with them (that too part time). And I didn't want to work with a consultant with so less experience.

(4) Anything about them you don't like?
- Not giving the information on their website - like other consultants.
- No free 1 hr or 30 min consultation
- After insisting so many times I got to speak with 1 consultant out of 4 that I requested and for only 15 min, and she exactly spoke for 14-15 min.
- Also it is 40 hrs for 4 school package, they might help more than that but if they can't you cannot go back asking why not, as 40 hr is included in their contract.


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which consultant did u speak to ?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 15 May 2011, 03:29
redjam17 wrote:
I'm happy to help anyone who's got questions about:
1) Amerasia
2) MBA Apply - Alex Chu
3) HBSGuru - Sandy

I've worked with two of the above and a friend of mine worked with the third so we've got a pretty good idea of their pros and cons and some general thoughts about admissions consultants.

Feel free to PM me if you need any information.


how is the mba apply process ? Are they flexible with number of edits?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 15 May 2011, 18:28
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Hi everyone,

I feel I should weigh in here. I tried not to post, but seeing the previous posts I feel I should share my "journey".

I went through the law school process writing my essays, doing my resume....and was rejected from 3/4 schools...the schools do not matter, but the one I was accepted at was not ranked in the top 50.

My background is really more business focused, so I decided to take 6 months and study for my GMAT....my first attempt was unsatisfactory, so I waited a month and re-took it. I got a score I figured would be good enough for a top 20 school. I applied to 1 safe, 1 in my range school, and 1 reach. My essays were just not turning out how I pictured them in my mind...the words just did not match up with my thoughts/background/expression of myself. I did my research and decided to go with Stacy Blackman. I know they have gotten a bad rap on this blog but this is honest to God my 100% experience.

I started working with one of their consultants and immediately clicked...they picked out the things I should highlight, the things I needed to explore more, and the things I needed to address as weaknesses.... I was skeptical at first...BUT every conversation we had I felt my essays got better... let me be clear, they do not write your essays for you, but help you find your voice....which I needed. All communications were timely, professional, and very insightful. Example....My main consultant did not have an area of expertise in the one area I was inquiring about, so they brought in another consultant who did...very selfless and turned about to be very informative.

All in all, it was an expensive engagement.... BUT I was dinged from my safe school, my mid range school, and accepted into my reach school after going 0/2...which is a top 3 MBA program....But I think the caricature SB got earlier in this blog was from someone who had a bad experience....and I wanted to share a positive experience.

Just remember...consultants cant't help you with GPA, Resume, GMAT, EC's, Personality, etc...but they can help you find your voice and put your best foot forward.

I wish all of you the best, I just went through the year long process of applying and heading to B-School next year...so I know what you are going through, I wish you the best, and God bless.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 15 May 2011, 19:52
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I just wanted to share my experience. I used to post on gmatclub under a different alias last year. I went with mbaMission last year and I applied to 6 out of the top 10 schools. End result - 0 interviews, 6 dings. I was new to this admission consulting process, so I was not sure if I was on the right track or not. After talking to some other consultants this year, I found I was quite misguided. I had a particular long term goal in mind (something I wanted to do), but my consultant advised me that since my background is in a different industry it is best for me to have a different short and long term goal. I trusted my consultant, a bit too much. Now that I look back at things - I spent close to $7,500 where most of the money went into editing stories and essays (one real pricey edit job). Did I think my essays have correct grammar - YES. Were they good enough to be an elevator pitch - HELL NO. Will I go back to them - NO.

P.S. I used admissions411.com when I selected mbaMission. I have a feeling, that site just displays ads from satisfied customers not the unsatisfied ones.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 16 May 2011, 00:50
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Since I got inundated with PM’s asking about the consultants, I thought that it would be best if I wrote a post explaining my general thoughts about consultants and my experiences with the 3 I worked with. I’m happy to help anyone who’s got more specific questions – feel free to PM me and I’ll respond as soon as possible.

This post is Part 1 of a two part series. The other one to follow (as soon as I get the time to write it)

What, I think, admissions consultants are great for…
1) Help you get disciplined: A good analogy is like having a personal trainer at the gym. You can probably workout by yourself – by researching routines online and then executing them – but most people lack the discipline to do so and having a personal trainer solves that problem. In the same way, an admissions consultant can really get you running on your feet - you've paid them a ton of money and most people will want to get the most "bang for their buck".
2) Help you avoid grammatical or literary errors: This point may not be as applicable to those who already have a good grasp of the English language but for others, this point is particularly important. I must note that no consultant (as far as I know) is going to write your essays for you but they will certainly point out any grammatical errors that you might make.
3) Help you evolve your story: Due to their experience with hundreds of applicants a year, these guys have a lot of ideas in their heads and can really help you evolve your story and tease out new ideas. Admittedly, this part of the process varies from consultant to consultant (and I’ll share my thoughts on “the 3” in my next post) but by and large, the consultants can help you understand cultural nuances at particular schools and guide you in a certain direction.

What, I think, admissions consultants cannot do…
1) Can’t pick your schools for you: You simply have to do your research and decide on what schools are the best fit given your credentials and your aspirations. I know its hard to do and we all silently pray that there’s a magic bullet but really, your guess is as good as the most seasoned consultants’. I’d recommend that you look at class profiles, read about the schools and then pick around 6-8 schools: 2 difficult, 2 mid-range and 2 safety.
2) Can’t guarantee your admission into any school: Despite all the money involved, its impossible for any consultant to guarantee your admission into any institution. From my own experience, I used the consultants for 2 schools and didn’t end up getting into either of them.

In summary I’d like to say that if you fit the following 3 criteria’s, you probably do not need a consultant to help you out:
1) You’re disciplined
2) You’re writing skills are good
3) You’ve got friends who’ve gone through the MBA process (they can act like sounding boards and can help you evolve your story and tease out ideas)

In my case, I really suffered on the last point and knew absolutely no one who had gone through the process (plus I'm not based in the US which made things harder). That’s why I needed some outside help with this process.

Part 2 to follow soon…
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies?   [#permalink] 16 May 2011, 00:50
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