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Does anyone have any feedback for Drew Hoff from Amerasia Consulting?
Also does anyone have any idea of how consulting firms assign consultants? For example, it seems that most people here who worked with Amerasia Consulting worked with Adam or Paul (who both have near 100% satisfaction rates). What does it mean for one's candidacy if you are assigned to a different consultant?
Hello, I think they are assigned based on your profile and the schools you want to apply to... I also believe its just Paul and Adam at Amerasia. I'm sure you can ask them when you do your consultation and they will tell you whats is best for your applications...
I wanted to put up a post about my experience, as Betsy Massar of [highlight]Master Admissions[/highlight], whom I used, hasn’t yet come up in this thread.
When I headed into the application process, I knew I had a fairly unique story to tell, but that I also had some obstacles: a 66th percentile Quant score coupled with a Humanities undergrad and a meandering career path (academia, journalism, family business, no brand name corporations or traditional MBA-feeder industries on my resume at all). In the end, I batted a perfect .1000, gaining admission to every program I applied to and no less than 3 full-tuition scholarship offers. I could not have done it without Betsy.
I’ve always felt comfortable expressing myself in writing, but Betsy (who has been a writing and communications coach at the Stanford GSB) brought the eyes of someone who knows what admissions committees are thinking. She’s great at getting your story straight and your essays as taut as possible: If I had a draft that wasn’t going anywhere she’d call me out right away before I wasted time on a dead end: “That’s not your real voice. You wouldn’t talk like that to someone you respected.” Or she’d send drafts back to me zeroing in on a certain passage where I should be “thinking bigger.” Brutal honesty + a deep knowledge of what adcoms at the various schools like + a great ear for sharp writing = exactly the kind of tough love you want from an admissions consultant. I get the sense that Betsy likes to work with clients who are already at a pretty high level, and bring a lot to the table, rather than building someone up from square one and packaging them for the adcom.
Betsy worked with me by the hour and the whole process starts off with a long phone call where you get to know eachother. This is officially an hour on the invoice, but mine was closer to two. She’ll do a “put you on the couch” kind of thing where she probes for what makes you tick. This is recorded and she sends you the Mp3, so you can refer back to it when you’re buried months later and thinking “wait, why did I want an MBA again in the first place?” After that, most of her services are via email, sending back marked-up drafts. Turnaround time was 48 hours, but I don’t think it ever took her that long. Sometimes when I was in a real rutt we’d schedule a phone call and bat ideas back and forth. This is one of the real benefits of a boutique operation like Betsy’s over the big names in this business. By exerting editorial control over whom she takes on as a client, Betsy makes sure she has time to do it right. It's not an assembly-line type of service. You don't get emails back from a guy buring through a pile of apps and making them all sound "Harvardy" without even looking at the name at the top of the essay or from a stranger with dozens of other apps dropped on his desk by the boss. Betsy's is a deep-dive, high-touch kind of service for people who are really serious about getting the most out of their consultant.
Also, she has a new book out called Admitted, if you want to get a sense of her voice & approach. I recommend her 100%, but if you want more details or have specific questions, feel free to PM me.
Does anyone have any reviews for Paul Bodine? Not for his book but for his individual consulting services?
I'm interested in knowing if he helps strategically with the applications, and how responsive is he (whether he's too busy to respond).
I have tried the search but have had no luck.
Thanks in advance!
He has been quite a fixture here on GMAT Club for quite a while: members/member-15601.html Has over 1,500 posts but has not been as actively involved since leaving Accepted a few years ago.
I engaged Paul Lanzillotti from Amerasia this year and this is a detail feedback based on my experience. I am posting this review anonymously for obvious reasons. I will be more than happy to have this review verified by bb, MBA Section Directors or any of the other Moderators.
I decided to engage a consultant this year although it was a very pricey affair for me. I researched various consultants and based on the positive feedback on Amerasia at GMATClub and my initial consultation with him, decided to engage his services.
I had a very mixed experience with him and will divide this review into various categories and provide a rating on a scale of 0-5 with 5 being the best.
1. Initial consultation (4/5) – This is one area where no consultant can go wrong, right?? Most of the consultants I spoke with painted a rosy picture and tried to sell their service. Paul, as many others have suggested does not try to shove his services. Also the free consultation call that he provides is more meaningful than the free consultation offered by a lot of other consultants.
2. Input on content & Knowledge of school (4/5) – Paul had excellent inputs on content and he seemed to have a good knowledge of the unique traits of each school. He helped me bring out some finer nuances of my story and convey them effectively. He is good with words and helped me with good inputs.
3. Overall strategy (3/5) – The overall strategy of version controlling of essays etc. was quite good. However, he initially gave me the impression that he always followed great structure and that we had to maintain regular contact so that we could get everything done well in time. In the end though I got the feeling that he was quite unorganized. That takes me to the next point…
4. Time Management (0/5) – This was THE sore point of our engagement. He frequently missed meetings and rescheduled meetings at the last minute. It was really maddening to first of all find a time on his calendar with great difficulty (which would be almost 10 days down the line in most instances) and then the meeting ending up in a no-show from him. Sending him mails highlighting my concerns did not result in any improvement on this front till the end. Also, I felt that he stretched himself too thin by taking on more work than he could handle. In several calls, he would keep referring to not having slept for 24+ hours due to some or the other school’s deadlines being round the corner. I couldn’t have cared less but for the fact that in each such meeting (except one), he was never ready with his inputs which naturally meant that I had been on ‘low priority’ due to his other crisis deliverables..I found such repeated behavior on his part inexcusable in the end.
5. Client management (1/5) – I believe that for the prices consultants charge, they should be ensuring that client anxiety is kept to a minimum. My anxiety was shooting through the roof as we approached the deadline and his assurances did little to soothe it since I could see little action on the ground. While he was always respectful in his communication, both written and verbal, that did not prevent me from being almost certain that I would miss my deadline. The other major problem was that he was not very prompt in his responses. There were instances when I had to drop him multiple reminders after sending a mail for him to finally respond…I had imagined that having started off our engagement quite early, I would have been ready well before the deadline. However I got the final set of inputs from him only 3 days before the deadline and I submitted my app after another round of editing and corrections (?!) right on the deadline.
6. Final Rating (1.5/5) – Paul definitely adds value to an application. I must acknowledge his help but I don’t think I was able to put my best foot forward since he wasn’t available as much as he should’ve been. His time & client management skills are poor and this takes you to your wits end. This is especially frustrating and consequently distracting if (like most other people) you are targeting multiple schools in the same round with deadlines close to each other. If you are engaging him, make sure that you plan on completing your entire application at least 15 days prior to the deadline. That will give you some breathing space. Also, I would very strongly advise going in for a 1 school package first and then deciding on engaging him for other schools.
Would I recommend Paul / Amerasia? That’s a definitive NO.
Please PM me if you have any further questions.
As a side note, I used essaycritique dot blogspot dot com later for getting my essays for another school reviewed. Their responses were prompt, turn-around time was truly fantastic and quality of output really great; all of this was for a fraction of the cost of a consultant. This experience was a stark contrast to my experience with Paul. Although it is not an apples to apples comparison here, I just wanted to highlight that there are indeed people out there who truly care for their clients.
I had a very positive experience working with Tyler last year and definitely wanted to share my perspective on his service. I had in fact been in the exact same situation as many of you now, trying to figure out the best person to help me through the MBA application process. The reviews on GC played a big role in my finding the right consultant, so I want to keep this helpful thread going. So here goes - (Full Disclosure: I've posted this testimonial in the actual reviews section also)
It's been a long time coming. This was my second application season, the first time I went on my own and it did not work out as I had expected (hoped actually). The second season, I signed up with Tyler Cormney from MBA Prep School and without a doubt, it was the best decision and investment in the MBA application process. I have no hesitation in saying that without Tyler’s help, I would not have made me into a top 10 MBA program with a scholarship to boot! Coming from one of the toughest applicant pools –Indian male with an engineering degree and technology experience, I knew it was going to be a tough application season. And as if that wasn’t enough, my age certainly wasn’t in my favor – I was already over 30 when I applied! I knew my margin for error was extremely small. And that is where Tyler’s help made all the difference in the world. I needed to put in a top-notch application where everything fell perfectly into place and Tyler ‘guided’ me in creating one. And this is what I want to stress on – Tyler wouldn’t do your work, he will be your guide. You will do the work, you will spend the long nights working on those essays, and at times you will get frustrated. But you know what? In the end, when you get that acceptance call, you will know that it is truly you who has got accepted, it is your hard work that has paid off. And that is one of the best feelings ever! Thank you so much Tyler for pushing me through this. For bringing out the best in me! Oh and there’s one more thing I’d like to add – Don’t be surprised if Tyler doesn’t try to sell himself too much in the initial consultation call! Frankly, that is what sold me to go to him. He is unlike many other consulting companies in this regard who will try to sell their services aggressively. With Tyler it works the opposite way. The real magic starts after you sign up not before!
It felt like the odds were against me for getting into business school, especially with an unconventional background, inconsistent career history, lower GMAT score, unemployment gap, questionable letters of recommendation, etc. Yet, Tyler @ Tyler Cormney Consulting was able to help me tell a cohesive story that really seemed to represent who I was and not some cookie-cutter applicant. This story not only gave me a clear direction for my essays but also thoroughly prepared me for my interviews and my resume. After meeting Tyler, my doubts of getting into b-school quickly faded.
Tyler's gift goes beyond story-telling. He’s an incredible coach.
•Tyler is committed to your success. I was up against very tight deadlines, throwing last minute curve balls at Tyler, yet he managed to squeeze in multiple revisions for my essays even when he was probably slammed with dozens of other essays. Even when you’re not in a meeting with him, you know Tyler is looking out for you. Knowing my MBA focus was social entrepreneurship, Tyler sent me a relevant HBR article to give me inspiration while I wrote my essays. And when I’d send emails with various b-school questions, Tyler would immediately reply with great advice. He truly does care.
•He’ll push you to the very end. When I got waitlisted at my dream school, Tyler stuck with me and walked me through the next steps. Even when I didn’t want to retake the GMAT, he highly encouraged me to go for it—and thank goodness because I scored 50 points higher. While going through the essay writing process, there were times when I would get sick of looking at my essays, but our conversations would refuel me with better ideas that kept me going. And that’s just what you’ll need during this demanding (yet incredibly rewarding) process. I got off the waitlist-- RESULT--> in at my DREAM SCHOOL!
•He’ll keep you accountable and on target each step of the way. We didn’t waste any time. Our conversations were very focused. At the end of each meeting, Tyler told me what to prepare for the next meeting so as to keep on track with all the things that I needed to get done in the short amount of time I had. It’s a miracle I got everything done on time, especially since I started late.
•His feedback is very thorough. Essay revisions went beyond grammar and spell-check. Tyler gave dozens of comments suggesting new ideas on how to improve a sentence/paragraph. I knew that Tyler was really reading my essays, not just proofing them.
•Last, but definitely not least, as a great coach, Tyler saw me for me. When I began looking for an admissions consultant, I had spoken to several of the larger consulting firms, and their reps told me that I would need to tweak my background because it did not “fit” in with the other applicants. After hearing my story and reading my profile, Tyler told me that I had a unique voice, and that I should keep it, not change it. That’s when I knew I had found the right person. He doesn’t need to “tweak” or create some fake persona for your application because he really hears you.
I can’t say enough good things about MBA Prep School. This series is incredibly organized and well thought-out. If you don’t have the resources to spend on getting individualized time with Tyler, I would say that this is the next best thing. Trust me, I read quite a few b-school application books, but none compare to the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of what is required to get a stellar application together. Most importantly, MBA Prep School will help you find your own answers to WHY an MBA and carefully map your career aspirations. I thought I had these down before I started the MBA Prep School videos and exercises, but after watching the videos and doing some of the exercises, my answers grew clearer.
Result: Accepted to my DREAM school and 2 others. Couldn’t be happier!
T- I don’t know how I would have done it without you. Thank you.
Last edited by theK on 08 Jun 2013, 11:59, edited 2 times in total.
Receiving an acceptance letter from a top-tier business school is especially challenging given the hyper-competitive applicant pool. When I decided to apply to MBA programs, I wasn’t exactly sure where to start. After searching for help on my MBA applications, I was referred to Tyler Cormney by a friend who was a student at a top 5 business school and former client of Tyler’s. I am very glad that I chose to enlist Tyler’s help, and I am confident that I would not have received an acceptance letter from a top 5 MBA program without his guidance. When I began working with Tyler, I wanted to dive right into applying to as many as schools as possible. Fortunately, Tyler helped me consider my list of prospective applications more prudently. He made certain that he and I both understood exactly what qualities I was searching for in an MBA education and helped me focus my application efforts on an optimal list of target schools. His in-depth knowledge of the admissions process at the top business schools and his years of experience advising MBA applicants allowed him to steer me towards the schools where I had the highest probability of being accepted. Having recently completed the MBA application process, I know that a successful application is dependent on a candidate’s ability to present a compelling portfolio of educational highlights, career aspirations, and personal attributes. Through several weeks of introspective self-assessment exercises and focused discussions with Tyler, I was able to truly understand my strengths and weaknesses as an MBA applicant and fully grasp how my career history contributed to my post-MBA goals. After we had discovered the core elements of my own story, Tyler helped me to present myself as an exceptional MBA candidate throughout my essays and tailor my applications to each individual school. With an intimate knowledge of the MBA admissions process and a solid understanding of my potential contribution to business schools, he advised me to emphasize certain aspects of my candidacy that he knew would be appreciated by admissions committees. It was during this step of the process that his experience truly shined through. Although I may have possessed a strong academic and professional background, I know I lacked the self-awareness necessary to present an application capable of earning me a seat at a top 5 business school. With the help of Tyler’s advice and perspective, I was able to confidently apply to top MBA programs. I would highly recommend Tyler to any of my friends who are about to undertake the MBA application process. He served as a valuable resource throughout several months of application preparation, and without his help, I would not have obtained a seat in a top 5 MBA program. Look up his website online and reach out to him for an intro discussion. --Top 5 MBA School, Class of 2014
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I also used Access Education as an Admissions Consultant when I applied to INSEAD and worked directly with Laura Freedman - she was brilliant! If you want to apply to INSEAD, she is definitely the best in the business. She knows exactly what type of candidate the school is looking for and will be open and honest with you about your chances of success right from the outset. She draws out the best in you so that you shine on paper and is also really inspiring to work with. I wouldn't look anywhere else if your dream school is INSEAD.
I have been hearing lots of questions trying to figure out which consultants are the best. In my opinion there isn't any simple answer, but to help people make more informed decisions, I want to ask people who have USED consultant services to fill out this survey. Should take about 10 minutes! The focus is on what kind of client you are and whether they were the right fit.
I'd like to recommend Alice van Harten with Menlo Coaching. She has taught professional writing at Stanford and is very good at letting applicants speak with their own voice in their essays and not pander to what popular opinion seems to think that Admissions Committees want to hear. She'll go through with you and evaluate your stories and help you pick the best one to answer the question.
In terms of working with her, Alice is also very reliable and responsive. She offers 10-12 hour packages, but she is not a "clock-watcher." She also offers very reasonable rates compared to many other admissions consulting companies out there. Alice is fully invested in her candidates and demonstrates utmost care in crafting the best application possible.
Alice has a D. Phil from Cambridge and also used to work at Bain (and also received offers from BCG & McKinsey), so she's no slouch in the business department either.
There are many excellent admissions consultants out there, and I know everyone's experience can be different. But I just wanted to throw in Menlo Coaching in this thread as I haven't seen it mentioned before.
Hi, has anyone worked with or heard of someone's experience with Deborah Knox (Insight Admissions)? thanks
I spoke to her, but didn't engage her. I found her quite knowledgable and experienced. And she gave me some good tips during our initial consultation. She's also written a few articles on poetsandquants.
Personality wise, I just felt I gelled with someone else better, but I know she was on my short list for someone to hire. Also, she only does hourly billing, and I was worried that would get too expensive.
Last edited by Ward2012 on 03 Dec 2012, 20:58, edited 1 time in total.
Mr Sneaker - It sounds like Adam provided you with his professional opinion of what he thought would be a strong topic for your career goal essay. Its up to you to make the final decision as to which direction you want to take your essays. I actually had a similar experience where I listened to my consultant a little too much and didn't feel I performed as well as I could have in my interview if I just answered more openly and didn't have a set script already set in my mind. I used ClearAdmit and they were very good with editing my essays for grammar/structure and would keep pushing me to dig deeper into specific parts of my essays which was very helpful. I think the main take away from this is do not write about something just because you feel it will be a strong essay topic but its more important to be honest and open about your career goals. If your true passion is to start a skydiving company you probably should'nt be going to Columbia business school anyway
This is quite true. A consultant can help you figure out a career goal that is in line with your work history and passions. To me, it makes sense that if someone was currently working in banking/consulting but was passionate about photography, that they could use the MBA to create their own venture in photography. However, it's up to YOU to make sure you believe in that goal and can sell that goal through your essays and in your interview. A consultant can't hold your hand all the way through the process; at the end of the day, it is YOUR application. You have to be comfortable with the content that is included in it, and you have to own what's there in order to gain admission to any school.
After applying and getting dinged at various schools last year I decided to go for a admission consultant and after a lot of reserach decided to go for MBADream.in and I couldn't have done any better. One of the reason I choose them was because they are experts with indian applicants. Add to it a solid track record of getting more than 99% of the applicants admitted into their preffered MBA program you have a winner in my eyes.
Getting 7 interview invites from TOP 20 schools already combined with ISB speaks volume about the quality of work done by MBADream. I also got admitted into Vanderbilt Owen with more than 75% scholarship. I am thoroughly convinced that MBADream increased my chances many times over than if I had done it on my own considering I would fall under the most competitive applicant pools ever. My consultant’s guidance and ability to see the best in me helped me realize my life long dreams. I would highly recommend MBAdream, especially to anyone that wants to differentiate themselves and compete for the most coveted business school acceptance letters
Check out this guy's other posts. This is clearly spam.
So from my experience with AmeriAsia, say you are an IT consultant (I'm not going to give out the specifics of my background or what the actual career goal was) and your passion was skydiving, your career goal essay may be to open up a sky diving school or something like that. Yeah good luck defending that one in the interview.
If you have clear career goals in mind then by all means hire AmeriAsia. They're really good at editing and turning the essays around quickly. Much better than the other two consultants I hired afterwards. But in terms of giving the business schools what they want to hear...I'm not sure I would recommend them to anybody for that.
I had a completely different feeling of Amerasia and Paul Lanzillotti. I found him to be very realistic and very cognizant of what realistic career goals were for someone of my background. While a career switch is not uncommon, you need to remember that as the applicant, you are eventually the one who is interviewing and need to be able to speak convincingly in person about WHY this is your goal and HOW this is going to happen. The fact that you got an interview is testament to the fact that your essay conveyed this in a reasonable fashion.
I used Amerasia on a 2 school package this year and cannot recommend them enough. The initial call lasted almost two hours and made it very clear that 1) they know a LOT about business schools and how to position you best with each and 2) they really care and want to see their clients succeed. While other firms tried to lower my expectations because of my fewer years of work experience than most applicants, Amerasia raised my confidence and told me to consider some Top-7 schools on top of the Top-15/20 that I was considering.
The choice to use Amerasia was easy – but the editing process (thankfully) was not! Paul was never afraid to tell me if a draft was completely off point, yet was always able to provide thoughtful suggestions on how to recover. We started way early, spoke nearly every week and spent months editing and honing my essays.
The best thing about Amerasia was that from our first call, Paul already had a strategy on how I could connect the dots of my academic and career experience to tell a story of myself. He turned my unique background from what I perceived as a weakness into a major strength! Paul could also bring out insight from our talks that I was previously unable to bring out on my own. By the time my interviews came around, I knew my story and what I had to offer so well that the process went very smoothly. Amerasia’s months of guidance definitely were to thank!
Beyond this all, Paul was always an excellent sounding board and a calming influence during the stressful months before and after sending in my applications. Overall he is a cool guy as well and fun to work with, even through the monotony of editing essays.
Thanks to Amerasia’s help, I was accepted at Kellogg, a dream school of mine! I wholeheartedly recommend Amerasia to anyone looking for the more insightful consultants who are behind their clients 100%.
Hate to burst your bubble but I'm a first time poster here and my official review is being verified with Gmatclub right now. I was about to post my Amerasia review here too and wanted to share my 2 cents.
I have been a GMAT clubber for a long time and would like to post my review on Betsy Massar from Master Admissions. I was in the zero admit club last year, and before I used Betsy, I used Admissionado(Precision Essay) for my essays. Sad to say, while I didn’t certainly have a negative experience with Admissionado , it wasn’t a fantastic experience either and I didn’t get into the schools I applied to (in Mar 2012).They sure have a cheap/affordable package but quality just isn’t there.
So when I was dinged for Fall 2012, I revamped my efforts and talked to other consultants who might help me. In fact I talked to a number of consultants in this very thread and one of them even mentioned that I have better chances of getting in the Top 8-ish B-schools in next 1-2 years and even advised me to wait. Now my experience with Betsy was very different – she didn’t make any such comments in our first meeting and she is so easy and funny to talk to! She also doesn’t go by the clock in terms of billing by the hour(e.g she will probably charge you her 1 hour rate even if you talked for, say 75mins) – she is very flexible that way. Also her rates are very reasonable compared to the outrageous rate elsewhere.
On a side note, it’s very important that you choose are realistic about the schools you choose! I see a number of GMAT clubbers choose very unrealistic schools in the first place and put it on the consultant when they don't get in and Betsy can give you a clear idea of your realistic and stretch schools. She is also amazingly responsive, I have gotten reply within hours, in her early mornings and sometimes within minutes. She has patiently answered all my extremely trivial questions. She is however, booked quickly so its better to book her early in the season to get maximum benefit. Of course, she remembers every single detail about your life even when she is booked fully, something I really appreciated during the stressful rounds. She will also call your BS directly if you attempt it so I am not sure if that’s for everyone.
Also, don’t expect her to write anything for you – that’s highly unethical and not a consultant’s job, but she is an awesome sounding board! I was always highly inspired her after my talks with her and wrote my essays after talking with her. She will also ensure that you adhere to a timeline when completing your essays, so that you can meet the deadline. I was applying to 5 schools at the same time and Betsy really helped keep track of my apps and how I could meet the deadline.
Similarly for interview prep, what I found most helpful was not the interview in itself but the solid discussion we had, which really helped frame my answers properly. There were also patterns I didn’t notice/realize about myself, which Betsy did and that was eye-opening for me because I could clearly see why I was pursuing an MBA. Outside of the MBA process, I find myself having a much better thought clarity having come out of her guidance. All-in all I would recommend Betsy to anyone who is or is-not pursuing an MBA! It’s worth every penny!
Let me know if you have further questions, will be happy to answer them. P.S. I applied to 5 schools in Top 5-15. Interviewed at all 5, accepted at 4.In fact, I didn’t expect at all, to get $$ but I did get partial money from some of them, which makes the decision now doubly hard.
Re: "Best" admission consulting companies?
11 Jan 2013, 08:50