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"Best" admission consulting companies?

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 20:46
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redjam17 wrote:
Guys, I think we are loosing sight of what this forum (and thread) was meant for. I think we all owe bb a chance to reclarify why m7's posts were deleted! Also, I agree with Gryphon's request for more clarity around the role of consultants on this forum and whether there is a potential conflict of interest. However, potentially baseless mud slinging can and should be avoided. C'mon lets be civil.

As for rules around posting consultant experiences, bb's been kind enough to provide those anyway. He's clearly given a recommended format and has also given a general disclaimer. From that point onward, common sense should take over...



Thanks for the post! I don't intend to police this thread outside of deleting SPAM and keeping it organized.
Again, there is no value in artificially manufacturing posts.

And, yes, I agree, let's use common sense. There are real and fake reviews and with some, we'll just never know.

P.S. I have updated the rules to be very simple and basically come down to one - be constructive. I appreciate the feedback and by no means want to discourage anyone from posting their experience!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 20:58
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I frankly think people should rate the consultants they use on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 (like redjam). Take a look at any survey or employee evaluation or even some MBA recommendation forms - thats what they do. You give a clear idea of where the service quality experience was located for that person.

Constructive criticism and the need to not hurt the interests of admissions consultants is fine, but given what they charge I personally think they can face a public evaluation when there is so little out there to know what to expect. Know that consultants no matter how accomplished are not magicians who can turn a no-hoper into a sure thing. But they are supposed to increase your chances (else, why hire them?). There is always a risk of abuse of things in life. Yes there will be jerks who use consultants and then come back and rant. But there will also be people out there who run into jerk consultants who charge top $ and then don't deliver.

Anyway, thats what I feel and I will post my experience for what it turns out to be.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 21:05
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I have not used a consultant for my admission experience, so I really don't have a good feel for what each one of them does, but I do feel that they should provide a one-pager to their clients that should stipulate what they will and will not do - to set the expectations so to speak. I know they may be eager to sell the service and seal the deal but at the end, the ones that mis-represent their services/level of help should be somehow punished vs. those that do this (potentially losing a client or two as the result of saying - "sorry, this is not what you need") should be rewarded. Again, my hope is that this thread serves as this reward/punishment mechanism. It won't be perfect due to fake reviews but it will work.

At the same time, i think it is very important to set the expectations of one correctly when choosing an admissions consultant and perhaps something we can do collectively is come up with that list of expectations and Do's/Don'ts

I liked this post by redjam17 very much: best-admission-consulting-companies-92923-120.html#p921705 and linked to it from the main/first post. Does anyone have anything else they would like to add to it? (it was posted on the 16th of May, so it is very recent).


P.S. gmat1011 I have added your suggestion for ranking into the list of Rules.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 20 May 2011, 10:29
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[Please note that this is a throwaway account I crated for this post. For reasons of anonymity I don’t want to use my real user name. I am happy to verify all that follows with a moderator.]

Hi All,

I’ve seen this thread progress over the last several months and have found it very useful. Although I had initially intended to stay out of the conversation, I thought it might be helpful if I shared my experience working with Paul from Amerasia.

After taking a Manhattan GMAT course I had initially planned on signing up with MBAmission (given that they partner with MGMAT). However, after reading earlier posts on this thread I thought I might want to reach out to other consultants as well, one of which was Paul at Amerasia.

Of all my initial consultations I scheduled Paul’s last. As soon as we got on the phone Paul got down to business. What I really liked about Paul was that he dug deeper than the other consultants had. For example, my GMAT is over 750 and my GPA is in the mid 3 range with a double major at a top University. While other consultants thought this was a huge plus, I liked that Paul was honest and said that because one of my major GPA’s was a low 3 and the other was a high 3, it wasn’t going to hurt but it also wasn’t going to be a huge help. Additionally Paul and I went over my career goals “story.” He pointed out that if it was my dream to work in field X but I only had experience in filed Y it would make more sense for my story to be focused on field Y.

After signing up with Paul he set up a recurring 1 hour weekly meeting. Over the last several months Paul has helped me work through all of last year’s essay’s in preparation for this year’s applications. One thing that has really impressed me in working with Paul is his ability to pick which stories are most relevant at each school. To me, this has been extremely helpful.

Some additional thoughts on Amerasia:

1) Paul works hard – each week, in advance of our meeting, Paul will send over updated drafts of all my essays with thorough comments and ideas about restructuring. After each meeting Paul sends over the notes from our call as well as a few homework assignments.

2) Turnaround is quick – I have all of Paul’s contact information. On the one occasion I needed a 6 hour turn around I just sent him my document, texted him, and had it back three hours later.

3) Big picture – when Amerasia looks at my application they look at the entire package. All of my essays for any individual school are worked on in tandem. What I mean by that is that Paul and I have a clear picture of the story we are trying to get across in my application. We view the essays, the letters of rec, and the resume as individual pieces of a puzzle. Paul makes sure everything fits together and is consistent.

Lastly – to those of you working or considering working with a consultant: Even though I have full confidence in Paul and his services I still read articles and books on admittance strategies. It’s your application so take ownership of it. If you don’t hear back from your consultant, call them on their cell. If they don’t change their ways, fire them. It’s your future - don’t let someone else mess it up. A consultant can help improve your application but do your own homework.

I know gmatclub is now asking for a numerical score out of 5. Obviously I haven't completed my applications but have worked with Paul for about 2 months. I've emailed back and forth with him nearly daily and had phone calls at least once a week if not more often. Thus far I have nothing to complain about: 5/5.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 20 May 2011, 10:59
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Thank you K0. This is the case where posting your username would have been very helpful.... but I guess we can somewhat understand. At the same time seeing a super positive post that's so passionate will be suspicious to a number of folks..... esp since there are no negatives or cons.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 20 May 2011, 11:11
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More info/light on this:

The K0 PM'ed me, so he/she is a real user.
Their username was registered in the fall of 2010 (somewhat seasoned member) but they do not have any posts.
The username does contain the first name of the poster, so I guess that somewhat explains the incognito post.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 20 May 2011, 11:36
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[Please note that this is a throwaway account I crated for this post. For reasons of anonymity I don’t want to use my real user name. I am happy to verify all that follows with a moderator.]

Hi All,

I’ve seen this thread progress over the last several months and have found it very useful. Although I had initially intended to stay out of the conversation, I thought it might be helpful if I shared my experience working with Paul from Amerasia.

After taking a Manhattan GMAT course I had initially planned on signing up with MBAmission (given that they partner with MGMAT). However, after reading earlier posts on this thread I thought I might want to reach out to other consultants as well, one of which was Paul at Amerasia.

Of all my initial consultations I scheduled Paul’s last. As soon as we got on the phone Paul got down to business. What I really liked about Paul was that he dug deeper than the other consultants had. For example, my GMAT is over 750 and my GPA is in the mid 3 range with a double major at a top University. While other consultants thought this was a huge plus, I liked that Paul was honest and said that because one of my major GPA’s was a low 3 and the other was a high 3, it wasn’t going to hurt but it also wasn’t going to be a huge help. Additionally Paul and I went over my career goals “story.” He pointed out that if it was my dream to work in field X but I only had experience in filed Y it would make more sense for my story to be focused on field Y.

After signing up with Paul he set up a recurring 1 hour weekly meeting. Over the last several months Paul has helped me work through all of last year’s essay’s in preparation for this year’s applications. One thing that has really impressed me in working with Paul is his ability to pick which stories are most relevant at each school. To me, this has been extremely helpful.

Some additional thoughts on Amerasia:

1) Paul works hard – each week, in advance of our meeting, Paul will send over updated drafts of all my essays with thorough comments and ideas about restructuring. After each meeting Paul sends over the notes from our call as well as a few homework assignments.

2) Turnaround is quick – I have all of Paul’s contact information. On the one occasion I needed a 6 hour turn around I just sent him my document, texted him, and had it back three hours later.

3) Big picture – when Amerasia looks at my application they look at the entire package. All of my essays for any individual school are worked on in tandem. What I mean by that is that Paul and I have a clear picture of the story we are trying to get across in my application. We view the essays, the letters of rec, and the resume as individual pieces of a puzzle. Paul makes sure everything fits together and is consistent.

Lastly – to those of you working or considering working with a consultant: Even though I have full confidence in Paul and his services I still read articles and books on admittance strategies. It’s your application so take ownership of it. If you don’t hear back from your consultant, call them on their cell. If they don’t change their ways, fire them. It’s your future - don’t let someone else mess it up. A consultant can help improve your application but do your own homework.

I know gmatclub is now asking for a numerical score out of 5. Obviously I haven't completed my applications but have worked with Paul for about 2 months. I've emailed back and forth with him nearly daily and had phone calls at least once a week if not more often. Thus far I have nothing to complain about: 5/5.


Hey, you say that you've been heavily involved with your apps for the past 2 months but haven't completed them yet?

Haven't the deadlines past for most schools? Or are you just prepping really really early for this years apps?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 20 May 2011, 13:25
Hi MDF,

you raise a good point, I should have been more clear.

Applying for next year. Ideally, I'll submit 5 apps first round.

Yea its early, but its also a huge amount of work. Harvard essays are already out and I assume the others will follow in the next month. Paul has me work on last years essay so that I get practice explaining my story and making sure it flows correctly. Each essay takes several iterations to get right. Once that's done everything has to be tied to my resume and then I write a template for my letters of rec to make sure that fits as well.

In my earlier post I note a time when I needed Paul's help on something right away. Paul suggested that i sign up for a campus event which required an essay. I didn't look at the registration time line until the day it was due...

Last year I helped one of my co-workers do her apps and I realized exactly how much work it can be.

Also, i signed up about 2 months ago because many of the consultants had discounts for people that signed up way in advance.

Its definitely on the early side but my working style has always been to get stuff done as soon as possible.

MDF wrote:

Hey, you say that you've been heavily involved with your apps for the past 2 months but haven't completed them yet?

Haven't the deadlines past for most schools? Or are you just prepping really really early for this years apps?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 22 May 2011, 14:55
This thread is fantastic. I agree with others that given all the money we will spend on consultants, we should have a little more clarity on what to expect.

Even though there is a lot of good information on this thread, I haven't seen much data for the "big" consulting firms - ClearAdmit, Admit Advantage etc.

Does anyone have any data to share for those?

Thanks!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 26 May 2011, 09:06
After a couple of rejections this session, I wanted to build up an app strategy for the next session with the help of an expert and recently worked with Sameer of MBACrystalBall dot com.
After the initial introductory session, he analyzed my profile - both strengths and weaknesses - based on the information from our interaction and my answers to the questionnaire (he'd sent me to fill up).
Sameer came up with a detailed Crystal Ball report which covers all the aspects of my profile and not only that, it also comprises a list of bschools, categorized in 5 different tiers. But the process did not end here - I reviewed the report and finalized a list of 6-7 schools to apply to. Then we had a wrap up call to discuss about the report in details and come to a specific set of conclusions.

Overall experience was very satisfactory because of -
1. In-depth profile analysis and honest feedback.
2. Valuable insider's view from Sameer regarding goals, different schools, programs etc.
3. Great value for money.
4. Sameer is really nice person to interact with and always ready to help.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 27 May 2011, 00:06
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I consider using professional experience in my application process: just like in case of GMAT or TOEFL essays, I want to learn best practices for structure/tone. After reading this topic thread my consideration is:

- consultants are not standardized products such as iphone (xbox, snickers bar etc), therefore each of us will have a totally different experience working with them. Therefore client reviews are good, but it makes sense to schedule a trial session and get your own impression. You'll work with a person, not with a gadget, so chemisty matters!

- many companies sell their own admission books. It makes a lot of sense to read those to grasp an idea whether this company services fit you. Start from there - for USD 20-40 you get a first-hand impression about the author/company + some admission hints.

- do you prework! If you're GMAT is 600 and you target Wharton (or you chose a name from Top-20) and your consultant did not address that issue during the trial interview... 'Houston, we've got a problem'! I mentioned a stupid example, but you've got an idea. A good consultant shall provide some insights that you did not even consider before the call!

Last edited by AN225 on 10 Jun 2011, 13:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2011, 19:33
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The first post has been updated to include links to all reviews in this thread. If we missed any please PM me or redjam17
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2011, 05:19
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I wanted to add an endorsement for Adam from Amerasia. I used Adam’s services for my Booth and Wharton applications. I would consider myself a fairly strong candidate to begin with, and I have plenty of resources from friends/family for editing (my roommate is a professional editor, and I have several friends from top MBA programs). So, going into application season, I was skeptical of the value of a consultant.

Adam did a free consultation with me and that really convinced me to use his services. He's very knowledgeable about the top MBA programs and what they're specifically looking for in candidate essays. He gave me great advice about how to position myself as a candidate in the applicant pool and how to apply that positioning to my essays. I was able to use the advice he gave me in the free consultation throughout all of my bschool apps. In particular, I truly believe that some of the tips he gave me about Columbia during the free consultation made the difference for my admittance there. All of my applications benefited from his advice and feedback on my goals essays for both schools.

There is nothing like having the feedback of a professional that works with these schools. Adam helped me firm up my career goals essay in a way that made me really confident in what I was submitting. His feedback was especially useful on the Booth powerpoint and the behavioral essays from both schools. He really pushed me to better refine my “why MBA message” in a way that I don’t think I would have gotten to on my own.

Generally, I found him to be responsive to my emails and he turned around editing requests in about 24 hours most of the time. This was pretty impressive given that I worked right up until the deadline on my essays, when I’m sure he was busy with other clients.

Obviously, using a consultant is no guarantee of admission, particularly at top schools. Adam and I spent a lot of time working on my Wharton application, but I still got dinged. I won’t ever know for sure if using Adam’s services “made the difference” for my admits to Booth, Kellogg and Columbia, but I do think that he helped improve the quality of my applications, and that made engaging him well worth it.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2011, 14:44
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.


Did you ever get their pricing? Can you send to me?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2011, 14:54
goldgoldandgold wrote:
I also tried EssayCom - you won't find them advertise anywhere. My friend here on GC forum recommended me.

He charged me 120 bucks per essay (any school), unlimited edits and reviews, 2 day return

I would recommend trying him if you know your story and profile (as he won't do much in that level). He also only communicates via email which I thought was okay. He did turn around in 2 days and I was pleased with his edits on one essay and was average on the other one. I think he also charges 420 bucks for the whole school unlimited package too.

Based on my experience, I would rate him a 3.5 - 3.75 out of 5. So maybe he would fit in with your needs. 120 bucks? Worth a shot IMO. Nothing to lose. Better than spending 5k and realizing that some big brand company did not fit your needs.

I will have a couple more in coming days as I am out of country. PM me if you need more info.


Do you have more info on EssayCom? I couldn't find any other info on this site and want to hear more. Thanks!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2011, 09:05
I am new to the site but wish I'd read through this forum before I started this process. The list of questions to select a consultant is really good. I wish I had that list when I talked to the companies. I decided to only speak to two firms (SBC and Veritas) because my friends had used them and could personally recommend.

I plan to wait until I rewrite the GMAT (or GRE am still deciding which to do) but I plan to use Stacy Blackman for essay help. I didn't have a bad experience with Veritas, the woman who did the free call was helpful, but I thought she was too positive since I know I have some weaknesses. After I spoke with her I thought of many more questions that I wish I had asked. So it's good to give yourself a day or so in between phone calls so you can process the info. I spoke with Lisa at SBC for the free call and thought she did a great job answering all my questions. She was very experienced and gave me honest and constructive feedback about my experiences and what I needed to work on. She was also very knowledgeable about each school's programs and cultures. I like how the company matches people with consultants before they pay. The only issue is the cost for comprehensive, so I'm planning to use them to help with my essays.

I was surprised to see that some people use multiple companies. Who has used more than 1 service at the same time? How did you decide how to divide the work up? Did you have the different consultants help with the same school? I'm now considering hiring 2 firms to help with essays.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2011, 15:50
Hi richmba,
Did you buy the comprehensive package, or did you use her services on a hourly basis? I am thinking of hiring her for my application.


richmba wrote:
Hi,

I am recommending the services from Natalie and accepted. com. I get to know Natalie through this community and it has been a truly grateful, pleaseant experience to work with such seasoned professionals. She have helped me to get into one of the top 10 MBA in the nation and I truly appreciate for her caring atttiude, energy and professional serivices that she have prepared me in this journey.

Natalie basically tansformed me from a raw material into a presentable statue. My background is Ivy League, medium-ranked GPA, 720 GMAT, 2+ yrs I-bankng experience in New York. However, Natalie not only help me edit the essays but also teaches me how to strcuture the essays into a presentable format. I truly appreciate her help.

If you have any questions or comments, please pm me, thanks!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2011, 03:48
Guys,
Which companies offer essay editing on per item, not hourly basis?

I am doing my school research and alumni' interviews, therefore I don't need an ultraexpensive per-school package. Instead, I'd like someone to check essays and only them.

So far I identified two options: Precision Essays and Ivy App Success (the guy did not reply yet :) )
Are there other options out there?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2011, 10:43
Has anybody used the B-school admissions counselling services offered by Stratusprep? (Shawn O'Connor, Vani Krishnamurthy, Samantha Merton, Vanessa Gil). please share your feedback/experience working with them?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2011, 11:34
Ironically enough I was reading an article authored by O'Connor today on Poets and Quants. The grammar errors did not inspire confidence. As it relates to your question, no, I had not heard of them until today so I'm not sure what one should expect.

"The competition is fierce, and no one – not even superstars at Goldman, McKinsey, or Blackstone – are guaranteed admission."

"Those who get into HBS do not just show how they were the best at the job they were asked to do; instead, they show how they went above and beyond (professionally, personally, and academically) in order to create the world in which the aspire to live – not simply by attending fundraisers or making donations, but by having a much more tangible impact."

http://poetsandquants.com/2011/04/25/wh ... etting-in/
Re: "Best" admission consulting companies?   [#permalink] 09 Jun 2011, 11:34
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