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"Best" admission consulting companies?

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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 18 May 2011, 11:43
Expert's post
Hi redjam17:
I wanted to take a minute to address your comments. I am sorry (and surprised) to hear that you do not think highly of the services that I provided and to first learn about it from your post.

Based on another one of your posts here (low-undergrad-gpa-success-stories-79977-80.html#p908658), you listed your stats as:

GPA: 2.7 non-US university
GMAT: 700 Q47 V38
Waitlisted: Ross, Duke
Admitted: Cornell, Rotman
W.E.: 3 yrs engineering


I only work with a limited set of clients each round and I pride myself on maintaining excellent relationships with them. That is, I know their stats, backgrounds and personalities. Your stats did not immediately ring a bell with me (as representing one of the clients I worked with this past year.)

In fact, I can say with a certainty that approaches 100% that you did not work with me this past year. I understand that you used 2 consultants, but I had no client with any combination of these schools this year. This is why I also find your "turnaround time" statement to be particularly puzzling. Is this assessment based on your experience directly with me or your friend's (the friend you reference in your post) experience with me?

Additionally, Amerasia has been in business since 2006. Although you define my organization as "comparatively new", I certainly disagree with the lack of experience or resultant lack of school insight on my part. Additionally, I served as an executive with one of the largest test prep and admissions consulting firms in the world. I certainly repudiate your statements.

If I am off the mark in my comments above, I welcome you to PM me or email me at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com. While I felt it necessary to response publicly to your assessment, I believe that this issue should have been handled professionally by first seeking out remedy offline. In my experience, forum anonymity never supplants respectful and constructive behavior.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

redjam17 wrote:
Amerasia

Pros
• Cheaper than other consultants especially on multiple school packages
• Polite and very welcoming in their approach

Cons
• Comparatively new to the market and for me that lack of experience showed when I compared them to the other consultants
• Not aggressive in terms of teasing out stories and coming up with new ideas
• Not prompt in their responses. Turnaround time ranged from 24 hrs – 5 days in my case


My own, TOTALLY UNSCIENTIFIC, Rating: 3/5


MBA Apply (Alex)

Pros
• Honest and genuine guy – he was really interested in helping me achieve my goal and didn’t once try to upsell or anything else like that. Quite funny with this comments too!
• Offered plenty of general opinion about schools and was happy to discuss options
• VERY prompt. For 99% of my essays, I got a 24hr turnaround. For shorter emails with single questions, it was even 2-3 hrs sometimes.
• VERY patient. I re-wrote one essay nearly 8 times and he didn’t once get agitated.

Cons
• I didn’t find the interview coaching as useful as Sandy’s and it was a bit expensive at $375 USD!
• Could have been more aggressive in terms of teasing out stories and suggesting ideas (note: Alex is good but when compared to Sandy, he could do better)


My own, TOTALLY UNSCIENTIFIC, Rating: 4/5


HBS Guru (Sandy)

Pros
• The grand-daddy of admissions consulting. Many many years of experience which really shows when you work with him
• Excellent at helping you create great stories and setting yourself apart
• His interview practise was absolutely fantastic and I’d HIGHLY recommend the individual package to anyone considering getting help – even if you don’t sign Sandy for the essay package just pay him for the interview one (around $300 USD I think)

Cons
• Very hard to work with - You’ve gotta be careful about not stepping on his toes at all times and have to follow his instructions to the letter (for example his aversion to attachments and specificity around email subjects). Plus because he's always in high demand, he's very picky and a tad bit egoistic (if I may say)
• You really have to fight for his time – if you slack off (u send your essays intermittently etc) then he’ll slack off too. I faced delays of upto 4 days sometimes which really made me wonder whether he’d even bothered to read my essays.
• Expensive - Each school is $2600 USD. No package discounts.
• Very characteristic writing style. If you gave me 5 essays I could pick out “Sandy’s work” within 2 min. And im sure that if I can do it, so can HBS/Stanford/Wharton. Not sure whether that’s a good thing or not. Personally, I used his help to get the story right and then altered that ‘trademark style’ to suit me.


My own, TOTALLY UNSCIENTIFIC, Rating: 4/5


My Advice: I'd pick between Alex or Sandy (depending on individual preferences). I'd take a 2 school package and pick those 2 schools who's essays overlapped the most with my other schools. I'd then take Sandy's interview prep in the end.


DISCLAIMER: The above is entirely my personal opinion and I’d be happy to hear from others who’ve had a different experience to mine. When I started my hunt for admissions consultants, I was hard pressed to find good articles where people talked about their personal experiences so I decided that after I’d gone through the process, I’d certainly write something up so that others could benefit. I hope you all find this useful.

If anyone’s still got any specific questions, feel free to PM me and I’ll try and get back to you as soon as possible.

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 03:18
gmat1011 wrote:
kudos to redjam and sapphiral for posting their experiences. After reading them, I have no doubt in my mind that these are genuine. There are a lot of fake posts out there - shameless plugs for one consulting firm or the other.

After a lot of research (which basically means trying to read about people' experiences on the internet; in my view just having a free session is hardly going to prepare you to expect what is coming) I have signed up for a consultant and will be working with one. I will post my experience once the dust settles and the whole process is over.

People - if you use a consultant then please do post your experience here for what it really was. Don't reveal the schools etc if you don't feel comfortable but do share. Frankly, the cost of hiring a consultant is not insubstantial and there is very little information out there to even know what one is getting into after having parted with $ right up front.

Please share.


Do you mind sharing who you going with ?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 05:24
m7 wrote:
Some moderators remove posts at their will and without explanation. Interesting....So sharing is not always possible here. I know this first hand. I posted my opinions about Sandy, Stacy, Amerasia and some other consultants and all was removed. Perhaps consultants have some saying in this? Very interesting.....
So what is the purpose of these forums exactly? Are we here for sugar coating, fake praises in a controlled environment or for an exchange of our honest opinions in order to help each other? We communicate through PMs anyway but new members do not have the advantage of reading genuine posts here.

Try the "beatthegmat" and see the difference.


is there a consultant review thread on beatthegmat ? All i could find there was where u ask consultants..... Do you know link to such a thread or may be a way to search it (I have not been able to find my way around beatthegmat).

Also can u please share yr thoughts and experiences about different consultants ? (will PM u as well)
Thanks
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 15:16
Edit: Posted by M7 after his account was suspended after the second warning was issued



Wow What's going on here??
Bb, did you create this site as your personal playground and now do whatever you want, i.e. delete posts at your own discretion, decide who can talk and what can be said, etc? Does that make you feel important finally? Well...I guess, if nothing else does... Sad case.
Get a life, you do need one. And try to move to Iran, they still have a dictatorship there, you should fit in.
Go ahead, LITTLE boss, delete my post on your little wall, it is a useless place anyway, thanks to you. But at least you got paid by consultants, huh?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 16:33
I think what's lacking is clear guidelines.

Perhaps for consultant reviews (be it for the free call, or otherwise), posters can just add a disclaimer at the end. e.g.

- Disclaimer: This review is based on my paid use of x, y, and z consulting companies for 1/2/3 schools.
- Disclaimer: This review is based on my reading of x and y's websites.
- Disclaimer: This review is based on a free consult call with x and my paid use of y for school a.
- Disclaimer: This review is based on my anonymous friend's experience paying x for help with school a.

etc.

Thoughts?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 17:06
What's lacking is free speech, not disclaimers.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 20:46
Expert's post
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, 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, 10:59
Expert's post
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, 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 01 Jun 2011, 19:33
Expert's post
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!
Re: "Best" admission consulting companies?   [#permalink] 05 Jun 2011, 15:50
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