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"Best" admission consulting companies?

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 22 Dec 2012, 04:16
Just finished b-school at insead. a promise is a promise! so thought i'd return to the club & post briefly... damn, the website looks a whole lot different now than before...

OK - so admissions consultant: I used a reasonably well known one for a US school (got denied). spent a whole month on the application last year. wrote out the insead app in 4 days on my own and got in. I didn't apply to other schools after the insead admission though initially i had planned to. Nothing against the consultant - I think he was thorough and we exchanged a lot of emails. My personal opinion (and people can disagree, still I am entitled to my own & have my own experience to show for it): deep down you know you have a story or not... if you don't have rich "experiences" in life that sound reasonably impressive on paper then chances are a consultant can not help you 'show case' much & wont offer much more than moral support while you write out the apps. I think my profile was a fit for insead but my experiences were not a match for the US school. That was exactly my concern when I applied as the US school I targeted was my top pick for many reasons. Anyway, thats how it played out and that is life...

I return to my prior field armed with an MBA (not common to hold MBAs) and hope to create an impact & distinguish myself. The MBA came with a lot of 'soft' learning and though at this point I cannot put a finger on how exactly I have changed as a person, I can still say I feel different and somewhat more accomplished. It is an experience I would recommend as 1/2 years out of a working life of 30-40 years is nothing in the grand scheme of things... But be clear about your goals and re whether or not to use a consultant - do some soul searching on whether or not you have an interesting "story" for the school as the consultant will for the most part nudge you in the same direction... you will have to uncover the interesting anecdotes from your life, no other person can do it! Cheers & Good Luck.

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.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 22 Dec 2012, 05:48
I would recommend Alex Chu in a heartbeat. He's incredibly helpful. He doesn't write for you, but he helps you craft your own story in a way that really makes them pop. I look at my first draft essays and I'm amazed by the transformation.

People say that he's very direct. Well, why the heck would you not want someone who will give you straight advice? You're about to drop $200K on an education. You should want someone who will give you explicit and constructive advice. I just received my acceptance letter from Wharton. Very stoked and appreciate all of Alex's help.

I'm working on a few more applications now and look forward to working with Alex through these now. I'm happy to answer direct questions via PM.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 22 Dec 2012, 14:37
I didn't use a consultant at all during my apps, but am now looking for some advice/recs on hiring one for waitlist help. On some level, I want it just to have no regrets, but also thinking it might be good to have somebody look at what I submitted and formulate ideas as to why I wasn't admitted (considering I submitted the best thing I thought I could, I'm thinking it will be tough to be objective).

What are people's thoughts on using a consultant for this? And if you say 'yay', are there some that you think would be better for this type of service than others?

- I have had a free 30 minute session with Admissionado and Clear Admit, just wondering if people rec others.

Thanks!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2013, 17:55
Round1ThisFall wrote:
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 ;-)


Let's face it...most of us are applying to business school because we think we deserve to make more money. We don't like reading and writing too much which is why we didn't go to a Top 10 law school and we're probably too lazy or dumb for medical school. Now I would expect someone who does this for a living to know the game well enough to be able to help me craft a career goal that wouldn't have the admissions committee questioning it. For $2900 and for someone with years of experience you would expect that person to know that!

Here is the biggest lesson I learned with applying to business school so far: If your career goal essay is too much of a career change from your current path (especially in today's economy) you might as well not even apply. It is SO much harder to get in when you're an engineer trying to transition to marketing. You better come up with some sob story about how you want to leverage your skills to benefit some third world country and save the natural rain forest.

I interviewed with Cornell using a similar career goal and even my interviewer said everything looked good except my career goal was such a drastic change from my current line of work that she questioned whether or not I could pull it off. I'm currently waitlisted.

Ask your consultant what he/she thinks your career goal should be based on your background during your free consultation. And don't fall for that "Oh you better sign up now cause I'm filling up soon" BS. That was the line that caught me.

Overall thumbs down to AmeriAsia.

PS. Round1ThisFall, you are right...the admissions committee agreed with you...they thought because my passion was what I stated in my essay that I don't belong at Columbia Business School.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 09 Jan 2013, 12:52
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sneakoner wrote:

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%.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 09 Jan 2013, 13:15
MNC86 wrote:

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%.


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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 09 Jan 2013, 13:20
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sneakoner wrote:

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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.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2013, 07:50
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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.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2013, 23:09

!
Moderator's Warning: - User with low number of posts. High potential for a non-genuine review. If you're the poster, the warning can be removed if you can provide proof of service to the moderator.

I worked with Aringo a few years ago and wanted to share my wonderful experience and thank the great professionals I worked with:
Thank you Aringo staff! It is mainly thanks to you that I was accepted to a number of top 10 schools with significant scholarships, and most importantly to Wharton - my goal from the start. You helped me in an extraordinary way - starting from the strategy and ending with essay editing.
For me, one of the significant advantages was the very structured and professional framework that carried me through the stages of application preparation in an organized manner. And of course - the amazing responsiveness during the stressful days and nights right before the application submissions. We made it together!
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Access Education - Selecting an admission consultant [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 00:32
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I spent a lot of time looking for the right admissions consultant and in the process talked to many of those on this list and went through assessments/interviews/conversations with many of them. Here is my advice for selecting the right admissions consultant (AC):

1) It's all about fit
You are going to spend a lot of time working with your AC - as you are assessing ACs, ask yourself if you could see yourself enjoying working with the person. Is there personality/style the right fit for you. Treat it as an interview where you are the interviewer - for me this process yielded one clear winner and I strongly recommend this approach to anyone (TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FREE ASSESSMENTS THAT MOST CONSULTANTS OFFER)

2) Make sure your application gets to the core of your USPs
At the end of the day, the right consultant will help YOU articulate YOUR "unique selling points" This is the essence of any good bschool application. The originality, appeal, and fit of your personality will only come out of a deep introspective process - otherwise your application will tend to tell a story that you think the adcoms want to hear rather than the story you should be telling about yourself.
So avoid consultants that prescriptive right off the bat or who don't seem to want to get to know you on a deep level. If a consultant doesn't know you they will not be able to help you articulate your story.

My experience led me to selecting Laura Freedman at Access Education MBA Admissions Consultants in Singapore. Simply put, I don't think that I could have worked with a more effective partner for completing my (now successful!) application to INSEAD. Here's why:

Laura took the time to hear about me. And asked questions. And more questions. Whereas most other initial conversations I had with ACs went something like this "well you seem to have strong extracurriculars but your GPA might be slightly low so maybe you should consider taking some classes to boost your grades"... Laura, very refreshingly, did not offer any cookie cutter suggestions. I immediately got a sense that we would have good working chemistry - she's smart, she cares, and relentlessly keeps you focussed on reaching your goal.
Her approach starts with several sessions of getting to know you so that she can speak from a place of knowledge about you in context of your application. I really can't emphasize enough how important this process was in helping me create a truly unique, self-representative application.

Access Education was without question right for me. Follow the approach I outlined above and you'll find the right one for you. But do yourself a favor and talk to Laura Freedman and do the free diagnostic as part of your AC evaluation process.
http://www.accesseducation.com.sg/
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2013, 07:59
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After enjoying a relaxing holiday break where I could finally stop worrying about b-school admissions, I thought I’d share my experience with the admissions consultants with whom I interacted during my application process.

As background, I am an American with work experience in consulting and private equity. I applied to HBS, Stanford, and Kellogg, and was accepted at my top choice, HBS. I got dinged at Stanford and withdrew my app from Kellogg once I found out I got into HBS, so not sure if I would have been accepted there or not.

I’m sure some people here are wondering whether admissions consultants are worth their high fees in the first place. I was initially dubious as to the value of admissions consultants, as I assumed I could choose the “right” schools and write reasonable essays on my own. And since I was coming from a fairly traditional background (“a dime a dozen” in the words of Sandy Kreisberg over at Poets and Quants!), I didn’t think I’d need help “packaging” myself in my apps. But I figured I’d check them out just in case, and am glad I did.

I setup preliminary interviews with several consultants. Here are my thoughts:

Alex @ MBA Apply: his best quality is he’s a straight shooter – no BS. Some people may not react well to his bluntness, but if you’re the type of candidate who needs a kick-in-the-pants to get moving on your apps, he could be a good choice. Appreciated his preliminary thoughts on my profile, but ultimately didn’t choose him because I connected better with other consultants.

MBA Exchange: they were my least favorite. Instead of a phone call consultation, they wrote me this super-long email evaluating my profile and explaining their service offering. Despite its length, their evaluation of my profile was void of much content, and in some instances didn’t make a lot of sense. For example, they said my extracurricular activities were an “addressable vulnerability in my current profile,” and that they could “help [me] identify the gaps and present meaningful leadership roles that require only minimal time and won’t appear expedient.” First of all, my EC involvement is one of the strongest portions of my profile. Second, I find it difficult to imagine any new EC I could sign-up for literally 4 months before R1 applications are due that would enable me to secure “meaningful leadership roles” but “would not appear expedient.” Long story short, it was clear that they had a template email that they dropped my profile into without giving it much thought.

mbaMission: my preliminary consultation was with Angela Guido, who then referred me to Akiba Smith-Francis. Angela was great, but our conversation was fairly cursory (that is not a criticism – that was by design). My conversation with Akiba was great – she was extremely articulate and clearly understood the nuances of the various schools I was considering. She’s also a published author, which says something of her writing talents. mbaMission was my second choice, and I’m sure they would have done a great job had I chosen to work with them.

Amerasia: I ultimately chose to work with Adam Hoff from Amerasia. I’ll go into more detail below, but it was a fantastic experience overall. In terms of preliminary consultation, Adam differentiated himself by demonstrating a clear understanding of the unique aspects of various programs (btw, this is actually more important than I realized), brainstorming unique and interesting ways to tell my story (despite my very traditional background), and building a strong connection with me that led me to believe we’d work well together. So I pulled the trigger on a 12-hour package with Amerasia.

Like I said, I had a fantastic experience working with Adam, and would definitely work with him again. Here are some key highlights:

Knowledge of the schools: One thing I came to appreciate throughout the process was how much Adam knew about the different programs. My original plan was to write fairly similar essays for each program, but Adam taught me the unique nuances between each program that I’d never pick up on my own. In some cases I used different stories as a result, while in other cases I simply told the same story through a different lens in order to highlight a slightly different aspect of my personality/professional background. This is a key part of the application process that I didn’t think much about beforehand and would encourage all of you to consider.

Idea generation: I thought Adam did a wonderful job of helping me craft my “story” so that it best conveyed my prior accomplishments, yet also set the stage for what I wanted to accomplish both during and after b-school. He helped me brainstorm strong essay ideas that revealed unique aspects of my personality while also being sure to demonstrate strong evidence of professional achievement. Because schools keep reducing the number of essays/word counts, making each essay really count becomes even more difficult, so I really appreciated Adam’s skill in this area.

Technical writing skill: first of all, let me be clear that Adam will not (a) tell you what you should write about or (b) actually write anything for you. If that’s what you want, look elsewhere. But I would caution you that doing so is not only unethical, but adcoms are also very adept at identifying false or manipulated applications. Anyway, Adam is an incredible writer. A lawyer by training, he is very skilled at structuring essays and communicating through writing. His input was extremely valuable in helping me convey the ideas I wanted to convey through my essays. In other words, the idea was always in my head – he just helped me write it in the best way possible. He’s also great at picking up grammatical errors, odd syntax, etc., although as a native English speaker this wasn’t a huge issue for me.

Response time: I have read on the forum that many applicants have issues with their consultant’s response time. Adam was always great in this regard – he always got back to me within 2 business days, and usually within 12-24 hours. He keeps somewhat odd hours – usually working really late at night – but I typically had a response back from him the next morning after I sent him an email.

Motivation: I didn’t really need his help to push me to turn in my next draft of essays, etc. But he was great at really pushing me to make my essays the best they could possibly be. He wouldn’t stop after 1, 2, or 3 iterations – we worked the essays as much as they needed to be worked until they were done. Let’s just say I was sick of reading them by the end of the process! That said, he also always let me know when it was done … meaning, he’d tell me to stop editing it! You can drive yourself crazy by endlessly editing those stupid things, so getting his explicit stamp of approval that it was ready to submit was very reassuring.

Working relationship: an added bonus of working with Adam is that he’s a fun guy! We talked about sports, family, and other random topics throughout the process. Not only did this help Adam get to know me better (which enabled him to provide more value advice), but it also helped make what is a very stressful process slightly less stressful. I feel like he and I are friends now, even though we’ve never met in person.

Final note: while I loved working with Adam, we didn’t always agree on everything, and there were times I elected not to take his advice – I knew my application was ultimately my responsibility.

Earlier I mentioned that I was initially dubious of the value admissions consultants can provide. I hope this review illustrates that I completely changed my mind on that after working with Adam. There is no way my applications would have been as good (or even nearly as good) without his help. If you’re considering using a consultant, I highly recommend Amerasia, and Adam Hoff in particular.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 25 Jan 2013, 06:59
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GMAT Club - This may be a little long, but I hope my unique experience, process for selection, and feedback is helpful to those choosing an admissions consultant.

After months and countless hours scouring the site for tips and feedback, I've decided to add something of substance of my own. Namely, my experience with admissions consultants. About a year ago, as I was preparing (and deciding) to apply to b-school, I began by identifying schools that made sense for me. While I (in no means) work in what many b-school admissions boards would consider a "prestigious" job/field, I am well compensated - better than I'll likely be immediately out of b-school - and therefore agonized at the "cost/benefit analysis" of going. After speaking with many, many people in my target industry, I decided to try to take the plunge, but I could really identify only about 4 or 5 schools that seemed "worth it," both in the short run and the long run.

I was pretty familiar with those schools and the stringent admissions process, but upon further research, I realized I had a problem. My GMAT was good but under the median for each, my GPA was WELL under the median for each, I went to a mid-tier state school, and although I had extracurricular activities, I was downplaying their importance. Most importantly, while I had an idea of my future career path and "story," I was having a difficult time articulating it to myself. That's when it dawned on me - perhaps I should look into getting an admissions consultant. I soon realized admissions consultants weren't cheap, but I decided that if one made sense for me, I'd go with the entire 4 (or 5) school package. Ideally, I was hoping to find TWO separate consultants to take advantage of two different viewpoints on everything. I would just work with them on different schools.

I immediately set about "interviewing" various consultants (i.e. taking advantage of their "free" hour consultation). Prior to the interview, I sent them a lengthy profile of myself so they'd be adequately prepared, and asked them questions about my chances at the top schools, how to frame my background, strengths/weaknesses, what their process was, and some other general things to get a good feel for who I may be working with. After interviewing 15 or 16 (literally) consulting firms, including MBA Mission, ClearAdmit, Stacy Blackman Consulting, MBA Prep Advantage, MBA Prep School, etc.... etc...., I wasn't feeling great. Each interview was pretty similar, and while I liked a few of the consultants, they weren't convincing me the money was worth it. Desperate and trying to whittle it down to two, I stumbled on Amerasia and Paul Lanzilotti on the GMAT Club website, and decided it was worth one more hour of my time to chat with Paul.

That decision helped me get into one of the top schools in the world.

Even on our INITIAL phone call, Paul was much different than every other consultant I'd spoken with. I could tell he had taken the time to read my bio, and came with ideas on how to shape my story. Our first phone call ran 90 minutes, with Paul asking me to elaborate on the bio I'd sent him and then him spilling out ideas for my story, even how to apply themes to various essays. I was frantically taking notes the whole time, even though I realized within the first 10 minutes that I had to hire him. Most importantly to me, we clicked fairly easily. Paul was not only clearly knowledgeable about the admissions process and extremely creative and resourceful in that he already had essay/story ideas (and was sharing them with me on our "free" call), but he was laid-back, casual, and much frank/honest than the other consultants I'd spoken with.

I told Paul even before we hung up the phone that he was hired, but due to my extremely, extremely analytical approach to this process, I still had to re-visit my "admissions consultant spreadsheet," and decide whether to go with Paul on the whole package or hire another consultant as well. I ended up sticking to my guns, and decided to work with Paul on two of the top schools, and another admissions consultant I'd previously interviewed on the two others.

Over the course of the next few months, Paul and I built a very comfortable relationship, working for hours weekly (Paul never complained about our two hour phone calls) on crafting my "story" and essay ideas based on my background. Within a few weeks, we were already shooting essay drafts back and forth for editing, and had knocked out my target school within a month or so. I was quickly beginning to realize the difference between Paul and the other consultant I'd decided to work with - I genuinely felt Paul WANTED me to get into these schools as bad as I wanted to and more importantly, he was going to tell me how to do it. While my other consultant had a fantastic system/structure in place for identifying references, crafting essay ideas, and identifying my own strengths and weaknesses, among other things, I was starting to wonder whether I had paid for the "system" itself or his advice. I had paid for an admissions consultant for a reason - I needed input! Ideas! A definitive opinion now and then! With Paul this was never an issue - he always let me "drive" the process (it was my application after all), but he was a wealth of ideas, opinions, and expertise along the way.

The bottom line for me in selecting an admissions consultant and working with an admissions consultant had always been "Who can help get me into the school?" In my case, Paul fit the bill.

After working feverishly with Paul last summer, I was ready for Round 1 applications. I can't tell you how pretty I thought those essays looked. Paul had helped me shape my background into some fantastic essays, and most importantly, he helped me realize how to not only ARTICULATE my story, but how to tailor it to the schools for which I was applying. Lo and behold, I received an acceptance to my school of choice Round 1. I had swung for the fences, both with the schools I applied for and with my decision to work with a consultant, and it had paid off.

Looking back, I can't say that I REALLY regret hiring two admissions consultants, although if I had to go through the process again, there's no doubt in my mind I'd hire Paul and only Paul. When I called him, ecstatic, after my first acceptance letter, he was more excited than I was. After we hung up, he texted me, "This is why I do what I do." I think that sums up Paul pretty well.

I've taken the time to write this (way too) lengthy summary and feedback on my experience because last year at this time, I was clueless. Apprehensive. I was pouring over threads like this one trying to figure out the best way to approach my applications. Moreover, I'm taking the time to write this because of the extra effort and time Paul spent with me, and because I'm that confident that my GMAT Club peers reading this will have a fantastic experience with him.

Good luck with applications!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2013, 16:27

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This is my first post here, and in all honesty I do not spend a lot of time on forums at all because they usually bring me more anxiety than calm! Having said that though, I would like to post for all of you my review of Amerasia and Paul Lanzillotti, and hope that it will help you as you decide whether or not to use a consultant and if so, whom to choose.

When I first decided 2012 would be the year I apply to B-school, I had barely heard of admissions consultants and was certainly not planning to hire one for myself. I have an impressive GMAT score, solid work experience, strong writing skills, and several MBA grads in my extended family to help me so I figured I was all set. When I got down to choosing my schools and looking at the essay prompts for each one, I idly browsed a few GMAT/MBA forums to see what others were doing. That’s when I got seriously intimidated. I realized I was up against a very varied pool of applicants from completely different backgrounds and professions and unlike applying to engineering grad school (which was much more straightforward), I had no idea what I should do to appear unique and compelling in my B-school application. I was encouraged by a couple of friends and by my husband to look into getting a consultant and after some initial sticker shock I decided it was worth the money. I interviewed 3-4 different companies (including Stacy Blackman) before I had my free initial call with Paul Lanzillotti (Amerasia). Within the first 15 minutes of that 90 minute call, my decision was made and I signed up for the 3 school package with Paul immediately! Paul had taken the time before our free consultation call to pore over my resume and profile, and he got straight to the point on the phone discussing what areas of my background I should emphasize versus play down. This was in sharp contrast to the other consultants I’d spoken to earlier, who were clearly learning about me for the first time on the call itself.

My first impression of Paul was excellent, and it never lessened through the many months we worked together on my applications. He came to every single call we had each week fully prepared and we always hit the ground running. I credit him especially for listening carefully when I discussed my experiences, identifying things unique about me and my background, and encouraging me to represent those in my application - which I wouldn’t have done otherwise because these are things I generally take for granted and wouldn’t necessarily think are my best strengths. He also really knows his stuff on what each school wants and how each one is different from the others, which is super useful when you’re applying to multiple top schools and want to tweak each application to be just perfect for the target school. Some schools care a great deal about which clubs you will join, while others just want to hear that you’re going to make a difference in a third world country. I certainly didn’t know who cares about what, so his experience and advice was invaluable. His turnaround time on essays was solid, and his comments were always very detailed and easy to take action on. He never tried to put words in my mouth or write my story in his way, but at the same time was very candid and honest when my stories or ideas just weren’t compelling enough for the essay prompts. He helped me prepare well for my interviews, and was always available to read or review something even at the last minute.

Overall, Paul is just a really nice and easygoing guy, he is very easy to work with and I felt like I was chatting with a friend during our weekly calls. Also, best cheerleader ever. He was genuinely disappointed with me when I didn’t get into Stanford, and incredibly happy with me when I did get into Kellogg. I highly, highly recommend him as an admissions consultant, and I wish him and all of you every success ahead.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2013, 03:25

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Hi All,

after the tough last year that i had, i got in to a top 25 school with a scholarship. I realized working with rahul from mbadream was very useful. My latest admit, from another top 30 school, i received yesterday that too has a scholarship. I suggest, mbaaspirants for next year should speak to mbadream.in. They are top class. .
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Reg: Help required to finalize Admission consultant [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2013, 00:14
Hi Experts,

I have gone through all blogs/posts on GC for admission consultants.
Now i have narrow down my choices to Aringo, Mba Exchange, and Stacyblackman
But i have read negative reviews in one of random side about Stacy blackman, Athough my first discussion was not bad.
I have already first meet with all these consultants.
Now I need your help to give more insight as there is not much about Mba exchange.
Also i could not find any negative about Aringo even in admission411
Kindly provide your input

Thanks\
HS
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2013, 06:39
Did anyone ever use Square one prep? i have only seen one post about them thus far.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 17 Feb 2013, 23:06
thanks for everyone! can someone share more about negative experiences?
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Does anyone have any experience working wth Jennifer Wald ? [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2013, 10:23
Does anyone have any experience working wth Jennifer Wald ?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2013, 12:16
bpmbaquest wrote:
It took me 2 months of market research to finalize on a few Admission Consultants. I grilled almost all the big consultants . Some were too costly, others were simply not interested in what I wanted to say;
Then, I talked to Rahul from mbadream. He was very friendly and we got along well right from the first skype call. He has this amazing gift of understanding people. Right from Day 1, I told him that I want to get into ISB and all the way through, he remained adamant that I must apply to other schools as well (mostly US). Not because he wanted to sell his package or something but because he wanted the best school for me.
Let's be straight about what you would get when you join Rahul's bandwagon:-
1. On call support - in case you are having a writer's block.
2. Amazing editing.
3. Thorough understanding, via discussions, of your profile and suggestions of what to highlight and how to highlight about your profile.
4. Thorough guidance and up to date knowledge about different programs and what's good for your area of interest.
5. Superb network of folks who have already utilized their service.
6. Interview prep and moral support (most important factor for me).

MBADream has its emphasis set on your content, your language. They are very particular about helping you write your own content. This, I believe, is a very good thing!.They polish your story so nicely that even though the content remains same, the appeal of your content is heightened beyond belief.

Overall, I would give MBADream's service a 11 out of 10. They have exceeded my expectations in every possible way. It is because of their sincere efforts that I have my "Dream Admit" from ISB (I did not apply anywhere else, even though Rahul did coerce me to).


:roll: Not the first poster with zero credentials/previous posts to spam the board 'vouching' for this company. If anything it shows that this company should be avoided.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2013, 12:19
I also decided to use an admissions consultant. I spent over a month research different firms. Ultimately, I used Paul Lanzillotti at Amerasia. I did a couple of pre-emails and pre-calls, specifically with Dan Bauer at MBA Exchange and Aimee Pearlman at MBA Mission. My pre-call with Paul was great - I was looking for a more boutique experience where I felt that I would be more of a focus for the consultant that I might be a larger firm. In a lot of ways I felt that I was a borderline candidate that could really benefit from the help and direction of a boutique admissions consulting firm. My bought the four school program with Paul. My results:

Tuck: Admit
Columbia: Admit
Yale: Waitlist
MIT: Ding

You can't really argue with results. I went into the process with a dream school and that's the school I'm attending. Paul was very realistic with me during the process. Going in, he thought there were schools I should get into (I did) and a reach school that was my number one that he wasn't so sure about (and I got it). If anything, I would use this as a example of the fact that Paul won't blow smoke up your ass. When you're shopping around for a consultant and he tells you sure, with his help, you can get into HBS and Wharton, sounds good. Paul didn't. He took a realistic approach to my strengths and weakness and helped me frame a story that put me in the best light. Paul is excellent at figuring out what your best story is and how to tell it to admissions consultants.

On a side note, one of the most valuable parts of my package with Paul was the interview prep. I interviewed at three schools and with each his prep was instrumental. We did two - three mock interviews before each interview. I went into each interview with a great sense of the story I wanted to tell the schools. Not only that, but for each school he helped me tailor it to that individual school based on his knowledge of what that school looks for.
Re: "Best" admission consulting companies?   [#permalink] 21 Feb 2013, 12:19
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