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"Best" admission consulting companies?

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 04 Oct 2012, 02:45
machichi wrote:
I have been hearing lots of questions trying to figure out which consultants are the best. In my opinion there isn't any simple answer, but to help people make more informed decisions, I want to ask people who have USED consultant services to fill out this survey. Should take about 10 minutes! The focus is on what kind of client you are and whether they were the right fit.

Survey for Clients

In any event, share with friends so we can make this data really useful!


I took this survey and was extremely delighted to see the high quality questions, and the pleasing design. I dont know how useful the data will be coming out of this, especially as I didn't see checks in place that ensure only REAL people fill this survey (eg: email address should be mandatory, although not disclosed, alongwith gmatclub/beatthegmat username information). I know my suggestion doesn't completely eliminate fake posters, and may even eliminate some who are true clients, but there should be a mechanism to check for valid entries.

Nonetheless, kudos to your effort - very well done. I am in the process of writing an 'article' on my experiences with consultants. I will post that soon, especially as the next few weeks are much freer as we all wait for interview invites :) cheers!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 04 Oct 2012, 09:04
str1der wrote:
I took this survey and was extremely delighted to see the high quality questions, and the pleasing design. I dont know how useful the data will be coming out of this, especially as I didn't see checks in place that ensure only REAL people fill this survey (eg: email address should be mandatory, although not disclosed, alongwith gmatclub/beatthegmat username information). I know my suggestion doesn't completely eliminate fake posters, and may even eliminate some who are true clients, but there should be a mechanism to check for valid entries.

Nonetheless, kudos to your effort - very well done. I am in the process of writing an 'article' on my experiences with consultants. I will post that soon, especially as the next few weeks are much freer as we all wait for interview invites :) cheers!


Str1der--Thanks for your thoughts and ideas. I have gone back and forth about how to validate entries. I asked for people to indicate WHO they used so I could at least validate that that person truly worked there. I could easily go in and make the email address mandatory, but people might use an alternate email from the one they used for services. I'll add gmatclub/beatthegmat username since I could always follow up with people then.

Any other thoughts on validating the information will not go on deaf hears. Please share your ideas!

This is an experiment that I hope yields great results. If not, I may scheme for another way to get data. :)
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2012, 21:30
machichi wrote:
str1der wrote:
I took this survey and was extremely delighted to see the high quality questions, and the pleasing design. I dont know how useful the data will be coming out of this, especially as I didn't see checks in place that ensure only REAL people fill this survey (eg: email address should be mandatory, although not disclosed, alongwith gmatclub/beatthegmat username information). I know my suggestion doesn't completely eliminate fake posters, and may even eliminate some who are true clients, but there should be a mechanism to check for valid entries.

Nonetheless, kudos to your effort - very well done. I am in the process of writing an 'article' on my experiences with consultants. I will post that soon, especially as the next few weeks are much freer as we all wait for interview invites :) cheers!


Str1der--Thanks for your thoughts and ideas. I have gone back and forth about how to validate entries. I asked for people to indicate WHO they used so I could at least validate that that person truly worked there. I could easily go in and make the email address mandatory, but people might use an alternate email from the one they used for services. I'll add gmatclub/beatthegmat username since I could always follow up with people then.

Any other thoughts on validating the information will not go on deaf hears. Please share your ideas!

This is an experiment that I hope yields great results. If not, I may scheme for another way to get data. :)


Good to hear your thoughts and I hope this effort yields results. I am posting a review on my experience with an admissions consultant below, and he's the same one I entered in the survey. So you have atleast 1 verified response :)
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2012, 20:46
I'd like to recommend Alice van Harten with Menlo Coaching. She has taught professional writing at Stanford and is very good at letting applicants speak with their own voice in their essays and not pander to what popular opinion seems to think that Admissions Committees want to hear. She'll go through with you and evaluate your stories and help you pick the best one to answer the question.

In terms of working with her, Alice is also very reliable and responsive. She offers 10-12 hour packages, but she is not a "clock-watcher." She also offers very reasonable rates compared to many other admissions consulting companies out there. Alice is fully invested in her candidates and demonstrates utmost care in crafting the best application possible.

Alice has a D. Phil from Cambridge and also used to work at Bain (and also received offers from BCG & McKinsey), so she's no slouch in the business department either.

There are many excellent admissions consultants out there, and I know everyone's experience can be different. But I just wanted to throw in Menlo Coaching in this thread as I haven't seen it mentioned before.

Feel free to PM me with any questions.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2012, 00:40
Continuing what Ward said about ALice - I think she is excellent as well.

I haven't yet fully engaged her, but she and Bryan (mentioned above) were the two individuals who provided a highly detailed free consultation which felt more engaging than any others I have had. With Alice, my construct was very different. Instead of the usual consultation, she and I did a mock interview of sorts as I had already submitted R1 applications. This shows her flexibility to help, as doing an interview involves a lot of time from the consultants side (25 min. interview I think), but more importantly, she gave me extremely useful advice for the interview based on how I answered questions, which were invaluable. Her going out of her way to genuinely help me instead of saying ok I did the interview, now for the feedback you gotta pay me $$$ was much appreciated, in addition to her flexibility to really do an interview instead of the usual, and sometimes boring, free consultation call.

I think she will be a very effective critic and will point out the right stuff in my applications - she did so during our interview and I felt she picked on the right things. Knows her stuff very well. What I also found intriguing was that she's British. What that meant to me was that I was getting 'international feedback' of sorts - eg: she said I speak a bit too fast - no one has ever given me that feedback in India, not even people from the US. Also, she graduated from Cambridge and has worked at Bain for a few years - hence, knows her stuff in terms of career goals and making them sound plausible, well enough as well.

As I mentioned before, I havent engaged her fully. I highly recommend you setup a 30 min call with her and figure out if you'd take a chance with her. I hope I don't have to do R2 apps, but if I do, she'd probably be someone I'd look at for advice.

Hope this is helpful.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2012, 18:38
Hi, has anyone worked with or heard of someone's experience with Deborah Knox (Insight Admissions)? thanks
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2012, 02:15
Thanks for sharing your experience in details, sneakoner. Keen to hear about your experience with the other two consultants when you're ready to share.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2012, 06:08
Adam actually sent me an email asking me to take down my post. I'm not trying to slander or defame him or his company - I'm simply sharing my own experiences with the whole process. He'll probably be posting the work he did on my essays to defend him and his company with before and after samples. He does the good work when it comes to editing and writing - like I said earlier he's one of the best writers I've seen. However, I just felt that a better consultant would have marketed me in a better light by tying my career goals more in line with my work experience and educational background.

The following are lessons I learned from hiring consultants:

1. Don't buy the 1-school package (or 2- or 3- school). The weight of the application comes from the essays. Even if you do buy the full-package most of the work the consultant does will be with the essays. I thought they were going to help me with the Extracurricular Activity Section but according to consultants the admissions committee views the Extracurricular Activity Section as a laundry list of items and doesn't put to much weight on it.

2. Don't be afraid to negotiate for better prices. I was scared in the beginning, thinking if I tried to haggle then the consultant may spend less time and effort on my app.

3. Do most of the work yourself first. Don't leave it to the hands of the consultant, no matter how good they are they won't be able to help you if you're not well prepared. Write as much of the Essays and Resume as possible and then send it out to a bunch of different consultants asking for how much work they think you need.

4. Don't fall for the old "my client list is filling up fast - I need you to sign up ASAP". Sign up for a consultant when you feel ready. Even if their client list does fill up, there are a ton of others out there that are just as competent. I fell into this trap early on.

5. Ask consultants for before and after samples of their work to get an idea of how in-depth their editing is. Some will completely re-vamp your work while others will just do small edits here and there.

6. I honestly think the most important essay is the Career Goals. Do everything you can to make sure your goal is in line with your background and that everything makes sense. I seriously wonder if anyone ever got dinged because they didn't fail hard enough in their failure essay or if their personal accomplishment wasn't grand enough. But I'm pretty sure if your goal doesn't make sense then you're out of luck.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2012, 06:28
theK wrote:
Thanks for sharing your experience in details, sneakoner. Keen to hear about your experience with the other two consultants when you're ready to share.


My consultant for Cornell was a former dean of admissions there. I found her through Accepted and to me it was a no-brainer to hire her. At first I was hesitant because it was $3000+ for a one school package but after I contacted her she told me to send her my essays and resume and she would review how much work was needed. She came back with a price quote of $900 which was a huge relief. Also I didn't get the feeling that she was trying to just profit off of me and that she was upfront and honest with the amount of work that was needed. She was going through some personal issues during the time we worked together which sort of delayed her response time. We're all human beings so I understand and I wouldn't hold it against her. In the end she did come through and did alot of work right before the deadline and I was able to submit everything on time. I was actually quite impressed.


My other consultant was a guy by the name of Joaquin who doesn't advertise and doesn't have a website. He simply goes by word of mouth. I used him for Wharton.

- He completely revamped my career goal that made sense with my background.
- He fixed my resume to make it more readable than what I had from my other two consultants.
- His response time was horrible. There were times when I was scared to call him or email him too much because I didn't want to piss him off. But it got to a point where he didn't respond for almost 2 weeks and I had to get in touch with him to make sure he didn't forget about me.
- When it comes to editing, he doesn't completely revamp your essays similar to the other two consultants I had. He'll do some edits here and there and use MBA-friendly language but for the most part his editing consists of providing feedback for themes and ideas within the essay.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2012, 05:55
AdamAACG wrote:
I don't normally respond to reviews online, but in this case I feel it is necessary. Yes, I did email this client and asked him to remove his post, because it contained information that was either untrue or misleading.

Namely:

1. The idea that I would supply him with his career goals. I would never do this, as it is unethical. We coach people to get the best out of them (read any of our verified reviews and you will see this is a staple), we guide them towards their passion as those make for authentic and powerful essays, and we make sure that the goals they do arrive at are vetted and appropriate for the pursuit of an MBA. However, we do not create content. It was important for me to respond and say that I would never violate this ethical responsibility. Further...

2. The goal creation process was successful, as evidenced by the fact that this individual received an invitation to interview at Columbia. We prepare people for the interview process, but how they perform is up to them. He obviously did not perform well and as a result, he was not offered admission. The fact that this particular individual got the interview to Columbia was, to my mind, a huge win and something I remain proud of.

I'm not hiding behind an anonymous user name, so feel free to PM me or email me for any additional information. I'm sorry that I had to respond as I know it is a little bit lame when consultants get involved in the proceedings, but the risk of remaining cool and above the fray is totally offset by the risk of having our reputation for ethical work compromised.

Respectfully,
Adam/AACG


I want to clarify something in case there was a misunderstanding:

1. Adam does not "provide" career goals...but he helps guide you to craft a clear path for the admissions committee, just as any other consultant would. In my case it was based on my passion which had nothing to do with my career background which made it difficult to articulate how and why I would be able to make the transition. So if you're an IT consultant who wants to go to business school with no clear career goal and your passion was photography, he might guide your career goal into starting a photography studio. My situation was actually similar to this. In retrospect it just didn't make any sense.

2. I did get an interview with Columbia which meant that some second-year student thought my application was good. However when it got to the interview, it was just too difficult to convince a member of the committee that I can make such a drastic transition provided I had no experience in the new field I was claiming I was going into. I felt that Adam and AmeriAsia Consulting should have stressed this more prior to me going into the interview. Keep in mind I paid for the 1-school package which included interview coaching as well.


I don't feel as though I posted anything that was a untrue or false. Everything I wrote above is true. I didn't provide too many specifics because I don't want to violate the terms of confidentiality but if anybody has questions, feel free to PM me.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 06 Dec 2012, 13:49
sneakoner wrote:
AdamAACG wrote:
I don't normally respond to reviews online, but in this case I feel it is necessary. Yes, I did email this client and asked him to remove his post, because it contained information that was either untrue or misleading.

Namely:

1. The idea that I would supply him with his career goals. I would never do this, as it is unethical. We coach people to get the best out of them (read any of our verified reviews and you will see this is a staple), we guide them towards their passion as those make for authentic and powerful essays, and we make sure that the goals they do arrive at are vetted and appropriate for the pursuit of an MBA. However, we do not create content. It was important for me to respond and say that I would never violate this ethical responsibility. Further...

2. The goal creation process was successful, as evidenced by the fact that this individual received an invitation to interview at Columbia. We prepare people for the interview process, but how they perform is up to them. He obviously did not perform well and as a result, he was not offered admission. The fact that this particular individual got the interview to Columbia was, to my mind, a huge win and something I remain proud of.

I'm not hiding behind an anonymous user name, so feel free to PM me or email me for any additional information. I'm sorry that I had to respond as I know it is a little bit lame when consultants get involved in the proceedings, but the risk of remaining cool and above the fray is totally offset by the risk of having our reputation for ethical work compromised.

Respectfully,
Adam/AACG


I want to clarify something in case there was a misunderstanding:

1. Adam does not "provide" career goals...but he helps guide you to craft a clear path for the admissions committee, just as any other consultant would. In my case it was based on my passion which had nothing to do with my career background which made it difficult to articulate how and why I would be able to make the transition. So if you're an IT consultant who wants to go to business school with no clear career goal and your passion was photography, he might guide your career goal into starting a photography studio. My situation was actually similar to this. In retrospect it just didn't make any sense.

2. I did get an interview with Columbia which meant that some second-year student thought my application was good. However when it got to the interview, it was just too difficult to convince a member of the committee that I can make such a drastic transition provided I had no experience in the new field I was claiming I was going into. I felt that Adam and AmeriAsia Consulting should have stressed this more prior to me going into the interview. Keep in mind I paid for the 1-school package which included interview coaching as well.


I don't feel as though I posted anything that was a untrue or false. Everything I wrote above is true. I didn't provide too many specifics because I don't want to violate the terms of confidentiality but if anybody has questions, feel free to PM me.


Dude how do you know the reason why you didnt get in was because of your goals? Did you get specific feedback on that?
Getting into Cornell and getting into Columbia is very different. There could be many reasons as to why you didn't get in.

- Perhaps you were marginal and your background just wasn't that strong relative to the rest of the pool
- Maybe you interviewed poorly
- Maybe it was something else you said
- Maybe you got unlucky and the interviewer just didnt like you or was having a bad day (it happens)

I agree the fact that you got interviewed indicates that your application was strong enough to be admitted, whether or not it was due more to your background or the essays its hard to tell.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 06 Dec 2012, 22:09
Snipes (ClearAdmit Stacey)

I don't think you should take the blame for ClearAdmit.

Although your consultant was nice, she was ineffective. We are paying for expertise, guidance, and strategy. If your career goals were weak, ambiguous, etc. she should have told you precisely what to research to get to the level you need to be. This is the most important thing! If your edits plateued then she was not providing the proper guidance and instruction. She was not paid to be mediocre.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 09 Dec 2012, 02:03
afyl128 wrote:

Dude how do you know the reason why you didnt get in was because of your goals? Did you get specific feedback on that?
Getting into Cornell and getting into Columbia is very different. There could be many reasons as to why you didn't get in.

- Perhaps you were marginal and your background just wasn't that strong relative to the rest of the pool
- Maybe you interviewed poorly
- Maybe it was something else you said
- Maybe you got unlucky and the interviewer just didnt like you or was having a bad day (it happens)

I agree the fact that you got interviewed indicates that your application was strong enough to be admitted, whether or not it was due more to your background or the essays its hard to tell.


You're absolutely right...I'm not saying that the specific reason that I didn't get in was solely because of my career goals. Any of the aforementioned items could have been the cause...in addition to a number of other different items.

I'm just giving my opinion based on my experiences and providing my recommendations. I'm simply sharing things that I would've found helpful when I was searching for a consultant. The main thing I wanted to point out to anybody looking for a consultant is that when it came to having someone help you formulate your career goal for your essay, I just found myself in a position where it was difficult to tie my career goal into my previous work experiences.

Let's face it, if you're working a dead-end job and you're trying to go to business school, you might not have the clearest career goal. Your main effort is to get in so that you can get out of your job and hopefully into a higher paying one. That was the position I was in. I hired a consultant thinking that he or she would have a good idea of what business schools want to hear for the career goals essay and that he or she would be able to help me formulate a feasible idea.

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.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 09 Dec 2012, 04:42
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 ;-)
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2012, 01:17

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After applying and getting dinged at various schools last year I decided to go for a admission consultant and after a lot of reserach decided to go for MBADream.in and I couldn't have done any better. One of the reason I choose them was because they are experts with indian applicants. Add to it a solid track record of getting more than 99% of the applicants admitted into their preffered MBA program you have a winner in my eyes.

Getting 7 interview invites from TOP 20 schools already combined with ISB speaks volume about the quality of work done by MBADream. I also got admitted into Vanderbilt Owen with more than 75% scholarship. I am thoroughly convinced that MBADream increased my chances many times over than if I had done it on my own considering I would fall under the most competitive applicant pools ever. My consultant’s guidance and ability to see the best in me helped me realize my life long dreams. I would highly recommend MBAdream, especially to anyone that wants to differentiate themselves and compete for the most coveted business school acceptance letters
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2012, 00:09
I worked with Aringo only in a partial manner, after I turned to them late and there was no room for me. I was very sorry that I did not work with them fully, as it would probably have helped me get accepted to other places and saved me a lot of heart palpitations.
Given this, I think that if I would not have worked with them at all, I would not have been accepted anywhere, they helped me avoid a few mistakes that would have ruined my application and taken away any chance for me. Their guidance and speedy response made all the difference and deserve appreciation and got me into Wharton.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2012, 21:52
I just wanted to add a quick post on Betsy Massar at Master Admissions- I just finished working with Betsy for apps (I used her for 2 schools) and I was admitted EA to Tuck, my #1 choice. I work in finance and she has a finance background (GS, plus she was one of original 85 Broads), so I felt like she really understood where I was coming from in terms of my work role, limited time to allocate to apps and also experience living in Asia (she lived in Asia too.)

Pros:
-I knew where I wanted to end up (Tuck) but had done very basic MBA research only. From step 1 she helped lay out the groundwork in terms of what steps need to be completed when, GMAT strategies and choosing quality reccs
-Super responsive, everything within 24 hrs pretty much and very thoughtful feedback
- One of the huge positives for me was how she held me accountable for doing homework on my goals, past career experiences, positives and negs of current job to arrive at a coherent why MBA/ future goals picture. It was really a process (including recording some of our chats so I could review later ) to help me identify some of the common themes in the choices I have made and how I can make them shine
- She kept me on deadline, called me out on procrastinating and was pretty no-nonsense about the scores and essays I needed to write in order to achieve my goals
- She was not afraid to tell me something was NOT good and to redo it. I really value this straight forward feedback but obviously it is not for everyone
- Positive attitude, because of her more boutique-style business she is very invested in her clients
- For the personal attention you received, I think it was hugely worth the cost (which was in-line to below the price of other consultants I had spoken with)
- I had a really challenging time on the GMAT (multiple retakes) and she was super supportive of me through that period


Cons
- I am in Asia so we had more email communication than phone calls sometimes as the time difference was challenging, but she was very responsive on email
- No real other cons. It was a great experience.
- If you want your consultant to *poof* magically come up with your "pitch" then Betsy is not for you. She will really challenge you on the WHY part of the process but I think the end result was super strong, coherent and I would not have conducted the necessary introspective exercises just working on my own

I would also note that my BF also used Betsy and was admitted EA to Tuck with $$. I thought she took a very holistic approach to the process, was really interested in talking me through my highs and lows up to this point and true gut feel for why this school/why MBA. I did not have a very straightforward story (lay offs, international moves, liberal arts major with only ok GPA) and my GMAT was not stellar but I feel that I was able to put my best foot forward in this cycle with Betsy's guidance.

Happy to provide any addt'l details via PM. I would strongly suggest working with Betsy if you are looking for 1x1 attention, especially if you have a finance background or int'l experience.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2012, 06:38
After benefiting so much from this forum, I decided to share my good experience with MBA crystal ball after my MBA application journey culminated to a fruitful end.

So after managing a just decent score (well, in my perception ) in GMAT ,falling in age group of not so enticing 30+ and belonging to the most over represented applicant pool (Indian Male) , I knew that if I want to make my application count in some big school, I really have to project my profile in a suitable manner and play on my strengths.

Overwhelmed - is the word which I can say to describe the choices available of the admission consultants. From the ill - informed admission adviser to Mr. Super duper know it all, I have interacted all of them. I also took the
free consultation packages which some of the companies offered. At the end I zeroed on The MBA Crystal Ball, primarily of these reasons :-

1. Unique MAP product - This product was exactly the thing I was looking for. I wanted a fair advice from a person to how and what to expect from MBA, the selection of schools, my profile suitability to a certain school,
to unravel my strengths, to understand my weakness so forth and so on.
2. The boutique firm manage by Sameer Kamat - A Cambridge graduate & the author of a MBA centric book - a person whose advice I could entrust upon.
3. The price of the services offered was within my reach as opposed to the some consultants who were charging a fortune which was way above the cost of my whole MBA application journey.

The whole process was quite systematic wherein two rounds of telephonic conversations were done ( the first was to understand the applicant & the other was to follow up and weed out any doubts in the reports), in between the MBA MAP report was provided detailing the list of schools and grading it in five categories according to the candidate's chances of making in the schools. Also some ROI indicators were provided in the reports, which I do not find much helpful. But the biggest advantage of the report was the reporting of the strength and weakness of the candidate and the pointers to make the post MBA goals razor sharp. I have used this report's pointers for all my applications and I am glad that this application journey of mine has
reached its destination with the admit from The Oxford University (SBS).

Will definitely love to help others, do write me in case of any questions.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 Dec 2012, 09:13
I would like to recommend Square One Prep, which is owned by Kathryn Lucas, a Wharton MBA. Kathryn runs a tight ship and is very organized and encouraging. During our consultation, she immediately provided structure and examples from her own application experience as well as other clients with whom she has worked to show me how I can put my best foot forward.

As I've mentioned before, there are many excellent Admissions Consultants out there, and I think it's impossible to name a "best" admissions consultant because every applicant has unique needs and different personalities can mesh in different ways. But one of the things that stood out to me from Square One Prep is the structure that the consultants affiliated provide. Immediately after our consultation, I was sent a calendar with every single day scheduled between my consultation call and the deadlines. As a project manager, this type of structure immediately resonated with me.

I was eventually assigned to Erik, a Sloan grad. Erik was excellent. He has a background in teaching writing and also in psychology. His edits on my essays were always probing and thoughtful. He also brought in a lot of business concepts but made them relatable and non-jargony so that they were expressed better in my essays. Erik is extremely responsive and even during the craziness of the hurricane on the East Coast in October, Erik strived to always get back to me in a reasonable amount of time, which was no small feat when 1/2 the city was out of power.

Also, I will say in particular, that I found Erik's insights into the Sloan admissions process to be very helpful in crafting those essays.

Another thing that is unique about Square One Prep is that the owners have developed a system to streamline the recommendation process, which my recommenders loved. Basically through Square One's process, all of the schools' questions were consolidated into categories and then my recommenders were asked to write in response to each category, greatly minimizing the amount of work for my recommenders and also enhancing the overall recommendations.

At any rate, I'm happy to answer more questions about Square One. I think I talked with over 65 consultants in my process and Square One definitely stood out to me.
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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.
Re: "Best" admission consulting companies?   [#permalink] 22 Dec 2012, 04:16
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