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"Best" admission consulting companies?

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2013, 17:24
Alex Leventhal from Prep MBA is exceptional and I am confident that there is no way I would have been accepted into the Ivy League program I was, if not for him (sorry for the vague reference to Ivy League but I'm going for a degree of anonymity).

I'm an international student (from Australia) and the conversion of our grades to a 4.0 system is seriously rubbish - whilst Adcoms know this, I still had something like a 2.0 undergrad GPA when converted. When I found this out I freaked. I had a GMAT of 690, which is also below the average for anywhere good.

I approached Alex (and a bunch of other consultants) to get a gauge of my chances at being accepted anywhere respectable. Alex was the only one that didn't bullshit me, which is the simple reason for going with him at the time (I wasn't referred to anyone).

The biggest thing that Alex did was help me craft a narrative of my life, from what I've done, to where I want to go. It sounds simple but I can't stress the importance of this enough. It's very hard to draw out the stories that make you special by yourself. I found that it's because you are living your life and the things that might be gold to admissions are everyday to you. Alex identified what stories I should be telling (that I hadn't even considered as important) and helped craft a whole narrative of my life through the essays and resume, so admissions got the best possible understanding of who I am and why they should accept me. It was astounding how poor my first attempt at the essays was compared to the end product.

After getting interviews at every place I applied (again only Ivy League schools), Alex helped me conveying the right stories from my life in an interview. Breaking down stories into key components that needed to be hit and practicing with me how to deliver them, and to which questions they should answer.

I would consider myself a 'high needs' client for him, and he gave me all the time I needed, without ever making me feel like I was taking up too much time, in order to produce a polished product to deliver admissions.

The experience is very personal and probing into your background and what you really want in the future. You really can't put forward a lie, or admissions will see through it. You work with him and him only, not getting palmed off to a junior consultant or anyone. You get to understand that he genuinely wants you to succeed, in what is the really onerous task of getting into a business school.

I honestly can't recommend Alex enough for anyone, whether you're worried about not getting in (like me) or just wanting to nail getting into the best school possible.

Last edited by kirstik on 14 Jun 2013, 13:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 17:25
Hi everyone,

I highly recommend my consultant Alex Leventhal from Prep MBA.

I initially contacted a number of admissions consulting firms, and immediately Alex’s service stood out in that he handled the intro call, and not a sales intermediary. He spent 45 minutes with me in the initial consultation even though he said that he would spend 20 minutes. He really took the time to know me. I could tell he was passionate about his service and helping me think through the critical issues. Many companies suggest you can get into the top schools without spending careful time-Alex was quite honest about my chances at a range of schools based on what he called “my MBA vitals”. His PrepMBA business is his, and he does not have a team of junior staffers. He is a Harvard MBA, very articulate and funny, and will not BS you.

Before I decided to work with him, he helped me to connect to a former client that he previously helped. We had a Skype conversation and talked about working with Alex. His honesty and his professionalism are the key decisive factors for me to work with him.

Working with Alex proved to be amazing. His service was very personal and he was almost always able to accommodate my schedule and last minute queries. I did a 2 school package and got into both schools including my first choice, Wharton. The time we spent thinking through my career plans, and how they connected the dots with my previous experiences was probably a huge reason why I got in. I was not really sure what I wanted to do and I was going to write about a career direction that was not really supported or well explained.

The two things about him that most stand out are his creativity and his sense of essay structure and logic. He was always able to come up with a different angle or way of looking at my experiences and I was always amazed that we got the essays down to the tight word limits.

Furthermore, Alex kindly accommodated his schedule to help me prep the interviews under tight schedule. His two interview prep sessions gave me the confidence and the skills to present myself truly and professionally.

Some of my friends used consultants and had fine things to say about them. But I feel strongly that Alex is uncommon. He is sincere, hard working, brilliant and often made me feel like I was his only client. Getting into B-school is more of an art than science. The science part you have already done with your GMAT prep. Having someone like Alex to guide you through the “art” side of the application has been a eye opening journey to know yourself better but also presenting the best of you to the business schools of your dreams.

Last edited by kirstik on 14 Jun 2013, 13:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2013, 15:50
REVIEW: Prep MBA Admissions Consulting - Alex Leventhal

I can honestly say that I would not have gotten into Columbia Business School if it weren’t for Alex Leventhal at Prep MBA. As a candidate, I had a below average GMAT score (sub-700), bottom of the acceptable GPA range, generic work experience (investment banking), and no other ‘special sauce’ that really stood out. As I thought such was the case, I knew I had to look inward and write some amazing essays. After brainstorming with Alex, I felt differently about having no ‘special sauce’ and had the confidence to write great essays about parts of me that I didn’t realize were unique and interesting - Alex proved his weight in gold.

I was starting the application process and after talking to several friends, decided that I would ‘play the game’ and find an admission consultant to help me with my applications, and most importantly, my essays. My good friend highly recommended Alex Leventhal at Prep MBA so I gave him a call to learn about him and his process.

After speaking with Alex Leventhal for about 30 minutes on the phone, I knew he was the right person to hire as an admission consultant. Alex was candid and straight forward with his general admission advice and as I would soon learn, an amazing and creative business school essay consultant and fun person to work with.

Alex deeply understands the ‘MBA admission game,’ especially when it comes to the application essays. Alex closely guided me as I struggled think of unique and creative essay topics, and by the time we were done with our brainstorming sessions, I had come up with amazing essay topics. I consider myself to be a decent writer, but with Alex’s help, I learned how to write interesting, creative, and engaging essays. Alex also did an excellent job editing my essay drafts, a key part of the writing process that I found extremely helpful.

Alex’s consulting process is really what I think separates him from other consultants. Alex gave detailed, thoughtful and candid advice at all times and I could really tell he was thinking about me and preparing for my sessions. He also did a great job keeping me on track – he was keen to keep me on pace to be sure I met all deadlines with time to spare.

Overall, I 100% recommend Alex as an admission consultant and again, with all honestly, I am confident that I wouldn’t have gotten into Columbia Business School if it weren’t for his consulting services.

Last edited by kirstik on 14 Jun 2013, 13:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 14 Jun 2013, 09:59
Expert's post
jumsumtak wrote:
debayan222 wrote:
adi0529 wrote:
Edit: Moderator Note: User has been verified; membership over 6 months and over 50 posts.

I am thankful to folks at Indusminds ( for all that I have managed to achieve in the last year. After the disappointment of applying to business schools and getting no interview calls in the last 2 years, the time and effort of people at Indusminds helped me get an admit to a world class school and a waitlist(hopefually an admit soon) to an awesome school in the mid west!

I first came across Indusminds through the BW forums. Once i got around talking to one of the consultants, i came out quiet impressed by the plan offered by the company and decided to sign up for one application to start and ended up writing 3 of my applications with Indusminds.

I believe the unique offering is the 2 consultant approach where each one of them brought in their own thoughts and opinions. The plan was well laid out and not once did I not find them available to help me out. Another stand out feature was that they did not put a limit on the number of drafts required for an essay. I was told by my friends that other consultants had a pretty rigid process and hardly gave any leeway. A few essays were settled in 3 drafts and a few of them took a dozen phone calls and quiet a number of drafts to hammer them out.

Both the consultants I worked with, ie Nikhil and Biplav bought different perspectives to the essay questions and also the overall application approach. I believe this was the factor that worked out the best for me. The approach and the plan was individualized as per my needs and I found their contributions coming in, in terms of leading me on the right way, asking me the right questions helping me introspect. Furthermore they offered a whole different perspective to other schools that I engaged with Indusminds on.

They also proved to be a great help for the interview process, the mocks were scheduled as per my needs and I found the feedback really helpful to prepare me better for the real thing.

Overall, I would highly recommend Indusminds to anyone who feels that they deserve to be in the best schools in the world. Thanks to Nikhil and Biplav, that I am on my way to my dream school for which I had tried hard to get in over the past two years. If you have any questions please feel free to PM me and I will be happy to talk about my experience in detail.

Here is the link to their website

Moderators-What's credibility of this kind of post..? The user himself edited the post as 'Moderator's note...' :) This person has joined on the same day it's posted and is saying that "membership over 6 months and over 50 posts...!"...That's funny!

bb-If you've time please see this and I think this should be marked as low credibility by GC like in other same kind of posts...

Re-verified the post. User has NOT edited the post himself and the moderator's verification was genuine.

Some users don't want to come out in public with their usernames on this thread and use a new id. "Membership over 6 months and over 50 posts...!" means that the original id of this user had these many posts.

Thank you Jumsumtak!
That's correct - moderators have ability to lock posts and prevent authors from editing them and removing or adding any text and misrepresenting the authenticity.

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2013, 18:54

I’m posting under a new id to keep my real identity under wraps and will work with the moderator to verify my information.

This post will be lengthy since I know when I started this journey, I wanted lots and lots of details and liked the lengthy posts. I've also posted this under the consultants review section.

I work as an IT consultant and thought I had a pretty good work experience and personal life story. However, I have an average GMAT score and I didn’t climb Everest during a stop-over to my summer hobby of saving starving children in Africa. In other words, didn’t think I had a special story to tell to get me into a top ten school.

However, after doing my own research and attending info sessions, I felt encouraged enough to go all out and give it a good fight. As a result, I was armed with tons of questions when I interviewed the admin consultants. Amerasia was the last on my list to call, and I almost didn’t do it since I had felt so strongly about my previous meeting with another company.

Adam Hoff’s incisive questions and perspective on my goals were so unique that I knew I wanted more of such insights for the rest of my application process. What I also really appreciate was his low key attitude in not pushing for a sale, and he would’ve been fine if I took his ideas and went off with another consultant. He recognized that it’s just not about ideas, but about finding a person who matches your personality to work with you in the weeks/months ahead on the application.

Working Style:

Adam’s primary mode of interaction with me was via email, so you have to be comfortable about the idea that you will not be having regular phone meetings. However, he was always willing to take a call if I needed it. In some ways, the emails work much better as I have them as notes to refer back on.

Adam always kept to the schedule we agreed upon, but his laid-back demeanor helped me keep a cool head as I was debating various issues (strategy on retaking GMAT, which story to tell for my essays, etc) while facing pressure of deadlines.

Also, I had a ton of questions throughout the process, but Adam was always patient and thorough in answering them. Sometimes even re-answering as I would say, “I know we already talked about this but now I have a different angle, would you still think…”

All in all, I felt I received the support I needed and was actively cheered on throughout the process.


During my initial conversations with Adam, we discussed my three target school in terms of both fit for my goals and what are my realistic chances. His insights were valuable to me in that he knew the school cultures so that he confirmed that I made good choices for schools that can help me achieve my goals. Also, Adam helped me navigate through my perceived pros and cons for the schools in the lucky event that I got multiple acceptances.

Regarding chances for an admit, Adam was always upfront and never gave me false promises (besides, I wouldn’t have believed him!). Given that Adam has worked with many candidates, it’s great to hear what I thought was a mundane background was actually unique. I don’t think Adam was giving me BS either since we were pretty candid about GMAT score or other areas that can be dinged.

Resume: This was an added bonus for me since I thought I had a strong resume, but Adam’s critique really brought it up another notch.

Interview: Adam brought in an outside expert to run the prep interview with me which really helped shake out some nerves as well as get another perspective on how I tell my story. A mock interview with Adam would not have been the same since I had a comfortable relationship with him by then, and having to talk to a total stranger was closer to the real deal.


Working with Adam on the essays was great since it’s been a long time since I had written something for school, and didn’t realize how much business jargon and banalities crept into my writing. Since Adam was knowledgeable about the school culture of the programs I was interested in, he was also able to help me tailor the side of my personality and goals that would best appeal to each school. I still was being true to myself, but Adam helped me put my best foot forward.

While working on the essays, Adam typically responds within the day for questions, and within a few days for essay edits. I always got responses earlier than what I expected when I was facing deadlines and tried to crunch in more changes. In fact, Adam dug changes out of me even when I started getting sick of writing essays (doing several of them in a row will really get to you after a while!!). He also helped me turnover ideas when I was stuck… one method we used is for me to send key points for the essay so I won’t waste time writing the whole thing and have to do major revisions.

When I look back at what I started with, and then compare the drafts with the final versions, I’m amazed at the difference!


Got in two Top 5 schools and dinged in a Top 3 school (GMAT was the culprit, but I believe Adam’s help gave me a fighting chance).

In summary, only you can decide whether to work with an admin consultant and who to go with. You have to be honest with yourself about your chances and then do your homework in asking all the right questions during the free consultation. For me, it was a good experience in more ways than one, and I’m glad I went with Adam and Amerasia. I may question at what my outcome would’ve been had I done it alone, but I don’t question that having Adam there made the journey much easier in dealing with the stress and uncertainty, and the experience more enriching in terms of insights about myself and my goals.

One final thought: I knew I had decent chances, but I wanted to improve the odds in my favor. Besides, last thing I wanted to do was to look back and regret that I didn’t do everything possible to make my dream come true.

Best wishes with your application!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2013, 09:37
Prep MBA was recommended to me by a colleague who had worked exclusively with Alex Leventhal the previous year. My colleague, who was accepted to both GSB and HBS, had described how Alex familiarizes himself with his clients so he can effectively guide each through the business school application process. What my colleague did not mention was the countless hours Alex spends with each applicant, the creativity with which he approaches every essay and the structure and knowledge he brings with his experience.

Alex exceeded my (very high) expectations on all fronts. He is hard working and really brings a personal approach to helping you. Unlike some other consultants, Alex does not pass off his clients to junior staffers. He is direct with his feedback and very responsive, making the process less painful and more efficient.

I really think that Alex is unique and his dedication uncommon. I give Alex a lot of credit for helping me get into my top choice and highly recommend using him.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2013, 07:59
What about Alice from menlo coaching? Has anyone ever worker with her? Thanks!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2013, 09:13
I worked with and wanted to share my experience.
Since they have a collaborative approach, this review is not only about my specific consultant but for the entire staff who accompanied and supported me during the process:

I'm grateful for the most professional, talented, organized and wonderful people with whom I have worked on my applications. Nothing that I will write here can successfully express my great appreciation for the Aringo staff. From the process of starting work (when I had many question and doubts), the preparation, the strategy, the schedules, the essays, the interviews, everything!
The results - I was accepted to INSEAD, LBS, and HBS, and I owe it all to their help and effectiveness, and also to the smile that accompanied me through each and every stage of the process.
And for those of you who are deliberating: there is nothing to think about, this is the first stage of your investment in yourself before the great investment called MBA at a Top 10 - just do it!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2013, 22:04
Could anyone actually elaborate whether hiring a consultant for admissions outside the US is a good idea?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2013, 01:41
sunman163 wrote:
What about Alice from menlo coaching? Has anyone ever worker with her? Thanks!

you can see str1der's and ward's posts a few pages earlier. I don't have the link handy.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2013, 08:32
I went through this process last year and I chose Betsy Massar from Master Admissions. Before I go further, I got accepted to a top 10 MBA program, and I got a small scholarship. I am very pleased with the result.

My criteria included four things: (1) Price/Affordability (2) Experience (3) Personal Connection (4) Style.
• I knew that I wanted to apply to three to four MBA programs (this helped me determine the total cost)
• I knew I wanted to work with someone who gets me. Or who had a process in place that would build a personal connection between us (consultant and I).
• I knew I wanted someone who was experienced, well connected and had the core competencies to help me prepare an amazing application.

My experience with Betsy Massar was great. I won’t list her qualification, you can see that on her website.
Two ways Betsy helped me:
1. Betsy helped me find my story. Like many MBA candidates I am a career switcher so demonstrating why I want to do an MBA and getting to the core message was difficult and took a lot of time. Betsy helped me bring it out through phone conversations and continuous feedback on my writing. This was an extremely frustrating process for me but somehow Betsy knew to dig deeper and she challenged me through every conversation and through every piece of writing I submitted to her. Eventually I made a real connection with my story and why I wanted to pursue an MBA at this stage in my life. Betsy’s process not only helped me with essays but it also helped me develop a concrete plan for my career.
2. Show, don’t tell. Betsy coached me through the process of defining the reasons I wanted to switch careers from Finance to Social Entrepreneurship in Education by helping me connect my story and all my experiences to my plans. This translated to me giving concrete examples of things I had done and it helped me create a realistic plans for my MBA. It allowed me to show the admission committee who I am, show them what I have done, and show them what I plan to do. When I started my applications, most of my writing was telling and not showing. It took me some time to understand how to show, not tell. And Betsy played a key role in getting me there.

If you are looking for a consultant that will write everything for you, Betsy is not for you. If you are willing to work hard, are open to getting challenged, and willing to work with Betsy to develop your application, she is the right consultant for you. Betsy is very nice and caring. But she keeps it real and is very honest. It’s a quality I learned to appreciate by the end of my application process. She catered to my style, gave me the personal attention that I needed, and helped me get into a great MBA program.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 27 Jun 2013, 19:37
I have read all the posts on this forum and there are mixed reviews about most of the admission consulting companies. Can someone share their experience working with any consultant specifically in FINANCE at mbaMission. Please share your views about their 1) eagerness to learn about the client (intensive brainstorming sessions?) and 2) availability/time commitment as deadlines approach. I heard all their consultants work full-time but I am not sure how loaded they are during this peak season as compared to those who are working part-time ?
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2013, 06:18
I started my applications in november 2011 to apply for fall 2012. I was very confused how to go about it and by the end of the whole process i had '0' interview calls :P
With an IT background from india,i had one of the most common profiles. I straight away knew i needed an admission counselor to help me through my applications for fall 2013. I put in a lot of effort researching about the counselors. I made sure i call them and extract each and every detail out of them.

After a lot of research and calls i zeroed in on Experts Global. I had a word with their founder, Mayank Srivastava, and i was very impressed. Though i was still worried about the authenticity. My parents met these guys and were convinced, so i took the leap. They provide a guarantee statement offering refund with the applications package in which they assure you and admit in certain ranked schools with or without scholarship depending upon your profile.

I have not regretted my decision even for a second. From day one you feel a part of the process. They make you go through questionnaires. The questionnaires help you bring out information about yourself which you would have never used otherwise. After going through the questionnaires, we mutually decided on the 10 schools i would be applying to. I had a 700 GMAT and a little over 2 years of experience in the Indian IT industry, yet Mayank was pretty upbeat about my chances.
With all the guidance, my essays turned out perfect. I realized i could have never written such good essays without any help.

Mayank was always a phone call or an email away. He helped through out the process and made sure that i was equally involved so that the learning process is not hindered. They also provided me with guidelines for recommenders so that the recommendations turn out perfect. All my applications were crosschecked carefully and thoroughly before submitting. They helped me with interviews by conducting mock interviews. Even after my admits, they helped me in obtaining my I20 and visa.

My the end of my process I had 7 interview calls from the 10 i applied to and i converted 6 of them with scholarships. I agree that i applied in round one hence the chance for scholarships was more but i approached these guys in september 2012 and they still managed to push me through into round 1 applications.

I will be joining UIUC with a 50% scholarship and i would give credit to experts for their guidance.

I'd like to add that these guys operate with very high ethical standards so i would definitely recommend them to everyone.

Experts Global

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2013, 21:49
I have been a silent member on this board for a while but wanted to share my positive experience with Amerasia to benefit others. If required, I can verify my identity with the moderators.

Technology (Engineering/non-IT) background, over-represented (Indian/Male), 5+ years of work experience with a technology firm in the US (in product development).

I used a top-named admissions consulting company the previous year with a lackluster experience and decided to give it another shot with Amerasia based on the positive reviews on this forum. As a re-application, I felt that I needed more help at honing in on my story and bringing out the essential aspects (which is where I missed the mark the first time around).

Initial Consultation:
After submitting my initial inquiry, Adam Hoff contacted me promptly and was happy to pair me up with one of their consultants - Alex, who has experience in branding and marketing - something that Adam explained might help me propel my application. While I had wanted to work with Adam or Paul, I was not decided if I wanted to do school packages or just work on a hourly basis or a combination of the two and because of this, Adam could not sign me up to work with him or Paul (as they usually work heavily with package clients).

Shortly after, I had an hour long conversation with Alex, who had gone through my profile in advance (important for me, as I feel other consultants usually review your profile when they are on the phone with you), gave me suggestions for my application and did not try to push me to sign up with him. Moreover, the conversation was not rushed and Alex was open to a follow up call even before I decided to proceed with Amerasia. After having done several initial consultations with many top named admissions consultants, this was the easiest conversation I have had. I suggest other candidates consider how easy it is to speak with a consultant (since you will be working with him/her for the next few months, and make sure to gauge if they will have time for you, can work well with you and will listen/help you through your concerns).

Application Help:
Since I knew most of the schools I wanted to apply to, the process was easier to start off with, but I did seek advise from Alex later on in the process on some additional schools, and he was able to give me a good insight into them.

Before starting on the essays, I filled up some questionnaires that were targeted at answering most of the MBA essay/interview questions, following which, I brainstormed with Alex to get my stories straight. This was a crucial step for me as this is where I believed I needed the most help. This step took a couple of phone conversations and continued evolving as the process continued. Most notably through this step was that Alex gave me his cell number and told me to text/call him whenever I had any question.

The method I followed to answer my essay questions was to type a few essay drafts, and then jump on the phone and discuss what to change/update with Alex. We set up a weekly call as that gave me time to complete a couple of drafts (and if the essays to review reduced, I would prepone the call). I loved the flexibility and ease of getting in touch with Alex. He would answer my emails/texts almost instantaneously and the ability to discuss the changes for the drafts over the phone made it easier to reduce any miscommunication and avoid any follow-up delays.

Interview Help:
I just did one mock interview. Alex gave me a list of questions and I did my own research to find other posted questions. This was a fairly normal process. Alex did give me misc. interview tips such as posture, what to do when nervous etc. which I found beneficial.

I got an interview call from 7 of the 8 schools I applied to (4 in top 10 and 4 in top 20) and was offered admission at 5 of those 8.

Final Thoughts:
My decision to use an admissions consultant was a personal one. However, I do believe I found a fit working with Alex and Amerasia. Yes, I was a little bummed that I could not work with Adam or Paul (especially since most of the glowing reviews for Amerasia highlight their names), however with my situation (mix of package/hourly), this was understandable.

The process of working with Alex, for me was more of one friend helping another rather than a business contract. I would like to emphasize the importance of fit and hence the initial consultation. If anyone has any specific questions, I can answer them through PM.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2013, 18:46
I just wanted to take a minute to fill you all in on my experience with SB. I wouldn’t take the time to do this unless I really felt positively about my experience. I signed up with the firm in 2012 and was paired with Esther Magna, my consultant. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use a consultant to assist with my applications since my GPA was really low (<3.0).

I applied to three schools and hired SB for all of them. Esther was great!! I was genuinely worried about being accepted to any of them, but Esther really helped me identify the strong points of my background and experience, and ensure I consistently stressed those to the admissions committees. I know I can be overbearing with the frequency that I send emails, but Esther was fantastic (she may be more addicted to her Blackberry than I am!). I ALWAYS received a prompt reply with helpful feedback.

My background is not especially distinctive - white male, finance background, etc. - but with Esther’s help, I was able to craft an application strategy that stressed my attributes that I believe differentiated me from other applicants. She also had personal connections with former members of various admissions committees who reviewed my essays and critiqued them in advance – this was a huge help.

One last comment. Although the price of SB can be intimidating, as it was for me, hiring the firm turned out to be a great decision financially in the long run. I ended up receiving a scholarship for a full year’s tuition at a top 10 US MBA school. Clearly the expense of a consultant can be high, but it paid off for me big time with Esther.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2013, 12:03
Hi everyone,

I highly recommend Alice Van Harten from Menlo Coaching. I am not a regular poster because I took my GMAT 4.5 years ago back in China for my US graduate school application. After my graduate study and almost 3 years of work experiences in US, I thought of applying for MBA 1) to have a better career path 2) to relocate to California for personal reasons, and 3) I can still use the old GMAT score before it expires :)

I decided to hire a consultant since I was only targeting top schools, and English is my 2nd language so I was trying to avoid any silly mistakes on my essays. Alice is far beyond my expectation. I accidentally found this posting while I was looking for the consultants. I saw some good words about Alice and decided to give her a call, I mean, the first call was free anyway. After my first conversation with Alice, I pretty much decided that I will hire her, although I have called a couple other consultants as well. I decided to hire her because

1) I know I can trust her since our first call. Different from other consultant who recommended me to apply for 5+ schools, Alice advised me to apply three. I was surprised when she said I did not need to apply that many, because this meant less working hours and less $ for her (She charges by hours). I am glad that I found a consultant who was not doing this just for money. Later on when I started to know her, she mentioned teaching was her interests and I felt her sincere and genuine personality. She sincerely hopes me to succeed, and she enjoys teaching. The trust is so important when you hire a consultant, because you need to feel comfortable to talk about yourself, your stories and everything to them.

2) As I continuously worked with her, I felt lucky that I had her with me during the process. Besides her sincere and fun personality, she is SO knowledgeable and SO sharp! It is hard to imagine that I have only known her for a few months but I really felt that she has known me forever. She remembers a lot of things about me and she knows which stories should be put on the essay. Sometimes I don't even remember that I told her but she remembered and we put the story into a good essay.

3) Although I mentioned she is fun to work with, she is very direct as well. She knows what is the best for me and she very directly expresses herself. That is very good and very effective communication. In another word, sometimes I know she was "pushing" me, but her communication was so effective and she was so nice, so I did not feel "pushy" at all. I guess I am trying to say, although she has a very very nice personality, she helps me get things done on time as well. Every time she provided very clear timelines and homework for next steps and I really enjoyed that, because again, it is about trust. I know we are on the right track.

Because I have received a very good job offer from an IT Giant company at the silicon valley, I decided to stop the application and take that offer. I kinda felt bad because I know if I continue the process, I will see good results with Alice's help. That's why I am writing this posting here, because I enjoyed and learned a lot while working with Alice, I want to recommend her to everyone. As I mentioned, I am not a regular poster because I have taken my GMAT years ago. Any verification is welcomed.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2013, 15:16

Has anyone worked recently with any of these two consultants ?

1) Alex Chu/mbaapply - awesome posts and general advice, but not able to find feedback in 2012 or 2013.
2) Fortuna Admissions - has several former adcom members on the team, very impressive but relatively new.

Pls PM me if you have any feedback.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2013, 12:54
vvv wrote:
I wanted to share my experience working with an MBA admissions consultant for my INSEAD application. Sorry for the long post but I wanted to help users of this forum as I have benefitted a lot being part of GC during my MBA journey.

Let me begin with my background. I belong to the most competitive pool of MBA applicants - Indian/IT/M with an average GMAT. When I began planning for INSEAD, I knew that I wanted professional help to submit a strong application given the shortcomings in my profile. I talked to 3 admission consultants here in the US but did not feel the connection or confidence. There was hardly any difference in the conversations, questions and feedback that these 3 consultants provided. I won’t name them as I have not taken their services.

I decided to work with Laura Freedman from Access Education in Singapore ( My experience with Laura was totally different right from the first Skype session that we had. Working with her was one of the best decisions that I made.

Some of the strengths that I found while working with Laura:
- Laura has an “Insider’s view” on everything INSEAD. She is an INSEAD alum who has worked with the admissions office interviewing candidates and promoting the school, has coached applicants since the '90's and advises current students as a counselor at INSEAD Career Services in Singapore. She's also held INSEAD alumni association board roles in the US, Russia and Singapore (she even helped launch Blue Ocean Strategy in the US!). This vast experience was evident in the inputs that she provided while developing my story, editing the essays and preparing for the interviews. She was able to highlight aspects of my life that I would never have thought as important.

- Laura's career experience was tremendously helpful in helping me articulate my career goals (I'm targeting consulting). She's worked for over 20 years in different industries and functions, including two top-tier consultancies and two global financial institutions, and has lived all over the world. She had a lot of insight into my professional background and how my experience would let me have the biggest impact, and great practical advice about how to get where I'm looking to go.

- Another aspect of working with Laura that I highly appreciate is the face time that you get with her. Unlike telephonic conversations with other admission consultants, I had Skype sessions with Laura where we worked on discussing my story, editing the essays and even had mock interviews (she was an INSEAD alumni interviewer for over 10 years). This provided a personalized touch to the entire process.

- I admire Laura’s direct approach. She can be blunt at times :-) . However, it really worked for me in bringing out the best in my essays. After all, we need a guide who sees beyond the obvious and can provide constructive criticism.

- In spite of the time difference between the US and Singapore, Laura always made time and provided multiple options for scheduling the sessions.

- Laura's mock interview prep was spot on. It not only prepared me for interview surprises but also boosted my confidence immensely.

Despite the weaknesses in my profile, I still made it to INSEAD. I cannot thank Laura enough for the guidance and personalized attention that she provided to make this happen.

My advice to future MBA aspirants: If INSEAD is your dream school (just as it was mine), then do reach out to Laura Freedman. Her guidance will surely improve your chances, and you'll learn a lot about yourself in the process. Also, be part of GMATClub. This is a great community and folks here are really helpful.

Please feel free to PM me for any help.

I am still working with Laura but I second every word of this post...Regardless of the result, its just been an incredible journey as she has helped me appreciate things about me which I never thought of...Laura truly rocks!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2013, 08:59
Any feedback on Admit Advantage? It's been around for a few years and the founder (Kofi Kankam) posts here and on BTG. However, I can't find any reviews that seem impartial.

Also, wanted some feedback from those of you who found good consultants. When deciding between consultants, what did you find to be more useful:
1) A consultant who has a background similar to yours. The similarity would probably help in connecting with the consultant and for him/her to really understand where you are coming from and what you want to do
2) A consultant that has actual experience working as AdCom member. The advantage here would be the consultant would've seen what works and doesn't work for people with a profile such as yours.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 22 Sep 2013, 06:27
I reached out to the MBA Crystal Ball team to understand my position as an Indian applicant. Here are my thoughts on their services:

1. MAP process - The MBA MAP process is meticulously prepared and pushes candidates to think honestly to get the best out of the whole process.

2. MAP interview and follow up discussion - The discussions were very open without any sugar coating and ego-massaging aspects.

Like most folks, I started these processes with the aim to know my 'chances' at my target schools. However the team slowly guided me to think more holistically like what are my *real* post MBA goals and how my choices of schools stands in relation to it. To highlight one crucial aspect, I started the process with a rigid goal without thinking through few aspects such as the overall cost of an MBA and how long it would take me to payback my debts and what work is carried out in my target post-MBA companies.

Coming out of this process, my goals have a lot more meaning w.r.t to my background, target schools and I feel super-confident as an applicant to position myself to the admissions team and recruiters.

Not only that, I felt MBA crystal ball team conveyed the real message without imposing any time constraint on either the initial or final wrap up call. I don't think anyone else will provide such high quality service and be willing to answer all the questions that I had researched.

To add some more context, I had also utilized a one-school comprehensive package from a admission consulting firm in US (and payed more than a month's US salary) and feel the value that I got out of the MBA MAP was way more. I guess the MBA Crystal ball team understand and appreciate the Indian applicant's position much more than any American consulting firm can.

I will recommend MBA Crystal ball MAP service to anyone who wants to understand their profile better and not just their chances w.r.t to some randomly picked schools.

Real take away: Start early, know your position and how you come across to the admissions team, talk to the MBA MAP team with an open mind (your see-me-save-the-world goal will be torn apart if it doesn't have strong legs) and build your overall position.

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies?   [#permalink] 22 Sep 2013, 06:27

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