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"Best" admission consulting companies?

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2011, 09:31
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I worked with Amerasia for Booth and Kellogg this year and I honestly feel I would've been lost without using some kind of consultant (I also used Precision Essay for Duke in R1). It's not that I couldn't have done it on my own, it's that I'm a natural worrier and perfectionist, and without someone there to give me structure and monitor my progress, I was spinning my wheels for weeks without getting anywhere. I was so hung up about my GMAT not being good enough (58% in Quant!) that I felt helpless when it came to promoting my strengths. I spent weeks working on first drafts of essays and would scrap everything and still had nothing decent to show for it. I was running out of time and needed a kick in the butt to stop analyzing and start putting things together.

I was so impressed from the initial 1 hour call and felt he had enough school-specific knowledge to know what they were looking for. He addressed my concern over the GMAT score, and told me the only school on my list that was really strict about the quant percent being above 80 was Haas (only official ding so far, so looks like he was right) and eased my worries by saying the breakdown really doesn't matter all that much. Regarding GMAT, all they care about is whether you can handle the academics (and your high GPA proves this) and that your total score doesn't bring down their averages too much (and your GMAT is lower than their avg, but your GPA is higher so you're pretty much a wash). This made so much sense and made me feel confident about applying, it really made the difference for me.

Duke w/precsion essay was a mad dash, my fault for not leaving enough time. I had plenty of time for R2 and chose to go with Amerasia for Booth. He spent about a week reviewing my profile, resume, notes from our call etc and put together a document outlying my strengths and weaknesses in each area as it relates to Booth's core values. He read my essay drafts in detail and pointed out things that left a bit of confusion about my story and gave suggestions on what I could say to really make it powerful. With the powerpoint essay, he reviewed a few different intial ideas and gave his opinion on which was the best. Knowing he works with lots of clients and hearing him say something like "that's a really unique approach, I've never seen anyone do that before" gave me confidence to run with it, because I knew it would not be like so many others (like my second idea was)

I chose to go with a smaller essay only package with Amerasia for Kellogg as well after I was impressed by their work on Booth. I did feel this one was a bit more rushed, but I didn't make the decision to add this one until the very end. Overall very impressed and glad I went with them, I got into Booth with scholarship (something I thought impossible with a 58% Q from a quant heavy school) and used some of the same ideas in other school essays (got into Ross with the same concepts)

If you have any specific questions or want advice on the consultant process, feel free to PM me!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2011, 10:22
I want to echo Michmax' and the previous poster's comments on Amerasia - if you're planning to use a consultant, I highly recommend them. They're much more reasonably priced than MBA Exchange or Stacy Blackman, and I feel like their "boutique" approach allows them to get much more hands on with their clients. I never had a problem with turnaround times, and more often than not had responses within 24 hours. I used the full-service package for Booth and NYU, and then essay editing for Ross and Kellogg. I'm in at Ross so far, and still waiting on Kellogg.

To also echo what Michmax said, I feel like they did a great job of assuaging my fears when it comes to the application process. After getting 3 dings last year, I was trying to shoot for rank 20-30 programs in the hopes of actually going somewhere; but after talking to them, I was bolstered enough to apply to all top 15 schools, and so far with good results.

A consultant will not turn a bad application into gold, but they can help you pull out your best stories and make sure you're portraying yourself in the best light possible. And as much as everyone here on GmatClub has been a help in the application process, it's great to have a personalized coach in your corner, who has insight into all the top programs and can be there for you when you need it.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2011, 10:51
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wmcrockett wrote:
A consultant will not turn a bad application into gold, but they can help you pull out your best stories and make sure you're portraying yourself in the best light possible. And as much as everyone here on GmatClub has been a help in the application process, it's great to have a personalized coach in your corner, who has insight into all the top programs and can be there for you when you need it.


I will add to this some general tips for working with a consultant:

First off, leave yourself plenty of time. Consultants are not miracle workers, if you wait until the very end not only will you be compromising quality on your own edits, but they will also have more clients to deal with also needing things quickly. The ones I worked with were great about getting things back quickly when it was crunch time, but when it was still early in the process I felt i got even more value and insight than I was expecting because they had the time to put forth additonal efforts, ie answering my questions through email, giving me general advice even on schools I wasn't working with them on.

Once you choose a consultant, sign up for 1 school only and at the lowest level you feel you need. I don't know about all, but the ones I worked with were willing to let me upgrade later for the same price it would've been if I selected the higher package to begin with. I did this the wrong way with Precision, signed up for the full package but really only had the time available to get use out of part of it. The interview prep later on was valuable though. Also as it got later in the application round, deals started popping up and both were willing to add additional schools for a much lower price than originally posted.

Don't take everything they say at face value, I was tempted to keep some of their revisions and phrases they used which really didn't fit me, in the end I used a blended combination of the two styles.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2011, 06:46
Great write-ups & feedback everyone, keep them coming!!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2011, 11:16
m7 wrote:
The purpose of boards like this is to help each other with honest opinions about any subject. Many people use consultants so why so few replies?? I am looking for a good consultant also and really do not know what to do as I cant just rely on raving reviews on their own sites. I contacted few firms but of course they "are the best in the industry" and so on. Consultant's fee is not only a considerable investment, it will be detrimental if the wrong one is hired. Negative results plus waste of money, opportunity g o n e. Or ruined....
C'mon, people! Just few sentences-who did you use and what do you think-would be nice, to say the least. And pleeease, stop with this "I am not here to ruin anybodys busines"..You should be outspoken and warn others so please don't hesitate to name names, thats the purpose of this blog! Many of you went through the same hassle during your own research, so be a hero now, share with other humans! Please.


Remember - consultants are also here to make a living, and I am not here to interfere with anyone's business. If you want to know more, you should PM people to know about their specific experiences. This being a forum (not a blog) makes me think that I should still share my experiences with my colleagues here, but privately. You can always PM people to get their perspectives. Just a simple click of a button!

Good luck!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2011, 11:40
goldgoldandgold wrote:
Remember - consultants are also here to make a living, and I am not here to interfere with anyone's business. If you want to know more, you should PM people to know about their specific experiences. This being a forum (not a blog) makes me think that I should still share my experiences with my colleagues here, but privately. You can always PM people to get their perspectives. Just a simple click of a button!

Good luck!


I agree with you mostly. Unlike the previous poster, I've been here awhile but do not actually know who is using a consultant. I've heard rumors that about 50% of B-school applicants are doing so these days and I even heard an AdCom member say "to the detriment of other applicants" which is why I posted here.

I do appreciate your feedback and I was hoping to hear from more than just 3 applicants this cycle (all using the same company). Needless to say I do share some of the concerns of that poster (on a separate note - showing up w/out building credibility and demanding such info is distasteful and rude) and I'm trying to get some good quality feedback from others I respect on this board early for next cycle.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2011, 11:46
jb88 wrote:
goldgoldandgold wrote:
Remember - consultants are also here to make a living, and I am not here to interfere with anyone's business. If you want to know more, you should PM people to know about their specific experiences. This being a forum (not a blog) makes me think that I should still share my experiences with my colleagues here, but privately. You can always PM people to get their perspectives. Just a simple click of a button!

Good luck!


I agree with you mostly. Unlike the previous poster, I've been here awhile but do not actually know who is using a consultant. I've heard rumors that about 50% of B-school applicants are doing so these days and I even heard an AdCom member say "to the detriment of other applicants" which is why I posted here.

I do appreciate your feedback and I was hoping to hear from more than just 3 applicants this cycle (all using the same company). Needless to say I do share some of the concerns of that poster (on a separate note - showing up w/out building credibility and demanding such info is distasteful and rude) and I'm trying to get some good quality feedback from others I respect on this board early for next cycle.


Yes I agree - more posters can definitely share. Hopefully they will share their experiences with other companies. PM me if you want to know more about a few more I spoke with....I have some perspective on them
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2011, 12:43
m7 wrote:
"Making a living", integrity and professionalism should not be separated and if anyone had a bad experience with some consultant, why not share it here? Otherwise others will suffer as "nameless" consultant will remain anonymous, continue to florish and adding to reapplicants pool. Who benefits from this sugar coating? Only the same unprofessional. (oh, and maybe that "polite" fan of so called "taste".. I just dont see how anyway :)


Did you have a bad experience with some one? No sugar coating my friend - just respect for someone's profession. That is all
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2011, 14:19
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m7 wrote:
No, I did not have a bad experience and hopefully I won't, with the help of fellows here. Just read some bad reviews, some good reviews and then (in the same blog) accusations that certain good ones are fake... So I do not know what to believe and just asking for honest opinions (bashing someone for the sole reason of not getting into top school is NOT an honest post.)


I think the moderators of this forum are doing a good job of labeling the posts that come from people who have not yet proven themselves as trustworthy, contributing members. That's not to say they are fake, it's just a heads up to take the review with a grain of salt. I will add to that I think any review, even those from long-time trusted members, should be taken with a grain of salt, because one person's experience may not be the same for all. Most of the companies offer a free consultation, try calling a few and see which ones you feel comfortable with.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2011, 18:22
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m7 wrote:
The purpose of boards like this is to help each other with honest opinions about any subject. Many people use consultants so why so few replies?? I am looking for a good consultant also and really do not know what to do as I cant just rely on raving reviews on their own sites. I contacted few firms but of course they "are the best in the industry" and so on. Consultant's fee is not only a considerable investment, it will be detrimental if the wrong one is hired. Negative results plus waste of money, opportunity g o n e. Or ruined....
C'mon, people! Just few sentences-who did you use and what do you think-would be nice, to say the least. And pleeease, stop with this "I am not here to ruin anybodys busines"..You should be outspoken and warn others so please don't hesitate to name names, thats the purpose of this blog! Many of you went through the same hassle during your own research, so be a hero now, share with other humans! Please.


while i agree with what you're saying, i found your first post rude, especially since you haven't given anything to this community. nevertheless, i would like to help people like jb88 so i will share my experience.

i decided to check out admissions consultants late in the game for R1 - around the end of september. i really didn't think i would ever get a consultant since they're so expensive, but i was starting to panic with my essays as i was hitting a wall with them.

i contacted a few of the 1 person consultants, but they turned me down because it was so close to R1 deadlines, which definitely worried me. i got a free consultation from stacy blackman, which went ok. she gave me some good tips but i decided not to go with her cause i didn't really feel like we connected and i was a little worried about all the negative reviews of them online. also, i was really only looking for essay help. most consulting companies offer essay services "a la carte" which mainly entails spending an hour on the phone talking about 1 or 2 essays. i wanted to see the edits on paper and didn't want to pay someone by the hour.

once i realized that, i started to focus my search on essay editing companies (and with quick turnaround). most of these companies (including the services that SB offers) only edit for grammar while i wanted someone to edit my content and flow. i received a free essay edit from precision essay and found it very well done and even entertaining. i decided that night that i would get their services (based on their packages and turnaround). i ultimately got edits for 3 schools (2 edits for stanford and berkeley, 1 for kellogg), but used those essays for the other schools i applied to as well.

i found PE to be really helpful and extremely fast in getting back my essays. having a consultant also gave me mini-deadlines which helped a lot. i got A LOT done in a very short time period. i had gone through so many revisions with friends and family (but none with bschool experience) with my essays before getting a consultant, but i ended up changing some of them drastically afterwards. PE really knew how to help me structure my essays, how to better clarify and emphasize aspects, and how to focus them. also, they were always available to answer my questions. my essays really would not have reached the level they did without that help. well maybe if i had time to thoroughly go through those MBA application books, they would have, but i didn't start applying until late in the game.

in summary, if you're only looking for essay help on your apps and want to see your edits on paper and delivered quickly back to you, i would look into precision essay (ask for a free essay edit or read their thread in the admissions consultants thread). their prices, although high, are worth it because you pay by the school and not by the word count or hour. i personally only really knew 1 person who was familiar with the business school process, so working with a consultant really helped me. as you can see by my profile, i got into 3 of the 6 schools i applied to round 1, including kellogg, one of my top choices and where i'll be going in the fall.

feel free to PM me with more info. i looked into several consulting companies before i settled on PE, everyone from the big companies to the small, cheaper essay editing services.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2011, 23:43
bpengage,
thank you a lot for detailedfeedback.

+1 from my side!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 13:52
i am trying to decide on a consultant for next year. can you please help me chooose one. i am from europe so I will be doing most of the communication via email or skype

I have been hearing very good feedback on Amerisia and to be honest he has been very helpful on the questions I have asked so far on the forum...

please PM me any positive / negative comments I have 7/0 this year so I will start very early this year and preferably with a consultant.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2011, 07:46
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Thought I would briefly share my consultant experience with the GC community:
• Last year I applied to only 1 school (outside of top 30). My stats were: 3.3 GPA/650 GMAT/4Yrs WE/Extensive EC. Result: Dinged w/o interview
• This year, I raised my GMAT to 700 and got a consultant through MBAmission. Result: Admitted to 4/8 Top-15 programs (possibly 5 depending on how the Wharton WL goes)
• My thoughts on why my consultant helped so much:
1. She knew where the land mines are in the application
2. Helped me NOT say stupid, arrogant, offensive, or other app-killing things. Believe it or not, this is SO VERY easy to do if you don't have proper guidance
3. Helped my story stand out and not be cliché.
4. Helped me recall stories that I had not even thought of using.
5. Assisted me in framing my stories in a concise and powerful way (She literally showed me how to take a 200 word paragraph and condense that down to about 30 words without losing any of the impact, incredible really).
6. Aided me in tying the entire application together (essays, resume, LOR's)
7. Provided this same kind of feedback to my recommenders (who thankfully took her advice)

Occasionally, the issue of the ethics of using a consultant to aid in the app process emerges. My thought is that if professional writers use professional editors, why would someone applying to b-school, not use the resource of a consultant? Baffling to me why more people don't use them (and why I didn't use one sooner!).
That said, those that are going to invest in a consultant need to know a couple things from the outset:

1. An admissions consultant will help you organize your "raw materials" into something eloquent and grand. However, if you don't have the "raw materials" such as leadership experience, relevant work experience, etc, the best consultant on the planet will not be able to help you get into your schools. If you find yourself in this category, my advice to you would be to postpone b-school apps and go get the leadership/work experience you need instead. Come back and apply when you have the "raw materials". You will be far better off in the long run.

2. DO NOT EXPECT them to do all the work for you. I applied to 8 schools. At an average of 4 essays for each school x on average about 7 drafts per essay = 200+ Drafts by the time everything is said and done. "but why not recycle the same essays for all schools?", you ask. In my opinion, one of the marks of a great consultant is that they perceive the subtle differences in the questions/ school culture and will help you re-frame the same (or different) stories to best answer the question and woo the adcom. If you are cutting and pasting, that is your first red flag. In short, having a consultant to help you will not lighten your work load in the app process, but it WILL make it way more efficient.

As far as recommending a specific company, I really can't comment on anyone other than the company I have used, MBAmission.com. I have been EXTREMELY pleased with their services, results and promptness in responding to all of my inquiries. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is serious about breaking into a top tier school.

Hope that helps, Good Luck!
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2011, 12:03
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I think one of the better things you can do is go ahead and take advantage of their free consulting sessions to get a general feel for them and then use that as one data point to compare against what people are saying here.

I have a free talk with Paul Lanzillotti tonight. mbamission came to my MGMAT class over the weekend (they are business partners) and gave a short talk about their approach. I reached out to Sandy (HBS Guru) to see what he had to say. The bigger companies kind of worry me as the customer. I'd prefer a more intiamate, boutique approach, but I realize that these people have mouths to feed also.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2011, 19:47
Guys anyone have a review or info on Bill Chionis from Stacey Blackman Consultant Group ??

You can either reply here or PM me..
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2011, 00:21
if anyone used MBAmission can you please comment on that..
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2011, 00:31
ua87 wrote:
if anyone used MBAmission can you please comment on that..


I am sorry, but are you blind?!

please see rpratt620's post above.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2011, 09:01
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I did work with Bill at Stacy Blackman - excellent experience. Also worked with Sherri, Amy and Lisa for different aspects of the app (flight test etc) All excellent. Will send more info in PM.

OK just received PM to add more info to help others. So - adding this on now:

I really was happy with my experience so will try to give a more detailed overview here. I have worked with two firms in the past and so I have some persoective. My experience with Stacy Blackman was great. I was burnt from prior experiences so when I signed up I wanted to work with two consultants not one. Which is what I did - I actually purchased 2 different packages and worked with two consultants who were pretty different from each other but both very strong (Bill as mentioned above and also Sherri). Both had a lot of experience, adcomm experience, and really took time with me. During the time close to deadlines I felt like I was in constant communication with them. they have something called a flight test which I thought was really helpful. A totally separate consultant reviewed my entire file and gave feedback in a different way from an admissions committee perspective. I had a client liaison named Amy who was very nice and helpful though I have to admit I did not use her as much as I could have (that was my choice). She did review a couple of essays near the end, but by then everything was prettty complete so not a ton of feedback.

I felt very supported and I knew I was in good hands. I have been admitted to USC and LBS and my dream reach school Wharton. That is half of my schools. I was reapplying to Wharton and also HBS and Haas. I did not get into HBS or Haas.

The feedback was very timely, response times were good. I felt that they were detail oriented as well as helped with my strategy up front. We did some things that were very different from my approach first time around and it paid off. I was very overwhelmed in the beginning and Bill especially had a way of breaking it down and making things simpler and more digestable. I also used the online center for reference - it was a nice tool.

Finally, my interview prep was awesome. I cannot tell you how much of a difference that made for me. They definoitely knew what the schools were looking for and gave me great prep sessions.

Kind of all over the map here but just trying to think of details to add...I think that's it - hope it helps. If you have specifc questions I can answer but you might want to PM me so I am sure to see it.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2011, 22:02
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I also tried EssayCom - you won't find them advertise anywhere. My friend here on GC forum recommended me.

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

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

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

I will have a couple more in coming days as I am out of country. PM me if you need more info.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies? [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2011, 03:09
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mbastudio

Pluses-
Great book, helpful blogs, decent edits, 2 day return, to the point (no BS), great interview prep (Wharton), great guy to talk to for advise.

Minuses-
Paying for profiling may not be much value if you buy the book and do it yourself; not as flexible in editing terms and number of edits as other companies(my experience only), little pricey compared to other so called "boutique shops", not much ideas about stories or better way of putting things together (felt like mine was only pure edits)

Overall comment - I think you should do your profiling on your own and save on full package cost. Chose the 3 X edit package per school for edits (similar pricing to PE - maybe Avi will fit your needs better). Definitely worth every penny for interview prep (though I was dinged after W interview :cry: )

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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies?   [#permalink] 04 Apr 2011, 03:09
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