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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014

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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2014, 16:20
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Best Admissions Consulting Companies
Real reviews and opinions by REAL GMAT Club Members.

This thread is a 2014 continuation of the "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies discussion that had over 500 posts spanning across 4 years.It is time to retire it! We are introducing improvements starting now - we will maintain one thread per year to make it easier find feedback and relevant information. Also, IMPORTANT: we will only post here reviews from members who have at least 30 posts. If your profile is new - you are welcome to post questions or engage in a discussion but please do not post reviews as they will be deleted or hidden. If you are a lurker and had a great experience with your admissions consultants, post it in the Reviews Area instead.


We welcome any feedback from the members including constructive criticism/suggestions for improvement as well as positive comments. Take both positive and negative comments with a grain of salt. Please also read:
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Re: Gyanone admission consultants [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2014, 08:22
I have taken GyanOne’s help for my applications and interview preparation for UNC Kenan Flagler and I am glad to recommend them for their brilliant services. I have an admit for the fall 2014 intake, and want to thank the GyanOne team for their expertise and support throughout the admissions process. Their experienced consultants, from top b-schools, understand the admission process well and provide their clients personalized help into all aspects of the application and interview process. Their comprehensive help with essays, supporting documentation and mock interviews made me comfortable and confident about submitting a strong application. I truly appreciate their experience and expertise and would be glad to answer anyone’s queries on their services.
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2014, 07:19
Hi everyone,

This is my first post on GmatClub (But I've been an active "reader" for the last 5-6 months)..
I took my Gmat about a month ago and I just started thinking about using an admission consultant... At first I was surprised about how much they cost... never thought it would cost me that high!!!

Just a quick question, did anyone ever prepared a summary table for the fees for each company?
I know it's all about the value factor... but just wanna make sure i'm not missing out on some affordable and good options.

@BB I know you're the king of summary tables, is it possible to start preparing such a table and have a score for each company for "negative/Positive" count ?

Thanks
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2014, 08:16
Hi mhkhalil,

This may be a bit outdated, but you can use this to start your research on consultants:
price-comparison-of-mba-consultants-and-links-to-their-sites-161420.html#p1277062
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2014, 08:43
That is exactly what i needed... Thanks alot Farful..

Are you done with the consultation process? Do u mind sharing with us what was your final pick?

I'm planning to apply for R1 fall 2015, I thought I should start with the whole application process as soon as possible so I don't rush it in the last few weeks, dunno if it's too early...

I'm trying to convince myself that around 5000$ is worth it... Still not sure..

I'll be reading this thread (the pre-2014 one) to help me decide...

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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2014, 07:08
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I have many thoughts regarding consultants. I had planned to write a review of the one I used after I figured out where I would matriculate, but it seems that might be awhile due to waitlists and such.

I should give a little background first. I knew very little about the business world and did not know anyone in it. I never even heard of the GMAT a year ago. I was looking for a career change and knew I wanted to attend a professional school of some sort. I was actually studying for the MCAT when I came across the GMAT, and despite the hundreds of hours I put into studying for the MCAT, I somehow ended up taking the GMAT instead.

After the GMAT, I convinced myself I needed to hire a consultant, mainly to have access to someone who has knowledge of the business world (and the app process!) and to help guide me though my goals and possibly explain to me the different career paths that are available with an MBA. I didn't think I needed help with my essay writing and editing - I have more than enough friends who could help me with that.

I decided an all-inclusive school package worth $3000+ was out of the question. That's almost two months of my offspring's daycare tuition! (Yes yes, I pay way too much for daycare). I really only needed something simple that would help me plan my MBA application strategy and goals. Maybe they could help with my school selection and resume as well.

I looked into a lot of à la carte services and 'basic' packages (think Amerasia's essay with resume service, MBA Admit's basic service, MBA Prep School's application strategy, etc). I used a dozen of those 'free 30 min consultations' and ended up picking from there.

One thing I learned from my dozen free consultations is that no one really had any good idea of how competitive of an applicant I was. Maybe it's because of the lack of information they have for their free consultation, but I had gotten a huge range of responses from "You have a shot at HBS" to "You should be looking at schools such as Babson or Thunderbird". I also found that many tend to be ageists and suggested I only look at EMBA or part-time programs. Also, I'm not sure why, but only one (Darren from touchmba.com, whom I contacted after already picking a consultant) suggested I look at schools with a healthcare element, which should have been blindingly obvious to both me and other consultants. I'm really grateful he was there to point out the obvious to me.

In any case, I used consulting services for my Yale application. I chose Yale because I thought I had a decent chance of getting in and logistically, it would have made the most sense to attend Yale. I was dinged without an interview.

Specifically, we spent a lot of time on my goals. After re-reading them recently, I'm certain that one reason for my failure this application cycle is due to my weak goals. Still, they are a lot better than it would have been had I not received help from my consultant. My resume was gibberish, and again, it's better now with some help, but I still don't think I got my money's worth for it. I asked for help in explanation of different career paths with industry/functions, but they did very little to help in that regard. Maybe it's not part of the package or it's not really explainable in any short concise way. Their essay service however, was better than I expected. I really didn't think I needed help with it, but my essays were certainly better because of them.

I have reasons to believe any consulting services will be more or less the same. I'm not convinced any one is better than another, and even current students or applicants who have gone through the cycle can offer tremendous feedback. I certainly have learned a lot and if I choose to be a re-applicant, I am sure I will have much greater success.

For my personal situation, I still have mixed thoughts. The consultant certainly did help and I would have been way worse off without the assistance. On hindsight however, I feel like I could have done other things instead that would have been much more useful.

For example, one of the most useful things I've done (unfortunately, after submitting my apps) is be active on the gmatclub chat. The first day there I listened to someone in the energy sector and another person who worked for Accenture and learned more about what it is that they do and understand more about the everyday activities of a consultant. Yesterday, I learned even more about what entrepreneurship entails and about the biofuel industry and its associated problems and opportunities. I find that listening to other people's jobs and goals have helped me tremendously.

Sorry for my long-winded response. If money isn't an issue, certainly go for it - it can't hurt! And if budget is tight, consider basic or à la carte services on exactly what you might need help with. Whether or not to hire a consultant I feel is very dependent on what you need and what you're looking for. Nevertheless, do take advantage of the many free consultations throughout the process (even after you hire one, if you choose to do so) and know that there are a lot of resources here on this forum alone (albeit, difficult to find)!
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2014, 14:40
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I didn't use a consultant and I really don't think they are necessary. Most of their advice and suggestions are readily available online. If you have friends who got into a top mba program, you can just ask them to read your essays/resumes/short-term goals. There's a lot of consultants around, and honestly I feel like I could give out better advice than most of them give out here or elsewhere. I've seen applications from people who used consultant services, and they didn't seem better than mine. Really the only advantage of a consultant is that is causes you to keep refining your essays and resume - but you should be doing that regardless if you use a consultant or not.
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2014, 22:47
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I hired The MBA Exchange a couple of years ago for my MBA applications. I had not-so-good experience. I think they failed me miserably on many counts -

1. They paired me with a part time consultant. There was no promised turn around time for his reply. Sometimes, he would reply in 2 days while other times he would take 4-5 days. He also missed his skype call once. I thought that was totally unprofessional. It was not surprising that I had to miss the first round deadlines for all schools. You can imagine how involved he was from the fact that he finalized one essay which exceeded the word count by almost 100 words. When I pointed this out, he simply said it did not matter.

2. There was absolutely no strategy involved in school selection. I just ended up selecting schools which I had heard or researched on forums and websites such as Poets&Quants, USnews etc. They had no school-specific knowledge.

3. There was no proper/honest assessment of my profile. I think, they did not match me to the right schools so as to maximize my chances of being admitted. With 700+ on GMAT and 8 years of experience at managerial level, I thought I had a good shot at top-20 schools. And if I did not have a good chance at a particular school, I thought it was their duty to tell me that. I could have spent my time and energies on the schools where my chances of success were the highest.

4. The Result: I applied to 4 schools with them. However, I was rejected by all the schools I'd applied with them.

It was definitely not worth about $6500 I paid for 4 applications.
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Best Admissions Consulting Firm for IMD [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2014, 07:31
Hello All - First of all, my thanks to bb, moderators and zillion contributors!!! This remains THE place for advise and preparation to enter B-School and beyond!

I am back on this forum after a gap of exactly 3 years (while I was preparing for GMAT). I prefer to choose different name now as I will be sending out my applications to schools this year.

I plan to apply to IMD and would like to know which admissions firms have the best credibility for IMD. I searched the forum and found quite some reviews for companies with good success rate for INSEAD, HBS, Columbia etc. but I could not find much with regards to reviews from IMD admits for firms they tried or used.

Appreciate any guidance that you guys might have. I have some initial consultations scheduled and will also PM some IMD admits. Many thanks in advance!

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How legit are admission consultants [#permalink] New post 16 May 2014, 08:01
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I've been reading this forum for a while now and wondering if admission consultants are really what they are made out to be.

Generally speaking, how legit are the rankings for the mba consultants listed on gmat? Most of the people giving the ratings are either anon or haven't made even 1 post on here - how exactly can we as prospective students determine if they are actually what they say they are.

Also, do mba consultants really make that much of a difference?

I'd really like to know what non-admission consultants think, since it's actually quite a big investment per school.
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Re: How legit are admission consultants [#permalink] New post 16 May 2014, 09:23
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Jadax wrote:
I've been reading this forum for a while now and wondering if admission consultants are really what they are made out to be.

Generally speaking, how legit are the rankings for the mba consultants listed on gmat? Most of the people giving the ratings are either anon or haven't made even 1 post on here - how exactly can we as prospective students determine if they are actually what they say they are.

Also, do mba consultants really make that much of a difference?

I'd really like to know what non-admission consultants think, since it's actually quite a big investment per school.



Discussions merged - you may also find answers in this discussion.
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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 20 May 2014, 17:29
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Rec for North Star Admissions Consulting - Karen Marks [#permalink] New post 31 May 2014, 07:37
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Hi--

Before I go into my recommendation, I'll first say that I don't believe there is one "best" admissions consultant for everyone. Like any type of product or service, you have a choice and you should find the one that best fits your needs and/or your working style.

That said, I'd like to recommend North Star Admissions Consulting and Karen Marks as another option to consider. She's relatively new in the world of admissions consulting, however, she worked for 10 years in admissions for both undergrad and MBA admissions at Dartmouth/Tuck.

I worked with Karen this past season. I found her style to be very practical and realistic. From her admissions experience, she dispels many of the myths that are out there and focuses on answering all of the questions that schools ask. She always gave actionable and specific feedback, and is extremely organized and prompt.

Most importantly, Karen doesn't treat admissions as a game with complicated strategies. She knows the type of information that admissions officer like to get, and isn't afraid to probe into your background, goals and interests to find anything to tell schools, no matter how off the wall.

Towards the end, I started doing hourly consulting because I felt amply prepared by Karen's prior feedback to handle things on my own. Karen is very efficient, so I had no worries about running up hourly charges.

At the end of the day, not everyone needs a consultant, but I just wanted to make this recommendation because I haven't seen North Star mentioned before in the forum.

Thanks.

Last edited by Ward2012 on 01 Jun 2014, 08:38, edited 1 time in total.
Correction: North Sta[r] Admissions Consulting
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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 31 May 2014, 07:49
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Hi--

Before I go into my recommendation, I'll first say that I don't believe there is one "best" admissions consultant for everyone. Like any type of product or service, you have a choice and you should find the one that best fits your needs and/or your working style.

That said, I'd like to recommend North Start Admissions Consulting and Karen Marks as another option to consider. She's relatively new in the world of admissions consulting, however, she worked for 10 years in admissions for both undergrad and MBA admissions at Dartmouth/Tuck.

I worked with Karen this past season. I found her style to be very practical and realistic. From her admissions experience, she dispels many of the myths that are out there and focuses on answering all of the questions that schools ask. She always gave actionable and specific feedback, and is extremely organized and prompt.

Most importantly, Karen doesn't treat admissions as a game with complicated strategies. She knows the type of information that admissions officer like to get, and isn't afraid to probe into your background, goals and interests to find anything to tell schools, no matter how off the wall.

Towards the end, I started doing hourly consulting because I felt amply prepared by Karen's prior feedback to handle things on my own. Karen is very efficient, so I had no worries about running up hourly charges.

At the end of the day, not everyone needs a consultant, but I just wanted to make this recommendation because I haven't seen North Star mentioned before in the forum.

Thanks.


Good to hear about a new player Ward2012 :)

Why don't you ask North Star Admissions Consulting/Karen to participate in our club ? That would be an interesting opportunity for the applicants/community to leverage her skills!
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2014, 15:32
Hello,

I'm looking into MBA Admissions consultants and have been through many pages on gmatclub and beyond but am still having trouble with choosing an admissions consultant. I have spoken with a few companies but none of the experiences have led me to choose one or the other. From the information I've seen, the initial experience or consult is not an accurate predictor of the actual service.

Is there any concise comparison between consultants available? Statistical information? REAL reviews?
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2014, 16:14
crisprin117 wrote:
Hello,

I'm looking into MBA Admissions consultants and have been through many pages on gmatclub and beyond but am still having trouble with choosing an admissions consultant. I have spoken with a few companies but none of the experiences have led me to choose one or the other. From the information I've seen, the initial experience or consult is not an accurate predictor of the actual service.

Is there any concise comparison between consultants available? Statistical information? REAL reviews?


How do you suggest a concise comparison? What sort of statistical information do you think is relevant?
Before answering these questions, read mbaMission's thoughts on success rates: http://www.mbamission.com/resources-tru ... -rates.php

Real reviews are available here: http://gmatclub.com/reviews/
(I will be first to say that I find these reviews kind of pointless in that everyone has a 5 star rating...)
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2014, 11:39
Yes, I think its ridiculous to rely on anonymous 5 star ratings for many of these consultants. Are the anonymous and declared reviews at least verified by GMATCLUB?
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2014, 12:33
crisprin117 wrote:
Are the anonymous and declared reviews at least verified by GMATCLUB?


Yes.

See: verified-reviews-125793.html
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2014, 07:42
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Having been an entrepreneur for most of my professional career, I was in the deep-end when it came to the application process for B-schools. I knew I had very little time (I started the process only in August), and I knew that my profile wasn't that of the typical B-school applicant. This is when I came across Indusminds (http://www.indusminds.com). From the first introductory call itself, Biplav and his team were extremely methodical in evaluating my profile and giving me realistic feedback on schools I should target in R1 and R2. From helping me in drafting my CV (I hadn't prepared one in more than 5 years), to discovering the inherent story I had to tell, Indusminds introduced a structured framework for me to work with. Biplav was available around the clock for any questions I had and made the entire process extremely seamless. When I got my first interview calls, Indusminds helped me go through multiple mock interviews till I felt comfortable in telling "my story" in varying contexts. More than just being an admissions consultant, Indusminds was more of a teammate, friend and guide, working alongside me through the entire process. This is because they have themselves gone through the entire process themselves and understand how strenuous it can be for the applicant.
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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014 [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2014, 21:40
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I decided to hire an MBA Admissions consultant because I knew I had the potential to get into a top school (solid GPA, acceptable GMAT, tons of leadership, and significant upward progress in my career thus far) but I came from a somewhat untraditional background, where I had few resources to consult within the work place or from friends and family, so needed help guiding me on the process. I had one shot to get in as I was in the latter half of my twenties and the time was now or never. I didn't want to look back wondering what if....

I had spoken to a few people I knew who had used Stacy Blackman and MBA Admissions. Both were pricey though and I was unsure if it was worth it. From my first call with Esther Magna at Stacy Blackman Consulting ("SBC") though, I was blown away by how she was able to dissect my strengths and potential weak areas to work on as though an admissions officer was reviewing my file. I liked her candor, ability to converse with my about my fears, the process, the costs, etc. She recommended 3 potential SBC consultants to me and I ultimately chose Dawn Clare based on her prior client feedback and personal approach.

On our first call, Dawn clearly communicated her style, approach and how we would work together to ensure it was a good fit. I had a stressful job as it was, and she ensured she would guide me through deadlines but not be another boss or nagging parent. I also liked her focus and ability to separate out how the schools were different and how to approach each one.

She also guided me through info sessions and what schools I should consider. As an expert, she was very informed as to what would play to my personality and strengths.

I decided to apply to 6 schools, 3 using SBC and 3 on my own. Since rankings mattered to me, 5 were the top 5 and I chose a 6th that is ranked #10-12 depending on the ranking. Dawn helped me create a comprehensive brand and strategy, which was the cornerstone of my application. She also made a deadline chart and adjusted it accordingly when huge projects came up at work. I aimed for Round 1, but it soon became clear that in order to do a good job, Round 2 for all of them was of going to be necessary.

Having the SBC resources of sample essays, sample resume formats, sample recommender guides, etc. was so invaluable to me! I am the type of person that needs to read other things to get my creative juices flowing. Using this as a framework, I could then ask Dawn all of my silly and random questions. We went through an outline process that was helpful in framing the essay and did most of the revisions there prior to the essay writing. My biggest issue is not being consice (point in case by this blog post) so she helped me stay within the word limits by forcing me to cut my outlines down too.

While at times her feedback was blunt, it was always timely and on point and allowed me to keep things moving. In the end, I was invited to interview at 5 of the 6 schools. She helped do a mock interview for one, which allowed me to prep like it was the real deal. Then she also put me in touch for the mock team based discussion, which greatly calmed me nerves about the format.

I ended up receiving acceptances from all 5 of those schools, some with merit scholarships! She even helped walk me through my choices as I was ultimately deciding between my top 2. I am delighted to say that I am going to HBS.

Dawn really does care about her clients and is able to see what sets them apart, even if you don't always know it. I would highly recommend her to anybody. She is selective in her clients, and only takes on a limited number that she knows she can truly help and commit to, which I greatly respect.
"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2014   [#permalink] 12 Aug 2014, 21:40

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