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Picking out a consultant

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Manager
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Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 04 Mar 2012, 23:58
I've been communicating with consultants over the last month (Stacy Blackman, Amerasia, Alex Chu). I'm targeting entry in the fall of 13.

While I'm blown away by the immaculate consulting process that Stacy Blackman has on her site (http://www.stacyblackman.com/comprehens ... s/process/), the negative comments on this forum scare me. Amerasia seems to have some good consultants but I am not as convinced with their process as I am with Stacy's. Plus, they don't help you with recommendations. Alex Chu told me that it was too early to begin and asked me to contact him post May. Lol.

Am I starting too early? I have all this repressed energy inside of me that's waiting to be let out onto my apps. And the whole consultant selection thing is freaking me out. I'm scared to pick the wrong consultant and blow off a ton of cash.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2012, 03:48
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Pashya wrote:
I've been communicating with consultants over the last month (Stacy Blackman, Amerasia, Alex Chu). I'm targeting entry in the fall of 13.

While I'm blown away by the immaculate consulting process that Stacy Blackman has on her site (http://www.stacyblackman.com/comprehens ... s/process/), the negative comments on this forum scare me. Amerasia seems to have some good consultants but I am not as convinced with their process as I am with Stacy's. Plus, they don't help you with recommendations. Alex Chu told me that it was too early to begin and asked me to contact him post May. Lol.

Am I starting too early? I have all this repressed energy inside of me that's waiting to be let out onto my apps. And the whole consultant selection thing is freaking me out. I'm scared to pick the wrong consultant and blow off a ton of cash.


Your waaaaay early. The Fall 2012 application cycle is still underway. Take this time to visit schools you might be interested in, retake the GMAT if necessary, and do some information gathering. A lot of schools don't even release their next set of essay questions til July/August (HBS and CBS tend to release earlier, but still not til May).

My advice is to pace yourself. This process can be grueling, especially if you split apps between R1 and R2. No need to burn out early.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2012, 05:20
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Agree. Wait a few months, do some research and then get back with them. It is a good idea to start early (maybe June/July) because a lot of the more "desirable" consultants tend to fill up their spots quickly. Of course, it depends on what you need. These guys are pretty good at managing their workloads so they'll often take on some combination of people who need full packages vs. people who need a few hours, etc.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2012, 08:41
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try Precision Essay, mbamission and mbaexchange as well.

Don't worry about the firm you are consulting with, they all are professional and work pretty much the same way.
What matters is how you connect with the consultant you have the initial consultation with. Does she understand you and your profile well? Is it pretty much the canned response (you have this, you don't have that) and pretty much everything you already know about yourself or does she bring any new insight into your application that you haven't been able to identify yourself so far.

Talk to her about your dream school. See what strategy she comes up with to tackle that school. You 'll get an idea of what I am talking about.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 00:39
Great replies ... thank you, guys ... I guess I'm going to be spending the next couple of months researching the hell out of schools ... and I'll shop around until I find that elusive 'connection' with my consultant.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 07:56
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I've used Alex Chu's services. If you go with him, be ready to rewrite your essays quite a few times :) But yes, that process brings out the best in your essays. His feedback is very candid and to the point. He doesn't ever suggest "material" to you per se, rather he would direct you to present it in the best possible light.

My husband used Precision Essay and Alex Chu for different schools, and he preferred Precision Essay. I personally didn't like their style (but I've used their essay analysis as my guide!). So lot of it comes down to whom you can connect with. You'll spend lot of time with your consultant, so it better be someone you can connect to and enjoy working with. Talk to them and see if you figure that out. One word of caution with bigger firms - you may not be able to work with the person of your choice which I see is a big disadvantage. Again, you might find the process more important than the individual.

As others suggested, do your due diligence for the schools in the next few months - gather as much info and talk to as many students, alums as you can. This app process is lengthy and grilling, you don't want to lengthen it for sure :)
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 12:54
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I agree with the recommendations. Do as much research as possible over the next couple of months, and also visit some of your target schools; DON'T blindly visit the school.
I'd also recommend that you attempt to write down the essays before settling with a consultant. Make a few iterations and run them by a few of your peers. By then you'd have gotten a real connection with a few of your target schools. Then, if you still feel that you could do with some extra help, schedule a free consultation with the popular admissions consultants - at this stage, with the knowledge that you've amassed and the reviews that you've gotten from your peers, you should be able to make a better decision on whether the consultant will be able to make a difference to your app.
I'm guessing you've already gone through the new GMAT Club Reviews, but in case you haven't, here's the link: http://gmatclub.com/reviews/

It's never too early :)
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 13:42
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Before you hire a consultant, you want to buy an admissions book so you know what you are getting into. Help yourself before you ask for help. You want to make sure these consultants are doing what's best for you anyway, and you want to understand what they are trying to do for you too.

I'd highly recommend this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/007174 ... 0071746552

It's an easy read, maybe 4-5 hours, and you'll be good to go
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 08 Mar 2012, 02:37
Thanks a ton for the great tips, guys! Really helpful! Seems like I have a lot more work to do than I anticipated.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2012, 06:54
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Here's what you should do: write the names of all the consultants you're considering on a piece of paper. Then crumble up the paper and throw it in the garbage. Consulants are a waste of money. If you can't figure out an answer to the question "why do you need an MBA" on your own, don't go to business school.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2012, 09:57
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I agree with the above post. consultants are a rip off. all they do is massage your content and reword it. I got ripped off by Stacy, ended up spending about 3k/school.. I did a couple of schools on my own and thought i did better than consultants. Ofcourse, if you don't know where to start and have a writers block, which is common, start by reading some sample essays online
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2012, 07:14
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I would focus on (1) doing well on your GMATs (you can take it multiple times, but all your scores will be reported, so good to get it right on your first try); (2) thinking seriously about "Why MBA"--what do you want to do with your career, and why you need an MBA to achieve your long-term career goals; (3) researching schools to really get to know the differences (your "why XXX business school" essay should be distinct enough that if you just replace the business school's name, the essay no longer makes sense); then (4) start thinking about "why you"--what makes your application distinct and evaluate potential gaps in your application. (5) Spend the next few months trying to fill those gaps (e.g. volunteering if you need more extracurriculars; getting to know your bosses to ensure they have enough to write come Oct...).

Lots to do actually, so I honestly don't think you're starting early! :) I would start engaging a consultant if you're interested in June, to help in ensuring you're putting your best foot forward.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2012, 07:42
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Hi,

I think you should try contacting Indus Minds..... I had contacted them & they seemed genuine & really good people
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2012, 14:46
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I just wanted to add my opinions on hiring a consultant and paying several thousand $$ for the service. The following opinions are based on my previous experience with consultants (yes, plural because I used them for my law school app and other school app purposes).

I think the value of hiring a consultant varies with each individual. By no means, consultants are miracle workers. I personally think some of the consultants are editors or writers who charge a significant price for editing your school essays and short answers on the application. Also, I believe using a consultant can even hurt your chances of being accepted at a school of your choice. For instance, what may seem like a minor edits on your application or your essays may end up being a significant one, turning your application into something that was not completed by you and AdCom notices this "issue."

Not sure whether a lot of these consultants out there have some "secret knowledge" of getting accepted to a school of your choice, but I find a lot of useful information and reference materials from sources like GMAT Club and other MBA forums. After reading some MBA application guide books and doing some researches on schools of my choice, I actually had free consultation sessions with those popular MBA consultants. Based on my discussions with them, some of them seemed clueless (i.e. some basic information about HBS, Wharton, etc.).

If you're going to hire a consultant, then I would like to suggest you
1) do your research on each consultant and see if a consultant who you may be working with is the right "fit" for you. A consultant who truly understands your situation and your position when it comes to applying to your school of choices.

2) make sure the consultant you're going to be working with has a proven track record of producing results. A consulting firm, in general, may have a great track record of getting "borderline" applicants into some top business schools, that characteristics may not apply to EVERY consultants employed by that consulting firm - a characteristic of a whole is not indicative of its parts.

3) once you do start working with a consultant, like others have suggested, work as early as you can. A consultant may have other clients who want as much attention as you do. As you approach an application deadline, you may end up getting little to no attention from your consultant (he/she may act like giving you what you paid for, but your consultant may not perform at his/her full potential). Imagine ten applicants with four to five essays each, pestering a consultant to go over the materials in two or three days prior to the deadline.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2012, 15:03
pearljam wrote:
Here's what you should do: write the names of all the consultants you're considering on a piece of paper. Then crumble up the paper and throw it in the garbage. Consulants are a waste of money. If you can't figure out an answer to the question "why do you need an MBA" on your own, don't go to business school.


I wish there was a "like" button on here
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2012, 18:06
Maestro119 wrote:
I just wanted to add my opinions on hiring a consultant and paying several thousand $$ for the service. The following opinions are based on my previous experience with consultants (yes, plural because I used them for my law school app and other school app purposes).

I think the value of hiring a consultant varies with each individual. By no means, consultants are miracle workers. I personally think some of the consultants are editors or writers who charge a significant price for editing your school essays and short answers on the application. Also, I believe using a consultant can even hurt your chances of being accepted at a school of your choice. For instance, what may seem like a minor edits on your application or your essays may end up being a significant one, turning your application into something that was not completed by you and AdCom notices this "issue."

Not sure whether a lot of these consultants out there have some "secret knowledge" of getting accepted to a school of your choice, but I find a lot of useful information and reference materials from sources like GMAT Club and other MBA forums. After reading some MBA application guide books and doing some researches on schools of my choice, I actually had free consultation sessions with those popular MBA consultants. Based on my discussions with them, some of them seemed clueless (i.e. some basic information about HBS, Wharton, etc.).

If you're going to hire a consultant, then I would like to suggest you
1) do your research on each consultant and see if a consultant who you may be working with is the right "fit" for you. A consultant who truly understands your situation and your position when it comes to applying to your school of choices.

2) make sure the consultant you're going to be working with has a proven track record of producing results. A consulting firm, in general, may have a great track record of getting "borderline" applicants into some top business schools, that characteristics may not apply to EVERY consultants employed by that consulting firm - a characteristic of a whole is not indicative of its parts.

3) once you do start working with a consultant, like others have suggested, work as early as you can. A consultant may have other clients who want as much attention as you do. As you approach an application deadline, you may end up getting little to no attention from your consultant (he/she may act like giving you what you paid for, but your consultant may not perform at his/her full potential). Imagine ten applicants with four to five essays each, pestering a consultant to go over the materials in two or three days prior to the deadline.


I agree completely.

I had free consultations with many of the top consultants, and took the opportunity to grill them on (1) basic facts about the schools I was interested in, to verify they actually know about the b-sch application process; and (2) constructive, specific feedback on my app to check if they would actually be helpful.

I was very structured in using my consultant, setting clear time lines so he'd know when to expect my essays. Ultimately, it's up to you to drive the process. Your consultant is incentivized to work with you as little as possible if you've paid upfront!
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2012, 06:08
Thanks for all the great tips, everyone. I've signed up for a two school package with Veritas, for now.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2012, 06:29
Good luck! Post your experience afterwards and if you would recommend them or not for admissions prep.
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Re: Picking out a consultant [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2012, 06:53
Sure thing! Guys, feel free to PM me anytime and I'll be happy to share my (relatively limited) experiences wrt. consultant evaluation so far. Also, if anyone in Kuwait needs any GMAT prep material, I have tons of (unused) material to give out.
Re: Picking out a consultant   [#permalink] 19 Apr 2012, 06:53
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