Amerasia Admissions Consulting Reviews
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Helped Me to Design a Compelling Story From My Experiences Through Honest, Objective Feedback
December 21 | 2012

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       By blemming joined: December 18, 2012 | 2 | 5 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Some, but not all
This review is for:  Complete School Package   Consultant:  Adam Hoff
Adam Hoff is the honest, objective, critical thinker that I needed to aid me in the application process. You probably need him, too.

STRENGTHS

1. Without Adam, I would have made the mistake of relying on people who are a) to close to me and already know my story or b) admissions consultants who, in trying to help their candidate, become too close to the applicant and their story.

In both cases, the adviser cannot evaluate the application objectively; they are drawing from the picture that they have constructed over hours of phone calls or years of working with you, not just what is on the paper. There is an inverse relationship between familiarity and objectivity, and that’s a big problem when admissions can only go off of what’s on paper.

I commend Adam for keeping such rigorous protocol on objective editing and application support. I feel that is rare and overlooked.

2. Without Adam, it could easily have taken me double the amount of time it did to complete my three applications. This is coming from a person who once believed the essays would be the “easy” part.

However, I quickly realized how difficult it can be to select the right story, select the right tone, and organize the essay in a way that makes sense. Balancing passion with objective business skills, for example, was just one challenge that Adam quickly advised me on. I found myself committing the same mistakes from essay to essay, actually. Adam was critical in helping me find the right approach.

3. Without Adam, I probably would have been a lot more stressed (and I like to remain pretty laid back). The application process is stressful enough as it is, so it really is helpful to feel as though you have a partner in the process that has been there, done that, and knows the application process cold. He is excellent at synthesizing information and capturing the most important points of stories that I couldn’t seem to break into compelling sound bites.

4. Without Adam, I would not have had the opportunity to have a mock interview with a well-qualified third-party who, for the sake of objectivity was completely unfamiliar with my story, and gave insightful, critical, and honest feedback. I felt extremely confident and comfortable for my first, real B-school interview.

Additional: Of course, Amerasia has a mastery of the "basic must-haves:" editing, proof-reading, school-specific guidance, etc.

WEAKNESSES

Amerasia is not the cheapest complete school admissions consulting package on the market. The program is not "cheap" when compared to some of the lowest priced consultants, but the value and ROI is well worth it. I spoke with admissions consultants from three different companies before deciding on Amerasia. It did not make sense for me to pay half the cost for what I perceived as half the service and someone reading from a Sales script. While not everyone can get admitted, if you do, the price is obviously well worth it. I don't see the MBA application process as a time to leave anything on the table.

CONCLUSION

Adam believed in my candidacy, understood my relatively non-traditional, non-linear path relatively quickly, and provided me with assistance that was invaluable.

From my experience, you can't go wrong with Adam.
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Thank you, Paul Lanzillotti and Amerasia!
January 26 | 2013

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       By Anonymous joined: January 26, 2013 | 1 | 5 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Some, but not all
This review is for:  Complete School Package  
This is my first post here, and in all honesty I do not spend a lot of time on forums at all because they usually bring me more anxiety than calm! Having said that though, I would like to post for all of you my review of Amerasia and Paul Lanzillotti, and hope that it will help you as you decide whether or not to use a consultant and if so, whom to choose.

When I first decided 2012 would be the year I apply to B-school, I had barely heard of admissions consultants and was certainly not planning to hire one for myself. I have an impressive GMAT score, solid work experience, strong writing skills, and several MBA grads in my extended family to help me so I figured I was all set. When I got down to choosing my schools and looking at the essay prompts for each one, I idly browsed a few GMAT/MBA forums to see what others were doing. That’s when I got seriously intimidated. I realized I was up against a very varied pool of applicants from completely different backgrounds and professions and unlike applying to engineering grad school (which was much more straightforward), I had no idea what I should do to appear unique and compelling in my B-school application. I was encouraged by a couple of friends and by my husband to look into getting a consultant and after some initial sticker shock I decided it was worth the money.

I interviewed 3-4 different companies (including Stacy Blackman) before I had my free initial call with Paul Lanzillotti (Amerasia). Within the first 15 minutes of that 90 minute call, my decision was made and I signed up for the 3 school package with Paul immediately! Paul had taken the time before our free consultation call to pore over my resume and profile, and he got straight to the point on the phone discussing what areas of my background I should emphasize versus play down. This was in sharp contrast to the other consultants I’d spoken to earlier, who were clearly learning about me for the first time on the call itself.

My first impression of Paul was excellent, and it never lessened through the many months we worked together on my applications. He came to every single call we had each week fully prepared and we always hit the ground running. I credit him especially for listening carefully when I discussed my experiences, identifying things unique about me and my background, and encouraging me to represent those in my application - which I wouldn’t have done otherwise because these are things I generally take for granted and wouldn’t necessarily think are my best strengths. He also really knows his stuff on what each school wants and how each one is different from the others, which is super useful when you’re applying to multiple top schools and want to tweak each application to be just perfect for the target school. Some schools care a great deal about which clubs you will join, while others just want to hear that you’re going to make a difference in a third world country. I certainly didn’t know who cares about what, so his experience and advice was invaluable. His turnaround time on essays was solid, and his comments were always very detailed and easy to take action on. He never tried to put words in my mouth or write my story in his way, but at the same time was very candid and honest when my stories or ideas just weren’t compelling enough for the essay prompts. He helped me prepare well for my interviews, and was always available to read or review something even at the last minute.

Overall, Paul is just a really nice and easygoing guy, he is very easy to work with and I felt like I was chatting with a friend during our weekly calls. Also, best cheerleader ever. He was genuinely disappointed with me when I didn’t get into Stanford, and incredibly happy with me when I did get into Kellogg. I highly, highly recommend him as an admissions consultant, and I wish him and all of you every success ahead.
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Nicole (and by extension, Amerasia) is amazing!!
February 04 | 2013

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       By mgmtmike joined: August 4, 2012 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Complete School Package  
This post is my first on gmatclub, and I think only the second or third post I’ve ever made anywhere (in general I’m not an online-posting or radio-show-calling kind of person). I primarily used this site for GMAT tips, but I most recently used it in my admissions consultant search.

I had focused so much on acing the GMAT that I almost totally neglected the application process. It was one month before the R1 deadline, and I was just starting my essays. I asked a friend of mine, who had recently graduated from a top 3 bschool, to review the essays. Since time was so short, he suggested that I find an admissions consultant who could devote more time to helping me with the application.

After scouring the web for admissions consultants, I ended up down-selecting to 5 or so companies who seemed to have a solid presence in the field. I then did some deeper research on the gmatclub discussion boards, finding out what warts existed for each company. It seemed that most of the companies suffered from one or more fatal flaws: poor responsiveness, generic/easily-recognizable essay style, rudeness/unprofessionalism, or defensiveness/lack of contrition when faced with substantiated bad reviews. Amerasia fit the bill. However, I specifically wanted to work with Adam since I had read that Paul was not responsive enough (although, based on recent reviews, he has completely turned that around). Unfortunately, Adam was fully booked for R1, but he referred me to Nicole (he said they intentionally staggered their assignments so that Nicole could help late R1 applicants).

Nicole exceeded my every expectation, and I now feel that she was actually the perfect fit for me (given my background, career aspirations, and general disposition). I signed up for the 2-school package, and in the 24 days between our initial conversation and the application deadlines, we went through 12 revisions of the essays (and 4 revisions of the online application entries). Not only was Nicole super responsive (1-2 day turnaround time per revision), she offered detailed, constructive (and candid) reviews. It felt as if one of my close friends was helping me. And once I got selected for interviews, she prepped me to the point that I was able to pounce on all the curve balls the interviewers threw my way. I got into 2 of the best business schools in the world (my top 2 choices) and could not be happier with the investment I made with Amerasia/Nicole. Thanks Nicole!!!
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Got into a reach school through Amerasia!
April 02 | 2013

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       By Anonymous joined: June 6, 2011 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Complete School Package   Consultant:  Adam Hoff
Adam's insider expertise on the MBA admissions and application process was invaluable and timely. Out of all the admission advisory companies out there, I ultimately decided to go with Amerasia and Adam because he made me feel the most comfortable. Never did I once feel forced or pressured into signing up for his services. At the same time, he was helpful and realistic with what he could help me with. Our initial consultation forced me to rethink my strategy (I had a sub 650 GMAT score), and he advised me to retake the test, and thank goodness I did. Lets just say I retook the test and received a score between 650-700.

Adam's strength is in the brainstorming process, where he'll help you draw upon your experiences and background to craft the most compelling and cohesive stories. Without Adam's help, my essays would not have flowed as seamlessly and presented me as holistically as they did.

I appreciate Adam for his insightful feedback from the very beginning to the very end, he was positive, professional and knowledgeable about how best to assist me. More than anything, he was patient with fielding my million questions and he always made an effort to turnaround my questions and essays in a timely manner. His feedback was spot-on, and he even helped me prepare and gave me the confidence I needed to go into my interviews and perform well.

What I appreciated most about Adam is his customized, catered and personal approach. When you're working with Adam, you'll certainly feel taken care of, as opposed to the one-size fits all approach of many of the larger companies out there.

In the end, I was accepted into a top-5 program, Northwestern-Kellogg with a sub-700 GMAT score!

I had an excellent experience working with Adam and would certainly recommend him without reservations.
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Highly recommend Drew from Amerasia
May 09 | 2013

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       By Anonymous joined: December 5, 2012 | 11 | 5 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  
This review is for:  Essays, Resume and Letters of Recommendation   Consultant:  Drew Hoff
My experience working with Drew was a great one. When I first started the MBA application process, I was a bit stressed out worrying that I wouldn’t be able to pull all the pieces together on time before the application deadline. Drew worked closely with me to streamline the application preparation process. With his guidance, I was able to gather my life stories and tell them in a well structured and clear manner. All of the advices I got from Drew (essay, CV and mock interview) were extremely valuable and really show his deep understanding about the school and program. Drew is outstanding mentor and I really appreciate his responsiveness, professionalism and kindness throughout the exhausting process.
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Strong recommend for Adam Hoff - Got in my dream school
June 19 | 2013

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       By Anonymous joined: June 19, 2013 | 1 | 5 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  
This review is for:  Complete School Package   Consultant:  Adam Hoff
Background:

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 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’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 appreciated 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.


Application:

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.

Essays:

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!

Results:

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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Fantastic Experience!
June 23 | 2013

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       By Anonymous joined: February 29, 2012 | 99 | 18 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  
This review is for:  Complete School Package   Consultant:  Drew Hoff
I worked with Drew on 4 schools - Duke, Michigan, Kellogg, and Booth. I came to him because I had extremely low GMAT scores (sub 660). I had a good background with fairly high grades from undergrad, but I was so worried that my GMAT would prevent me from getting into schools that I enlisted Drew's help. He was fantastic throughout the process. He was quick and extremely insightful. He really helped me understand what the schools were looking for in the essays, and guided me in the right direction. He was able to help me condense many of my essays that ended up being too long, but kept them clear and meaningful at the same time. In the end, I got into a couple of my "dream" schools, Booth and Michigan, and got interviewed and waitlisted at the others. Not too shabby! I would highly recommend this service.
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Highly Recommend!
October 09 | 2013

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       By big4vanilla joined: October 15, 2012 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Complete School Package   Consultant:  Drew Hoff
I want to pass on a BIG 'thank you' to the Amerasia team, specifically to Drew Hoff, for the amazing, unique guidance I received throughout the application process.

I had previously applied to 5 top-20 programs and was rejected without an interview in all except one, where I was wait-listed and eventually rejected. While working with Drew, I reapplied to my dream school (top 5 school), and was accepted within a month.

Drew had a very detailed and well-planned process for me to follow. He showed me that I, in fact, had all the necessary tools to put my application together, but helped me package them in a very concise and presentable format that allowed me to re-convince the MBA program of my candidacy. He even helped me do a little soul-searching to confirm whether an MBA fits into my short and long-term goals.

Drew was also great at managing my expectations in terms of turnaround times, and requirements for each step of the way. I really cannot stress enough the importance of Drew's role in my successful application.

For benchmarking purposes, please see my stats below:

GMAT: 700
Undergraduate GPA: 5.6 from a top-50 American University
4 years of work experience with a big 4 consulting firm
above average extracurricular experience
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Excellent Help On My Reapplication
October 27 | 2013

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       By chains1910 joined: May 28, 2012 | 130 | 45 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Complete School Package   Consultant:  Drew Hoff
After a poor experience with another consultant last year, I really wasn't planning to go any further than the free consultation with any company. Nonetheless, after my consultation with Drew, Amerasia's school DNA approach really resonated with me and I signed up for the single-school package to help with my Columbia reapplication.

One thing to know up front with Amerasia (at least in my experience) is that the majority of your contact with your consultant is via email. That worked great for me, but others might want more phone contact. We did have a very productive strategy call to start, though, which was followed up by a Columbia-specific “Strategy Memo.” The strategy memo is a very useful doc that breaks down the essay questions and weaves in lots of school-specific info about the idiosyncrasies of that school’s application process and preferences.

I knew that in my last application I had done a poor job connecting my accomplishments to transferable skills that would help accomplish my goals. However, Drew helped me realize that my short-term goal itself was a hindrance on my app. At my last consultant’s advice, I had gone with a VERY specific immediate post-MBA goal that would require a lot of networking outside of the standard MBA recruitment processes. At Drew’s advice, I switched this to a more traditional MBA recruitment job that was an equally logical progression towards my long-term goal. In addition, he was extremely helpful at making sure I made the connections between accomplishments and skills, often asking for 2 or 3 rounds of edits on a single story just to be sure that connection was made.

Finally, a great benefit of Amerasia is the included interview strategy prep. Once I was invited for an interview, Drew and I had a prep call in which we went over some frequent questions and practiced responses/stories that would stay within my overall app strategy.

All in all, it was a very positive experience that ultimately had the right outcome, as I was admitted to CBS.
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1 accepted out of 1 school applied!
November 10 | 2013

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       By Anonymous joined: March 30, 2013 | 6 | 5 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Complete School Package  
I applied to 9 top MBA schools by myself (bad idea, I know) last season in all 3 rounds and was just not very well-prepared. I got no interview. To avoid making the same mistakes, I reached out to various consulting companies, hoping to find things to improve on (so basically a "ding analysis"). I took advantage of the various "free consultations," but ended up with Amerasia who actually did not do one with me.

This was what happened:
Adam Hoff responded to my email request for a consultation session by saying that at this stage (3 weeks away from Columbia J-Term deadline), I should not be hung up on past applications. Rather than paying for a ding analysis, I should focus on my current applications instead. Adam quickly reviewed one of my past applications (for free), and provided insights and resources on possible areas of improvement. Because Adam was so willing to work with me on my profile and available packages/pricing, I decided to go with Amerasia.

The Columbia expert assigned to me was Anjali Shah. She's a Columbia graduate and knew the school well. The area I needed help the most was probably my resume. Anjali was very patient with me and went through multiple edits to greatly improve my resume.

Given my short timeline, what impressed me the most was how Anjali was always able to make time for me. She is very responsive through email - sometimes I get replies in minutes. She was always ahead of the schedule that we had put together. Anjali was professional and patient, answered all my questions, and provided moral support. Her mock interview was also very useful.

Anyway, I no longer need to do my re-apps for Round 2 (that was the original plan). I applied to one school with Amerasia, and got in. :) Thanks!
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