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.
Adam’s primary mode of interaction with me was via email, so you have to be comfortable about the idea that you will not be having regular phone meetings. However, he was always willing to take a call if I needed it. In some ways, the emails work much better as I have them as notes to refer back on.
Adam always kept to the schedule we agreed upon, but his laid-back demeanor helped me keep a cool head as I was debating various issues (strategy on retaking GMAT, which story to tell for my essays, etc) while facing pressure of deadlines.
Also, I had a ton of questions throughout the process, but Adam was always patient and thorough in answering them. Sometimes even re-answering as I would say, “I know we already talked about this but now I have a different angle, would you still think…”
All in all, I felt I received the support I needed and was actively cheered on throughout the process.
During my initial conversations with Adam, we discussed my three target school in terms of both fit for my goals and what are my realistic chances. His insights were valuable to me in that he knew the school cultures so that he confirmed that I made good choices for schools that can help me achieve my goals. Also, Adam helped me navigate through my perceived pros and cons for the schools in the lucky event that I got multiple acceptances.
Regarding chances for an admit, Adam was always upfront and never gave me false promises (besides, I wouldn’t have believed him!). Given that Adam has worked with many candidates, it’s great to hear what I thought was a mundane background was actually unique. I don’t think Adam was giving me BS either since we were pretty candid about GMAT score or other areas that can be dinged.
Resume: This was an added bonus for me since I thought I had a strong resume, but Adam’s critique really brought it up another notch.
Interview: Adam brought in an outside expert to run the prep interview with me which really helped shake out some nerves as well as get another perspective on how I tell my story. A mock interview with Adam would not have been the same since I had a comfortable relationship with him by then, and having to talk to a total stranger was closer to the real deal.
Working with Adam on the essays was great since it’s been a long time since I had written something for school, and didn’t realize how much business jargon and banalities crept into my writing. Since Adam was knowledgeable about the school culture of the programs I was interested in, he was also able to help me tailor the side of my personality and goals that would best appeal to each school. I still was being true to myself, but Adam helped me put my best foot forward.
While working on the essays, Adam typically responds within the day for questions, and within a few days for essay edits. I always got responses earlier than what I expected when I was facing deadlines and tried to crunch in more changes. In fact, Adam dug changes out of me even when I started getting sick of writing essays (doing several of them in a row will really get to you after a while!!). He also helped me turnover ideas when I was stuck… one method we used is for me to send key points for the essay so I won’t waste time writing the whole thing and have to do major revisions.
When I look back at what I started with, and then compare the drafts with the final versions, I’m amazed at the difference!
Got in two Top 5 schools and dinged in a Top 3 school (GMAT was the culprit, but I believe Adam’s help gave me a fighting chance).
In summary, only you can decide whether to work with an admin consultant and who to go with. You have to be honest with yourself about your chances and then do your homework in asking all the right questions during the free consultation. For me, it was a good experience in more ways than one, and I’m glad I went with Adam and Amerasia. I may question at what my outcome would’ve been had I done it alone, but I don’t question that having Adam there made the journey much easier in dealing with the stress and uncertainty, and the experience more enriching in terms of insights about myself and my goals.
One final thought: I knew I had decent chances, but I wanted to improve the odds in my favor. Besides, last thing I wanted to do was to look back and regret that I didn’t do everything possible to make my dream come true.
Best wishes with your application!
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