Daniel Richards

Senior Consultant/Message Board Response Team


    
Number of reviews [22]


Company: mbaMission
Packages: * School Packages   Hourly Services  
Daniel Richards earned his BA in journalism from Northwestern University and later received his MBA from Columbia Business School, with a focus on marketing and corporate strategy. Before attending business school, Daniel was a writer and editor for several print and online publications and spent three years as the retail and consumer packaged goods editor for SmartBrief, Inc., a publishing company specializing in email newsletters for trade associations. His clients at SmartBrief included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation. While at Columbia, Daniel was active in the Marketing Association, and his cluster elected him to represent the group in alumni development activities. After graduating, Daniel worked in online marketing and product development at American Express in New York City, where he developed an expertise in digital marketing and strategy, as well as social media. His accomplishments include designing and launching the first American Express social media app, managing a company-wide Innovation Challenge and relaunching a small business email newsletter reaching one million customers. Daniel also managed the online marketing strategy for the first-ever Small Business Saturday—a complex, multichannel event that is credited with having the fastest-growing Facebook page in history. Daniel relocated to Washington, DC, in 2011 to focus on growing his marketing consulting business. He has also been a member of the editorial staff at Washingtonian magazine and Moment magazine and authored the initial version of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Columbia Business School.

Daniel Richards's Reviews
Dan Richards - Fantastic!
January 20 | 2015

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       By Anonymous joined: February 13, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Some, but not all
This review is for:  * School Packages   Consultant:  Daniel Richards
I worked with Dan Richards in 2014 and was admitted to my top choice - a top 3 school – and received money at another. I owe Dan much credit for making those schools options of mine.

I used a consultant because my work experience is difficult to explain and I needed help presenting a cohesive story. And, I wanted a third party to evaluate and help me better each aspect of my candidacy. I sought to work with Dan because we’d met before and I trusted him instantly.

Dan helped hugely, first with my resume - using it to show achievements, put in layman's terms what I do, and cut the fluff; and second, with crafting my pitch by asking probing questions that made me think about how I could make myself a more appealing candidate at each of my schools. Put simply: Dan helped shore up gaps/inconsistencies in and contributed many good ideas to my applications.

What I liked most about working with Dan wasn’t his editing skills (and he's good!), but rather his honest and frank approach. That allowed us to spend our energy on what was actually important. Dan believes in doing things right and not just what’s most convenient, and that's where he added most value. Sometimes Dan gave feedback I didn't *want* to hear but *needed* to hear ("that essay topic is not optimal, how about you write about this?" or "that sentence seems forced, let’s cut that," etc.). I took Dan’s advice and am in the enviable position of choosing among many top schools.

Dan's a professional, thoughtful, and smart guy. Even better, Dan knows his MBA applications. I’m thankful Dan was on my side throughout this process.

Can't recommend Dan Richards enough!
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A Great Experience
December 30 | 2014

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       By Anonymous joined: December 28, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Some, but not all
This review is for:  * School Packages   Consultant:  Daniel Richards
I came into the application process knowing I wanted to work with a consultant, and chose Daniel Richards at mbamission because of his candidness and efficiency. The choice definitely paid off, I was admitted to one of my top choice schools with a significant scholarship. I would highly recommend Dan, who was especially great in several areas:

1. Condensing essays--with essays becoming shorter and shorter, it was extremely helpful to have someone streamline my writing and at times make choices to cut. After a few rounds of editing content, I would have 550 words that Dan would be able to get to 500, without losing any of the information.

2. Choosing themes--I have a rather unique personal background, and the initial brainstorming left me uncertain what to focus on. As an outsider and a expert in the process, Dan was able to hone in on things I should highlight. I ended up writing about an experience I otherwise wouldn't have.

3. General advice giving--from choosing schools, to application strategy (which round to apply), to the dreaded wait, Dan was often the voice of reason, providing insight into the opaque process and many times just reminding me of things I knew but was overshadowed by the panic and uncertainty.
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Daniel 'Dan the Man' Richards
December 22 | 2014

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       By hcass joined: June 20, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Some, but not all
This review is for:  * School Packages   Consultant:  Daniel Richards
My biggest concern about hiring an admissions consultant was that I would be paying $5000+ with NO guarantee of performance. If I didn’t make the cut, it didn’t affect the consultant I would never see again – he or she still got paid. However, given the importance of getting things done right the first time, I went for it.

Frankly, I lucked out with Dan. When I set up my free consultation, his availability worked better than the others. I liked what he said though and I pulled the trigger without having spoken to any others. I applied to 5 schools (1 stretch, 3 at-levels, and 1 safety) and Dan helped on 2. I got dinged on the stretch and accepted at the safety. What really speaks to Dan’s expertise is that of the 3 at-level schools I applied to, I got into 1, my dream school. Of those 3, it was the one application that Dan helped me to prepare.

Instead of just adding one more glowing review though, I’ll describe what frustrated me most about my interactions with Dan, because Dan’s strengths were most evident when I was frustrated. For instance, I had spent hours and hours working on a resume. I expected some minor edits and a pat on the back. That’s not what I got. 20 hours of work and about 5 or 6 drafts later, I finally had the finished product.

The problem with my resume wasn’t content – it was me. This was the beginning of my application process and I had spent the previous 2 years working in public accounting. In that time, I had lost sense of how to communicate. I kept drafting an accounting resume – I needed an MBA resume. Once that clicked for me, my whole application approach changed. Many would have given up on me. Dan only accepted the best possible product.

I was frustrated on another occasion when I discussed why I wanted to apply to HBS. I had a really good “connection” that I thought could give me enough of an edge to at least have a shot. I didn’t have a shot though. Dan did an excellent job of communicating this to me. He was understanding and cared enough not to crush my hopes, but he was also persuasive and saved me from wasting time and money, important resources in the application process.

Put simply – Dan is a straight shooter. If you want a friend who will coddle or babysit you, then Dan just isn’t your guy. But if you want an advisor you can trust to be honest and direct, then he is.

Though my frustrations demonstrate Dan’s expertise and skill, I really could go on and on about how many things Dan made easier on me (no frustration required!). He helped me select a list of target schools that fit my strengths as an applicant. He always answered one-off questions in a timely manner (usually no more than a couple hours). He always returned deliverables to me within 48 hours (usually 24). He always provided helpful perspectives on random questions. And perhaps most importantly, I felt confident at every stage of the application process because I knew Dan was in my corner, working to tell my story.

Again, I’m thrilled with Dan and the results he helped me to achieve. In hindsight, I would have hired him for 3-4 applications and I would have ensured that he helped on the first 2 applications to go out.
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MBAMission Worth the Money - Daniel Richards
December 03 | 2014

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       By Anonymous joined: November 11, 2014 | 2 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  * School Packages   Consultant:  Daniel Richards
At the beginning of the admissions process, a friend noted to me that consultants can help frame my story to increase the chances of admissions. With a GMAT score of only 700, I was worried that I would not receive acceptance into my school of choice, Columbia. I decided to look into the services of MBAMission. At first, the school package cost seemed like an absurd price to pay, but it was worth every dime.

Specifically, I talked to Daniel Richards on the phone who within a 15 minute call was able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of my candidacy.

I had difficulty framing my story, a vital part of the application process, to fit the Columbia paradigm. Currently, I work at a Big 4 Accounting Firm and before talking to Daniel, I had planned on focusing my essays and application on my experiences at a Big 4 firm. However, Daniel was able to redirect my story and really hone in on my post MBA goals. Because I plan to enter the family business after my MBA, Daniel helped me refocus my story to incorporate my experiences with the family business and how specifically Columbia MBA would help me achieve my goals with the family business. Without Daniel, I would have not even mentioned the family business. I wholeheartedly believe that his direction was vital to my acceptance into Columbia, without it my story was weak and not unique in any sense.

Just through short discussions on the phone, Daniel was able to refine and clarify my story with ease. Overall, I strongly recommend working with Daniel. I had decided to apply and hire MBAMission just 7 to 8 weeks before the application deadline, which exemplifies MBAMission (and Daniels) ability to provide results in a short time frame. He is very easy to work with and simplified the process in a way that reduced my stress and allowed me not to be overwhelmed. I had thought that my dream school was a long-shot, but with Daniel's help it became a reality.

Regards,

CBS Class of 2016
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Highly Recommend Daniel Richards
September 23 | 2014

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       By nkn13 joined: September 23, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  * School Packages   Consultant:  Daniel Richards
I signed up with Dan in May for a three school package, unsure if I would be a great candidate for top 10 business schools. By September I had gotten into my top choice (and a top 10 business school). I highly recommend Dan for several reasons.

First, he is extremely knowledgeable and helps de-mystify the process for you. I had done my research on schools through forums and blogs but I still had a lot of questions and Dan was willing and able to answer all of them. He also helped me set a schedule to keep me on track and get my applications done on time. In fact, I was able to get my application to my top school submitted one month before I had planned! This definitely helped my chances since I was applying to a rolling admissions school.

Additionally, my essays would not have been nearly as strong without his help. He knows what the admissions committees are looking for. Several times I figured my essays were good enough but Dan would push me to keep re-writing until I had an excellent essay. He definitely will tell it like it is and provide honest feedback which you might not get if just a friend or family member is reviewing your essays.

Furthermore, Dan really helped me articulate my story and journey to getting an MBA. He was able to help me determine which parts of my story to highlight that would make me a unique and strong applicant. Dan helped me weave this story into my responses during our mock interview which ultimately allowed me to nail my actual interview. I had done several behavioral interviews before, but the MBA interview is different and Dan was a great coach.

I truly would not have been as strong of a candidate without Dan’s help. He played a critical role in my applications and interviews.

For those who are hesitant due to the price of the services – this is a small price to pay compared to the tuition of business school. Spend the money now to give yourself the best shot of getting into the schools you want. You won't regret hiring Dan and mbaMission!
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Daniel Richards - mbaMission
September 11 | 2014

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       By law2123 joined: September 11, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  * School Packages   Consultant:  Daniel Richards
Dan is fantastic. First off, even before I had engaged him as a paid client he gave me very honest feedback about what I could expect and whether or not the schools I was considering were right for me both in terms of fit and the strength of my application. I also love how rather than holding your hand to craft an “ideal” cookie-cutter application for the schools you’re applying to, he puts a bigger focus on helping you to tease out what your own compelling story really is. His feedback was always insightful and his easygoing manner made him a pleasure to talk to and work with. Highly recommended.
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Money well spent
April 08 | 2014

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       By Anonymous joined: April 8, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Some, but not all
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Daniel Richards
Yes, hiring a personal MBA admissions consultant is expensive. However, in the grand scheme of things and what the MBA will ultimately cost, it's money well spent and I'm glad I did it.

Dan was very helpful in the essay writing process. He helped me brainstorm essay topics before writing - and, perhaps most importantly, he pushed me to take a risk in writing about something personal.

His feedback was always very prompt, which was helpful given that I was on a huge crunch due to a late start. His feedback was honest and direct - he highlighted the good parts as well as the parts that needed work. He was also ver helpful in helping cut words to meet the word count limits.

I also did a mock interview that was very helpful. He gave me good feedback and suggestions for improvement. It was also a good dry run. I was surprisingly nervous and it was good to get through those nerves when it "didn't count".

Lastly, the admissions process can be very overwhelming. It was helpful to have someone that knows the process and to help me navigate it.

I've applied to 2 schools. I've gotten into one and am waiting to hear back from the 2nd.
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Dan Richards at mbaMission helped me get into Wharton
March 29 | 2014

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       By Anonymous joined: March 28, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  * School Packages   Consultant:  Daniel Richards
A little less than a year ago, I was dreading the entire business school application process. I had taken my GMATs the year before, but I had no idea how to tackle the essay questions or how to make my resume stand out. Because of this, I came to mbaMission, and to Dan specifically. Looking back now, I can honestly say it was the best decision I made in the process.

From day one, Dan really worked to understand my story and help crystalize the parts that would make me stand out among a sea of applicants. We worked through my resume line by line through countless hours to make each task I did at work come alive.

Additionally, Dan helped me brainstorm unique experiences outside of work I can bring to my application. By the end of our brainstorm sessions, I felt like he knew me better than my best friends. The process not only made my essays come alive, but also helped me realize exactly what I want to do post-business school. It was a very tiring, but ulitmately unbelievably rewarding experience.

Dan was also extremely patient with me during my application process that lasted well over 6 months since I applied in both R1 and R2. Sometimes I would blast him 5 emails at 2:00AM freaking out about every little detail. He always replied promptly and always managed to calm me down.

As a side note, mbaMission's mock interview for the Wharton TBD was also extremely helpful. I went into the real interview feeling like I know what to expect and the two experiences were very similiar.

With Dan's guidance, I was admitted to Wharton in R2 and MIT Sloan and Columbia in R1. I will most likely matriculate at Wharton this fall - thank you Dan!!!
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Daniel Richards from mbaMission
March 26 | 2014

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       By Anonymous joined: October 18, 2012 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Daniel Richards
I was never really good with portraying all my thoughts on paper. So even though I knew exactly why I wanted to go to a top business school, writing it all down in a concise yet clear format was hard for me.

I applied to a couple top b schools for R1 earlier this year but did not even get any interviews. These were my top choices at that time (since these were local to where I live). So for round 2, I knew I had to revise my strategy. I started to look for consultants and reached out to several different organizations and had chats with a few consultants.

My chat with Daniel went really great. He had already read my resume (unlike some other who never did) and could right away point out several things on my resume which needed to change. From the beginning, Dan was very honest and to the point. He pushed me to achieve my potential and think about different approaches for the same essay. To give an example, he would help me clear my thoughts on essays I would send him, but many times also leave open ended questions to push me to think outside the box.

The other thing about Dan which I must point out is that he was always there. I remember sending him essays really close to Christmas break and even though he was on vacation he would return my essays back as soon as he could. I found Dan's working style very friendly in spite of being so professional. Also, Dan always replied back to emails really quickly if I ask him a question or two. He is very considerate of the timelines.

I also did interview prep with Dan and I found it SO useful! Mock interview with Dan really helped me stay calm during the real interviews because I had already discussed the various points which I must talk about. My interviews went really well and I got admitted to all the schools I interviewed for in R2- Kellogg, Tepper and McCombs.

I strongly suggest you to look up Daniel Richards from mbaMission. His writing, work ethic and honestly is exactly what got me into business school when I had almost lost all the hope!

Last piece of advice which I learnt the hard way: initially the consulting services may seem expensive but it is well worth if you get into your dream school! I wish someone had told me about Daniel when I was applying for R1! I would have saved on so much time and anxiety!

Goodluck to you all out there.
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helped me with any questions i had
February 20 | 2014

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       By jdilman joined: March 12, 2013 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Some, but not all
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Daniel Richards
I'm an over-thinker, so I had a ton of questions all the time. When I wanted to speak on the phone, we would schedule a call. More often though, to make the best use of the expensive time, I would organize multiple questions in a big email. Dan was always helpful and got back to me within a day or so. I also asked him to review several essay drafts for me. I didn't use any of his exact words because it wasn't really my voice, but his advice on structure and general direction helped me improve my writing. If I could go back, I might've tried harder to find answers to some of my questions elsewhere to save a little money, but would've still used him and benefited from his wisdom to an extent.
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