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"Best" admission consulting companies?

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New post 04 Dec 2012, 06:28
theK wrote:
Thanks for sharing your experience in details, sneakoner. Keen to hear about your experience with the other two consultants when you're ready to share.


My consultant for Cornell was a former dean of admissions there. I found her through Accepted and to me it was a no-brainer to hire her. At first I was hesitant because it was $3000+ for a one school package but after I contacted her she told me to send her my essays and resume and she would review how much work was needed. She came back with a price quote of $900 which was a huge relief. Also I didn't get the feeling that she was trying to just profit off of me and that she was upfront and honest with the amount of work that was needed. She was going through some personal issues during the time we worked together which sort of delayed her response time. We're all human beings so I understand and I wouldn't hold it against her. In the end she did come through and did alot of work right before the deadline and I was able to submit everything on time. I was actually quite impressed.


My other consultant was a guy by the name of Joaquin who doesn't advertise and doesn't have a website. He simply goes by word of mouth. I used him for Wharton.

- He completely revamped my career goal that made sense with my background.
- He fixed my resume to make it more readable than what I had from my other two consultants.
- His response time was horrible. There were times when I was scared to call him or email him too much because I didn't want to piss him off. But it got to a point where he didn't respond for almost 2 weeks and I had to get in touch with him to make sure he didn't forget about me.
- When it comes to editing, he doesn't completely revamp your essays similar to the other two consultants I had. He'll do some edits here and there and use MBA-friendly language but for the most part his editing consists of providing feedback for themes and ideas within the essay.
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New post 04 Dec 2012, 21:33
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I don't normally respond to reviews online, but in this case I feel it is necessary. Yes, I did email this client and asked him to remove his post, because it contained information that was either untrue or misleading.

Namely:

1. The idea that I would supply him with his career goals. I would never do this, as it is unethical. We coach people to get the best out of them (read any of our verified reviews and you will see this is a staple), we guide them towards their passion as those make for authentic and powerful essays, and we make sure that the goals they do arrive at are vetted and appropriate for the pursuit of an MBA. However, we do not create content. It was important for me to respond and say that I would never violate this ethical responsibility. Further...

2. The goal creation process was successful, as evidenced by the fact that this individual received an invitation to interview at Columbia. We prepare people for the interview process, but how they perform is up to them. He obviously did not perform well and as a result, he was not offered admission. The fact that this particular individual got the interview to Columbia was, to my mind, a huge win and something I remain proud of.

I'm not hiding behind an anonymous user name, so feel free to PM me or email me for any additional information. I'm sorry that I had to respond as I know it is a little bit lame when consultants get involved in the proceedings, but the risk of remaining cool and above the fray is totally offset by the risk of having our reputation for ethical work compromised.

Respectfully,
Adam/AACG
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New post 05 Dec 2012, 05:55
AdamAACG wrote:
I don't normally respond to reviews online, but in this case I feel it is necessary. Yes, I did email this client and asked him to remove his post, because it contained information that was either untrue or misleading.

Namely:

1. The idea that I would supply him with his career goals. I would never do this, as it is unethical. We coach people to get the best out of them (read any of our verified reviews and you will see this is a staple), we guide them towards their passion as those make for authentic and powerful essays, and we make sure that the goals they do arrive at are vetted and appropriate for the pursuit of an MBA. However, we do not create content. It was important for me to respond and say that I would never violate this ethical responsibility. Further...

2. The goal creation process was successful, as evidenced by the fact that this individual received an invitation to interview at Columbia. We prepare people for the interview process, but how they perform is up to them. He obviously did not perform well and as a result, he was not offered admission. The fact that this particular individual got the interview to Columbia was, to my mind, a huge win and something I remain proud of.

I'm not hiding behind an anonymous user name, so feel free to PM me or email me for any additional information. I'm sorry that I had to respond as I know it is a little bit lame when consultants get involved in the proceedings, but the risk of remaining cool and above the fray is totally offset by the risk of having our reputation for ethical work compromised.

Respectfully,
Adam/AACG


I want to clarify something in case there was a misunderstanding:

1. Adam does not "provide" career goals...but he helps guide you to craft a clear path for the admissions committee, just as any other consultant would. In my case it was based on my passion which had nothing to do with my career background which made it difficult to articulate how and why I would be able to make the transition. So if you're an IT consultant who wants to go to business school with no clear career goal and your passion was photography, he might guide your career goal into starting a photography studio. My situation was actually similar to this. In retrospect it just didn't make any sense.

2. I did get an interview with Columbia which meant that some second-year student thought my application was good. However when it got to the interview, it was just too difficult to convince a member of the committee that I can make such a drastic transition provided I had no experience in the new field I was claiming I was going into. I felt that Adam and AmeriAsia Consulting should have stressed this more prior to me going into the interview. Keep in mind I paid for the 1-school package which included interview coaching as well.


I don't feel as though I posted anything that was a untrue or false. Everything I wrote above is true. I didn't provide too many specifics because I don't want to violate the terms of confidentiality but if anybody has questions, feel free to PM me.
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New post 06 Dec 2012, 13:49
sneakoner wrote:
AdamAACG wrote:
I don't normally respond to reviews online, but in this case I feel it is necessary. Yes, I did email this client and asked him to remove his post, because it contained information that was either untrue or misleading.

Namely:

1. The idea that I would supply him with his career goals. I would never do this, as it is unethical. We coach people to get the best out of them (read any of our verified reviews and you will see this is a staple), we guide them towards their passion as those make for authentic and powerful essays, and we make sure that the goals they do arrive at are vetted and appropriate for the pursuit of an MBA. However, we do not create content. It was important for me to respond and say that I would never violate this ethical responsibility. Further...

2. The goal creation process was successful, as evidenced by the fact that this individual received an invitation to interview at Columbia. We prepare people for the interview process, but how they perform is up to them. He obviously did not perform well and as a result, he was not offered admission. The fact that this particular individual got the interview to Columbia was, to my mind, a huge win and something I remain proud of.

I'm not hiding behind an anonymous user name, so feel free to PM me or email me for any additional information. I'm sorry that I had to respond as I know it is a little bit lame when consultants get involved in the proceedings, but the risk of remaining cool and above the fray is totally offset by the risk of having our reputation for ethical work compromised.

Respectfully,
Adam/AACG


I want to clarify something in case there was a misunderstanding:

1. Adam does not "provide" career goals...but he helps guide you to craft a clear path for the admissions committee, just as any other consultant would. In my case it was based on my passion which had nothing to do with my career background which made it difficult to articulate how and why I would be able to make the transition. So if you're an IT consultant who wants to go to business school with no clear career goal and your passion was photography, he might guide your career goal into starting a photography studio. My situation was actually similar to this. In retrospect it just didn't make any sense.

2. I did get an interview with Columbia which meant that some second-year student thought my application was good. However when it got to the interview, it was just too difficult to convince a member of the committee that I can make such a drastic transition provided I had no experience in the new field I was claiming I was going into. I felt that Adam and AmeriAsia Consulting should have stressed this more prior to me going into the interview. Keep in mind I paid for the 1-school package which included interview coaching as well.


I don't feel as though I posted anything that was a untrue or false. Everything I wrote above is true. I didn't provide too many specifics because I don't want to violate the terms of confidentiality but if anybody has questions, feel free to PM me.


Dude how do you know the reason why you didnt get in was because of your goals? Did you get specific feedback on that?
Getting into Cornell and getting into Columbia is very different. There could be many reasons as to why you didn't get in.

- Perhaps you were marginal and your background just wasn't that strong relative to the rest of the pool
- Maybe you interviewed poorly
- Maybe it was something else you said
- Maybe you got unlucky and the interviewer just didnt like you or was having a bad day (it happens)

I agree the fact that you got interviewed indicates that your application was strong enough to be admitted, whether or not it was due more to your background or the essays its hard to tell.
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New post Updated on: 06 Dec 2012, 22:12
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Adam and Sneakoner - You are both right.

Adam, your client did not like your work (except for essay) this would not keep me from selecting you. Clients would prefer real feedback over fake complimentary fluff; you were fair in your response.
Sneakoner, you are right to post your opinion on Adam. We all know its an opinion, no need to remove your post. You didn't get in, so clearly, you are not happy.

I am looking for a top notch essay editing service. An in depth analysis and Real edits, not just fluff and margin comments - any advice?

FYI to readers I used Veritas Prep for resume editing...STAY AWAY My review was mediocre at best, no good content, not even State School quality feedback, PISS POOR customer service. It was probably worth $20 at best. I could have gotten my dad to do the review. Farrrrrrrr from high-quality, I don't think my resume is competitive at all for B school.

Originally posted by rookie313 on 06 Dec 2012, 21:46.
Last edited by rookie313 on 06 Dec 2012, 22:12, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 06 Dec 2012, 22:09
Snipes (ClearAdmit Stacey)

I don't think you should take the blame for ClearAdmit.

Although your consultant was nice, she was ineffective. We are paying for expertise, guidance, and strategy. If your career goals were weak, ambiguous, etc. she should have told you precisely what to research to get to the level you need to be. This is the most important thing! If your edits plateued then she was not providing the proper guidance and instruction. She was not paid to be mediocre.
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New post 09 Dec 2012, 02:03
afyl128 wrote:

Dude how do you know the reason why you didnt get in was because of your goals? Did you get specific feedback on that?
Getting into Cornell and getting into Columbia is very different. There could be many reasons as to why you didn't get in.

- Perhaps you were marginal and your background just wasn't that strong relative to the rest of the pool
- Maybe you interviewed poorly
- Maybe it was something else you said
- Maybe you got unlucky and the interviewer just didnt like you or was having a bad day (it happens)

I agree the fact that you got interviewed indicates that your application was strong enough to be admitted, whether or not it was due more to your background or the essays its hard to tell.


You're absolutely right...I'm not saying that the specific reason that I didn't get in was solely because of my career goals. Any of the aforementioned items could have been the cause...in addition to a number of other different items.

I'm just giving my opinion based on my experiences and providing my recommendations. I'm simply sharing things that I would've found helpful when I was searching for a consultant. The main thing I wanted to point out to anybody looking for a consultant is that when it came to having someone help you formulate your career goal for your essay, I just found myself in a position where it was difficult to tie my career goal into my previous work experiences.

Let's face it, if you're working a dead-end job and you're trying to go to business school, you might not have the clearest career goal. Your main effort is to get in so that you can get out of your job and hopefully into a higher paying one. That was the position I was in. I hired a consultant thinking that he or she would have a good idea of what business schools want to hear for the career goals essay and that he or she would be able to help me formulate a feasible idea.

So from my experience with AmeriAsia, say you are an IT consultant (I'm not going to give out the specifics of my background or what the actual career goal was) and your passion was skydiving, your career goal essay may be to open up a sky diving school or something like that. Yeah good luck defending that one in the interview.

If you have clear career goals in mind then by all means hire AmeriAsia. They're really good at editing and turning the essays around quickly. Much better than the other two consultants I hired afterwards. But in terms of giving the business schools what they want to hear...I'm not sure I would recommend them to anybody for that.
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New post 09 Dec 2012, 04:42
Mr Sneaker - It sounds like Adam provided you with his professional opinion of what he thought would be a strong topic for your career goal essay. Its up to you to make the final decision as to which direction you want to take your essays. I actually had a similar experience where I listened to my consultant a little too much and didn't feel I performed as well as I could have in my interview if I just answered more openly and didn't have a set script already set in my mind. I used ClearAdmit and they were very good with editing my essays for grammar/structure and would keep pushing me to dig deeper into specific parts of my essays which was very helpful. I think the main take away from this is do not write about something just because you feel it will be a strong essay topic but its more important to be honest and open about your career goals. If your true passion is to start a skydiving company you probably should'nt be going to Columbia business school anyway ;-)
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New post 09 Dec 2012, 04:48
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Round1ThisFall wrote:
Mr Sneaker - It sounds like Adam provided you with his professional opinion of what he thought would be a strong topic for your career goal essay. Its up to you to make the final decision as to which direction you want to take your essays. I actually had a similar experience where I listened to my consultant a little too much and didn't feel I performed as well as I could have in my interview if I just answered more openly and didn't have a set script already set in my mind. I used ClearAdmit and they were very good with editing my essays for grammar/structure and would keep pushing me to dig deeper into specific parts of my essays which was very helpful. I think the main take away from this is do not write about something just because you feel it will be a strong essay topic but its more important to be honest and open about your career goals. If your true passion is to start a skydiving company you probably should'nt be going to Columbia business school anyway ;-)


This is quite true. A consultant can help you figure out a career goal that is in line with your work history and passions. To me, it makes sense that if someone was currently working in banking/consulting but was passionate about photography, that they could use the MBA to create their own venture in photography. However, it's up to YOU to make sure you believe in that goal and can sell that goal through your essays and in your interview. A consultant can't hold your hand all the way through the process; at the end of the day, it is YOUR application. You have to be comfortable with the content that is included in it, and you have to own what's there in order to gain admission to any school.
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New post 11 Dec 2012, 01:17

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After applying and getting dinged at various schools last year I decided to go for a admission consultant and after a lot of reserach decided to go for MBADream.in and I couldn't have done any better. One of the reason I choose them was because they are experts with indian applicants. Add to it a solid track record of getting more than 99% of the applicants admitted into their preffered MBA program you have a winner in my eyes.

Getting 7 interview invites from TOP 20 schools already combined with ISB speaks volume about the quality of work done by MBADream. I also got admitted into Vanderbilt Owen with more than 75% scholarship. I am thoroughly convinced that MBADream increased my chances many times over than if I had done it on my own considering I would fall under the most competitive applicant pools ever. My consultant’s guidance and ability to see the best in me helped me realize my life long dreams. I would highly recommend MBAdream, especially to anyone that wants to differentiate themselves and compete for the most coveted business school acceptance letters
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New post 14 Dec 2012, 00:09
I worked with Aringo only in a partial manner, after I turned to them late and there was no room for me. I was very sorry that I did not work with them fully, as it would probably have helped me get accepted to other places and saved me a lot of heart palpitations.
Given this, I think that if I would not have worked with them at all, I would not have been accepted anywhere, they helped me avoid a few mistakes that would have ruined my application and taken away any chance for me. Their guidance and speedy response made all the difference and deserve appreciation and got me into Wharton.
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New post 14 Dec 2012, 21:52
I just wanted to add a quick post on Betsy Massar at Master Admissions- I just finished working with Betsy for apps (I used her for 2 schools) and I was admitted EA to Tuck, my #1 choice. I work in finance and she has a finance background (GS, plus she was one of original 85 Broads), so I felt like she really understood where I was coming from in terms of my work role, limited time to allocate to apps and also experience living in Asia (she lived in Asia too.)

Pros:
-I knew where I wanted to end up (Tuck) but had done very basic MBA research only. From step 1 she helped lay out the groundwork in terms of what steps need to be completed when, GMAT strategies and choosing quality reccs
-Super responsive, everything within 24 hrs pretty much and very thoughtful feedback
- One of the huge positives for me was how she held me accountable for doing homework on my goals, past career experiences, positives and negs of current job to arrive at a coherent why MBA/ future goals picture. It was really a process (including recording some of our chats so I could review later ) to help me identify some of the common themes in the choices I have made and how I can make them shine
- She kept me on deadline, called me out on procrastinating and was pretty no-nonsense about the scores and essays I needed to write in order to achieve my goals
- She was not afraid to tell me something was NOT good and to redo it. I really value this straight forward feedback but obviously it is not for everyone
- Positive attitude, because of her more boutique-style business she is very invested in her clients
- For the personal attention you received, I think it was hugely worth the cost (which was in-line to below the price of other consultants I had spoken with)
- I had a really challenging time on the GMAT (multiple retakes) and she was super supportive of me through that period


Cons
- I am in Asia so we had more email communication than phone calls sometimes as the time difference was challenging, but she was very responsive on email
- No real other cons. It was a great experience.
- If you want your consultant to *poof* magically come up with your "pitch" then Betsy is not for you. She will really challenge you on the WHY part of the process but I think the end result was super strong, coherent and I would not have conducted the necessary introspective exercises just working on my own

I would also note that my BF also used Betsy and was admitted EA to Tuck with $$. I thought she took a very holistic approach to the process, was really interested in talking me through my highs and lows up to this point and true gut feel for why this school/why MBA. I did not have a very straightforward story (lay offs, international moves, liberal arts major with only ok GPA) and my GMAT was not stellar but I feel that I was able to put my best foot forward in this cycle with Betsy's guidance.

Happy to provide any addt'l details via PM. I would strongly suggest working with Betsy if you are looking for 1x1 attention, especially if you have a finance background or int'l experience.
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New post 16 Dec 2012, 06:38
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After benefiting so much from this forum, I decided to share my good experience with MBA crystal ball after my MBA application journey culminated to a fruitful end.

So after managing a just decent score (well, in my perception ) in GMAT ,falling in age group of not so enticing 30+ and belonging to the most over represented applicant pool (Indian Male) , I knew that if I want to make my application count in some big school, I really have to project my profile in a suitable manner and play on my strengths.

Overwhelmed - is the word which I can say to describe the choices available of the admission consultants. From the ill - informed admission adviser to Mr. Super duper know it all, I have interacted all of them. I also took the
free consultation packages which some of the companies offered. At the end I zeroed on The MBA Crystal Ball, primarily of these reasons :-

1. Unique MAP product - This product was exactly the thing I was looking for. I wanted a fair advice from a person to how and what to expect from MBA, the selection of schools, my profile suitability to a certain school,
to unravel my strengths, to understand my weakness so forth and so on.
2. The boutique firm manage by Sameer Kamat - A Cambridge graduate & the author of a MBA centric book - a person whose advice I could entrust upon.
3. The price of the services offered was within my reach as opposed to the some consultants who were charging a fortune which was way above the cost of my whole MBA application journey.

The whole process was quite systematic wherein two rounds of telephonic conversations were done ( the first was to understand the applicant & the other was to follow up and weed out any doubts in the reports), in between the MBA MAP report was provided detailing the list of schools and grading it in five categories according to the candidate's chances of making in the schools. Also some ROI indicators were provided in the reports, which I do not find much helpful. But the biggest advantage of the report was the reporting of the strength and weakness of the candidate and the pointers to make the post MBA goals razor sharp. I have used this report's pointers for all my applications and I am glad that this application journey of mine has
reached its destination with the admit from The Oxford University (SBS).

Will definitely love to help others, do write me in case of any questions.
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New post 16 Dec 2012, 16:38
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avainmurky wrote:
After applying and getting dinged at various schools last year I decided to go for a admission consultant and after a lot of reserach decided to go for MBADream.in and I couldn't have done any better. One of the reason I choose them was because they are experts with indian applicants. Add to it a solid track record of getting more than 99% of the applicants admitted into their preffered MBA program you have a winner in my eyes.

Getting 7 interview invites from TOP 20 schools already combined with ISB speaks volume about the quality of work done by MBADream. I also got admitted into Vanderbilt Owen with more than 75% scholarship. I am thoroughly convinced that MBADream increased my chances many times over than if I had done it on my own considering I would fall under the most competitive applicant pools ever. My consultant’s guidance and ability to see the best in me helped me realize my life long dreams. I would highly recommend MBAdream, especially to anyone that wants to differentiate themselves and compete for the most coveted business school acceptance letters

Check out this guy's other posts. This is clearly spam.
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New post 18 Dec 2012, 21:03
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Now that the app season is over for me (I got into Tuck!), I think it's only fair that I a) say a big thank you to all those who helped me reach my goal, and b) pay it forward to the GmatClub community by providing my views which should be of help to them.

Full Disclosure: I did NOT engage anyone for the hefty full admissions consulting options. Both because I couldn't afford it and also because I felt I had a clear idea of school selection, didn't need help on recos, was a reapplicant etc. The post below is thus divided into three sub sections: a) Initial Consultation Calls b) Editing Help for Essays c) Interview Prep

a) Initial Consultation Calls

Admissionado - What can I say? Out of all the 'Big Consulting Companies' - funny how that's getting translated here like a BCG, Bain, McKinsey :) - they were my absolute favourite. The people employed by Admissionado are FANTASTIC. Especially Lauren who I feel is a terrific salesperson (amazing at follow ups, very friendly) and will probably be a long term friend to most who use the company's services. I have been engaged with them since last year in a way, when they did a free essay review of mine for my Tuck app last year. That feedback really helped me this year, and they were kind enough to do a free consultation call for me this year despite already having helped me with a free essay edit.

In the end, due to budget constraints, I didn't work with them. However, there are enough reviews on this forum that can testify for their quality, and in general I felt they were solid and nice people whom I would have loved to work with .Shout out to Lauren and Jon. They infuse some level of humour in their reverts, the usage of slang (dude!) is welcome, I just wish they used less CAPS in their text - In India, that is perceived as shouting and really pisses people off. Ah well, I am 50% American already so I got why they were using the Caps :)

Fortuna Admissions - Now this is a new, and unique, service offering. Some of the most high profile admissions director and the founder of the MBA Tour join forces to provide you a never before experience. Excellent concept on paper and unparalleled insight if, for example, you work on your Chicago Booth app with Rose - ex Head of Admissions for the school. I only spoke to Matt, and he was kind to speak with me for an hour. The call was very different from the typical calls I had done until now. Matt is very very knowledgable, and his demeanor is focussed on asking questions/answering queries as if he were the adcom at a school. Eg: in my discussion, he asked me my goals, why I wanted to do what I wanted to do, why switch even though career was going great guns, rationale behind school selection. Post this he said, I get what you are saying, but if I was Rod Garcia at MIT, and I looked at your app versus what the school stands for, I don't see a fit and hence maybe MIT wasn't the best place to apply (probably right, no interview from them :) ). Again, only had a one hour call with Matt and didnt use services, but I got a very positive vibe. Add to this that Matt is a very warm person who genuinely wished me the best for results at Tuck, Kellogg etc., and I guess they become a serious contender for any service firm you would want to contract.

PS - There are other firms I spoke to - could literally write a book now. I think I did these 'free' calls with almost anyone who is offering admissions consulting service. I will post (unclearadmit.tumblr.com) a very lengthy and detailed review of ALL the firms I spoke to and my perspective on the whole engaging an admissions consultant theory soon.


b) Editing Help for Essays

Only used one person for this, although had never heard of him before. In my current role, assessing people is a key competency and I got a very strong vibe from Bryan and felt compelled to work with him. My detailed review on him is here (best-admission-consulting-companies-92923-340.html#p1129498) and if you visit his website you'll see his clients having been accepted to Stanford, HBS, Tuck (Me!), etc. already. Very down to earth, humble, helpful person to work with. An example of his kindness: Although I only did an hourly engagement, he was kind enough to prep me (more mentally than otherwise) for my Tuck interview, speaking to me for 30 mins., without any semblance of asking for money/additional fee. And its not like I worked with him on a 15 hour deal or a full admissions package - so you'll understand what I mean. Highly recommend him for editing services - As a non native, I found tremendous value.

c) Interview Prep

This is a good example of how the GmatClub is a helpful community. I read a review on Alice here and contacted her. Incidentally, the day we were to speak, I got an interview invite from Tuck. So I used the 30 minutes (turned out to be one hour) to do a mock interview with her. She was very accomodating and helpful - I don't think anyone offers a free mock interview in their initial consultation. Her insights were just fabulous and I firmly believe my Tuck interview may not have gone off as well as it did if I hadn't spoken to her. I haven't used her for editing services, but I would recommend you speak with her nonetheless and make that decision. As she was an effective interviewer, I would be bullish on her. More detailed review here: best-admission-consulting-companies-92923-340.html#p1143809
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New post 19 Dec 2012, 09:13
I would like to recommend Square One Prep, which is owned by Kathryn Lucas, a Wharton MBA. Kathryn runs a tight ship and is very organized and encouraging. During our consultation, she immediately provided structure and examples from her own application experience as well as other clients with whom she has worked to show me how I can put my best foot forward.

As I've mentioned before, there are many excellent Admissions Consultants out there, and I think it's impossible to name a "best" admissions consultant because every applicant has unique needs and different personalities can mesh in different ways. But one of the things that stood out to me from Square One Prep is the structure that the consultants affiliated provide. Immediately after our consultation, I was sent a calendar with every single day scheduled between my consultation call and the deadlines. As a project manager, this type of structure immediately resonated with me.

I was eventually assigned to Erik, a Sloan grad. Erik was excellent. He has a background in teaching writing and also in psychology. His edits on my essays were always probing and thoughtful. He also brought in a lot of business concepts but made them relatable and non-jargony so that they were expressed better in my essays. Erik is extremely responsive and even during the craziness of the hurricane on the East Coast in October, Erik strived to always get back to me in a reasonable amount of time, which was no small feat when 1/2 the city was out of power.

Also, I will say in particular, that I found Erik's insights into the Sloan admissions process to be very helpful in crafting those essays.

Another thing that is unique about Square One Prep is that the owners have developed a system to streamline the recommendation process, which my recommenders loved. Basically through Square One's process, all of the schools' questions were consolidated into categories and then my recommenders were asked to write in response to each category, greatly minimizing the amount of work for my recommenders and also enhancing the overall recommendations.

At any rate, I'm happy to answer more questions about Square One. I think I talked with over 65 consultants in my process and Square One definitely stood out to me.
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New post 22 Dec 2012, 04:16
Just finished b-school at insead. a promise is a promise! so thought i'd return to the club & post briefly... damn, the website looks a whole lot different now than before...

OK - so admissions consultant: I used a reasonably well known one for a US school (got denied). spent a whole month on the application last year. wrote out the insead app in 4 days on my own and got in. I didn't apply to other schools after the insead admission though initially i had planned to. Nothing against the consultant - I think he was thorough and we exchanged a lot of emails. My personal opinion (and people can disagree, still I am entitled to my own & have my own experience to show for it): deep down you know you have a story or not... if you don't have rich "experiences" in life that sound reasonably impressive on paper then chances are a consultant can not help you 'show case' much & wont offer much more than moral support while you write out the apps. I think my profile was a fit for insead but my experiences were not a match for the US school. That was exactly my concern when I applied as the US school I targeted was my top pick for many reasons. Anyway, thats how it played out and that is life...

I return to my prior field armed with an MBA (not common to hold MBAs) and hope to create an impact & distinguish myself. The MBA came with a lot of 'soft' learning and though at this point I cannot put a finger on how exactly I have changed as a person, I can still say I feel different and somewhat more accomplished. It is an experience I would recommend as 1/2 years out of a working life of 30-40 years is nothing in the grand scheme of things... But be clear about your goals and re whether or not to use a consultant - do some soul searching on whether or not you have an interesting "story" for the school as the consultant will for the most part nudge you in the same direction... you will have to uncover the interesting anecdotes from your life, no other person can do it! Cheers & Good Luck.

gmat1011 wrote:
kudos to redjam and sapphiral for posting their experiences. After reading them, I have no doubt in my mind that these are genuine. There are a lot of fake posts out there - shameless plugs for one consulting firm or the other.

After a lot of research (which basically means trying to read about people' experiences on the internet; in my view just having a free session is hardly going to prepare you to expect what is coming) I have signed up for a consultant and will be working with one. I will post my experience once the dust settles and the whole process is over.

People - if you use a consultant then please do post your experience here for what it really was. Don't reveal the schools etc if you don't feel comfortable but do share. Frankly, the cost of hiring a consultant is not insubstantial and there is very little information out there to even know what one is getting into after having parted with $ right up front.

Please share.
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New post 22 Dec 2012, 05:48
I would recommend Alex Chu in a heartbeat. He's incredibly helpful. He doesn't write for you, but he helps you craft your own story in a way that really makes them pop. I look at my first draft essays and I'm amazed by the transformation.

People say that he's very direct. Well, why the heck would you not want someone who will give you straight advice? You're about to drop $200K on an education. You should want someone who will give you explicit and constructive advice. I just received my acceptance letter from Wharton. Very stoked and appreciate all of Alex's help.

I'm working on a few more applications now and look forward to working with Alex through these now. I'm happy to answer direct questions via PM.
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New post 22 Dec 2012, 14:37
I didn't use a consultant at all during my apps, but am now looking for some advice/recs on hiring one for waitlist help. On some level, I want it just to have no regrets, but also thinking it might be good to have somebody look at what I submitted and formulate ideas as to why I wasn't admitted (considering I submitted the best thing I thought I could, I'm thinking it will be tough to be objective).

What are people's thoughts on using a consultant for this? And if you say 'yay', are there some that you think would be better for this type of service than others?

- I have had a free 30 minute session with Admissionado and Clear Admit, just wondering if people rec others.

Thanks!
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New post 08 Jan 2013, 17:55
Round1ThisFall wrote:
Mr Sneaker - It sounds like Adam provided you with his professional opinion of what he thought would be a strong topic for your career goal essay. Its up to you to make the final decision as to which direction you want to take your essays. I actually had a similar experience where I listened to my consultant a little too much and didn't feel I performed as well as I could have in my interview if I just answered more openly and didn't have a set script already set in my mind. I used ClearAdmit and they were very good with editing my essays for grammar/structure and would keep pushing me to dig deeper into specific parts of my essays which was very helpful. I think the main take away from this is do not write about something just because you feel it will be a strong essay topic but its more important to be honest and open about your career goals. If your true passion is to start a skydiving company you probably should'nt be going to Columbia business school anyway ;-)


Let's face it...most of us are applying to business school because we think we deserve to make more money. We don't like reading and writing too much which is why we didn't go to a Top 10 law school and we're probably too lazy or dumb for medical school. Now I would expect someone who does this for a living to know the game well enough to be able to help me craft a career goal that wouldn't have the admissions committee questioning it. For $2900 and for someone with years of experience you would expect that person to know that!

Here is the biggest lesson I learned with applying to business school so far: If your career goal essay is too much of a career change from your current path (especially in today's economy) you might as well not even apply. It is SO much harder to get in when you're an engineer trying to transition to marketing. You better come up with some sob story about how you want to leverage your skills to benefit some third world country and save the natural rain forest.

I interviewed with Cornell using a similar career goal and even my interviewer said everything looked good except my career goal was such a drastic change from my current line of work that she questioned whether or not I could pull it off. I'm currently waitlisted.

Ask your consultant what he/she thinks your career goal should be based on your background during your free consultation. And don't fall for that "Oh you better sign up now cause I'm filling up soon" BS. That was the line that caught me.

Overall thumbs down to AmeriAsia.

PS. Round1ThisFall, you are right...the admissions committee agreed with you...they thought because my passion was what I stated in my essay that I don't belong at Columbia Business School.
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Re: "Best" admission consulting companies?   [#permalink] 08 Jan 2013, 17:55

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