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Andrew - this puts me in a tough position, and I wished we could have handled this specific part away from the gaze of other forum members, and any admissions representatives that may be here. But since you want to discuss this publicly, I will oblige your wishes. In addition to the reasons I listed above, I wanted to speak with you in private because I wanted to urge you to take immediate steps to remove your public profiles, very personal information, and other questionable online content that you are posting under your actual name and username. The adcom can put 2 and 2 together, and they do comb through LinkedIn and other public sites. If you Google your full name or your forum name, any adcom member will see the pictures, comments, and habits that are not part of the picture you want to paint for your b-school candidacy. My advice to you is to immediately take those down. If we spoke offline, I would have emailed you the links that you should not be in public view because they discuss matters that fewer really needs to know. This includes links to dating and steroid websites. Andrew - please - it makes no sense to have this discussion in public view. Although you encourage full transparency, you do have things to hide and I will refrain from posting these links.
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Yes I did create a profile on a dating website after a bad break-up put me in a state of emotional vulnerability. I did post questions on a steroid website after I was diagnosed with low testosterone and the treatment from the doctor caused too many negative side effects - causing me to seek feedback and advice from people who suffer from a similar medical condition. I'm glad to know that you're willing to go above beyond to highlight irrelevant issues of your company's clients. I hope your future clients can all expect to receive the same high level form of customer service.
Yikes. Guys is this really the place to be airing out your dirty laundry? It's entertaining to read the drama but still...
Let's face it - US business schools, especially the elite ones that you and I aspire to be a part of, have some extremely stringent acceptance criteria with an almost blackbox-like process to boot.
Before admissions consultants became mainstream (mainly thanks to the penetration of the Internet), applying to business schools was a lonely, nerve-wracking activity - especially if you were from an over-represented demographic like India or China. Nerve-wracking because you had no idea of what constituted a good or bad response to an essay question, or how to go about structuring it; Lonely because at the most, you had a couple of friends who had even heard about the schools you were applying to, and even then, they wouldn't have enough in-depth knowledge to help you write compelling essays.
I began researching MBA programs in 2005. At the time, the only ‘consultants’ I had were Montauk (‘How To Get Into The Top MBA Programs’) and Strunk Jr and White (‘The Element Of Style'). By 2011, when I began the application process, I decided that in addition to my due diligence (attending events, chatting with alumni, professors, etc) I could use the expertise and perspective of a non-Indian who was on the pulse of the admissions process – someone who could look at my essays from the perspective of the admissions committee and help me paint a clear picture of myself. And thus began my hunt for the ‘Best’ admissions consultant.
After two months of initial consults with 10 different admissions consulting firms – Clear Admit, The MBA Exchange, Accepted.com, Stacy Blackman Consulting, Forster-Thomas, MBA Crystal Ball, MBAApply, VeritasPrep, MBAMission, and Amerasia – I finally decided to work with Paul Lanzillotti at Amerasia. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t pick Paul because he painted the rosiest picture during the initial consults; he didn’t. I picked him because we connected, and we connected well. My reasoning was simple – I need to not only be comfortable sharing details of my personal and professional life with my consultant, I needed someone who would push me, probe further for details, and not pull any punches when critiquing my essays. I saw all this in Paul, and over the course of our engagement, my gut instinct was proven right.
This is not to say that Paul and I didn’t disagree on anything – in fact, we frequently disagreed. But therein lay the beauty; every disagreement would result in us coming up with something far better than what we started with. We had different perspectives, and kept hammering at each sentence in each essay till we were both satisfied with it. Sometimes, simply flipping the order of sentences in a paragraph would work miracles. Sometimes, we’d scratch everything and head back to the drawing board. Some essays were born ready (took a couple of edits to finish) whereas others had to be sculpted and refined multiple times (more than 8 edits).
Paul’s knowledge of various schools is extensive; more importantly, he has a skill for converting life experiences into strong essays – and this is where I knew I was getting my money’s worth. There were experiences that I did not think much about, but were potential essay responses in his perspective – today, some of those have actually made their way into my essays for multiple schools.
Additionally, Paul was always available on call or mail, and would respond within a few hours at the most. He was upfront about delays (if any), and made sure that I had his undivided attention when on a call.
Ultimately, we worked together for 4 schools, and I was waitlisted at 2 of them. Since two of the schools were R3, Paul honoured his R3 guarantee and helped me craft 2 R1 apps this year. Additionally, I retook the GMAT and took extra courses to boost my GPA. The result? I applied to 4 schools and have been invited to interview at all, and so far, accepted at Tuck (and looking forward to the rest).
So is Paul/Amerasia the best consultant/company? I can’t say; that’s like asking whether HBS or Stanford is the best business school – its really down to personal choice. Yes, he was the best consultant for me. Ultimately, its your application, and your hard-earned money that will be spent on a consultant, and you need to take a well-thought out decision based on the initial consults. I did my research and chose Paul, and did not once regret it.
My experience with Paul was extremely good, and I would gladly recommend that you consider his services when scouting for an admissions consultant.
You may now return to your scheduled programming ☺
PS – I’d be happy to have this review verified by moderators.
I admittedly did not read through the 22 page feed but my $.02 is that a fantastic admissions consultant is a current student at your target school. After I got to HBS and now "see behind the curtain" on a daily basis I have a much better feel for what admissions is/was looking for. Not to mention $$$$ - there are a TON of my classmates who would take 1/10th of what full time consultants charge. Tap your networks and talk to students!
Can someone please provide feedback on Kyn Chaturvedi from Admissionado????
There aren't many on the thread who have used his services. The couple of them, whom I talked to said he was average. Would help you, but you're not going to miss a lot if you don't engage him. Having said that, sample size is very low to make a judgement.
An important part of what is called application strategy, in my opinion, is to know from whom to take help. I have no doubt that without Aringo I would not today have the privilege to debate between two schools that a few months ago were only part of a big dream for me. Aringo's amazing staff demonstrated not only a rare level of professionalism but also consideration and compassion that made me always feel “on the side of the winner.” Their ability to combine knowledge, professionalism and mainly friendship are what turns the service they provide to a winning combination (and the facts of the results can testify).
I would like to put in a word about Sameer Kamat's MBA Crystal Ball and his MBA MAP product.
I had applied last year to 4 of the top 20 schools. I was waitlisted by two of them so I had decided to re-apply this year to these schools again but I was not sure what went wrong with my application. I was looking for a consultant who would validate my goals, essay theme and the list of my schools. I found that MBA MAP was the perfect product which catered to my very specific needs. Sameer was excellent in providing an in-depth analysis on my story and gave candid feedback on my application strategy. The boutique nature of his firm guarantees ample time, personal attention and timely feedback. I remember speaking for hours over the phone – Sameer patiently addressed all my concerns and advised on tackling post MBA goals as well. I would recommend MBA MAP product for anyone (especially Indian candidates) who wants to get a thorough and realistic guidance on their application strategy and target schools.
I thought I would weigh in here since I went through a full season working with MBA Mission and can shed light on the experience. I applied to schools Round 1 and did not receive an admit. In addition, I was not happy with the service that I received at MBA Mission. Now you might think that my results have fueled my dissatisfaction but that is not the case. Truth be told, I felt very uneasy with the service before I was denied and even when I thought I would get in. In fact, I received an interview invite from Wharton but by then had lost all trust in MBA Mission. So I actually paid an additional and not insignificant fee to another firm to help with my interview prep. In doing this I also got a glimpse at another firm and how they operate. There was a big difference in the communication and professionalism and I plan to hire them for my next go round. (Will wait to report on that until I go through entire experience.) I am not naming names here on the forum as I do not want to be vindictive. However, I do want to help others that are making decisions understand some of the reality of what goes on once you start working with MBA Mission and perhaps other companies. So - now that that is said I will try to explain why I was unhappy with my experience. Here are my three main points: 1) My consultant was aloof and made no attempt to get to know me. I know I might sound like a sensitive child but this is a very personal adventure and I just do not see how someone can help craft personal interesting essays and be rushed, unavailable, not reviewing personal docs, asking questions etc... She ONLY wanted to review and essay that was written. She did not help with brainstorming or generating the ideas. 2) Once she did review the edits were simply edits. Grammatical, sparse, etc... not really speaking to my overall strategy. When I would ask questions about strategy I would get an answer like "it's much more efficient for me to review your work, so send me something concrete." This really rubbed me the wrong way! 3) She clearly no question about it did not have time for me. When I signed up with MBA Mission they talked about having consultants who did not treat this as a side job. However, I realized that if this was her full time job she had A LOT of clients to deal with at deadlines, and it really showed. Did not get the support that I needed around deadlines. I also felt that there was no one that I could communicate with to get the support I needed once I signed up.
So that's it - yeah I feel burned, but I am not giving up. Just trying to regroup for next attempt and hope that this write up will be helpful to others. If I do indeed work with someone else I am very hopeful that it will be different and will inform the forum at that time.
I have read gmatclub for a long time, but I have never registered to be an official member. I would like to thank gmatclub having providing me great tips and information about MBA process.
It is my first post, a positive review about Adam and Drew from Amerasia. Mod and Admin please contact me for a verification.
A bit about my profile. 2 years ago, when I started my dream of a top MBA, I would never believe that I could secure a position in top MBA. The reason was simple: I have a below average GPA (3.2) and GMAT (<700). My work experience is in IT and I wanted to have an MBA to switch my career to consulting. In other words, I am in one of the most competitive applicant pool. I have never seen anyone in my pool has such low profile and manages to secure a seat in top schools.
Last year, after a long time to strive for my GMAT, I realized that without a help from a good consultant, my dream would never come true. I looked for the most reliable consultant by reading all posts and feedback in this forum. In fact, I like the way Paul and Adam answered questions. I contacted Amerasia and other companies for a consultation for a round 3 service.
Surprisingly, one consultant from other company refused to work with me and told me that I had no hope unless I could secure a 700 GMAT. However, Drew Hoff from Amerasia approached me and convinced me that I had a hope if I could prepare the application properly. Honestly, I did not believe that I just thought Drew just tried to sell his service. I only applied one school that suited best to my dream. Drew helped me to create one of the best essays ever. I got an invitation for interview, however I failed. I got a feedback from the school that my goal was too difficult to achieve given my background and profile. Honestly, I was really disappointed, but I have never blamed this failure to Drew, I know it is my choice and Drew did the best to give me feedback on school selection, essay and interview.
I tried my luck again this year, and decided to work with Amerasia again. I worked with Adam this time for the same school (Amerasia will give you a free service if you fail in round 3). And I was dinged again. Honestly, I felt no hope and really frustrated about myself rather than the service. I kept on suspecting my ability...I even thought of giving up my dream and started looking for other options.
However, I talked to myself not to give up and at least tried one more school (I do not believe in applying multiple school at a time). I contacted Adam to apply for another school. He gave me some advice in selecting a safe bet, and Ross is our choice, I think Adam suggested me Ross because he saw my passion in community work, and it matches with Ross. In fact Ross is even harder and tougher than the previous school. Unfortunately, I was super busy because of Extra Activities when I applied to Ross, I could not put 100% focus on my essays, I did some mistakes but Adam was really helpful, he always gave honest and genuine feedback. He really understood my hidden dreams, he even suggested me to rewrite my essay totally if he felt it did not match the standard. It was painful, but it was really worth. I took them back and reflected myself to rewrite essays. Adam's approach is simple, start everything from your passion, have a plan, connect your MBA, short term and long term goal. Passion is really a key here.
I got an interview with Ross and informed Adam. His colleague helped me a mock interview. It was helpful, but I suggest that you should conduct at least 5 mock interviews before your actual one. I did it with my friends
I almost broke into tear when I got a call from admission on 14th March. I informed Adam immediately. I would like to thank him for his ethical work and feedback. Without his help, I do not believe my dream can come true.
In brief, I would like to summarize my feedback as follows:
1. Understand client: 5/5 Yes, both Adam and Drew really understand their client profile 2. Understand school: 5/5 Adam really understand unique characteristics of each school (we called it DNA of school) 3. Create client profile: 4/5 I rate 4 because I think this part belongs to the applicant. A consultant can give us best advice and feedback, but he can not help us to create a fake profile 4. Edit essays: 5/5 You will have the toughest reviewer. Adam or Drew are both very detail oriented. They are both great at spotting non-sense sentences. You can expect that you have to rewrite your essays at least 5 times. Comments or feedback are very straight 5. Response time: 5/5 Almost always as promised: 1-2 days with a very details feedback
I really understand that it is always tough in selecting a good consultant. I hope my review can help others to have a better idea about what Amerasia is doing.
Finally, my review is also my thank to Adam and Drew for their great help.
Highly Recommend Chris Aitken & MBAPrepSchool [#permalink]
07 Apr 2013, 07:42
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Highly Recommend Chris Aitken & MBAPrepSchool
I was introduced to Chris by a friend, and spoke to him and several other consultants are various firms before making a final decision on who to work with. Part of why I chose Chris was his balanced (in my view) take on the strengths and weaknesses of my candidacy in our initial call. Compared to other consultants who dwelled on the positives, I appreciated Chris’s attention to the gaps in my application, and his focus on how to address them. To be honest, I didn’t leave that first call feeling completely optimistic about the whole process, but on reflection I decided that’s what I was looking for from a consultant – someone to challenge and push me, and therefore help improve my application in ways I wouldn’t be able to do on my own.
I was late to the Round 1 process (Chris and I first spoke in August), and Chris helped me figure out a sensible number of schools to apply to (3). In retrospect, having seen other friends’ experiences, I’m very happy I didn’t push to submit more, and equally happy that I made sure to get apps in to all of my “top” choices within the same round. The videos / materials / worksheets developed by MBA Prep School were also a real benefit early in the process. After our initial call, it was clear that I had a long way to go in creating a coherent “story” to tell across applications; the brainstorming and ideation exercises provided by MBA Prep School really helped me to bring forward the strongest elements in my background to deploy across schools and essays.
All that said, I think the personal dynamics really make or break this kind of relationship, and this is where Chris really shone. He certainly passes the “good guy” test, and – as I had judged from our initial call – was consistently supportive and easy to work with, while always challenging and looking to improve the final product. Most importantly, I never once felt like I had anything less than Chris’s full attention and commitment to my application – I might as well have been the only project he was working on. This was especially important given the short timeline we were working with – time management was a primary reason I had engaged a consultant in the first place. Chris helped develop a clear timeline to manage the process of getting 3 strong applications submitted, and he pushed me the whole way to accomplish that goal. This process is tough. Working with Chris helped me internalize that, and realize that all you can do is put yourself in the best position to succeed and then roll the dice. Chris helped me put my best foot forward in all my applications – and even so, there were some surprises and disappointments. In the end, I got into one of my three top schools; and I also got a generous scholarship. I’m happy with my outcome, and grateful to Chris Aitken and MBA Prep School for helping me get there!
I had applied to business school twice before getting help from Stacy Blackman Consulting but with little luck. I really wanted to get into a top 15-20 program but needed some guidance. Weaknesses in my application included:
1. Low GPA (2.5) 2. Shallow work and leadership experience. 3. Weak essays.
I started with Stacy Blackman's free phone consultation and followed their advice by taking finance, accounting and statistics courses at a community college and at the UC-Berkeley Online Extension. The consultation also gave me a plan to take more initiatives at work by transferring to departments where I would handle more quantitative responsibilities which also led to stronger recommendation letters as well as a stronger resume. The consultant also encouraged me to take leadership roles through community service projects so I led some college students on a service trip to Costa Rica a few months later. A year after receiving my free consultation, I gained more substances to my candidacy and signed up for the comprehensive service package where I worked with Lisa Anderson.
Lisa was great. She had a reputation for working with applicants with weak GPAs and she was invaluable in helping me brainstorm through my essays and giving me awesome feedback so that I can refine the message of my essays. Lisa was also a great resource as I chose which MBA programs I was best suited for.
Below is the list of schools I applied to and the final results:
1. Stern - denied without interview 2. Fuqua - denied without interview 3. Darden - denied without interview 4. Ross - denied with interview 5. Tepper - accepted and most likely matriculating 6. Kenan-Flagler - denied with interview 7. McDonough - waitlisted with interview 8. Simon - accepted with scholarship
One part of the process that I wish could have been better was the interview preparation. Lisa gave me a great mock interview over the phone but nothing really simulates a real business school interview like a face-to-face meeting with a complete stranger where you have everything on the line. So my interviewing skills were something I got better at as I did more interviews. My first interview could have been better but my last interview was great. My first interview was with Ross (where I got denied) and my last interview was with Tepper (where I got accepted). If I had interviewed at Ross later in the application process, I like to think I would have had better results.
Lastly, I'll say the best aspect of the consultation was the moral support I received from Lisa. The application process was very grueling. There were a lot of waiting and hearing of bad news. I definitely needed perseverance to get through the application process and Lisa was great in being optimistic and reminding me of my potential as a future MBA student.
I am Chinese national raised in Argentina (Buenos Aires) who was looking for an MBA Admissions Consultant to help me apply to INSEAD. After reading many posts and recommendations from gmatclub.com and beatthegmat.com, I came across Laura in one of those posts.
Since I had never talked with any Admissions Consultant before, I was a bit skeptical. So, why did I contact Laura? Well, to make long story short, I would say that my decision was based on the following reasons:
1. Laura has “insider” knowledge about INSEAD. Since INSEAD was the only school that I was applying to, I felt I needed an INSEAD “specialist”. Laura has extensive experience with INSEAD - she is an INSEAD alumnus who worked with INSEAD Admissions and interviewed many MBA candidates. She also coaches current MBA students through INSEAD Career Services, so she knows the program and has a lot of insight into the profiles of current students. After working with Laura, I can confirm that her knowledge about INSEAD was incredibly helpful for my application.
2. Laura’s cultural knowledge. I wanted someone who could understand my dual Argentine/Chinese background and help me explain it to best effect on my application. Laura’s lived in many different countries and had to adapt to different cultures lots of times (and even speaks Spanish and some Mandarin).
3. Laura’s consulting background. Laura worked with a top-tier consulting firm, with a Big 4 firm, as an internal consultant and she ran her own management consulting practice. I wanted an admissions consultant who could understand my background working for a small regional McKinsey spin-off and help me explain my work achievements in a way that would support my case for joining an MBBB firm.
4. Her “personal” attention. Unlike many other Admissions Consultants (yes, I watched many videos on Youtube and read webpages of other consultants), Laura works DIRECTLY and PERSONALLY with you. I mean, you will work directly with HER and not with her TEAM. That was very important, since she got to know me really well and was able to remember examples I had missed and help me use them in my final essays. I still remember how she personally answered my first email asking for the “first free consulting session” (see next).
5. The “first consulting session” (basically, you get the first consulting session from Laura for free) For me it was really important that you can first “try” the product before “buying” it, and if you are not satisfied (hard to imagine!), you can always choose not to work with her. What impressed me the most in the first session was her ability to sum up and structure my strengths and weaknesses, providing me a clear picture of my chances of getting admitted to INSEAD.
So, what are the most important takeaways from my experience working with Laura?
• First, let me say that I am 200% satisfied with the results. My application and essays would not have reached that level of quality if Laura did not help me. She could clearly adapt all my essays and still let them stay true to my PERSONAL story.
• Laura was always there at my reach. Despite living with a difference of 11 hours (I am located in Argentina and she is in Singapore), Laura always managed to make room for calls through Skype. We had not less than 30 hours work.
• Laura is an amazing editor. She really knows how to write (she used to teach English). It was amazing how she helped me frame and shape and re-shape my essays to get my stories to flow smoothly and with just the right amount of detail (she calls it “fish tank clear”). Working with her really improved my business writing at work, not just on the application.
• I felt that Laura loves what she does. How do I know that? Through all the time and dedication she put into my application. With all the sessions that I spent sharing my personal story with her so she could provide better insights for my application, I can say that Laura ended up knowing me better than myself!
I hired Stacy Blackman Consulting for a four school package and was admitted to 3 of my 4 schools. I am going to HBS. I am writing this because I believe that I am similar to so many of the applicants who post here who have some interesting experiences but don't truly see the path to standing out. I worked hard throughout college and for several years out and feel that I earned my admits. However, I also don't think I would have been as successful (or possibly successful at all) without Stacy Blackman and her team, particularly Lisa who was incredible, amazing and everything in between. This is because although I had some good experiences, I did not know how to get them down on paper and when I look back at my first drafts and the kind but firm feedback from Lisa I want to laugh. Lisa did a really good job of taking my background and finding themes to help market me. She was able to highight my strengths and help me back up the strengths with my solid stories. I think my essays were interesting and that is not how they started. My interview prep was also outstanding and really helped me to go into the interview feeling calm and to stay calm. Honestly nothing threw me - she prepped me to be ready for the curveballs. I am grateful for this opportunity and highly recommend the entire team at Stacy Blackman as everyone that I interfaced with impressed me. Also wanted to note that my process with the Blackman team took around 3 months - I do not think that is necessary but it felt like a good amount of time, we kept up a steady pace without a lot of panic. I do believe if I had gone at this on my own it would have been a much longer and more painful process because I spent a lot of time early on second guessing myself.
I started my MBA Journey two years ago applying to Kellogg, Booth, and Columbia. I had received help from a Booth alum and had also used just the essay review services from My MBA Admit and Avi at MBA Admissions Studio. Although I thought my essays were in good shape, I was denied by all three schools.
I decided to wait 2 years and applied again two admissions cycles later. Although I was skeptical about using another consultant given my past experience, I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to improve my chances of getting in and decided to hire a consultant for a comprehensive package rather than just a simple essay review. I talked to with several admission consultants - some good and some bad. I heard about Betsy at Master Admissions through this forum and decided to schedule an initial consultation with her well. The one hour call ended up lasting a lot longer, and we touched on several topics including what schools I should to target to the particulars areas of concern in my application and how to address them. She really took the time to understand my concerns, and I felt as if I were talking to a friend for advice rather than a consultant. She is very easy to talk to and puts in a lot of effort to understand who your are. Although I hadn't heard of Betsy as much as the other consultants, I knew she would be the right person for me. Her price per application was more reasonable than all of the other consultants I spoke to as well which made the decision to chose her even easier.
She emailed me a questionnaire that she wanted me to fill out, and we schedule a call to get the process going. During this call, she asked in depth questions to help her better understand me and also for me to better understand myself and what I was looking for. The entire call was recorded and she emailed a copy of the conversations afterwards. I was on a budget and decided to just go with one school with her. We went back and forth several times on each essay until it was perfect. She's not afraid to let you know what needs to be fixed regardless of how many revisions and drafts it takes. Her vast experience with MBA apps and working with various clients is evident in her feedback. We went through sometimes 7-10 revisions per essay until it was perfect. One of the best things about Betsy is that she is always available. Even though she guarantees a 48 hour turnaround most of the time it was well within a day. Her response vie email is extremely fast, and she is available to speak on the phone when necessary. As I said before, she genuinely cares about getting to know you and making sure you are successful. While most consultants would just say this, Betsy demonstrated this through her actions. I was working on several other applications and was able to use most of what I had gained from Betsy on just the one application I was working on with her. However, when I had a question or concern with other apps. she would help me for free even though I had only paid for one application!. All that hard work paid off, as I was accepted to Booth and will be attending this coming fall. Although I had done a lot of preparation and research on my own, working with Betsy really made a big difference in improving the quality of my applications.
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Just thought I would share my experiences working with Alex Leventhal at MBA Prep School.
Coming from an engineering background and not having many friends who had applied to b-school, I knew that I really wanted a consultant to help guide me through the process. I contacted at least half a dozen admission consulting firms, but each time was disappointed in that I felt that either I was being handed off to a junior consultant, or I found myself in the middle of a spiel/sales pitch. Alex Leventhal was actually the last consultant I spoke to, and he instantly stood out. It was quite clear that he was experienced, smart and passionate, but at the same time didn’t feel the need to BS - he was realistic and honest in talking about my strengths, weaknesses and school choices.
I started off with a 4 school package, and was happy enough that I added another school later down the road. I ended up being admitted to 4 schools including my first choice INSEAD. Working with Alex was great and well-structured. We spent a good deal of time working on the foundation – background, leadership stories and career plans. I was quite amazed how creative the application turned out and how well we were able to connect the dots. We talked on Skype at least every week or whenever I needed to chat, and I found him to be quick (usually within 1-2 days) in turning around essay drafts.
Personally, what stood out most about Alex was that he was sincere and highly involved throughout the process. I have a natural tendency to over think and always critique the quality of my product. So many a times, I would be requesting Alex to review and edit the 6th or 7th drafts of an essay – he did so without question and was always helpful. However, he also kept me focused, and made sure that I was moving on when I went a bit overboard!
I would highly recommend Alex Leventhal. He knows what he’s talking about, and is really going to be working hard to get you to the b-school of your choice.
Last edited by hyghtech85 on 18 Apr 2013, 18:01, edited 1 time in total.
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I had interviewed a number of different MBA consultants to help with my application and ultimately decided on Chris and MBA Prep School. When we spoke, he came across as knowledgeable, experienced, and I thought our personalities would mesh well. Upon interviewing consultants, I actually think I undervalued this last characteristic, which for me proved to be most constructive in my process.
In addition to all of the prepared modules, videos, and frameworks that he had on his site to help me fill out my application, I found Chris to be most valuable in helping me to think through the purpose behind my application / candidacy, which I felt in the end. For those who have not applied before, the business school application process can be wrenching not only from a time standpoint, but even more so from an introspection perspective. At least for me, it was the first time in my life where I really spent a ton of time thinking through whether this was something I wanted to commit a lot of time and money to doing. Through the written modules and our weekly conversations, Chris pushed me to dig deep into what mattered most to me, what I truly wanted to be when I grew up, and what experiences I’d had in my life that shaped who I was. It was in doing so that I was best equipped to reinforce my decision to apply and also fill out the best application possible.
After completing this extensive brainstorming marathon, Chris was helpful in picking out what he thought were the best stories and helping me to concatenate them into a cohesive story that formed the basis for my application and subsequent interview. In connection with this, he was able to help me identify the key parts of my story to reinforce during each phase of the process. I have no doubt that my application and candidacy was meaningfully better having worked with Chris and am very grateful for his counsel.
Alice immediately impressed me with her empathy, and I chose to work with her as she was genuinely interested in not only my successful MBA application, but in my personal success. She went out of her way to help analyze me some non-MBA alternatives (an internal promotion, lateral moves to different industries, postponing application for a year, etc.) at no cost to me. Alice was very generous with her time and we would often have extended conversations that were billed for shorter amounts of time.
Prior to working with Alice, I took advantage of several free 30-minute consultations with other admission consultants. One thing that really struck me was how little other consultants cared about my personal story. After these consultations, I couldn't imagine how they could possibly help me express my story when they really did not understand where I was coming from. Because of her genuine personal interest in her clients' success, Alice is able to help them to better tell their own story. I truly believe that all of the essays I ended up with were 100% my own words, just with Alice's exceptional guidance to help me express what I already thought, but could not accurately communicate myself.
The MBA application process was certainly a period of heavy introspection and personal growth for me. My time working with Alice not only helped me reach my MBA goals, but really developed my ability to communicate my thoughts in a more structured and effective manner. Alice's help throughout my application was absolutely invaluable and I would highly recommend her to anyone interested in admissions consulting.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about Alice and my time working with her.
I’d like to share my experience with Paul Bodine. After reading his book “Great application essays for business school” I contacted him but was a little bit skeptical because I had not been successful in finding reviews on his work as a consultant on this forum or other websites (I found only reviews on his books) so after the initial profile evaluation I chose to go for the hours rate approach (just in case I would want to step back) and not the comprehensive school packages. Well, I ended up doing 6 schools with him, working on every single aspect of the applications from schools selection to interview preps and essays editing and couldn’t have been happier of my choice.
-I am a non US applicant with a low GMAT score (mid 600’s) and no stellar leadership experiences and was targeting some top programs. Paul helped me better shape the schools list (for example I was being too optimistic on a couple of very selective programs but also had not considered two very strong schools that really fitted my profile and geographical preferences).
-In terms of application strategy he helped me better understand each schools specifics and made the right questions to help me come up with strong stories and details that I had not thought of before.
-I have been impressed with his editing work. He is a writer so what can I say... He grilled me with tons of questions until my essays were full of valuable details and edited the essays to bring them to the word limit imposed by the schools. The most surprising aspect was that the essays were so nice that I could not stop reading them over and over again, but every word was mine, my voice was there.
-Turnaround time: this was the aspect I was most worried about. I started the application process late and was working really late hours at my job, weekends included, so I had to work on my apps whenever I could find some spare time and needed someone that could adapt with my time schedule. Paul was very understanding and turned my essays within the same day (for me it was the next day because of the large time zone difference) and sometimes the next day. 2 or 3 times it took two days, but he let me know in that case and it was for non urgent aspects. Because of my work schedule I have often made him work on Sundays for interview preps and urgent essay editing but he never complained or charged more
-Interview preps – Paul knew my stories inside out and helped me stress details and aspects that I was overlooking and that were very important in making the responses stronger and meatier. I was very nervous before the interviews but he helped me present myself prepared and self confident – it worked.
-Paul has been very honest but always with a great sensibility. He did provide suggestions/alternative solutions when he thought my stories did not fit the questions or were not strong enough. This process is very long and stressful and sometimes you get discouraged and loose sight. With his positivity and simplicity Paul has lifted me up each time. I think I have been privileged to work with him.
-As a last note, he has knowledge on a wide range of topics and sectors. I understand he has experience with other type of applications (med schools and law schools) and also writes / edits on other topics (classical music, business topics, nuclear energy, etc.) so this helps when you have very specific career goals like I did.
Good luck everybody and keep the good work up.
Please PM me if you would like to know more on my experience or if you have any questions.
Oh I forgot, on the 6 schools I applied, I am happily choosing between 3 admits (one of which is Ivy League), have been waitlisted on other 2 (both M7 schools) and got only 1 ding (it was a stretch).
Edit: Verified User
Last edited by bb on 14 Jun 2013, 09:51, edited 2 times in total.
I would like to share my experiences of working with an admission consulting firm called Admit Advantage. I learned a few important lessons along the way that I hope you'd keep in mind before picking an admission consultant.
To be honest, I was a bit desperate to get into a decent B-school this year, and hence thought that spending additional US$3200 would be a worthwhile investment. While zeroing in on consultants, I was rather confused by the lack of credible reviews available. Hence, I thought that the prudent course of action would be to invest in a consultant who had excellent credentials (school he graduated from, his past experience etc), and also talk to him and see whether I'd like to work with him. Just a side note, in case you dismiss my review as rigged, do PM me and I can send you the official receipt that I got from Admit Advantage.
On my initial call with Kofi, their lead consultant, I was really sold on his credentials, and I decided to work with him. He told me that I would be handed to a some other "primary" consultant and he (Kofi) would act as my "secondary" consultant who would exchange "best practices" with my primary consultant. Since, he assured me that he would be completely involved in the process, I bought into his argument. (Yes, it was pretty stupid of me to buy his argument, but I though that since I would have two people with excellent credentials go through my essays, I decided to sign up with them)
Now, after I paid the fee, my "primary consultant" who again had excellent credentials started guiding me or rather misguiding me. I was ill advised to apply to a freggin 60th ranked school! (I told then that I wanted to be sure that I get into a B-school this year, but I never meant that I would apply to a school that was below what I deserved to go to; I was paying a huge sum of money for their strategic advice, even I knew that I could get in a freggin 60th ranked school!). This not only demotivated me, but it really made me doubt myself. What followed was even more surprising: the team at Admit Advantage asked me to fill out an achievement template and something called as PAT, which is just a fancy name given to the questionnaire that supposedly helps you "dig deeper" and find out those "hidden gems" that make you shine on your essays. I put in my best efforts to fill out these questionnaire and started crafting my essays. After, I sent my initial drafts, my primary consultant got back to me with changes which were directly copy pasted from my PAT- no new ideas at all! (I never expected them to write my essays, but I expected them to tell me what else could I have done better to bolster my essays, rather than just regurgitation the stuff I wrote on those PATs back to me). We exchanged a few drafts, but my consultants added absolutely no value.
Three months into the process, I was seriously fed up: my "primary consultant" was dumb as a doorknob! and my "secondary consultant" did not take any interest in my application. Midway, I decided to sign up with another consultant (Paul from Amerasia), as I really wanted to go to a school this year. This consultant, though quite busy, was much more helpful and helped me strengthen my profile.
At the end, I was happy that I got into three top 20 schools, one partial scholarship, and also at one lowish ranked school with full scholarship (when I was ill adviced to take my chances at a 60th ranked school!). The experience I had with Admit Advantage LLC was horrible- I was frustrated and demotivated during the course I worked with them.
Do PM me if you guys need more detail about my experience.