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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season

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Location: India
City: Pune
GMAT 1: 680 Q49 V34
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WE: Business Development (Manufacturing)
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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season [#permalink]

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New post 25 Dec 2017, 00:17
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Best Admissions Consulting Companies
Real reviews and opinions by REAL GMAT Club Members.


Congrats to all those who got in to their desired schools in Round 1. It's time to start a thread for members to share reviews/opinions of their admission consultants.

IMPORTANT: we will only post here reviews from members who have at least 30 posts. If your profile is new - you are welcome to post questions or engage in a discussion but please do not post reviews as they will be deleted or hidden. If you are a lurker and had a great experience with your admissions consultants, post it in the Reviews Area instead.

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Concentration: Healthcare, Strategy
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season [#permalink]

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New post 27 Dec 2017, 21:27
I took the comprehensive school package with Scott. Since I had already created a shortlist of my schools, we concentrated more on essays/application content and interviews. The overall experience with Scott was excellent! With his help, I got into two of my dream schools (INSEAD + LBS).
I started preparing for applications pretty late (mid August with September timelines). This plus a demanding job meant I was working late in the night on applications and needed someone who could help me finish the applications in such short time with quick turnarounds. Scott exceeded these expectations and was as invested in my applications as I was! There were times when he replied to my mails with edits/quick responses within hours. I would send him content at 3AM in the night and he would respond by the time i woke up in morning and then I would take up the version control from there.
He is excellent at essays. He has a no BS approach to essays and when I compare the first and last version of my essays, I can see a huge difference. He gave direct and honest feedback on my essays and helped me craft my story well. His focus was not on completing the applications, but on making them perfect. This helped me create really amazing essays, resume and overall application.
If I have to compare him to other consultants (based on my initial free consultations and feedback from multiple other friends who used other consultants), I would say Scott is much better, personalized and invested in your applications/success than other consulting companies.
One important thing - Scott is great for essays/applications/interview prep/recommendation letter strategy. However, if you are looking for someone who provides you with a lot of content (e.g. pdfs about schools, resume writing document etc) like other big name consulting companies, you may need to look for someone else. I personally was able to research well using all the free content from the internet. All other things - Scott and I ran the show together!
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jan 2018, 08:47
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I would like to share my experience working with Menlo Coaching and David White.
Executive Summary
I can say without reservation that if you work with Menlo Coaching, whether it's David or Alice, you will be able to craft your story in the best way possible to elevate your candidacy and produce writing that you can truly be proud of. You'll have someone in your corner who sees you and your MBA candidacy far more accurately than you can see it yourself- and you'll have someone who can help you shape your application materials to be the best they can possibly be. This, along with a little luck, can get you results that will surprise you (in the good, life-changing way).
About me
I’m far from being the perfect candidate for a top-MBA program. I achieved poor grades early in undergrad (mainly due to maturity issues). Although I made my best attempt to pull my grades up my final two years, I still came out with a GPA that would be significantly lower than a top-MBA program’s average. I have somewhat of a rough past, and am very un-diverse (ahem, white male). Currently I’m an engineer working in the defense industry. I’m good with numbers, but not words, and MBA applications use a lot of words. I knew it was going to be an uphill battle, and I needed a tailwind. I read some incredible reviews on this site for Menlo Coaching, contacted them, and was lucky enough to get David White as my consultant. David has spent several years working in tech in Silicon Valley, and knows the landscape of the tech world quite well- so our working relationship was a good match, professionally and culturally, since my goal was to make it into the tech industry.
Intro Call
David gave a clear picture of exactly what is going on with top MBA programs: elite employers rely on MBA programs to pre-screen the pool for top candidates, so they know they’re not wasting time when it comes to recruiting those candidates. Yes- you learn extremely useful practical business knowledge and build the all-important network- but I’d say the main thing is that elite employers use it as a screen.
Kickoff
Our first order of business was to find out everything about me, and get all of my cards on the table. This took the form of an hour kick-off phone call with David, where I shared with him the story of my life (seriously, starting from early childhood): how I decided that engineering was for me, why I chose the undergrad that I did, any struggles I had, and what I wanted out of my career. This laid the foundation for essay material, and also helped with school selection- which came next.
School Selection
David and Alice have a pretty good idea about how the schools differ, and intuitively know where your best chances may be. I thought I knew the schools I wanted to apply to, but I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear from David. He gave an honest assessment that my chances at the tippy-top schools were pretty much zilch. But that’s how I knew I had found the right consultant. No bullshit or “sure, we can drop an app into Harvard!” I didn't want to choose the 'wrong' school and one that wasn't a good fit for me. David and I chose schools that I truly wanted to attend, and I think this sentiment came out in my essays and helped me. Yes, it's important that you go to a great top-ranked school to be successful, but you'll be even more successful if you go to a top-ranked school that's the right fit for you.
Essays and Applications
The material shared in our initial conversation was combined with my goals and the product was a goal statement of sorts, which ALL of the applications required, whether it was 150 characters or 150 words. This was an important piece- "packaging" me such that it made sense that I'm transitioning to the career I wanted. David knew that schools cared about this, because ultimately they are concerned with employment numbers, which are important metrics that go into their rankings. David helped take my engineering and programming background and craft it into a palpable statement arguing that I'm a good candidate for the technology sector but I lack business knowledge needed for product management (true). David also helped me craft a resume that concisely communicated the best of my professional accomplishments and my competencies as an engineer. Menlo Coaching's approach to essay and short response writing is very efficient. I'd start with some bullet points (shooting in the dark) of what I thought were good topics or points to make, and David would filter those to the 'best' items. Then came a few drafts, each becoming more polished and concise and natural with diligence between myself and David and the editor. I was particularly fascinated with the quality of my essays in the end. I was also impressed that the essays were the truest reflection of myself and the highlights of my candidacy. Additionally, getting down to the right word count (a pain in the ass) was something that David and I working together were able to achieve with relative ease.
GMAT
During all of this, David kept encouraging me to retake the GMAT based on my practice test scores, and directed me to a tutor that ultimately proved to be the best decision I made with respect to GMAT prep. I studied hundreds of hours for the exam (I know because I kept track!) and my efforts finally came to fruition with a score that was above every school’s average except Stanford’s.
Visits and Interviews
David encouraged me to visit all the schools I was applying to ahead of time (before interviews), something I'll admit was a big expense but something that definitely moved the needle for me. It helped me speak with authority about why that school was the right fit for me. David also prepped me for interviews (I interviewed at all 4 schools I applied to) via skype, and we got my responses to where I was confident to field any question, but not at all canned or scripted. It helped. David has executive experience in the tech world, and been on both sides of the interview table a LOT.
Outcomes
So back to my main point: I was somewhat of a longshot at the schools I applied to- I have some obvious holes in my candidacy that would make it easy for an admissions director to throw me in the ding pile without second thought. But with David and Menlo Coaching I was able to do each little thing right- the visits, the essays, the GMAT, the interviews- and while individually those things may not have moved the needle enough, together [I believe] they turned the tide. I applied to four schools, interviewed at all four, and was accepted to 2 out 4 of those schools- one top-12 program and one top-10 program. This fall I will be attending a top-10 school that was absolutely a reach for me and is my dream. I'm amazed and proud of what David and I were able to accomplish with a shit ton of hard work and competent execution. I'm convinced that I gave it my best shot and got into a first-rate school that's a terrific fit for me. I left everything out on the battlefield and at the same time I had a lot of help from David. Don’t ever count yourself out if you’re an ugly duckling.
Other Thoughts
Yes, the cost of services was not insignificant, but it also wasn’t far off from the average of what other consultancies charge. But I’m in this thing for the long haul, and it’s really just a drop in the bucket compared to what I will gain, pecuniary and otherwise. David was very generous with his time, and the services ended up being cheaper than what I had projected.
I'd recommend contacting David or Alice ASAP (at least 5-7 months before deadlines) to land a coveted spot on their client list. My journey began about 12 months ago, when I was in your shoes, reading this same thread from 2017. Good luck, and reach out to Menlo Coaching.
Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season   [#permalink] 04 Jan 2018, 08:47
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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season

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