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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season

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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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See REAL & VERIFIED Reviews, by GMAT Club Members:
Reviews submitted to GMAT Club's Review Section require GMAT test report and/or school email addresses for validation. This is the highest review validation in the industry to ensure you're seeing credible information. The posts on the forum below don't require any validation; so we encourage you to view the GMAT Club's Review Section.

Best Admissions Consulting Companies


IMPORTANT: We will only allow reviews posted in this thread 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 don't meet the 30 post minimum, but had a great experience with your admissions consultants, post it in the Verified Reviews Area instead.


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

Suggestions for your posts:


    1. Search for existing discussions before asking; you questions may have been answered a few times already
    2. If you are posting a review/feedback, please post it in the format of (pros/cons/bottom line) or something along those lines
    3. If you have used a consultant, please answer these 2 questions:
    • What elements should one consider when selecting and Admissions Consultant
    • What worked for you and what did not?
    4. Consider submitting a verified review of your experience. You can earn a $10 giftcard for your time.


Rules:


    1. Please do not rant!
    2. Please be constructive whether you praise or you criticize and build your case - this will help others make better decisions and do a better research
    3. Please put your rating on the performance of the consultant (out of 5)
    4. Please indicate if you have actually used a consultant for your applications or you have only gone through an initial consultation or if you have had no contact at all

We welcome any feedback from the members including constructive criticism/suggestions for improvement as well as positive comments. Take both positive and negative comments with a grain of salt.

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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 (personal MBA Coach). 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
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 **** 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.
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Feb 2018, 06:36

6 for 6 in the Top 10!



I highly recommend working with Menlo Coaching.



Initial Conversations
I first reached out to Menlo Coaching two years ago. They were completely booked at the time (definitely reach out to them early if you are interested).

Last year, I remembered to reach out early. I had talked to a few other consultants before I reached out to Menlo Coaching. But after talking to them, I knew I wanted to work with Menlo Coaching because they sounded like they genuinely wanted to get to know me and my story. They were extremely knowledgeable about the admissions process, and I liked knowing who I would get to work directly with. I spoke to Alice, and she was very honest with me. She told me I would need an even higher GMAT score for the school that I was targeting. I liked how she believed that I could achieve a higher score (when I didn't even believe in myself). With her encouragement, I studied hard, re-took the exam and achieved my dream score.

School Selection and Applications
I told Alice my new score, and immediately she made really good suggestions on which schools I should apply to based on my interests. Looking back, her recommendations were spot on. I insisted on adding a few additional schools to the list so the number of schools increased from four to six. In the span of two months, I wrote essays for all six schools. It was hard to stay focused, but they kept me on track. Alice provided excellent guidance throughout each stage of the writing process. She read and commented on every single draft I wrote and sent to her. Her response time was always very fast (for both essays and general questions). David helped me revise my resume. He really took the time to understand my role and provided excellent suggestions. I felt really confident about all of my essays, my resume and my overall application at the end.

Interviews
I was invited to interview at all six schools. I did two mock interviews. Menlo Coaching even mailed me flashcards to practice with. They provided great advice on how to tell my story and gave suggestions on how to handle the more tricky behavioral questions. I also participated in a mock TBD. I was very nervous about it, but Alice was very encouraging and made some very helpful observations about my performance. I was a lot less nervous after that. Participating in the mock helped boost my confidence, and I definitely recommend it.

Results
In the end, I was accepted to all six schools! All of these schools are ranked within the top 10. Additionally, I received partial scholarships from almost all of the schools, and some of the scholarships were a lot more than I expected. (I was pleasantly shocked.)

Even after I got in, Alice continued to provide really helpful advice. I can tell that they genuinely care about me, and I am so happy and grateful I got the opportunity to work with them. In conclusion, if you are serious about applying, definitely reach out to Menlo Coaching. They are completely worth the investment, and I cannot recommend them enough.
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Feb 2018, 21:35

Review for: Stacy Blackman



MBA is a stepping-stone towards my ultimate career goal – I knew this for a while and like hundreds and thousands of other MBA aspirants, I wanted to get into one of those coveted top B-schools as well. Due to its strong focus on both Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprises, I, upon completion of the school research process, knew that Oxford Said Business School will be the most suitable to complete my MBA from. However, coming from an overly represented group of aspirants, I did not really know how to stand out from the rest and get into my dream school.

After talking to a few of my friends who just completed their MBA, I realized an Admission Consultant could really help me to get in. I started talking to various consultancies out there and I do not have any qualms in saying that Esther from Stacy Blackman was someone who seemed to be truly helpful. By going through my profile, she was quickly able to discover consultants who could help me. I also remember how Esther sent me links to Said school essay discussions right after knowing my preference. This was before I even signed up and I was truly surprised to see her level of involvement. Esther introduced me to Susan Roth, whom I worked with for preparing the essays. Just so that everyone knows, I bought the comprehensive package from Stacy Blackman Consulting.

Susan knows what she is doing and her help throughout the process not only got me in to Said, but she made me understand how to present myself in a better manner. I cannot think of a single instance where she took more than 24 hours to get back to me with the suggested edits of my initial drafts. Those replies always followed up with additional video calls to explain the mistakes I made or suggest changes with reasons. I remember that once she did a video session with me to explain certain edits while she was at the airport. She truly cared about my success and that reflected in her overall behavior as well. The story was mine, but it was presented certainly in a far better manner than I ever could and that credit goes to Susan. The other thing that I liked a lot about Susan is that she is brutally honest. She was very clear with me about the weaknesses in my profile, but off course, she helped me to shine through the application essays by highlighting my strengths anyway.

As we all know, application process to the top business schools is a tedious process with all those numerous edits and sleepless nights. Susan kept encouraging me and though I sometimes missed my deadlines to deliver her first drafts or edited versions, she never missed one. Her help extended beyond what is included in the package to be honest. She helped me select some backup schools and assisted me with navigating through an employment offer that I received during the process and suggested me that how I should communicate that to the school.

From my personal experience, I can definitely say that Susan invests time and energy into the students and she loves to see them succeed. I can never forget how she kept cheering me up at times of despair and how happy she was when I conveyed the message that I got into Said.

There is not a thing that I will change about Susan and I enjoyed every single moment when I worked with her. I highly recommend her to aspirant MBA students who are in the lookout for an MBA Admissions Consultant.

I will like to conclude by saying that overall, Stacy Blackman follows a very structured approach to help out the students and one should certainly leverage on all the guides and suggestion available – they are really informative. I should also mention that the flight test feature is something that can prove to be extremely beneficial to applicants applying to the top schools. First, it is always better to get your essays checked by two pairs of eyes than one and secondly, it is done by a former Admissions Officer who knows exactly how the applications are reviewed and analyzed (In my case, the flight test was conducted by Beth Tidmarsh). Incorporating flight test feedback into my essays with help of Susan is something that I truly believe to have helped me get ahead in the race to the offer of admission.
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Mar 2018, 16:30
Review for Stacy Blackman

I decided to use the services of SBC after having a not so good application season when I got rejected from all my top choices. I had previously worked with a different consultant and I felt cheated when a lot of current students reviewed my essays and gave me a long list of flaws in my essays.

That's why I decided to go full monty and work with the best in the business. I talked with some of the bestadmissions consultants, but it clicked with SBC and I went further ahead to work with SBC for a comprehensive service. I decided to apply to around 4-6 schools.

The initial call with Esther was pleasant and she, in fact, traced back our previous conversation dated back a couple of years. She listened to my professional goals and achievements and gave me excellent feedback on my last year's application. As I come from a country where the exchange rate vs USD is comparatively high, Esther gave me a generous discount and allowed me to sign up for 2 school contracts and keep on upgrading as per the need for the entire application season.

Esther paired me up with Sherry Holland and in our initial call, I liked Sherry's approach and honesty. She drew a clear picture for me and helped me understand the strategy for school selection. She did not try to convince me to go for schools which do not match my professional ambitions just for the sake of getting an admit.

I kicked off my application with Sherry and we quickly worked through my Resume. With Sherry's excellent advice, we exchanged more than 6-8 Resume drafts and I could see the difference between the quality of two version of my Resume. Sherry also prepped my referees and they, in fact, told me that Sherry guided them really well as it was a new experience for them as well.

The thing I like most about Sherry is that she is very professional and responds immediately. She always gave me a timeframe and always replied within that. Even when she was on holidays, she made sure that my essays are going on nicely. She always encouraged me to write as much as I could in initial drafts and in fact for one such school we brainstormed more than 6 stories for a 500-word essay. She would always listen patiently to my views and gave her important insights.

Because of Sherry's professionalism, I was able to complete my applications in strict timings, and in one instance I managed to prepare probably the longest application amongst all the schools (10 long essays), in a fortnight.

She gave me good interview tips and her waitlist guidance was excellent.

Sherry also helped me with my scholarship application as the school I am matriculating asks separate scholarship essays and they itself are time-consuming. Sherry helped me prepare the application for 3 different scholarships and I received a generous scholarship from my school.

She is a very kind and gentle person and talking to her always helped me get over with the pressure of all the applications. Working with her was a wonderful experience and I would recommend everyone to talk to her before embarking on their application season.

P.S. I would also like to thank and express my gratitude towards Bill Chionis, who was my Client Liasion. He took out time for me very close to the deadlines and gave some excellent tips on my final essays.
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New post 17 Mar 2018, 07:51
Review for August Academy

To all those still contemplating on the benefit of hiring a consultant, please hire one, even if you think you know what you are doing. For me, it was not until I wasted a cycle of admissions, did I realise I wasn’t doing enough. I then decided to hire August Academy to help with my admissions and it was the best decision ever. Especially given my background (Indian), I felt the need for an admission consultant even more – writing essays in a way eloquent enough and at the same time in a well-directed manner is a skill not many know.

I initially started off on my own and struggled to get any calls. I did get a call from a Canadian school, but largely due to my GMAT score and yet which dint convert. I did not realise the importance of essay writing at that point. I was then referred to August Academy by a GMAT club acquaintance. I contacted Karthik, who did a profile review and gave me some nice pointers on what works in my profile. I was a 31 year old at that time which is towards the higher end of the age range that US schools admit. However, we brainstormed to understand my profile at granular level. This later helped me in writing essays.

The entire process for large part takes place over “Asana” where Karthik creates tasks and I had to complete them within a deadline. Usually, he takes about 2 or 3 days to review the work, but for me he did give some leeway as I struggled with a few quick deadlines with schools. We had to submit the application for Stern within 10 days of submitting the app for Columbia. This was a herculean task and yet we could do it because we had it all planned out in “Asana”.

Karthik’s style of working is probably similar to other international consultants. Unlike the Indian admission consultants, he doesn’t write your essay, rather, he provides a direction. The language essentially would still be of the applicant. This is ethically and morally the right thing to do. For those who get essays written by others, a caveat for you guys – schools do check for language consistency and if it sounds like you may not have written the essays, they could reject your candidature even after getting an admit.

Where Karthik excels is his ability to pick the right story for the essay. I think I could navigate through some really difficult essays mainly because of his guidance. In the end it all bore fruit. I worked with him for 4 schools and I received interview calls for 3 of them. I got admit from two of them. He may come off as slightly on the expensive side, but be assured that the services you get would be of very high quality. 5 stars to him!
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New post 02 Apr 2018, 10:51
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Review for Avanti Prep.

I got an hourly preparation service for mock-up interview with Greg and found it very useful for my upcoming interview with HSB and GSB. The good things were:

1) very close to the real experience the type of questions Greg asked and similar pace to the real interview;
2) thorough feedback and detailed analysis of the performance with comments on both verbal and emotional performance, as well as specific wording and stylistic element;
3) willingness to spend the time to cover everything I had concern with.
I would mention Greg balance of friendliness and professionalism, which created perfect atmosphere for the mock-up interview.
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New post 04 Apr 2018, 07:56
Review for Experts Global.

I would say, my journey with Experts' has been a life changing one. I took their help right from my GMAT prep days to my admission at IIM B. I never even in my dreams thought of getting selected in India's one of the premium institute. And here I am today sitting in a class full of intellectuals from all parts of the country. It was not just about GMAT or applying to the schools. It's a notch beyond that. I felt a complete change in my personality, I am now a lot more confident. In short, I can say that Experts' not just prepared me to get through a B school, but prepared me for a life changing experience after that.

I had multiple failed attempts at GMAT, with scores ranging from 600-640 in 4 attempts. My mentor Mr. Mayank had tremendous faith in my capabilities and he went beyond his professional capabilities to help me. Every time I failed, he analyzed my performance very carefully. And, with all the feedback I got from him, I finally hit from 600 to 720 in my 5th attempt in that span of just 21 days..

My journey during application was even more interesting. I applied in 11 schools, out of which, I got shortlisted for interview in 8 schools including NUS, NBS, ISB and IIM A. I had interview after interview and then it started raining rejections from all directions. I again got a great support from the entire Experts' team and they were confident that I can still get through a very good school. They assured me that there is nothing that is lagging in my profile. It's just that sometimes schools have their reservations wrt the batch profile they want to keep. Just when the things seemed gloomy for me, I got an offer from IIM B. It was a feeling that I want to embrace for my entire life.

I just can't thank the Experts' team enough. I would strongly recommend Experts' to the aspiring MBA candidates.

Wish the Experts' team best of luck for their future endeavors.

Signing off
Anubhav Pateria
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New post 05 Apr 2018, 13:22
Review for myEssayReview.

I cannot say more/enough of good things Poonam did to my application process. She absolutely was the brilliant person to have by my side throughout the entire daunting application process as easy as it could possibly be! When I applied, I felt like I did my best and had an application that was significantly stronger/better than it would otherwise have been without Poonam.

In July 2017, I had free consultation with Poonam and intuitively understood that she was the right consultant who would take my challenge as personal and thus I decided to work with her. From that moment I started working with Poonam, and she was there to answer my questions and guide me through the process. I signed up for 3 essay package with MER (myEssayReview). I was so impressed with her thorough, precise, and valuable suggestions and recommendations and editing that I decided to continue working with her and requested her to upgrade me to 14 essays package for 6 other universities. Though she doesn’t have more than 6 essay package on her website, she created a customized 14 essays discounted package for me.

Poonam has an uncanny ability to feel like your friend while providing directions at the same time. Before I started the process, my biggest concern was my age (I was 38 years old at the time of matriculation) and was keen to get into business school this year. I was obviously under tremendous stress. Though I had signed up for essay package, not school package, I often asked her questions about my school choices and chances of admission that was not part of the package. But she always gave me an honest advice on the schools I had better chances at.
Throughout the brainstorming process, Poonam was easy to speak to and guided me to think about what I wanted the admissions committee to know about me and how I could make that into a great story. Additionally, I never felt like Poonam was “telling” me what I had to write about. Rather, Poonam helped me to see some critical gaps in my stories I was sharing with her, fill those gaps and craft those into thoughtful essays.

When I was writing my essays, Poonam’s feedback always pushed me to give that one extra detail that I believe showcased more about who I am and made me a stronger applicant. Poonam would ask questions like “Can you think of another 2 examples when you did X?” or “Don’t you think this would have been a perfect beginning for XXXX essay?” or “Tell me more about Y. Why did you do it? How?” Her comments were thoughtful but also encouraged me to be more self-aware about the candidate that I was presenting to the admissions committees.

Poonam, it was a great journey of knowledge that you have shared with me. I have learnt a tremendous amount of techniques starting from how to write different parts and types of the essays, how to outline, and how to draft different types of essays. I am deeply grateful for your assistance in many ways - from giving free advices regarding my school choices, editing my essays. You did ABSOLUTELY great and amazing job. You are truly a unique person with vast experience in MBA application process. I wish I could meet you earlier so that I could have had enough time for more thorough process of analyzing MBA programs. And thank you for being patient and listening to my concerns over my application to all my MBA programs. You definitely have met many people in your life and I would say that you are psychologist knowing what the candidate is all about. That’s why I trusted you and shared with you all my concerns.
I would say without hesitation that Poonam would make huge impact on my professional development in future. She has made my dream of getting my MBA degree from top business school realistic now. Results of her work speak for themselves.

Above all, Poonam was my biggest support throughout the process. I applied to nine schools (admitted to 1, waitlisted at 2) I did not sign up for interview prep service, but when I started to prepare for interviews, Poonam gave me honest, candid advice while encouraging me to think positively. Choosing Poonam was the right decision and best choice I have ever made in my application process – WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BRILLIANT LADY!
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New post 05 Apr 2018, 13:23
Review for myEssayReview.

Following Poonam’s suggestion, I also signed up for résumé package later. She also acceded to my request of creating customized package for LORS for various schools, and I am indeed grateful for her generosity. I worked with her on 9 schools - Cornell, Booth, Darden, UNC, McCombs, Kelley, Yale, Tuck, and Duke, and found her guidelines/suggestions extremely comprehensive and precise. Her feedback on content, structure, and flow was excellent. Often she edited my essays and reduced the word count and in my next draft, I would again increase it by 200 words, making her job harder. However, she never complained and again pruned it to the allowed word limit.

I would strongly recommend Poonam as one of the best Admission consultants.
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New post 07 Apr 2018, 08:53
Review for Square One Prep.

I’ve had a great experience working with SOP and managed to get a $60k scholarship at a top 20 school. Their resume service is impeccable: my consultant Kunal helped me articulate my work experience in a way that made my resume really stand out.

Kathryn really “gets” what’s needed to reveal a good application – I figured this out while discussing career goals, where she knew and could logically explain career goals that don’t make sense and ones that do. I believe this is very important in the admissions process.

The other great thing about SOP is that while they’re very structured in their approach and push you to stick to deadlines, they’re also a source of encouragement and support. Kunal took personal care to coach me into giving my best when my confidence levels weren’t high. I think this is a crucial, intangible element that helps with emotional preparedness during the process.
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New post 10 Apr 2018, 07:44
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Review for ApplicantLab.

I was not very confident about how would a tool help me write essays or get me into top business schools. I was like "Are you really serious? This is just a tool Man!".

I must admit today I laugh at myself when I think what I used to think about this tool. Since it was just for a few bucks, I thought let's go for it. I bought the tool and started working on it. I showed my last years Resume to a couple of people and everyone was like "Hey, did you really apply to Business schools with this resume?". I was highly embarrassed. Come on, I paid so much for this and now you are laughing at me on this resume?

Trust me: I got awestruck when I saw Maria's advice on how to build a resume for MBA school. At that time, I wanted to punch my consultant too badly. I mean how dare he made me make a resume that was the worst resume in the world. Maria has made a comparison on what a good resume is and how badly you can make your resume. And all the qualities of a bad resume were there in my old resume. It was a BS.

I worked on my resume again and followed the advice that was provided on the tool. I felt a bit confident that atleast I have made something better this year than what I did the previous year. This also made me realize that some of the "big" consultant companies are using their big names to get the business but are hiring low quality consultants to provide services.

I started working on other modules of ApplicantLab. Initial modules brainstorm you alot by asking you to think alot and answer alot many questions. I felt a bit less confident on how boring it was. But I realized its worth once I started writing my essays. I felt that whatever the questions were asking was already brainstormed by the tool in the initial stages. It got so easy to just pull the information/answers I already wrote and plug them in the essays to make a story. There are many sanity checks that ensure that you are adding the information that the essay is looking for. The best thing is you have very specific information for every school.

I even realized that my previous consultant was not even providing me any direction or ideas to write my essays. He was just asking me to remove this and add something better. But ApplicantLab has very well explained videos for every school. Maria has provided alot many ideas/examples for you to think and has provided right directions to help you get further ideas.

Feeling more confident now, I started working on my first essay and this way I ended up submitting 10 applications within 30 days.

It was Diwali night (A North Indian Festival) when I received my two interview invites within a span of 30 minutes. I got excited and opened the interview module of ApplicantLab and started preparing for interviews. My experience with interview module was again awesome. All the general and behavioral questions are very well explained and they guide you to generate many ideas to talk about. This went in my favor. I prepared well and started receiving interview calls from a couple of more schools in the mean time. My interviews went awesome.

I ended up spending less than what I spent last year and got admitted to 3 schools with huge $$$s.

It was 2 weeks after the interview of one the schools that I came to know I got admitted and that too with unexpectedly high scholarship.

I have added my detailed story here: stepping-into-my-10-years-long-dream-thank-you-applicantlab-262884.html

Happy learning!
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2018 Season  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2018, 17:28
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Review for Admissionado.

I applied to 7 Schools last year and didn't even receive an interview call from any. I used their service for one school and thought I would replicate the same advice for other 6 schools. I didn't know I was guided by the wrong person and hence I spoiled all my applications.

Initially I thought I got the best advice, and David was way better than anyone in the world. But I was proved wrong this year when I found that there were so many big loopholes in the advice provided to me.

One of the examples I could remember is David asked to me to create a resume with an objective line at the top. This is the BIGGEST mistake anyone can do in his/her resume. When I showed my last year resume to alot many people this year, everyone was laughing at me asking "Did you seriously apply to B Schools with this resume?". I now realize that it was full of tons of unnecessary information. So, did I pay such a large amount to make the worst resume?

Another example I could remember is "He asked me to add I want to take professor XX classes to get YY". This year I realized one should not do that unless one has really attended the classes from that professor. So, it was a weak point in my essays.

Since I was naive, I didn't know much about the application process. I used to ask alot many questions to David in order to make sure I was understanding well. I asked David to get on to Skype call rather than email chains so that we can get better understanding on how the things needs to be worked out. But after 2 or 3 Skype calls, they started asking me to pay additional $300 per hour for support. I believe if I am paying them such a big amount for one school help, I should get what all I need. There shouldn't be any limitations. But I was proved wrong and some how I had to restrict myself.

This year I applied to a couple of schools and I am holding a couple of admits with huge $$$ but again with hardly 15% of what I paid them for one school. And this 15% of the amount has been used for 10 school. Strange, right? But it worked.

I think all my hard earned money has been wasted! :(
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New post 17 Apr 2018, 17:29
Review for Stratus Admissions Counseling.

I didn't get into any of the programs I applied. I paid for the 3 school package. I worked with Santosh. Santosh, as most say in these reviews, responds very quickly. I may have benefited to some extent with the guidance Santosh and Harold provided but I felt it was not worth the money. I don't think they as a team put in the effort. Something they pointed out when I was applying for the second round and had to be changed - was somehow ok with the first school I applied. I got a response that schools are different. I understand that but whatever that was asked to be removed or changed was an answer to why MBA not 'why at your school'. I would write a more detailed review but it's disheartening to even get into the details. I think I would be feeling better today with the rejections had I not gone with Stratus. I don't like to give one star ratings but..
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New post 26 Apr 2018, 17:17
Review for mbaMission.

No matter where you are in the application process, Jessica Shklar will help you present the best and truest YOU to your dream business school.

Before using mbaMission, I applied to business schools on my own, thinking that I knew best how to present myself to admissions. After receiving only a single interview, I became worried. While I waited for a lone R1 decision, I reached out to several consulting services to see if they could help me on such short notice (R2 deadlines were fast approaching and I had not even started!). In a free one hour consultation, Jessica gave me so much great advice and really captured the essence of what I was trying to say in my application essays but in a more directed approach. Knowing that I was still waiting for a Rd1 decision, Jessica was never pushy about the services and told me she would help me on short notice as soon as I was ready.

After receiving a rejection, I called Jessica and she immediately developed a plan of action. She helped me hone in on schools to target. We had only 2 weeks to submit applications to six programs! In a whirlwind but incredibly efficient and effective afternoon conversation, Jessica helped me drill into the essays and my stories that would resonate with admissions at each school. In no way did she ever write my essays, but she helped me see the great stories that I didn't realize I had. This was especially important as a non-traditional applicant (age 33 at matriculation, worked at various blue collar jobs, military reservist). She truly will help you present the best YOU to your dream programs.

Over a busy 2 weeks, Jessica supported me and was always responsive. While I can write so many positive words about Jessica, how immensely helpful, insightful, and just plain great to talk to that she is, the results speak for themselves. My 6 applications led to 6 interviews and then 3 admits and 3 waitlists. Even with such a limited amount of time, she helped me put together my best possible applications. She is an amazing resource and a MUST for any aspiring MBA candidate!
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New post 30 Apr 2018, 18:04
Review for Stacy Blackman Consulting.

I was just another lost working professional hoping to make her way into an elite business school. As someone that attended undergrad and law school, I didn’t want to take on the extra cost of business school, unless it was one of the best. I did free consultations with other companies prior to choosing Stacy Blackman. The cost for a consultant wasn’t something I took lightly, and I wanted to make sure I was picking the best company for me. My consultations with other companies were very negative, judgmental or awkward. Additionally, I had to pick a specific person based on short profiles online. Overall, I was thinking I may just have to do this on my own.

However, when I first contacted Stacy Blackman, I was immediately impressed with their process. First, I completed a short questionnaire, which was sent to all consultants that had availability. Then those consultants that felt inspired or interested in my story would connect with me to do a free consultation. I like that the people I was talking with were really interested in me and believed in me. I felt that I couldn’t be successful if someone felt forced to work with me. I talked with a few consultants at Stacy Blackman, all of which were great. But my conversation with Caryn was very easy and made me feel immediately comfortable with her. She really touched on the weak and strong points of my application. As soon as I got off the phone, I knew I wanted Caryn as my consultant. She was friendly and helpful, but also honest and direct. Which is exactly what you need in this process.

Additionally, she helped me narrow down my list of schools. Originally, I was thinking of applying to 7 schools. It was hard for me to understand the full reach of a school that wasn’t located in my immediate area (San Francisco) and how well they would do in my desired function. All the career stats looked so great! Caryn helped me cut out schools that wouldn’t easily bring me back to the Bay Area, but also had strong marketing programs. She even recommended a school that wasn’t on my original list, but has turned out to be far and away the best option, Kellogg.

After hiring Stacy Blackman and being assigned to Caryn, the work really began. She helped me walk through my career goals, after MBA, and helped me narrow down my many ideas and industries into one concise theme that flowed throughout my application. The tools she provided me with in the beginning (career insight, templates for my recommenders, resume template and tips) were incredibly helpful to get a few easier things handled right away and my outlines and essays started. Writing essays for 5 schools within a month and a half is no easy feat. I was lucky enough to have a lull in work at the beginning of August, so I began pumping out outlines and essays pretty quickly. Caryn was always prompt to respond and send me feedback on my outlines/essays. Additionally, this is when the honest and direct part really becomes useful. Seeing where my essays started and where they ended up, it is clear that I wouldn’t have gotten into the schools I did without Caryn.

At the end of the process, I was accepted into 3 of my five schools and withdrew from one before the decision came out, as I knew I would attend Kellogg. I’m truly living a dream right now, and I know I wouldn’t have made it into Kellogg without Caryn’s help. I know the money isn’t the easiest thing to pay, however it was worth every penny to go to a great school that I love.

Choose Stacy Blackman and Caryn today!
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New post 01 May 2018, 21:10
I'm sharing my review of Stacy Blackman's Plan Ahead and All In packages, I had a good experience with them:

I was in an immense state of flux in early 2017 and took and impetuous decision to apply to B-school in July with zero prep. I had been working with Stacy Blackman Consulting/ SBC on the plan ahead package, but had done precious little to actually move my candidacy forward. All I had was a badly skewed GMAT score of 750 (Q47, V47) with my quant score at 65th percentile. My consultant was exceedingly patient with me but also encouraged me to apply in 2017 - she was pragmatic about the fact that I wasn't getting any younger (I will be nearly 30 at matriculation) and agreed to help me do 7 R1 applications at short notice. I finally took the GMAT on 20th August, 2017 and gave her only 2 weeks to look into my HBS materials and 2 weeks thereafter for GSB, Kellogg, Booth and Wharton. Then she held my hand through Tuck (again 2 weeks' notice) and then CBS.
My consultant was scrupulously professional and turned things around super fast, she worked through the labor day weekend to help me turn in my materials on time. She also helped me pare down and give direction to my rambling soliloquies which went on to become decent essays. She was vocally critical in a surprisingly nice and measured fashion when she didn't like what I had churned out. Also, writing the essays with her was great interview prep in itself, she made me introspect about my career, my aspirations and my personality and articulate these things such that I knew your mind so much better going into interviews. I am extremely grateful for the 2 admits I secured, without the guidance, the way things were, I would be cooling my heels in the zero admit club.
Also a word for the superlative materials made available by SBC and their staff and co-coordinators who are always co-operative and responsive, I never faced any administrative hassles. Thank you, SBC.
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New post 03 May 2018, 15:26
Review for Square One Prep.

I can't stress enough how much SOP not only made my MBA dreams a reality, but also really helped me discover so much more about me and what I want. I honestly don't think I would have been awarded an interview to all 7 schools I applied to and be matriculating, with scholarship, to my top choice without their aid. Kathryn was able to laser focus on who I was from the get go and Wonita was unbelievable beyond measure.

Let me preface by saying I had NO intention of hiring any consultant. I didn't even know that was a thing until I started trolling around GMAT club. When I learned that all companies would give you a free 30 minute consultation and that there were at least 10 companies to talk to, my cheap devious side saw "5 free hours of aid, and I could figure out the rest." After talking to a couple advisors at different companies, they drilled into my head that my GMAT score was too low for my overrepresented demographic. One even refused to speak with me when they saw my GMAT score and target school list. I was getting quite disheartened. Then I spoke with Kathryn. Our "free 30 minute consult" last well over an hour and she quickly broke down all the bs other advisors had put in my head. She was the only one I spoke to who I felt really understood me and how to use that to make me stand out.

I knew I had to find a way to hire them. In the end, the cost was nothing compared to bombing out. That was a risk I could not take. I signed onto a 1 school package (later added 2 more schools) and was matched with Wonita. I couldn't have been luckier. Wonita helped craft my story and helped me understand what I was really interested in. She was brilliant and became my biggest fan through the process. I was most excited to call her and give updates even before my own family haha. SOP was always available, always fast to turn drafts, and a great sounding board as I went through many bouts of doubt.

I could go on all day, but in the end I'm going to Fuqua this fall, my dream school. I don't think I would be without SOP. Couldn't be happier and more excited for my future.
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My Admissions Consultant Review  [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2018, 10:18
1
Review for Avanti Prep.

It has been amazing working with Greg from Avanti Prep. The quality of service I received and results that I ended up with were way above my expectations. I worked with Greg on an hourly basis for my resume, essays, and interview prep and received a full scholarship to a top ~40 U.S. program.

I am an Indian IT Male with low GPA and ~680 GMAT. Greg helped me bring out positives in my profile and highlight them in the best possible way. He was kind enough to offer me a free hour of service to finish the process for one essay we were working on. In the beginning, I had some issues with the payment, but Greg was kind enough to start working even while he awaited payment.

In the resume, each of my bullet points were made much more direct, concise, and result oriented. Greg edited each of the points and even asked me for more specific information so that we could include those in the resume. He also helped highlight elements of my personal experiences that I had overlooked but that others would find interesting. After 3 complete round of reviews, my resume was completely transformed and strong enough to be submitted to any bschool .

Though my essays were already in good shape, Greg helped me to structure the content and bring out the “school fit” aspect. Greg helped me add a lot of school-specific content about fit with the culture, location and academics. These are the things that I had overlooked in my essays.

I reached out to Greg for interview preparation just 4 days prior to my actual interview. Even with such short notice, Greg was kind enough to help me. He conducted two very thorough mock interview and feedback sessions. The questions very closely reflected what I was asked in the actual interview, and thus I felt fully prepared to give clear, confident, specific, and concise answers.

Greg gave great feedback and helped me to refine and structure each and every one of my responses. He discussed every single one of my responses to the mock questions and offered detailed advice on a question by question basis. I cannot imagine it being any more thorough.

After the second mock, I had gained my confidence and was ready for my actual interview. Greg helped me put my best foot forward to get the dream result I had always wanted. He was extremely kind, friendly, and full of positive energy. Though I had availed just 3 hrs of interview preparation, the actual session went way beyond 4 hours. He also helped with post-interview thank-you notes.

Greg was always available for any questions and concerns I had during the process, and he remained available for the some email questions even after our time was up. We got a lot of queries resolved via email and all his responses were very quick. His response time was always less than 4 hours.

These services helped me to get an admit from Questrom School of Business with a full tuition fee waiver for the MBA plus MSDi program. I am extremely grateful to Avanti Prep for the guidance throughout the application process and would recommend Greg to anyone looking for an admissions consultant. Without Greg’s help, I would have never got into a business school with such a huge scholarship.
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