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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2019 intake Season

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New post 08 Apr 2019, 17:37
Review for Stacy Blackman Consulting.

I talked to other admission consultants and I had a feeling it was about the money in the end. I had a different feeling when I talked to Esther Magna. She listened carefully to my needs, talked to the consultant, and gave me the response based on what they can do for me.

I had an amazing experience working with Margaret Strother. My deadline was 6 days away because I spent weeks trying to overcome anxiety and start writing my essays. She provided step-by-step instructions and made the process very easy. She went beyond to help me meet the deadline, prioritizing my emails to decrease response time and responding within hour even when she was off desk.
As I could afford only 5 hours of consulting, she was kind enough to help me with 2 SOPs for Master of Science program, and also gave recommendations to improve my CV. As a result, I completed two 500 word SOPs in 5 days when I spent weeks forcing myself to write something.

She also gave detailed feedback and further suggestions to improve my essays that already looked good. Her guidance helped to make this process as smooth as possible.

Working with Margaret was a pleasure – it was a genuine desire to help me as a fellow human being. Overall, it was a fantastic experience, and I am very happy that I had a chance to work with SBC.

Thank you, SBC team!
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Concentration: General Management, Human Resources
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New post 08 Apr 2019, 17:38
Review for Experts' Global.

Well it was one fine day after two years of giving CAT, scoring 97 and 98 percentile respectively, and still not getting any interview calls I realized that it does not seem possible to do an MBA from India.

By that time I had three years of work ex and I was like –now I can target universities outside for MBA (though I really didn’t have an idea why I was doing that). So I started calling all agencies who were in this business and that’s when I met Experts’ Global. Off the bat they were very professional in their approach.

So I spoke with them and they understood my profile, questioned me on why I want to pursue MBA and what options I would like to choose and finally gave me the green light to come aboard. I paid up for both GMAT prep and Application package, however even before I could start I got a ringer from XLRI that I was waitlisted for an MBA in HR. I discussed my case with them and they told me “Fair enough! You have a legitimate case and if you get admit in XLRI we will return the money”. This was the moment, THE MOMENT that I realized that I have made a good decision by choosing Experts’ Global.

Eventually I didn’t make it to XL and started off with GMAT prep and then Applications Process.

For Admissions Consulting, I had various round of discussion with my Mentor and all the discussions matured my understanding and allowed me to deeply introspect and identify the reasons for doing and MBA, what I stand to gain from MBA education and what career course I must choose. I filled my profiling questionnaire (it’s a 32-35 question long questionnaire that will make you deeply introspect your reasons for doing an MBA, draw out leadership stories etc and will serve as a base for your essays) and shared with my Mentor. One good thing about the whole mentoring process was that they never spoon fed me what I should write in my essays to get in a B-School. My profile is aligned well for a general management / operations role however I wanted to transition to HR. They could have easily told me that if I projected my profile a certain way I would easily be able to crack in a B School but they didn’t. Through the questionnaire and discussions they allowed me to realize and understand what my strengths are and how can I justify the choices that I am planning to make for myself. In the end I did create a compelling argument about why I want to do MBA in HR.

My schools were selected keeping in mind my profile, the choice of career option and that I wanted to target scholarship friendly schools. The risk was spread between 3 Dream, 7 Realistic and 2 Safety schools. Next comes the interviews – I ended up giving around 5 mocks with different trainers and received extensive feedback before I even sat down for my first interview.

THE RESULT

ADMITS WITH FULL SCHOLARSHIP – Wisconsin Madison, Purdue Krannert, Boston University

Admits with Partial Scholarship – Washington Olin, Rotman

Admits with No Scholarships –Marshall and ISB

Interviewed but turned the college down because decision was already made – Carroll, Foster, Emory

Rejected – Vanderbilt Owen, Pittsburg Katz

In the end I just want to tell you this – there is a difference between consulting someone to get in a B-School and mentoring someone through the entire process so that they gain that maturity, intellect and understanding. I believe I have established a relationship with Experts’ Global that goes well beyond giving tips of getting in B-School. Anyone can do that. But to grow someone so that they learn to find a path for themselves – that is what Experts Global is all about.
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New post 10 Apr 2019, 08:02
Review for Avanti Prep.

I first got in contact with Greg via one of the profile review threads on GMATclub, he offered a quick and helpful review with details on how I could contact him for a free consultation session. I took him up on his offer and in the consultation we ran through my profile, motivations and work experience in more details. (profile below)

__________________________________________

Profile:

Background and nationality
English, based in UK - recently turned 30

Undergrad Information
BSc Economics - University of Bath - Second Class Honors First Division (roughly converts to 3.4 GPA I think)

GMAT: 740 (Q49, V41, IR 8, AWA 6.0)

Work experience and leadership:
(I have removed organisation names for sake of anonymity, but they are all internationally recognised)

Associate at Segregated Hedge Fund within top tier Investment Bank/Asset Manager (London, UK), 2 years

Analyst at Middle Office in top tier Investment Bank X (London, UK), 3yrs

Contractor at top tier Investment Bank Y (London, UK), 1yr - this was only ever a short term role while I was looking for good permanent opportunities

Full-time Internship (post-university) at top tier Investment Bank Z (New York, USA), 1yr

Full-time Internship (third year of degree was year long industry placement before returning for final year) at top tier Investment Bank W (London, UK), 1yr

Community and others:
Amateur soccer player, fitness training, tennis, skiing, athletics, and stock market investing.
____________________________________

I had already sent off a couple of applications and had the deadline to UT McCombs only a couple of days away. Greg gave me a few ideas on how to improve my initial application and let me know that he could help in more detail if I signed up for an additional last minute session.

I sent him copies of my admissions essays and he reviewed overnight before getting back to me the next day with a lot of great advice and how to really make my essays pop out. We ran through a few iterations (which definitely saw Greg run over the original hour I had paid for!) and the difference between my initial application and the final one was night and day.

Although our session was focused on the UT application, I was able to use the advice Greg had given me to build my final two applications around (UNC Kenan Flagler and UW Foster). I was very happy with the standard of my three applications after first working with Greg, and feel like they were much stronger than my first two applications.

At the end of my five round one initial applications I had the below results:

1. Stanford (pre-Greg) - no interview
2. Berkeley Haas (pre-Greg) - interview invite
3. UT McCombs (with Greg) - interview invite
4. UW Foster (with Greg) - interview invite
5. UNC Kenan-Flagler (with Greg) - interview invite

I scheduled another hour long session with Greg to run through interview practice. He had clearly done his research so that we could run through practice questions from each of the schools I was going to be interviewing with and I was able to go in to all my interviews feeling well prepared and ready to go.

I received admissions offers from all but Berkeley (I feel like the standard of my written application probably played a role in this rejection):

1. UT McCombs - Full scholarship
2. UNC Kenan-Flagler - Full scholarship
3. UW Foster - Large scholarship (but not full)

I chose to accept my McCombs offer and can't wait to start there!

Overall the things that stood out to me most working with Greg were:
- His enthusiasm throughout the whole process
- His work ethic and commitment to providing excellent service (especially for the rapid turnarounds I required given how late I decided to ask for his services)
- Ongoing email exchanges where Greg provided help and advice for free
- His detailed knowledge of every step of the application process
- Extremely detailed and insightful edits for my application essays (including really deconstructing and telling my story and proposed contributions to the program)
- Really drilling down in to my goals and optimising them for my applications (as well as my own future!)

Overall I really cannot recommend Greg and Avanti Prep highly enough, every step of working with him was an absolute pleasure, and he definitely took my applications to another level. I would recommend that anyone who has not made their mind up over whether to take up Greg's services definitely do so!
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Concentration: General Management, Human Resources
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New post 11 Apr 2019, 07:53
Review for Experts' Global.

Experts’ Global is the MBA admission consultant that provides the most complete consultancy. Not only do they cover every part of the admissions process, they also go much farther and help their students truly gain a mature, holistic understanding of the decision that they are about to make. In my case, that involved a lot of detailed conversations, over a long period of time, to help me determine if I should pursue an MBA, at all, or if I should focus on my entrepreneurial ventures. My mentors truly showed a lot of patience.

Another area where Experts’ Global has put in a lot of effort is their interview prep. Even before I had started getting interview calls, I had given interview, after interview to get ready for them. These mock interviews were specifically tailored to address my strengths and weaknesses. They even covered handling awkward moments in the interview. Here, the really in-depth profile analysis and career advice that Experts’ Global conducted with me was, once again, very useful. I have to say this here, one of the big reasons I cracked Wisconsin Madison with a scholarship and stipend was an HR exclusive interview I had with them a day before. The inputs worked wonders for me and I knew, as soon as my interview was done, that I have cracked it. I consulted with my Mentor before every interview to understand what focus area or strength the school has and tweak my answers accordingly.

With Experts’ Global training, I was able to give fantastic interviews at Carroll, Foster, Emory (declined before hearing result), Marshall, ISB (admitted with no scholarships), Washington Olin, Rotman (admitted with partial scholarship), Wisconsin Madison, Purdue Krannert, and Boston University (admitted with full scholarship).

Out of these, I eventually settled on Wisconsin Madison.
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New post 11 Apr 2019, 07:54
Review for Experts' Global.

I worked with Experts’ Global for my application to ISB, among a number of other schools, and let me tell you this, they really showed me that there is a lot more to B-school applications, than I realized. One can easily understand how to write a few essays that will present them favorably to an admissions committee but that is not all that the process is about. It is a chance to really understand your career, so far, and where to take it. In fact, this is necessary for a good, strong application.

This is where Experts’ Global really helped me. My mentors worked with me, tirelessly, to help me understand my own profile and determine where and when to apply, for the best shot at the application. In fact, they even helped me understand if pursuing an MBA was the right choice for me or not. This level of discussion is very much out of scope for most consulting firms but Experts’ Global goes not just an extra mile but an extra ten miles.

They have a very keen understanding of the nuances of various MBA programs, all over the world. Of course, since ISB is very popular among Indian MBA aspirants, they are particularly familiar with it. Experts’ Global understood the exact factors that the ISB admission committee would look for and helped me understand how to present my profile to them. They did this by using their thorough understanding of my profile to pick out certain strong themes that could be used to build “a story” to be conveyed, through my essays. The purpose of building this story was to make my essays more personal and to give the committee a stronger feel of who I was, as a candidate.

The “story” was also a big help, in my interviews, which Experts’ Global also provided me with a lot of training on. They have a really well thought out interview prep that involves a lot of mock interviews, all of which were tailored to fit my strengths and weaknesses and the viewpoints of the schools. This was especially true for ISB, as they place a lot of emphasis on the interviews. My mentor determined my strengths and weaknesses and then having me fill out an extensive questionnaire that included the most frequently asked interview questions.

The overall attitude of Experts’ Global is very refreshing, when compared to the rest of the MBA admissions field. I doubt that most other firms would have invested so much time and effort into helping me understand my profile and my way forward.

Thanks to Experts’ Global, I secured admission to ISB, Marshall, Olin, Rotman, Wisconsin Madison, Purdue, and Boston University. I eventually chose to attend Wisconsin, for a variety of reasons, in addition to the full scholarship that they offered me.
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New post 11 Apr 2019, 08:03
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Review for Accepted.

With the help from Esmeralda and Accepted, I got accepted by my top preferred MBA school. Other than this offer, I also received 6 other offers from top 10 to top 25 schools - some schools offer me full scholarship, 40% scholarship, and 60% scholarship.

In the beginning, I was under a time stress because I didn't start the service and applications work until late Dec, 2018, and I was trying to submit everything in Jan around to 9 schools. Eventually, I decided to work with Esmeralda on only 4 schools. Esmeralda knows her stuff and knows how to approach the essay writing, resume, and applications in a strategic way. She also provided me suggestions in terms of how to network with school and present myself better during in-person meeting with school's staff. I totally relied on her strategy and decisions. I never doubted her comments, and I received her full support and feedback in a very timely manner.

Esmeralda cares the candidates and spends time to know the candidates' background well. She never oversold me anything. We decided on the service package together based on my interest and financial positions.

From my experiences of working with her and the results I got, I have to say that my decision to work with Esmeralda and Accepted on my MBA applications is one of the best decisions I made in my life so far. I highly recommend Esmeralda and Accepted to you if you are seeking help on MBA applications.
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New post 17 Apr 2019, 06:23
Review for ApplicantLab.

Short on funds, a negative outlook from traditional consultants for your dream schools, consultants talking in a language you think is nonsense - if any one factor out of these resonates with you, read on!

I got to know about ApplicantLab through a GMATClub scheduled webinar Maria was giving wherein she talked about how and what of the MBA preparation. The moment I started listening to her, the candid nature of her advice made a difference to me. I thought I cannot afford this, coming from India and this being a running experiment (I only had one chance at this before everyone got me married, right? ) I was just half-listening like I had to put my attendance to the session. My ears got perked up only when I heard there is some trial coupon being shared. This made it safe, right? I wouldn't need to burn two months worth of rent to sample it. I noted the coupon, tried it for a few days and I was only till the career goals part but I loved it. There was guidance for each application+interview only for this much amount and if I went even to Indian consultants, I will easily be burning 5x of this price. The price made sense, as did the reviews on GMATClub which I read only post this stage. None of the few people around me had heard of this buzz, so it was my leap to take. And leap, I did.

I was worried that I might also need a real person for a sanity check and I couldn't afford to buy there time again (International!), so I did get a one application package from a traditional consultant. Wise decision? Yes! The glaring difference between their pieces of advice made me see my application myself from the point of view of the adcom at times. The insight Maria guides you through maks you understand the entire process as if you were driving it. Since it's no longer a magic black box of '10 ways to talk impressively', it helps.

School selection: She really doesn't give you a cooked advice. Find people, do your research, find syncs and know for yourself where you can go and where you want to go. A traditional consultant might restrict you here, based on their experiences even if they have their hearts at the right place.

Basic skeleton: The first few sections which make you start talking about your real story, your future story and the gaps in your story and how to fill them - helps. A big deal. You cannot start putting a face to something which is hollow right?

Application advice: Break each question word-by-word, go for school's values and link everything together. The questions that Maria breaks each essay topic into is so comprehensive that it's sufficient to check and cross-check if you have answered it completely. They are also pretty exhaustive so you could pass them on to a friend for proof-read.

Interview prep: A lot many people take interview advice from Maria which must have its own perks. But if you choose not to, the interview advice in the Lab is pretty exhaustive as well! I went through the advice and then a few mocks with friends and seniors. That served me well.

The only part I think could be included is some samples for applicants to understand what successful applications look like. I saved each and every screenshot Maria shared, however concise and there is a floating idea that you shouldn't see other people's work lest you get narrow in your approach. But I really felt more confident when I read those samples and it helped me curate better stories because talking about my life is something I haven't done ever and a lot many cultures tend to belittle their life story and a lot many tend to glorify.

To sum up, if you are thinking whether to go for Lab and will it be a personal enough advice, go for it. The advice doesn't need to be personal. It's the same for everyone. The journey for self-exploration is one's own and that's what you'll make individually through Lab.
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My Admissions Consultant Review   [#permalink] 17 Apr 2019, 06:23

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