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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2019 intake Season

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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2019 intake Season  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Dec 2018, 01:49
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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 into their desired schools this year. It's time to start a thread for members to share reviews/opinions of their admission consultants.

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    1. Search for existing discussions before asking; your 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?


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    2. Please be constructive whether you praise or you criticize and build your case - this will help others make better decisions and do 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

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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2019 intake Season  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Dec 2018, 04:06

Menlo Coaching



Rating: Amazing! Would work with them again.

Tl;dr;
a) Brings structure to an unstructured process
b) Great work ethic. Usually, got responses to questions within an hour or two (unless it’s like super late for them) and usually responds to all of your essays within 8 hour. The time difference (I live in the US, David in the Netherlands) really worked to my advantage as I got input on my essays at least twice a day – once before I woke up and once before evening.
c) Gives solid advice and is always there to listen to your ideas and concerns.
d) No room for complacency. Will not sign off on any essay/topic until the final product lives up to his expectations.
e) Nice people

Longer Version
A little about me: I am in the dreaded {Indian, Male, IT} genre and was the founding member of the 2015 Zero Admit club (that’s a nice way of saying that I didn’t get any admits in 2015). I work for one of the Big Five Tech firms and as you can see on my profile, have a 760 GMAT. Anyway, enough about me…

The Process
Once you decide to engage with Menlo Coaching, you will be paired with one of the coaches depending on the industry you work in (and probably other factors). I worked, primarily, with David so this review is mostly going to be about him.
To get started, you will be sent a detailed work schedule. The whole process is divided into 15 modules, each module taking care of one aspect of the application. This works well because you know once you are done with a module, you are pretty much done with that topic/essay(s). He also gave us the timeline of when these modules would be released in advance so we can plan accordingly.
Each module in itself would consist of a few videos of David or Alice talking about what needs to be done and what is a good way to get it done and in some cases a few gotchas you need to be aware of. Also, included in a module are an assignment or a set of assignments that would get you started on the relevant work. Once you are finished with a draft, you submit it… David reviews it and sends it back to you with edits and comments and rinse and repeat.
We went 21 rounds on my Resume before he was finally satisfied with the result. Some of the later topics took less to and fro as I got more used to writing but he never let me submit a less than perfect essay even if I were satisfied with it.
Sometime in the second month of the schedule, David set up a 2-hour call with me and we basically talked about my whole life story including about how different interactions with my parents and grandparents influenced some of my choices. David took notes throughout the call and sent me a few observations after the call. Fun fact: My mom was impressed with how insightful those were! ?
Anyway, this whole thing comes in handy when you are writing your personal essays about what you are doing with your life and how some random thing that happened in 5th grade affected your choices later on.

The thing that most impressed about this whole process is how committed David is to your success. I applied to seven schools so I am sure it was by no means easy to maintain such high turnover with such low latency.
I used to write up 2-4 drafts in the morning and sent it to him by 6 AM my time. He used to respond with his edits and comments by about 1 PM my time. I, then, worked on those edits in the evening after work and sent him a second version by 9 PM my time and voila by 4:30 AM the next day, I received the V3 version. This went on the whole of June, July, and August with the result that I was mostly done with my essays before September rolled in. I had a relatively stress-free September.

Along the way, we had group calls with other fellow applicants so we could learn from each other. We also had guest speakers in the form of current students at Harvard, and Booth. He also arranged for a public speaking coach to work with us so we can appear confident during the interviews and the video essays.
Once you are done submitting the applications, he will work with you to prepare you for your interviews. I had a quite a few mock sessions set up with him and also with another member on his team – Rebecca – and that really helped me prepare for my interviews.
I strongly believe that a decision should only be judged based on the effort you put in. And in that, I can be confident in saying that working with Menlo Coaching was the best thing I did with my applications. It was a lot of money but I have no regrets whatsoever. Even now, he’s helping me negotiate the waitlist at Wharton, getting funding from LBS and with Pre-MBA internships.
If you insist on results, I interviewed at four of the seven schools (H/S were two of the three where I didn’t get an interview), and I have been waitlisted at Wharton and accepted at LBS.
All in all, if I had to re-do the whole thing, I would for sure work with David again.

Feel free to ping me for more details. Happy to help in any way I can.
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"Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2019 intake Season  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 08 Jan 2019, 00:09
My review for Experts' Global.

Based on my experience, I really have to commend Experts’ Global, who, in my view, are the best for GMAT preparation as well as admission consulting and charge very nominal fee (less than half compared to the other, similar, world-class companies). To begin with, their GMAT online program got me a 99th percentile (I will talk in detail about that in a different post). Then their application approach got me into my dream school, ISB. I also managed to secure admits into some of the US Top 25, with considerable scholarships to boot!

Here some of the main points I would like to emphasize about my experience of working with Experts’ Global.

Their organized and nonsense-free approach
A critical element of Experts’ Global’s success is how well thought out and clear their approach is. The very first day after I enrolled with them, Experts’ Global gave me a planner that broke my admissions process into 20+ simple goals. To their credit, the team stuck to all of their deadlines just as well as I stuck to mine. Thanks to this, all of the steps were completed, well before the deadlines. My team was always on top of things, so I never had to field repetitive phone calls. They were able to get everything done in one go.

Great theme building
Experts' Global has an admissions team that is absolutely stellar at theme building. They are quite capable of putting together a story that will cover your past, present, and all of your plans for the future. They do so through an organized process that begins with a highly detailed questionnaire. They then pick out details, from the answers that you give,to build a strong narrative that brings together your history, current ambitions, and long-term goals. In my humble opinion, this might just be the most valuable of the services that Experts’ Global provides. An interesting narrative is what makes the difference between a profile that gets attention and one that the committee ends up overlooking.

Their ‘mentoring’ attitude
I found Experts’ Global’s admissions teams approaching the work not as consultants as such but rather as mentors. Personally, I greatly appreciated this attitude. After all, the entire reason that I decided to take up professional help was that I knew nothing about the admissions process and was hoping to find someone who would share their knowledge with me and mentor me.

They were always approachable
I definitely appreciated how approachable my team always was. They were always ready to take a call, in order to clear up any complex issue that I was facing. Their emails were always on time and perfectly clear. The key thing to remember here is that at Experts’ Global you do not work with just one person, you work with a whole team. These teams are all close knit and highly efficient.

Their excellent training resources
One of the things that I liked the best about Experts’ Global is that they are very well-informed when it comes to the admissions process. They are also sure to share all the relevant information, with their students. Months of self-research would not have produced such fine results. On the day of enrollment, they provided me a series of 20 videos that taught me everything that I needed to know, about the process- regarding managing timelines, essay writing, schools shortlisting, and everything. Similarly, later at the interview stage, they gave me a series of videos that formed an excellent resource for the interview preparation.


Experience of Interview Prep with Experts' Global


It was quite late that I learnt on GMAT Club that ISB has a 1:5 success rate in the interviews! Experts' Global, I must say, has a very rich offering for interview preparation.

Starting early
Knowing that ISB gives just a few days' notification for interviews, my process was started quite early. This really helped me prepare at ease, without any undue pressure.

A great video series for interview prep
I was given a video-series for first training myself on the interview preparation. The content was really rich but crisp. In a matter of few hours, I could attain a strong, broad approach for how I was going to face the interview. The tips around softer aspects- mannerisms, body language etc were particularly helpful.

A rich set of frequently asked questions
I was given a rich questionnaire to answer with my ideal responses, keeping my application essays in mind. I prepared answers to these questions and rehearsed in my own space, sometimes against a mirror. This really helped.

Mock interviews followed by feedback
I then underwent mocks with Experts' Global. The first mock was nervous and I was telling long stories. The strict but constructive feedback, together with the recommendation to watch the videos all over, was given. As a good mentee, I worked on the feedback and was happy to see a rich improvement in the second mock. The third mock was quite smooth and I was given a go-ahead by my interview mentor at Experts' Global.

I was told some specific questions that I was likely to be asked (being a bit late for MBA, not needing it at all for my projected career goals) and to my pleasure, when these questions were asked in the ISB interview, I was able to answer them confidently.

This combination of standard training (videos and preparation of answers to FAQs) together with the personalized training (in the mocks and suggestion of likely, askable questions) is a great approach for interview training.

Experts Global, you sure are experts in your field! Keep up the good work!

Originally posted by Earthandsky17 on 25 Dec 2018, 00:16.
Last edited by Narenn on 08 Jan 2019, 00:09, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2019 intake Season  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Dec 2018, 01:26
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I would recommend MBA crystal ball ( Gmatclub members: MBACrystalBall, MG4MBACrystalBall ) for their honesty and straightforward approach towards b school application. I worked with them this year for European and Indian B schools , and landed up with admits from HEC paris and IIM A. I didn't apply to any of the US/UK b-school as the visa situation is pretty tricky nowadays and I had already worked in US for some years.
Moreover, I received interview calls from 4 out of 5 IIMs. If you are an Indian, then would highly recommend them since Indians are over represented in every B school application process. Hence you need someone who can understand your story from an Indian perspective and can help you stand out among the competition.

Below is the experience with them.

I reached out to MCB, after getting good feedback about them from friends. With my work experience reaching 11 years, I already had a limited number of schools, where I could apply; so I didn’t want to take any chances. I believe a good consultant can increase your chances manifold.

I reached out to MCB in early 2018, but since it would have been too early for 2019 intake, Manish Gupta (MG) from MBA Crystal Ball advised me to come back later, instead of signing up with them immediately. I was impressed by his honesty.

With some time left, I used an online tool ,for MBA candidates, for drafting essay for IMD. I got a ding from IMD post interview, but that process gave me an insight into the competition I was going to face at any top B school.

This experience made it quite evident that I needed some professional help if I had to make my application stand out and MCB was the obvious choice.

While choosing consultants, my advice would be to see if the consultant is selective in choosing the candidate. Additionally, If consultants tell you that they will ensure a Harvard admit based on 15 minutes of discussion, just run in the opposite direction.

Similarly, if someone promises you to write your essays, don’t work with them. The reason for such advice is that whatever you write in your essays is cross-checked during the interview. If you didn’t write those things, there are chances that you will be left looking for answers during the interviews and a possible ding at the end.

The thing with consultants is that some people only want them to mention nice sugar-coated stuff since they are paying the consultants.

Though it may help in improving the short-term ego, it is a loss in the overall B school application process.

I chose not to have sugar-coated comments and it made the essays stand out. The entire process is a learning experience. Your goals become clearer and you learn a lot about yourself since the real you must reflect in the essays.

I got interview calls from HEC Paris and 4 out of 5 IIMs. (IIM A, C, I, L). The reason I didn’t get the call from IIM B was probably due to my 10 plus years experience. This is what I heard from other candidates, in core industries / PSU, with 10 plus work ex as well.

After getting admits from HEC and IIMA PGPX, I chose not to attend any more interviews.

In the end, I chose IIM A over HEC Paris for the brand value and my long-term goal of settling down in India.
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2019 intake Season  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jan 2019, 21:42
Review for Sia Admissions.

The service that SIA has provided to me was simply top notch. From the first moment I got in touch to the final submission of my application I received amazing support coupled with personal touch.

Susan was always there for me when I had queries regarding my application. She always responded within a day with very detailed feedback. When I was working on my essays and application Susan asked the right questions that made me reflect on my past experiences and get the best stories for my essays.

I also received unlimited support from Susan and Sia. Not matter how small the query was, Susan was always willing to help and guide me through the process.

I cannot recommend Susan and Sia high enough. I don't regret purchasing this product from Sia. On the contrary, I can't believe anyone else would have provided me with better support. Sia has exceeded all my expectations.
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New post 01 Jan 2019, 21:44
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Review for ApplicantLab.

After coming off an unsuccessful application season, I wanted to make sure I utilized all avenues to not repeat my mistakes this time. After hearing some positive word-of-mouth, I signed up for Applicant Lab to see for myself. I used the Lab in addition to working with actual real-world consultants, and it turned out to be an immensely useful guiding tool through the application journey.

I must say that Applicant Lab was the most value-for-money item in my entire MBA application expense list. Maria's inputs and ideas often were the starting point for all my school essays. I did 8 applications in the entire season and utilized the Lab for all of them. Maria has a great understanding of the entire process and freely shares her knowledge through the Lab. Its almost like having a close friend who you can bank on in this stressful journey.

For the two additional questions posed by Booth after interview invite, the Applicant Lab team (hello Carin!) was quick to update the portal with their thoughts. Overall, I highly highly recommend this tool to everyone, even those working with consultants on full packages. The additional perspective, tips & guidance is worth much more than the cost.
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New post 01 Jan 2019, 21:44
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Review for August Academy.

Coming off an unsuccessful application season I decided to work with August Academy on 3 schools (1 reach T5 school, 2 competitive T10 schools). Karthik was very encouraging from the beginning and I really appreciated his systematic ways of working (using Asana to manage tasks, delegate, and follow-up). We revised the career narrative, spent a ton of time refining the resume and then moved to essays. The inputs provided by Karthik were very useful and he seemed deeply invested in my success. I succeeded in getting 2 interview calls from the T10 schools and eventually received 1 admit with scholarship and 1 waitlist which are great results given my profile.
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New post 07 Jan 2019, 21:47
Review for ApplicantLab.

To give you some context, I applied to a bunch of schools last year with the help of a traditional admissions consultant. I ended up with a total of 8 rejections (7 without interview, 1 after interview & waitlist). The bad part of my profile - Indian, male, 4.5 years of work experience. No great brand names or real feeder companies on my resume. Fairly mediocre grades for an Indian (6.6ish GPA). The good part - Slightly diverse work experience and background, lots of ECs and community involvement.

After I was rejected last year, I contacted Maria and offered to pay her for a "ding analysis." I had already bought the tool, but figured a ding analysis would help me figure out what went wrong. Maria responded to my email and refused. She said that I should go through all the modules, and I'll be able to figure out exactly why I was dinged. She said that if I couldn't, I could get back in touch and pay her to get it, but she didn't believe I would need it if I finished the modules within the Lab. She was right. I not only figured out where my application fell flat last year, but also knew exactly what parts of my background to highlight this time around. The Lab has a section on how to address potential weaknesses (I obviously had a lot! :) ). Additionally, the career module of the Lab is pure gold. It really forces you to think through your story, how realistic your goals are and what you want out of business school. I'd say that my entire narrative going into applications this year was due to the career module on the Lab. Absolutely fantastic stuff.

The Resume section is pretty amazing. It had the characteristics of a "bad" resume, and my previous year's Resume seemed to fulfill all these characteristics. I ended up making my own Resume format based on the advice given here and it worked wonders for me. The school-specific and essay advice is incredibly detailed and useful. Maria really walks you through what the school/question is really looking for, what resources you should touch on and how to make your essay strong and genuine. Each essay question has a video of Maria walking you through all these details. The effort she's put in is fairly obvious, absolutely nothing is superficial.

I could probably go on and on about ApplicantLab, but the best way to see if its right for you is to sign up. It is a fraction of the cost of a traditional consultant. Buying it is a no-brainer if you want world-class admission help without the heavy price tag.

P.S - Just wanted to add that I got into Tuck and some other schools this year with ApplicantLab, but my traditional consultant last year told me not to even bother applying there. She felt that I did not stand a chance at all at Tuck and actually refused to work with me on that application. This should tell you enough.
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2019 intake Season  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2019, 00:30
For Menlo Coaching

Summary: 10/10 - You won't find anyone else who brings humanity into this process and has your best interests at heart at all times.

I worked with both David and Alice and I was blown away by their level of engagement with my application. What really sets them apart is that they're not willing to shy away from giving you the hard truth - and sometimes telling you that maybe an MBA isn't the best thing for you or that your selection of schools doesn't really match your long-term interests.

Early Engagement
I worked with David through Menlo's Early Birds Program where you work with other MBA aspirants to get a head start on the MBA application process and get an opportunity to shore up any weaknesses in your profile before it's too late. Working with other applicants brought together sharing of best practices and increased accountability to move ahead in the process. What really surprised me about working with David is the lengths to which he went to ensure that I was in it for the right reasons. David and Alice understand that the MBA is a massive investment (in time and money) and try to ensure that you know this and that this makes sense in the context of your life/career. David was patient, always replied to my rambling and anxious emails and brought a sense of calm and order to this process. We chatted multiple times through Skype/phone/emails to ensure that I had a "Decision Tree" that would inform my MBA strategy based on how other factors in my life shaped up.

David was encouraging when I needed it and firm when I was straddling - like when I kept postponing my GMAT and hadn't taken a single official test yet.

Application Strategy
I worked with Alice for the rest of my application. Her philosophy for the essay was that it is something that needs to reflect my life story and something that I should be proud of decades from now - not something I'm whipping up just for the application. Alice not only holds that high a bar for you but also for herself. We chatted about my story over several hour long calls. Alice patiently listened, probed where appropriate, offered me her perspective on some of the challenges I've faced, and teased out key themes from my life. It felt less like brainstorming for essays and more like a mix of life coaching and someone interviewing me for a long-form article in the New Yorker about my narrative arc.

I'd always considered myself fairly savvy about this process as I'd read up a decent amount and talked to enough people to understand how things "really worked". Working with Alice and David was humbling because you learn how much more there is to this process from what is shared online. Alice and David are incredibly savvy, keep abreast of changing dynamics, and give you practical advice to help make your application the best it can be.

When some family tragedy struck and I put GMAT and applications to the side, David and Alice were there with a sympathetic ear and encouragement when I wanted it and with tough love when I needed it. Both of them could shift to a career in motivational speaking and wouldn't be out of place!

Setting you up to succeed
When you work with Menlo, you're not just working with David and Alice - you're also working with professional editors and communication coaches to take your essays and interviews to the next level. When there was a wide gulf between my GMAT practice tests and my actual performance, they referred me to a GMAT tutor who was incredible to work with and helped me get over mental blocks while I took the test.

True to the meaning of coach, Menlo will ensure that you are sharing your story in the best way you can and will teach you skills that you can take away and apply to other aspects of your career instead of just telling you what to do.

In addition to helping you with the applications, Menlo also set up lots of events with industry professionals and current students to make sure you're prepared to succeed at business school once you get there!

P.S. It is incredibly competitive to get a slot with David and Alice, so I highly recommend reaching out to them early!
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Re: "Best" Admissions Consulting Companies - 2019 intake Season &nbs [#permalink] 20 Jan 2019, 00:30
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