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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, 02:49
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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.

Suggestions for your posts:


    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?


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 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 - 2019 intake Season  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Dec 2018, 05:06

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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New post Updated on: 08 Jan 2019, 01:09
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, 01:16.
Last edited by Narenn on 08 Jan 2019, 01:09, edited 4 times in total.
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New post 25 Dec 2018, 02:26
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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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New post 01 Jan 2019, 22:42
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, 22:44
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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, 22:44
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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, 22:47
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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New post 17 Jan 2019, 15:25
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Review for ApplicantLab.

Did you ever feel, ' He finally heard me. Things are falling into place.' This was exaclty my feeling when I heard from Darden's admission office that I'm being offered a place in the class of 2021. You'd expect me to think of my loved ones first after hearing that. Well, quite literally yes. I thought of Applicant Lab and Maria.
Applicant Lab is want I needed. I was an MBA aspirant who wanted a shift in industry using an MBA but had no idea about admissions process. After my GMAT, I started talking to different consultants and taking free profile evaluations. The funniest part was, I couldn't get a proper genuine evaluation from any one of them. Some of them tell me I should be applying to HBS and Stanford. When I tell them I myself donot believe that I could get into HBS they start selling their service. I was fed up with everyone. But suddenly I came across someone who for the first time gave me an honest review of my profile,didn't try to sell me her product and genuinely wanted to help me. Maria.

I came to know about Applicant lab from an e-gmat webminar. Thanks for Rajat and Payal. In my first interaction with Maria over e-mail. She clearly told me not what I want to hear but the actual scenario in admissions. She told me where I should go and not where I can go. There's a lot of difference. She only talked to me about my post-MBA goals and life ambitions and not where I want to study. She then told me how I should select my schools. I never thought I'd say this, but I started thinking, "Nah! I would choose Darden over Wharton" She recommended me no schools but taught me how I chose my schools perfectly.

This is exactly what's great about applicant lab. Applicant Lab makes you competent to say your story the best way possible. In my experience with applicant lab, forget about writing MBA essays. I learnt a lot about myself, my traits, my stories, my character, my strengths and my weaknesses. It was like a 2 month introspection into myself.
Applicant lab's process is the most streamlined I ever saw. It is as smooth as it can get and you'll never feel stressed. All the material in the lab is hand crafted specific to each school by Maria and it is amazing to see specific strategies for each essay question in each school. You'll get surprised by the amount of detail that's put into the material.

The best thing about Applicant lab is, you are doing everything. Today I have the satisfaction of writing my own essays and still getting admitted into one of the best schools. Applicant lab doesn't craft your essays. It makes you capable of writing the best essays. Applicant lab helps you choose which one of your stories to go with which essay. This will in turn make it easy for you in your interview, because you are going to be the same person on writing and in person.
Applicant Lab's greatest strengths are it's process and school specific material. I can assure you, you can never get so much information and guidance from anyone other than Maria.
For people like me, who couldn't afford a full time MBA admissions consultant for thousands of Dollars, Applicant lab is a boon. You may have to put in a little more effort than you would with a full time consultant. But for what you are saving economically and mentally, it's not even a tradeoff that you should think twice about before making.

I very strongly recommend Applicant Lab to everyone, especially those who are starting your application from scratch. Believe me, you'll never regret your decision. Applicant Lab and Maria are the best thing that happened to me in my MBA admission process.
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New post 20 Jan 2019, 01:30
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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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PythaGURUS Consulting Review: Cracked ISB  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Feb 2019, 05:24
Journey to B-School for me, had been short (relatively) but a very rigorous one nonetheless. It started off around March 2018, when I decided to appear for GMAT. After 3 months of preparation, I appeared for GMAT in June 2018. Fortunately, I ended up getting a score of 740 in the first attempt itself.
But then came the difficult part, Shortlisting B-Schools and researching about them. Application process in itself felt lot more tedious than preparing for GMAT. Soon, I realized I was out of my depth and I felt I need a mentor to guide me through the process.
So I started exploring consultants in India and having discussions with them. When talking to Jatin, What I felt very different from all other consultants was that:
1. He was very open about my strengths, realistic targets schools, etc in our very first discussion itself. This caught my attention since all other consultants I had talked to, till that point, were very reserve in suggesting me target schools unless I start working with them.
2. He was also very open about possible weaknesses in me or my profile. I liked this particularly because I felt I was approaching them particularly to help me tackle my weaknesses more than anything else. It felt reassuring.
3. He was not sugar-coating his opinions which was just opposite to every other conversation I had till that point with anybody else.
So, I finally decided to go ahead with Pythagurus. We levelled down on ISB. But due to too much pressure at work, I couldn’t start my application process till last week of August 2018. Due mid-September deadline for round 1, my hopes were diminishing as days were quickly passing by but Jatin was quite adamant on making it work for me. His constant inputs helped me become very clear about my goals. I became more aware of how I can use my strengths and experiences in my application. He was very prompt and straight forward in pointing out issues in my essays. His relentless push ensured high quality application. In fact, by the time I submitted my application, I felt very confident about my chances of getting an interview call.
The mock interviews with Jatin were very insightful and a unique experience in itself. I made me a lot more self-aware. He touched so many wide varieties of topics that after his mock interviews, the actual interview felt a bit like cake-walk to be honest. In fact, everything in the real interview felt like déjà vu.
Fast-forward to this date, I will be joining ISB CO 2020.

Jatin: Sorry for being late. You have been a source of constant motivation through-out this journey. It surely wouldn’t have been possible without your help. You have been a great mentor.
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New post 25 Feb 2019, 15:55
Review for mbaMission.

Coming off a zero admit season I was desperately seeking good advice and counsel for my reapplication season. As part of my search, I reviewed the list of consultants on mbaMission website and decided to set up a 30 min complimentary call with Melissa. I was intrigued by her experience leading the admissions committee at an actual business school, and wanted to get her thoughts on my candidacy and approach.
While I decided to go with an Indian consultant for a school package due to budgetary constraints, I didn't want to miss out on Melissa's expertise and decided to go for hourly services with her.

I loved Melissa's direct but positive & encouraging approach to my questions, and while initially I was apprehensive about how the whole "hourly" service will work, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of value I was able to derive from it. I used Melissa's expertise in fine-tuning my resume, reviewing essays for a couple of schools, getting answers to miscellaneous questions, and I finished it with a mock interview. For those who may be apprehensive about spending 4-5K to get such expert advice as a full package, I'd say the "hourly service" is a great way to not miss out on some very valuable support and guidance.

Melissa's feedback on essays and story structure was crucial (specially for Fuqua's 25 things) and she also suggested some super edits to resume bullets which were minor changes but greatly increased the impact of the bullets. The mock interview was also very helpful as we focused on pace and tone apart from the stories. I also sought her advice on things like interviewing with alum vs on campus and it was reassuring to make those decisions knowing that I was not doing it alone.

I had final offers from Chicago Booth, Kellogg & Duke Fuqua and I have no qualms in admitting that Melissa had a material effect in ensuring these great results.
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New post 27 Feb 2019, 10:26
What elements should one consider when selecting and Admissions Consultant: My key criteria was whether the consultant can add value to my application, so I compared their initial assessments of my profile to see which is more critical
What worked for you and what did not? Was able to iterate on my application multiple times within a short time frame. It was stressful but worth the investment in my opinion.

Review for Access Education

I used the comprehensive service package at Access Education admissions consulting and worked with Laura Freedman for about 3 months. I was admitted into INSEAD, my choice of MBA program, and I would like to thank Laura for helping to bring out my best sides in the application.

After taking the free diagnostic sessions with several admission consultants, I chose to work with Laura because I felt she exhibited excellent knowledge about the admission requirements and was able to propose a new angle for my profile. In the diagnostic session, it was clear that she listened and was able to quickly process what I shared about my background. Her comments were personalised from the start, which gave me confidence that she could bring out the best in my application. My initial assessment of her proved to be right.

In my consultations with her, I was constantly marvelled by the level of insight she provided. Laura’s a 1992 INSEAD alum whose knowledge about the INSEAD application and vast work experiences in various industries and functions were apparent in our conversations. She pushed me to refine my essays, often resulting in me re-writing key parts after our consultations, for the better. I appreciate her frank comments, which kept me grounded throughout the application process in search for better answers. Even under crunch time, I felt she refused to compromise the quality of my application, pushing me to dig deeper to answer the why-s and how-s in my life.

The result was not only a polished, high-quality application, and improved interview skills, but also a better understanding of myself and my own personal development. This level of clarity about myself would not have been reached without the effort put in by Laura to understand me and push me in the right direction.



Please put your rating on the performance of the consultant (out of 5): 4.5/5
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New post 24 Mar 2019, 01:54
Making a transition from the world of olive greens seemed a Herculean challenge. I was not sure of which colleges to target, which courses would suit my interests the most and what should be my target GMAT score.
It was serendipitous that I reached Arvind from dream school admit (https://dreamschooladmit.com/) for guidance on the same. Arvind helped me on various aspects of the transition. It was after speaking to him that I could articulate the role I am seeking after my studies.
Arvind understood my armed forces experience and my post career goals very well. After I achieved the target score, Arvind worked tediously helping me write my essays. Always approachable, Arvind helped me express my original ideas and bring out my thoughts and experiences. He taught me the art to express my story in both verbal and written form.
Arvind mentored me very well during my interview preparation. He gave me certain commonly asked questions and again helped in answering them in my original way. He assisted me in formulating answers that were comprehensive yet not boring and monotonous.
I am very thankful to dream school admit (https://dreamschooladmit.com/) and Arvind who helped me in receiving admits in 2 IIMs. I think he is the best mentor for school admissions. Wish he helps all others in getting similar success.
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New post 08 Apr 2019, 17:32
Review for mbaMission.

I first approached Katy through a free 30 minute consultation and immediately knew I needed her support and experience throughout the application process. Katy was the one consultant who truly boosted my confidence that I could meet my target programs despite self-reservations around my GRE score and relatively young age. I chose to purchase the 5 hour package. I knew which schools I wanted to apply to and wanted some guidance around essays, resumes, and mock interviews. One of most important, yet sometimes overlooked document is the resume. I was struggling immensely to fit all my experience in one page. Katy provided timely and efficient feedback, and provided insider guidance into what schools look for in a resume. She helped me fit what I wanted in one page. Then came the essays! I first started with a robust brainstorming document and gave my first drafts to Katy. What Katy truly excels at is allowing you to retain your own words and template, but optimizing it in a way that resonates with schools. Every essay I wrote, I retained 100% my thoughts and beliefs and Katy helped me articulate that in an efficient manner. Lastly I conducted a mock interview with Katy. She came prepared with school specific interview questions and gave me tangible feedback to improve upon after the mock interview. Katy has a knack for capturing real-time guidance and providing you that document to serve as a guidance moving forward. All in all, working with Katy was the best investment I made. I knew from the first free consultation that Katy would not only be my consultant, but a genuine mentor looking to help me achieve my dreams. I was able to get admittance and several interviews in the top 20. Without Katy's guidance, this entire process would have been exponentially more stressful. Choose Katy, you won't be disappointed.
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New post 08 Apr 2019, 17:33
Review for Amerasia.

Hey all! So first off and to preface my entire review, I applied for Harvard, Stanford, Sloan, and Wharton. These are obviously very difficult schools, but I did have hope that my unique background combined with a strong consultant could pull me through. In the interest of transparency however, I just wanted to state that I was not able to secure any of the four schools, not even an interview. Take from that what you will in regards to whether or not my review is tainted, but I do believe I am not one to be so affected. At the end of the day, I have other opportunities that I can aim for, and so this does not faze me too much. I do think everyone here would appreciate knowing how my process with Drew went though, to not make the same mistakes that I made.

Alright, so into the process itself. Perhaps because of my origins as a PhD candidate, coming a bit out of left field that it ended up being hard for Drew - though the initial consultations had left me assured I would be in good hands, with someone who knew what to do with my background.

We started with a survey that I returned to Drew on the 11th of November 2018, which I suppose marks the first day of the consultation process. This was where the first red flag appeared, and perhaps I should have done something about this then. Once I completed the survey, nothing came out of it - nadda. There was no follow up discussing the results of the survey, or even later on how the results could play into my application. This is a general theme that pervades the consultation process, and I would highly recommend if you are going to go with Drew, to always be ready to remind him of deadlines and things that has been done/needs to be done.

This is because the next thing that happened, was that I sent him the first draft for my resume on the 27th of November and my first draft of the Harvard essay on the 1st of December. He took four days just to get back to me on my resume with suggestions (not really any edits), and really practically all throughout it had always been four days between when I sent him a resume draft and when I receive feedback/edits from him. I would suggest to send him drafts as early as you can, and also ensure it is as close to one page as possible because Drew will not really make edits or significant suggestions to your draft until then.

The bigger problem was the first draft of my Harvard essay, which went way past the four day (96-hour) deadline as promised by Amerasia. Allegedly Drew sent me a response that never got through. We had a bit of a discussion about this, where Drew was a bit bummed out, and I was too. I did offer to dissolve the agreement, but Drew wanted to continue, and, having not much time left, I decided to take a leap of faith and continue with Drew. To be frank, I think it is fair of me to voice such concerns to him, given that we had a later start than others, and deadlines were fast approaching.

Unfortunately it happened multiple times. Five times actually - across Harvard, Wharton, and Sloan essays, and that was enough to turn everything upside down. On one occasion, Drew allegedly forgot to send me an edit until I reminded him. On the remaining four occasions, Drew was late by 7 hours, 16 hours, 36 hours, and the worse one - 83 hours (which already accounted for 48 hours where Drew asked to take two days off over Christmas). As you can imagine, when you are coming so close to the deadline, every hour counts.

So therefore, if you go with Drew, you HAVE to chase him up. Do not be like me and wait for at least 96 hours (i.e. the deadline for return of edits based on the agreement), chase him up earlier than that. He might be overwhelmed, or for whatever other reason, but it is your application - you need to take charge.

This is because Drew does do good work - he managed to make significant modifications to my resume to squeeze in everything I wanted to write within one page, and have made good edits to my essays. However, it could have been so much better if he has had more time to go through my essays - which simply did not happen due to the constant breaches of deadlines.

I considered giving him a lower rating, but given that he does do good work when he seems like he wants to do it, I simply cannot do that. I think my rating is fair given that there were significant breaches on Amerasia's side that significantly affected my applications. So yes, if you go with Drew, you have to chase him up - whether because he is too busy, or in my case maybe not feeling like he wants to help me anymore, he does not chase up my progress or check in with me. Though in that case, that is not exactly professional, especially given that I offered him the choice of dissolving our arrangement.
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New post 08 Apr 2019, 17:34
Review for Admissionado.

This is the first consultant experience I had that I enjoyed, which resulted in my first successful application since many years of trying. I saw Admissionado had good reviews on GMATClub so I set up a free profile eval on the website. Claudia got back to me almost instantly (she really responds very quickly) and started the process of connecting me to a consultant.

Mark Lellouch reviewed my responses and scheduled an introductory call with me where he shared his thoughts on my profile and my application strategy. I liked what I heard and how it seemed customized and realistic for my situation, so I went ahead with the Deluxe package. Immediately I filled out a very detailed questionnaire so that Mark could come up with a succinct summary of my strengths, weaknesses, and plan for my target school. Having an assessment like that on the front end really helped me clarify how I wanted to present myself across the entire application - resume, essays, forms and all.

After getting the front end down, we then started working on the application components - resume, essays, etc. Throughout this, Mark never wrote for me, but rather challenged my drafts as a cold eye and gave me clear prompts on how to modify my material to best present myself to the school. This is Mark's best attribute by far - he is able to give you the right instruction and advice for you to articulate the best image of yourself clearly. I was stunned at how good my materials looked after reviews with him compared to my initial drafts...especially my resume.

I was invited to interview and Mark supported me through that as well with the same excellence as in the writing phase - by telling me HOW to think when responding rather than WHAT to say when responding. It is this crucial difference that has helped me grow as a person, not to mention getting a successful admission to my dream school - one that I've tried multiple times for many years to get in with different consultants who were not as effective. Claudia was also very supportive throughout the entire process, and as mentioned above, responded very quickly.

I would definitely recommend Admissionado and Mark. They were very helpful and exceeded my expectations of what a consultant can really do for you. Mark's greatest skill is being able to guide you to articulate the best version of yourself.
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New post 08 Apr 2019, 17:34
Review for ApplicantLab.

I have used two services for my MBA admissions 1) ApplicantLab 2) Blind interview with Maria
1) The Lab – first of all, she has put all her passion and love in this lab, so how can it not be so Awesome as it is!!! Those of you who are going to get started with this research lab will not take more than a few minutes to start realizing the same. This tool is the best thing that has happened for MBA applicants. The beauty of this invention is that it keeps guiding you to keep you on the right track and you get to learn, research, and explore your stories all by yourself. It was fun for me because I found the lab like an experiential learning - it’s not going to spoon-feed you but let you find you the right spoon and the right food for yourself. To get the most value out of this lab, it is best to follow all the steps and do the exercises then and there.

2) Blind interview with Maria – this one helped me most with my interviews. This session will save you if you are already late in the process and have no idea what to do! She gave me more than the time allotted for his call. In over 90 mins, she asked me a set of questions (listened to my answers with absolute attention) and in the end, took each question in detail and told me what needed to be spoken and what not and also how. She evaluated my stories and ideas and put them into the right buckets. She also suggested me to add a few points which I had not thought could be included that way and made the responses more beautiful than ever. After this session, I became extremely confident about my content, and I believe this confidence shaped everything else right for me. The way she puts her efforts, attention, and analysis to better the answers is something I have not found elsewhere. Previously, I was reluctant to put money into a mock interview that can be easily done by friends and peers. But after this session, I realized that the value this session returns is unparalleled and the amount she is charging for this service is much much much less in comparison to what she is delivering for you.
Love you Maria! The world of ‘MBA admissions’ was never easy without this lab!
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New post 08 Apr 2019, 17:35
Review for Sia Admissions.

I have tried to make this review informative, clear and most of all authentic because no one has time to read BS. Please PM me if I can be of any help. I recommend Susan and SIA because:

1. Susan went above and beyond to help me. She accommodated me in ways no other consultant will. She understood my life circumstances at the time and was lenient with her service fee and terms.

2. Susan helped me with the entire applications. Such as essay, post-MBA goals, resume, short answer questions, data questions, optional essay, extracurricular activities, awards, relevant coursework, etc. The edits and iterations will go on until each of the application components meet Susan's standard, and her standards are high. After all sections of the application are complete; she will review the whole application and make corrections. Trust me. It takes a lot of iterations, emails, and phone calls before the application is finally complete. Tip: Make sure to either ask a family member or hire a proofreader to double check spellings, grammar, and meaning because sometimes with so much back and forth things can get overlooked.

3. Susan also helped me in my communication such as emails, phone calls and in-person interactions with my target school’s admissions team, professors, and current students as well as alums. She also helped me navigate my way through attending events at my target school.

4. Susan will not write for you, but she will unfold your deepest layers to dig out what matters to you and why are you writing what you are writing. She will force you to add depth in anything you write. Yes at times it will be annoying, but when it's all said and done. You will be thankful and happy that glad Susan asked those questions. Tip: Tell her your complete story as is. All in one go with no fabrication. She will help you project your story in a way that’s beneficial to you.

5. Look there is a sea of consultants out there, and some of them have hundreds of reviews on GMAT club, have glamorous websites of their own, and have ex-admissions officers working for them. If that’s what you are looking for, then SIA is not for you. You might have heard this quote “ Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” Susan will not treat you like just another number in her client list; you will be a priority. At least that’s what I felt.

6. Frankly, when you call one of these big companies, none of these companies will let you speak to the person who you will actually be working with. Additionally, Some of these well-known consultants won't even work with you if you have low Gmat score, have not worked for a well-known firm and have below average GPA and then they tute about their high admission success rate. I mean, to begin with, they buy gold, and then say that anything we touch turns into gold. I am not trying to undermine the credibility of well-known consultants or companies. They must have their systems and criteria, and for some of the MBA applicants, it might be a better choice to work with a famous admission consultant. Anyways, In the case of SIA Admissions, I directly spoke with Susan, and she is a listener. Look, At the end of the day, it's your application, and you will have the final say. I can tell you all the great things about Susan, but it's you who has to see if Susan can help you prepare an incredible application, prepare you for an interview and give you the time and attention that you need. She did it for me so I think she would do it for you as well. My advice: Give Susan a call. At most, it will be 15mins of your life, and in this long journey of GMAT, Application prep and an MBA degree we can spare 15mins. Just don’t go by reviews and other flashy things these admission consultants show you. See how you feel once you communicate with them.

7. This MBA journey for some of us could be long, tedious and demanding. So try to find someone who can listen to you, pick you up when you are down and guide you on what to write when you are clueless. Keep your head up because one fine day when this GMAT, MBA applications and interviews are over you will step into the doors of your dream school as an MBA Candidate!! Yeah!! Do I see a hopeful smile on your face? Now, stop dreaming and get on with your search and let's get to work!
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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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