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Joined: Apr 11, 2016
660 Q39 V42
I interviewed 4 different admissions consultants, including Stacy Blackman, Critical Square, Alice van Harten, and Paul from Amerasia. I felt that I didn’t connect at all with the Stacy Blackman consultant, and the Critical Square intake was extremely general. I was a bit torn between choosing Alice or Paul, but Paul really sold it with his 60-minute intake call (which ended up being more like 90 minutes) and a strong follow-up email. I felt really comfortable choosing him as my consultant.
The Results: In total, I applied to HBS, Stanford, Ross, Booth, Kellogg, and MIT. I ended up getting admitted to Booth and Ross, and waitlisted at Kellogg. When Booth called me, the Admissions Officer told me she had been waiting for 2 months to make the call and that they loved my application. I know I wouldn’t have gotten this response without Paul’s priceless insights into Booth and his advice on tackling that nebulous photo/essay/PPT.
Why I Hired a Consultant: I am a US applicant who lives and works overseas in a not-so-safe country for expats, and pursuing an MBA was something I was just beginning to explore when I contacted Paul. I didn't feel I could really engage my personal network from a few time zones away (easier to ask someone about business school over a cup of coffee rather than a shady internet connection). I was also unable to visit any schools. With a background in international development, I felt that I really needed an expert to help me with selecting schools, defining my strengths and weaknesses (such as my mid 600 GMAT), reworking my resume, and crafting essays that would speak to the individual Adcom audiences. Paul brought all of this to the table over the course of our engagement, and much more.
Why Paul/Amerasia: Paul not only understands the nuances of each school’s application, but also knows how to work with you and your background to help you craft essays and responses that really hit the mark. To do this, he spends a lot of time getting to know you. I felt that our conversations went way beyond what other consultants would have offered. And in the end, these conversations and the relationship we built were key to honing in on my post-MBA goals, brainstorming on essay responses, and preparing for interviews. Also, in the beginning I did have some doubts about my candidacy (was I really “business school” material?). I actually gained more confidence in my candidacy through the process of working with Paul – something I didn’t expect and something that definitely made a difference when it came to interview time.
Whether you are like me and really needed help from the very beginning (full service), or are just looking for someone to provide (extremely valuable) feedback on your essays, Paul is the guy to call. It was well worth the cost and I was thrilled with the experience (and obviously, the results!).
Joined: Aug 25, 2015
760 Q50 V41
I was impressed by Ameraisa, specifically, Paul, since the first call. I talked with some big brand consultancy but they have been very pushy to get my business or telling me I am not a competitive candidate. But Paul didn't throw any sales pitch to me during the call. Instead, he was very down-to-earth and analyzed my profile and given a couple of key points that I should work on. The call went on for an hour, all great information, and all free.
During the process, Paul has been very dedicated and went above and beyond than just the hour service. He is very knowledgeable and resourceful, always provided me with hard-to-find information.
With their outstanding service and competitive pricing, I would recommend Paul.
I spoke first to Paul when I was dinged from CBS. I had seen Amerasia's blog so sent them my application asking if they had any thoughts on what went wrong (I already had another company helping). Within the hour I had my application returned with hundreds of pointers and he wrote with some of the most supportive comments I had seen throughout the process. Did I mention that this was all for free?!
Paul looked through each of my applications and was so helpful - offering hints, offering to go through word-by-word, offering interesting facts that were so incredibly helpful.
When it came time for interview, I was very demanding and tried to book Paul as much as possible. He not only found time, but always went over time. On every single session. What I liked most was our discussion around the interview talking points - discussions that actually came up in my interview. After the interview, Paul continued to check up on how I was doing and send me any relevant information on my intended career area. I was admitted to HBS and I don't think I could have done it without Paul.
Did I enjoy the process? - Yes! Amerasia made it seem like a way of exploring new areas I hadn't thought of beforehand?
Were Amerasia/Paul helpful? Beyond anything. Paul went out his way to help, responding to every email, question, call, however stupid the question. I always felt reassured and, for the interview, I felt totally prepared.
Would I recommend them? 100%
I was referred to Adam (Amerasia) through a coworker that successfully applied to Booth with his assistance. After careful research of his services as well as different consulting companies, I decided to work with Adam. Very glad I did considering I was admitted to 2 of 3 schools I applied to (including a very generous merit scholarship from a top 7 program).
Average work experience, good GMAT, low GPA, and good volunteer experience.
My reasoning for going with a consultant was that I felt I needed help “differentiating” myself. Nothing in my profile was exciting on paper so story telling was the major area I wanted help with. I was aiming relatively high (have seen very few from my background get into M7’s).
Review of services:
I purchased a two-school package for comprehensive services for two M7’s. I purchased a few hours to help with editing for a top 10 program. Accepted at one M7 ($$) and top 10. Rejected at the other M7.
You can read many reviews of his services on this site already. I’ll highlight a few key valuable differentiators I found in my experience with him. I had a handful of friends applying the same round as me using different consulting companies. The points I’m highlighting below are thus comparative and where I felt my experiences exceeded those of my friends and the consultants they used.
1. Brainstorming / idea generation: Before starting each essay, Adam provided me with a memo tailored towards the school. The memo had a lot of insight into the school’s DNA and the meaning behind the prompt. It brought up what the school is looking for and how the prompt has changed over years (giving perspective on these changes and implications on your response). This served as such a valuable starting point (some friends had their consultants insist that they just send them an essay draft before receiving feedback on if the ideas worked). In addition, Adam was helpful in pre-screening ideas before I started my first draft. I pitched potential ideas and he responded with an evaluation of what ideas work, what didn’t work, and how they could be improved.
I will note that one thing that concerned me before hiring Adam was that he insists most of the communication take place over e-mail. He does work with people over the phone if necessary. DO NOT LET THIS DETER YOU. My friends who used different companies almost never got on the phone with their consultants. Communicating with him via e-mail provided me with a clear record of everything and his responses were always concise and actionable.
2. One on one attention: Adam was the person I had my free-consultation call with. I requested early enough and was able to have him as my consultant throughout my application process. He was the one who helped me brainstorm, edited my essays, and answered all my miscellaneous questions throughout the process. The only time I worked with someone else was for resume review (he brought in an experienced recruiter for this) and mock interviews (he brought in a graduate from a top MBA program to do the mock). Both of these people were incredibly valuable in the services they provided. My friends who went with different consulting companies had their editor randomly assigned to them (making it harder to evaluate ahead of time the help they would receive). Also I had a major project at work that prevented me from touching my essays for a week close to the application deadlines. Adam was flexible and I noticed his turnaround time improving as I tried to juggle apps and work commitments.
3. Storytelling: Adam has an unbelievable understanding of what makes a story resonate with people. His edits and suggestions push you to bring out the most human and unique story possible and is ultimately what makes your story come to life. There was a personal story that I wasn’t sure would translate to an application essay. He encouraged me to use this story and helped frame it in a way that made it very powerful. On the scholarship letter I got with my acceptance package, this story was mentioned as one of the points that impressed the admissions group. I would not have gotten the scholarship without his help in framing the story.
I’m very glad I went with Adam. Comparing notes with friends who used different consulting companies, any doubt I had before choosing Adam was erased. The scholarship I got with his help is instant ROI on services I paid for.
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Adam Hoff helped me get to Haas Business School in a methodical and efficient way. Instead of walking through my successful experience and the multiple pros I see in hiring Adam’s services (please see all other reviews for full stories), I want to highlight what are the key factors that allow me to say that investing in Amerasia’s services is worth every dollar:
1. Full understanding of what the school wants in a candidate: His experience took me directly to the core of what the school wanted to see in my profile. After getting this insight, it was easier to find the right points to highlight from my experience.
2. Amazing work in building a strong profile for the applicant: Probably the most significant process of all, Adam helped me understand my goals and state them the way that any school wanted to read. Through this process I understood what I wanted from an mba and how my background fitted in.
3. A process to trust on: Very short time to response/give feedback. Also very frank and honest on what to improve. I never felt helpless or a one-size-fits-all victim. Adam always took the time to read and repeat what he wanted on my essays. Pretty intense work sometimes, but the results were worth it.
4. Excellent past experiences/recommendations: I got to Amerasia through some friends that worked with Adam. They also had good experiences working with him, so I had no doubt that I’d be successful too.
In conclusion, Amerasia is a very smart investment, and getting Adam’s help for this experience was a tremendous leverage in my favor.
I worked with Drew Hoff from Amerasia Consulting and had a great experience. I had a free initial consultation phone call with Drew and we spoke for about an hour about my target schools, post-MBA goals, etc. What initially impressed me about Drew was how much he seemed to know about each school. He talked about how important it was to really understand each MBA program’s “DNA” (i.e., the unique characteristics of each program) when preparing applications. After doing consultations with other admissions consultants that just talked generically about applications, this is what led me to decide to work with Drew.
After the initial consultation, I completed a questionnaire so that he could learn more about my background. We then started by working on a general career goals essay (not school specific) because he felt that nailing that down would be important for all of my applications. Once we finalized the career goals essay, we moved onto school specific applications. For each school that I worked with Drew on, he would prepare a 4-7 page strategy memo for the school. The strategy memo would give some background on the key qualities that each school looks for in applicants and then discussed strategies for approaching each essay question so that I could display those key qualities in my essays.
When we started working on the actual application essays, I would send him a first draft of an essay and he would either come back with a redline and comments or tell me to try a different approach. Be warned, Drew’s not just going to let you settle for a decent essay. On one application, I went through 14 versions of an essay before we finalized it. His typical response time was 2-3 days for an essay revision (but quicker as we approached deadlines).
Outside of the essays, Drew helped me to select my recommenders and also gave me a strategy memo on how to approach a recommender. He also prepared me for interviews on the phone by walking through some of my answers for general questions as well as stories for the behavioral questions.
I’m happy to report that with Drew’s help, I got acceptances into two M7 schools as well as another Top 20 school. Overall, Drew was like a coach for the MBA application process who helped to bring out the best in me for each application. For anyone considering an admissions consultant, I would strongly recommend his services.
Product Amerasia Complete School Package
Working with Nicole Lai from Amerasia was the BEST decision I could've made! With Nicole's help, I am headed to my dream school (think H/S/W).
I interviewed multiple firms (Stacy Blackman, MBA Missions, Tyler Cromney, and Amerasia). The application process is extremely personal, and I wanted a coach I could trust. I shared a personal story with everyone I interviewed; while some consultants I spoke to did not even acknowledge the story, Nicole not only gave me advice on how to potentially frame that for business school, but also shared her own experience and advice. She really took an interest in understanding my experiences and helping me showcase who I am. Because of that, selecting Nicole was an easy choice!
Here are some of my favorite things about working with Nicole:
She is very responsive. I can't stress how important this is, especially when I was cutting uncomfortably close to a few deadlines and needed very speedy feedback to move forward. Nicole was really aware of that and made sure I received the all updates and feedback I needed.
She really pushed me to develop MY OWN story. From the beginning, she was most interested in finding out who I am as a person and tailored her advice towards my experiences and goals. We went through multiple brainstorming sessions to talk about what mattered to me, my goals, my experience, etc. These discussions not only helped me find the right message for applications, but also enable me to better understand myself.
Also, she always pushed me to challenge myself and elevate my application package. Multiple times, when I thought my essays were done, Nicole came back with extra ideas and feedback on how to further clarify my message and make me stand out. When we were done, the final products were exponentially better than the initial ones!
She is extremely knowledgeable about schools. At first, I did not realize how much this matters, but more and more I realized that each school does have its own DNA. Nicole helped me navigate the top MBA programs and tailor my responses to each school.
She is a FANTASTIC coach and did MUCH MORE than just editing essays to help me succeed. The application process is very nerve -racking. Nicole took the time to keep me confident during even the toughest parts of the application process/her busiest times. Through coaching me, Nicole became one of my biggest advocates/supporters.
Overall, working with Nicole was an EXCELLENT experience and I HIGHLY RECOEMMEND her to anyone considering a consultant!
I would say to stay away from Nicole Lai from my personal experience. She does not have industry experience outside of CPG. Also, she has this I CAN PLAN document, a template that gets you to document your resume and STAR stories but unfortunately she was not able to provide critical feedback as she was not familiar with my industry. When working with a consultant, I believe it is important they understand your industry and your contribution/role in it.
Joined: May 28, 2012
710 Q43 V45
700 Q42 V42
760 Q48 V48
After a poor experience with another consultant last year, I really wasn't planning to go any further than the free consultation with any company. Nonetheless, after my consultation with Drew, Amerasia's school DNA approach really resonated with me and I signed up for the single-school package to help with my Columbia reapplication.
One thing to know up front with Amerasia (at least in my experience) is that the majority of your contact with your consultant is via email. That worked great for me, but others might want more phone contact. We did have a very productive strategy call to start, though, which was followed up by a Columbia-specific “Strategy Memo.” The strategy memo is a very useful doc that breaks down the essay questions and weaves in lots of school-specific info about the idiosyncrasies of that school’s application process and preferences.
I knew that in my last application I had done a poor job connecting my accomplishments to transferable skills that would help accomplish my goals. However, Drew helped me realize that my short-term goal itself was a hindrance on my app. At my last consultant’s advice, I had gone with a VERY specific immediate post-MBA goal that would require a lot of networking outside of the standard MBA recruitment processes. At Drew’s advice, I switched this to a more traditional MBA recruitment job that was an equally logical progression towards my long-term goal. In addition, he was extremely helpful at making sure I made the connections between accomplishments and skills, often asking for 2 or 3 rounds of edits on a single story just to be sure that connection was made.
Finally, a great benefit of Amerasia is the included interview strategy prep. Once I was invited for an interview, Drew and I had a prep call in which we went over some frequent questions and practiced responses/stories that would stay within my overall app strategy.
All in all, it was a very positive experience that ultimately had the right outcome, as I was admitted to CBS.
620 Q38 V38
I worked with Drew on 4 schools - Duke, Michigan, Kellogg, and Booth. I came to him because I had extremely low GMAT scores (sub 660). I had a good background with fairly high grades from undergrad, but I was so worried that my GMAT would prevent me from getting into schools that I enlisted Drew's help. He was fantastic throughout the process. He was quick and extremely insightful. He really helped me understand what the schools were looking for in the essays, and guided me in the right direction. He was able to help me condense many of my essays that ended up being too long, but kept them clear and meaningful at the same time. In the end, I got into a couple of my "dream" schools, Booth and Michigan, and got interviewed and waitlisted at the others. Not too shabby! I would highly recommend this service.
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I signed up for a free 30-minute consultation with a few of the top Admissions Consulting companies around. The sessions were largely the same: You give them a summary of your profile (GMAT, GPA, Experience, Extrac.), your target schools, and then they tell you the strengths and weaknesses of your application. The first two consultancies I got in touch with (which shall remain unnamed) left me thinking I could never get into a top 10, let alone a top 20 bschool, which was very discouraging and, to be honest, I didn’t understand how they wanted to attract any business that way.
Amerasia was different. In my free consultation, Michelle immediately pointed out all the strengths in my profile for my dream school, INSEAD. She also identified the weak areas, but was reassuring in that she felt I would have enough stories from my experience to counterbalance that. I asked Michelle if she had had any experience in coaching applicants for INSEAD, but unfortunately she didn’t. I took about a week to think about it, but I was reassured by Adam, the manager, that Michelle was the right coach. Based on my first call with Michelle, I decided to sign up with her.
Michelle was a great coach from the start. She was great at explaining how to present each different story (strengths, weaknesses, achievements, failures, the reason for an MBA, etc) and pushed me hard to make sure that every story I used helped to weave my application into a very strong package. With Michelle in the East Coast and me in Asia, it was at time difficult to schedule time to discuss on the phone. But even then, I had sufficient time to discuss the direction of my essays with Michelle on the phone. She was also very diligent in turnaround time on emails and documents, usually even beating her own deadlines.
I knew I had all the stories and the perfect profile for INSEAD. But I thank Michelle for helping me in weaving all of my stories together so I could present a strong profile for my application.