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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.
Nicole Lai is a very disingenuous person. She talks well & is polished but does not have the experience to back it up. Please be wary before you write her a check to help out with your MBA applications. This was a sunk cost on my end where I lost close to $4,000.
I'm the OP and just saw these comments. I cannot speak to everyone's application journey and it's a pity to see folks having different experience. From my own perspective, I stand by my original review of Nicole that she was instrumental in helping me get into the top school. And for background: I was not in CPG and did not go into CPG after bschool either.
For what's it's worth for people reading: it is truly important to do your own interview of the coaches to see what works for you. Nicole was the right coach for me and provided the guidance I needed to get into my dream school, and I will keep on thanking her for it. Every applicant is different and may require different styles of coaching - only you know what's right. Take the free interviews to get to know your consultant, and pretty quickly you can get a sense of if something will work.
Good luck to all!
Thank you, like I mentioned the lack of sincerity does not come through early on when trying to assess fit during the initial phone consultation. As stated above, you have to do your own interviews & it is partially my fault that I lost my money with her. However, in a public forum, I believe it is important for others to hear other opinions as well and be in a position to make up their minds.
Joined: May 28, 2012
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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.
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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.
730 Q48 V42
I signed up with Amerasia just before r2 deadlines. I initially signed up for one school but added another two as I was so impressed with the service on the first one. I couldn't find much information on Jeremy beforehand but he seemed to have the right background to help me.
What I liked about the process is that right from the start Jeremy put in the effort to get to know me so that I could emphasize my salient strengths to the adcom. I liked how we worked together to brainstorm answers to all the questions together so that I provided a strong coherant application (and not just strong answers to individual questions).
I found writing essays extremely uncomfortable and I did my best to pull myself out of my comfort zone and reveal as much as I could about myself in a way I thought would impress adcoms. Jeremy had no hesitation correcting me when I sounded naive, immature etc and was generally sensitive to nuances that would not show me in the best light.
Jeremy was extremely prompt with all edits, I believe all edits were same day or next day. He even chased me up when I was slow to reply so that I would be in no danger of missing deadlines. Even through the birth of his baby he helped suggested edits from the hospital - now that is total committment.
I was interviewed at all the schools he helped me with and admitted to two. Overall I highly recommend Jeremy.
Joined: Mar 23, 2010
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If you’re reading this then you probably already know how daunting the business school application process can be: there’s just so much information and so many things to consider, all compounded by the fact that the decisions you make will unequivocally affect not just your career but the rest of your life! You get one shot at business school- no one has two MBAs. Even though I had already honed-in on the schools I was going to target, the weight of the decisions to be made coupled with the opportunity cost (for starters, one less year of post-MBA salary) of not having a seat in a class this fall compelled me to fork out the cash and hire an admissions consultant, Adam Hoff, through Amerasia.
I can easily say, without doubt, that hiring Adam to guide me through the application process was a great decision. I had canvassed the admissions consultants’ forums on GMATclub and was basically told by many that I wasn’t exactly a shoe-in at any of the schools I was applying to. You know the “yeah it’s possible, but you’re really going to have to put your best foot forward and hope for a little luck” response. Well, maybe I had a little luck, but by hiring Adam I was definitely able to put my best foot forward, and my results speak for themselves: I got into every school I applied to.
What gives Amerasia its edge, in my humble opinion, is their structured approach to essay writing and the way they are able to tease your story out, which is one thing that Adam was very good at. Chances are that, even if you don’t feel like it, you have a great story to tell; you have rich work and life experiences that you may not have even discovered through your own pre-MBA introspective process. This is where Adam comes in. He helps you discover the great in a seemingly-normal experience or story. Adam acted almost like an introspective coach, one that helps you discover the hidden value in your story and present it in a compelling manner.
Aside from the things I mention above, Adam was also more than willing to answer the bazillion questions I threw at him during the long course of the process. I always felt like I was an important and valued client, and even if I did annoy him by inundating him anxiety-induced questions, he never showed it!
I’m giving Adam 5/5 stars because he exceeded my expectations and played an absolutely integral role in getting me into the schools of my dreams.
Joined: Nov 16, 2010
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I'm writing this review to provide some insight (based on my opinion and experiences) about services provided by Amerasia Consulting. Last year, at about this time, I got in touch with Amerasia Consulting after seeking the opinion of fellow GMATClubbers who had written reviews about various Consulting companies. Besides, I spoke to a few other consultants also but I thought most of them were really pricey, and Amerasia offered me nothing less than what they did in their packages. Simultaneously, I read the various posts from Paul Lanzilotti and found them to be really astute.
So then, I mailed them my profile and soon Adam set up a preliminary call with me to assess the situation and to provide his suggestions. In the very first call itself, I was prepared to take extensive notes and I did so. Adam was very clear in his suggestions and he made me think in a positive manner because he pointed out the strengths + weaknesses in my profile and told me the absolute must things that I need to do to get through in the US B-Schools. Earlier, I had spoken to another consultant and I had received the advice that at my age (34) US B-Schools wouldn't probably be a good option because they prefer younger people and thus, I would be better off trying the European B-Schools. (Please read my review till end to know why I’ve mentioned this).
However, Adam dismissed that notion and said that every B-School seeks people who are from different background, and older applicants do bring a lot of professional insight that is essential to the proper grooming of students in the class. Simultaneously, he recommended me B-Schools that would be within reach based on my personal + professional profile; of course, I debated with him the choices and he suggested me broadly what each B-School would mean from various perspectives (besides rankings). The point is that all of this discussion definitely gave me a lot of data points and food for thoughts to plan out my MBA pursuit.
Soon thereafter, our stint began and he asked me to fill a questionnaire and that helped me in solidifying my essays and in articulating my career goals. During the phase of essay writing, he helped me in refining them further and the most impressive factor is that there was no upper limit on the number of reviews he would have done (this can become really valuable if you really want to polish and strengthen your application). The pdf documents he used to provide with essay breakups were very helpful in getting me started on my own, and by writing my essays, and by acting on his review feedbacks, I definitely was able to prepare for my interviews by default :).
I must say that though I couldn’t get through in two R1 B-Schools we had worked together, I wouldn’t attribute it solely to Adam for suggesting those names. For one thing, I’ve heard that R1 was very uneven this year and secondly, I’m WL at one place and got offer for another MBA Program in the second B-School. Needless to say, the essays I had written in the R1 were very helpful in the R2, and the way Adam had pointed out weaknesses in my essays helped me in cracking essays for the other B-Schools as well. Finally, when I started getting interview calls in my R2 packages, Adam arranged a mock interview for me with another consultant in his company (along with his own set of dos and don’ts for the interview) and that proved to be quite useful as well.
Therefore, I can easily suggest that you can always go for Amerasia Consulting as your top choice because:
1) Adam is a brilliant and sincere guy, if he selects you as a client, he’ll definitely make sure that he does everything for you to bolster your package and to bring out the best aspects of your application.
2) His Knowledge of the Admission Process and B-Schools is extraordinary. I was talking to my college seniors also who had gotten through in B-Schools previously and they said pretty much the same things about the B-Schools as Adam did, so I Would tend to think that the advice coming from Adam was of very high quality.
3) While working with him, you’ll get personal attention which is very important to keep the morale high and maintain the tempo and accuracy during the application phase. Sometimes the whole process can be really nerve wrecking and you definitely need a person who can egg you on.
Disclaimer - Because of some personal/professional reasons, I am unable to reveal the names of the B-Schools I’m in, however, I *might* disclose them in the coming days, so please do not think that my review is a “hollow” one :). I have multiple offers now and one B-School I can name where I’m in is Kelley School of Business (with Scholarship).
Last but not the least, I got dinged at European B-Schools and got through in Canada and US B-Schools (I had applied on my own to the Canada B-Schools).
Joined: Jul 25, 2010
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As someone with a less than stellar profile (<3.0 ugpa, <700 GMAT), non-business work experience (Engineering) and looking to attend a top B-school program and career switch into a very competitive field (Investment Banking) I felt that it would be best to get help from a professional in working on my applications. I came across Amerasia from reading Paul Lanzilotti’s prospective student profile reviews on the Admissions Consultants board. I really liked the candid and honest opinions and advice he provided and scheduled an initial consultation with the company. After sending my profile to Adam Hoff he reviewed it and paired me up with Jenny Lin.
I hired Amerasia to work with me on The Consortium base application + individual school essays for 2 schools. Because of my work with Amerasia, I was able to put together great applications; I was admitted to one of the schools with scholarship consideration (an Elite level program) and was waitlisted by the other (another extremely competitive school) though I plan on sending updates and may still gain admittance there as well. Working with Jenny not only resulted in strong applications for the two schools we worked on together, it also helped me develop a foundation to build off of in my other applications which were also quite strong.
Working with Jenny was absolutely fantastic throughout the entire process. She did a great job of helping me frame my story and really showing me how to get my point across in my essays in a very clear and concise manner all while writing in my own voice. She also showed me how to highlight the strengths in my profile and align my goals with the strengths of the schools I was applying to. She was awesome in helping me during my interview prep working very thoroughly with me through the interview questions and candidly telling me the places where I needed work and how to best phrase my responses. This prep gave me great confidence going into my interviews and I was well prepared to give my responses.
Amerasia, and Jenny especially, more than exceeded my expectations. I was expecting for someone to simply edit my essays and perform some surface level preparation on my applications, but Jenny was right there with me throughout every phase of the application process. I had been researching schools for months before I even began working with Amerasia, yet Jenny gave me some great advice on how to deeper research these schools and how to properly reach out to and interact with various school members(current students, Adcom, professors, etc.) She even recommended some other schools whose strengths aligned with my goals that I had previously overlooked, and even put me in touch with some people she knew at schools I was applying to, and they ended up being great resources for me.
The greatest value of working with Jenny though, goes well beyond just helping me with my application. The B-school application process is an arduous one and can sometimes be a very introspective and emotional time, it was for me at least. Jenny was great at helping me curb my emotions and keep things in perspective. It meant so much to have someone in my corner who believed in me even at times when I didn’t believe in myself.
I definitely recommend Amerasia to anyone looking to apply to B-school. It is such an involved process and having someone who knows the ins and outs of it all can significantly help your chances. Jenny did such a great job of helping me put together a great application, and I’m not sure what they are paying her at Amerasia, but I know they need to give her a raise, she’s worth her weight in gold! lol I know that I was able to produce much more competitive and overall impressive applications because of my work with Amerasia.
I have read a lot about some admissions consultants actually writing essays for their clients, and I would like to say that Amerasia does not in any way conduct business like this. Amerasia has a very involved system of learning about their clients’ profiles, strengths, and goals and they do a great job of using this knowledge to best help their clients. In my work with Amerasia, all of my essays were written in my own voice and with my own ideas.
I am choosing to not submit this review anonymously because I would like to help any GMAT Club member who would like to know more about my experience working with Jenny and Amerasia. Please feel free to send me a PM if you have any questions.
Joined: Oct 14, 2009
Product Amerasia Complete School Package
I worked with Amerasia for Booth and Kellogg this year and I honestly feel I would've been lost without using some kind of consultant (I also used Precision Essay for Duke in R1). It's not that I couldn't have done it on my own, it's that I'm a natural worrier and perfectionist, and without someone there to give me structure and monitor my progress, I was spinning my wheels for weeks without getting anywhere. I was so hung up about my GMAT not being good enough (58% in Quant!) that I felt helpless when it came to promoting my strengths. I spent weeks working on first drafts of essays and would scrap everything and still had nothing decent to show for it. I was running out of time and needed a kick in the butt to stop analyzing and start putting things together.
I was so impressed from the initial 1 hour call and felt he had enough school-specific knowledge to know what they were looking for. He addressed my concern over the GMAT score, and told me the only school on my list that was really strict about the quant percent being above 80 was Haas (only official ding so far, so looks like he was right) and eased my worries by saying the breakdown really doesn't matter all that much. Regarding GMAT, all they care about is whether you can handle the academics (and your high GPA proves this) and that your total score doesn't bring down their averages too much (and your GMAT is lower than their avg, but your GPA is higher so you're pretty much a wash). This made so much sense and made me feel confident about applying, it really made the difference for me.
Duke w/precsion essay was a mad dash, my fault for not leaving enough time. I had plenty of time for R2 and chose to go with Amerasia for Booth. He spent about a week reviewing my profile, resume, notes from our call etc and put together a document outlying my strengths and weaknesses in each area as it relates to Booth's core values. He read my essay drafts in detail and pointed out things that left a bit of confusion about my story and gave suggestions on what I could say to really make it powerful. With the powerpoint essay, he reviewed a few different intial ideas and gave his opinion on which was the best. Knowing he works with lots of clients and hearing him say something like "that's a really unique approach, I've never seen anyone do that before" gave me confidence to run with it, because I knew it would not be like so many others (like my second idea was)
I chose to go with a smaller essay only package with Amerasia for Kellogg as well after I was impressed by their work on Booth. I did feel this one was a bit more rushed, but I didn't make the decision to add this one until the very end. Overall very impressed and glad I went with them, I got into Booth with scholarship (something I thought impossible with a 58% Q from a quant heavy school) and used some of the same ideas in other school essays (got into Ross with the same concepts)
If you have any specific questions or want advice on the consultant process, feel free to PM me!