August Academy Admissions Consulting Reviews

August Academy is a venture founded by an alumnus of IIT Madras and Stanford University in 2013. Over the past five years, we’ve helped students belonging to the most competitive MBA applicant pool (Indian Engineers) get into several top 20 schools from across the world. We’ve worked with people in every time zone from Australia to California - we are extremely responsive. Several of our students have received offers from top 20 schools in the US (including Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Columbia, Yale, Duke, NYU Stern, UVa Darden, Ross, Cornell, Anderson, UNC Kenan-Flagler, McCombs, Tepper, Olin and Goizueta), top 10 schools in Europe (including London Business School, HEC Paris, IE, ESADE and Oxford), and top ranked schools in other regions (Rotman, Ivey, Schulich, the National University of Singapore and the Indian School of Business). Overall, our students have won over $3,100,000 in scholarships so far.

August Academy is a member of AIGAC - the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants. This is a reflection of our commitment to the highest levels of integrity and service to candidates.
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August Academy Admissions Consulting Reviews

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Karthik Palaniappan
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February 11, 2021

Joined: Jul 18, 2019

Posts: 3

Kudos: 1

Verified score:
700 Q49 V35

Highly Recommend Karthik and August Academy!


I have only great things to say about working with Karthik. Firstly, Karthik took the time to understand my background, work experience, and career goals. Karthik then worked with me on selecting various schools based on my aspirations and helped set realistic targets. Karthik is extremely systematic and asked me to believe in the process as this was the only factor I controlled. He was there every step of the way and guided me through any questions or doubts that I had. Through my application journey, Karthik made me firmly believe that a good process leads to good results.

Karthik helped refine my resume to make it very effective by simplifying a lot of the industry jargon and highlighting my best accomplishments. Through the brainstorming sessions with Karthik, I was able to bring out my most compelling stories for each of the essays, and one of the biggest benefits was his ability to view my overall application. Karthik also offered an MBA Admissions Masterclass, which I found immensely beneficial in understanding all the various aspects of putting together a great application. Karthik was really a coach, a guide, and a friend. With Karthik’s guidance and expertise, I was able to get into a top business school with a good scholarship. I wholeheartedly recommend Karthik Palaniappan and August Academy to everyone looking for a top consultant to help them get into a great MBA program.

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January 18, 2021

Joined: Jan 01, 2019

Posts: 20

Kudos: 2

Verified score:
680 Q45 V39

In hindsight, after having secured an admit, the whole MBA admissions process-right from preparation for GMAT to appearing for the interview- seems fairly simple. But to be honest, when you are in the midst of it all, the process does get overwhelming at times. And while not impossible, it certainly is daunting to do it all by yourself.
Especially if you are someone like me; at worst I'm an indecisive procrastinator, at best I'm a coffee guzzling work machine and on most days I'm that ambitious average Joe hoping to capitalise on my strengths.

I did give it a shot on my own in 2019, applied to only one school for several reasons including lack of motivation, lack of clarity, lack of self-belief. Producing immature essays with a fairly presentable profile that secured me a spot on ISB waitlist before an interview and nothing further. I let a year pass by as my lacklustre effort and the unsuccessful outcome had considerably shaken my confidence.

I realised I needed substantial guidance in the admissions process. The biggest hurdle was of-course the sizable fees charged by almost all the consultants. I convinced myself it is still worth it by reasoning that a. Even the best CEOs, athletes, political leaders etc. take help when they need it (that was to convince my heart). b. The fees for a consultant would end up being a small percentage of the salary post MBA (This was to convince my mind).

Having convinced me to go for consultant services, the next big task was finding the right consultant. And just like you are doing right now, I read numerous reviews/testimonials for various consultants. This kind of helped me narrow down to few, however, there was no trial option in this case. I decided to go with Karthik primarily because in our initial email exchanges he was quick to revert to my queries in straight to the point, no-nonsense style. This approach suited me well. And throughout the admissions process remained the same.

So in the same no-nonsense style, I'll give you reasons to work with Karthik for your MBA admissions process.
A. He provides a step by step guide for the entire process along with useful templates. This brings much-needed clarity in terms of what you need to do and when, and in some cases why.
B. He will make sure you do all the work, and you will thank him for that later. It helps you in the interviews and does wonders to your confidence.
C. He offers unlimited reviews for resume as well as essays. This goes on till both of you are satisfied with the outcome (or you have run out of time)
D. He gives feedback that's easy to understand, actionable and often helps you bring out the best in you.
E. You will not have to waste your energy in following up since he sets clear deadlines for all the activities and strictly adheres to them.
F. Beyond all this, he is easy to communicate with. I feel that's the biggest USP because during this process you really need someone who would help you identify the winning stories from your cluttered story-board.

Please be cognizant that working with a consultant does not mean it gets any easier, you will still have to do most of the heavy lifting. (Just like working with a fitness trainer) but the best trainer often helps you achieve the best results.

So go for it. Wish you all the very best!

PS: In case, you would like to connect with me for any additional information reach out to me on LinkedIn.

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December 15, 2020

Joined: Jul 24, 2014

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Self-reported Score:
770 Q50 V48


REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I worked with Karthik this year and was admitted to HBS!

I really, really enjoyed the experience. Karthik's process forces you to introspect and think deeply about what you want from an MBA. It helps lay out all your achievements and strengths which make the process of filling out the application much easier. He helped me highlight the best parts of my candidacy which I'm sure helped me stand out of the pile!

Karthik also knows where to push you - he made me retake my GMAT and I think the additional 20 points that came out played a big role in making my application more competitive. He knew I was applying to a tough set of schools to get into - and told me clearly where my profile was weak and where I would need to strengthen it. He's always available to help - and also kept me calm when I was stressed out after I hit the submit button!

Working with Karthik is a no-brainer for me - I would definitely recommend him and August Academy to anyone looking to pursue an MBA!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
December 13, 2020

Joined: Aug 16, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
770 Q51 V45

August Academy Consultancy Experience


Before the beginning of the application cycle, I had spent a good amount of time researching and talking with multiple MBA consultants. I decided to go with the comprehensive package of Karthik @August Academy after seeing the amazing reviews of his past consultees and having a long conversation with Karthik. After going through the whole application process, I can definitely say that all his positive reviews were not for naught.

The thing that was the deciding factor for me was that unlike other consultancies, Karthik personally worked with all the individual applicants, and as such, I was confident that I would receive the same quality service as mentioned in the reviews.
Karthik’s use of productivity tool Asana definitely helped make the whole process very organized and collaborative. We began with a number of basic questions in order to compile all my experiences and thoughts. This definitely helped me think beyond my resume and professional achievements and served as good reference material for my application essays.
The rest of the process was quite smooth. We tackled each college application one by one in a systematic manner. Karthik’s friendly nature helped me feel comfortable to discuss even trivial doubts regarding the applications. With several years of experience of working with multiple applicants with a similar background as mine, he had a unique perspective on each of my essays which helped me in approaching my essays in a more succinct manner. I was able to delve deeper into my personal life experiences with his suggestions and bring out my achievements in a more nuanced way.

Thanks to Karthik, I have received admit from ISB Hyderabad. I would recommend August Academy to all those aspirants who are looking for a consultant not to spoon-feed them but to enable them to build an application that portrays them in a stronger light.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
June 17, 2020

Joined: Oct 27, 2019

Posts: 3

Kudos: 1

Reliable and Holistic Mentorship

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I was referred to Karthik @August Academy by a couple of colleagues who had worked with him before. I worked with him in Round 1 of 2019 for 4 US-based MBA programs.

I had spoken to multiple MBA consultants at the beginning of the application cycle and had my doubts about how personalized their approach would be. I wanted to work with someone who would personally spend time to understand my story and then guide me to present it in a convincing manner. After my initial conversation with Karthik, I was convinced that his approach suited me the best and I wasn't disappointed.

Karthik follows a very systematic and structured approach to the application process. His use of an online productivity tool made it much simpler to manage multiple tasks. We began with a set of starter questions which helped me compile all my experiences and achievements in a succinct manner. This exercise made the rest of the process relatively straightforward as I had the relevant reference material for the essays and the resume.

Calling Karthik a consultant would be a bit of an understatement as he was more like a mentor and friend to me. He helped me pick me a set of schools and had a unique and tailored perspective on each one. He was the perfect sounding board who helped structure my thoughts in the right direction and often brought an outside-in perspective to my essays. He was always available for a chat about the smallest of doubts, even in peak admission season and responded to most queries within 48 hours.

Thanks to Karthik, I received admits from the Darden School of Business-UVA, the Ross School of Business-UMich, UCLA Anderson School of Management (with a hefty fellowship) along with a place in the waitlist at the Kellogg School of Management. I would suggest all future aspirants to set up a chat with Karthik to understand how beneficial it will be to have him by your side in this rigorous process.

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June 11, 2020

Joined: Nov 27, 2017

Posts: 16

Kudos: 5

Verified score:
730 Q49 V40

Professional and Timely help!


I worked with Karthik for 5 schools in round 2. I was targeting all schools which were in top 10. Karthik guided me through the process, making me well aware of the risks but was supportive on how to achieve the aim. When I had contacted Karthik, my whole application was rusty. He worked patiently with me spending almost a month ironing out kinks in my resume and my professional goals. The best part was that he understood my part of the story why I wanted to pursue Mba, which helped me create compelling stories for the application. The other thing that I really liked working with karthik was his organization through Asana. It made life so much easier anytime I needed any content reviewed by him. I ended up getting interview call from Mit-sloan, Yale and Berkeley-Haas. I was put on the waitlist for Yale and Haas and ended up converting those. The step by step help provided by karthik during my waitlist period, really helped me be in meaningful constant touch with the admission team. I would like to give a shout out to him for his constant support and guidance that ultimately helped me get admit into my dream school.

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June 11, 2020

Joined: Sep 09, 2019

Posts: 6

Kudos: 12

Verified score:
760 Q51 V41

One of the Best MBA Admissions Consultant


The decision to pursue an MBA from a top US B-school was made by me in late August of 2020. Having not prepared for GMAT or applied to international B-schools previously, I needed a mentor who could guide me through the arduous end-to-end process of b-school applications.

In my introductory call with Karthik, I was particularly impressed by how quickly he could understand my case and motivations, and propose a clear plan of action. Karthik is very structured and professional in his communication style. Unlike many admissions consultants who come across as salesmen during the initial discussions with candidates, Karthik shared with me a realistic view of what could and could not be achieved within the available timelines and with my profile. Furthermore, Karthik’s exemplary personal qualifications and credibility of August Academy’s as an AIGAC member along with the opportunity to directly work with Karthik convinced me to enroll for his services.

I worked with Karthik on a 5-school package. Karthik adopts a very structured approach to the entire application process and breaks it down into several smaller modules which makes it easier for candidates to work upon efficiently. Additionally, usage of project management tools such as Asana supports this approach further.

The key value add that Karthik brings is his ability to break down a college essay question into what it exactly asks for and what it does not. This is particularly important as most essay questions have word limits and the worst mistake an applicant can make is frame the best answer for the wrong question. Having worked with him on applications for 4 of the top 5 US B-schools and another top 10 B-school, I was able to secure interview invites from 4 of the 5 schools. The stories and essay answers drafted for these colleges allowed me to apply to several other top 15 US B-schools in round 2 itself. This would not have been possible without Karthik’s mentorship and guidance and throughout the process.

I ended up interviewing for 9 schools and secured admits to 5 B-schools with hefty scholarships in few of them. Additionally, I was waitlisted in 2 of the top 5 B-schools. I have decided to enroll at Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley due to a strong fit with the school culture and with my career goals. This is a school which I may not have applied to in the first place, due to its small batch size and high selectivity, had it not been for Karthik who recommended me to apply despite the challenges.

I would highly recommend Karthik and August Academy to all serious MBA aspirants who are seeking sincere and honest guidance to help them secure admits to top global B-schools. He is not someone who will write your essays or draft your resumes. Rather Karthik would act as a sounding board to efficiently guide you throughout the application process.

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April 23, 2020

Joined: Feb 11, 2018

Posts: 346

Kudos: 149

Verified score:
750 Q50 V42

Karthik is the best!!


I remember to signing up with an email for a call back from Karthik sometime in March 2019. Karthik was recommended to me by a classmate of mine who went to SAID-Oxford. I liked how professional he was on the first call itself. We spoke for an hour, I remember, where we discussed everything from career goals to likely schools to aim for, to how I can build my profile up in the 6-7 month period I had. Karthik, from day 1 I felt was a thorough professional, always sticking to his deadlines. His school suggestion and the schools I had in mind after considerable research almost matched barring 1 school. I liked his services so much that after I had worked with him for 5 schools, I ended up extending it to an 8 school package. I was able to remain confident and calm in the entire application season, knowing well that Karthik had my back.

Karthik, I have to say, came across as a little conservative initially, though in hindsight it was clear that I was the person who overestimated. Karthik told me that Booth, the college I was aiming for, is going to be a little tough. I was fixated on applying to Booth. He also gave me not so flattering reviews about my writing style. I felt bad, at that time, I have to say now. But not anymore I think given that I got into Fuqua, one of my dream schools, with a substantial scholarship. What I realised in the entire process was that Karthik was strict just to ensure that we as applicants are disciplined and focussed in the entire high pressure application process. In hindsight, it was clear that Karthik being strict initially was him keeping the best interests of me in mind and nothing else.

A few other things about Karthik are also really commendable. He is a thorough professional. I applied to Booth just because it was an M7 and I wanted to apply to one M7 at least and test the waters. Karthik probably knew that given my background and achievements, Booth was going to be very difficult. He mentioned so. But we still went ahead just because I had forced. I have to say the most time on an application Karthik had spent was on my Booth application. We spent around a month and a half on an application Karthik knew was going to be somewhat difficult just because I had insisted. I did not end up converting Booth but I was floored by his professionalism.

Karthik is also actually flexible too though he might claim otherwise. If he knows there is a deadline approaching fast, he will take up more work than is needed from his part. The Fuqua deadline was fast approaching in my case and Karthik took up multiple tasks a single day, for eg : he used to see my resume, my essay, my goals all in a single day, without cribbing as to why I am putting him under so much burden all of a sudden.

Karthik's interview preparations are amazing. The Fuqua interview was the first interview I was giving after a gap of 5 years. That I was able to convert it was because Karthik had done his best to calm me down and give me the necessary confidence to do well in the interview. Even during his school specific brainstorming calls, he does not just stick to the agenda and discuss about only the school. Like a true friend, he enquires about everything going on in the application cycle, anything that is lagging behind in the process, etc. In short Karthik is flexible to the extent possible for him. Karthik helps with scholarship reconsideration prep as well. I was able to increase my scholarship from negligible to substantial, at one of the schools mentioned below, because of his astute guidance.

I have admits from Fuqua, UNC, Rice jones all with substantial scholarships thanks to Karthik Palaniapan and his unbelievable guidance. I have found a mentor and most importantly a friend, in him!!!

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April 09, 2020

Joined: Nov 21, 2015

Posts: 2

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
710 Q50 V35

Absolutely unmatched coaching


Securing an admit from a top B School is tough but finding the right person who would take you there is even tougher. After a lot of deliberation over whom to choose, I decided to go with August Academy. The primary reason was Karthik's stellar academic achievement. Karthik's no spoon feeding attitude not only made the grueling application process feel interesting and fun but also helped me at work and outside. The starter files that he prepared brought the unique qualities out of me to be put down in application essays. He would never give up on his students and would constantly motivate them throughout the application process. Through the constant effort that he has put, I was able to get an admit from one of my dream B Schools with 60% scholarship. I would really like to thank Karthik for helping me with my applications and wish him much more success in the present and future.

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October 31, 2019

Joined: Dec 08, 2016

Posts: 57

Kudos: 64

Verified score:
750 Q50 V40

Best in the business : a Guide and Friend more than a Consultant


After having unsuccessful admission round 2 in 2018, I reached out to Karthik to work with three schools in Round 1 2019. I found him very understanding and helpful person. He was very systematic in his approach and knew what he was doing, what the applicants’ strengths were and how to leverage them.

We started working on Resume and he made sure that every bullet point highlighted my key strengths and impact I had at work and in community involvement. After Resume we started working on essays. What I really liked about him was that he ensured that every word in essay was making sense and answered the question that was asked in essay. Sometime as applicant, one starts to use flashy words hoping that they would impress adcom but he made sure that I did not fall into that trap.

He really helped me in structuring my essays and we were able to highlight the right aspects of my background and tell a meaningful and authentic story. Apart from his essay and resume review, he also conducted webinars with adcoms of top B schools which I felt allowed me to know more about those schools on more personal level. He conducted live sessions on resume, essay and career goals etc. with his other clients and I really leveraged those sessions to make my application stronger.

After going through one unsuccessful and one successful application process I can say that it is because of his meticulous and committed efforts I could get admit from Duke Fuqua - my top choice. I would encourage prospective applicant who is looking for not just a MBA consultant but a guide, mentor and most importantly friend to work with Karthik. I am glad to have him on my side.

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