|All Reviews > August Academy Reviews|
Joined: Sep 09, 2019
760 Q51 V41
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.
Joined: Feb 11, 2018
750 Q50 V42
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!!!
Joined: Nov 21, 2015
710 Q50 V35
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.
Joined: Dec 08, 2016
750 Q50 V40
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
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.
Joined: May 04, 2018
I worked with Karthik on 5 school applications and I got admits from 3 of them including Kellogg. Karthik is well rounded consultant whose inputs were useful at every stage of the application.
Through his storytelling approach, he helped me discover the true spikes in my career which led to
very interesting stories. I had a good resume but lacked stories that could engage and excite the admissions teams. Karthik spent lot of time understanding my perspectives and through these collaboration sessions, we discovered the right approach to each college.
I also relied heavily on Karthik’s insights and recommendations while choosing the portfolio of colleges to apply to. He helped me create a very balanced bucket list that aligned to my future ambitions. He recommended 8 colleges that I ended up applying to (Even though I leveraged Karthik’s services for only 5)
Unlike other consultants that I spoke to, I found Karthik very approachable and understanding.
Throughout the whole application process, Karthik was as involved and committed as myself. At times, I submitted drafts day before the application timelines and Karthik still always took out time to review them. The humane side of this professional relationship is something that I truly enjoyed.
Joined: Dec 24, 2014
670 Q47 V35
I was referred to Karthik by a friend who just graduated from MS-SDM program at MIT Sloan.
Although Karthik doesn't encourage face to face meetings, he accepted my request to meet him in person. After an hour discussion, I instantly decided to work with him.
I really liked the way Karthik manages the calls and schedules. The project management tool that Karthik uses made my tasks a lot simpler.
Karthik gave me a set of assignments even before we started working on my profile and resume.
I basically have to write a lot about myself. By the end of the assignments, I was confident that
I will come up with an impressive resume.
Although I had a list of colleges in mind, I wasn't 100% sure whether these colleges are the right fit for me. As I did not have a 700+ GMAT score, I thought I will never get into a top B-school in US with a scholarship. But I always wanted to do my MBA in US. He took into considerations all my preferences and suggested me a set of colleges in US.
I opted for 3 schools comprehensive package. Karthik prepared a well-defined tasks list for each college. I had a few close deadlines and Karthik took care of essay reviews well before the deadlines. I was always looking forward to the brainstorming calls. I could ask him any kind of questions. He gives a lot of insights from his personal experiences. After our brainstorming calls, I will exactly know how to approach my essays.
Karthik conducted a mock interview which covered almost all the questions that one would expect in an MBA admission interview. I had the mock interview just a couple of hours before my actual interview. He recorded the entire mock interview call and shared it for my introspection.
It was a great experience working with Karthik. I am happy and excited to join a dual degree MBA/MS-MIS program at one of the top US colleges with 50% scholarship.
Joined: Apr 17, 2019
750 Q49 V42
When I first reached out to Karthik in July 2018, I was, like many others, doubtful about taking MBA application guidance from a consultant. I was skeptical of essential bits of my story getting lost between multiple team members and of not having control over my application. With Karthik, however, it was different - he works with applicants through the entire process and his understanding of what business schools look for in applicants convinced me that he was going to be a value addition to my MBA application journey.
Karthik has a structured process to help you build your personal story. He was always available to chat and discuss, even in peak application season. Karthik is not the kind of consultant who will tell you what to write in your essays or write your essays for you. Instead, he’s like a sounding board – I would bounce my ideas off him and he would help to structure my thought process, often lending different perspectives as well.
I also liked that I had the chance to interact with other applicants in August Academy and with AdCom members from different schools through the webinars that he organized over the months.
Karthik was a vital part of my success in being accepted at my schools of choice, including Kellogg, and I would certainly recommend him as an MBA admissions consultant!
Joined: Jan 24, 2017
740 Q50 V40
Securing a place at a top business school isn’t just about a good GMAT score. It is a comprehensive evaluation in which you need to highlight your candidacy through multiple application elements such as essays, recommendations, resume and finally an interview. I realized this pretty early on after speaking to my friends who were studying at business schools and can attest to it after spending almost six months going through this grueling process myself.
The silver lining in this entire experience was that I had Karthik guiding me all along. Generically, as Indians, we start our school research pretty late unlike our western counterparts. Thus, quite a few of us may end up applying to schools based on flawed assumptions and without solid understanding of our own potential. Karthik helps to really calibrate our school selection based on his prior experience of working with students having similar profiles and does a fabulous job at that. His insights are truly amazing!
There were two things that I absolutely loved about working with Karthik. First, the brainstorming session which was conducted before beginning work on my essays. This really helped me to understand the essay statement, the structure in which I should answer and also select the stories to highlight. I found myself being forced to think on the experiences which were to be written about, which in my opinion is the most challenging and important part of an essay. Later on, Karthik ensured that my essays underwent multiple revisions (all words mine), gently nudging me in the right direction until we were both happy with the final outcome. By the end of working on my first school, my personal motto had become: “Make your essays bleed”. That’s the only way you’re getting Karthik’s approval!
Second, the use of Asana. This tool helped us to keep a track of our progress online (and on the go via a mobile app) while not getting bogged down with the multiple activities going on simultaneously. This tool kept me on my toes with automated reminders for finishing/ scheduling multiple tasks. He adhered to his set timelines and I always received a prompt response, which sometimes led me to question myself, when does he sleep? Haha!
I also had a fabulous time working with him on my interview prep, the most crucial part of which was to understand the question being asked. He really drilled this point home and as a result I was fortunate to have a 100% interview conversion rate.
Working with him, I have admits from three top 20 US schools and in his words it is a good problem to have in deciding which one to attend! This is the quintessential Karthik, always understanding and practical. I now realize that I have not only successfully negotiated the mysterious admissions process but also gained a friend and mentor for life!
I will strongly recommend him for any future applicants. Trust me, you’ll have a great time working alongside him!
Joined: Sep 17, 2017
I gave my GMAT in July 2018 and secured an average 710.
Up till then, I had thought that GMAT was the biggest challenge and rest everything else would be easy in comparison. However, that is not the case and I soon came to realize that I would be needing all the help I could get to make it to the schools I was targeting. The B-School application is a holistic process and it requires that you look back and introspect. In my opinion, the entire application process kind of gives you a little taste of what B-School will be like. I finally decided to approach Karthik from August Academy and quickly realized that I had made the right decision.
Karthik has a very systematic way of working which is designed to draw out the best in everyone he works with. He quickly grasped my strengths, weaknesses, personality and the way I approached problems.
Karthik pushed me to look at my life and think about all my different experiences, small and big, and their impact on me. I never would have thought about those things myself, honestly - I did not know I had such interesting stories to tell.
Karthik also would never try to influence or embellish my essays. My words, language, writing style and stories were all mine. Authentic and original. We would go back and forth until we found the ‘perfect fit’
Karthik is also very professional while being understanding at the same time - this is something I admire very much about him. There were times when I would freak out about one thing or the other and I also know it as a fact that I could not have been an easy client to work with and could be very stiff at times but Karthik was very accommodating and encouraged me to do my best and not let any setback affect me. He also ensured that each of my applications was of the highest quality.
I now have an admit from one of my top choices with an 80% scholarship and am awaiting results for a few other schools. Karthik truly helped me to portray the best version of myself. I couldn’t be happier with the results and would strongly recommend August Academy if you truly wish to give your MBA applications your best shot!!
Joined: Oct 24, 2015
720 Q51 V35
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
Show, don’t tell – This quote sums up my experience working with Karthik.
I failed to secure interviews in the previous admissions season, so I decided to work with a consultant this season. In the initial brainstorming call itself, I could see Karthik’s expertise on profile evaluation and school selection. He is very realistic about the profile evaluation – a quality only found only in top tier consultants.
The entire process is well structured. I was able to retrospect and scope out many experiences that I would have otherwise ignored. Additionally, I was able to refer back to these experiences throughout the process and pick up stories that would better fit the application. We went through multiple rounds of resume reviews, and I was surprised by the quality of the end product. Karthik’s tips helped me to highlight the stellar aspects of my profile in the resume. I really enjoyed our conversations during these calls, and I found that, for reasons unknown to me, I was able to think of ideas and approaches to essays that I would have otherwise not even considered.
For each essay, we created a structure during the call and discussed the various aspects that must be highlighted. Karthik patiently reviewed the essays multiple times, scrutinizing each sentence and evaluating if the sentence has any value add – I believe this a trait that only comes with experience. The mock interviews were vital and helped me prepare and present the best version of me during the actual interview. I was also blown away by some of the tool used throughout the entire process.
What I really liked about working with Karthik is that the onus is on the applicant to take the initiative and do the required research/network. It is like a Pre-MBA Crash Course, and the process very essential to learn and experience.
Karthik’s results speak for themselves. I’ve already secured an admit at a top 20 school, and I hopefully have another one on the way. I wholeheartedly recommend anyone to take up Karthik’s guidance in helping with the application, especially for folks from the overrepresented category.