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Joined: Aug 30, 2018
710 Q49 V39
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
Profile and Background
I am a 30-year-old engineer, am from an over-represented group, have two degrees in electrical engineering, and have pretty average stats. I have worked in the energy industry for almost 7 years at a pretty niche company with some promotions but no direct management experience.
• Age: 30
• Demographics: White American male
• Electrical engineer in energy industry
• GMAT: 710 (Q49, V39, IR6, AWA6)
• Undergrad GPA: 3.3, Graduate GPA: 3.9
• Small, non-target school barely scraping the T-100 (bachelor’s and master’s)
• Work Experience: ~7 years w/ no direct management experience
• Applied in Round 2 to only one school (will explain this later)
I have a pretty basic profile, and had been preparing 2+ years for the GMAT. Summer 2019 came along, and I still had not hit my target GMAT score and had little idea of where to even start with applications or how to transform my goals and passion into a cohesive story for my application. My goal is to transition from an engineering/market analyst role to a renewable energy-specific project finance/development role.
Choosing a Consultant
A good friend referred me to Avanti Prep at a time when I was both lost on where to start and skeptical of admissions consultants. I spoke with about 5 different consultants but found that Greg, during our Free Consultation, was the most forthcoming and honest as well as the most personable. He managed expectations but also had the energy and tenacity to make me feel confident that, despite any obstacle, I could put my best foot forward and deliver the best, most optimal and representative application I could. He made no promises except to be the best possible partner along the way and to give my application the time it needed.
I enrolled in Avanti Prep’s Tier 3 Package, which covers everything, and my experience with Greg was fantastic. MBA applications can be incredibly daunting and, paired with GMAT/GRE prep, very stressful. Greg helped transform the application into a very detailed step-by-step process that made it much easier for me to balance writing the application, preparing for my GMAT, and working on some of the auxiliary parts of my application (outreach, etc.).
Greg’s reviews were very meticulous, methodical, and detailed. He answered my questions quickly via email (we had 3+ email threads going at any given time with a LOT of back-and-forth) and empowered me to put my best foot forward in each component. He put a lot of effort into understanding my background, story, and goals. He emphasizes working through the application as partners, and he does not fall short. He was invested in each component of my application as much as I was – and it shined through in each task, call, and review along the way.
Honestly, no amount of Reddit posts, ClearAdmit/GMATClub/P&Q blog posts, or Admissions "Application Tips" posts would have prepared me to deliver the level of application that Greg helped me deliver. I'm incredibly proud of it. Two years ago I had all but given up on the idea of getting in to a Top-20 program but now, with Greg’s help, I'm headed to my dream school with a scholarship award (that the school doubled from their original offer)!
Step-by-Step Process and Detailed Recommendation
The Tier 3 Package covers everything, including: 1) school selection and story development, 2) essay brainstorming and review, 3) resume review, 4) recommender selection, strategy, and review, 5) interview prep, and 6) scholarship negotiations (plus other auxiliary elements, as noted, like Q&A and guidance regarding how to reach out to and connect with schools). For those interested in the details, I’ll try to touch on each step below.
School Selection & Story Development: I had narrowed my list of schools down to about 5 before meeting Greg, but decided to shoot my shot on just one that I thought could deliver me the MBA program I felt I needed. Greg listened to my goals, suggested other potential school fits, but ultimately respected my decision to apply to just 1 school – something other consultants advised against. Story development was incredibly thorough; Greg left no stone unturned and actively searched for different breadcrumbs that could bring my essays and application to life.
Essay Brainstorming and Review: After our initial brainstorming call, we settled on a few themes to focus on for my first essay. The initial draft felt like an unsurmountable challenge, but once I submitted it to Greg, we engaged in a very fluid and dynamic development and iteration process. In the early going, we were circling around the right themes and delivery, but we weren’t all the way there. To Greg’s credit, he never let us settle for something that wasn’t fully clicking or telling my story, even if it took more time or back-and-forth. It took 5 reviews, but Greg helped me deliver a really good, authentic, and representative essay.
The second essay required a lot of school research and outreach (something Greg strongly recommends his clients to do) and creativity. Greg gave me the freedom to inject my personality into the essay and helped me deliver, what I think is, a pretty creative essay that I was immensely proud of. Greg also helped with my Optional Essay that buttressed any soft spots in my application.
Resume Review: This was one of the first things Greg and I tackled, since it seemed to be the easiest way for me to get the ball rolling. Greg was able to help me extract information from my professional and personal experiences and inject it into bullet points that worked together to maximize different parts of my experience and also echo my post-MBA goals. He also helped me translate things from technical engineering parlance to clear bullets with business relevance. Honestly – the resume looks very sharp and I’m going to be scared to change it!
Recommender Prep: I already had a decent idea of who I was going to ask write my recommendation, but Greg worked to vet my thought process regarding my choice. He reaffirmed my decision to go with a recommender that wouldn't deliver a flowery review, but instead one that would deliver an honest review that highlighted new topics, echoed the strengths of my application, and even reinforced certain areas of potential concern.
Interview Prep: After receiving an invitation to interview, we started off with a call where Greg walked me through the overall interview experience, steps to prepare for a wide-assortment of different interview questions as well as ones that were typically asked by my target school. After my own prep, we had a mock-interview that road-tested each of my answers. He provided clear and methodical feedback and gave me a roadmap to address any shortcomings in my initial answers. After that, we had a follow-up call to practice a couple of questions one last time and to tie up loose ends.
Scholarship Negotiation: As Greg pointed out, Goal 1 was to get in, then Goal 2 was to hope for or attempt to get scholarship money. On an Admissions Officer’s recommendation, I had mentioned in my Optional Essay that I only applied to their school. Greg and I had weighed the pros and cons of saying this – the pro being that it would help show commitment and interest (Goal 1), and the con being that it left me with very little leverage in any type of negotiations (Goal 2).
However, after being admitted and awarded a small chunk of scholarship money, Greg advised me on how to craft an email to Admissions that addressed my decision to apply to only one school, highlighted all of the efforts I had made outside of the physical application to connect and engage with the school, and basically attempted to transform my deep commitment to the program into scholarship leverage. They ended up doubling my scholarship award!