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Joined: Apr 06, 2017
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Engaging a (sub-par) consultant during the last admissions cycle had already been a bitter experience that I primarily made due to the seemingly beneficial geographical proximity (they were based in the same city as me) and undeniably 'low-cost' services (be sure to verify advertised claims). Already on the other side of 30, I felt that this time around was really going to be my last real chance at gaining admission to a Top MBA program and I didn't want to leave any stone unturned. Here's some brief background:
> Indian Male
> US Undergrad + First Masters (Top 30 School)
> 750+ GMAT
> 9 years of work-ex
> Re-applicant in R1 2018 (from R2 in previous cycle)
As an Indian male engineer with nine years of experience when I would start the MBA program, primarily in family business (with some entrepreneurship and startup experience, all in India), I was in an over-represented, older, and non-traditional bucket.
Although I was re-applying with a much-improved GMAT score (50 points+), with 4 interviews and 3 waitlists last time around, I knew that it probably wasn't just the GMAT that needed improvement and hiring someone who knows the drill was essential in achieving my goals. Admittedly, I began my research on choosing the right consultant very late in the process (less than 2 months to go before the first R1 regular deadline), and by the time I had decided to engage Greg, the first deadline was just 5 weeks away.
Consultation & Signup
Although Greg technically advertises a 30-minute free consultation before sign-up, we ended up talking for almost 2 hours during that initial conversation where he really took the time to understand my situation and offer his candid opinion. He was also the first consultant who offered upfront to connect me with his previous clients (post which, during my research, I made that a requirement for even considering a consultant – and let's just say no-one was as forthcoming as Greg in making those connections). This was also a big bonus as I could actually talk about some of these connections (and subsequent connections made in their network) in my applications (in hindsight, these were strategic choices made by Greg given my specific school and career interests).
We ended up speaking again to finalize our arrangement and I ultimately signed up for a Tier 2 package for 2 schools with 23 extra hours to tackle 4 additional schools.
Quality, Efficiency, Precision & Personal Investment
Let me say here that Greg is really efficient with his time, and although I was a little sceptical of being charged by the hour once the 2 schools in the package were over, multiple times I saw him mark less time than I expected and make major progress within a review that seemed like it would have taken at least a couple of hours. Given the limited time we had, I had numerous anxious moments throughout the process, but Greg stood right by me before each and every deadline (literally burning the midnight oil on more than one occasion if there was a delay on my part in a particular review). No matter what, Greg was always committed to ensuring that we put our best foot forward.
Throughout the process, never did I feel even once that Greg just wanted to 'get it done and over with'. To the contrary, he was really personally invested in crafting my story and achieving a common goal. I doubt that an individual consultant in a larger firm (where you often have only a part-time lead consultant, and sometimes have different individuals working on different parts of your application) would have worked in a similar manner. In fact, when it came time for interview prep, Greg threw in an extra interview prep call prior to a scheduled Skype interview I had with an M7 school to ensure I was fully ready. I found him always eager to go above and beyond during the process, and I would also say he challenged me to do the same, bringing out the best in me.
The quality and precision in his reviews is also remarkable. At times, it seemed impossible to be able to do exactly as he'd recommended in an essay review, but once that was done (sometimes, post a couple of iterative suggestions), the depth of his initial suggestions really shone in the final outcome. I was also amazed at how effortlessly, over the course of several reviews of my resume, he was able to shrink 2.5 pages to the standard 1, without compromising on the substance or impact in my work experiences.
Summary & Endorsement
Given my GMAT score and the fact that I was applying in R1, we decided to apply to 4 stretch and 2 reach schools. I got an interview invite at one of the stretch schools, a wait-list at one of the reach schools (Greg predicted this one) and an admit with a 50% SCHOLARSHIP AT A TOP 10 US PROGRAM (we were both over the moon about the $$$)!!!
I can confidently say that engaging Greg for my applications was the best investment that I made during the process. The improvement in my applications from last season to this one stood out like night and day. The work we did and the brainstorming that went in to craft my story will not only hold good for a long time in my professional career, but also really helped me understand the value of my experiences thus far and aspirations going forward.
I have already referred multiple MBA aspirants who worked with Greg on their R1 and R2 applications during this past admissions cycle, and will happily continue doing so in the future!