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Joined: Apr 07, 2013
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I was introduced to Chris by a friend, and spoke to him and several other consultants are various firms before making a final decision on who to work with. Part of why I chose Chris was his balanced (in my view) take on the strengths and weaknesses of my candidacy in our initial call. Compared to other consultants who dwelled on the positives, I appreciated Chris’s attention to the gaps in my application, and his focus on how to address them. To be honest, I didn’t leave that first call feeling completely optimistic about the whole process, but on reflection I decided that’s what I was looking for from a consultant – someone to challenge and push me, and therefore help improve my application in ways I wouldn’t be able to do on my own.
I was late to the Round 1 process (Chris and I first spoke in August), and Chris helped me figure out a sensible number of schools to apply to (3). In retrospect, having seen other friends’ experiences, I’m very happy I didn’t push to submit more, and equally happy that I made sure to get apps in to all of my “top” choices within the same round. The videos / materials / worksheets developed by MBA Prep School were also a real benefit early in the process.
After our initial call, it was clear that I had a long way to go in creating a coherent “story” to tell across applications; the brainstorming and ideation exercises provided by MBA Prep School really helped me to bring forward the strongest elements in my background to deploy across schools and essays.
All that said, I think the personal dynamics really make or break this kind of relationship, and this is where Chris really shone. He certainly passes the “good guy” test, and – as I had judged from our initial call – was consistently supportive and easy to work with, while always challenging and looking to improve the final product. Most importantly, I never once felt like I had anything less than Chris’s full attention and commitment to my application – I might as well have been the only project he was working on. This was especially important given the short timeline we were working with – and frankly, time management was another primary reason I had engaged a consultant in the first place.
Chris helped develop a clear timeline to manage the process of getting 3 strong applications submitted, and he pushed me the whole way to accomplish that goal.
This process is tough. Working with Chris helped me internalize that, and realize that all you can do is put yourself in the best position to succeed and then roll the dice. Chris helped me put my best foot forward in all my applications – and even so, there were some surprises and disappointments. In the end, I got into one of my three top schools; and I also got a generous scholarship. I’m happy with my outcome, and grateful to Chris Aitken and MBA Prep School for helping me get there!