February 03, 2015

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

The 30-minute phone call I had with Katy for my free mbaMisson consultation completely changed my experience with business school admissions, and I am deeply grateful that it did.

I first spoke with Katy in the summer of 2013 when I was thinking about starting to put together applications. In less than half an hour, she helped me see that I was making a mistake by applying at that point in time. I had an almost perfect GMAT score, excellent grades, good extracurriculars, and fiercely devoted recommenders from the several years I had spent working in the nonprofit sector. I thought my profile seemed pretty good … but I was wrong. I had all of these boxes checked, but what I sorely lacked was the foundation of every effective application: an honest and engaging personal narrative that ties together your past and your future. In short, I had no idea why I wanted to go to business school (or, more accurately, I didn’t know how to articulate it yet). During our call, Katy suggested that I take another year before applying. She suggested that I accept the promotion I had just been offered at work, pick up a couple more extracurriculars, and above all, take the time to really reflect on what I hope to accomplish in my life and how that explains my desire to get an MBA. It was the best advice I could have been given.

For me, that piece of advice exemplifies some of Katy’s finest qualities—namely, her honesty and integrity. She had nothing to gain (and everything to lose) by giving me that advice. By suggesting that I hold off on applying, she actually risked losing a client in any number of ways—if I decided not to apply after all, if I decided to work with someone else, if I decided I didn’t need anyone as a consultant, etc. But what Katy cares most about is your success. This was evident to me from the very beginning, and it remains true today. I’m done with business school admissions, and she still checks in every now and then to see how things are going. (I’m starting at Kellogg in the fall—an outcome I’m absolutely convinced I could not have achieved without Katy’s help.)

I took Katy’s advice and spent the next year smoothing out the edges of my application and doing the self-reflection required to craft a strong personal narrative. The following summer, I hired her on an hour-by-hour basis as a soundboard for that personal narrative and for editorial feedback on essays. In our initial brainstorming session, Katy listened to my ideas, asked questions, and offered insights that helped me solidify my story and understand how to communicate it through the application. I know this will sound like an exaggeration, but that conversation was honestly one of the best conversations I’ve had in the five years of my adult life (i.e., since I graduated from college). I left that conversation feeling like no matter what happens with business school admissions, I’ll be able to look back on the process and feel that it was worthwhile if only because I learned so much about myself along the way. The process was tremendously valuable to my personal development, in large part because of the interactions I had with Katy.

I mentioned some of Katy’s best qualities already—honesty, integrity, shared goals, commitment. On a more tangible level, the list of her redeeming characteristics is long as well. Her professional background in the admissions office at Stanford GSB allowed her to give me an insider’s perspective on key aspects of my application. Her editorial advice was always helpful—when it came to essay writing, she gave me excellent feedback on everything from school-specific topic selection to grammar and syntax. Her responsiveness and availability are also top notch. mbaMission has a 48-hour response policy, but she always does way better than that. I remember one time she went off on a wilderness retreat somewhere in the Sierra Nevadas, but she was still responding to email because she had some crazy device that brings the internet to where the internet has never gone before. There was also a time when a school wanted to interview me on very short notice, and I wanted to do a mock interview with Katy that very day. She was, of course, more than happy to accomodate the short notice, and she sent me great follow-up notes soon after our call.

Looking back at the process, I can't imagine having done it without Katy’s help. Whether you need a start-to-finish type of package or just targeted help on certain pieces of your application, look no further than Katy Lewis. Deciding to work with Katy will be the best decision you make during this whole process.

Login to create/modify/remove your own comments