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I signed up for MER services to seek support and guidance to apply for full time MBA program for fall 2019 intake. I signed up for comprehensive package for 3 universities and additionally 6 essays package to apply for other universities. I was a student of e-GMAT online courses and MER was referred by e-GMAT. However, I made an extensive research on the gmat club forum and found out that though she is among the top 5 consultants globally for MBA admission services, the fare charged by her for her services was half of that charged by other equally qualified consultants. Secondly, other equally renowned consultants were firms that employed writers whereas in MER, the founder, Madam Poonam took up the job herself and attended each candidate individually.
I had a one-hour counseling session on 18.09.2018. The session was really fruitful. Madam Poonam patiently listened to my entire story on education, work experience and community service experience and broadly outlined the list of universities that I could target. She strongly conveyed in the first counseling session that I should not apply to the same universities that I applied last year but failed to get through because I could not improve my GMAT score from the score I had secured the previous year.
Resume building was the most challenging part of my application as I not only have 9 years of work experience but also have a few outside of work interests. Consequently, I had a lot to list in my resume, but she took tremendous efforts to ensure that only the best of my experiences found its place in my resume. My resume underwent at least 4 edits and 2 layout changes. In the entire process, she was only suggestive and did not enforce her ideas on me. Finally, we prepared an impressive one-page resume with quality content and with balanced view on my work and outside of work experiences.
Understanding the profile starts with a questionnaire of 17 questions.. She starts this process well in advance so that we do not miss out important contents even while applying to the first university. This sets up the base for a complete understanding of the profile of any candidate which will come handy in the later stages of application. Maximum disclosure of information during this stage can result into a best application as she positions stories from the information that candidates furnish at this stage.
She often said that for my work experience I had a lot to write but the real challenge was to present the story within prescribed word limits. So whenever I wrote essays, I presented her with at least 100 words more than that prescribed by the university and left a tough task for her to work on. She would realign the content, trim the sentences short, and paraphrase the content to make the story more compelling and effective. Though I always tried to present full story to ensure not to miss out anything, she knew better on what to present and what to eliminate. This helped us in preparing exciting stories.
She is excellent in her editing skills. The most interesting aspect of working with her was that she never dismissed any of the word that I used in my essay for the sake of improving the essay or using an English rich in vocabulary. The final draft of any essay remained purely mine but just improvised in grammar and punctuation. Her qualification in English, her experience in this field and her students getting admitted to top B-schools stand testimony to her editing and persuasive story-writing skills.
Poonam promptly addressed all my queries during the essay writing phase and later. Whenever my suggestions were acceptable, she incorporated them in her edits. Whenever I experimented or thought a better content and questioned her on the suitability of the new content, she constantly encouraged me to think new and think better. I asked her numerous questions on low GMAT score, choice of universities and job prospects overseas even before starting the application. But she addressed all queries to my satisfaction.
She is very particular in maintaining the turnaround time. She not only maintains strict timeline but also expects candidates to adhere to the timelines. Any draft that I sent for edit returned back within 48 hours. Strict devotion to timelines helped us complete application for 7 universities in 75 days.
She was highly helpful in my interview preparation. She provided me with a brief on do’s and don’ts during the interview along with a list of probable questions. This information material provided me a clear framework as to how I should structure my interview response. The mock interview was an exact simulation of the interview by admissions committee of any B-School. She gave me a detailed oral and written feedback on each question raised during the interview and my responses to those questions. This detailed feedback helped me to work on my weaknesses and perform better during the real interview.
LOR is one of the crucial components of application. I worked with her on a common GMAC prescribed LOR form which had four questionnaires with responses up to 500 words. As the admissions committee highly values the opinion of the direct supervisor, endorsement of the candidate’s qualities by the direct supervisor is very important. She was instrumental in highlighting my strengths, unmatched contribution in key areas and unique qualities through the eyes of my supervisors.
Mitigating weaknesses and highlighting strengths is the real strength of Madam Poonam, I would say. I availed the services of another consultant and applied for two universities last year, but I did not get through. This year, though my profile has not bettered much, I have applied for universities that are better in terms of ranking and reputation. I have been interviewed by 5 schools, waitlisted by two (Simon and Georgetown), and accepted by one (Schulich) . The only aspect that created a difference in my candidature this time was the ability to highlight my strengths and mitigate the weaknesses while preparing my application. She had a very important role in that. Through the application process, she already gave me a glimpse of how an MBA program would be and partly prepared me for the program.
I am very happy to have worked with one of the best experts and mentors in the admissions process for an affordable price. My only suggestion to my fellow aspirants is that it depends on each individual candidate to get the best out of her as a qualified director extracts superior performance from an actor. I highly recommend Madam Poonam to my fellow MBA aspirants.