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Joined: Aug 07, 2020
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I was a re-applicant and after my first year of applications, I knew that I had to strengthen my essays. Through my research and a friend’s recommendation, I researched MER. The key things that stood out were 1. Pricing for the comprehensive package and 2. The turnaround time.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical when I saw MER’s competitive pricing as compared to other MBA application consultants. But because of the recommendation and my introductory phone call with Poonam, I knew this would be the right fit. Poonam showed genuine interest in helping me with my application and offered lot of advice and feedback in the introductory call itself. Moreover, while some other consultants were being very pushy about signing up with them ASAP, Poonam gave me enough time to think about my needs and plan accordingly. This experience with Poonam assured me that MER would be the right partner.
The brainstorming session is the first step with MER, and it is very important. Even though I had been through one cycle of applications, I still had to do lot of introspection to answer all the questions in the brainstorming sheet. The questions are well structured and helped me list several life stories that I eventually used in my essays. After submitting this, I was surprised with the detailed comments and ideas she had about essays based on my school selection. Poonam read through the entire document in detail, and she even quoted few of those stories, months into the application cycle. This was reassuring to me – Poonam took to a personal level to learn about her client. Based on the school’s essays and life stories, Poonam suggested few structures that I could use. She highlighted the advantages of one structure over another, which helped me pick the right content for my essays.
My resume needed significant work. Being an engineer, my impact to the company are very technical – impact that makes the product more efficient. It was difficult for me to demonstrate some of my key accomplishments as an impact to company. In the session, Poonam helped me show the impact to the company as a result of some of those and convinced me to drop a couple by explaining why those didn’t add value to my resume from a B-school application POV.
The essays and resume strategy sessions showed me how well Poonam understand the application process and the purpose of each material in the application packet.
I appreciate Poonam’s skill of trimming down the essay to meet the word limit. I am a wordy writer, so Poonam told me to not worry if I went around 150-250 words over the limit, depending on the essay, of course! While retaining the same meaning, she would efficiently restructure sentences or cut out words in just one edit! I was impressed. Sure, there were few instances where I thought my voice didn’t show in the edit, and Poonam helped me get to where I wanted the essay to be.
Poonam was very responsive to my questions about essays, resume, applications etc. The night before one of my applications, I had a question for her. She replied within 15 minutes. Turns out she had made herself available to support all her clients during the application time
As advertised, Poonam always delivered the edits in the 24–48-hour time frame. The quick turn around kept me on a schedule and helped me be ready with my materials ahead of the deadlines. That said, Poonam was very accommodative of my hectic, start-up work-life. Sometimes, she gave me an additional day or two to send my draft of essays. But she followed up consistently to make sure that I was on track.
I have a relatively low undergrad GPA. Poonam worked with me to clearly highlight the reasons of the low GPA, how I overcame some challenges, and more importantly, the lessons I learned. I think the low GPA essay alleviated any concerns around my undergrad GPA, which I think was one of the obvious weaknesses in my application.
Poonam understands the expectations that b-schools have from interviews and provided feedback that helped make my responses more powerful. She shared some strategies around when to talk about certain key topics, and which topics to avoid. For example, coming from a niche industry, there was a point that I had pushed to a very low-probability question in the end. Poonam showed me versions of my own response that could easily fit into common questions about “Tell me about yourself” or “why MBA?”. MBA applications are all about differentiation, and these tips definitely helped me do so.
Thank you, Poonam, for working with me on my applications. You have been very patient with my timing and have accommodated by hectic work-life through the process. For where I was in the process, your services helped elevate my application.
I received admits from Haas and Tepper with scholarship and am waitlisted at Darden. I will certainly recommend MER to any prospective applicants whom I come across.