May 18, 2014

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Through this long but hopefully useful review, I would like to acknowledge that perhaps the greatest contribution towards a successful culmination of my MBA applications journey was made by mbaMission’s consultant Erin Foley Schuhmacher. Thank you, Erin!! =) I am super excited at being admitted to Chicago Booth’s Class of 2016!

I have no qualms in admitting that without Erin’s help, I would have probably given up my MBA dream! Coming from an overrepresented applicant pool and being an international from an admissions standpoint, I knew I stood a slim chance at making it to the top schools! I had already spent a futile year applying to schools by myself and ended up with no returns to show for my efforts. The whole process had left me demoralized and mentally broken!

That’s when I found Erin! After acing the GMAT in a second successful attempt, I was really looking to work with a professional consultant who could understand my personal and professional experiences and help me build a compelling story. In mbaMission, I found a company that I felt truly justified the amount of investment prospective students make in taking up admissions consulting services: their consultants have top notch MBAs themselves, bring in years of experience in this business, and most importantly work full-time towards this profession, which is important when deadlines are approaching and their workload is high.

As I was a bit late in approaching mbaMission, I consider myself lucky that I got to work with Erin: she is herself an HBS graduate and is one of the senior-most consultants at mbaMission who only takes a specific number of clients each season so that she can focus on quality over quantity! When I scheduled an introductory call with Erin to discuss the nature of help I was looking for, I could immediately appreciate her professional demeanor and her candor: unlike other consultants from other companies, she did not spend an inordinate amount of time telling me how deserving a candidate I was! She meant business right away and that kept me grounded and focused from the get-go. By this time, I had decided to take 4 Start-to-Finish school packages working with Erin, and had started to put in the hard yards: I dedicated one full week to the brainstorming document that she had provided to uncover all my personal and professional stories and experiences from even the remotest corners of my mind! At the beginning of our engagement, Erin gave me hours at stretch to go over my stories and build a framework for my Personal Statement that would come to define the backbone of my goals essays. She listened intently to all my viewpoints and always tried to steer my thinking towards logical connections that seemingly never occurred to me before. When we started working on various schools’ essays, she took immense effort in improving the quality of my essay drafts over several iterations through insightful comments that allowed me to bring a unique balance in the flow of the narrative and helped connect all elements in a very coherent way. She was extremely efficient in turning around my essay drafts with her comments inside 48 hours per the company policy, with several times much sooner than that. Throughout this process, I had the luxury to setup any number of conference calls with her as we discussed the essay changes and improvements, or even simply to tell her whether I felt happy or frustrated, buoyant or dejected at my progress. In a period when I was balancing a professionally demanding work situation with hours of endless effort writing and rewriting my essays, she was my go-to person for anything and everything related to this process, including preparing over Skype for the dreaded video component of some of my applications! Before submitting, I could myself feel that the quality of my application as a finished product was much superior to what I could have ever managed myself.

When I started getting interview calls, I knew that the job was only half done and that I had to get over the finishing line by brushing up on my interview skills. Here again, Erin’s experience was invaluable: she was extremely resourceful at providing targeted question banks specific to each school and held mock interviews (sometimes multiple for a school) with me in which she gauged my level of preparedness, flow of thoughts, and the enthusiasm in my responses, while providing vital feedback.

And the results speak for themselves: I got into two excellent schools with named merit scholarships and have decided to go to Chicago Booth! I can now soak in the sweetness of this feeling when you know that your hard work has finally paid off! While my MBA applications journey spreading over almost two years has made me more mature and resilient, in Erin I found a mentor and now a friend who has made me more self-aware!

Hereby, I unequivocally recommend Erin Foley Schuhmacher and mbaMission to any prospective applicant striving for success with admission to a top business school!

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