December 22, 2014

Joined: Jun 20, 2014

Posts: 0

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My biggest concern about hiring an admissions consultant was that I would be paying $5000+ with NO guarantee of performance. If I didn’t make the cut, it didn’t affect the consultant I would never see again – he or she still got paid. However, given the importance of getting things done right the first time, I went for it.

Frankly, I lucked out with Dan. When I set up my free consultation, his availability worked better than the others. I liked what he said though and I pulled the trigger without having spoken to any others. I applied to 5 schools (1 stretch, 3 at-levels, and 1 safety) and Dan helped on 2. I got dinged on the stretch and accepted at the safety. What really speaks to Dan’s expertise is that of the 3 at-level schools I applied to, I got into 1, my dream school. Of those 3, it was the one application that Dan helped me to prepare.

Instead of just adding one more glowing review though, I’ll describe what frustrated me most about my interactions with Dan, because Dan’s strengths were most evident when I was frustrated. For instance, I had spent hours and hours working on a resume. I expected some minor edits and a pat on the back. That’s not what I got. 20 hours of work and about 5 or 6 drafts later, I finally had the finished product.

The problem with my resume wasn’t content – it was me. This was the beginning of my application process and I had spent the previous 2 years working in public accounting. In that time, I had lost sense of how to communicate. I kept drafting an accounting resume – I needed an MBA resume. Once that clicked for me, my whole application approach changed. Many would have given up on me. Dan only accepted the best possible product.

I was frustrated on another occasion when I discussed why I wanted to apply to HBS. I had a really good “connection” that I thought could give me enough of an edge to at least have a shot. I didn’t have a shot though. Dan did an excellent job of communicating this to me. He was understanding and cared enough not to crush my hopes, but he was also persuasive and saved me from wasting time and money, important resources in the application process.

Put simply – Dan is a straight shooter. If you want a friend who will coddle or babysit you, then Dan just isn’t your guy. But if you want an advisor you can trust to be honest and direct, then he is.

Though my frustrations demonstrate Dan’s expertise and skill, I really could go on and on about how many things Dan made easier on me (no frustration required!). He helped me select a list of target schools that fit my strengths as an applicant. He always answered one-off questions in a timely manner (usually no more than a couple hours). He always returned deliverables to me within 48 hours (usually 24). He always provided helpful perspectives on random questions. And perhaps most importantly, I felt confident at every stage of the application process because I knew Dan was in my corner, working to tell my story.

Again, I’m thrilled with Dan and the results he helped me to achieve. In hindsight, I would have hired him for 3-4 applications and I would have ensured that he helped on the first 2 applications to go out.

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