April 20, 2015

Posts: 4

Kudos: 22

Self-reported Score:
710 Q51 V34

Katy is a S.T.A.R consultant, and I mean every letter of it.


One week after my brainstorming session, Katy said ‘I’ll be surprised if you don’t get into at least one of your preferred schools, and I am quite sure you’ll have options in that too’. I was surprised too - to hear that I would ‘have options’. But six months down the line I realized that I was wrong. From a seven out of seven dings a year ago, to getting accepted at three programs (including one M7 school) and four waitlists (including two M7 schools) ---- this is the step change that Katy brought about in six months.

I am the overrepresented South Asian Engineer with very high GMAT, average GPA, and with little work experience or global exposure.

Katy is a S.T.A.R consultant, and I mean every letter of it.

S – Succinct – Slashing a 1000 word essay down to 500 words would be extremely difficult if we also expect to preserve the gist of the story along with its details. But Katy knew amazing ways just to do that and also to teach it. What’s more, after 5 schools, I learnt the trick myself, very unusual among such consultants who ensure that they keep the core skills and abilities to themselves for repeat business. One of the best examples of editing was how Katy managed to bring down my 60+ line resume to 50 lines without leaving out a single detail. She did that by restructuring and combining lines. But even when editing my essays or my recommendations, she always made sure that the writing style was original intact. I read in many places that consultants usually suggested non-traditional recommenders to adapt to the US style of writing, but Katy said ‘no’ because it would add all the more color to my application, if they preserved their style.

T – Terrific passion and commitment – I would consider myself more disciplined and organized than the usual applicant, but Katy always motivated me to ‘do more’. On days I was bogged down with other commitments, I would see ‘Checking in’ mails from Katy, and then I’d squeeze in one more draft of an essay. Then again, during the peak application season, when Katy’s workload would be highest, Katy always was flexible enough to answer my phone calls or emails (or at least give an appointment if she were in a meeting). This remained true even during her vacations. Sometimes I accidentally called her when she was on vacation, and she always replied, ‘I am on vacation but I can make time for you’. (FYI, most of the times I chose to wait until she returned to work, but there was once or twice where I HAD to get her help, and she didn’t hesitate.)

A – Attention to detail, in an uncommon way – My expectation from an MBA consultant was to find my story and word application materials appropriately. Katy probed into unusual aspects of the application making sure that I didn’t have any loose ends at all. In my Skype – mock interviews, I remember Katy suggesting minor improvements in the lighting angle, my posture, and even the height of my webcam. Most of these were ‘easily overlooked small differences, big impact’ suggestions.

R – Right stories – I vividly remember the many instances when Katy would suggest that I choose one story, which clearly I had underestimated, over the other. I understood Katy’s extent of involvement and understanding about myself (via the ‘Brainstorm doc’), her thoroughness with each school’s values and finally her ability to integrate these to best reflect ‘myself’. I was clearly able to show why the admissions committee should choose me over hundreds of other South Asian engineers, and why my future classmates would love to share the classrooms (or dorms) with me. For a person, myself, with little exposure to the US education system and culture, choosing the right story meant a lot.

Now, after almost a year after I had signed up with Katy, I don’t feel that it was a business deal. Katy has become the combination of a good mentor and a close friend who still makes time for me after I have enrolled. When I was pressed for time to get my U.S. visa to attend 2 of my interviews, Katy even offered to become my sponsor, so that the process would be easier.

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