December 16, 2014

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As some context to the following review, here is a little bit about me: Accountant with 7 years of work experience under my belt, currently applying to three UK Schools (a Top 3, a Top 10 and a Top 25 ranked globally)

Before I continue, I think it is worth putting it out there from the get-go – do yourself, and your applications, a massive favour and sign up to the Admissions Consulting Services of Veritas Prep. I honestly believe I would not even have received an offer of an interview from my two target schools (my third one ding’d me) had I not signed up with Veritas Prep and utilised their consulting services. That is no exaggeration. I genuinely think Veritas Prep’s services and their consultants were/are that important to my applications.

So why did I sign up to an admissions consultant?

Put bluntly, my CV, work experience and academics are decent, but they are not stellar. I knew that I would be up against applicants who had cured cancer, climbed Everest unaided and built water wells in African villages, and who had also scored a straight 800 on the GMAT. You get the idea. I knew if I could get an interview with each school, I could put in a good performance. Getting an interview was always going to be the big obstacle for me. I realised I needed something to give me that leg up, that help and expertise to put forward the best applications possible. The leg up came in the form of an admissions consultant.

Why did I choose Veritas Prep?

Before signing up with Veritas Prep, I weighed up the services offered by the other Prep/Consulting providers. To be honest, there isn’t that much difference on the face of things. You really are splitting hairs if you go on their websites alone.
My decision was made when I read the reviews on websites like this. The reviews of applicants who had previously made use of Veritas Prep’s services were largely the same – the setup is almost military in its planning and organisation, the consultants and specialists are unrivalled and the results are tangible.

Would I recommend Veritas Prep?

In a heartbeat. Honestly, the whole package is unmatched, in my opinion. Though I used only Veritas Prep, I find it hard to imagine another Prep/Consulting provider offering as comprehensive a service as Veritas Prep.

The services offered by Veritas Prep are not solely aimed at decent-but-not-stellar applicants. I believe every applicant can make use of Veritas Prep’s services to some degree – yes, even those with an 800 on the GMAT and 6 months of charity work in some remote village somewhere.

I would first suggest visiting their website and reviewing their Consulting Services section for a basic overview - If you want, give them a call or an email to get a more in-depth discussion of their offerings, and how they can really help you.

If you want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, this is how I would summarise the consulting services from Veritas Prep.

Upon signing up, applicants are allocated a head consultant based on personality tests, so ensuring compatibility. This person takes the lead in managing your relationship with Veritas Prep. They are your go-to person for all application matters. The head consultant is more of a coach – they guide you through everything from drafting essay responses, to compiling fantastic CVs, to contacting your recommenders for reference letters.

Once your application is progressed far enough, Veritas Prep then starts to involve school specialists and directors. That is to say, once your core applications are done, you work with people who are specialists in each school to whom you are applying. These specialists really know the schools well – the culture, what aspects they want to see in your application, what makes that school standout against others, and so on. This is where generic applications begin to become very honed and school specific. Having now made your applications school-specific, your applications go to School Directors for final review. These are people who know the school as well as the specialists, but who have hands on admissions committee experience. They review your applications and give you brutally honest, but constructive, feedback about where to improve and what ideas to emphasise. If they don’t like something, it is better to find out at this stage than get rejected for real, right?

Once your Director gives you the thumbs up, you can hit that submit button and pay your application fee. Now, rather than wait it out, your head consultant will shift your focus from applications to interviews. They will encourage you to think about the interviews you’ll soon be invited for, and how you are going to answer the standard questions all MBA interviewers ask. Once your interview invitation arrives in your inbox, school specialists will come back in to the fray, and carry out mock interviews with you, either over the phone or in person if possible. Of course, the specialists will ask the standard questions plus a few curveballs. Again, it is better to fluff your lines here and get the real one perfect.

At every stage of the process, I knew I was working with an expert. Not just some clever MBA Alumnus from that school, but people who work on admissions committees in real life. They know what schools want, what they look for, what areas will ring alarm bells, and so on.

As a note, there were no limits on the number of hours I could speak to consultants, or on how many emails I could send, or on how many iterations my essays could go through. This epitomises their approach, I think – they just keep going and going until you get that offer of a place. Ok, you can’t call your head consultant at some ungodly hour, but my impression is that they will bend over backwards to help you put forward the best application you can. And this, after all, is your main aim.

Finally, if you do sign up to Veritas Prep and are allocated Christine as your Head Consultant, thank your lucky stars. This woman is an absolute Godsend. She is my Head Consultant, and I couldn't be happier with being matched with her. She has coached me all the way through my three applications – from the basics like thinking about why pursuing an MBA right now is the correct path to take and which schools I should consider, to interview preparation and coping with being Waitlisted (at a Top 3 school in the world) over the Christmas break! – and I think she has been my secret weapon. Though I’ll never know for sure, I am confident I would have been ding’d at all of my three schools without her and her coaching.

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