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Joined: May 26, 2015
I worked with Helen Summers at mbaMission on 5 school essays, all for the round 1 cycle of applications. Her guidance and input on putting my "best foot forward" with my essays was invaluable and I would highly recommend her to anyone who is considering an admissions consultant.
I was one of those MBA applicants with a unique background. I had a non-business undergrad degree and worked abroad in a non-corporate setting. However, business schools ( I have learned) are most interested in one's leadership capabilities ( still crush your GMAT though :) ), and Helen helped me showcase my own leadership skills with captivating stories. Also, the structure that Helen recommended I use for my essays made my story much more logical in terms of relating my past experiences to my post-MBA career goals.
I was admitted to my #1 choice. Without Helen I know that I would have had 5 dings to reminisce about this year. Instead, I'm on to the next chapter!
Joined: Apr 22, 2015
About 15 months ago, I was a regular high school teacher who hardly knew what an MBA was -- it was certainly never a part of my long-term plans. I had seen those three letters strung together, but I had no familiarity with the extent to which admissions was highly competitive, the opportunities this degree offered to radically transform my career, and the amount of labor that the application process would require.
After a couple of months of initial research, I knew that the MBA would be a good option for me, so I was considering whether to hire an admissions consulting service. I was at first skeptical of the value proposition and the extent to which they could ultimately improve my chances of gaining admission to my target schools. However, after an initial consultation with MBA Mission, I became certain that I wanted their help in order to maximize my chances of being admitted. Helen's background and experience speaks for itself, and the support she would give me over the following months was indispensable.
First and foremost, Helen is enthusiastic and authentic in her desire to help. During our initial brainstorming session she was warm and affable, and she really pushed me to think deeply and express myself clearly about the most subtle nuances of my personal history and experience. This primed me for success during the application process, and she would repeat these behaviors as we prepared to tackle each successive application (we worked on 4 total together).
However, do not take her kindness for weakness. Helen was a warm and enthusiastic supporter, but she never showed satisfaction when I did not deserve it. While there were some initial essay drafts for which she showed enthusiasm, there were quite a few where she frankly told me that my concept was off or my writing was inadequate. Further, she was a stickler for details -- I recall one essay for which she pushed me to write nine total drafts, several times demonstrating dissatisfaction over word choice in one mere phrase or sentence.
The process was labor intensive -- just as it should be. In applying to top MBA programs, I wanted to present myself as clearly and positively as possible so that the admissions officers could see the benefits of adding me to their program. I decided to hire an admissions consultant because I wanted the best possible chance of accomplishing that task. If there is someone better than Helen for the job, I'd be truly surprised. I thought that her advice and support throughout the process was top-notch and worth every penny.
As a result of her support, I gained admission to three top-10 programs (one being an M7), all of which offered generous scholarships. I am incredibly grateful for the support I received, and I would strongly encourage anyone who reads this review to consider her.
First off, mbaMission allows you to read up on bio's of the many consultants they have on their team. This is great because it allows you to choose someone who may have similar experiences to your own and makes it easier to connect with one another. That's why I chose to go with mbaMission and it worked out perfectly.
My experience with Helen Summers met all my expectations and in fact exceeded them (more on that below).
I used an hourly service and went in with a particular goal. I had my application to HBS fairly complete. I wanted Helen to essentially review my full application as if she were an admissions counselor at HBS. Based on the premise of not having any other information other than what I have provided in my application - what would her take be? Understanding that we'd be missing the recommendations component, how could I improve the overall application and chances to get to the next interview stage?
Helen provided amazing feedback on my application which helped guide me towards my final submission. Where she exceeded my expectations was that I originally asked to receive this feedback while anticipating that all my paid for hours would be used up with that round of feedback. However, Helen provided feedback on my HBS application and still left more time which allowed me to get her take on another school's application! She doesn't waste any of your precious time paid for!
In the end, I got into HBS - the school of my dreams!
Thanks Helen. And best of luck to future B school prospects!
Joined: Oct 16, 2012
730 Q49 V40
After completing my GMAT in late August, I decided to work with a consultant for my application, and was referred to mbaMission by a couple friends.
I started off with a 30-minute call with Jeremy, the founder, who didn’t really provide much insight on my profile, only to mention most of the consultants are fully booked so I better act fast.
Based on availability and reviews, I chose to work with Helen and signed up for a 2-school package, and subsequently followed with another 2-school package at a later stage.
Here are a few things that I think Helen does best:
- Helen’s turnaround time is quick, often ahead of the 2 business day turnaround timetable stated officially. She also responds to emails quickly, provided that it requires a short response.
- Helen is direct and will tell you upfront your ideas doesn’t work
- Helen is very passionate in helping her clients, you can sense it in her voice, her tone, and by the number of edits she made on an essay to make sure that the end product is at its best shape
- She does a good job in refining the content in my stories and shining the light on the appropriate details, while keeping my original tone in it
- She pays attention to the small details – when we were preparing for a video essay, she made comments on the lighting, background, webcam angles, my smile – things that I wouldn’t pay a whole lot of attention to normally
With Helen’s help, I was able to create a very good application piece for Stern and Booth, which led to interviews/admits subsequently. She was also able to help me edit 2 essays that I struggled with mightily and just did not have the most-fitting experience. To my surprise, I was admitted to that school as well.
Helen also did a great job in preparing me for interviews in terms of giving me feedback on my answers, my tonality, and my presentation.
Overall, my experience with Helen was great. She is a true professional, and I would definitely recommend her to anyone considering working with a consultant.
Here’s also a couple remarks/caveats to anyone that considering a consultant
- Since I did a fair amount of thinking on my essays, my profile positioning, and my school choices prior to using mbaMission, my experience working with Helen primary consisted of running ideas through her, essay edits, interview preparation, and reviewing the application as a whole. Adding to the fact that I completed my GMAT relatively late with only a 1-2 months until the first deadline, I couldn’t comment on the earlier stages in an application such as candidacy positioning, strength and weakness analysis, etc.
- While working with a consultant will enhance your story and maximize your chances, it is up to you to provide them with good raw materials, i.e. experience, to work with.
- While you might have 5+ applications to work on, a consultant will have just as many applications multiply by the number of clients they have. So it is the responsibility of the applicant to plan ahead of the deadline and inform the consultant that they plan to submit the application after this edit or a certain rounds of edits, taking consideration of the turnaround time.