Karthik Palaniappan Reviews

Company: August Academy

Karthik has scored in the top 1 percentile on both the GRE and the GMAT.  He has a B. Tech in Aerospace Engineering from IIT Madras and a Ph. D. in Aerospace Engineering from Stanford University.  He was recently selected to attend the Sloan Fellows program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

In his previous lives, he's worked on projects for the US Department of Defense, Air Force and NASA on topics as varied as missile control, air traffic management and aircraft survivability. He's developed cloud based software for identifying energy efficient cooling techniques for data centers. He's also worked with the world's largest automaker (GM) to improve the design of its vehicles.He is passionate about using Technology to make our lives better.  

He is also a self professed Math Geek with a new found love for big data.

5.0 /5 Average Rating
Based on 67 reviews
April 08, 2021

Joined: Nov 05, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

It was a right decision indeed !

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After a lot of research on consulting companies, I decided to go with August Academy. It was the best decision I made in my entire MBA application journey. Karthik guided me throughout the application process - starting from the selection of B-schools to apply to - one of the steps that I dreaded the most. His approach is very professional and well educated. He helped me in putting the best of myself out there through my resume, essays and letter of recommendations. He enhanced the uniqueness of my application by helping me develop ideas for my essays from my life stories and not compose them himself. I believe that I was profoundly benefited through the extensive experience he had with his other MBA candidates over the years. If not for his ingenious counsel, I would not have been able to secure admits from such great B-schools.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
April 07, 2021

Joined: Jul 10, 2017

Posts: 25

Kudos: 16

Verified score:
640 Q48 V30

August Academy Testimonial


As I was approaching my MBA applications, I knew I needed a good strategy right from deciding on the right colleges all the way to my admissions. I wanted to do it right the first time. I attended Karthik’s free webinar and had a free call with him. After speaking to him, I was pretty sure that I would definitely benefit from his advice on my MBA journey.

Karthik always gave me the right advice at the right time throughout my tumultuous journey of the application process. His brainstorming sessions were an eye opener as I recollected my life stories and learnt to use the right stories for the essay questions. The best thing about the whole process is that I authored all my essays using his structured advice. His sound comments made a rough initial draft to a polished final draft after multiple revisions. The use of the Asana platform also made the full process organized and systematic.

Another goldmine are his MBA Masterclasses which give new applicants a foundation knowledge on various aspects of the MBA application such as crafting a proper resume, preparing elevator pitches, answering the ‘Why MBA?’ question, setting up your LinkedIn profile, goals essays, video essays.

As I worked with him, I got interview calls from Tepper, McDonough, McCombs and eventually got admits from all of them, that too with scholarships of 50k USD from Tepper, 30k USD from McDonough and 10k USD from McCombs. As I worked with him for the above colleges, I used the experience gained to write the essays for ISB and Kelley and was able to get admit from ISB and an interview from Kelley as well.

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April 06, 2021

Joined: Apr 25, 2020

Posts: 1

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
740 Q50 V41

Working with Karthik and August Academy on my B-School applications was an excellent experience. Together, we worked on 5 applications out of which I scored an admit from Tuck and a waitlist from UCLA even in an extremely hard application cycle.

From the get-go I appreciated Karthik's honest and open communication style. In our first conversation, he helped me think through the range of schools that were realistic targets given my profile and GMAT score. Yet, he let me know that he was open to changing our strategy if I wanted to be more ambitious. And I did. Karthik was also open to letting me position my story the way I wanted to - he is a firm believer in authenticity and would often nudge me in the right direction when he felt that I wasn't being true to my goals and ambitious. We often brainstormed a plan B w.r.t story positioning but our priority would always be to run with what felt right.

Another thing with Karthik is that you can always know what to expect. He uses Asana as a project management tool with his clients and I found this to be extremely helpful in staying on top of all the various to-do's that an applicant needs to address. He was also prompt in his review of my essays, resume, and other documents - you could pretty much expect an in depth review within 48 hrs. This helped me manage my internal application deadlines with ease. Having said that, Karthik was always open to working on a tighter deadline if the matter was urgent and needed his review.

One thing I particularly liked about his process was his ability to ask the right questions during our brainstorming process. Often, we do not dig deep enough when trying to answer essay questions in MBA applications. We have an ongoing narrative in our head which we rely heavily on. But if you ask the right questions, there is often a much more meaningful reason and core belief that is guiding your decision making. Karthik was a pro at doing this and it massively improved the quality of the essays we worked on together.

Finally, something that really helped take my application to the next level was just the sheer number of reviews each of my essays went through. Karthik and I would often go up to as many as 5 drafts of the same essay before we froze it. Knowing that I had the option of doing multiple iterations of the essay allowed me to take more risks in the writing and craft better essays.

I will forever be grateful for Karthik's guidance throughout the process. Will 100% recommend using his services if you're looking for a good mentor to guide you through the B-school application process.

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February 11, 2021

Joined: Jul 18, 2019

Posts: 3

Kudos: 1

Verified score:
700 Q49 V35

Highly Recommend Karthik and August Academy!


I have only great things to say about working with Karthik. Firstly, Karthik took the time to understand my background, work experience, and career goals. Karthik then worked with me on selecting various schools based on my aspirations and helped set realistic targets. Karthik is extremely systematic and asked me to believe in the process as this was the only factor I controlled. He was there every step of the way and guided me through any questions or doubts that I had. Through my application journey, Karthik made me firmly believe that a good process leads to good results.

Karthik helped refine my resume to make it very effective by simplifying a lot of the industry jargon and highlighting my best accomplishments. Through the brainstorming sessions with Karthik, I was able to bring out my most compelling stories for each of the essays, and one of the biggest benefits was his ability to view my overall application. Karthik also offered an MBA Admissions Masterclass, which I found immensely beneficial in understanding all the various aspects of putting together a great application. Karthik was really a coach, a guide, and a friend. With Karthik’s guidance and expertise, I was able to get into a top business school with a good scholarship. I wholeheartedly recommend Karthik Palaniappan and August Academy to everyone looking for a top consultant to help them get into a great MBA program.

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January 18, 2021

Joined: Jan 01, 2019

Posts: 20

Kudos: 2

Verified score:
680 Q45 V39

In hindsight, after having secured an admit, the whole MBA admissions process-right from preparation for GMAT to appearing for the interview- seems fairly simple. But to be honest, when you are in the midst of it all, the process does get overwhelming at times. And while not impossible, it certainly is daunting to do it all by yourself.
Especially if you are someone like me; at worst I'm an indecisive procrastinator, at best I'm a coffee guzzling work machine and on most days I'm that ambitious average Joe hoping to capitalise on my strengths.

I did give it a shot on my own in 2019, applied to only one school for several reasons including lack of motivation, lack of clarity, lack of self-belief. Producing immature essays with a fairly presentable profile that secured me a spot on ISB waitlist before an interview and nothing further. I let a year pass by as my lacklustre effort and the unsuccessful outcome had considerably shaken my confidence.

I realised I needed substantial guidance in the admissions process. The biggest hurdle was of-course the sizable fees charged by almost all the consultants. I convinced myself it is still worth it by reasoning that a. Even the best CEOs, athletes, political leaders etc. take help when they need it (that was to convince my heart). b. The fees for a consultant would end up being a small percentage of the salary post MBA (This was to convince my mind).

Having convinced me to go for consultant services, the next big task was finding the right consultant. And just like you are doing right now, I read numerous reviews/testimonials for various consultants. This kind of helped me narrow down to few, however, there was no trial option in this case. I decided to go with Karthik primarily because in our initial email exchanges he was quick to revert to my queries in straight to the point, no-nonsense style. This approach suited me well. And throughout the admissions process remained the same.

So in the same no-nonsense style, I'll give you reasons to work with Karthik for your MBA admissions process.
A. He provides a step by step guide for the entire process along with useful templates. This brings much-needed clarity in terms of what you need to do and when, and in some cases why.
B. He will make sure you do all the work, and you will thank him for that later. It helps you in the interviews and does wonders to your confidence.
C. He offers unlimited reviews for resume as well as essays. This goes on till both of you are satisfied with the outcome (or you have run out of time)
D. He gives feedback that's easy to understand, actionable and often helps you bring out the best in you.
E. You will not have to waste your energy in following up since he sets clear deadlines for all the activities and strictly adheres to them.
F. Beyond all this, he is easy to communicate with. I feel that's the biggest USP because during this process you really need someone who would help you identify the winning stories from your cluttered story-board.

Please be cognizant that working with a consultant does not mean it gets any easier, you will still have to do most of the heavy lifting. (Just like working with a fitness trainer) but the best trainer often helps you achieve the best results.

So go for it. Wish you all the very best!

PS: In case, you would like to connect with me for any additional information reach out to me on LinkedIn.

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December 15, 2020

Joined: Jul 24, 2014

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Self-reported Score:
770 Q50 V48


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I worked with Karthik this year and was admitted to HBS!

I really, really enjoyed the experience. Karthik's process forces you to introspect and think deeply about what you want from an MBA. It helps lay out all your achievements and strengths which make the process of filling out the application much easier. He helped me highlight the best parts of my candidacy which I'm sure helped me stand out of the pile!

Karthik also knows where to push you - he made me retake my GMAT and I think the additional 20 points that came out played a big role in making my application more competitive. He knew I was applying to a tough set of schools to get into - and told me clearly where my profile was weak and where I would need to strengthen it. He's always available to help - and also kept me calm when I was stressed out after I hit the submit button!

Working with Karthik is a no-brainer for me - I would definitely recommend him and August Academy to anyone looking to pursue an MBA!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
December 13, 2020

Joined: Aug 16, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
770 Q51 V45

August Academy Consultancy Experience


Before the beginning of the application cycle, I had spent a good amount of time researching and talking with multiple MBA consultants. I decided to go with the comprehensive package of Karthik @August Academy after seeing the amazing reviews of his past consultees and having a long conversation with Karthik. After going through the whole application process, I can definitely say that all his positive reviews were not for naught.

The thing that was the deciding factor for me was that unlike other consultancies, Karthik personally worked with all the individual applicants, and as such, I was confident that I would receive the same quality service as mentioned in the reviews.
Karthik’s use of productivity tool Asana definitely helped make the whole process very organized and collaborative. We began with a number of basic questions in order to compile all my experiences and thoughts. This definitely helped me think beyond my resume and professional achievements and served as good reference material for my application essays.
The rest of the process was quite smooth. We tackled each college application one by one in a systematic manner. Karthik’s friendly nature helped me feel comfortable to discuss even trivial doubts regarding the applications. With several years of experience of working with multiple applicants with a similar background as mine, he had a unique perspective on each of my essays which helped me in approaching my essays in a more succinct manner. I was able to delve deeper into my personal life experiences with his suggestions and bring out my achievements in a more nuanced way.

Thanks to Karthik, I have received admit from ISB Hyderabad. I would recommend August Academy to all those aspirants who are looking for a consultant not to spoon-feed them but to enable them to build an application that portrays them in a stronger light.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
June 17, 2020

Joined: Oct 27, 2019

Posts: 3

Kudos: 1

Reliable and Holistic Mentorship

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I was referred to Karthik @August Academy by a couple of colleagues who had worked with him before. I worked with him in Round 1 of 2019 for 4 US-based MBA programs.

I had spoken to multiple MBA consultants at the beginning of the application cycle and had my doubts about how personalized their approach would be. I wanted to work with someone who would personally spend time to understand my story and then guide me to present it in a convincing manner. After my initial conversation with Karthik, I was convinced that his approach suited me the best and I wasn't disappointed.

Karthik follows a very systematic and structured approach to the application process. His use of an online productivity tool made it much simpler to manage multiple tasks. We began with a set of starter questions which helped me compile all my experiences and achievements in a succinct manner. This exercise made the rest of the process relatively straightforward as I had the relevant reference material for the essays and the resume.

Calling Karthik a consultant would be a bit of an understatement as he was more like a mentor and friend to me. He helped me pick me a set of schools and had a unique and tailored perspective on each one. He was the perfect sounding board who helped structure my thoughts in the right direction and often brought an outside-in perspective to my essays. He was always available for a chat about the smallest of doubts, even in peak admission season and responded to most queries within 48 hours.

Thanks to Karthik, I received admits from the Darden School of Business-UVA, the Ross School of Business-UMich, UCLA Anderson School of Management (with a hefty fellowship) along with a place in the waitlist at the Kellogg School of Management. I would suggest all future aspirants to set up a chat with Karthik to understand how beneficial it will be to have him by your side in this rigorous process.

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June 11, 2020

Joined: Nov 27, 2017

Posts: 16

Kudos: 5

Verified score:
730 Q49 V40

Professional and Timely help!


I worked with Karthik for 5 schools in round 2. I was targeting all schools which were in top 10. Karthik guided me through the process, making me well aware of the risks but was supportive on how to achieve the aim. When I had contacted Karthik, my whole application was rusty. He worked patiently with me spending almost a month ironing out kinks in my resume and my professional goals. The best part was that he understood my part of the story why I wanted to pursue Mba, which helped me create compelling stories for the application. The other thing that I really liked working with karthik was his organization through Asana. It made life so much easier anytime I needed any content reviewed by him. I ended up getting interview call from Mit-sloan, Yale and Berkeley-Haas. I was put on the waitlist for Yale and Haas and ended up converting those. The step by step help provided by karthik during my waitlist period, really helped me be in meaningful constant touch with the admission team. I would like to give a shout out to him for his constant support and guidance that ultimately helped me get admit into my dream school.

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June 11, 2020

Joined: Sep 09, 2019

Posts: 6

Kudos: 12

Verified score:
760 Q51 V41

One of the Best MBA Admissions Consultant


The decision to pursue an MBA from a top US B-school was made by me in late August of 2020. Having not prepared for GMAT or applied to international B-schools previously, I needed a mentor who could guide me through the arduous end-to-end process of b-school applications.

In my introductory call with Karthik, I was particularly impressed by how quickly he could understand my case and motivations, and propose a clear plan of action. Karthik is very structured and professional in his communication style. Unlike many admissions consultants who come across as salesmen during the initial discussions with candidates, Karthik shared with me a realistic view of what could and could not be achieved within the available timelines and with my profile. Furthermore, Karthik’s exemplary personal qualifications and credibility of August Academy’s as an AIGAC member along with the opportunity to directly work with Karthik convinced me to enroll for his services.

I worked with Karthik on a 5-school package. Karthik adopts a very structured approach to the entire application process and breaks it down into several smaller modules which makes it easier for candidates to work upon efficiently. Additionally, usage of project management tools such as Asana supports this approach further.

The key value add that Karthik brings is his ability to break down a college essay question into what it exactly asks for and what it does not. This is particularly important as most essay questions have word limits and the worst mistake an applicant can make is frame the best answer for the wrong question. Having worked with him on applications for 4 of the top 5 US B-schools and another top 10 B-school, I was able to secure interview invites from 4 of the 5 schools. The stories and essay answers drafted for these colleges allowed me to apply to several other top 15 US B-schools in round 2 itself. This would not have been possible without Karthik’s mentorship and guidance and throughout the process.

I ended up interviewing for 9 schools and secured admits to 5 B-schools with hefty scholarships in few of them. Additionally, I was waitlisted in 2 of the top 5 B-schools. I have decided to enroll at Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley due to a strong fit with the school culture and with my career goals. This is a school which I may not have applied to in the first place, due to its small batch size and high selectivity, had it not been for Karthik who recommended me to apply despite the challenges.

I would highly recommend Karthik and August Academy to all serious MBA aspirants who are seeking sincere and honest guidance to help them secure admits to top global B-schools. He is not someone who will write your essays or draft your resumes. Rather Karthik would act as a sounding board to efficiently guide you throughout the application process.

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