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 55 reviews
October 31, 2019

Joined: Dec 08, 2016

Posts: 58

Kudos: 56

Verified score:
750 Q50 V40

Best in the business : a Guide and Friend more than a Consultant


After having unsuccessful admission round 2 in 2018, I reached out to Karthik to work with three schools in Round 1 2019. I found him very understanding and helpful person. He was very systematic in his approach and knew what he was doing, what the applicants’ strengths were and how to leverage them.

We started working on Resume and he made sure that every bullet point highlighted my key strengths and impact I had at work and in community involvement. After Resume we started working on essays. What I really liked about him was that he ensured that every word in essay was making sense and answered the question that was asked in essay. Sometime as applicant, one starts to use flashy words hoping that they would impress adcom but he made sure that I did not fall into that trap.

He really helped me in structuring my essays and we were able to highlight the right aspects of my background and tell a meaningful and authentic story. Apart from his essay and resume review, he also conducted webinars with adcoms of top B schools which I felt allowed me to know more about those schools on more personal level. He conducted live sessions on resume, essay and career goals etc. with his other clients and I really leveraged those sessions to make my application stronger.

After going through one unsuccessful and one successful application process I can say that it is because of his meticulous and committed efforts I could get admit from Duke Fuqua - my top choice. I would encourage prospective applicant who is looking for not just a MBA consultant but a guide, mentor and most importantly friend to work with Karthik. I am glad to have him on my side.

Read More

April 30, 2019

Joined: May 04, 2018

Posts: 5

Kudos: 3

Self-reported Score:


REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I worked with Karthik on 5 school applications and I got admits from 3 of them including Kellogg. Karthik is well rounded consultant whose inputs were useful at every stage of the application.

Through his storytelling approach, he helped me discover the true spikes in my career which led to
very interesting stories. I had a good resume but lacked stories that could engage and excite the admissions teams. Karthik spent lot of time understanding my perspectives and through these collaboration sessions, we discovered the right approach to each college.

I also relied heavily on Karthik’s insights and recommendations while choosing the portfolio of colleges to apply to. He helped me create a very balanced bucket list that aligned to my future ambitions. He recommended 8 colleges that I ended up applying to (Even though I leveraged Karthik’s services for only 5)

Unlike other consultants that I spoke to, I found Karthik very approachable and understanding.

Throughout the whole application process, Karthik was as involved and committed as myself. At times, I submitted drafts day before the application timelines and Karthik still always took out time to review them. The humane side of this professional relationship is something that I truly enjoyed.

Read More

April 22, 2019

Joined: Dec 24, 2014

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:

Best Admission Consulting Company


I was referred to Karthik by a friend who just graduated from MS-SDM program at MIT Sloan.

Although Karthik doesn't encourage face to face meetings, he accepted my request to meet him in person. After an hour discussion, I instantly decided to work with him.

I really liked the way Karthik manages the calls and schedules. The project management tool that Karthik uses made my tasks a lot simpler.

Karthik gave me a set of assignments even before we started working on my profile and resume.
I basically have to write a lot about myself. By the end of the assignments, I was confident that
I will come up with an impressive resume.

Although I had a list of colleges in mind, I wasn't 100% sure whether these colleges are the right fit for me. As I did not have a 700+ GMAT score, I thought I will never get into a top B-school in US with a scholarship. But I always wanted to do my MBA in US. He took into considerations all my preferences and suggested me a set of colleges in US.

I opted for 3 schools comprehensive package. Karthik prepared a well-defined tasks list for each college. I had a few close deadlines and Karthik took care of essay reviews well before the deadlines. I was always looking forward to the brainstorming calls. I could ask him any kind of questions. He gives a lot of insights from his personal experiences. After our brainstorming calls, I will exactly know how to approach my essays.

Karthik conducted a mock interview which covered almost all the questions that one would expect in an MBA admission interview. I had the mock interview just a couple of hours before my actual interview. He recorded the entire mock interview call and shared it for my introspection.

It was a great experience working with Karthik. I am happy and excited to join a dual degree MBA/MS-MIS program at one of the top US colleges with 50% scholarship.

Read More

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.
April 18, 2019

Joined: Apr 17, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Self-reported Score:
750 Q49 V42

August Academy consulting

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

When I first reached out to Karthik in July 2018, I was, like many others, doubtful about taking MBA application guidance from a consultant. I was skeptical of essential bits of my story getting lost between multiple team members and of not having control over my application. With Karthik, however, it was different - he works with applicants through the entire process and his understanding of what business schools look for in applicants convinced me that he was going to be a value addition to my MBA application journey.

Karthik has a structured process to help you build your personal story. He was always available to chat and discuss, even in peak application season. Karthik is not the kind of consultant who will tell you what to write in your essays or write your essays for you. Instead, he’s like a sounding board – I would bounce my ideas off him and he would help to structure my thought process, often lending different perspectives as well.

I also liked that I had the chance to interact with other applicants in August Academy and with AdCom members from different schools through the webinars that he organized over the months.

Karthik was a vital part of my success in being accepted at my schools of choice, including Kellogg, and I would certainly recommend him as an MBA admissions consultant!

Read More

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 08, 2019

Joined: Jan 24, 2017

Posts: 12

Kudos: 70

Self-reported Score:
740 Q50 V40

Great Experience!


Securing a place at a top business school isn’t just about a good GMAT score. It is a comprehensive evaluation in which you need to highlight your candidacy through multiple application elements such as essays, recommendations, resume and finally an interview. I realized this pretty early on after speaking to my friends who were studying at business schools and can attest to it after spending almost six months going through this grueling process myself.

The silver lining in this entire experience was that I had Karthik guiding me all along. Generically, as Indians, we start our school research pretty late unlike our western counterparts. Thus, quite a few of us may end up applying to schools based on flawed assumptions and without solid understanding of our own potential. Karthik helps to really calibrate our school selection based on his prior experience of working with students having similar profiles and does a fabulous job at that. His insights are truly amazing!

There were two things that I absolutely loved about working with Karthik. First, the brainstorming session which was conducted before beginning work on my essays. This really helped me to understand the essay statement, the structure in which I should answer and also select the stories to highlight. I found myself being forced to think on the experiences which were to be written about, which in my opinion is the most challenging and important part of an essay. Later on, Karthik ensured that my essays underwent multiple revisions (all words mine), gently nudging me in the right direction until we were both happy with the final outcome. By the end of working on my first school, my personal motto had become: “Make your essays bleed”. That’s the only way you’re getting Karthik’s approval!

Second, the use of Asana. This tool helped us to keep a track of our progress online (and on the go via a mobile app) while not getting bogged down with the multiple activities going on simultaneously. This tool kept me on my toes with automated reminders for finishing/ scheduling multiple tasks. He adhered to his set timelines and I always received a prompt response, which sometimes led me to question myself, when does he sleep? Haha!

I also had a fabulous time working with him on my interview prep, the most crucial part of which was to understand the question being asked. He really drilled this point home and as a result I was fortunate to have a 100% interview conversion rate.

Working with him, I have admits from three top 20 US schools and in his words it is a good problem to have in deciding which one to attend! This is the quintessential Karthik, always understanding and practical. I now realize that I have not only successfully negotiated the mysterious admissions process but also gained a friend and mentor for life!

I will strongly recommend him for any future applicants. Trust me, you’ll have a great time working alongside him!

Read More

March 28, 2019

Joined: Sep 17, 2017

Posts: 3

Kudos: 0


REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I gave my GMAT in July 2018 and secured an average 710.

Up till then, I had thought that GMAT was the biggest challenge and rest everything else would be easy in comparison. However, that is not the case and I soon came to realize that I would be needing all the help I could get to make it to the schools I was targeting. The B-School application is a holistic process and it requires that you look back and introspect. In my opinion, the entire application process kind of gives you a little taste of what B-School will be like. I finally decided to approach Karthik from August Academy and quickly realized that I had made the right decision.

Karthik has a very systematic way of working which is designed to draw out the best in everyone he works with. He quickly grasped my strengths, weaknesses, personality and the way I approached problems.

Karthik pushed me to look at my life and think about all my different experiences, small and big, and their impact on me. I never would have thought about those things myself, honestly - I did not know I had such interesting stories to tell.

Karthik also would never try to influence or embellish my essays. My words, language, writing style and stories were all mine. Authentic and original. We would go back and forth until we found the ‘perfect fit’

Karthik is also very professional while being understanding at the same time - this is something I admire very much about him. There were times when I would freak out about one thing or the other and I also know it as a fact that I could not have been an easy client to work with and could be very stiff at times but Karthik was very accommodating and encouraged me to do my best and not let any setback affect me. He also ensured that each of my applications was of the highest quality.

I now have an admit from one of my top choices with an 80% scholarship and am awaiting results for a few other schools. Karthik truly helped me to portray the best version of myself. I couldn’t be happier with the results and would strongly recommend August Academy if you truly wish to give your MBA applications your best shot!!

Read More

March 02, 2019

Joined: Oct 24, 2015

Posts: 32

Kudos: 12

Verified score:

The best consultant for the overrepresented category.


Show, don’t tell – This quote sums up my experience working with Karthik.

I failed to secure interviews in the previous admissions season, so I decided to work with a consultant this season. In the initial brainstorming call itself, I could see Karthik’s expertise on profile evaluation and school selection. He is very realistic about the profile evaluation – a quality only found only in top tier consultants.

The entire process is well structured. I was able to retrospect and scope out many experiences that I would have otherwise ignored. Additionally, I was able to refer back to these experiences throughout the process and pick up stories that would better fit the application. We went through multiple rounds of resume reviews, and I was surprised by the quality of the end product. Karthik’s tips helped me to highlight the stellar aspects of my profile in the resume. I really enjoyed our conversations during these calls, and I found that, for reasons unknown to me, I was able to think of ideas and approaches to essays that I would have otherwise not even considered.

For each essay, we created a structure during the call and discussed the various aspects that must be highlighted. Karthik patiently reviewed the essays multiple times, scrutinizing each sentence and evaluating if the sentence has any value add – I believe this a trait that only comes with experience. The mock interviews were vital and helped me prepare and present the best version of me during the actual interview. I was also blown away by some of the tool used throughout the entire process.

What I really liked about working with Karthik is that the onus is on the applicant to take the initiative and do the required research/network. It is like a Pre-MBA Crash Course, and the process very essential to learn and experience.

Karthik’s results speak for themselves. I’ve already secured an admit at a top 20 school, and I hopefully have another one on the way. I wholeheartedly recommend anyone to take up Karthik’s guidance in helping with the application, especially for folks from the overrepresented category.

Read More

February 22, 2019

Joined: Dec 17, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
740 Q50 V41

August Academy Review for MBA Admissions Consulting


I have worked with Karthik from August Academy for my full-time MBA applications and accredit a huge part of my success at getting admits to his guidance, support, and inputs. Being an early career applicant it was a difficult road for me to tread, but Karthik helped me in every step of the journey. He provided valuable inputs in choosing the right B-Schools to apply to, based on my interest, profile and fit. He was nothing less than a mentor in the process of building my story, perfecting my resume and writing my essays, as he constantly pushed me to not be complacent and do better with each revision we made. He has a very streamlined method to manage multiple applications through Asana, which helped us both keep track of our progress. It due to the extra effort and time he put in during the last leg of my application timeline that I was able to successfully submit my applications and secure admits from two of the three schools I had applied to, and that too with scholarships!

Read More

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.
January 31, 2019

Joined: Apr 24, 2017

Posts: 12

Kudos: 7

Verified score:
710 Q49 V37

The Go To Consultant for Indian Engineers


If you’re an Indian Engineer looking to get into business school, August Academy should be your go-to consultant. As an overrepresented minority looking to stand out from the sea of applicants, you need someone who can help you position and highlight your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. Karthik understands the challenges of trying to make the career switch from engineering to business, and helps you create your own unique story.

After my first consultation with Karthik, I was convinced that he could help me create a successful application. He does not immediately dive in with a set list of colleges, but makes you introspect about your goals and ambitions and your own “why MBA” story first. His series of starter essays forces you to think about your strengths, weaknesses and motivations and he uses these to get a clearer picture of your personality and candidature. He also provides honest and objective feedback so you understand what areas of your application would need more focus. This exercise also helped me structure my own thoughts and I found myself returning to these notes as I worked on my application essays. He then helps you research and shortlist the right schools for you, and even guides you on how to network with students at your preferred schools. Once you get started, he helps you dig deep and choose the best stories for each essay, and gives you clear and honest critique on your writing. Do not expect him to handhold you through your essay writing (you must write your essays yourself), but rest assured that you will be receiving in-depth notes and comments on your essays well past midnight.

The B School admissions process can be gruelling and exhausting, but Karthik ensures that you stay positive and encouraged through this period. He also helped me prep for my interview, and calmed my nerves by making me walk through all kinds of behavioural questions. The interview prep turned into an insightful discussion of my eventual goals after MBA. As an automobile engineer, I was glad for the guidance in this respect, as this gave me a glimpse of how I could leverage my skills in the future.

Karthik has been instrumental in my success in the application process. He is clear, to-the-point and dedicated. I would strongly recommend him to any prospective MBA candidates.

Read More

December 30, 2018

Joined: Dec 10, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
760 Q49 V44

AA - twelve steps to an MBA admit


The same Manchester United team that finished 1st in the 2012-13 season finished 7th a year later. What was the difference – the manager and coaching staff.

I got admits from two Top 10 schools (with 40k in scholarship) in the US this year (2018), in what was my first attempt at applying, and this was down to the coaching I got from Karthik. He’s been incredibly supportive over the past 8 months, helping me get through a tough application cycle during what was a tough time for me personally. Karthik is very thorough in his approach and makes you introspect considerably as he guides you towards crafting authentic and credible stories.

Karthik helped me right from shortlisting schools, to re-doing my resume, to drafting essays and prepping for interviews. I think it’s very important to be able to tell signal from the noise when it comes to not only articulating your personal stories but also making sense of the clutter of data and information on MBA programs available online.

I considered five other admissions consultants before zeroing in on August Academy in late April and they most definitely did not let me down. I am grateful for all the help I’ve received from Karthik and feel that August Academy provides you a service that is at par with, if not better than, global admissions consultants and gives you the best bang for your buck.

Read More

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.