Based on my personality and my budget, I knew that I wanted to do most of my own research on the application process. I was initially resistant to hiring a consultant. However, I have a pretty standard background (banking then mid-market PE, white male, east coast city, mid-20s), and I wanted to make sure I put my best foot forward. MBAMission’s a la carte hourly services and Liza were a good fit for me. I choose the company after going to a seminar hosted by the company founder Jeremy, reading their free school guides (they’re so helpful – go download them), and doing my free consultation. I liked the company’s philosophy of trying to make your story come through as best as you can. The way I figure, that’s all an essay can really do. Other consultants were more pushy/salesy and tried to act like they were the magic snake oil to get into every school. Plus, the hourly structure allowed me to ask Liza to focus on areas I knew I needed help, for several schools, all while making it affordable (and hey, with my scholarship money to several schools, it was really a net positive for me).
Liza reviewed my resume and my top school essays over the course of a few hours. She offered helpful suggestions that resulted in me changing the whole narrative structure of one of my stories. By the time I submitted “v32”, it was a much more powerful essay and more clearly reflected who I am. However, by far the most helpful part of working with Liza was my mock interview (with her) and my mock team based discussion (with a colleague of hers). Admission interviews are very different from professional ones, and I frankly did much worse during my (practice) first iteration of each format than I did during the real things. I feel like working with Liza filled in the gaps in what I would’ve been able to learn on my own through the internet and cold emailing current students. She definitely helped make sure I feel like I gave my best effort in applying, and I have a result with which I’m very happy.
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Harshad was wonderful to work with. He was prompt, direct and helpful. While I only purchased a few hours of his time, he spent time getting to know me and my strengths. I had a terrible first draft of one essay. Harshad was direct with his feedback and have extremely useful comments about how to improve and where I should focus my efforts. We had 4 rounds of comments, and each time, I feel that my essay significantly improved. He really encouraged me to dig deep into why I was applying to school, and polity told me which paragraphs were not value adds and recommended their removal.
He was very quick at replying to my emails.
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Nisha helped guide my application journey from start to finish. With her help I was able to leverage my personal story and get into my target school. What I loved about working with her is how she pushed me to dive deep into my ‘why’ behind pursuing an MBA. She helped me communicate my purpose to the adcom in a way that was efficient and descriptive. Nisha is extremely thorough. I noticed this during our introductory consultation call. Her eye for detail was present throughout the entire process. She always had a great attitude, which was refreshing since applying to B-school can be draining at times. mbaMission also has a bunch of great resources, like their guides. I HIGHLY recommend Nisha to anyone who is serious about applying to business school. I didn’t realize how badly I needed her help until I started working with her. The monetary price I paid pales in comparison to what she provided. Thank you Nisha!!!
I am in the unique position of having had the chance to work with Heidi twice on MBA applications (once for full time programs and once for part time programs). Prior to working with Heidi, I had elected to work with a "budget" (but still not cheap) service that did not provide the high level of service I would have expected.
While applying to full time programs a few years ago, I worked with Heidi on an entire three school package and added two additional schools via hourly services. Heidi provided good constructive criticism throughout the process. She was quick to provide responses, positive, and extremely knowledgeable. Over the course of working with Heidi, my essays evolved immensely, creating a cohesive and compelling story. Without Heidi's guidance, I would have never been as successful in my application process as I was (I was invited to interview at all five schools I applied to, interviewed and was accepted at one, and decided to cancel the remaining interviews). Unfortunately, due to work circumstances I decided not to enroll in a full time program.
Thus, a few years later when I decided to apply to part time programs I did my best to track Heidi down in order to build upon our past experiences and work with her again. Once again, she was prompt and provided good criticism while helping me quickly and efficiently craft new applications from my old and some new material. With her help I was admitted to both programs I applied to.
Overall, Heidi challenged me throughout the process and not only helped my applications evolve but helped me become better as well. Without her assistance, I would have never been able to develop the well-rounded applications I ended up submitting.
I had never used a consultant before applying to business school, but given my position as an untraditional candidate, I am not sure I would have gained entry to Columbia Business School without the expertise of Rachel Beck at mbaMission.
Despite Rachel's own standing as an alum of CBS, she knows a tremendous amount about the business school industry at large and was extremely deft at reading my own potentiality as an applicant from that first free consultation.
Before this experience, I had stereotyped consultants on being generalists under the guise of being experts, but Rachel learned my background more than any mentor even had. Even though she knew Columbia as a former student and as a consultant, she familiarized herself with minutiae of with the school's budding social enterprise club and leadership programs--two areas I was interested in.
Even though I used the "a la carte" services via mbaMission, Rachel answered my every impromptu question about the process--going beyond her job description and the services I was entitled for--and almost always she would respond within a 24 hour period to boot.
I primarily used Rachel as a consultant for honing my resume and essays, but she was instrumental in helping me prepare for informal interviews with staff and my official interview for Columbia. She was thoughtful in tailoring her responses to any question or situation for me Mollie as a candidate--I cannot emphasize this enough.
As stressful as this process is, Rachel helped me manage my own mental headspace and timeline.
Like others below, I recommend reaching out to Rachel in the early spring before your application is due. As a writer, I struggled with the composition of my written components--I was often too emotional and close to the subjects I was writing about and I was very attached to Columbia; I could not always see my deliverables objectively and that's where Rachel came in--she did not dismiss any part of my story or argument, but she helped me with an economy of language, she helped me with the "so what." We did about 7 drafts for each product and though it was humbling, I have never been prouder of an application in its completion. Speaking candidly, she can be blunt in her criticism of one's writing, but trust me: she's on the money.
In sum, Rachel Beck was a true part of my application to business school and she is part of my success in getting in.
Jen provided really helpful feedback on essays and and my mock interview, helping me hone my story and tell it in a concise and compelling way. Our communication was mostly by email and she was always quick to respond.
If I had to offer one piece of constructive feedback, it's that I think Jen could have pushed me even harder by being more frank with her comments on the content of my essays. Her feedback on structure, wording, etc. was spot on, but I found several friends and family members who weren't afraid to tell me I had missed the mark in my response to a prompt and that I needed to alter my overall approach. In hindsight, I think Jen was a bit more forthcoming with feedback like this. (Important note, this may be a result that I was using Jen on an hourly basis, so she admittedly didn't know me as well as she might have if we were working together more extensively).
I recently worked with Katy on my HBS 2+2 application. I approached Katy with a rough draft of my personal statement about a month and a half prior to the application deadline. Katy was extremely helpful in her ability to brainstorm the ideas I was trying to get across and suggest ways to better articulate the themes. I was especially impressed with how she did not work from a template, but rather devoted time to understand my story and express it on paper. With her guidance, my unorganized amalgamation of thoughts came together as a genuine and expressive essay.
As a college senior who did not have recommenders that were familiar with the business school process, I relied on Katy to help me optimize the impact of my recommendations. Katy advised me on how to provide my recommenders with insightful information about the message I was trying to get across. I am confident that my recommenders would not have been able to speak as well to who I am had I not worked with Katy.
In the end, I was thrilled to get into HBS. Katy went above and beyond to always respond quickly and thoughtfully to my many, many questions. This responsiveness, in addition to Katy's strong ability to understand the college experience and relate it to business school language, makes me wholeheartedly recommend her to students applying to 2+2.
I was very happy with my result and know that much of it is due to Katy!
She consistently supported me in finding my most authentic voice, and was an incredibly sharp thought-partner. As an hourly client, Helen was always cognizant of my time and I never once felt ‘short-changed’ by any of our interactions. She always pushed the extra mile to answer questions, and never hesitated to reach out to her to offer multiple perspectives when helpful. Her interview preparation was on-point and her ability to meaningfully instill confidence was unparalleled. Helen’s realness won my trust in an instant, and her thoughtful tough-love helped me to be my best.
Tactically, Helen’s speed and flexibility – even throughout the holiday season and peak R1 moments – was fantastic. With a complex international travel schedule, Helen and I always managed to find time to connect at any frequency and duration required. She swiftly answered quick questions and provided well-framed, strategic answers to more complex ones. In the chaos that is the MBA application process, Helen helped me feel in control.
Throughout this entire process, I not only got into my top choice school but also gained a true friend and champion in Helen!!
I got admitted to a top 5 MBA program after applying in round 2. And I couldn't have done it without John. I started working with John late in the application process. John has so much experience on personal statements and knows what each school looks for and guided me to the right direction for each application. I was not confident about my essays at first, but after many times of discussion and editing rounds with John, I felt confident and was ready to submit my application. Given that I also have a demanding job, John really took a lot of pressure of my shoulders. He was also extremely supportive for any creative ideas. John is very easy to work with. I highly recommend him as an MBA consultant!
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Due to Kate’s help, I was able to gain entrance into my top business school selection in the M7 (HSW). She came recommended from another consultant who thought she would be better help tell my story and had experience with this particular M7 school. She was instrumental in me understanding my key strengths for my business school application, and how to hone those stories into powerful narratives in my essays that would resonate with my recommenders and the adcom. I had very specific needs when I first met Kate, and that was to strengthen my essays and also convey my story for wanting to attend business school to my recommenders. In addition to multiple brainstorming sessions to lay out a strategic roadmap and timeline for my application, Kate helped me pick out specific work experiences that aligned with the ethos of the business school I wanted to attend. I found her help to be so impactful, that I decided to also gain her help with interview prep and application review. Due to her interview prep, I was able to catch a few questions that my interviewer had for me that I had not previously prepped for. While I don’t think it would have been a disaster had I not prepped for these questions, Kate’s helpful bank of questions and how she coached me through my responses real-time I owe to how successful my interview went. I highly recommend Kate if you want someone that will be honest with you, but will help elevate your story that resonates specifically to your school and needs.