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Joined: Jun 24, 2015
I worked with Adam Hoff from Amerasia Consulting. I was looking to apply only to 2 schools - HBS and GSB, primarily because I was late in the game, and barely had 40 days left before the Round 2 deadline. When I started looking for consultants to work with for my B-School application, I was overwhelmed with the number of options I had. After speaking to a number of consultants, I really couldn't figure who to go with as they all claimed to have helped a large number of applicants get through top schools. The primary reason whey I decided to work with Adam was that he seemed to be honest, while the others were more salesy.
Adam immediately understood my strengths and weaknesses - he knew how to mould my story in order to bring out my strengths. Given that I had limited time, his tremendous experience came to my rescue on numerous occasions. He had sample examples for every kind of direction I was thinking of with my story. He would help me try multiple permutations and combinations with the elements in my story before I was completely satisfied with the result. An integral part of the entire process is personal coaching. Writing essays is strenuous, and one can feel disheartened at times. Adam went out of his way to motivate me and push me to bring out my best. It was comforting to know that someone else cared about my application as much I did. He knows how to pump someone up and get them back to work.
Adam didn't hesitate to speak his mind if he felt that I was going off the track, even if it meant more time investment at his end. His turnaround times were always quicker than what he had promised. I lost count of the number of iterations my essays went through with him, but he never once lost patience.
Adam is genuinely good at what he does, and I am certain that it would not have been possible for me to get into HBS without Adam's mentorship.
I worked with Drew on five different schools, from developing my resume to preparing materials to give my recommenders to crafting and refining my essays. Throughout the entire process, Drew was responsive to my questions and always turned around edits within the pre-established timeframe. The process was never stressful and allowed me to complete my applications much more quickly than I would have been able to do on my own. Moreover, I think my applications turned out to be much stronger than had I tackled them independently (while I had strong stats from my undergrad, GMAT, and extracirriculars, my consulting experience was not necessarily traditional). Specifically, Drew helped me come up with a strong idea and vision for each essay based on the attributes and qualities that the particular school would be looking for. Once a topic was formulated, we would go through as many iterations as needed to make the essay as polished as possible. We did interview prep for each school, with Drew also bringing in external expertise to help with certain schools to allow me to have multiple opportunities to practice and be prepared.
In general, the overall process felt very streamlined and made me feel at ease during the applications cycle. I was accepted to four of the five schools I applied to, including HBS, Tuck, Wharton, and Kellogg (with a 50 - 75% scholarship at the latter three schools). I could not be happier with how things turned out and I would recommend Amerasia and Drew to anyone considering using an admissions consultant!
Joined: Feb 17, 2014
The bottom line first: If you want your best shot at getting into the school of your choice, you want to talk to Adam Hoff at Amerasia.
I worked with Adam using the complete package deal on 3 schools last fall (Harvard, Stanford and Wharton). I had introductory calls with several consultants before Adam and was immediately impressed by Adam’s energy and enthusiasm for getting me admitted. One of the things that’s nice about Adam is that he’ll have an open conversation with you about which schools make sense for you to apply to given your resume. In other words, if he agrees to work with you for a particular school, he thinks there’s a chance you’ll be admitted and he’ll do everything possible to get you there.
Adam’s background prepares him well for his job. (You can read about it on the Amerasia website). I can attest that the skillsets inherent to his multi-faceted background stand-out during the consultation process. He understands the unique (and common) DNA of each top university and takes the guessing game out of approaching open-ended essay prompts by providing specific strategy guidelines, goals, examples, and brainstorm feedback.
Once you understand the path to take on your essays, I think Adam stands out most for his ability to turn your “statement” into a “story”. In other words, how to capture the interest of the admissions officer and pull them on to your side so that they’re rooting for your acceptance. It’s a highly customized and personal experience that I think is unique to Amerasia. Adam will help you iterate and revise as many times as necessary to get your essay the absolute finest it can be. He has an incredible ability to take what you’re trying to say and make it more clear, more concise, and more engaging for the admissions committee. I can't emphasize that enough.
Once you’re accepted to interview, Adam will provide interview preparation guidance as well as mock interviews with pros from the Amerasia network. Mock interviews are absolutely critical to preparing for the toughest questions and getting feedback on whether you sound as great as you think you might. (I did not at first).
With Adam’s help, I’m happy to say I’ll be attending Harvard next fall. Thanks, Adam.
Joined: May 28, 2015
When I was applying to business school I was completely overwhelmed by how competitive the entire process was and also by contrasting opinions on what the best way to go about an application was. I found there was a lot of advice, but none of it applied entirely to me. I knew my time was limited (as I was really busy with my job) so I wanted a consultant to guide me through the process, I just didn't know which one.
Lucky for me, my husband had applied to b-school a year earlier, so I had seen him go through the process and more or less knew what to expect. My husband had enlisted the help of Amerasia Consultants and had been successful into getting into Columbia and University of Chicago. While his profile was certainly strong (perfect gpa, perfect job, tons of extracurriculars, high gmat, etc etc) – so is everyone else’s. Applying to b-school is all about telling a compelling story and about highlighting your strengths and the characteristics that make you unique as an applicant. It’s also about appealing to the specific things each school is looking for. My husband strongly believes that had he not had the guidance, he would not have had the success he had.
To figure out if Amerasia Consultants was a good fit for me, I scheduled a call with Adam (the founder) and we talked for about an hour. I was applying to Columbia, so we talked about the school and Adam quickly gave me a very realistic assessment of my chances of getting in and what I'd need to do to highlight my strengths in my application to make up for my weaknesses (for me, the gmat...bleh). I liked how straight-forward Adam was and appreciated the honesty. He didn’t give me false expectations, instead really told me how it was – which is so important. Needless to say, I decided to work with him for my applications.
The very first thing Adam has you do is a career assessment so that he truly understands what you want to convey in your application-- and to make sure that everything you want to say in your application is coherent and tells a solid story. Once you do that, he breaks down the DNA of each school and caters his strategy for your applications accordingly. Before writing your essays, you fully understand what each school is looking for, and know what to highlight and what points to hit. In addition to the application itself, once you get an interview, Adam helps with in-depth interview prep (which most consultants don't do). Long story short, I applied to Columbia early decision, and got in. I can honestly say that the guidance I got was invaluable.
I would highly recommend Adam to anyone applying to a top school. What I liked the most is that you get Adam's attention directly, not someone else's. He takes on a few clients at a time, which is great because you have his full attention. He also works via email, and is really responsive, especially as deadlines approach. All in all, I had a great experience. While it's definitely expensive, it's totally worth it. You will undoubtedly have the strongest strategy applying and peace of mind as all concerns are addressed along the way. While there's no guarantee of getting in, there are definitely ways of increasing your chances and being strategic, and hiring Amerasia Consultants was definitely the best thing I did.
Joined: May 15, 2014
My experience with admissions consultants dates back to 2013. That year I hired a consultant for the MBA application. The experience was awful and I couldn't get into any of the schools that I applied to. In 2014 I was starting again my MBA applications and given my bad experience the prior year I wasn't even considering to hire an admissions consultant again (I thought it was going to be a waste of money – again). But a friend who was admitted into 2 of the top 5 MBA programs in the US spoke very fondly about Adam and Amerasia, so I decided to give it a try.
The outcome was amazing, I was admitted to Columbia, and what I liked the most is that Adam really helped me to navigate the painful process of being a reapplicant. Working with Adam gave me an advantage vs. the rest of the applicants: He understands better than anyone the DNA of the business schools. After reading hundreds of pages about business schools profiles from different admissions companies, I can tell for sure that Adam really understands what every school is looking for in the applicants (for my surprise, each school is completely different) and he does a great job highlighting those points in the application and in the interviews.
My experience with him was excellent, I recommended Adam to a friend, and he also got into his dream school! There is no downside with Adam and Amerasia.
I worked with Adam for my full time MBA application and signed up for the comprehensive package. The overall experience was very positive and I would recommend him to anyone looking for a consultant. A few key highlights below:
1. Communication. Adam was very responsive to emails and did a great job communicating extensive feedback on my application materials. He insisted to conduct all communications through email, which was a good forcing mechanism to document everything and pushed me to write out my thoughts concisely and clearly.
2. Personal approach. Adam was very personable and got to know my stories well. He was able to provide strategic guidance on how I should package my stories based on my key accomplishments; he was even able to point out which specific experiences I should draw on in certain essays
3. Strong opinions. Adam had very strong opinions throughout the whole process. This might not work for everything but was a strong positive for me. I talked with many consultants before signing with Adam and realized that many of them play more of a "cheerleader" role and give very generic comments. In addition to having strong opinions, Adam was not shy about commuting them. He was always very direct.
I ended up getting in Chicago Booth with a scholarship and cannot more satisfied with my choice of consultant. I would recommend Adam to anyone who's considering working with a consultant.
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Product Amerasia Complete School Package
I took the 4 school comprehensive package from Amerasia to apply to the MBA class of 2017. Below are my learnings from the experience. Please feel free to PM me in case of queries/ pointers.
1. Why I think a consultant is important?
I think there is merit describing my background here. I am a male Indian Engineer (most competitive demographic?) working as a management consultant with a high-value add consulting firm (think Mck, BCG, etc.) in India. Although I had had an enriching experience across multiple sectors and countries with my firm, I knew I lacked diversity and did not have significant work to show outside of my primary 'job'. The consultant helped in:
a. Bringing together my story - short-term and long-term goals, why I need an MBA, which schools to target, etc.
b. Appropriately differentiating myself from the vast pool of highly qualified applicants within my overly represented demographic.
2. Why I chose Amerasia?
Well, to be honest I don't think there is anything to differentiate between the consultants out there. I used two clear filters:
a. If I liked the consultant and his perspectives when I spoke to him
b. Cost of hiring the consultant
Fortunately, both worked out for me with Amerasia and Alex.
On a side note, please remember to ask for discounts. Adam (the co-founder) is usually very supportive and he provided me 4 schools for 6000 USD, which was substantially below the market rate.
3. What is the process that the consultant follows?
I think a consultant brings rigour to the process and gives you direction to think. I found the 'discovery questionnaire' particularly useful with Alex . A long list of 20 odd questions were given to me, making me think about my goals, desire for an MBA etc. On sending my responses, Alex asked critical questions to ensure I had completely thought through my story and was crystal clear on how my post-MBA journey would look like.
Post-this, we did a detailed school-wise research, listing 10 reasons (specific to me) why I would choose a particular school. Alex dismissed some of my points (such as small class size) as too generic and probed me to find personal reasons. This gave me a true sense of each school and by the end of the exercise, I had a fair idea of what each school stands for and why I would want to be there.
Post-this was the essay writing drill, wherein Alex provided invaluable strategy guides that detailed how to structure each essay for a school. This was followed by the usual editing, which helped polish my essays and bring them to the final state.
Overall, according to me the MBA process is largely driven by you and your thoughts. The consultant will hold your hand and help you walk through the application journey. I personally believe that applicants should hire the consultants for 2-3 schools at max, and cover the rest of the applications themselves.
1. Alex was super helpful - he provided me 4 strategy guides free of cost for schools that I was applying to in round 2.
2. I am headed to INSEAD! Thanks Alex.
Joined: Dec 19, 2014
I highly recommend Drew from Amerasia to anyone willing to apply to top b-schools.
A few words about my background – I was 33 when I decided to apply to b-schools and scored 660 on GMAT.
First of all, I was hesitating if I needed any help from admission consultants at all. However after doing some research and reading stories of people who used this kind of help, I decided to send my resume to Amerasia and ask for their feedback.
After receiving an encouraging feedback from Amerasia we scheduled a call with Drew. I had a list of schools in my mind and decided to discuss them with Drew. I was greatly surprised how much knowledge Drew had about DNA of each school. Instantly, I was convinced I hit the right address. With Drew’s insight we put together a final list of 5 top b-schools that would be good fit for me and started to work on my application.
Even though Drew strongly encouraged me to improve my GMAT I decided to leave it as it was (660) and focus on my essays. I knew there was quite a challenge in front of us, but as an older candidate I was hoping to build my advantage around my past experience rather than my GMAT.
As we started to work on a first set of essays I realized how taught and long this process will be and I was surely glad I had Drew helping me. After my initial draft I sent to Drew we had about 10 iterations (!) before I had my final version ready. I must say, Drew is absolutely excellent in organizing the story and structuring essays. At the same time he knows precisely how to bold your strengths in the story. When I showed my final drafts to some friends of mine (MBA alumni) they had no comments and jointly admitted – excellent work!
I submitted my applications to top European business schools (LBS, INSEAD, Cambridge, IESE) and Stanford. I got admitted to three European schools and had an interview at Stanford (thanks to excellent essays I believe).
Considering my pretty low GMAT score I believe I put the bar pretty high for myself and Drew. However, I think we did an excellent work together and I must admit that Drew’s help was invaluable in the whole process. I’m positive that I would have not got all these doors open without Drew’s help. I highly recommend Drew as an enthusiastic supporter who will smoothly and successfully direct you through the whole process of application to your dream b-school!
With Amerasia's help, I was accepted into Kellogg, Booth, and Columbia. And Kellogg offered me a scholarship that will cover a large portion of my tuition costs. For perspective, I'm a consultant for a Big 4 accounting firm with a 760 GMAT. I don't think I would have been nearly as successful if I had gone with another consulting service.
Before selecting Amerasia, I interviewed three other consulting firms, and Amerasia was a head above the rest. Unlike the larger consulting companies, my initial consultation was with my actual consultant (Drew), which reassured me that I wasn't going to be assigned to some other random consultant. I can't speak for every one of their consultants, but Drew was very down to earth, and he was quick to reply to any of my questions that I thew his way during the application process.
Another aspect of Amerasia that set them apart was the level of focus and dedication that they gave me throughout the entire process. Drew helped me at every stage of the application process and spent a significant time with me to make sure that I had the right strategy and that my essays were as polished as they could be (which often took 7-8 rounds of edits). I don't feel like I would have received this same level of attention from a larger consulting firm.
Additionally, Drew and the rest of Amerasia seemed to really be on the pulse of each school, so that I could tailor my essays and stories appropriately for each one. Going into this process, I thought I would be able to write one or two really good essays and then copy them for every school. But after working with Drew, I learned how important it is to hone in on each school's philosophy.
Overall, I was very pleased with my experience with Amerasia. They are structured in a way to give every one of their clients enough attention to put forth their best applications, and they have the expertise that a lot of other firms in the industry do not have. Plus they were a pleasure to work with.
I highly recommend Amerasia, especially Paul. Last year, I decided very late in the game (basically <2 months before R2 deadlines) to apply to business school, and was introduced to Amerasia by a friend who also had a good experience with them.
Even though he had a number of clients and I had a very tight timeline, Paul still took me on and helped out every step of the way, from selecting schools, to editing essays, and prepping for interviews. Prior to working with Paul, I spoke to a number of other consultants, and found that the majority of them used scare tactics. They insisted that that I needed an “expert” to help put together my application, that there was no way I was going to make it alone.
In contrast, when I spoke to Paul (and Adam), neither were pushy about their services. In fact, during the chats I had with each of them, they gave me a lot of tips for each school, running through the differences in the programs, and ways that my profile would fit. If I wanted to, I could’ve used those tips alone to outline my essays. That being said, I do believe that Paul truly adds another level of insight to the process. He takes the time to ensure that the schools you ultimately work with him are the best ones for you – I got into both of the schools that we worked on.
When we started working together, Paul and I had very long weekly calls, drilling down and tailoring my story for each of my target schools. My first essay draft, however, was a disaster – luckily, Paul was there to get me back on track. After countless hours and numerous essay drafts, I was finally ready to hit the “submit” button.
Once I got interview invitations, Paul was there, with a comprehensive list of questions for each school. At this crucial stage, he really works to make sure that you shine during the interview; he made the time to help me practice as much as possible, until I felt 100% confident and comfortable with my answers. Paul is extremely dedicated, often moving his schedule around to ensure that he was available to get on calls at any point during the process, whether it was for a burning question or to serve as the voice of reason when the applications seemed to consume my life.
The most crucial part of Paul’s services was his help in making me stay on point throughout the entire process. Whenever my essays veered off topic, or whenever I hit writer’s block, he was there to brainstorm with me. This was crucial, as I was working a stressful job that required travel and irregular hours. Paul kept me calm, organized, and focus through the entire process. The decision to work with Paul was quite clear – the application itself is a huge investment in time and energy, both of which are at a premium when working a demanding job. Bringing Paul into the mix meant that I had someone who had seen numerous successes, and could help steer me in the direction that I needed to go.
Did I recommend Paul to my friends who are applying this year? Yes! I can't stress how much help he was in the process, and I am now happily at my first choice school.