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Joined: Oct 08, 2018
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Short summary first if you don’t want to read the whole thing:
Thanks to Greg’s help, I was accepted to the Kellogg 1Y program, INSEAD, IMD, and USC, and I am convinced that I would not have been accepted had I not worked with Greg. Between the four schools, I received over $175,000 in scholarships. Since Greg is a small shop, he takes the time to get to know you personally and can really help you discover your voice. I consider myself a very compelling and articulate writer, but I was astonished at how much my essays improved after working with Greg. I would highly recommend working with Greg.
Longer version for those interested:
Nationality: American (Texas), white
Schools applied: Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg 1Y, USC, INSEAD, IMD
Accepted to: Kellogg 1Y, INSEAD, IMD, USC
Scholarships: Kellogg ($35k), IMD ($20k), and USC (Full ride)
Background- I have been working in my family healthcare business for the past five years after starting my career in hedge funds and private equity. As I saw things coming to a close in my family business, I started thinking about what’s next. In the absence of a clearly defined passion or desire, I wanted to go back to school to get some more credentials and take time to think. Coming to the game a little late, I was worried about crafting my story and articulating why I was ready to get my MBA.
One thing that Greg did very well was help me craft my narrative for very different schools. Because I don’t know exactly what I want, my applications ranged from going to USC to pursue a job in the entertainment industry to going to Kellogg to return to family business to going to INSEAD or IMD to pursue international consulting. Obviously Greg helped me identify the parts of my story that resonated with each, because I was able to secure a seat in each school.
I researched the heck out of admissions consultants, and I actually worked with 3 different consulting companies over the course of my admissions process. Greg and Avanti was the one that stuck in the end. I started out with a bigger, more well-known firm, and quickly felt like the process was too automated and impersonal, like a cookie-cutter approach. I was told form the beginning with the other firm that I had to follow a syllabus and they would email me changes. I said that I’d prefer to speak on the phone and they said that I had to schedule phone calls days in advance in order to speak to a human. Greg’s personal approach felt more aligned with my personality and communication style, so I went with Greg. He was always open for a phone call and would email me responses very quickly when I had questions. Greg even went out of his way to email me stuff when it crossed his mind, whether I had requested it or not. For example, I was visiting Tuck’s business school, and Greg emailed me that he knew a couple students there and got me in touch with them. I didn’t even ask. I thought it was very thoughtful and intentional. This characterizes how Greg goes above and beyond.
By the time I had started working with Greg, I had already put together some background info on myself mapping out my life story, motivators, etc, but I’m sure that he would have done this with me had I started out with him. We had a long call going over it and discussing major themes and motivating forces. These early conversations became the seeds of my later essays.
This isn’t probably how everyone likes to work, but I wrote multiple stream-of-consciousness essays for each school and then shot them off to Greg for a quick read. Greg would look at all the essays I’d written and give me feedback on which one he felt would work best as a final essay. Then we’d work together to polish the essay. THIS IS WHERE GREG REALLY SHINES. Like I stated above, I feel that my essays were pretty good to begin with, but boy was I wrong. Greg really made them more succinct, articulate, and in lots of place, more politically correct or less offensive. There were lots of times where he changed wording because I didn’t realize how something might come across as insensitive or something. Greg helped me really articulate to each school who I was, why I wanted an MBA from that school, and how I could contribute to each school. In the end, I truly believe that Greg’s help on my essays made the difference in my getting in or not, ESPECIALLY ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS, where it was a bit harder to explain why this white guy from Texas wanted to go get an MBA in France.
Greg self-admittedly did not have much experience with Harvard Business school, so I worked with a third consultant who had specific experience at HBS. Greg still helped me on my essays there, but the other consultant helped me understand what HBS was looking for. While I did not get into HBS, I don’t necessarily think it was their fault. I think as a 31 year old white male applying in round 3 with no clear driving passion or career vision, it was an uphill battle to begin with. The other consultant used to be an adcom at HBS, and she told me form the start that I had slim odds at HBS.
Greg didn’t nickel and dime me with time, and occasionally did stuff off the clock when he was personally interested in a question I had asked or something. Greg was always a pleasure to talk to and I genuinely enjoyed my time working with him. I highly recommend Greg. If you are looking for a very personal, highly communicative approach and a better value than the big names, Greg is the guy.
For the curious, I chose IMD. The personal, intimate, focused nature of the course seemed like the best fit for my personality type, even though it’s not as well-known as Kellogg or INSEAD. Kind of like Greg…I took a chance on the little guy and went with my heart based on feel, and I don’t regret it. I’m hoping I have the same experience at IMD.