I think an admissions consultant is invaluable in the MBA application process. First, my background. I'm 31, with 8 years of experience in finance, female, 3.7 GPA from a public university, and 720 GMAT. I'm looking to transition out of finance and into entrepreneurship.
In round 1, I applied to Harvard, Stanford, and Chicago without a consultant. I got dinged from H/S and interviewed at Chicago.
For the interview prep, I contacted Stacy Blackman Consulting, Sandy, and Amerasia. Sandy was booked up; I spoke to a woman at Stacy Blackman and Adam at Amerasia. The woman at Stacy Blackman was nice but I didn't feel we connected. When I spoke to Adam, he gave me pointers on Booth and didn't pressure me to sign up for his services. This was really nice, 'cause I had a million things going on and couldn't make a decision anyway.
Adam's pointers on Booth were spot on. Unfortunately, due to my crazy work schedule, I didn't adequately prepare for my interview (I worked until 3 AM the night before my interview). I didn't have time to get excited about the school and went into my interview with a lackluster attitude. Needless to say, I wasn't admitted.
In round 2, I hired Adam for his essay and interview services. I applied to Wharton and Kellogg, schools that he noted were friendlier to older applicants. Here's how the essay writing process went: I turned in a first draft for Wharton, he (very nicely and bluntly) told me it had to be completely re-worked. My essays painted me as unfocused, and my reasons for transitioning from finance to entrepreneurship weren't well-supported. It took about 3-4 drafts before I got it right. My essays pre-Adam and post-Adam were dramatically different; my friends commented that my post-Adam essays drastically improved. Here's what I consider to be Adam's biggest strengths in essay prep:
- He's very good at helping you organize your story and painting you in the best light. He knows immediately when something sounds wishy-washy and will help you re-work it. He understands the strongest aspect of your application and will help you highlight this. - He's good with essay structures and will help you break down your story into a concise, easy-to-follow narrative. - He provides solid advice on how to attack each essay, what to avoid, what to focus on, etc. - Lastly, Adam is great to work with. His upbeat attitude and follow-up emails helped me stay on track during the grueling process.
On Monday, I found out I was admitted to Kellogg. I also received an interview invite from Wharton, with decision still pending. My only regret during this process is not hiring Adam earlier in round 1. I am so grateful to Adam, not only for his help in essay-writing and interview prep, but also for being a cheerleader, a great motivator, and for keeping me focused when I was being pulled in so many different directions. For anyone considering a consultant, I strongly recommend Adam.