Monday, May 13, 2013

Choosing an admissions consultant

I am generally quite skeptical of admissions consultants and the entire business as a whole.  My reasons for this are many, and I'm not going to get into that here.  I used a consultant the first time I applied to b-schools, and it was an utter debacle. 

Aside from very general storytelling and ok essay revisions, she added little value to the process.  What upset me even more was that after I got dinged everywhere, I e-mailed her to get her thoughts, but she did not even respond to me.  Once the results were in, it was as if I no longer existed.  I have also talked to countless consultants for free consultations, and very few of them told me anything that I did not know.  Perhaps my standards are a bit too high; after all, I do know a lot about the process.  Moreover, the fact that they get paid the whole amount regardless of the actual admission result goes against the notion of a healthy incentive structure. 

All that being said, I am seriously planning on using a consultant this time for my last attempt.  The main reason is that although I'm a pretty good writer and am knowledgeable about the process, my age and previous application attempts have put me in a very difficult spot.  As such, I need serious help with respect to strategic positioning, narrative, and marketing.  I believe that I possess more or less the "raw ingredients" to get in, but I need to provide the right package. 

Finding the right consultant, however, is an arduous task.  For one thing, I have received very different feedback from them.  For instance, one consultant thinks that my previous career goals are fine while another told me that I need to totally revamp it in light of my age and my current startup.  Another thinks that my age is not a major issue while another told me bluntly that I'm too old for the top full-time programs and that she will be unable to help me.  Given these conflicting viewpoints, it is difficult to identify whose perspective is more "legit."  I do have a few services that I'm seriously considering, after doing my due diligence and talking to them.  I will try to make a decision in the next few weeks.  Either way, this is a huge financial committment on my part, with absolutely no guarantee of success. 

1 comment:

  1. LastChanceMBA,

    I do not think you should hire an admissions consultant for this go around. You cannot expect different results by using the same method. I agree that you may need help with certain pieces of your application, however, any more than that is unnecessary and foolhardy. You have accomplished so much already on your own that you are beyond their assistance for the most part. You don't need GMAT help, or help with addressing undergraduate institution selection, letters of recommendation, etc.

    All the best!