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.