How to Pick the best MBA Admissions Consultant for Top 20 Schools

"I am so happy I finally found a good MBA consultant that cares about me and about my story!  I learned that the most important thing is to find a consultant that cares about you and has the experience necessary to create a winning application.   

My MBA admissions consultant was a total scam. A complete waste of $6,000. She kept trying to sell her coaching products to me. Neither that or her coaching helped me get into Harvard Business School or any other Ivy League business school.”

That’s what an unhappy applicant sounds like. Having worked with a leading MBA admissions consulting firm, the applicant felt she was ripped off.

She is not alone, as a rising number of cases are being reported about a complete mismatch between what MBA consultants promise and what they deliver.

Selecting the best MBA admissions consulting firm could feel like a Herculean task given a worldwide estimate of 300 plus such firms with 500 odd MBA admission consultants.

How then do you steer away from the trap and select a MBA Admissions Consultant to get into one of the top 20 Business School?

Instant attraction

Don’t instantly opt for a MBA admissions consultant who seems to be the most visible online. A company’s ability to maintain an updated blog or produce hourly tweets or offer free MBA application guides do not correlate to admission success rate. It merely means they have a digital marketing wiz onboard.

Boutique does not mean best

Do not fall into the one-on-one, personalized service claims made by the pop-up MBA admissions consulting boutique firms. Look deeper to assess whether they can add real value to your end goal of getting into your dream MBA school. Make sure they can provide you timely and relevant access to information and services. 

Referrals work the best

Reach out to acquaintances and people in your network who are already at one of the Top 20 MBA Schools. Either get references to the best MBA admissions consulting firms or get their opinion on your consideration list. 

Leverage the preliminary calls

Most MBA admissions consulting starts with a complimentary first call. Utilize this opportunity to vet the firms and make a decision based on your live interaction.

Know your strengths and weaknesses

This would be a great starting point as you would then be able to zero in on the perfect MBA admissions consultant - one that knows how to leverage your strengths and work with your weaknesses.

Value versus price

In the pursuit of saving a few bucks do not risk landing at the short end of the stick. A comprehensive consulting service is what you need to make sure you do not fall short of your goals. Hence paying a few hundreds more will only fetch you more value.   

Red flags

In your rush to find a solution don’t turn a blind eye to the red flags. Do not fall for over-the-top claims and guarantees. Stay away from the MBA application consulting firms that raise ethical flags by offering to write your application essays or letters of recommendations. These are nothing but fraudulent practices. 

In the end, it would not be great advice to ask you to trust your gut. This is a crucial decision and more than a judgement call, one should rely on facts such as the firm’s treatment of you, their commitment towards the process and testimonials and success rates.