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Best Admissions Consultant for INSEAD?

This topic has 1 expert reply and 33 member replies
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lostintheforest Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:31 pm
I wanted to share my experience working with Laura Freedman at Access Education MBA admissions consultants in Singapore (www.AccessEducation.com.sg) on my application to INSEAD.

I came across Laura’s profile through testimonials and references. Without a doubt, the testimonials about Laura’s help and willingness to go the extra mile to promote and uplift a candidate’s spirit through the challenging admissions process are absolutely true.

Laura was a great advisor through my application and interview process. She took the time to get to know both my personal and professional backgrounds, then offered useful insights on how to play up strengths that I was not bringing to the fore. She has a discerning eye for detail, and was able to identify and help me focus on the most appropriate traits, accomplishments and examples to improve my competitiveness in the admissions process. Furthermore, she is very straightforward in her feedback, and never hesitated to remind me to “cut the fluff” out of my essays - a testament to her editing skills and forthrightness.

Most importantly, her career counseling background was a tremendous asset, since I’m looking to transition from government service to the private sector. Laura’s experience as an external counselor on the Career Counseling team at INSEAD was instrumental in helping me narrow down realistic career options and ensuring that I researched deeply into these areas. Now that I’m at INSEAD, her deep knowledge of my background and understanding of consulting career options has been helpful to me in my job search after my MBA (she’s one of the most popular Career Services counselors).

Laura was instrumental in helping me gain admissions to one of the most competitive recruitment cycles for a world leading business school. I recommend her highly.

Thanked by: LauraFreedman
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samc2 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:22 pm
I have just been admitted to INSEAD after working with Fortuna Admissions. I had an amazing experience with this dedicated team of professionals and cannot recommend them more highly. Fortuna helped me position my MBA applications in the best way possible, knowing the differentiating factors of each school I applied to, and to navigate the whole admission process smoothly from defining an application strategy to preparing for my interviews.

The team of consultants I worked with was available throughout the whole process to answer my questions, review (and review again!) my essays and the rest of my applications. I had the pleasure to work directly with Caroline and she oversaw the whole process, she made sure that my application was flawless before I hit the "submit" button.

I realize now that having the former director of admissions of your dream school (INSEAD) review your application is a unique chance and something that only Fortuna can offer

Nevermind Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:16 am
I applied only to INSEAD and got accepted thanks to the services of Fortuna Admissions. Fortuna is simply the Rolls Royce of MBA admissions consulting. They were the gatekeepers to the world's top MBA programs and no one else can match the quality of their services. I worked directly with Caroline Diarte Edwards, Melissa Jones and Matt Symonds and they were all extremely helpful and closely involved in my application. I even got a substantial scholarship from INSEAD. No one else can give you the confidence that you are on the right track except the people who were making the admissions decisions themselves. I highly recommend their services.

sea25 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:18 pm
A -



Last edited by sea25 on Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:31 pm; edited 3 times in total

shen28 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:27 pm
Hello,
I struggled a long time between Fortuna Admissions and Laura Freedman from Access Education. I am writing this post, hopefully to provide reflexion points to anyone who is having the same struggle.

First of all, let me say that if you have a good profile, I don't think working with one or the other will increase or decrease your chances, it's just going to be 2 different experiences. I worked with both Access Education and Fortuna and I liked Access Education better and here is why:

Laura's personality and the way she shapes what you say is incredible. She was always prepared, organized, never forgot anything, our sessions were efficient and passionate. On the other hand, Caroline was very professional too but I think Laura has a passion that will inspire you. Laura is well spoken and is incredible at structuring what you want to say and making it sound pretty. Laura makes you look like a rock-star, Fortuna just improves what you write. Laura will do more, she will go that extra mile.

Also, the ability to see Laura was great. I liked interacting with her through Skype, I think it made a difference during the process. Fortuna does not use the same process.

Just a note, I also worked with Laura on reshaping my CV, while Kristi from Fortuna sent me a couple of bullet points to improve, Laura sat down with me for 4 hours until I was completely happy with the result and oh boy you should see my CV now!

I saw that Fortuna was compared to Rolls Royce, which, in my opinion is very true, I will then compare Laura to Austin Martin, young, fun and extra professional.

Finally, Laura knows the process inside out, she is not just here to improve what you say, she provides a whole career development package and valuable MBA information.

Seriously, if you're gonna spend a couple of grands, drive an Aston Martin!


PS. I am a real human being, when I was reading all the comments I honestly thought they were very similar but now that I am here, I can promise I genuinely think what I wrote, please free to PM me if you have any question.

Thanked by: LauraFreedman
Nevermind Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:01 am
To each's own. I thought Fortuna was wonderful and I think it really depends on your fit with a consulting company. Perhaps shen28 above didn't have as strong of a connection as he/she did with Laura but these things can happen. I think it's best for you to do your research and speak to the consulting co. that suits you and is a good fit for you. The post above does not reflect my experience AT ALL with Fortuna and I was extremely pleased with the entire process and I got into my dream school and received a substantial scholarship. I don't think it's fair to bash them like that. In fact one of my consultants (as you get 2 former admissions directors from INSEAD working with you), has a strong track record and every single one of her INSEAD clients (except 1) has been admitted to the program. So how can they be so bad?! I think that says A LOT about Fortuna ..."

essaysnark Legendary Member
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Post Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:11 am
This thread is so spammy, a gazillion posts on an ancient thread touting the consultants, all from people who apparently just joined this site for the sole purpose of ooohing and ahhing about their great experience. Looks very suspicious (can you say "shill"?). Just sayin'. Might be time to let it rest.

(Yeah, we know how this post looks too - EssaySnark is a consultant - but we never ask clients to go around posting things like this.)

For those of you who got in, great! Congratulations! Not trying to rain on your parade. But if you really want to help others, then instead of leaving these blatant advertising posts, maybe you can take your fancy new BTG account and your new-found knowledge about getting into INSEAD and go on the forums and answer some questions from others who are just starting out.

rantover.

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brottscott Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:49 am
This thread was really helpful for me when finding a consultant for my INSEAD and LBS applications, so I thought I'd add some feedback.

I ended up working with both consultants, Fortuna for the essay and Access for the interviews. Thanks in very large part to their help, I got into both programs despite a 2.99 undergrad GPA. Fortuna helped me turn some potential red flags in my background into strengths on my essay and Laura's career insight made a huge difference in my LBS interview. They're both GREAT consultants that really know INSEAD, and provide REAL value.

Though I don't think anyone can go wrong in hiring either, they do have differing styles. I'd recommend anyone applying to INSEAD give both a call and get a feel for who's a better fit for them. I think the only real mistake anyone in that position can make is not picking their brain even a little bit for a free consultation.

Thanked by: LauraFreedman
nikola.najdovski Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
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Post Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:40 am
"The team at Fortuna were just fantastic. I've worked with 3 consultants Matt, Caroline and Melissa From day 1, I had a road map to follow and they supported me every step of the way. Communicating with both of them was easy, clear and quick. They not only prepared me but motivated me throughout the admission process. The team's recommendations and advice really helped me in my applications to INSEAD and IMD, and I was delighted to gain admissions to both. Overall, Fortuna was worth every penny, and I wholeheartedly recommend the team to others."

LauraFreedman Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
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Post Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:10 am
Congratulations, Nikola! Where will you be going?
---
Haha - Glad Fonty's going well! Looking forward to meeting you in Singapore!

whw.arg Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
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Post Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:25 pm
Hi all

Just would like to add my 2 cents to this topic.

I am a current INSEAD MBA 2014 Dec Class student. I worked with Laura (Access Education) for my INSEAD application and I just can't recommend her enough for all applicants who are seeking a top admissions consulting service.

The main reasons I selected Laura over all other admission consultants I met with are: her extensive experience as an MBA admissions consultant, her background as a senior INSEAD alum, and her highly personalized and customized approach to each and every applicant - because after all, it's YOUR story that you want to tell!

Besides the application essays, she also helped me with the Scholarship Essays - I won the INSEAD Alumni Diversity Scholarship. Now that I am at INSEAD, she also kindly offered to review my CV before it went into the Recruiter’s CV Book. I also get to meet with her to help with my job search, since she’s one of the most popular coaches on INSEAD’s Career Development team in Singapore.

So, to all of you who are looking for an Admissions Consultant, I can tell you that you will never go wrong with Laura!

And if you have any question for me, please do not hesitate to PM me.

Good luck to everyone!



Last edited by whw.arg on Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:02 am; edited 1 time in total

Thanked by: LauraFreedman
Pavel84 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:38 am
A few words about, me: I am Russian with 6 years of experience in engineering positions in leading international O&G service providers and worked across South-East Asia, Far East and Middle East. My decision to pursue MBA was evolving for the last 3 years. I targeted European schools with short programs (max 1.5 years) mainly to fill my knowledge gaps in general management, finance and organizational behavior, and to have a boost into management positions within the O&G industry. This thinking led me to shortlist several European schools, and INSEAD was one of them.

Keeping INSEAD as my main target for application I stared searching for a consultant with great experience in INSEAD applications and a deep understanding of INSEAD’s student culture. I decided to get in touch with Access Education (www.accesseducation.com.sg), and Laura in particular, based on the testimonials posted here on beatthegmat and I have not regretted my choice.

Though I needed only limited services in essay review (I cleared GMAT and TOEFL by myself), Laura still dug deeply into my personal and professional backgrounds, helping me to understand my unique value for my INSEAD application.

Most of the information on MBA admissions is geared toward recent graduates applying to American business schools. For mature professionals of 28-32 years, applying to INSEAD requires different “selling points” and a deeper understanding of your short and long-term goals. Laura is a career counselor at INSEAD with 25 years of professional experience and really helped me figure out my post-MBA plans. That was one of the most important lessons I learnt while working with her on my application.

She was very flexible - she lives in Singapore, I’m in Saudi Arabia and we both work odd hours, so it was easy to arrange coaching sessions at convenient times.

I highly recommend Laura for applicants from Russia and CIS, as she worked in consulting and finance positions in Russia in the 90’s. This experience helped Laura to understand my cultural background and establish good relations with me (she also shared some great stories about prominent senior Russian business leaders she knew when they were just starting their careers). Her caring approach in particular really impressed me.

Though I decided to postpone my application for one year because attractive opportunities opened for me in my current company, I will definitely come back to Laura for her advice when I resume my application next year.

Hearing about other people’s experiences was really helpful in evaluating consultants. Please feel free to PM me with any questions about my experience. And good luck with your application!

Thanked by: LauraFreedman
erinb Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
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Post Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:55 pm
I am currently an INSEAD student and I HIGHLY recommend Alex Leventhal to assist you in the application process. I hired him knowing that with a demanding full-time job and the competition I was up against at INSEAD, I needed someone to help me formulate my thoughts into a cohesive story. He did just that and created a timeline for me that allowed me to feel relaxed throughout the process. My application, while completely my own thoughts, would have never been anywhere close to what I submitted without Alex's help. He just has a way of gathering all of your life stories and experiences and helping you assemble them in a way that allows you to create value in every sentence you write (given the word count for each essay is so low). He makes every sentence count. I was so proud of the application I submitted, and really owe it to Alex's expertise. He knows what kind of info the admissions people want to hear, he knows how to steer you away from sounding phony and get you to sound more sincere and true to yourself. THat's the best part - he helps you express your best possible, most-true self. After I got asked back for interviews, he was just as excited as i was - you really become a team in the process. He then helped me think through my responses and I never felt like he was rushing me off a call or a meeting. We then even had a chance to meet in person and it was great!

Definitely go for Alex if you want to see success!

Contact: www.prepmba.com for more info

Diver Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:07 am
I worked with Laura Freedman from Access Education (www.AccessEducation.com.sg) on 3 business schools and made it to two - INSEAD (my first choice!) and Cornell. I don't think I would have made it to either without her help and I am happy to write this recommendation for her.
  
Before Laura, I spoke with at least 10-12 typical large US-based MBA admissions consulting firms and had almost given up on the idea of working with an admissions consultant. I faced some typical issues-
  
1)      Most seemed to be very focused on selling their services. In a typical 30 min free consultation call, they answered my questions for 10-15 mins and by the 15th minute, were looking for opportunities to give their pitch. Laura spent almost an hour with me talking only about my profile, goals and how an MBA could be helpful.
  
2)       Almost all the other consultants wanted to assign me to some other consultant or team of people different from the person who spoke with me. I was absolutely not comfortable paying up-front to work with someone I didn't know I could relate to.
  
3)      Most other consultants seemed to come with MBA+consulting/banking experience and then went into admission consulting. Their backgrounds, even their understanding of Asia or India for that matter, didn't give me confidence to believe they would be able to appreciate my experiences as an Indian architect and real estate professional.
  
Laura stood out from the very first call. She didn't hard-sell and more importantly, I felt her unusually diverse experience let her understand and appreciate my personal and professional backgrounds. After signing-up with Laura, she was happy to work at my pace. We spent almost 2 sessions per week (1.5 hrs each!) for 2 clear months even before we started working on essays. In the process, she understood the minutest details of my personal and professional background. Consequently, when it was time to write essays, her advice on what stories to select was something I'd pay double the amount of money for! Her editorial and story-telling skills are undoubtedly supreme and her insider’s knowledge of INSEAD (and in this case Cornell, since she is also a Cornell University graduate and grew up in Ithaca) was a huge advantage.
  
I am usually quite a perfectionist and don't mind working on things till I feel I have got it right. But the application process can be extremely stressful. Whenever I crumbled, Laura kept pushing me to rework and fine-tune the essays till I could nail them. Even before I got the admission decisions, I knew I had gained tremendously from the whole process (even apart from the admits!). Since then, she has advised me on how best to use my pre-matriculation period to be able to derive maximum benefit from INSEAD’s one-year format.
  
I highly recommend Laura. Not only was she instrumental in helping me get in, she helped me better appreciate my strengths and career trajectory - and ever since we finished, keeps connecting me with interesting people in my industry. She’s also a career counselor for INSEAD’s Career Development team in Singapore and is on INSEAD’s Singapore Alumni board, so I’m looking forward to continuing to work with her once I start my MBA!

Feel free to PM me for any specific questions...

Thanked by: LauraFreedman
charlie08 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:33 am
Hi everyone,

I started working with Laura Freedman, an MBA admissions consultant at Access Education (www.accesseducation.com) just two weeks before my MBA application deadline. I was far behind in the process, so Laura made time in her packed schedule to meet with me almost every day and for several hours on the night of the deadline. I was accepted to Wharton with a fellowship!

I spoke to several consultants (including Wharton alumni), but I immediately connected with Laura. Laura has amazing life experiences and is impressively knowledgeable on every subject, which enabled her to truly understand my background. She was genuinely excited to work with me despite the tight deadline and my low GMAT.

Laura is a genius at storytelling and essay editing. She helped me weave together my thoughts into a cohesive story and pushed me to come up with ideas that I would have never thought of. She is passionate about her clients and cares about their success.

I recommend Laura for any MBA program that you are applying to. She is definitely the go-to person for INSEAD, but she knows other schools’ cultures and processes extremely well.

Looking back, I wish I had started months earlier with Laura. In my short time working with her, Laura went above and beyond what was expected. Not only do I believe that she is the best MBA admissions consultant out there, but she is a great life mentor and role model. I will definitely keep in touch with her throughout my MBA journey and thereafter.

If you have any questions about my experiences working with Laura, please do not hesitate to PM me.

Thanked by: LauraFreedman

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