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Admission consulting for INSEAD

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Admission consulting for INSEAD

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I recently applied for INSEAD R2. Still waiting for my results. Four days before submitting, I realized I didn’t know anyone who could review my essays. Looking on the internet, I found Laura Freedman, an MBA admissions consultant from Access Education in Singapore (http://www.accesseducation.com/). I was a bit nervous spending money on a consultant so close to the deadline. I’m really glad I decided to go ahead and get her help.

An INSEADer herself and an active alum in Singapore, Laura understands the INSEAD culture extremely well and has personal insights into how ADCOM could react to the content of my essays. She took time to understand my background, my interests, my career till date and my post-MBA plans. She prompted questions to bring out contents from both my personal and professional life to achieve a consistency in the essays. She pointed out important stories I hadn’t even thought to include. She really helped me take the essays to the next level in a very short time.

Her consulting experience in a tier 1 consulting firm gives her an amazing ability to understand different businesses across different functions. In general, she is very aware of what challenges different businesses face at different levels, and really understood my own career challenges. She also really understood my Indian cultural background and my experience adapting to life in Australia, helping me highlight important aspects I had ignored. On top of this, her editing skills were outstanding.

The best thing was that when I called Laura on the morning of the submission date to clarify one of the essays, she was very helpful to give appropriate time and attention even though she had prior engagements. She added whole lot of value overall, and I really enjoyed working with her too.

I highly recommend people to engage with Laura very early in the application process. She had a lot of great practical advice on my career and is one of those rare consultants who grows into the application along with the candidate. My application would have been much stronger had I engaged with Laura early in the process

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I was also fortunate enough to have found Laura from Access Education (MBA admissions consultant in Singapore) while going through the application process. Since I only applied to INSEAD, I wanted to make sure I maximize my chances by getting the help of not only an expert but an INSEAD expert.

After exhaustive search, speaking to all the usual MBA admission suspects, I settled on Laura for her in-depth knowledge of the application process, intimate understanding of the INSEAD admission process, and her invaluable ability to quickly grasp my story and identify unique aspects of my candidacy that can set me apart.

Also notable is that Laura was a student, an alumni interviewer, and worked tangentially with/in admissions at INSEAD. This is important because fit is crucial and certain narratives resonate better with certain schools. No matter your background, she will bring that out.

She possesses the rare combination of being a seasoned consultant (with a very international experience, also a plus in helping you shape your story for INSEAD since that’s what they value) and being plugged in to the latest happening.

Overall, I’m glad to have meet her and very appreciative of her help!

If anyone has any specific questions feel free to leave comments here or PM me.

Thanks!

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Uncertain about my fit to the INSEAD program, I came across Laura Freedman at Access Education in Singapore to discuss my odds of getting in given my relative seniority. Within 10 mins of our discussion, she outlined my scattered thoughts into a unique logical proposition. In that very instant I decided I was in the right hands and have not looked back since…

The first thing that struck me about her was that unlike commercially run MBA admissions consultants, she gets personally involved with her clients, gaining keen insights into their personal & professional lives with ease. Secondly, her approach is to keep the application genuine and authentic. This was particularly comforting to me. Each word in my application reflected my true self in my own words and yet my application was unique as well as compelling. I believe this to be an important differentiator between the thousands to applications fed to business school admissions committees.

The biggest plus with Laura has been the fact that you are dealing with a person who has been in the same boat in the past and understands perspectives from both ends - those of both the MBA program and of the student. She has extensive experience in this space with the ability to translate life experiences into meaningful anecdotes that resonate with an admissions committee.

As I begin my INSEAD experience, I know that I will always be thankful to Laura for having greater faith in me than I did myself, and also for proactively going that extra mile at several junctures which certainly helped me overcome the odds and to get in to the only program I had applied to.

She is truly passionate about her profession and it reflects in her work ethic and output. Whether one gets a "yes" or a "ding", one will not regret having worked with Laura knowing that you put your best foot forward!!!

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Have you heard from INSEAD yet? I am an applicant R2 Jan 2013, still waiting for the decision notification...

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I spent a lot of time looking for the right admissions consultant and in the process went through assessments/interviews/conversations with many of them. Here is my advice for selecting the right admissions consultant (AC):

1) It's all about fit
You are going to spend a lot of time working with your AC - as you are assessing ACs, ask yourself if you could see yourself enjoying working with the person. Is there personality/style the right fit for you. Treat it as an interview where you are the interviewer - for me this process yielded one clear winner and I strongly recommend this approach to anyone (TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FREE ASSESSMENTS THAT MOST CONSULTANTS OFFER)

2) Make sure your application gets to the core of your USPs
At the end of the day, the right consultant will help YOU articulate YOUR "unique selling points" This is the essence of any good bschool application. The originality, appeal, and fit of your personality will only come out of a deep introspective process - otherwise your application will tend to tell a story that you think the adcoms want to hear rather than the story you should be telling about yourself.
So avoid consultants that prescriptive right off the bat or who don't seem to want to get to know you on a deep level. If a consultant doesn't know you they will not be able to help you articulate your story.

My experience led me to selecting Laura Freedman at Access Education MBA Admissions Consultants in Singapore. Simply put, I don't think that I could have worked with a more effective partner for completing my (now successful!) application to INSEAD. Here's why:

Laura took the time to hear about me. And asked questions. And more questions. Whereas most other initial conversations I had with ACs went something like this "well you seem to have strong extracurriculars but your GPA might be slightly low so maybe you should consider taking some classes to boost your grades"... Laura, very refreshingly, did not offer any cookie cutter suggestions. I immediately got a sense that we would have good working chemistry - she's smart, she cares, and relentlessly keeps you focussed on reaching your goal.
Her approach starts with several sessions of getting to know you so that she can speak from a place of knowledge about you in context of your application. I really can't emphasize enough how important this process was in helping me create a truly unique, self-representative application. Plus, Laura also knows the INSEAD admission process inside and out being and alum and interviewer.

Access Education was without question right for me. Follow the approach I outlined above and you'll find the right one for you. But do yourself a favor and talk to Laura Freedman and do the free diagnostic as part of your AC evaluation process.
http://www.accesseducation.com.sg/

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Hi All,

Most of the consultants based abroad are worth evaluating, butfrom Value for money,affordability and Quality perspective, i guess mbadream is quite good. Here is my experience in short.

After the tough last year that i had, i got in to a top 25 school with a scholarship. I realized working with rahul from mbadream was very useful. My latest admit, from another top 30 school, i received yesterday that too has a scholarship. I suggest, mbaaspirants for next year should speak to mbadream.in . They are top class.

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If Laura's ability to write 'believable' advertising spam on forums is a reflection of her consulting value, she clearly isn't even worth considering.

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Hi Kohsamed,

I'm not sure I understand your post. You're welcome to PM any of the people who've posted feedback about me to ask for their feedback personally. You can contact additional clients I've worked with from the recommendations on my Linked In page at (Linked In)/profile/view?id=99414.

I'd be happy to discuss your profile with you if you're interested, even if you're already working with another consultant. Please feel free to contact me via PM or through my website. Another perspective is always helpful.

Good luck with your applications!

Kind regards,

Laura Freedman
Access Education

Posted Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:02 am
If Laura's ability to write 'believable' advertising spam on forums is a reflection of her consulting value, she clearly isn't even worth considering.

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Hi Kohsamed,
I am an Argentinean-Chinese applying to INSEAD MBA Jan '14 intake.
Don't know if you will believe me, but Laura helped me a lot with my Application and I am very satisfied with the result.
You can send me a PM if you need more info about her service.

PS: I think that we have already meet each other in GC INSEAD Jan 14 Intake forum Smile

Good luck!

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I'm a newcomer here so i guess my identify will probably be questioned too. But I still want to say something about Laura.

I applied only to INSEAD and wanted to do everything to make my application as perfect as possible. That’s why I decided to use an MBA admissions consultant to help.

Before picking the right consultant, I made use of the free consultations offered by several well-known MBA admissions consulting companies. I decided to go with Laura Freedman at Access Education in Singapore (www.AccessEducation.com.sg) because:

1) Laura is an INSEAD MBA and an active alum and still has close connections with INSEAD on both professional and personal levels. I’m not saying she’ll be able to influence the admission process, I don’t think anyone can. But her insider knowledge would certainly help me pitch myself better in my essays.

2) She’s based in Singapore, so I could meet her face-to-face. I believed this would make communication more efficient.

Laura spent more time with me than promised working on my essays over the past 1.5 months. Although I only signed up for an essay review, she asked me good questions to make sure she understood my stories and what I was trying to convey before suggesting any changes. Her questions also helped me reflect deeper and understand better why I need an MBA. Laura went the extra mile to review my recommendations and the front section of my application form. She also helped me realize that to stand out as an applicant, it’s better to say what I really think, not what I think AdCom wants to hear.

I’ve finally submitted my essays for INSEAD’s 2nd round. Before engaging Laura, I had already revised my essays several times with help from my friends who are MBA’s from Columbia, Chicago Booth and INSEAD. Compared to the first draft that I went to Laura with, my final essays are polished, concise, entertaining, and most importantly are a genuine portrait of me. I’m very happy with Laura’s service and recommend her to anyone without reservation. Please feel free to PM me with any questions.

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Hi,

I've been working with Laura over the past few months and I can give my personal reflection on our work together.
Nearly there for me... Over the moon Smile
PM me.
I owe Laura a great deal. Thanks Laura Smile
Oooo... link to Laura: http://www.accesseducation.com.sg/
Get into contact with her and get that free consultation Smile


Alvin



Last edited by bharataalv on Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:27 am; edited 1 time in total

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I wanted to share my experience working with an MBA admissions consultant for my INSEAD application.

Let me begin with my background. I belong to the most competitive pool of MBA applicants - Indian/IT/M with an average GMAT. When I began planning for INSEAD, I knew that I wanted professional help to submit a strong application given the shortcomings in my profile. I talked to 3 admission consultants here in the US but did not feel the connection or confidence. There was hardly any difference in the conversations, questions and feedback that these 3 consultants provided. I won’t name them as I have not taken their services.

I decided to work with Laura Freedman from Access Education in Singapore (www.Accesseducation.com.sg). My experience with Laura was totally different right from the first Skype session that we had. Working with her was one of the best decisions that I made.

Some of the strengths that I found while working with Laura:
- Laura has an “Insider’s view” on everything INSEAD. She is an INSEAD alum who has worked with the admissions office interviewing candidates and promoting the school, has coached applicants since the '90's and advises current students as a counselor at INSEAD Career Services in Singapore. She's also held INSEAD alumni association board roles in the US, Russia and Singapore (she even helped launch Blue Ocean Strategy in the US!). This vast experience was evident in the inputs that she provided while developing my story, editing the essays and preparing for the interviews. She was able to highlight aspects of my life that I would never have thought as important.

- Laura's career experience was tremendously helpful in helping me articulate my career goals (I'm targeting consulting). She's worked for over 20 years in different industries and functions, including two top-tier consultancies and two global financial institutions, and has lived all over the world. She had a lot of insight into my professional background and how my experience would let me have the biggest impact, and great practical advice about how to get where I'm looking to go.

- Another aspect of working with Laura that I highly appreciate is the face time that you get with her. Unlike telephonic conversations with other admission consultants, I had Skype sessions with Laura where we worked on discussing my story, editing the essays and even had mock interviews (she was an INSEAD alumni interviewer for over 10 years). This provided a personalized touch to the entire process.

- I admire Laura’s direct approach. She can be blunt at times Smile . However, it really worked for me in bringing out the best in my essays. After all, we need a guide who sees beyond the obvious and can provide constructive criticism.

- In spite of the time difference between the US and Singapore, Laura always made time and provided multiple options for scheduling the sessions.

- Laura's mock interview prep was spot on. It not only prepared me for interview surprises but also boosted my confidence immensely.
Despite the weaknesses in my profile, I still made it to INSEAD. I cannot thank Laura enough for the guidance and personalized attention that she provided to make this happen.

My advice to future MBA aspirants: If INSEAD is your dream school (just as it was mine), then do reach out to Laura Freedman. Her guidance will surely improve your chances, and you'll learn a lot about yourself in the process.

Please feel free to PM me for any help.

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I am happy to talk to all applying to INSEAD. I have had clients get in each of the last three admissions seasons, and the essays are quite demanding.

INSEAD is actually a great application to work on because it will help you think about an array of questions, and will prove useful as you move on to other schools.

Alex

_________________
Alex Leventhal
Harvard MBA, 1998
Prep MBA Admissions Consulting
www.prepmba.com
alex@prepmba.com
(323)424.3178

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Upon receiving an e-mail to interview for admission into INSEAD, I was both thrilled and terrified. INSEAD is my top choice. The last thing I wanted to do was mess up the interviews, especially after putting so much work into the application process (the application is a lot of work). Plus, I read from other boards how tough INSEAD interviews can be.

Searching online, I found Laura Freedman, an MBA admissions consultant at Access Education in Singapore (www.AccessEducation.com.sg), and went with her to help me prep. Given that the school looks for a specific kind of candidate, I liked how Laura went to INSEAD and had years of experience interviewing potential candidates. She’s also on the Singapore alumni board and works as a coach for INSEAD Career Services, so she knows the school extremely well.

We spent over 2 hours doing a mock interview, with her providing constructive feedback along the way. She helped me shape my answers and was able to point out certain things I never would have picked up on my own.

While I don't know yet how I did in the interviews, I felt much more confident and certainly did much better than I could have ever done on my own or by going with someone who doesn't know INSEAD as well as she does.

On another note, after experiencing the interviews, I believe it's crucial to get help with interview prep, regardless of how comfortable you are speaking/interviewing. I found that the b-school interview is quite different.

Regardless of what happens, at least I can say I gave it my all - no regrets. Hoping for the best.

*This is her website for anyone interested: http://www.AccessEducation.com.sg

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Hi everyone! Let me share with you my fresh experience working with Laura Freedman from Access Education in Singapore (www.accesseducation.com.sg).

First of all, I has been accepted to INSEAD!! (btw, the only school I had applied to). It was a very long journey but so rewarding at the end!

About me: I am Chinese national raised in Argentina (Buenos Aires) who was looking for an MBA Admissions Consultant to help me apply to INSEAD. After reading many posts and recommendations from gmatclub.com and beatthegmat.com, I came across Laura in one of those posts.

Since I had never talked with any Admissions Consultant before, I was a bit skeptical. So, why did I contact Laura? Well, to make long story short, I would say that my decision was based on the following reasons:

1. Laura has “insider” knowledge about INSEAD. Since INSEAD was the only school that I was applying to, I felt I needed an INSEAD “specialist”. Laura has extensive experience with INSEAD - she is an INSEAD alumnus who worked with INSEAD Admissions and interviewed many MBA candidates. She also coaches current MBA students through INSEAD Career Services, so she knows the program and has a lot of insight into the profiles of current students. After working with Laura, I can confirm that her knowledge about INSEAD was incredibly helpful for my application.

2. Laura’s cultural knowledge. I wanted someone who could understand my dual Argentine/Chinese background and help me explain it to best effect on my application. Laura’s lived in many different countries and had to adapt to different cultures lots of times (and even speaks Spanish and some Mandarin).

3. Laura’s consulting background. Laura worked with a top-tier consulting firm, with a Big 4 firm, as an internal consultant and she ran her own management consulting practice. I wanted an admissions consultant who could understand my background working for a small regional McKinsey spin-off and help me explain my work achievements in a way that would support my case for joining an MBBB firm.

4. Her “personal” attention. Unlike many other Admissions Consultants (yes, I watched many videos on Youtube and read webpages of other consultants), Laura works DIRECTLY and PERSONALLY with you. I mean, you will work directly with HER and not with her TEAM. That was very important, since she got to know me really well and was able to remember examples I had missed and help me use them in my final essays. I still remember how she personally answered my first email asking for the “first free consulting session” (see next).

5. The “first consulting session” (basically, you get the first consulting session from Laura for free) For me it was really important that you can first “try” the product before “buying” it, and if you are not satisfied (hard to imagine!), you can always choose not to work with her. What impressed me the most in the first session was her ability to sum up and structure my strengths and weaknesses, providing me a clear picture of my chances of getting admitted to INSEAD.

So, what follows is the summary of my experience of working with Laura:

• First, let me say that I am totally satisfied with the results. My application and essays would not have reached that level of quality if Laura did not help me. She could clearly adapt all my essays and still let them stay true to my PERSONAL story.

• Laura was always there at my reach. Despite living with a difference of 11 hours (I am located in Argentina and she is in Singapore), Laura always managed to make room for calls through Skype. We had not less than 30 hours work.

• Laura is an amazing editor. She really knows how to write (she used to teach English). It was amazing how she helped me frame and shape and re-shape my essays to get my stories to flow smoothly and with just the right amount of detail (she calls it “fish tank clear”). Working with her really improved my business writing at work, not just on the application.

• I felt that Laura loves what she does. How do I know that? Through all the time and dedication she put into my application. With all the sessions that I spent sharing my personal story with her so she could provide better insights for my application, I can say that Laura ended up knowing me better than myself!

Overall, I had a great experience with her and best of all - I’m going to INSEAD!!!

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

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