Best Admissions Consultant for INSEAD?

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by HBSAlumPE » Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:04 am
I worked with Scott Edinburgh at Personal MBA Coach and I could not have been happier! Scott offers an incredible personal experience that is very hard to find. The fact that you are working with an individual and not a company cannot be emphasized enough. Don't be fooled by the big company name / support services that some larger firms have. At the end of the day you work with one person most of the time so why not work directly with an expert for the same price rather than an employee of a larger firm?

While I went to HBS, Scott helps applicants get into INSEAD and all other top European schools regularly as well

I hired a more well known name referenced on here and was not satisfied as the support died off as it got closer to the deadlines. I then reached out to Scott via www.personalmbacoach.com and was floored by the level of support I got. While we only had a short amount of time since I contacted him late, he took the time to get to know me personally and professionally and he was the one coming up with essay topics after just a couple discussions. Scott is quite tough and it works out in the end. In a very short amount of time, we did an entire HBS application and I ultimately got in. (As well as a couple other programs I turned down)

With Personal MBA Coach, you get a great balance of no BS, direct and brutal feedback while at the same time you have encouraging support throughout the entire process. Whereas with the other more well-known name I felt like I was a number in the process, Scott brainstormed everything with me from start to finish. Scott is a hidden gem in the admissions consulting space and I have sent many friends to him over the years who also had great success!

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by christian1904 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 3:27 am
Hi all,

as I used this forum and others to make up my mind on who to work with in my plans of getting into the top European MBA programs (INSEAD, LBS, IESE), I want to give a small feedback on what I've experienced.

I) My Situation:
-European, slightly under avg. Business school age
-Lots of Int. Work experience in China (4yrs) in booming E-Commerce sector
-GMAT below average for Insead & LBS; Total 680; Q (63%ile) V (85%ile)

II) Consultants Talked To:
a) Veritas Prep: quite harsh feedback; telling me if I didnt retake my GMAT I could basically forget it. I explained to them that it's currently no alternative to retake the GMAT for me but if there's anything else to lift my chances I'd be very willing to do that. Seemed to me like they insisted on me re-taking, the lady I talked to made it very clear that she believes I had no chances at INSEAD or LBS and it seemed that she wanted to get rid of me. Her fault :-)

b) Fortuna Admissions: talked to them because with Caroline Edwards it seemed like they really had somebody in their lines who knows how to get into INSEAD. very nice and detailed feedback. Talked to Matt Symonds, one of their senior directors, who actually got my hopes up to get into INSEAD/LBS quite a lot when talking to me. He was quite charming, almost too nice, as I was aware my GMAT would make it difficult to get into Insead/LBS. He also passed on some feedback from Caroline Edwards to me, who suggested me to take an Online Math course of some sort to possibly show my commitment - a great advice that I did follow in the end.
Two things I didnt like about Fortuna and why I decided against them:
i) Matt is a great guy, but I learned that my "team" of consultants would be somebody completely else. It struck me as a bit of a "sales pitch" to have somebody charming to do the initial consultation, and then be handed over to somebody else I didnt even know, and may not like as much.
ii) What struck me even more: I found almost no honest and positive feedback about Fortuna in online forums. Found a lot of what seems to me like fake posts from members who have just posted 1 post in a forum, giving very one-sided praise about Fortuna. Didn't seem very authentic and actually made them come off a bit shady.

c) Access Education: I had to persuade Laura a bit to work with me due to my GMAT score. But from the feedback I read about her online (her working directly 1 to 1 with clients, very caring, etc.); I knew she was the right choice. She also challenged me from day 1, telling me on what I needed to work on, and being very realistic in her views on my profile. However she seemed a lot more authentic than the others I had talked to before, so I picked Access Education. Turned out to be a great choice!
Laura had a great way of preparing me for my essays and took lots of time to listen and understand my story. That put her in the exact right position to look at my essays with the right angle. Also she gave me a lot of interesting and good feedback on how to "position" myself and my story - pretty much the major thing I was looking for in an admissions consultant.
When it came to the essays, she showed exceptional talent in helping to translate what i wanted to say into the right words in a super-quick mode. She also saw herself as a type of career consultat, giving me feedback on what kind of roles and industries I could consider given my strengths. You can tell she has a great network to leverage on. It was lots of fun working with her and I felt her feedback and comments on my story made a huge impact on me learning how to sell myself.

Long story short, I was admitted to INSEAD and IESE against all odds, LBS is still outstanding decision.

Anyway, I can only recommend Access Education to everybody who is looking for a great and authentic consultant. You really get what you paid for when working with Laura.

PM me for any questions!

Cheers

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by lsquarenyc » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:32 pm
I first spoke to Laura Freedman at Access Education (www.accesseducation.com) in December 2015. I was applying to European business schools (Cambridge, Oxford and INSEAD), and had heard that Laura is the best MBA admissions consultant for top European schools. My background isn't that unusual (Asian\female\Wall Street\dual cultural background), but my age is an issue (I'm 34).



After interviewing 4 different admissions consulting companies, I decided to choose Laura immediately after our first consultation. Right off the bat, I found Laura to be extremely insightful, candid and direct. She told me straight out that my age was a potential weakness and had ideas for ways to manage it. I was also impressed by how quickly she was able to encapsulate an accurate summary of me and my value proposition to the different programs I was looking at.



Having successfully gone through the process and been accepted by my dream schools, I can easily say that hiring Laura is one of the best decisions I've ever made. While she helped in many different ways, the following areas really stood out:



1) Life and career coach

Laura is so much more than a MBA admissions consultant; she's a life and career coach. She helped me to dig deep and pushed me to a level of introspection I did not think I could ever reach. She helped me recall stories from my childhood which I did not realize were significant but actually helped me better understand my personal journey and how it has molded me into the person I am today. She was also a Career Counselor at INSEAD and NUS in Singapore, so she had lots extremely helpful insight into my career goals and likely range of options. With a better understanding of myself, I am now clearer than ever about my future goals in life, both personal and professional.



2) Expert in identifying meaningful personal stories.

Laura is an expert at identifying meaningful personal stories. She kept pushing me to explain my stories in detail until she understood the reasoning behind them. She also had deep insight into my cultural background, since she's spent her entire life moving between Asia, Europe and the US. I was very pleased with how my essays turned out. They are authentic and personal, and truly captured the essence of me. My friends read my essays and said it feels like me speaking to them, so true and alive.



3) A business woman, not just a writer.

As a senior INSEAD alum with many years of experiences in banking and consulting, Laura clearly understands the business world across sectors, functions and geographies. She truly understood my job functions and the challenges I face, which really made our conversations efficient and productive.



Overall, Laura went way above and beyond my expectations. I not only accomplished my goal of getting into my dream business school, but also developed a keener sense of myself and became a much better writer (all her editing is face-to-face).



I recommend Laura to anyone who is interested in top European business schools. I will also be happy to answer any questions on this forum.

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by MBA Ivy » Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:57 am
I work with INSEAD applicants for both the regular MBA as well as the EMBA, and have had great success with my clients. You can request more information or sign up for a free profile consultation at my firm's website: www.MBAIvyLeague.com

[I'm a former Harvard interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the MBA admissions firm MBA IVY LEAGUE! Request more information, today!}
Looking for help on this year's MBA applications? I'm a former Harvard admissions interviewer and Harvard graduate. Check out my blog for great MBA advice and tips, or contact me for a free consultation today! www.MBAIvyLeague.com

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by TurkishDelights » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:54 am
When I first thought of applying to INSEAD, I hadn't thought of hiring an admission consultant. I was very confident of what I want to say in my essays and I thought I'd better save the money. When I started the actual work on my application, though, I noticed how the INSEAD application is very comprehensive, and my story and background had many moving parts. As I turned 32, I knew it was now or never to make into INSEAD.

Thus, I started looking around for admissions consultants. I searched the MBA forums, LinkedIn, and Google search. I reached out to few firms that had promising track records placing candidates at INSEAD, and that's how I found Laura Freedman. Laura's a certified coach who specializes in international MBA programs, and has 25 years of history with INSEAD as an interviewer, on alumni association boards in 4 countries, as a counselor on INSEAD's Careers team in Singapore, and for 8 years as an admissions consultant.

I uploaded my CV into Access Education's website and she immediately replied asking me to schedule an hour-long Skype call.

During our first call, it didn't take long to notice that Laura understood very well and was very interested in my background, as if she knew me already for several years. I believe her unusually rich international experience is the reason for this amazing capability.

While working with Laura, I noticed that her service is not just about getting into INSEAD, or any other school for that matter. Her consultation for me was like career coaching. She helped me to zoom out, and have a bird's eye view over my life and understand why I made certain decisions, as well as to delve into my weaknesses and strengths. I've always had hard time explaining what I do since I come from a very technical engineering background, however, I now have a way much easier time explaining what I do, even to my grandmother!

Her consultation helps you beyond just getting into your desired school, it helps you to know yourself better, improve your interview skills and express yourself in good, concise English. Most importantly, she helps you to understand and tell YOUR OWN STORY in the best possible way.

I feel I'm much better prepared for my MBA than ever.

Thank you, Laura!


Guys, if you have any question please send me a message.

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TTT

by London2020 » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:52 am
I would recommend Laura Freedman at Access Education (www.accesseducation.com).

I had talked to a few consultants and decided to go with her because of her focus on international MBA programs. She definitely exceeded my expectations as an MBA admissions consultant in terms of the type and quality of service that I would be getting during my application to LBS. I expected help with language and presentation of information and ideas, perhaps some insights into the school selection process - Laura was excellent in all these aspects, but more than that, she was very quickly able to help me formulate the whole thesis of the person I wanted to present myself as, and why I wanted an MBA. This to me shows intelligence, thoughtfulness and experience, which I find rare in the admissions consulting marketplace. She not only gave me more clarity and confidence in the application process, she also made the otherwise painful preparation process much more enjoyable with her straight-talking and laid back personality. I think Laura has a real talent for what she's doing, and I would definitely recommend her to anyone seeking help during their MBA application process.

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by krueger2k » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:18 am
I would also recommend Laura from Access Education, she helped me to get into LBS! :)

Below a quick outline why I believe she did a great job:

Laura Freedman at Access Education (www.accesseducation.com) was one of the key success factors during my MBA application process. As a management consultant, I was time constrained and my GMAT was not excellent. But because of Laura's extensive knowledge, I could save a significant amount of time, create a compelling story and avoid common traps that would easily fail a first-time applicant. In the end, I got offers from all 3 of my targeted schools (LBS, INSEAD and HKUST).

I was impressed by Laura's personal approach and genuine interest she took in me personally. She really took time to understand my personal and professional background. It helped a lot that she's a former management consultant who's lived in Europe and Asia. Also, Laura pushed me to think very deeply about why I want to pursue an MBA and how such a program would benefit my long-term career. This approach was key to create a differentiated and authentic story for the applications.

Laura also excels on the operational side of the process. Her editing skills and grasp of the English language are outstanding. She helped me to reshape my essays to make them concise and well-articulated. At the same time, she made sure that I was answering the questions in a structured and clear manner. The essays were my main challenge and Laura was essential to bring them into a competitive form.

Finally, Laura's live coaching approach was highly effective. From the first session onwards, she sat down with me (virtually) and went through each preparation module. This was extremely helpful when working on essays, as we could talk through suggestions, clarify issues directly and make sure the changes fit with my experience. This significantly reduced the time I would have used otherwise mailing back and forth different essay versions.

Overall, it was a pleasure to work with Laura. I can highly recommend her to anybody seeking for an MBA admissions consultant, who is genuinely interested in the person and has demonstrated skills to make the application a success.

Hope that helps,
Frederic

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review

by mlleanne » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:48 am
I want to share my recent experience with Laura Freeman. Laura at Access Education (www.accesseducation.com) stood out for several reasons when I was choosing a consultant earlier this year.

Since my target school was INSEAD, her inside knowledge to the school was indispensable. She's an alumnus and has worked for INSEAD's career services. She's very involved with alumni events and is personally invested in the INSEAD community.

However, what really stood out to me was how she knows and can personally relate to the INSEAD community characteristics. She's an expert in showing the best side of your unique background and personality, but while still maintain your true self - no boasting or exaggerating, just tell your story in an honest, yet clever way. She keeps telling me not to lean towards what I think the admissions or interviewers want to hear, but just be myself (obviously, she coaches me to express my true self in an effective way by clearly stating out your strengths [that wasn't evident to me at first]). She very honest and doesn't sugarcoat things. Coming from a non-traditional business background, I wanted someone who can tell me the truth (even though sometimes it wasn't always music in my ears). Laura did exactly that.

The admissions essays are meant to be hard and require much self-reflection and soul-searching, but working with Laura prompted me to go deeper into what I wanted to get out of the MBA degree, and what I want to do post-MBA. Therefore, it's a very insightful process to go through and I'm happy with the results - I got into both INSEAD and HEC and will be starting school in Jan 2019!

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review

by stephenjscott22 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:48 pm
I happened upon Laura Freedman at Access Education (www.accesseducation.com) as an MBA admissions consultant and it was life changing. If you're assessing the value of the many options out there, I can attest that Laura offers a premium service in every way. She provides uncommon perspective in every phase of the process (including after you are accepted!), she does all her work with you on live video conference and meets as much as you need (in fact encourages you to schedule more meeting time) and is an absolute perfectionist with your essays. I've worked with multiple MBA admissions consultants. Your dollar goes way further with Laura than with other services in terms of the application support alone.

But Laura is so much more than that. She's a life coach who cares about you as a person and speaks from her own fascinating, diverse experiences. She sees the potential in you but also sees through the lies you tell yourself (a big part of the MBA application process!). Laura will challenge you at every turn and make you think about things differently to ensure that your MBA is not only a career advancement opportunity, but a pivotal adventure in a non-linear life path.

If you're looking at top programs outside the US, Laura is the foremost expert. If you're looking at programs in the US you should still work with Laura because her perspective is just that valuable. I wish I'd known how much of a no-brainer the decision is when I was looking at options. It's easy to get cynical about the MBA consulting world, but I can honestly say Laura is a one-in-a-million mentor that I would want to work with even if I wasn't applying to business school. And I got into my first choice!

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Review

by may11july » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:19 pm
Hey, here is my review of working with Laura

The Results:
Working with Laura Freedman, an INSEAD alum and MBA admissions consultant from Access Education (www.accesseducation.com), converted my failure to success.

In 2015, with a 770 GMAT, 5 years' experience and a great GPA, I worked with a reputed admissions consultant and applied to 6 US B-Schools. I was devastated when I made it to NONE.

In 2017, I applied again. I worked with 2 admissions consultants including Laura. Although I only worked with Laura for INSEAD, I credit her for my admission to Kellogg, Booth, Ross and INSEAD.

Not only was she amazing, but I learnt the art of applying from her. After 5-6 sessions, I was reading friends' applications and helped 3 get into top MBA programs.

After working with 3 consultants, talking to 10+, submitting 14 apps over 2 years and reading numerous apps of others, I believe there is no match to Laura's quality of work.

The Experience:
Working with Laura was an amazing experience. As amazed as I was to see my essays and CV transform to "awesomeness", it was fun sharing experiences - talking about our travels, sky diving, sailing, her graduate and work experiences... With other consultants, editing essays and sending them back and forth seemed like a TASK. With Laura, I looked forward to our calls, all of which were over Skype. Laura challenged me to introspect and think. She taught me to write from my heart.

Laura turned out to be much more than a consultant. She's a friend and mentor for life. I know I can reach out to her for advice at any point of my life.

The Interview Prep:
I had done several mock interviews with consultants and alumni before I did one with Laura. She completely changed the way I interview. While everyone else said to "highlight my accomplishments", she taught me to be humble and to BE MYSELF. After a mock with her, I was able to convert an "interview" to a "conversation", which I believe did the trick. One of my interviewers even invited me for drinks afterward.

Laura used to teach interview prep at INSEAD. I know the prep I did with her is going to be a great resource for my job interviews.

The Fees/Cost:
When you see Laura's fees, you might think she's expensive. But check out the prices of other top consultants. I believe Laura charges far less than the value she adds, not only to the application but to YOU.

She will not just get you in a great B-School. She'll enhance your writing skills, which I believe is an powerful skill to have in life. She'll teach you interview skills which may help you land a great job later. Most importantly, she'll help you learn about YOU.

I believe the lifetime value of working with Laura is way higher than what I paid for.

The most amazing part:
The best thing about Laura is that she DOES NOT change what you intend to say. Unlike with some other consultants, your essays will be TRUE. Believe me, the satisfaction of submitting a TRUE and ethical application and getting an admit is immense.

Feel free to contact me at [email protected] with any questions.

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I would highly recommend Laura. Honestly, I might not have received an INSEAD offer without help from Laura Freedman, an INSEAD alum and MBA admissions consultant at Access Education. I only focused on 1-year programs, and INSEAD was my first choice. One of my friends, an INSEAD alumn , strongly recommended Laura to me. The best part is that Laura was not just helping with my essay editing. She guided me to discover and reflect on myself in ways I had never thought about before. Each essay editing session, we would have video calls to discuss how to further improve the content. I liked her direct approach to give feedback and her patience to keep pushing me to revise my drafts. She is always responsive and helpful about my questions, even when she fell sick during the process. Further, the skillset I learnt from Laura is not just one-time for the MBA application. I applied what I learned working with her to my CV and cover letter writing during my full-time job recruitment at INSEAD and successfully received an MBB consulting offer.