Best MBA Admissions Consulting Service?

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by shrutikirtisharma » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:50 am
I am planning to apply for the Fall 2014 session and so I want to take the help of an admissions consultant for my applications. There are so many consultants out there that I am feeling a bit lost. After scheduling consultation calls with some of them, I have narrowed down to three consultants - Admissionado, Veritas Prep, and Stacy Blackman. Price wise everyone is more or less in the same range. It will be extremely helpful if anyone can help me choose among these consultants or at the very least share your experiences with any one of them. Appreciate all the help! Thanks once again!

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by bermanal9 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:58 am
I worked with Aringo on my application to INSEAD and wanted to share my great experience with them which ended up in admission:
Their experience helped me improve my application, as well as identify the most important points to best reflect who I am, and to emphasize them in a way that could gain the attention of the admissions committee members.
Aringo's unique perspective and familiarity with the admissions committee work opened my eyes, both in the phase of application preparation and interview preparation, and it was more valuable than the standard books called the "bible" of the MBA. Aringo's great service helped me get where I am today and I recommend them to anyone who is considering hiring an admission consultant!

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by bschoolstudent » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:04 am
Non-Under-Represented Male in Finance
GMAT: Around 720
GPA: Under 3.0
Undergrad: Top Ivy League School
Work Exp: 5 years Investment Banking (including 1.5 years abroad)

Choosing an admissions consultant was a stressful process. I did free consultations with the founders of two different firms, and I loved both. Ultimately, I chose Stratus Prep because Shawn O'Connor is the smartest consultant I have ever encountered. He is a genius in his understanding of admissions offices and how they think about candidates.

I knew that I would work extremely hard to apply to my dream school (Wharton), but hard work is not enough in the admissions process. I needed the help of Stratus Prep to choose appropriate stories for essays, improve my resume, prepare for interviews, and help me to edit my application. I worked with Jeff Mroz (Wharton alum) and Shawn O'Connor on my application for 2-3 months before it was complete. I was amazed at the personalized attention that Jeff and Shawn provided, in addition to their encouragement and accessibility.

There were two particular situations in which Jeff and Shawn saved my candidacy.

First, I chose an interesting story to tell in one of my essays. The story is fascinating to tell in front of an audience, and I thought it was appropriate for the application. But Jeff and Shawn helped me to realize that the story did not relate to business, what I could learn at Wharton, or how I might perform in the workplace after earning my MBA. If I had ignored Jeff and Shawn's advice and chosen my first story, I don't think I would have gotten into Wharton.

Second, I rehearsed for my behavioral interview like it was the World Cup Final. Jeff and Shawn both conducted mock interviews. Although I thought my responses were solid, Shawn told me that two of my responses were awful. And they were! If I had given those responses in the actual interview, I don't think I would have gotten into Wharton. Shawn taught me how to give more effective responses that showed how I could apply lessons learned in my career to the classroom at Wharton and to my future employment.

I was particularly impressed with the attention to detail that both Jeff and Shawn showed to my application. Jeff and Shawn helped me to edit my essays, short responses, and resume, and they provided around-the-clock (late night) service as the deadline approached. They provided suggestions for word choices, phrasing, and grammar that helped to polish my application. They made me feel like we had done everything possible to put forward a great application to my dream school.

I have recommended Jeff and Shawn to many friends and colleagues over the past few years. I could not be happier with their service. They helped me to achieve one of my most treasured goals. I wanted to go to Wharton for three years, and Jeff and Shawn helped me to get there. If you are thinking about spending several hundreds/thousands of dollars on an admissions consultant, you owe it to yourself to pick the very best one. Stratus Prep is absolutely the best one.

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by ming » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:14 pm
I'm heading to GSB next fall and just want to share my great experience working with Paul at Stacy Blackman Consulting! The Stacy Blackman team did a fantastic job matching me up with a consultant based on my background and desired school. Paul's knowledge about GSB combined with his creative approach really got me to think outside of the box. I do not have the ivy league + fortune 500 background, and just finished my undergraduate degree this year. Paul never tried to mold my application into something the school might want. Instead, he helped me find my unique qualities and strengths. In the end I was able to create an application that's strong, unique and authentic.

I used the comprehensive package and highly recommend that.

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by Johnsmith12345 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:23 am
Hi There,

I've just finished using Stacy Blackman and strongly recommend their program with full conviction. They helped me gain admission to Stanford and Yale with a 3.0 GPA and several other application deficiencies. These were my reach schools and I put my odds of admissions at slim to none prior to working with SBC. I worked with a consultant named Kevin, who I'd certainly recommend for applicants with less-than-perfect stats trying to get into great schools. He really helped me figure out how to position my story, write great essays and put my best foot forward.


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by kxc.024 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:58 pm
If you are struggling with your essays/interview(s) or would like an objective review of your application before you hit the submit button, I would STRONGLY suggest hiring MBA Girl Journey. Most of you may know her from reading her blog ( But in addition to her talents as a blogger, I have found her to be an amazing resource.

I first sent her my Columbia essays, thinking that it would be good to have a third-party provide a final review. I certainly wasn't expecting to make substantive changes in any way but was I in for a surprise. Within 4 hours of sending her my essays and resume, she responded with several great ideas on how I can improve on my resume to offset the fact that I am a younger applicant. Less than 24 hours later, she sent me my essays with dozens of comments and suggestions for improvement. Despite the speed of her response, her comments were NOT fluff (e.g. move some commas around, cut out a few words). Her feedback was extremely thorough and touched on every aspect of my essay. With her help, I saw how there were several weak or lacking components in my essays (and overall application), and I can confidently say that my chances for admission became much stronger than they were just a week ago. Not to mention, at $39 per essay review, this is a GREAT deal. I have spent thousands of dollars on hiring professional consultants and none of them provided as much feedback as MBA Girl Journey did. They certainly never got back to me within 24 hours!

As a testament to my level of confidence in her services, I hired MBA Girl Journey again to prepare for my first interview with Stern. We were able to set up the mock interview session easily and it was conducted through Skype. The 30-minute mock interview was just that: MBA Girl Journey had already read through my essays and possible questions asked by the Stern Admissions Committee, and she had conducted her own research on the school to better understand the traits they were looking for. She then asked me a list of questions for about 30 minutes and provided feedback at the end on how I could improve. I think the most beneficial part of this exercise was her candid feedback on how I should phrase certain answers and how to improve on my non-verbal cues. She's also extremely friendly, so it didn't feel awkward! I have many more praises for MBA Girl Journey's services and I only wish I had found her earlier so that I could have hired her for my Round 1 applications. If you have any questions about MBA Girl Journey's services, please don't hesitate to ask me. Best of luck to everyone!

Details about her services can be found here: ... -services/

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by yigaloran » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:17 am
I used a consulting firm (one of the above mentioned) on the basis of what people I knew said about it. I looked around for contact with people who had a recent MBA from a good school and asked them about their experience. Most of them had used consulting services. I chose on the basis of how much time people said the consultants were willing to spend with me. If at all possible, get a personal recommendation, just like you would for a doctor.

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by mmccarron » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:50 pm
Choosing SBC comprehensive package was the best decision I've made - thanks largely to the help of Paul, my consultant, I am heading to HBS in the fall! Paul was a retired PE professional who had previously attended both Harvard and GSB, as well as serving on several admissions committees. With his guidance, I really felt when I hit the "submit" button that my application was the best, most honest reflection of myself possible. Had I gone it alone, I don't doubt that uncertainty in positioning my accomplishments would have led me to create something much more generic. I have friends who also used SBC and were equally pleased -- highly recommended!

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by mmccarron » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:50 pm
Choosing the SBC comprehensive package was the best decision I've made - thanks largely to the help of Paul, my consultant, I am heading to HBS in the fall! Paul was a retired PE professional who had previously attended both Harvard and GSB, as well as serving on several admissions committees. With his guidance, I really felt when I hit the "submit" button that my application was the best, most honest reflection of myself possible. Had I gone it alone, I don't doubt that uncertainty in positioning my accomplishments would have led me to create something much more generic. I have friends who also used SBC and were equally pleased -- highly recommended!

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by rpsiitb » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:29 am
Choosing an MBA Admission Consultant is largely driven by success rates and testimonials from students admitted into the prestigious schools. Although the criteria isn't faulty but the way I see it, every applicant must look for a consultant who can put life into the application process rather than just fitting your story into generic templates of successful applications.

I passed out of IITB in 2010 and joined Indian Oil Corporation. After 3 years of working in a PSU, I realized the stagnancy in my career and started the MBA journey. All I wanted was somebody who could get me through a big shot school but it is a maze of experts and a student sooner or later becomes defensive in choosing a consultant.

I had a 15 minute chat with Rahul from MBADream and it was all that I wanted. It Clicked! He made me understand my career path and ways to approach the MBA Application Process. MBADream does not point out strengths in your profile but helps you come up with them on yourself instead. It is important for your consultant to understand your profile as well as your career goals and other financial preferences and MBADream works perfectly on these grounds.

I have 5 admits from schools in BBW rankings from 15-40 so far with good scholarships in two of the schools. Working with Rahul and MBADream has been an enriching experience and I hope to apply in the top 10 also in the coming months.

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by AMV » Sun Dec 22, 2013 5:15 am
Before committing to SBC I had a small beauty contest with other Consulting Firms.
The flexibility SBC showed in every aspect of the process has been the final driver for me to push the button with them.
Caryn Altman has been my consultant during this journey, and I definitely recommend her! Also Lisa Anderson, Carol Grayson supported me with an ad hoc aspects of one of my application .
All the insights I received were not generic, but bespoke to my situation (Italian - Finance Background), and I could sense the valus added of having consultant woth extensively Admission Officers experience in my team.
I think the overall process has been more manageable with Caryn support. Her approach is disciplined and structured allowing me to tackle all the bits that compose the MBA application journey into more manageable pieces.
Her experience allowed us to to leverage on every aspect of the work we were doing effectively and optimizing the time spent.
The accessibility has been spot on and also the possibility to taylor my package towards the areas I felt the need to focus on mostly has been key.
Baseline - accepted to all the BSs I applied with their support (Tuck and Insead )
I feel SBC has been the ultimate tool to communicate my story in the best way. I think I was a strong applicant with respect to several items but figuring out what to write and what to write not and how to convey the key messages is an aspect Caryn and I worked on a lot and at the end of the day effectively.
Finally I am happy with my personal choice - I can't recommend more SBC and Caryn

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by mbastudent2014 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:15 pm
Hi there,

Also wanted to share my experience (and gratefully my success) in using a consultant for the MBA application process. I checked out a few firms before committing to Stacey Blackman and working with Carol Grayson for applications to HBS and the GSB. Overall, my advice for anyone would be to make sure that you have a strong connection with the specific consultant that you are working with - I happened to find this with Carol at SBC. The second factor for me is the tradeoff between a smaller consulting shop vs. some of the larger ones (e.g., SBC, MBAMission). Personally, I was much more comfortable with a larger company because they offer many more resources and also because they hold their consultants accountable and you have some recourse if you feel like you aren't getting what you need. SBC specifically allows you to have another person look at your final application, which I appreciated a lot after being in the weeds with Carol for several months.

I was ultimately successful with my HBS app and do think that my application was much stronger having working with a consultant. To give you context, I was a rather "traditional" applicant, so it was important for me to clearly articulate my story and why I wanted to go back to school. If you are in this situation, a consultant is 100% worth it - Carol pushed me really hard on narrowing my "field of interest" into a "point of interest"for my story. This was a distinction that I didn't understand and probably would not have seen if I hadn't gotten her feedback, and it is what distinguishes stellar applications vs. good applications.

My advice would be to set up a diagnostic at the very least. It's free, and they will give you an honest assessment of your candidacy and what they will work with you on. The assessment that SBC gave me about my application (e.g., strong and weak points) and the schools I was looking at were spot on - they are clearly longstanding professionals who know what they are talking about

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by mbawishes » Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:49 pm
I don't typically write reviews, but I understand how stressful MBA applications can be so I wanted to share my experience.

While I debated hiring a consulting company for a couple of months, I couldn't be happier with my ultimate decision to do so. I now think I was wrong to view it as an expense since it's really more of an investment in you. My consultant, Caryn, was amazing from start to finish. She was extremely dedicated and responsive, with a turnaround time of less than a day most of the time. Her help on my resume, essay mapping and editing, interviews and school selection was instrumental to my success and sanity. I was accepted to 3 of 4 schools (I withdrew from the last school prior to accepting their interview invitation), and will be attending my top choice (Kellogg!) with a 75% scholarship. There is no way this would have ever been possible without Caryn's help. I know a lot of applicants hesitate due to cost (trust me, I was one of them; also, SBC offers payment plans), but at the end of day I truly believe that money was a small investment that earned me a significant amount in scholarship money. Also, many people decide to use their friends and/or mentors for essay editing. However, Caryn knew exactly what stories would work and how their effectiveness could be maximized. I don't think many people could have shaped my essays as well as she did.

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by [email protected] » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:48 am
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to introduce ourselves - Fortuna Admissions. We are a fairly new Admissions Consulting company therefore apologies for just joining the thread now.

We are a new team as of August 2012 but a strong one! Fortuna represents a dream team of former MBA Admissions Directors from the world's top business schools, including Wharton, INSEAD, Harvard Business School (HBS), London Business School (LBS), Chicago Booth, NYU Stern, IE Business School, Northwestern Kellogg, and UC Berkeley Haas.

Some of our team includes:

Caroline Diarte Edwards - INSEAD former Director of Admissions
Judith Silverman Hodara - Wharton former acting Director of Admissions
Matt Symonds - Author 'The MBA Admissions Edge' sponsored by Goldman Sachs and McKinsey, Founder of the QS World MBA Tour
Emma Bond - LBS, former Senior Manager, Admissions
Pete Johnson - UC Berkeley Haas former Executive Director of Admissions
Malvina Miller Complainville - HBS former Assistant Director Career Services
Dina Glasofer - NYU Stern former Senior Associate Director of Admissions
Julie Ferguson - Chicago Booth former Senior Associate Director of Admissions
And myself, Melissa Jones, also an INSEAD former Assistant Director.
Plus there are more of us! For a full list, visit our 'About us' page.

We have personally reviewed tens of thousands of applications from candidates all over the world. But that's not all. We also shaped admissions policy, devised the application processes, and had the final say on who got in. We know the inside track - what goes on behind the closed doors of Admissions Committees, how your candidacy will stand up versus the competition, and how you can best maximize your chances of gaining a coveted place on a top MBA program.

Our experience gives you a level of MBA admissions insight that you won't find anywhere else. And with our passion for coaching, we can help you bring out the best in yourself so you truly shine in your application and interviews.

For more information about us, and to view client testimonials, visit our website at We would love to hear from you and give you a free 30-minute consultation.

Hopefully some of our clients who are Beat the GMAT members will be able to post to this thread too so you can hear directly from them!

Wishing you well,
-Melissa and the Fortuna Admissions Team

Melissa Jones | Fortuna Admissions - a dream team of former Admissions Directors from the world's top business schools

Interested in a free 30-minute admissions consultation? Sign up on our website

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by Nevermind » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:19 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.