COMPREHENSIVE SERVICE: PROCESS
Read on to gain a more in depth understanding of our process and to really understand how we are different.
Just want the cliffs notes? Click here for a quick overview.
Finding the Right Consultant for YOU
At Stacy Blackman Consulting, we do not believe that any one consultant can possibly be the right fit for every client. We undergo a thorough matching process up front, before we accept a single penny from you. All of our clients are asked to fill out a “brag sheet” before signing up. The brag sheet is an exhaustive questionnaire covering important aspects of your background, which most clients find to be a terrific exercise in self exploration. This, combined with your resume, provides a fairly complete snapshot of you.
Once we have gained some insight into who you are, we begin the process of matching you with a primary consultant. This is someone who believes in your candidacy and with whom you are excited to work. Before you are paired with a consultant, you can review bios and speak with potential partners over the phone. We do not begin any engagement until you are 100% comfortable with the person with whom you will be working very closely over the next several months.
STAGE 1: CREATION
Your primary consultant will not only have a thorough understanding of the MBA admissions process, but will be skilled in helping you put your best foot forward by creating a stand out package that truly resonates with the admissions committee. This means that your consultant will not only provide feedback on what is wrong, but will also help you to create a package that is right.
Getting Started – the Kick off Meeting
The engagement begins with a kick off meeting, during which we will thoroughly review your background and develop a preliminary marketing strategy for your application. In particular, we will answer the following questions:
1) What are your profile weaknesses and how do we mitigate them?
2) What strengths do you want to highlight and what are the “reasons to believe” in them?
3) Which concrete examples from your background best tell your story?
We will then map your stories to specific application questions so that you have a concrete guide to refer to when attacking the first draft of your essays. The kick off meeting will be summarized in your Application Strategy Document, which is sent out following the kick off meeting and serves as a roadmap as you develop your applications.
During the kickoff we will also discuss how to execute upon your application strategy through every point of contact with your target schools – recommendations, informal communications, school visits and more. Finally, we will discuss school selection, but will begin with only one school, allowing you the flexibility to change your school list as you progress through the process. We will provide you with program specific information and make recommendations along the way.
Introducing Your Client Liaison
You will meet your Client Liaison following your kick off meeting. The Client Liaison is an extra level of support: someone to bounce questions off of or provide an additional review if you would like a third opinion. The Client Liaison has the benefit of viewing a greater volume of applications every year, so can provide an informed perspective on what the applicant pool looks like, and how your story compares.
School-Specific Insights: Leveraging the Consultant Network
As you progress, you may wish to have an essay reviewed by an additional member of our extended team. Perhaps they attended your target school, or worked with several clients with your background, or have a knack for explaining low GPA’s. Your primary consultant will help manage the process of obtaining that extra review, or polling the extended team with a complex question. Our team is comprised of alumni from 15 top schools, as well as former admissions committee members from ten top schools. Amongst the team we really have seen it all – so feel free to put that collective expertise to work for you.
The SBC Resource Center: Leveraging a Decade of Data
Our online Resource Center is a terrific self help resource, containing sample essays, recommendations, resumes, school overviews, interview transcripts and more. We have taken a decade of experience, and made much of the data available to future generations of clients. While each client is tasked with crafting his or her own application, this extra bit of inspiration is incredibly helpful. We believe that knowledge is power – and try to share as much knowledge as possible with you.
Marketing You to the Admissions Committee
Bolstered by support from the additional resources described above, you will work with your primary consultant and engage in several rounds of review as you compose essays and other application materials that resonate with your target admissions committees. Your primary consultant will be a creative and strategic guide, helping you to create materials that are provocative, informative and ultimately – effective.
With the admissions committee as the “consumer”, your consultant will leverage SBC’s proven marketing strategies to help you most effectively market yourself to your desired programs. There is no limit to the number of drafts your consultant will review, and clients often find that they work even harder when coached by our team. Our team is available evenings and weekends, working with your schedule, as you balance applications with your life and career.
Integral to this process is the telling of your unique story. Review our case studies to better understand how we have helped clients craft stories that reveal who they are – beyond numbers and resumes. Ultimately their personal stories – including the blemishes – worked harder for them than an 800 GMAT or a 4.0 GPA. There are plenty of strong numbers in any applicant pool – but only one of each applicant.
STAGE 2: AD COMM FLIGHT TEST™
The AdComm Flight Test™ is your dress rehearsal. Once a full set of application materials for your initial school has been drafted, but not finalized, the application will be sent to a former admissions committee member within the SBC network, for a one time review of the file in full, simulating a true admissions committee review.
Our Flight Test™ is conducted by individuals who actually served on admissions committees, reviewed thousands of files and made admit/deny decisions, not just “representatives” who merely acted as ambassadors for the schools. Using a typical admissions evaluation form, the former adcomm member will provide strategic feedback on important criteria.
This is an additional, and very valuable, perspective that helps to ensure that clarity and impact of your approach.
STAGE 3: REFINING
Now it’s back to the drawing board. Your primary consultant will assist in incorporating feedback from your Flight Test™ – further fleshing out and finalizing all aspects of the application file. During this stage, the client liaison is frequently called in to give an additional read.
The Total Package
During these final stages we scrutinize your application as a whole – a full set of essays, plus resume and other application materials, to make sure every detail is polished and on point. You may find yourself in constant communication with your primary consultant during this phase, as you head towards finalizing your product.
Recommendations are a critical and often overlooked aspect of the admissions process. A sloppy, inconsistent or late recommendation does not reflect poorly on the recommender – it reflects poorly on your management abilities and on you. As such, we take this step in the process seriously and help you in three critical ways: recommender selection, prep and guidance.
We will help you select the most effective recommenders – individuals who know you well and can provide meaningful insight into your character and abilities. Once selected, we will help you develop materials to guide your recommender in emphasizing important characteristics, and supporting your application strategy. Finally, your primary consultant is available to help guide your recommenders and provide specific feedback on their written recommendation.
When you are invited to interview, your primary consultant will help you prepare by sharing proven interview prep techniques. You will then schedule a mock interview, which is a simulated interview with time for feedback at the end. Your mock interview can take place over the phone, Skype video, or in person. Our clients regularly comment that the interview prep provides a huge advantage, allowing them to feel calm, prepared and polished, and to deliver the most important messages effectively.
Waitlist, Deferrals and Which School to Choose
Your relationship with SBC does not end after final decisions have been made. We can help you decide which school to attend, navigate the waitlist or even compose a deferral letter. Our formal services will come to an end only after you have reached a final decision of your own. And even then, we hope to stay in touch!
If you feel you would benefit from this level of expertise and support, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.