Those who are new to the MBA admissions process often wonder whether they should engage the services of a professional consultant, and if so, to what extent. I believe an experienced consultant can always help, whether you are a first-time or a repeat business school applicant, whether you are in the dark or more knowledgeable about the admissions process.
My consultants coach clients in their up-front strategy, help them develop compelling stories that play out across the application, prep for interviews, review and retool resumes, and much more.
To give you an even better idea of how we can help, I’d like to share with you some of the feedback we’ve received from clients who applied during the 2014-2015 MBA admissions season. See below for insights on Essay Guidance, Personal Branding, Strategy, Younger Applicants, Non-Traditional Applicants and Overall Support. Scroll through to find the area important to you!
“I was given a choice of consultants to work with, and chose Sherry given her experience in MBA admissions. We had an initial conversation so I could introduce my goals and she could explain the process. Most of the help I needed was with essays so the remaining interactions were mostly through email as I sent essay drafts and she provided comments.
I probably wrote 50% extra on most essays throughout the process. While this was more work than I expected, it undeniably created a better application as Sherry would select examples / topics that better fit with my overall application. Sherry was very fast yet thorough at revising, so relatively less time was reduced from my account and draft turns were very quick. We also had time to have a mock interview and revise my resume.
The biggest impact was having each aspect of an application articulate and cohesive to the overall application ‘story.’ I recommend this service to anyone who has not worked in MBA admissions. It was a hit to my wallet for sure… but I was accepted to all four schools I applied to, including a top-20 and two scholarship offers, as a < 3.0 GPA / < 700 GMAT even though I thought my chances were slim/not good at three of the schools.”
Developing Your Personal Brand
“I can not thank SBC and my consultant Maureen enough for their help through out the b-school process! Maureen was patient, diligent and her insights were critical at every step of the process. She took a lot of time upfront to get to know me and was able to draw out strengths/unique characteristics from my profile that I would never have thought of on my own. I had a tremendous gaps in my profile and Maureen was very direct about what I had to do to fill those in (additional courses, leveraging work experience, etc). She had a lot of perspective on what Admissions was looking for in a candidate, and a lot of school-specific knowledge.
When we went through our mock interview prep, she was intimately aware of what the school in question was looking for. I asked Maureen just about anything and everything (and my questions were frequently borderline ridiculous!), but she always replied on time and with comprehensive advice. Often times, Maureen’s response time exceeded our agreed upon time. She was a thorough professional and an exceptional support throughput. I would recommend SBC unequivocally to anyone looking to get into a top school!”
“I just want to give many thanks to Bill. I think he is an amazing consultant and he does his job super professionally. It is really hard to underestimate his participation in my success. I got two out of two! Chicago Booth EMBA and LBS-Columbia GEMBA program have accepted me. I hesitated before getting a consulting service and was not sure of its worth for EMBA. I tried six different firms and consultants but he seemed the best. It was one of the best choices in my life.
His guideline changed my view not only on the application process but really helped me to develop my personal mid- and long-term strategy. His answers were always efficient and came very quickly. During the interviews, I felt very confident as adcoms asked exactly the same questions that we discussed. I just gave them a very impressive story of my life that he helped me to create. I will strongly recommend him to anyone who may be looking for a top program.”
Helping Younger Applicants
“As a younger candidate, expecting only 2 years of full-time experience before entering school, I was worried how MBA programs would perceive my experience when I re-applied. I had already applied to one school, unsuccessfully, so I decided to work with a consulting agency to help me create a strong personal brand.
I had a very positive experience working with Meredith on my 5 applications. She was very helpful in making sure I was displaying the different aspects that admissions committees want to see. While I was responsible for writing the essays and making corrections based on her suggestions, Meredith gave me confidence that I was sharing the best parts of my application while patching any holes that I had. Specifically, she helped me convey my work experience so that employers could see that there was great substance to it, despite its limited duration. In addition, she helped me address the fact that despite showing improving grades, my GPA was below the average for a top school.
I would recommend Stacy Blackman to a friend. While consulting services are expensive, they can pay off greatly. Not only do you know you are picking schools that you have a shot getting into, but you also know that you are putting your best foot forward. Stacy Blackman provided an objective and experienced point of view that give you constructive feedback and guidance through the application process.
In the end, I got interviews to four of my five schools (all top 25). I will update this review when I hear back from all of my schools.”
Helping Older/Non-Traditional Applicants
“Last week I got the good news that I have been admitted to my desired b-school. About 4 months back from now I was very concerned about completing admission requirements of the school including GMAT, essays, references, customized resume etc. Then I found Stacey Blackman Consulting. Kevin from SBC was assigned my case. I admit that my case was quite difficult.
I was about 7-8 years older than the average age of the part-time MBA students in my desired school, plus I had no business degree or experience. Kevin’s initial assessment of my case provided me invaluable advices that gave me a clear direction on how to work toward completing the requirements. Kevin reviewed my essays and resume several times and at the end the product was very impressive.
My essays clearly defined my goal and the reason for pursuing for MBA. My resume clearly described my achievements. My essays and resume together made perfect sense of what I have done so far, my vision for future and how MBA will help me to achieve my goal. Kevin’s great experience and insight were great help all the way. I am very grateful to SBC and particularly to Kevin.”
Support on all Fronts
“I was initially hesitant to engage a professional consultancy. I had planned to ask my friends for tips based on what they had learned from their own application processes. I ultimately invested in the comprehensive package with SBC after a current Wharton student told me that I risked putting myself at a disadvantage otherwise. This was great advice.
I was paired with Margaret, a great match for my personality and work style– in her words, we’re both ‘hard-assed perfectionists.’ Margaret’s help was invaluable every step of the way, from developing my story and polishing essays to tactical questions regarding recommenders and school-specific minutiae. She exchanged hundreds of emails of the summer and she reviewed scores of drafts of my various essays, always promptly and incisively. During the long interview season in the fall, she helped to coach me on my standard responses and generally prepare me to excel in interviews. After she discovered I love cooking (which featured in my applications) we even exchanged a few recipes.
With the comprehensive package, I also had access to a “flight test” of my application by a former MBA admissions committee member, and after I received an interview offer from Wharton, I was able to practice their unusual group interview with other SBC applicants over Skype. My real Wharton interview went almost exactly the way it did in the practice session, which helped me to stay calm and confident despite the unusual format.
Ultimately, I was accepted to Booth with a scholarship and to my dream program at Wharton. Based on that alone, I’d say SBC is well worth the investment as a way of reducing downside risk. But I’d endorse them even if I hadn’t been as fortunate in what is ultimately a capricious and subjective process. SBC’s consultants act as mentors and coaches, and when it matters Margaret can be as demanding as my former investment banking bosses. I gained valuable experience and I learned practical and tactical lessons about positioning myself as a candidate, which I will apply to my post-MBA goals.”
You can also view Stacy Blackman Consulting’s reviews on Yelp! We have stronger reviews there than any company in the industry and are so proud of our track record.
Working with a respected consulting team gives you the ability to leverage the database of knowledge of a collected group of experts who together have experience with thousands of clients in programs across the globe.
We have high standards, for ourselves and for you. We know what it takes to be successful and we’re excited to help you reach your goals. If you think you might be interested in working with an admissions consultant, I invite you to contact Stacy Blackman Consulting for a free consultation about your candidacy today.