Getting into a top tier MBA program can be competitive. The top 10 programs have an average acceptance rate of less than 20%, according to US News. But the elite of the elite, such as Stanford Graduate School of Business, one of the most challenging schools to get into, is just at 6.9%. Stanford’s acceptance rate is followed by Harvard at 11.5% and MIT Sloan School of Management, which is 14.6%.
With such low acceptance rates, any boost to an application can be advantageous to an MBA or B School candidate. To elevate an MBA application, some candidates choose to seek the assistance of an MBA Application Consultant.
MBA Application Consultants help candidates fine-tune their application with the hopes of improving their chances of acceptance. If you’re considering applying for a top MBA school, here’s helpful information about the value an MBA Application Consultant could bring to the admission process.
What is a MBA Application Consultant?
Since getting into an elite school is a monumental task, some candidates may need additional support. An MBA Admissions Consultant also known as a B School Consultant can offer candidates an advantage in the demanding world of the MBA admissions process. These consultants tend to be highly skilled communicators and have extensive knowledge about the MBA admissions process.
MBA Application Consultants provide services including program selection, essay brainstorming, essay review, resume review, interview preparation, and more.
Candidates can choose to work with MBA Application Consultants on an hourly basis or select a package approach to navigate the entire application process.
Benefits of Working with a MBA Consultants
There are certain circumstances where an MBA applicant may benefit from working with an application consultant. Most of the benefits surround highlighting the work that schools want to see and bringing the applicant’s personality to life.
A good MBA Admissions Consultant will go above and beyond suggesting and reviewing an application—they will help the applicant understand what they bring to the table.
In addition to helping an applicant brainstorm essay content, here are a few other ways to add value to the application process.
Expressing Authenticity and Vulnerability in Application
When writing a strong essay, general recommendations suggest expressing authenticity through humor or vulnerability to let their personality shine through. But, expressing authenticity might not be a strong suit for many applicants.
In an interview with Poets&Quants , Rebekah Melville from Yale School of Management suggests, “What we are looking for is to get a little bit deeper in the sense of who you are, what you value the most and the actions you’ve taken towards your beliefs. No one gets in on the basis of a fantastic essay, but it is another valuable piece of your application.”
Therefore, an MBA Admission Advisor could help coax candidates to overcome this hurdle and help schools see their personality.
Editing Short-Answer Essays
Currently, the MBA application trend is gearing toward more of a short essay format with restrictive word limits. For example, Columbia Business School has a 500 word limit on essays.
To help applicants meet these essay requirements, MBA Admissions Consultants can effectively edit down their writings. Most MBA candidates do not have college experience or training in advance expository writing or editing. With this in mind, they may need the help of an admission consultant with advanced editing skills to meet the restrictive word count.
Addressing Communication Challenges
Those with communication deficits or STEM (science, technical, engineering, or mathematics) professionals may benefit from essay assistance. While STEM professionals may have higher GMAT scores, they may struggle to write a strong essay.
These challenges might be intensified for international applicants who have low English competency. Working with a consultant can help this group of candidates steer clear of any essay defects that could potentially disqualify them.
How Much MBA Admission Consultants Costs?
Cost is a significant consideration when deciding whether or not to hire an MBA Admission Advisor. In 2020, the top consultant on the Poets & Quants list charged $7,400 for a three-school package, while other top consultants charged an hourly rate between $350 and $500.
Although these costs can seem astronomical, consider the cost relative of applying to this type of caliber of the school. This comparison may include the opportunity cost of a loss of $50,000 per year in earned income after graduating from a top tier MBA program. From this perspective, $7,400 might not seem like that big of an expense.
Let’s suppose working with an MBA consultant resulted in the acceptance of a top 10 MBA school. Without the consultant’s work, the applicant might not have been able to get into even a top 40 school. The difference in compensation the applicant may receive could be a hundreds of thousands of dollars after graduation. Therefore, while this is an investment up-front, it might pay dividends for years and years to come.
Should You Consider Hiring an MBA Admission Consultant?
When deciding if an MBA Application Consultant is worth hiring, several groups of applicants may benefit the most. If an applicant falls into any of these categories, working with a consultant might be advantageous.
Here are several examples of groups of applicants that might benefit the most from an application consultants guidance:
• For applicants who want to apply at one of the most popular business schools, like the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School or the Harvard Business School, a consultant’s help may be valuable. Even if an applicant has a 3.9 GPA, a 750 GMAT score, and five years of experience working at one of the schools’ prestigious employers such as McKinsey, competition can still be intense.
• Candidates who want to enroll at one of the top MBA programs such as Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business or the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, the aid of a consultant is useful.
• Candidates that have communication challenges but want to apply to a top 25 school, may need the assistance of a consultant. A consultant can help with their essay and interview performance.
For MBA candidates who only need useful resources and information to put together a concrete application for a top 50 school, a consultant might not be worth the cost. Some candidates might do just as well using resources like the consulting platform, ApplicantLab , created by Harvard MBA Maria Wich-Vila. This platform charges a fraction of the cost and is highly regarded by candidates who have used the program.
On the other hand, candidates who want guidance, support, and help with their skills set may get value working with an MBA Admissions consultant.
Selecting the Right MBA Admissions Consultant
Before comparing different MBA Application Consultants, applicants should first develop an idea of their needs and the likelihood of acceptance. Maybe an applicant needs to focus on strategy and essay writing. In this case, both initiatives would be the top priority when searching for a consultant.
Applicants must also have a clear understanding of the consultants’ services they offer. For example, if a professional offers to write an essay for an applicant, the applicant should steer clear of their services since this isn’t an offering a consultant should provide. If the consultant is a member of an association like the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC), it shows that the consultant must uphold a professional standard.
It can also be wise to ask friends, family, and colleagues for referrals when beginning a search. They may have some experience working with an MBA Admissions Advisor or relevant firms.
Financing Your MBA Program
Regardless if you decide to work with an MBA Application Consultant, you may need some help paying for your higher education expenses. If you have exhausted all of your federal loan options, private student loans from SoFi are worth considering.
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