Should You Hire an MBA Application Consultant?

By Ashley Kilroy · August 15, 2023 · 6 minute read

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Should You Hire an MBA Application Consultant?

Getting into a top tier MBA program can be competitive. The top 10 programs have an average acceptance rate of less than 18%. But the elite of the elite accept even fewer applicants. The acceptance rate at Stanford Graduate School of Business, one of the most challenging schools to get into, is just 6.9%.

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 an MBA Application Consultant?

Since getting into an elite school can be 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.

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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 they can 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 your personality shine through. Colleges, even business schools, often look to an applicant’s essay to get a deeper sense of who they are, what they value most, and any actions they’ve taken towards their beliefs.

While it’s unlikely you can get into an MBA program based on a stand-out essay alone, a strong piece of writing will be another valuable piece of your total application.

If writing is not your strong suit, an MBA Admission Advisor could help you overcome this hurdle and help schools see your 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. Many MBA candidates do not have college experience or training in advanced 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 who haven’t taken a lot of coursework in writing, such as STEM (science, technical, engineering, or mathematics) students, 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.

Recommended: Tips on How to Pay for MBA School

How Much Do MBA Admission Consultants Cost?

Cost is a significant consideration when deciding whether or not to hire an MBA Admission Advisor. One-on-one MBA application coaching can run around $195 per hour. For a three-school full package deal, you might pay as much as $16,000.

Although these costs can seem astronomical, you may want to consider the potential pay-off: The average starting salary for MBA graduates was $115,000 in 2022 (that’s 53% higher than the average starting salary for people who only have a bachelor’s degree).

Recommended: Finding & Applying to Scholarships for Grad School

Should You Consider Hiring an MBA Admission Consultant?

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 on their own or using an online application consulting platform (such as ApplicantLab ), which can cost considerably less.

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, it’s a good idea to first develop an idea of your needs and likelihood of acceptance. Maybe you need to focus on strategy and essay writing. In this case, you might want to make those areas the top priority when searching for a consultant.

When considering consultants, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the services they offer. For example, if a professional offers to write an essay for you, you may want to steer clear, since this isn’t an offering a consultant should provide. If the consultant is a member of an association, such as 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.

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Financing Your MBA Program

Regardless of whether you decide to work with an MBA Application Consultant or not, you may need some help paying for your business education expenses. Some business schools offer generous fellowship awards, which are similar to scholarships, since this is money that doesn’t need to be repaid. Other MBA funding options include: federal and state grants, private scholarships, federal loans, and private MBA student loans.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.

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