I cannot speak for all admissions consulting programs as I’ve only ever used one. However, I can speak on my own personal experience from this past fall. Please interpret as you will.
I will not disclose the name of the program I used, but here’s a hint: the latter half of the program’s name rhymes with “his change”, and the former is the acronym for the degree program in question.
In summary, I paid $6,000+ for this program’s services. The result was that I was admitted solely to the single top tier MBA I applied to which was NOT included in this program’s package. As this program does not offer any form of refunds, I figured the most rewarding thing I can do is to pay it forward by publicly offering my own viewpoint on why this program fails to deliver value in light of its fees. Ultimately, I believe that this program’s consulting package is an overpriced essay editorial service. While essay editing in itself does offer a certain degree of value, I believe the package on the whole was not worth what it charges. Summarised rationale below:
1. Near total absence of creative and intellectual input throughout the application process
I bought into this consulting package figuring that MBA “consultants” should help with some of the higher level thinking and ideation that the MBA application process entails and offer perspective (as opposed to a prescription) as “consultants” are typically asked to do across industries.
This should ideally start with an appraisal of a candidate’s qualifications followed up by a detailed discussion around the MBA programs the candidate should consider applying for in lieu of his/her background and qualifications, and career goals. I believe that a “consultant” should have holistic knowledge of each top tier MBA’s distinct features and a perspective on the fit of each program for the candidate in question.
My consultant, while appropriately and honestly appraising my odds of entry at certain programs, did not offer any sort of perspective with regards to school fit. This person also offered virtually no insights with regards to the pros/cons, specific offerings, recruiting opportunities, school-specific culture & reputation of different MBA programs throughout the entire application process.
With regards to resume correction, this service offered little value-add in terms of helping me package myself in the best light possible. They pushed me (lightly) to quantify achievements as much as possible and write out bullet points in more detail. That was about it.
Some may believe that this type of work should be done by the candidate him/herself prior to use of consulting services. While I agree that the lion’s share of the deep and big-picture thinking should be done by the applicants themselves, I was dissatisfied by the complete lack of creative / intellectual input on the part of the consultant throughout the engagement.
2. A lack of professionalism & sense of stake in candidate’s success
This program guarantees a 24-hour feedback cycle. This was mostly but not always the case. Some might say this is nitpicky, but frankly when you’re paying thousands of dollars, a guarantee of “24 hours or less” should mean just that 100% of the time throughout the engagement.
At one point, my consultant sent me the essay of another client. And another time, this person failed to address a pre-submission application review request (supposedly within scope of consulting services) altogether. I was miffed but didn’t follow up figuring that my consultant is probably busy helping out other clients. But upon reflection, I realised “Wait-a-sec if I’m left with this feeling that I’m competing for my consultant’s time, isn’t that a reflection of poor service quality?”
By the end of the consulting period I was convinced that I must simply be a de-prioritised client within my consultant’s customer portfolio. I can imagine that there must be some sort of risk-diversification mechanism within the company whereby consultants are penalised more for low performance of candidates deemed to be low risk and vice versa. This would be logical and totally understandable from an organisational perspective, but some customers are bound to walk away highly unsatisfied with the experience.
3. An absence of follow-up
In support of the point above, I haven’t received a single active follow-up inquiry since application submission.
All in all, the consulting program wasn’t without value. Essay editing in itself is very valuable after all. My problem with this though is that if a program presents itself as a consultancy, it should deliver the services of a consultancy in light of how much money it charges. If this program were to rebrand itself as an “MBA essay editorial service” and reprice its services accordingly, I might actually recommend it to my peers as a service which delivers on its promises. In its current form, I cannot possibly recommend it, and I can only hope, for the sake of other applicants, that other MBA consultancies deliver better dollar-for-dollar value.
- Views771 times
- Answers1 answer