With admission to top-tier business schools getting increasingly competitive, how can you stand out from a very competitive pool of applicants? Many applicants hire an MBA admissions consultant to help position themselves in the best light possible, but should you?
This is a very personal decision and depends on your comfort level with the MBA application process as well as your writing skills. If you're confident with how you plan to position yourself and how well you write, then you probably don’t need to. However, if you’re uncertain about your story and writing is not a strength of yours, then hiring a consultant can be very helpful. Ultimately, whether or not to hire a consultant is up to you, but if you’re unsure, reach out to some consultants and schedule some time to speak to them to understand how they can add value to you. If you do decide to hire a consultant, note that he/she can help you in a variety of ways as stated below.
An MBA admissions consultant can help you develop your application strategy/story and convey it in a compelling way
An expert can collaboratively work with you to help you discover your unique attributes, craft a story that highlights your achievements, and formulate post-MBA goals that are ambitious yet credible and achievable so that you can distinguish yourself in a very competitive pool. They can also work with you to ensure that key examples in the essays reflect your story/who you are/your strengths in line with the qualities that the top business schools are looking for. Furthermore, they can provide guidance on how to approach different pieces of the application (each of which is important), such as the resume, recommendation letters, and interviews, so that the applications provide a holistic picture of you.
An MBA admissions consultant can help you address weaknesses
If there are parts of your profile that need bolstering, an MBA admissions consultant can provide concrete suggestions on how to go about doing that, so you can put together the strongest applications possible. The recommendations to strengthen your profile can be related to your academic, professional, or extracurricular profile. Many times, these are suggestions that an applicant would not have thought about on his/her own.
An MBA admissions consultant can recommend business schools for you to consider
Which schools should you apply to? An MBA admissions consultant can suggest schools for you to apply to based on your profile and post-MBA goals. Moreover, they can help you to determine which schools are "stretch" schools and which ones are more realistic given your background. Many times, candidates are fixated on certain schools and have not given much consideration to other top-tier MBA programs that may be a good fit. Given how competitive the business school application process is, an MBA consultant can work with you to select a range of schools to apply to that you would be happy to attend.
Note that an MBA admissions consultant will not write any aspect of your application or guarantee acceptance to any school. Their role is to give suggestions to strengthen your work. Applying to business school is more of an art than a science; there are many factors that go into the equation. A great MBA admissions consultant will leverage his/her experience, expertise, and knowledge to help you position yourself in the most compelling way possible in order to maximize your chances of admission.
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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.