A good admissions consultant does NOT write people’s essays for them.
I figured we could just get that out of the way first. In fact, a good admissions consultant DOESN’T write people’s recommendations, or resumes either. Good admissions consultants advise their applicants on how to best use their own unique background and story to get the most potential out of their applications.
Why not just hire someone to write it for me?
Sure it SEEMS like it might be great to just hire someone and have no work to do whatsoever on your application, but putting aside the fact that that’s entirely unethical, it’s also a recipe for a, well, very terrible application. Usually applicants that opt for this scenario end up looking and sounding just like everyone else that their particular “consultant” has worked with. Or worse yet, their application comes off sounding uninspired, unauthentic or ingenuine, because you know, it is.
Got it… so what’s the first thing a good consultant should do?
A good application consultant should immediately get to work figuring out the potential in their client’s profile by identifying the unique and interesting stories each individual has to tell. This is going to sound silly, but many MBA candidates don’t even realize how amazing their stories actually are. They don’t see the value of their experiences and achievements, and even if they do, they often think that the less impressive stuff (from an MBA perspective) is the most impressive stuff. That being said, it’s important to work closely with someone who can help you (the applicant) dig out the amazing stories, the real “greatest hits,” and then frame them in a way that makes you look like a must-have.
Creating a unique, inspiring narrative
A good MBA admissions consultant should help the applicant identify their most interesting aspects, create, and then hone their story. An application is nothing if it is not a NARRATIVE. It should cover who the applicant is, what experiences are responsible for shaping them, and what they aspire to do next. It goes without saying that this narrative has to be fascinating, engaging, uniquely passionate, and yes, full of MBA related stuff.
An MBA consultant should be an expert storyteller. It’s about much more than just working with “someone who got in.” Although that Ivy League alumni status at the program you reallyyyy want to get into can be helpful, it WILL NOT matter if the consultant can’t assist you in constructing your own amazing personal narrative.
Utilizing A Talented Team Of Experts
Not only should a good admissions consultant should have experience reading applications and advising folks on how to make them better, but they should also to fall back on a team of OTHER people to provide them with knowledge or key pieces they might be missing (let’s be honest, no one knows everything!). A good team combines the experience, knowledge and research of consultants and editors, who are expert storytellers, and who have actually attended many of the programs the clients are applying to.
Working with a team allows the applicant to save money, time and energy on having to conduct all original research and sweating out a strategy all by themselves. The team can take their unique skills and knowledge to advise the applicant in these areas.
Editing, Like a Boss
Another important skill for a great consultant is (not surprisingly!) that they should have awesome editing skills. Technically speaking, your consultant should have a mastery over the english language. It may not seem like much, but no single article gets published without a copy editor, and this work on your application is invaluable.
Having An Impressive Network
Consultants who have been in the business for years have worked with many applicants and should be able to get in touch with anyone who’s worked with them, or their company, pretty easily. These can be great people to get introductions to, whether it’s to speak with them about their experiences at the program(s) you want to attend, or connect with them for professional reasons after you graduate.
Motivating and Organizing You The Whole Darn Way
One really great advantage to working with a consultant that may be overlooked is that a good consultant can also MOTIVATE you and help you with your scheduling. Ask anyone who has applied to an elite MBA program, and they will tell you that one of the most difficult things about going through the application process is that it is long and arduous.
A good consultant can be like a good personal trainer. Every time a candidate shows signs of fatigue the consultant can give them a good pep talk or a good yelling (whatever works!). The consultant can help by giving you deadlines, by turning around documents quickly, by pushing YOU to get the best out of YOURSELF. That can be very useful for the busy business people who want to get an MBA. : )
Basically a good consultant is like having a weather-worn tough as leather coach in your corner. They have seen it all, and thus, can help you get through it all. They are there for you – from before you begin to research the schools, through your strategy and writing, through the waitlist and interview, until you get in.