All you need to know about MBA admissions consultants

Could an MBA admissions consultant give you the extra push you need to get accepted at your dream school? We spoke to a leading consultant to learn more about what they do, whether they’re worth it, and how to choose the right one.

In short

What is an MBA admissions consultant?

Simply put, MBA admissions consultants help MBA applicants get accepted into business school. They support applicants at every stage of the process, from choosing the right schools to preparing for their MBA interview.

To find out more about them, we spoke to Sam Weeks. Sam is a former investment banker-turned-admissions consultant. After he was accepted into the MBA program at Oxford Saïd Business School, he realized he had a lot to offer other people for their own applications to business schools.

“I had a few people come to me asking: ‘Hey, can you help me with my application?’ I helped them, they got into the various schools that they were applying to, and I realized that I was pretty good at what I was doing,” he explains. (04:35)

Not too long after the first request for help with an application, Sam had enough clients on board to become a full-time MBA admissions consultant.

What does an MBA admissions consultant do?

When it comes to applying for an MBA, you have to communicate what you’re all about in a clear and concise way. This includes your personal background, your motivations for pursuing an MBA, and your career goals. It’s Sam’s job to filter out unnecessary information while still telling your own unique story.

“One of my tasks is getting to know people and learning about their profile,” he explains. “I’m peeling away layers of an onion, getting to know them as individuals so I can figure out what it is that we should include in their application, and what we should leave out.” (00:58)

“I consider what I do a leveler of the playing field in a sense,” Sam adds. “If applicants don’t have a network around them already, then I help to prepare them for the MBA application process.” (06:15)

MBA admissions consultants provide support for applicants at every step of the application process. They can help you find a school that aligns with your ambitions, fine-tune your MBA essay, and then prepare you for one of the most important stages of all: the interview.

“A Zoom interview with questions is something you can probably prepare for,” says Sam. “It’d be a real shame if the interview is what keeps you out of your dream business school.” (09:29)

Is it worth hiring an admissions consultant?

Sam’s rates start from US$5,550 for help with your application to one school, increasing to US$11,330 for a six-school package. However, the full rate is only payable if you receive an offer for an interview at your chosen school(s). So, considering the financial outlay, is hiring an MBA admissions consultant worth it?

A lot of this depends on your personal situation, of course. Sam says that if you don’t have the right support network available to you, an admissions consultant might be the only way you can get help with your application.

“What if you haven’t got, for example, a family that went to university to turn to? What if you’re an entrepreneur and you haven’t got colleagues around you who can do mock interviews with you? Where do you turn?” he asks. (https://youtu.be/byGBz9hrKiw?t=361)

But ultimately, you can only say whether an admissions consultant is worth it based on their results. Did they help you ace your essay? Did they help you get through the interview? And most pertinently, would you have been admitted without their support?

Sam’s results speak for themselves. According to his website, 90% of his clients have secured offers from one or more of their target schools. So if you have the money to hire a consultant, and if you think the return on investment is worth it, the answer to our original question – from a financial perspective anyway – seems to be “yes.”

How to choose an admissions consultant

Results are an important part of choosing the right MBA admissions consultant – but it’s not the only thing you should take into account. 

It’s also worth considering their background and expertise. For example, they may have worked a lot with European business schools, but don’t have as much experience with Asian or North American schools. Every school and every region has a slightly different application process, so it’s worth finding a consultant who knows all about your target schools and/or region.

Being able to establish a personal rapport with the admissions consultant is also key. As Sam mentioned, it’s their job to really understand what makes you tick so that you can communicate it in your application. You’re going to be talking with them throughout the process, so you need someone who you get along with and who really understands you on a personal level.

The 2021 GMAC Application Trends Survey revealed that applications to MBA programs continue to grow year on year. Could an MBA admissions consultant give you an advantage in an increasingly competitive landscape? It certainly seems so. If they end up being the difference between success and failure in your application, it’s difficult to put a price on their true value.

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