Applying to an MBA is a long process which will sometimes require the assistance of a close friend, colleague, or trusted mentor. You should be open to receiving help, however it’s vital that you don’t lose your authentic voice along the way. In this summary, Ilana Kowarski explores both sides of using an MBA consulting service for guidance during your MBA application.
Helpful for: MBA Applicants
Read Time: 10 minutes
Writing an MBA essay is a requirement for nearly all MBA applications, and it can be tough even for individuals who love writing. That is one part of the application, a consultant can definitely help you polish off and tailor specifically to the school’s requirements and style. The challenge of the essay, as MBA student of Haas Business School Mike Ivancie describes, is distilling your values as a human being in less than a thousand words. As a director of marketing for a fintech company, strong communication skills come easily for Mike, as well as his legal writing experience, and previous law school degree which all helped him face the process on his own.
Mike shares that he considered hiring an admissions consultant but in the end decided not to, spending $150 on an online GMAT course instead. Still, he thinks using a consultant is useful for a candidate who’s intimidated by the application process or lacks confidence in highlighting their strengths and milestones in their professional life.
Are you curious how much MBA admissions consultants cost? Their price varies—from a few hundred dollars an hour up to thousands of dollars for a one time flat-fee. Research your options, and choose wisely. Whatever your decision, make sure that you really spend the time to analyze the weak parts of your profile and whether a consultant will be able to strengthen them. A low GPA score, for example, is something that will be more difficult to address, as each program has minimum requirements set as a cut-off. Also, remember that having friends, family and colleagues look over your MBA application can prove to be very beneficial and will not cost you a penny. If you are on a tight budget, consider improving your test scores and enrolling in an online course like Mike did.
Ilana asks Nick Barniville, associate dean at ESMT Berlin what he thinks about using a consultant during an MBA application:
Using a consultant may result in an application that no longer resembles the applicant, Barniville warns, emphasizing that authenticity is something that he and other admissions officers highly value in an MBA application. “I would say that there are almost no situations in which I would recommend using an admissions consultant to get into business school … unless you can completely disguise the fact that you are using one,” he says, adding the caveat that the only scenario where hiring an admissions consultant could be justified is if an applicant is applying to one of the world’s most selective b-schools such as Harvard Business School or Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
Of course, an admissions consultant is still a great option for a candidate who is struggling to pinpoint and express their strong selling points. Preparing a great MBA application is like making a sales pitch—you shouldn’t be afraid to communicate your past success. You must be confident when selling yourself, and a consultant can help you achieve that when preparing for the MBA essay and interview. Consultants are also quite useful for addressing issues such as gaps in employment history by shifting the focus of the reviewer on another part of your application.
When applying, you shouldn’t worry too much about the style and form of your application as much as the substance of what you are writing. Remember that business schools want to get the most honest picture of who you are as a student and business professional.
Be careful! There are many fishy consultants advertising services online which offer to write a candidate’s MBA essay for them. Ghostwriting, is considered deceptive behavior and is unethical and prohibited by professional consulting organizations. Plus, having someone else write your essay carries the risk of having your personality and authentic voice disappear.
Would you hire an MBA admissions consultant to guide your application process? Share your thoughts in our forum!
Need more info on the topic to help make your decision? Read A Second Opinion on Your Application. If you’ve already decided to go ahead and give hiring an expert a shot, read How to Select an Admissions Consultant.
Source: US News