Getting the Most from Your MBA Admissions Consultant

The following blog post was prepared by Kim Carter, a senior admissions consultant with The MBA Exchange. Kim completed her MBA at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan on a full-tuition merit-based fellowship.

By this point, you’re probably tired of reading about how to become a "competitive candidate" for your dream MBA program. So, for a few moments, let’s put that aside and focus on how you can make the most of the relationship with your admissions consultant.

Every relationship is different, but from my years of experience as an admissions consultant I’ve observed that the following traits are most important to ensuring a productive client/consultant relationship:

1. Positive Attitude: The admissions process can be stressful, but it should also be an enjoyable, introspective journey. It helps to think positively and remember why you’re doing this in the first place — to achieve your highest potential.

2. Responsiveness: Your consultant is there to guide and support you, but this process will work only if you respond in a timely manner. Life happens and sometimes deadlines can’t be met, but it’s important to keep your consultant fully informed about any anticipated delays.

3. Self-Awareness: It helps when a client enters the relationship with prior understanding of his or her strengths and areas for development. As admissions consultants, we are trained and skilled in providing feedback. At The MBA Exchange, we use proprietary frameworks to help our clients identify significant gaps in their profile. However, the process works best if we’re not starting from scratch. Ask some trusted friends and colleagues to share their assessment with you, then take that feedback to heart.

4. Candor: Your consultant strives to help you portray your most authentic best self to the admissions committee. To do this effectively, he or she needs to know your whole story — the good, the bad, and the ugly. When sharing background with your consultant, don’t present only the positive: be sure to also communicate your weaknesses so your advisor can work with you to explain and mitigate those issues. If you don’t feel a bit "vulnerable," then you’re not being open and candid.

5. Trust: It’s important to build mutual respect with your consultant. We emphasize this when making customized matches for a new client. Your consultant has been doing this for a long time and knows the admissions process inside and out. Even if a certain tactic sounds unusual or difficult, at least give it a try. Your consultant succeeds only if you do.

Those 5 tips should help ensure a strong working relationship with your consultant. As you think about next steps for your admissions campaign, The MBA Exchange is here for you. Since 1996, we have helped over 3,500 applicants to analyze and refine their candidacy, develop a list of target schools, and put forward the best possible applications with the highest possible chance of success. Start today by requesting a free evaluation.

If all goes at it should, through the admissions consultation experience you’ll not only achieve your goals but also establish an enduring friendship with someone who knows you well and will be a mentor and resource for the rest of your career!