How to choose the right MBA admissions consultant for you

A Google search on “MBA admissions consulting” produces nearly 14,000 results. A staggering number of options far beyond the ability of even the most diligent applicant to research and compare.

Some applicants are instantly attracted to the most visible firms, assuming that the ability to produce daily blogs, hourly Tweets and $10 “inside secrets” books correlates to achieving admissions success. Other applicants are drawn to smaller boutique admissions firms that promise one-on-one care, but lack the depth of resources and breadth of experience to add real value and provide 24/7 access.

Given the range of options, we’d like to present you with this 8-point checklist to help you make your own decision when choosing an MBA admissions consultant:

  1. Require independent, documented proof of past admissions success and client satisfaction. Why invest your future in someone who can’t prove their claims?
  2. Choose a consulting firm whose consultants have experience in both admissions and business. That’s the combination that will help you build and then present your most compelling candidacy.
  3. Do your due diligence through objective, third-party websites like Read what past applicants have to say about working with the various firms.
  4. Consider the professional associations to which the consulting firm belongs. These organizations (e.g., IECA, HECA, NAGAP, AIGAC, Better Business Bureau, etc.) have strict membership requirements and ethical standards that confirm the quality and trustworthiness of the firm and its consultants.
  5. Have a direct conversation with the head of the consulting firm to align your goals and expectations. Be sure that you and the firm share the same view on your MBA admissions potential — before you sign up and pay.
  6. Consider value even more than price. Saving a few hundred or even thousand dollars won’t be very comforting if you get second-rate service and fall short of your goals. Hourly services may look like a bargain, but a comprehensive consultation ensures that you discover and address all of your weaknesses.
  7. Expect personalized advice that’s customized and shared with only you. Consulting firms that blast individualized advice via Internet forums or blogs to applicants they don’t know are only helping your competitors — for free.
  8. Trust your gut: the way the firm treats you as a prospect is indicative of how they will treat you as a client. Are they prompt, professional, empathetic, accessible, and responsive? Do they understand you and believe in your potential for admission?

Since 1996, more than 2,300 serious applicants have decided that The MBA Exchange is the right consulting resource for them. Get to know us by requesting an objective, professional evaluation of your candidacy. The MBA Exchange is ready and eager to help you achieve your objectives.