When seeking an admissions consultant, serious MBA applicants want an expert who can give them the time, attention, access and dedication they deserve. However, applicants, as early-career professionals, are typically on a tight budget. So the appeal of buying “a la carte” consulting services from an hourly consultant can be very strong.
But, as with most professional services, you get what you pay for. Emphasizing price over value doesn’t feel like such a wise decision if you get rejected by your targeted schools or have to settle for a lesser program.
Working with an hourly consultant, you might be skipping over key aspects of the admissions campaign that could spell the difference between success and failure. Using a comprehensive service to map your candidacy is like using an architect to design a home. You wouldn’t begin construction on a house by hiring a carpenter to start putting up the walls, would you? As with a dwelling, it is essential that each aspect of your admissions campaign complements the others. The plan is essential.
A comprehensive consulting engagement helps avoid a fragmented candidacy. The holistic approach ensures that all of the pieces — academic, personal and professional — are tied together in a cohesive story. With a comprehensive plan it’s not just that everything is evaluated and refined, it is that each component is looked at in context to the overall candidacy.
A comprehensive approach starts with the big picture and then works down to the details. There might be some hidden gems that you missed because you took them for granted or didn’t think they were relevant. A comprehensive consultant can help you “mine” your background. Here are a few key considerations as you choose between hourly and comprehensive:
- Starting with a thorough analysis and action plan is crucial. Let’s say you sign up for an hourly engagement that only helps with essay editing. Your story would be well told, but it would be too late in the process to actually make improvements in the candidacy itself. A well-crafted essay could be missing key aspects of the candidacy. Using a comprehensive consultant would make sure that each essay fits into the rest of the candidacy.
- Most applicants have a respectable resume, but is it a strong as it could be? As a successful professional you might feel like your resume is already solid. But the content is not all that matters. An experienced comprehensive consultant will analyze your resume and find areas for improvement. Missing pieces in the academic and professional sections need to be spotted and fixed as early as possible.
- Applicants need to choose the “right” people for recommendations and provide them with appropriate guidance. A comprehensive plan makes it very clear what role you need the recommendations to play. It will make sure that your recommendations will help rather than being neutral or perhaps even hurting the candidacy.
- Essay development is not just essay editing. Development requires that you take a step back and consider how the overall candidacy is being portrayed rather than just polishing the narratives regardless of their content. Once you’re in editing, it’s usually too late to improve the underlying candidacy. A comprehensive approach ensures that your essays will work well with the other parts of your candidacy to make the best possible impression on the admissions committees.
- Interview preparation. The interview is one more vehicle for conveying the overall candidacy. Unless it complements the resume, recommendations and essays, the interview will be ineffective and can even raise doubts about the substance of the application. The interview must reinforce the written components of the application. It shouldn’t be addressed in limbo, but rather as the last step of the comprehensive process. Getting meaningful feedback in the mock interview requires that the person critiquing you has a complete understanding of your entire candidacy rather than simply commenting on how you sound. Only in a comprehensive consultation will you get such breadth and depth of support.
At The MBA Exchange, we are strong advocates for the holistic approach to admissions. Clients consistently tell us that our 4-school Comprehensive Consultation is the best value in the admissions consulting marketplace. Find out for yourself – request a free evaluation of your candidacy.