Finding the best admissions consultant is not easy these days. So many firms, so many services, so many questions. That’s why, when an MBA applicant finally connects with an individual advisor whose credentials and approach feel like a real fit, there’s a great sense of relief!
However, based on more than 4,000 b-school admissions campaigns, The MBA Exchange observes there are 3 additional considerations for serious candidates to address before they sign on the dotted line and launch their campaign with an advisor:
1. Breadth of experience.
Every admissions consultant is familiar with and knowledgeable about the business school where he or she graduated or worked in the admissions office. However, most MBA applicants target several schools during an admissions campaign. So, how can the client be sure that the guidance and support of the consultant will be relevant to each school on the list? The consultant can research other schools, but does he or she have open, immediate and direct access to trustworthy colleagues who actually attended or worked at those schools? That kind of breadth requires a large team of qualified advisors who can exchange knowledge and experience with each other spanning multiple schools during the course of the campaign.
2. Depth of support.
Every admissions consultant promises to work diligently and remain available to his or her client throughout the entire campaign. Applicants feel more than enough stress and anxiety without having to wonder or worry about whether their advisor will be reachable and responsive. And, after the campaign is underway for a few weeks, and as deadlines rapidly approach, the running dialogue between client and advisor becomes more sensitive and detailed. So, what would happen if the advisor has an unexpected personal issue arise (e.g., family, health, natural disaster, etc.) that disrupts — or maybe even terminates — communication with the client? How quickly will the campaign get back on track without jeopardizing progress, quality and results? Working with a large, established firm that has many highly qualified consultants standing by, ready to pick up the engagement within hours, is an essential “insurance policy” for MBA candidates who want to avoid the risk of interruptions and potential catastrophes.
3. Reliability of reputation.
Any admissions consultant can describe and promote his or her services via a website, blog, social media page, media release, etc. Claims of experience and effectiveness are easy to make and often difficult to verify. So, how do MBA applicants really know that the person in whom they’ve invested their trust and dollars is the real thing? Well, if that advisor is vetted, trained, and supervised by a major firm whose performance and integrity are verified by third parties, then the client can feel confident about the quality, commitment and qualifications of that advisor. And, in case of any disappointment during the engagement, there’s a senior manager at the firm who can step in and make it right.
As a motivated MBA applicant seeking admission to selective business schools, you deserve a consultant whose guidance and support will help you achieve your goals. In searching for such an advisor, don’t “settle” for less. Asking tough questions about “breadth, depth and reliability” can help save any heartache in the future and make the journey towards admission far more productive and satisfying.