Guide to MBA Applications • MBA

How to Choose the Right MBA Admissions Consultant?

POSTED ON 09/23/2023 BY The Red Pen

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Applying to business schools is a long and arduous journey, which begins with the process of shortlisting schools and, if you play your cards right, ends with you preparing for and acing your MBA interview. 

At every step, though, you must navigate various roadblocks, and even a single mistake can result in rejection, which could mean repeating the entire process in the next round or settling for a business school far from your top choice. It is sensible not to undertake this journey alone and enlist the support of an MBA admissions consultant who can provide you with expert guidance throughout the admissions process.

There is, however, no shortage of  MBA admissions consultants in India  – a quick Google search will throw up hundreds of names, all making grand promises of getting you into your dream business school. Before you know it, choosing an admissions consultant could become as stressful as applying to business schools. As a seasoned MBA admissions consulting firm, we have guided thousands of applicants in their journey. We have drawn on our experience working with diverse applicants to curate a list of factors you should consider while selecting a consultant to help you navigate the MBA admissions process.

1) Ratings of MBA admissions consultants

If you are entirely new to the MBA admissions space, looking up rankings online is the first thing you will likely do when choosing an admissions consultant. Platforms such as Poets & Quants, Exam Strategist, and Beat the GMAT publish several ranking lists dominated by big international firms. 

While there is value in acquainting yourself with these rankings, it is essential to refrain from relying solely on them when selecting a consultant. As with shortlisting business schools, brand names and high rankings should not be automatically equated with a suitable match; you must choose a consultant that suits you best.

2) Reviews and testimonials of MBA admissions consultants

A better indicator for choosing an admissions consultant is reading reviews and testimonials of past clients, which can be found on platforms such as GMAT Club, Poets & Quants, or even on their Google listing. When perusing these testimonials, look beyond the ratings and consider the reviews. If the client provides a comprehensive review that includes the consultant’s name and highlights specific reasons for their positive experience, you should consider their opinion.

3) Track record of MBA admissions consultants

Success in the MBA admissions consulting industry is measured by the number and diversity of business school admissions the firm facilitates. Most firms share their success rate on their websites. The success rate is usually a ratio of successful applicants to the total number of applicants, expressed in percentage points, and this is a crucial metric to compare across various firms. 

Additionally, it is crucial to investigate the profile of schools the firm claims success with – a 100 percent success rate does not carry much weight if the schools are of inferior quality. The best MBA admission consultants in India maintain a high success rate while admitting their clients to leading business schools, where competition for admission is fiercest.

4) Scholarship achievements of MBA admissions consultants

An MBA from a reputed business school requires a significant financial investment, and any reprieve in the financial burden is extremely helpful. Therefore, another key metric to pay attention to when selecting MBA admissions consultants is the amount of financial aid their clients have received in the form of scholarships.

5) Services provided by MBA admissions consultants

One of the most important factors to consider while choosing your consultant for MBA admissions is their services and whether they match your unique requirements and working style. Ideally, your consultant should provide highly personalized end-to-end services that assist you at each step in the application process. These services usually include:

  • Pre-application strategy for shortlisting MBA programs.
  • Assistance in brainstorming unique essay ideas.
  • Professional essay editing support.
  • Guidelines for drafting letters of recommendation and your resume.
  • Pre-submission review of the entire application.
  • Post-submission support in the form of interview preparation.

If you want an admissions consultant, schedule a free consultation to understand their services. 

6) Affiliations of MBA admissions consultants

If you are about to make an expensive purchase like a car or diamond jewelry, you will verify its authenticity and quality by an independent external authority. Professional associations such as the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) or Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) serve this role for MBA admissions consultants. These associations have stringent membership requirements, ensuring member firms conform to the highest ethical and professional standards. Choosing an admissions consultant affiliated with a prestigious professional association will assure you of their quality and integrity.

7) MBA Consultant profile and rapport

Most firms employ consultants who are MBA graduates from top business schools or have experience working in the admissions offices of business schools. While these credentials are essential for validating the pedigree of an individual consultant, don’t evaluate them in isolation. 

Once you enlist the services of a firm, you have to work with a consultant over several months. During this time, you will share aspects of your personal and professional life to build a healthy personal equation. Building this equation requires your consultant to be a competent coach – friendly, approachable, empathetic, and capable of devoting enough time to your application. If you are an international applicant, it also helps if the consultant has some understanding of your specific cultural background. Regular one-on-one conversations with a consultant ahead of time will help you determine whether they are a good fit for your MBA admissions counseling. 

8) Cost of the MBA admissions consultants

Cost is the most subjective of all the factors we have discussed. Depending on your budget and the number of schools you want to target, you could take an all-inclusive three- or five-school package. Alternatively, you could sign up for a single school and then utilize the insights and materials provided by your consultant to apply to other schools independently. Firms also offer stand-alone services such as essay editing, resume editing, mock interviews, and counseling, which you can avail of in case your budget is exceptionally tight. As financially prudent as this option is, your application can suffer from not receiving a more holistic treatment by experts.

Selecting an admissions consultant carries substantial implications and necessitates careful consideration. This article outlines key factors that will aid you in making a well-informed decision when choosing an ideal partner to support you throughout your MBA journey. You may read our 9-Step Guide to MBA Applications and our blog, 7 Points to Check Before Submitting Your MBA Applications. The Red Pen MBA team, with its experienced and dedicated MBA counselors, is ready to provide expert guidance. Schedule a free consultation and embark on your MBA counseling 2024 journey today!