Leading Firms in MBA Admissions Consulting

MBA admissions counseling has become so common that there are now as many as 300 firms around the world with more than 500 consultants helping applicants get into the best business schools. The average MBA applicant applies to 3.2 schools, so someone who signs a comprehensive consulting package with a firm generally pays about $6,000 to get help with applying to three MBA programs.

The explosion of the business is an outgrowth of the Internet, which allows consultants easier access to potential clients, the increasing numbers of people eager to get a prestige MBA degree, and the growing popularity of undergraduate consulting which has made it ever more natural to seek advice when pursuing a gradate degree.

The vast majority of the players are one-person boutiques, such as Sanford Kreisberg of Cambridge Essay Service in Boston who pretty much specializes in helping applicants get into Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton (See “The Rebel Savant of MBA Admissions Consulting.”) But MBA consulting has become such a large and lucrative business that a few highly sophisticated and professional service firms have emerged. These companies have dozens of consultants on staff (usually part-time contractors) and work with clients around the world. The largest of them is The MBA Exchange, with 40 consultants, many of them former admission officials from the top schools.

One advantage these larger firms have is that they match clients to consultants. If you’re from India, you’re more likely to get a consultant who specializes in Indian applicants and may even speak Hindi. If you’re a private equity analyst, you might get a consultant who once worked with PE types and knows how to best position them for a given school. If you’re applying to Stanford, you might get a Stanford MBA or former admissions officer from the school to guide you through the application process.

Here’s a brief and incomplete directory of six of the leading players, which together employ a total of some 120 consultants, in order of the number of consultants they have on staff.


Dan Bauer, founder and managing director of The MBA Exchang

Dan Bauer, founder and managing director of The MBA Exchange


Founded by Harvard MBA Dan Bauer in 1996, The MBA Exchange says it has helped more than 2,300 applicants unlock the doors to get into prestige business schools. The company claims a 97% success rate, a number that is verified by an accounting firm that conducts an audit of its client business. Before launching his firm, Bauer’s career includes management positions with Citicorp, MasterCard International, and DDB Needham Worldwide.

Based in Chicago, the firm has some 40 consultants all over the world that includes MBAs from all the top schools including nine MBAs from Harvard, a half dozen from Wharton, and three from Stanford. More importantly, perhaps, among its consultants The MBA Exchange boasts former MBA admissions officials from Columbia, Kellogg, Wharton, Chicago, Michigan and UCLA with inside knowledge of how elite admissions offices work. Its consultants are either fluent or conversational in Hindi, Mandarin, Marathi, Gujarati, Italian, Spanish, and French. One differentiating service is that customers can have sessions with a career coach who had worked with Chicago’s Booth School of Business.


One-application package: $4,400

Two-application package: $5,100

Three-application package: $5,800

Four-application package: $6,500

Five-application package: $7,200

Six-application package: $7,900

Contact Info:

Phone: 888.305.5553

Website: The MBA Exchange

For a free evaluation of your chances of getting into a top-ten school


Stacy Blackman, founder and president of Stacy Blackman Consulting

Stacy Blackman, founder and president of Stacy Blackman Consulting


Founded in 2001 by Kellogg MBA Stacy Blackman, this firm is among the largest in the business, with 30 consultants. Blackman counselors  have worked in the admissions office at Columbia, Fuqua, Kellogg, INSEAD, Tuck and Wharton. Most of the on-staff consultants hold degrees from top MBA programs including six from Stanford and Harvard, five from Kellogg, four from Wharton, two from Booth, and one each from Anderson, Columbia, Haas, Rice, Ross and Tuck.

The firm claims that with comprehensive clients, those who have bought its full package of services from $3,750 for help with a single application to $7,700 for five schools, it has a 92% success rate in getting applicants into at least one of their four top schools (at least in terms of clients it had heard back from).


One-school package: $3,750

Two-school package: $4,950

Three-school package: $5,950

Four-school package: $6,850

Five-school package: $7,700

Hourly fees: $270

Contact Info:

Phone: 323-934-3936

Website: StacyBlackman.com


Jeremy Shinewald, co-founder of mbaMission


Founded in 1999 by University of Virginia MBA Jeremy Shinewald, mbaMission works exclusively with MBA candidates. All 19 senior consultants have degrees from top MBA programs including seven from Harvard, three from Wharton and Columbia, two from Darden, and one each from Booth, Haas, Ross and Stern.  Before starting the firm, Shinewald was a speechwriter for the ambassador of Israel and a student member of Darden’s admissions team.


One-school package: $3,500

Two-school package: $4,750

Three-school package: $5,550

Four-school package: $6,350

Five-school package: $7,200

Hourly fees: $250

Contact Info:

Phone: 646-485-8844

Website: mbaMission.com


Linda Abraham, founder of Accepted.com

Linda Abraham, founder of Accepted.com


Founded in 1994 by Linda Abraham, the firm has worked with more than 3,500 applicants to business, law, medical and other graduate programs. Accepted has 14 editors, including founder Abraham. Four of them bring insider perspective from  such admissions offices as Cornell University’s Johnson School of Business and  Duke University’s Law School.


Accepted’s has an unusual pricing approach: its consulting packages differ in price by school. If you’re applying to Columbia Business School, for instance, the consulting fee is  $2,425, while help with an application to New York University’s Stern School is $3,075 and an application to MIT’s Sloan School of Management is $3,625. On two or more applications, there is a $1,000 per school additional fee. For a la carte services, Accepted charges a $260 hourly rate.

Contact Info:

Phone: 310.815.9553

Website: Accepted.com


Chioma Isiadinso, co-founder of EXPARTUS

Chioma Isiadinso, co-founder of EXPARTUS


Founded in 2002 by Chioma Isiadinso, a former Harvard Business School admissions board member and assistant director of admissions, and her husband, Obinna Isiadinso, a Harvard MBA. She spent three years as an admissions official at Carnegie Mellon University before going to Harvard. EXPARTUS is based in New York and serves the MBA market. Isiadinso, a regular contributor to Poets&Quants, is also the author of The Best Business School Admissions Secrets.

The firm has eight admissions consultants, including those with MBAs from such tops schools as Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia. “We don’t take on every client that applies,” says Isiadinso. “I put every prospective client through a consultation to understand their story, ensure there is a fit, before taking them on.” The company claims a success record of 85% to 90% for clients “gaining admission to their dream schools.”


$350 for an initial one-hour consultation

Contact info:

Phone: 212-802-7580

Website: EXPARTUS.com


Return to main story: “Suddenly Cozy: MBA Admissions Consultants and Business Schools”


Don’t hire an MBA admissions consultant before CONSULTING our directory 

  • m.martinezpuppo@gmail.com

    In Latin America it’s common to contact regional consultants to prepare applications for top business schools. However, there are very few available and I was too close to R2 so they all rejected me because they had already taken up so many students. I decided to give Admissionado a try after reading its great reviews online.
    Mark was the consultant who worked with me during the process. After our initial call, Mark managed to point out my main strengths, weaknesses, and best career accomplishments. This information was important through the whole application, including the interviews.
    Then we started with back and forth emails to determine my career goals. Although it took too long (sometimes it wasn’t easy to not get discouraged), I managed to build a story that fits with my values, strengths, and passions. Mark’s guidance was essential for me to achieve this milestone. You might believe that you have your professional goals figured out, but in my case, I needed to dig deep into my interests and experience to build a solid story.
    Afterwards we started working on the essays. Some prompts were very easy for me, but others were extremely difficult. There was a particular essay in which I never managed to write a story that convinced neither Mark nor myself. I wasn’t surprised to be turned down by this school, I never felt I’d really fit in there when I compared it with the other schools I applied to. This is important: the consultant won’t write the story for you, he/she will help you select what are the personal stories that best fit each prompt, then will help you to polish it, and finally, like they say, will make it Shine (this word really describes what happens with the final version).
    End result: 1 school turned me down, 1 school put me on the waitlist, and 1 school accepted me. I applied to other 2 top b-schools by myself, recycling some of the work I did with Admissionado, and both of them offered me a seat in their class.
    To sum up, although Admissionado is a lot more expensive than regional consultants, my experience was extremely positive, and I would strongly recommend it for Latin American prospective MBA students.

  • Alex

    I’m a 32YO male, I’m transitioning out of the Navy as a 10-year aviator, and I was honestly kind of terrified about the transition. I’m now at the end of my application process and I will be attending Booth in the Fall. This was my #1 choice and I couldn’t have done it without the team at Admissionado.
    Bottom Line: once you have decided that an admissions consultant is critical to your success in the application process, Admissionado will be your best friend and your professional guiding light. The stress level comes down by orders of magnitude with these guys on your side.
    I will echo what other reviews have previously stated: find the right group that will meet your specific needs. And set your expectations appropriately for the advertised timelines because the company is very open and honest about exactly what they can provide for you (and oftentimes they go way above and beyond that level of support). Admissionado broke out from the pack and they have been authentic and consistent ever since I hired them. The initial interview with Shawn, my counselor, provided tangible suggestions for tailoring my application packages. He followed up after our interview to see if I had any additional questions or concerns (as did Claudia and Lauren, which was a great touch). This team has a legitimate desire to see you succeed. And since receiving my acceptance I have kept in touch with all three and they have offered friendly advice for transitioning to a new city. This group is as good as it gets.
    Their bevy of products to support the process are very useful as well. These products cover everything from essay edits to crafting a resume, and I will probably put them to good use beyond just this application marathon. I will also keep every version of the essay edits because I found the whole experience refreshing and it fine-tuned my ability to deliver a good message. You may think you’re decent at writing … and you may even be above average (believe me, I thought I was too, I got a 46 on the Verbal section of the GMAT) … but they will make you better. Bet on it.
    I’m game to answer anyone’s questions if you would like more information about how I chose which Admissionado products I wanted or the timeline I put together for myself in order to put those services to good use.

  • Anonymous Applicant Round 2

    Liz Bender (Lead Consultant) of The MBA Exchange helped me tremendously with my overall application strategy and interview preparation. Liz took the time to understand who I am and my perspective, and integrated that with her own wealth of knowledge and experience to help me articulate my story as an applicant. For application strategy, Liz helped me navigate through all the noise and focus my efforts. For interview preparation, she moved me from feeling moderately nervous and unsure to feeling extremely confident and prepared. Furthermore, along with Liz, Dan Bauer and Dollaya Chaibongsai and the entire MBA Exchange Team were AWESOME. They all answered every question I had (as well as my many follow-ups), responded to emails insanely quickly, and truly made me feel like they valued my business. That’s the kind of outstanding customer experience that makes a difference. I highly recommend Liz Bender and The MBA Exchange.

  • AC

    I have a very similar profile and would love you talk to you about your experience if your able.

  • Burcu Ash

    I highly recommend Admissionado. I used them for three round 1 application essays from June-September this year. Anne-Marie was my consultant; she was extremely helpful, whether it was helping me articulate my goals to final essay edits. The price is lower than a lot of competitors, and it’s a great service overall, in my opinion. Essay edits came back to me within 72 hours, usually 48 hours, and were usually very helpful and constructive!

  • AnonymousMBAer

    I used MBA Exchange, Jessica Burlingame was my consultant, and I really enjoyed working with her. I got into Columbia (my top choice). Jessica was very knowledgeable and responsive and the company’s pricing was competitive. Would recommend.

  • 47123s

    Liz Bender, the lead consultant I worked with for the past few months with MBA Exchange, was terrific! She provided great insight, and channeled strengths and weaknesses together to create a well-balanced, well-rounded application to business school. I would strongly recommend her advice in your preparation to create the best b-school application you can!

  • Chip

    I worked with The MBA Exchange and Caryn Levine was my lead consultant. She was excellent and I could not have gotten into Kellogg without her help. The pushed me to a level I could not have reached on my own. She is very knowledgeable about the admissions process and knows the types of things adcoms are looking for. She is readily available and turns drafts around quickly. I highly recommend her.

  • Got in

    I wasn’t looking to use a consultant, but when I was offered an interview at a Stern, I thought the opportunity to discuss my experience and “portfolio” to an experienced consultant was totally worth it. I worked with Michelle Bacharach at the MBA Exchange, and am so appreciative for her/their help. The MBA Exchange provided a lot of helpful resources, and my mock interview and feedback session with Michelle was extremely helpful. She was thorough, helped me creatively think through some concerns I had, and provided some great feedback on my content and execution.

    It paid off, and while I don’t know much about the other firms, MBA Exchange, and Michelle’s interview preparation support, was worth every penny.

  • Melissa

    You know all these MBA Exchange reviews are false right? No accounts, and there are SO MANY! You guys should lay off, it just looks suspicious.

  • Doak 2011

    I recommend Jon Harari with the MBA Exchange. Jon was my
    guide and mentor through the 7-month process of applying to Columbia Business
    School. I couldn’t be more grateful for his assistance.

    I had doubts about my qualifications for CBS, primarily
    because I attended a state school and worked at a small boutique investment
    bank, but Jon shored up my confidence and encouraged me to press ahead with my
    application. He helped me buy into my vision and pursue the degree I desired.

    Jon was always extremely prompt, professional, and
    responsive. He nearly always replied within 24 hour and replied instantaneously
    on time-sensitive matters. He was very thorough and thoughtful during all the
    nuts-and-bolts activities: reviewing my resume, interview preparation, essay
    drafting, etc. Jon never made me feel like a number, and he always gave his
    undivided attention whenever I needed it.

    In addition to Jon’s professionalism, I want to highlight an
    undervalued aspect of Jon’s service: time management. Jon helped me quickly
    parse through ideas to get from talking to action. With Jon as my guide, I was
    able to focus 100% of my time on execution – I never had to read a blog or
    spend hours seeking advice on what I “should” be doing – I already
    knew what to do. Jon’s advice saved me dozens, if not more than a hundred, hours
    of my time that I was able to refocus on studying for the GMAT, networking with
    alumni, and joining community service organizations. Having a coach and a plan
    brought order to a chaotic process, focusing my time and energy on the task at
    hand. If you’re a busy professional, the time saved alone is worth the fee.

    Thanks to the support Jon Harari, I can now look forward to
    attending Columbia Business School in the fall of 2016.

  • Adrian Defta

    Everyone wants the fee paid before the service being delivered. Moreover, there is little incentive for the coach to really go the extra mile to help the student. Would it be totally unthinkable a business model when the students get his money back if no results? What do you think?

  • MITBound

    I had a great experience with MBA Exchange and Jessica Burlingame was my consultant. She is a terrific person to work with. She has a unique gift to assess a candidate just by looking at the profile and a brief chat over phone. I got straight up feedback pretty much on my first call with her… She is very polite, soft spoken, and easy to talk to. Yet, she was very tough on things that I needed to improve!! I got her reference from my nephew. Jessica helped him to prepare for Kellogg, Northwestern last year. Consultants from MBA exchange coached my friend (Consultant: Dan) and he got into Wharton, coached my wife (Consultant: Dan) who got into Wharton, coached my nephew into Kellogg, and now coached me to get into MIT Sloan School of Management. I highly recommend MBA exchange and its consultant Jessica Burlingame for MBA ad prep works….

  • MITBound


  • Sofie Le

    Hi, I used a boutique consulting house called My Application Clinic. I did a thorough research on the web, but ended up choosing them, because a friend of mine had successfully used them. I really liked their personalised approach – My advisor spent a full hour just getting to know me. The comments were in depth and with suggestions to how I could rephrase some parts. My impression is that they are very professional. My advisor Filipe was an ex McKinsey consultant. I would never have imagined that I would be so lucky to have a McKinsey consultant advising me on the most important application in my life – it almost makes the fees seem cheap! Now I’m anxiously awaiting the results:)

  • Applicant

    I used The MBA Exchange and found it extremely helpful, especially in the initial stages of the application process. My coach played a significant role in suggesting other schools to consider that fit my criteria, articulating my goals, and prepping for interviews. Great response time throughout the process.

  • Brian

    I worked with MBA Exchange. Dan took my call on Christmas Day to talk through options with me. I worked with Rebecca Maescher for over a year and a half during my entire process. She was always available, answering every question I had promptly and professionally. She also provided important guidance when I needed help choosing where to apply. I would highly recommend both MBA Exchange and Rebecca.

  • Michael

    I would like to recommend Ben Johnson of MBA Exchange.

    A little about me: I am a military veteran with a decent(710) GMAT and a terrible (2.5) undergraduate GPA from a big state university. I’m also older (33 at matriculation) than
    most applicants. Now I am a member of the class of 2017 at my dream school (M7).

    After reading dozens of reviews, I contacted and had phone consultations with three different consulting services (MBAEx, SBC, and MBAMission). I settled on MBA Exchange because of the instant working chemistry I had with Ben, as well as his openness to put
    me in direct contact with prior clients very similar to me.

    Ben was incredible from start to finish. In our first session, Ben was most interested
    in getting to know me and understanding my goals and personal motivation. From that first call, he helped guide me to refine my list of target schools (never discouraging me from my top-targets), and craft a long-term plan (seven months out from deadlines) for everything that I needed to accomplish prior to submitting my first application. He also recommended very specific steps to address my deficiencies with extra online coursework, or prepare to discuss them in essays and interviews. Moving forward,
    through resume edits, essay writing, and interview prep, Ben helped me shape my
    application so that the admissions committees were getting the whole picture of
    me as a professional and a person. Above all else, Ben forced me to become comfortable telling my true story in an engaging and relatable way.

    Throughout the process I contacted Ben countless times – I would usually hear back from him within a few hours. Coming from a military background and not understanding a lot about the business community was difficult for me, but he was incredibly patient and helped me research and learn things well-outside the scope of business school applications. As I am now beginning to prepare for school and the internship recruiting cycle, I realize that a lot of what Ben helped me with will continue to help me through my MBA and beyond.

    There is no magic in these consulting services. What made Ben an incredible consultant was his ability to listen to me and then help me get organized and focused. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would not have gotten into the schools that I did with out his guidance. I would absolutely recommend MBA Exchange to anyone who is looking for help with the business school application process.

  • Lokilaiho

    I would like to recommend Seth Gilmore of MBA Exchange. I am sure that without his assistance I wouldn’t have made it to one of the top 10 business schools (poetsandquants ranking). Seth coached me through entire process; working with him was an absolutely transformative experience.

    The list of items was pretty much the same the most MBA consulting companies offer but the personal approach really made the difference. Seth helped me to re-evaluate my achievements and shape my personal brand without adding anything that wasn’t part of me.

    He helped me to completely revamp the resume, articulate my short- and long-term goals and prepare the essays for each school in a clear and compelling way. Seth was very diligent and professional. He was replying to my emails and sending me his notes almost always within 24 hours despite the amount of work. This was very important for
    me for I am an international student based outside the US, we had 12 hours
    difference and the application timing was very tight. Thorough the entire
    process I always had his constant support and assistance.

    My GMAT is 700, my GPA is also well below average for all of the top10 schools. Judging by pure numbers I was not in the top10 ballpark, still due to the well-formulated goals, compelling story and self-awareness, that Seth helped me to put together, I got interviews with 3 out of 4 top10 schools I applied (I didn’t apply to safety schools). In the end I got accepted to one, rejected by two and waitlisted by another one (I guess I would have done better with the last one if only I took more time preparing for the interview).

    Everyone decides for him/herself to go for a consulting firm or to look for other sources of expertise. In my case I knew from the beginning that none of my friends, teachers or family members was able to provide the coaching I needed. However, it is only after I started working with Seth I got the idea of the true extent and importance of this expertise.


    I would recommend Seth Gilmore to anyone without hesitation. He is extremely smart, genuine and professional person. He was always there when I needed his help. His guidance helped me to avoid most of the pitfalls, which I was not even aware of, despite all the books I’ve read on the subject.

  • Oli

    Hi All, I want to share my experience with you about The MBA exchange.

    I will join next fall Georgetown University for my MBA full-time. I am very excited about this next adventure and I am looking forward joining the hoyas!

    I wanted to underline how satisfied I am of the consulting service provided. I truly appreciate the time and dedication that my consultant (Jon H.) demonstrated this past year. It was a very challenging process as I am only 23 years old and I know the outcome would have been completely different without Jon.. Jon not only helped me put high quality applications together, but he also helped me define my career and
    personal goals. For me, the coaching was beyond just submitting an application.
    This is a substantial time and money investment for me as I am financing my own
    education but I clearly see the value of it and Jon has very a great coach.

    Jon and the founder of The MBA exchange both contributed to my American dream and help me reach this transformational experience that I was looking for. Thanks again!

  • Anonymous

    I worked with Kim Carter at the MBA Exchange, and am very pleased with the results. I gained admission to my first choice – a top 10 global MBA program. I’m an applicant with a 680 GMAT, 2.8 GPA from a top liberal arts college, and 7 years work experience (2 years in private equity, 3 years in digital media planning, and 2 years at a tech start-up in sales strategy and product marketing).

    The MBA Exchange approach was very insightful and helpful. Kim did a great job guiding me through the process and helping me craft a compelling story. She also did a great job of laying out a well-structured timeline that made the process stress-free and un-rushed.

    I can’t speak for any of the other companies, but if you are considering a consultant, I recommend MBA Exchange without hesitation. I have 3 other friends who used the service, all gaining admission into top-10 MBA programs. All of us were very satisfied with the services received.

  • tan

    I had a very good experience with MBA Exchange and my lead
    consultant, Jessica Burlingame. At the time of contacting them I had a month to
    go to submit my applications to my top 2 schools and I wanted a critical review
    of my resume and essays. They were very quick in setting me up with a
    consultant that had recent successes at my target schools.

    Jessica was absolutely brilliant, she tore apart my
    first resume draft which was something I greatly appreciated. She gave me a lot
    of actionable items and was constantly pushing me to keep improving points that
    I had initially thought were just fine. Thanks to her, my essays and resume
    were of a very high standard and quality, and every sentence added to the
    message I was trying to convey. She never attempted to change my key message,
    but encouraged me to keep adding depth at a level and clarity that I would not
    have accomplished on my own.

    She also prepped me for my interview and I’m really
    thankful for a key tip she gave me regarding getting my main message across in
    the first sentence or two and how to achieve this. Her suggestions were
    extremely helpful for me to keep my thoughts straight and have an enjoyable
    conversation with my interviewer, that ended with an offer at my top choice
    school. I would highly recommend Jessica. She was extremely capable and
    professional and was also very responsive and went beyond the time she had
    allotted for me on several occasions.

  • testimonial

    Other firms replied with boilerplate template emails in response to my request for urgent application help, but MBA Exchange’s founder Dan Bauer called me personally within hours of receiving my email, and he immediately set me up with Jessica Burlingame as my lead consultant. I was admitted to my top choice — CEIBS — and I received a substantial merit scholarship based on my application. The scholarship more than covered the consultant fees. Overall MBA Exchange was a great investment.

  • FemaleHarvardMBA2016

    I decided to work with Chioma (Expartus) last year on my MBA applications and if I could go back, my decision would not change for a day. Chioma was highly dedicated and conscientious in reviewing my application materials and was never afraid to give honest, sometimes difficult feedback. She would make herself or a member of her team available even on short notice when I had questions or concerns that I wanted their help with and they were always very productive. I always left my conversations with them not just with a meaningful list of next steps but also with a feeling of confidence that helped me my applications head-on. With their help, I got into 2 of my top choice MBAs iincluding Harvard Business School.

  • SPin

    This year I was reapplying to schools after being rejected from top 5 schools last year without interview. I felt like I had a very strong story but was unsure why I was unable to present my story effectively to the schools. In the quest to close this gap, I decided to choose a consulting firm. MBA Exchange had helped one of my friends to get into a top school and had helped him accomplish the entire application process in less than 3 months. When I googled them, I heard great things about them, and so instinctively decided to choose them as my partners in this process.Today, I am looking at admits from 3 of the top 5 schools.

    Here is why I think MBA exchange is the BEST go-to partner for applications process. To begin with, they don’t treat you as a mere client, but treat you as a partner who they work with in every step of the way – from school selection, to guiding with the GMAT, to leveraging the best stories for the essay and to interview preparation. Most importantly, they help you through the ups and downs that you face as you move from one step to another in this process.

    I especially want to mention how wonderful it was to work with my consultant Maria. Maria is easily the most organized and detail-oriented person that I have ever met. From the kickstart call, she took charge of my admissions process and helped me focus on and prioritize the most important elements of my applications. We took an uphill task of 6 schools in 2 months, but each time that I felt overwhelmed, she provided me the comfort and confidence that we would achieve our identified goals.She made sure that I did not digress and stayed my course. She checked on me every day not just to see how my application process was going, but making sure that I was feeling good about how it was coming along.

    Somewhere along the way, she became my mentor and close friend. This was perhaps the most important reason why I got the confidence to open up to her and discuss various personal experiences of my life that have shaped the person I am today. Her full-involvement in the process and complete personal attention towards me, gave me the trust and confidence to share my life-story and ultimately put it together for my essays.

    I believe the difference between last year and this year was, that I worked with a very supportive partner who gave me the confidence to talk about my strengths and weaknesses, both in an honest and definitive manner, to present my best self to the schools!

    I wish through this comment I have been able to convey just how much value they brought into my application process and I highly highly recommend them!!

  • MBA Military Applicant

    I had an excellent experience with MBA Exchange, and specifically my consultant Elliot Zimmer. From the beginning, I appreciated their thorough approach to matching you with the right consultant, although I knew from word of mouth from a friend that I wanted Elliot to be my consultant from the get go. I chose him due to our similar backgrounds and the similar goals I have with relation to everything he’s achieved since getting his MBA.

    I agree with the poster below that you can expect to do MORE work with the right consultant. I didn’t understand that going into the process, and at times felt discouraged when Elliot would press me to dig deeper and re-work my products. However, he always gave me the tools and encouragement to make it happen. In the end, I am more than grateful since I will be headed to Wharton!

    A really important facet of what MBA Exchange as a whole did, was help me with getting my word count down in my essays. At the same time, they changed absolutely nothing in my content or “voice.” I wrote a lot of essays since I applied to 6 schools, and this feature saved me tons of time while maintaining the authenticity of my voice.

    I didn’t think I had a shot at a top school since I was going into the process with a 2.85 undergraduate GPA. I attribute a great deal of my success to Elliot and the MBA Exchange.

  • SatisfiedCustomer

    I am a recent MBA applicant who used MBA Exchange and had a very positive experience. Dan Bauer, the founder, was immediately responsive when I reached out and set up a call for me to ask my millions of questions prior to formally engaging the company. Soon after signing the contract, I was introduced to a very smart, competent and friendly consultant named Stacey-Ann. She had previously worked in admissions at Wharton, which was my top target school. With the first round application deadline rapidly approaching, Stacey-Ann was highly responsive and made sure I was on track to submit a polished, well-framed application. Once the application was in, I ran through a mock interview with her that was extremely helpful, and she offered to conduct more mocks if I was interested.
    While it’s impossible to measure how much a consultant can improve your application, I feel like MBA Exchange certainly lived up to what I expected to get out of my money and played somewhat of a role in my getting accepted.


    I just got admitted to INSEAD thanks to MBA Exchange, especially my lead consultant – Jon Harari. I am an applicant without fantastic GPA; hence, Jon kept motivating me to retake my GMAT and thanks to his encouragement, I worked on my application and studied for GMAT at the same time. Finally, I got my 700+ GMAT score. Jon was very fast in responding to my questions and he really made me think seriously about my stories and helped me demonstrate my fit to the school. The editing service was great too because the editor amazingly reduced word count while keeping my stories in a cohesive way. I would recommend Jon and MBA Exchange to anyone who is aspired to apply to the top-tier MBA programme!

  • Anonymous

    I approached the MBA Exchange in April 2014 about their services. They were extremely responsive and helped answer all of my questions in a very timely manner. Shortly after I was paired up with Maria Spaulding. She laid out a strategy for my applications and was confident that if we executed on the goals that we had mapped out then I was likely to receive good news from my target schools (applied to M7). Maria’s strategy and insight into the admissions process is unparalleled. She was able to answer all of my questions thoroughly and was always willing to go above and beyond. I applied round 1 to one of the schools and was admitted and am waiting to hear back from two of my other target schools in round 2. I would highly recommend Maria Spaulding to anyone that is serious about engaging an MBA Admissions Consultant.

  • Guest

    I worked with Maria Spaulding at MBA Exchange and was great! The process worked well for me and I got into Booth and Wharton. She was responsive to all emails and helped me craft the whole package. Would recommend both Maria and MBA Exchange to get into a top program.

  • startup2016

    I used MBA Exchange and was very happy with my experience. I ended up applying to 2 schools 1st round – HBS and Wharton – and got into both.

    I worked closely with Rina Patel @ MBA Exchange, who graduated from HBS a few years ago. Rina helped me craft my story, and in particular my HBS essay. She helped me dig deep into “who I really am” instead of writing something superficial about my work experience over the past few years. Rina also thoroughly reviewed my resume and short answers, all of which she made more impactful.

    After receiving interviews, Rina also did a couple of practice sessions with me. Having walked through the standard questions – “tell me about your job”, “why HBS”, etc. – made me much more comfortable on my interview day.

    I couldn’t recommend her more highly!

  • Applicant

    I personally found MBAexchange to be very professional and helpful. They were enthusiastic in giving detailed questions to my answers and offered me great advices on school selectoin, positioning and my chances and what school to apply to.

    I also greatly appreciated MBAexchange’s willingness to work with me one year early.
    Not all Consultants displayed this patience and they encouraged me to apply in 2013/14 cycle. This was sub-optimal because back then I had just started my current job and had only 2 years of full-time experience.

    Receiving guidance from your firm a year earlier gave me ample time to strengthen my work and extra-curricular profile. I think my motivation to get into a top MBA program inspired me to volunteer for more projects at my day job, and that was key to my accelerated promotion this April.

    I received 5 offers from my dream schools ultimately. I wont say this is ALL because of MBAexchange. I worked hard for it. But i would say they offered me critical advices at critical junctures and gave me emotional support throughout a stressful process.

  • MBAisajourney

    I highly recommend MBA Exchange. Initially I had a conversation with the firm last year and they confirmed that I had a good profile but encouraged me to retake GMAT and apply. However I decided to apply anyways and in fact used another consultant who claimed to be past director and that I should be fine with my score but I did not get a single interview forget admit. Then I took the services of the MBA Exchange and they were very helpful throughout the process till the interview stage and their responses was well within 24 hour timeline. I am glad to write that I have got into LBS my dream school

  • Anonymous

    I had several preliminary conversations with Veritas, the MBA Exchange
    and Clear Admit and ultimately decided to go with the three-application
    package at the MBA Exchange. A close friend of mine used Veritas
    and went to to Northwestern and another used the MBA Exchange and
    went to Dartmouth. Both had very positive feedback that helped me
    choose a firm. I worked with Liz Bender on applications to
    Northwestern, Columbia and Cornell. I interviewed with all three and
    was accepted to Columbia and Cornell (Columbia was my first choice of
    the three). Liz was fantastic and extremely responsive. She was always
    back to me within 24 hours and usually much faster. She was also happy
    to help with anything (no matter how small) and never seemed fatigued
    or frustrated (I was a demanding client). The MBA Exchange was very
    helpful getting me comfortable with their program and helping me decide
    which schools to which I wanted to apply, even before I chose to work
    with them or paid them anything. I would highly recommend Liz and the
    MBA Exchange to anyone applying to business school. I applied to five
    schools on my own last year and wasn’t accepted to any (the only
    interview I had was by my choice). I was able to increase my GMAT from a
    700 to a 740 before I started applications this year, but all of the
    other changes in my candidacy came from the MBA Exchange/Liz’s guidance,
    and they were clearly game changing.

  • Chris Wujtowicz

    I had several preliminary conversations with Veritas, the MBA Exchange
    and Clear Admit and ultimately decided to go with the three-application
    package at the MBA Exchange. A close friend of mine used Veritas
    and went to to Northwestern and another used the MBA Exchange and
    went to Dartmouth. Both had very positive feedback that helped me
    choose a firm. I worked with Liz Bender on applications to
    Northwestern, Columbia and Cornell. I interviewed with all three and
    was accepted to Columbia and Cornell (Columbia was my first choice of
    the three). Liz was fantastic and extremely responsive. She was always
    back to me within 24 hours and usually much faster. She was also happy
    to help with anything (no matter how small) and never seemed fatigued
    or frustrated (I was a demanding client). The MBA Exchange was very
    helpful getting me comfortable with their program and helping me decide
    which schools to which I wanted to apply, even before I chose to work
    with them or paid them anything. I would highly recommend Liz and the
    MBA Exchange to anyone applying to business school. I applied to five
    schools on my own last year and wasn’t accepted to any (the only
    interview I had was by my choice). I was able to increase my GMAT from a
    700 to a 740 before I started applications this year, but all of the
    other changes in my candidacy came from the MBA Exchange/Liz’s guidance,
    and they were clearly game changing.

  • EA

    I used MBA Exchange and couldn’t be more pleased!!! The consultant I worked with, Pauline Jennett was extremely helpful and professional. I got accepted to Kellogg with a scholarship and honestly don’t think I would’ve even been accepted without her help. MBA Exchange is very professional, always responsive and experts in what they do. I would recommend them to anyone serious about getting into a top program. I couldn’t be more pleased. I HIGHLY recommend Pauline as a consultant.

  • thanks!!!

    Elliot Zimmer and the team at MBA Exchange delivered as promised for me — 1 acceptance and 1 ding from top 3 schools. No matter your comfort level with the process or your “stats” going into it, having a dedicated sounding board every step of the way is a valuable resource. While more structure during the interview prep process would have been helpful, I’m overall very satisfied with the product. Thanks!

  • topdogmba

    Hi there! I thought I’d add my experience with Admissionado.

    I’m a re-applicant so writing this from the perspective of someone who has been through the pain once before and didn’t want to make the same mistakes the second time around.

    I first learned about Admissionado as their founder, Jon Frank, hosted a free webinar about ‘Dealing with a Ding’. I was one of the lucky few chosen to be critiqued in the webinar and, while not a pleasant experience, I really appreciated the straight talking, no nonsense approach employed by Jon.

    This isn’t a service for those of you wanting someone to praise you constantly and tell you what a good job you’re doing – this is tough love! My consultant was a former Admissions Fellow at my top choice b school. We had a great free Skype session which overran the allotted time, but I just had a lot of questions and she was in no hurry and didn’t rush me.

    After the call, I tried to imagine finding time to not only figure out my strategy, but also to write my resume, essays, manage my recommenders, all while having to check my own work and try to find friends who would help me out and review it. I decided I wanted a paid consultant, someone I could jump straight in and start discussing my stories with, someone who was always available and would push me to do more and better.

    The Junior Deluxe package was great for this, it wasn’t cheap but was in line with other leading consulting firms. Best of all, I could bolt on additional services like Skype calls and urgent reviews of my essays (sadly, I did have to resort to this once or twice!), all in a very transparent way.

    If I had any negative comments to make, I’d say that it took several days to get comments back on essays. This is because not only my consultant was reviewing them, but also an editor who added a lot of comments on how to improve the writing style, what else I could talk about, how to build the story more effectively etc. It was only a problem because I was busy for weeks at a time (with non-MBA stuff) and when I was free I liked to focus in on my essays for days at a time.

    If you’re like me, then just make sure you spread the essays out – one school on Monday, another on Tuesday etc. – once I figured this out it was easy to adjust my schedule. Like I said, this is really not a major issue but I struggle to think of anything bad about Admissionado.

    And, now for the results: well, I applied to three schools and got three interview invites. One is converted into an offer(!) and the other two I’m still waiting to hear from. Could I have got the same result on my own? Possibly, but why take that risk for the sake of 1-2% of the cost of your MBA programme!?

    Thanks to Admissionado I am going to be doing my MBA next year, no matter what.

  • John

    Are the comments here real? they look a bit fake to me…
    (I love the ones saying they applied to 10 schools, got into none, and then with XXX got into 5…)

    I worked with Aringo. they were spot on… they have a separate strategy team, then you work with a consultant, then someone else QAs your material, then an alumni test drives it.. and when I got an interview, I did two interview preps…
    got accepted to two schools, Booth with scholarship and Kellogg…

    Good luck to everyone!

  • Jaewoo Jung

    DreamMBA consultant worked on my MBA essays from scratch and I am super happy with his professionalism. My consultant provided me a very personalized service. I really appreciate his professionalism and hospitality.

    I was late in the admission process and I wanted my essays to be completed only in 4 days. Not only did DreamMBA team accepted my request for last minute help but also they calmed me down by quickly converging to high level storyline and creating first drafts.

    I am not a native English speaker. DreamMBA editors helped me refine my storyline using very accurate and concise wording. I would recommend everyone to try them out. I am totally impressed by the services provided by DreamMBA.

  • MBA Admit

    Hi all, I’d like to share my positive experience with MBA Exchange.

    About me: 34 years old, 690 GMAT, international career and quite poor GPA.

    I had three European target schools: IMD, INSEAD and LBS, and I got an offer from 2 and a Waitlist from one, so I consider this an excellent result, especially considering my not-so-brilliant academic record.

    My consultant has been Saurabh Dhingra and he has been consistently helpful, responsive, insightful and understanding.

  • 2016MBA

    I am extremely pleased with the service I received from The MBA Exchange. From my initial contact with the firm everyone I dealt with was professional and helpful. The team at The MBA Exchange has been in this business for a long time and has developed a number of useful and effective toolkits. I cannot go into more detail on this as these are proprietary and confidential but I found them to be extremely useful. As a firm, they seem to have thought of everything one needs to manage through the process, they even have a social media audit service!

    My assigned lead consultant in particular, Maria Spaulding is a star. At the point of engaging the firm, there was very limited time before the schools’ deadlines but she was able to assist in coming up with an effective work plan in a very short space of time. She
    helped me to navigate the entire process and I noted that she was truly invested in my success. She also uses her marketing/branding background to strongly position her clients to a highly selective market (admissions committees). I was admitted into an elite program (top 3!) with a substantial scholarship, I would not have been able to realize this goal without her help.

    I will definitely recommend The MBA Exchange and Maria Spaulding to my colleagues and friends who are planning to apply to top MBA programs in future.

  • Jason

    Wow, looks like we should register today! C’mon guys what are you waiting for?

  • Kate

    I highly recommend The MBA Exchange. I had a very average GMAT score (640) but interesting experience that my lead consultant, Jessica Burlingame, helped me to capitalize
    on. I am based abroad with a very demanding work schedule and Jessica was extremely patient, worked with my tight deadlines (and procrastination), asked all the right questions to ensure my essays were solid, gave me confidence before my interviews and really could not have been more supportive, kind and helpful. I really felt like I was working with a team and that she was just as excited as I when I was accepted to Booth. While it is quite
    expensive, in my opinion, it was worth every penny.

  • Glendale1984

    The MBA Exchange was instrumental in allowing me to put forth the best possible application and find effective ways to sell my non-traditional, qualitatively-oriented educational and career background. My uphill battle was compounded by two layoffs within the past five years and subsequent difficulty in maintaining a track record of increasing stature and responsibility in my work positions.

    More than anything, what the MBA Exchange brought to the process was perspective. I My consultant, Seth Gilmore, challenged me to bring everything about; placing my story, crafting my niche, and selling that to the audience. This applied to every aspect of the application, above and beyond the essays. Seth brought the essential reviewer/reader’s perspective and his input enabled me to refine and emphasize certain points to make the essays more focused on highlighting the qualities that admissions committees want in their incoming classes. Anyone who is applying to a top business school is somewhat versed in that, but given my situation and the degree of compeition it was wise to seek a set of experienced eyes. Additionally, with my qualitative, writing-heavy background I found my tendency to be verbose as a hindrance to writing essays that cover a lot of ground within the confines of 300 words. Seth and the team at the MBA Exchange are craftsmen of the English language and will give you great ideas to shorten your essays without reducing the effectiveness or substance of the story, therefore allowing you to write another sentence or two that could reveal another personal quality to the reader.

    Finally, Seth always made himself available. Despite being COO of a startup, he responded to every e-mail, text and phone call within 24 hours in addition to giving ample notice of times that he would not be available. This contributed to a more organized and therefore enjoyable experience. I will be starting at Cornell Johnson in August, and I thank Seth and The MBA Exchange for helping me get there.

  • Glendale1984

    The MBA Exchange was instrumental in allowing me to put forth the best possible application and find effective ways to sell my non-traditional, qualitatively-oriented educational and career background. My uphill battle was compounded by two layoffs within the past five years and subsequent difficulty in maintaining a track record of increasing stature and responsibility in my work positions.

    More than anything, what the MBA Exchange brought to the process was perspective. My consultant Seth challenged me to bring everything about; placing my story, crafting my niche, and selling that to the audience. This applied to every aspect of the application, above and beyond the essays. Seth brought the essential reviewer/reader’s perspective and his input enabled me to refine and emphasize certain points to make the essays more focused on highlighting the qualities that admissions committees want in their incoming classes. Anyone who is applying to a top business school is somewhat versed in that, but given my situation and the degree of compeition it was wise to seek a set of experienced eyes. Additionally, with my qualitative, writing-heavy background I found my tendency to be verbose as a hindrance to writing essays that cover a lot of ground within the confines of 300 words. Seth and the team at the MBA Exchange are craftsmen of the English language and will give you great ideas to shorten your essays without reducing the effectiveness or substance of the story, therefore allowing you to write another sentence or two that could reveal another personal quality to the reader.

    Finally, Seth always made himself available. Despite being COO of a startup, he responded to every e-mail, text and phone call within 24 hours in addition to giving ample notice of times that he would not be available. This contributed to a more organized and therefore enjoyable experience. I will be starting at Cornell Johnson in August, and I thank Seth and The MBA Exchange for helping me get there.

  • Guest

    After getting waitlisted at my #1 school, I decided to hire MBA Exchange for their WL consulting service. Once they evaluated my profile, I was assigned to work with Liz Bender. First, we exchanged introductory emails. It was great that she invested so much time getting to know me on a personal level. I think this helped establish a great rapport and definitely made me feel more comfortable trusting her strategies/suggestions. Whenever I sent her an email, Liz’s turnaround time was fantastic and without sacrificing any quality of her response. A few months after working with Liz, I found out that I was accepted! Liz and MBA Exchange were a tremendous resource and provided strategies that I might not have considered on my own. I was very pleased with their service and I would highly recommend them to anyone pursuing their dream school. Also, if possible, you should consider requesting to work with Liz Bender specifically. She is excellent!

  • Anonymous

    I had an incredibly positive experience with MBA Exchange. They were highly responsive (with a 24 hour turnaround rule), thorough and realistic about what my strengths were and what gaps I needed to fill. The fact that the consultants are themselves MBA graduations from top-tier schools illustrates their knowledge and experience in helping you shape your story around each school’s interests. My only regret is not having started looking into an MBA consultant sooner, as they provided a lot of feedback regarding how I could strengthen my profile through mentorship, extracurriculars, etc, that was a little too late to consider come application time. Interview prep was also key – they record your mock interview so that you can review how well your responses are and where you need work, which ultimately made the actual interview process that much easier. Bottom line, they will not sugar coat your profile and provide false promises to you, but they will help you prepare your best self to the admissions committee.

  • RS

    I used MBA Exchange this Spring for wait list consulting for Tepper. They responded quickly and once I sent in the contract/payment I was quickly assigned to Ori Deckel. He did a great job helping me rethink my approach in getting off the waitlist. He requested a copy of my application and all communications made with the school up to that point and from there gave me a 12 point breakdown of my strengths and weaknesses, specifically how to capitalize on my strengths and address my weaknesses to get off the wait list. He suggested several strategies, although I personally contacted them a bit close to the deadline for submitting additional information to the school, so I wasn’t able to attempt all approaches suggested. He worked with me on my essay in providing feedback and updating version during the week leading up to the submission deadline. It was much more than just grammar and spelling corrections, he really worked with me to craft a well written supplemental essay that allowed me to both provide a professional update as well as a personal statement to the school, which I feel was the major factor in getting admitted from the wait list.

    I do not think that the original approach I had in mind would have had the same results, so from my personal experience I would recommend their service. To reiterate, they were fast to respond, they worked closely with me based on my own specific background and application (not just generic essay advice), and worked with me late into several nights fine tuning my update to the school. I was a bit nervous that I was going to just get generic advice and tips, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the service fine tuned to me specifically. I can’t comment on their application services in general, or speak for other consultants they have, but I would highly recommend Ori from MBA Exchange and am really satisfied with the positive result he helped me achieve.

  • Anonymous

    I was late to the entire application process, only starting my essays and finalizing my GMAT studies by mid-December for R2. I went with MBA Exchange and under three weeks, including the holidays, was able to get everything done (4 applications) and was extremely happy with the outcome and process. I worked with Kenna and she was able to help me make what seemed to be impossible a reality. Note that I was wait listed and that I believe their strategy truly improved my odds! On that basis alone I would recommend the MBA Exchange.

  • HeadedToHBS

    Wow, I’m shocked at how many negative posts are on here. Thankfully I found someone with a lot of experience, and things worked out for me (I’m headed to HBS this fall!). Anyway, I worked with Mark from Admissionado. Being a nontraditional applicant, I had a lot of concerns about how best to position myself in my applications. Mark and the entire Admissionado team immediately seemed invested in my success. I felt like I wasn’t going through the stressful application journey alone. Mark was super prompt in replying to my emails, and he helped me to most effectively position my experiences in a way that would resonate with an admissions committee.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Readers,
    In hiring an MBA consultant, you, as a client, are paying upfront for a binary outcome that has either home run success or catastrophic failure. I did light diligence on picking a consultant, reading reviews e.g. P&Q factored into my choice but the truth is, you only really get to explore the process after the $ leaves your bank account. Allow me to mention the obvious, one can never remove the consultant variable and see the results of an identical application, thus value is fairly impossible to measure.

    So if you are reading my post as I was reading the posts of others before me about 6 months ago, let me outline what I believe are a couple items that might persuade or dissuade you from using a consultant, I ultimately did choose MBA Exchange.

    1. Comfort that you are aiming at the right target – After comparing hard notes ie GMAT|GPA|Work Exp etc. I genuinely believe that if I was way off naive and misguided, using a consultant would be my first line of defense against wasting valuable time and effort-my MBA experience would end right there. Consultants are paid regardless but if their reputation slips with too many catastrophic failures then game over. Safety for the client comes in the “screening” process ie they will accept you as a client if they think you can actually get in to top schools otherwise over the long-run, the $ cannot be worth the risk.

    2. Expect to do more work not less – To echo some of the other commentators on this forum, consultants add value not by doing your application for you, but by pushing you such that you are more prepared and your answers are more streamlined and consistent with a singular message. Use a consultant if you are willing to work hard to get into top schools, stay away if you are not receptive to listening and following through. Trainers can prepare you to run a marathon but you build the endurance yourself.

    My experience with Maria Spaulding was fantastic, her patience and optimism brought calm demeanor to an otherwise quite stressful experience. Maria wasn’t even my first choice (sorry Maria!) but blame my timing not her credentials. Would mention that the consultant pairing aspect of the process is a little awkward, capacity in my situation mattered more than perceived “fit”. Again these decisions all happen prior to any work done so “fit” is a best guesstimate from their side and nothing more. In my case, it could not have worked out better; Maria was able to navigate my background, organize my story and narrate a message that made me a better candidate overall for which I am deeply in her debt.

    Good luck to all of you.

    Two applications submitted at Wharton and MIT. Two Interviews received.
    adMIT Sloan Class of 2016

  • mikey

    I worked with MBA Exchange for the R2 applications. I must say that my experience is greatly positive. My advisor Stephanie systematically dig into my past and helped me bring out the relevant experiences, which then I used to write the essays. I should point out that I wrote all the essays myself – so if you’re looking to get help beyond that look elsewhere. My advisor was excellent in terms of communication and punctuality, i.e. always returned my questions within 24hrs. We also did a mock interview on Skype, which I found to be quite useful. Overall, my experience was very positive and I highly recommend MBA Exchange.

    Results? I’m not going to name any specific school but I got admitted to my target program (one of the top 3).

    Should you use an MBA consultant? It really depends on your specific situation. Does it help? Yes!

    Good luck for all those out there!

  • Anonymous

    I used MBA Exchange, and Pauline was my consultant. She was fantastic, really thorough with me, encouraging, and I got in to the two business schools I applied to — Harvard and Stanford GSB.

  • tweEeak

    I went with MBA Exchange, based on a colleague referral, after having been rejected on Harvard, Stanford and Haas.

    After talking to Dan, I was assigned to Stephanie, who oversaw my applications for Booth, Kellogg and Tepper. Stephanie truly did an amazing job, challenging my approach and making me get out of my comfort zone in terms of self analyzing the experiences through different stages of my life using specific criteria that were really useful when assembling the application “puzzle”. She was also very frank when brainstorming my ideas, and none of my application success, especially in Booth, would have been possible without her help. She was there every step of the way, with a clear schedule, strategic follow ups, presenting all resources available through the application process, and offering useful advice.

    I was admitted into Tepper and Booth, both with sizable scholarships. While I did not get admitted into Kellogg, I believe that was on me, due to my poor interview performance (should have practiced more, as advised).

    I do not know the quality of work that other consultants provide, but if it is anything remotely close to Stephanie’s, the investment is a no-brainer. Fair warning though: If you are expecting to make your applications easier or faster to prepare, or to have someone thinking for you, you are looking at it in the wrong way. Consultants will tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear.

    Thank you very much, Stephanie, and the MBA Exchange.

  • anonymous

    Used MBA Exchange, applied to HSW and got interviewed/accepted into W.. was a reapplicant. Elliot Zimmer was very helpful and responsive during the whole process and would definitely recommend.

  • Anonymous

    I use The MBA Exchange and got into BOTH of the top tier schools I applied to! University of Chicago – Booth, here I come! Melanie Wright was amazing to work with and very responsive. I could not have asked for a better mentor. I HIGHLY recommend The MBA Exchange, specifically Melanie!

  • MBA Exchange

    Hi Saurabh,

    Thanks for your interest in The MBA Exchange.

    We encourage thorough due diligence. Rather than rely on anonymous postings when making a decision as important as the selection of an MBA admissions consultant, I strongly encourage you and other serious applicants to go directly to the source.

    For The MBA Exchange, please contact us directly at info@mbaexchange.com so we can discuss your background and goals, describe our credentials and services, document our client success and satisfaction, and earn your trust. Then, you can make an informed and confident decision based on facts rather than speculation.

    We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Dan Bauer
    CEO and Founder
    The MBA Exchange

  • Saurabh

    I searched everywhere and this is the ONLY location I can find praise of MBA Exchange on the internet but I see HARSH words about the firm’s work on GMATclub and on other poetsandquant areas. GMATClub validates its posts with proof, so I trust that forum. Not sure how to reconcile the big discrepancy in the client satisfaction with MBA Exchange.

  • Ding to win

    I went through the MBA application process on my own 2 years ago and got dinged at all 7 of my schools. With a 690 GMAT, and decent GPA from a top 20 University I knew I was doing something wrong.

    A friend of mine had used the MBAExchange and recommended them highly (he went to UCLA), so I wrote the large checks and started with Liz Bender at MBA Exchange.

    I cannot recommend her highly enough! From straight dings to a 50% scholarship at Fuqua, Liz was crucial in helping me tell a better story, build a better application and generally guide me through the hundreds of little questions, doubts and issues I had.

    One recommendation, if you’re worried about the money, try one or two applications with them first, buying a large package may be a bit repetitive.

  • vrdd

    Most of us forget to keep a compass whilst writing essays – the want to be creative and the want to ‘sound’ impressive takes over the need to take the chance to show readers the whole ‘impressive’ picture whilst keep the structure strong. the folks at mbaexchange are great compasses not just with the essays but with the overall admissions adventure. One thing I really appreciated was how they vetted out my resume amidst advice from so many (so many who had vetted the resume out as if it were a job resume – and most of them think there is no difference!). Liz Bender, my consultant at mbaexchange, made all the difference in the last three months. Sometimes, it ain’t the encouragement as much as it is the courage to stay on problem with direction and composure. I emulated this from her and I can’t be happier with the fact that I’d be at Babson this fall! I strongly recommend a consultant if you are one who juggles many hats and prefer to be very meticulous with the process, and risk-aware.

  • James

    Hi all,

    I have an advice to all of you who are looking at different MBA consultants to get into MBA schools. Please please be realistic and evaluate your profile before you hire these guys. I had a low GMAT score and I hired a Veritas consultant. He promised me that given my profile, I have 80% chance at the schools I was applying, Columbia, Booth,….

    I got rejected at all 4 schools and spent around 5 grand on admission consultant.

    So please be realistic and don’t listen to what the consultants say. At the end of the day, they are sales guys trying to make a business.

  • Mark

    Has this comment section become a MBA Exchange review forum? This has been consumed by company promotion. Are these legit posts– how do we know– it is free advertising!!

  • Anonymous

    I worked with the MBA Exchange’s interview prep service and Melanie Wright was my consultant. Melanie connected well with me and I could see that it wasn’t typical consultant BS but real, honest, practical feedback. She was flexible with time and was of great help. The MBA Exchange also has an excellent online platform with sample videos of mock interviews, which can be very helpful if you have the time to go through them. Thank you Melanie – I got admitted to both schools I interviewed at.

  • M

    I had a very positive experience with The MBA Exchange.
    I’m an International applicant with a 3 years experience in consulting, 670 GMAT and standard extra curricular activities, applied to a top-15 B-school and got admitted.
    My lead consultant (D. Punwani) provided me with valuable advices and gave me some excellent insights.

  • HK

    Guys – use Forster Thomas! David was amazing.

  • Anonymous

    I had a very positive experience with MBA Exchange. Pauline helped navigate through the steps of the process and was responsive to my questions. She knew my target schools inside and out, and provided the feedback and perspective I needed while in the thick of applications. MBA Exchange also tailors their services based on the schools you apply to–I appreciated the mock team-based discussion as I prepared for my Wharton interview.

  • John

    I personally recommend MBA Exchange. MBA Exchange has been absolutely tremendous. I came in with an application that best matched schools within the range of 8-12 in the rankings, and with MBA Exchange’s help was accepted to HBS and Wharton.

  • fr

    It is obvious who the leaders are in this industry; there are new entrants that copy what others have been doing well for years. There are strong firms with solid reputations such as Stacy Blackman, MBA Exchange, Clear Admit. Anonymous unvalidated comments in a thread like this means little. I would put my money (and MBA future) on a real firm with a real track record.

  • MBA Mark

    I just completed my applications with the help of Jon Harari from MBA Exchange . From our very first interaction, Jon was very engaged in learning about my unique background, my current role at an asset manager, and my forward looking aspirations.
    Where others had simply heard my story, Jon actually listened. He then processed this information and helped me develop a framework that I used to craft a powerful essay. Jon’s insights were instrumental not only in helping me write the essay, but also in helping me think about the entire process.
    Because of Jon, I decided to take more time personalizing my application, and ultimately I think it will make the difference.

  • PaulF

    I shelled out a lot of money recently with Sean and Stratus Prep with little results. I am still reeling from that experience. I hired a consultant from Stacy Blackman to do a ding analysis and help prepare me for interactions with the HBS admissions office moving forward. Joyce at SBC was awesome; after my terrible
    experience w Stratus Prep, my interactions with SBC showed me that there’s still hope for humanity!

  • Abhishek

    How is Stratus Prep for admissions consultation?

  • Anonymous

    I used MBA Exchange and had a great experience. My lead consultant (Maria) was extremely professional and efficient. Her comments/responses were always timely and to the point. She helped me build a solid story based on my experience. Overall, I found that the service I received was very good. I applied to 2 schools and was admitted to my top choice.

  • Anonumus

    Hi everyone, I would like to share with you my experience with the MBA exchange and how they helped me get admitted to Duke with a scholarship and Toronto Rotman ..
    -They were very professional from the beginning in assessing my profile and helping me in the choice of schools and addressing my weaknesses.
    -The consultant I was assigned to (Liz Bender) was very helpful, cooperative and motivating. She always replied to my queries in more than 24 hours even in holidays.
    She helped me with the essays by highlighting my strengths and prepared me for the interviews.I wouldn’t have done it without her help, she is the best support I had in my MBA campaign.
    In general I am very happy I chose the MBA exchange and would highly recommend it to everyone.

  • Adhithya

    Iam an Indian IT male applicant with 3 years of experience.
    I just got admitted to the Richard Ivey School in Canada.I had joined with MBA exchange for my consultation.
    Just wished to contribute a few points:
    1)To begin with, MBA exchange was extremely responsive.Dan Bauer and his colleagues responded to my queries with the same amount of dedication and timeliness for 7 consecutive months even when I had not joined them.That actually convinced me that MBA exchange would be the right decision for me
    2)Specially, the consultant whom I worked with (Abhilash) was very good at highlighting my technical achievements from a business perspective and also did a great job in my essays and interview preparation.
    Overall, a very good experience and would definitely recommend to anybody who wants an MBA at a top global business school

  • Anonymous

    I had a great experience with the MBA Exchange in applying
    to H/S/W. After an initial analysis of my profile by Dollaya, I was able to
    choose from an extensive list of pretty diverse and accomplished consultants. I chose Maria Spaulding partly because of her marketing background, which I thought would be an asset in helping me to position myself in the most competitive way. It turned out to be a great fit and I just received the fantastic news that I got admitted to my top choice!

    From day one, everyone involved at the MBA Exchange was very
    professional. Maria helped me find the right pace in strangling with three
    applications simultaneously, constantly kept a constructive balance between positive
    and negative feedback and stimulated me to detect and highlight authenticity throughout all applications. Without exception she reviewed drafts and questions within 24 hours and I could tell she was passionate about me getting into my top choice. Similar attention was
    given to both the essay and the interview phase and the MBA Exchange even organized a
    multiple-applicant mock interview for the Wharton team-based discussions, which
    was a great preparation for the real thing. Lastly, it was noticeable that Maria
    had very helpful insights in school-specifics for each school and she would
    constantly make sure I would write my story with those focus-points in mind.

    As a special note to European applicants (I’m a European
    applicant myself): I would definitely recommend using a top consultant (such as
    the MBA Exchange), because Americans have a slightly more aggressive way of
    positioning themselves than we would. It’s good to get some coaching on how to
    approach these cultural differences.

    All in all, without hesitation I recommend working with the
    MBA Exchange and Maria Spaulding in particular. Good luck with your

  • Anonymous

    I went with MBA Exchange with Melanie as my lead consultant and I would like to say that I am extremely happy with their services. I just got admitted into Kenan Flagler -part of my 2 college package. They helped me highlight all the right qualities and was there guiding me through every step of the process. I found their interview tools extremely helpful- got constructive feedback from the mock interview and plenty of practice material.

  • anonymous

    I also used MBA Exchange to help with preparation for my GSB interview and am excited to say that I was admitted! (I did not enlist their help for essays or anything leading up to receiving the interview). Both the online resources to prepare for the interview as well as the mock interview were extremely helpful. I was paired with a consultant who had attended the GSB and was incredibly enthusiastic about helping me prepare – we went well over the 1 hour time slot for the mock interview. I felt prepared and confident going into the real interview, and apparently it paid off!
    I would definitely recommend the MBA Exchange to any B-school applicants looking for interview prep.

  • Anonymous

    I just applied to the GSB with the help of MBA Exchange and was admitted!!!! They were great throughout the process…I decided to ask for their help last minute both for the written application and for interview prep, and they were really flexible about addressing my case in a timely manner. I’m also a poor college student so I only bought a few hours of time (instead of a whole application package), and they were really good about using that time efficiently. Their written documents are also helpful! Dan assigned me to a consultant with a background that matches mine perfectly, and she was able to guide me through my application and interview…she was also really supportive throughout the whole process! The only thing that I didn’t think was worthwhile was the online tool for interview prep.

    To provide some background, I’m currently a college senior, and applied for deferred admission to the GSB. I applied to HBS 2+2 in an earlier round and was rejected without an interview. I’m generally really wary of hiring consultants and am really proud that I got into college without any type of commercial help, but after my failed HBS app I was convinced to try this out by one of my recommenders (who also had a great experience with MBA Exchange) and I’m really glad I did!

  • MBA Admit

    I went with MBA Ex, and applied to H,S, and W. Received 2 interview invitations, and was just admitted to my top choice! I don’t think I would’ve been able to navigate the nuances of the process without their guidance.

  • MBA-Aspirant

    I distinctly recall one consultant who was super discouraging about my application saying that as an international, early 30s, female applicant, I should reconsider b-school given the low hiring chances post-term for H-1B. This conclusion was based on his assumption of my immigration status. I clarified that I was not too worried abt the hiring thing because of a change in my immigration status that was due. And oh my gosh, the tone of his voice ! I almost felt that he was citizen-policing the U.S border and viewed me as some sort of illegal or potential immigrant. The best part was that the web page had a glowing bio about him – supposedly ivy-league educated, great writer blah blah. apparently horrible person.

  • MBA-Aspirant

    I happen to be an mba aspirant and did try clear admit after checking out SB and a few others. Clear admit is actually not bad – they may not be for everyone but atleast their consultants showed some integrity in the way they operate. That’s my experience – others could be different.

    My own application didn’t make it – but i don’t blame clear admit – it was my fault for applying in the 3rd round.

  • MBA-Aspirant

    i agree fully. But to put this in perspective, my experience is that of a IT consulting, international applicant. You can see my general notes on my experiences below (nandu2). I got the feeling that SB was just not interested in taking up my case – once the consultant noted that I don’t belong to the Ivy-league / IITs of India she pretty much trashed my chances of applying to the top-10. She suggested that i should consider ranks 30 and lower (my profile is 710 GMAT, 7 yrs experience, Big-4 consulting background). Her tone was discouraging and after that call, I chose to not work with SB. Just to clarify – it’s not because I can’t take criticism. But such criticism is highly superficial. We all know that the MBA application process is a bit of marketing hard-sell and takes into account all aspects of a person’s achievements. It does not hinge on ivy-league education or a 750+ score.

    If SB is only going to work with the typical American Ivy-league educated types – then to be frank they are basically piggy-backing on the applicant’s credentials. Their own contribution to the typical applicant’s MBA success story is minimal.

    Actually I’d be fine with SB was going to be choosy about which clients they want to work with – but it would be better if they state that upfront like some consultants do. Saves everybody time.

  • Laughing21

    I certainly think this largely depends on individuals not the consultant firm. Dan is a good guy. But I kinda second with the comment saying a “consultant” who was inexperienced and couldn’t work with my story. This happens to me as well. The consultant I worked with at MBAExchange not only is inexperienced but also lazy with no passion to the work, not good at communications and like to find excuses to push back responsibilities. MBA consultancy is human business, not everyone can do it. If you don’t have the luck to have qualified consultants working with you, it’s gonna be a disaster and a waste of money.

  • Dan Bauer, CEO

    What you’ve described is highly inconsistent with our service model and 17-year reputation for client success and satisfaction with over 3,000 past applicants. We welcome client feedback. However, as we’ve never worked with an “Abby Palatino,” we’re unable to respond to you directly. So, please contact me at: dan@mbaexchange.com to confirm whether you were a client and to discuss your comments. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you.

  • Abby Palatino

    I used Dan’s MBA Exchange; over priced and under delivered on every aspect of their business. I bought the full package and I was assigned a “consultant” who was inexperienced and couldn’t work with my story. The interview prep was a joke too…the consultant called and asked if I had any questions, no mock interview conducted. I ended up getting into Kellogg by myself but the $6K I gave Dan was a waste!
    Stay away from MBA Exchange!

  • King Foo

    MBAExchange is definitely a disaster. Very slow and unexperienced consultant. And the editting and concultancy services are separate which means editting part really is at the grammatical level not helpful…

  • Rich

    I doubt he’s too bothered about “helping your learn and improve”. You missed your appointment, so you lost his business.

    Now you’re asking him for *more* of his time. Offer him an hour’s free consulting instead!

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  • Dear Notorious79,

    Your posted comments are very surpising and inconsistent with the feedback we typically receive at The MBA Exchange. As confirmed by our “A+” service rating and 8 consecutive Zero-Complaint Awards from the Better Business Bureau, excellent service is our standard. Our 24-hour response policy for clients has been a point of difference for The MBA Exchange over the past 16 years. We strive to treat potential clients with the same level of responsiveness. So, if we dropped the ball in this case, I sincerely apologize for the aberration and would welcome the chance to make it right. Rather than rely on an anoynmous posting, please email me directly at dan@mbaexchange.com to identify yourself, share the details of your experience, and help us learn and improve. Thank you.

    Dan BauerManaging Director and Founder
    The MBA Exchange, Ltd.

  • notorious79

    People have good experience and people have bad experiences.  I’ve started talking to both MBA Exchange and Stacy Blackman.  SB responded within 24 hours to my initial email and set up a phone call for the following day — they called on time, too.   MBA Exchange took three days to respond to my initial email and then blew me off and didn’t call after setting up an appointment.   This has been my admission consulting experience, thus far, so take it for what it’s worth.

    I’m sure MBA Exchange is great, and this was merely a data point and not a trend. However, I can’t work with anyone who blows off appointments without giving a courtesy  call or email, especially in the age of smartphones and tablets.  

    My business will be going to SB.  I’ll be sure to post my experience when the application process is complete.     

  • Tony

    stacy blackman was a horrible experience, getting the consultant to help was like pulling teeth unresponsive and very slow

  • Delhiopinion

    Yup beware of StacyBlackman consulting hopeless, if you really want to blow your money give it away in charity

  • Nandu2

    I am curious to know why some of the consulting firms listed above don’t seem very enthusiastic when working with international clients. Before making a call to some of these firms, I bought the PR listed on their websites, and read all about their ‘superior’ customer service and how their consultants were so involved in the applicant process. I shopped around a bit and the repeated impression that I get is that some of these firms either don’t understand the importance of treating all clients equally and perhaps dont’ realize the monetary impact of not doing so.

    Before those are who are quick to point out on potential cultural differences and accent problems, I lived and worked in the states for over 7 years. I worked in client facing roles at leading consulting firms, and dont suffer from a serious english as a second language problem.

  • Nandu2

    I am an international applicant and once reached out to stacy blackman consulting. I came away feeling underwhelmed and completed disregarded by the quality of service. The initial assessment counsellor had a very closed view of things and seemed eager to write off my chances to top schools. Part of good counselling and marketing, esp for such consulting firms, is to be personable and deliver the message in a more encouraging way. By no means am I indicating sugarcoating the story. Sensitivity to international applicants is even more important. With so many international applicants out there, there is a lot of money to be made. And the only way they are going to do that is to keep an open mind. Or be upfront and indicate that they are not interested in taking up the non-ivy league educated intl applicants.

  • AverageJoe

    Now, lmar, why would you have tried MORE than 6 consulting companies? How many times have you applied to an MBA program? It’s sounding like you work for ClearAdmit. Just saying.

  • lmar

    I would only recommend Clear Admit. I tried all consulting companies mentioned here and some more and my experience was very dissapointing. I decided to go with Clear Admit and never regretted my decision.Highly recommended.

  • Tim

    I would recommend using either HBS Guru or MBA Exchange. Both are very thorough and will tell it “like it is”. In particular, HBS Guru is great for building a strong story. Personally, I would strong strong discourage using Stacy Blackman Consulting – I’ve had a very poor experience with them. Remember that just because someone went to an elite school it does not make them a great writer or consultant.

  • Jack

    Is anyone willing to comment on their experiences with companies? I seem to have narrowed down my list to: MBA Prep Advantage, MBA Mission, MBA Exchange, Judith S. Hodara, and HBS Guru… and no idea who I will go with. They all seem great in their own way.

  • Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  • jtbb

    Probably worth doing a section on the best boutiques (some pretty exclusive coverage on Sandy, which is understandable), but it would include folks like Jon Frank from Precision Essay, Alex Chu from MBAApply, and Avi Gordon from MBA Studio.