Leading Firms in MBA Admissions Consulting

by Greg Spielberg on

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.

THE MBA EXCHANGE

Dan Bauer, founder and managing director of The MBA Exchang

Dan Bauer, founder and managing director of The MBA Exchange

Background:

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.

Pricing:

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 CONSULTING

Stacy Blackman, founder and president of Stacy Blackman Consulting

Stacy Blackman, founder and president of Stacy Blackman Consulting

Background:

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).

Pricing:

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

MBAMISSION

Jeremy Shinewald, co-founder of mbaMission

Background:

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.

Pricing:

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

ACCEPTED.COM

Linda Abraham, founder of Accepted.com

Linda Abraham, founder of Accepted.com

Background:

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.

Pricing:

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

EXPARTUS

Chioma Isiadinso, co-founder of EXPARTUS

Chioma Isiadinso, co-founder of EXPARTUS

Background:

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.”

Pricing:

$350 for an initial one-hour consultation

Contact info:

Phone: 212-802-7580

Website: EXPARTUS.com

CLEAR ADMIT

Graham Richmond, co-founder of Clear Admit

Graham Richmond, co-founder of Clear Admit

Background:

Founded in 2001 by Wharton MBAs Eliot Ingram and Graham Richmond, the firm exclusively consults MBA applicants. Four consultants have experience in admissions offices at such elite schools as Wharton, Columbia Business School and Dartmouth’s Tuck. Four of the six members of the senior management team, including founders, have degrees from top MBA programs, including three from Wharton and one from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The firm maintains an aggressive outreach program around its website, with daily posts that are largely reproductions of press releases from business schools and pick-ups of published stories from both traditional media and blogs. Richmond is currently president of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Counselors, the primary trade association of MBA and other graduate school admissions consultants.

Pricing:

One-school package: $3,500

Two-school package: $5,000

Three-school package: $6,000

Four-school package: $7,000

Five-school package: $8,000

Hourly rate: $275

Contact Info:

Phone: 215-568-2590

Website: ClearAdmit.com

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

  • 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.

  • http://www.occupationaltherapyjobsblog.com occupational therapy

    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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Delhiopinion

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

  • Tony

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

  • 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.     

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  • 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!

  • 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…

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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 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.

  • 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!

  • 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 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 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
    applications!

  • Adhithya

    Hi,
    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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Abhishek

    How is Stratus Prep for admissions consultation?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • HK

    Guys – use Forster Thomas! David was amazing.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

  • 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

    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

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