How To Use Poets&Quants’ MBA Admissions Consultant Directory

PoetsAndQuants-ConsultantDirectory-vsEInterested in getting smart guidance for your journey to a highly selective business school? Then, you’ve come to the right place. Poets&Quants‘ global directory of MBA admissions consultants will help you select an ideal partner for the MBA application process. Think of the directory as a Match.com for business school admissions.

The searchable directory allows users to learn more about each consultant, their experience and background, as well as how much they charge, and ultimately what previous clients think about them. The directory also features helpful videos, blogs and articles, offering readers intelligent admissions advice whether or not you decide hire a consultant. The directory is simple to use but there are some things we’d like to point out.

ABOUT THE SEARCH PARAMETERS

The directory default is set to display all currently listed consultants. When parameters are checked, search results will contract or expand according to the search options selected. For example, if “Yes” is selected under the category “Admissions Committee Experience,” the display will automatically refresh to only show consultants who have admissions committee experience. This is the standard function across all parameters. Users can currently search for a consultant by name, services offered, cost, years of experience, and language. They also can search on whether a consultant has business school admissions committee experience, membership in the AIGAC trade association, and even the schools a consultant attended as well as the companies a consultant once worked for.

If you want to work for McKinsey or Bain, you just might want an admissions consultant who went to one of your target schools and at one time worked for one of those major consulting firms. If you want to work on Wall Street, you might prefer to have a consultant who has a background in finance and got an MBA that opened the doors to a bulge bracket financial firm. Here are the parameters you can use to search for an ideal match:

  • NAME: Users may search for a consultant by first or last name. Firm name is not currently supported by this search feature.
  • SERVICES OFFERED: This is a list of common services, from essay editing to mock admission interviews, offered by independent consultants and firms. Some consultants will offer the full range of services, while others might specialize in one or two areas.
  • COST: Users may search by the cost of a comprehensive, three-school package. Please note that some consultants only provide service on an hourly basis. For these consultants, the cost of the three-school package will appear as $0.  On the other hand, some consultants only provide packages and do not offer hourly rates. Hourly rates are shown in each consultant’s profile and are not a search parameter.
  • YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: Users may filter consultants by years of experience. This figure includes total relevant time in admissions, including admissions consulting and admissions committee experience.
  • ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE EXPERIENCE: Filter listings by consultants who have, within their years of experience, worked in school admissions by checking “Yes” below this search parameter. Some consultants have careers focused exclusively in admissions, while others have previous experience in a different industry. Expanded search parameters on the left column of the consultant’s bio will list school admissions, industry and company experience. The narrative section “Consultant Bio” will provide greater detail.
  • AIGAC MEMBERSHIP: When users check the “Yes” box, this parameter will display consultants who are members of AIGAC (Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants). AIGAC is a nonprofit association organized for the purpose of setting and maintaining standards of ethics, best practices, professional development and outreach for and in the field of graduate admissions consulting. Learn more about AIGAC.
  • PROVIDER TYPE: There are only two options here: Firm or Independent Consultant. Some small  and independent consultants bring in peers for collaboration while large firms can boast as many as 50 or more consultants. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to consulting. We recommend you keep your options open to find the right person, whether a solo-operator or a consultant within a firm.
  • EDUCATION BACKGROUND: Rather than asking users to sift through hundreds of schools attended by the consultants in our directory, we have selected only a few of the most selective business schools. If you select, for example, Stanford GSB & Harvard Business School, only the consultants who have earned their MBAs from those schools will be displayed in the listing. In the search for the ideal consultant, MBA seekers might find this parameter of interest or even a requirement for entering into a consulting relationship. However, it is not the opinion of Poets&Quants that a Harvard or Stanford MBA would be the ideal consultant for a hopeful MBA candidate to those schools.
  • INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE / PRIOR COMPANIES: Much like the above, industry experience and prior companies of employment don’t, on their own, make a good match for a consulting relationship, but having real-world, industry experience might be a very important selection criteria for some applicants.
  • LANGUAGES: Consultants were asked to provided options for languages that they are fluent in and can work in.

Here are a few common questions we received from our test users, both consultants and product testers:

How are the names displayed in the directory? Aside from our sponsored listings at the top of each page, the search result display is randomized.

Why do some consultant listings show $0 per hour? Consultants who have $0 per hour listed only offer consulting packages.

How do I schedule a consultation?  To set up an introductory session, you can use the directory to make direct contact with an independent consultant. If a consultant works for a firm, you would use the directory to contact the firm first and then follow their protocol for consultations with a coach. You can certainly ask to work with the consultant you find in the directory.

I don’t see any consultants listed who are in my geographic area. Should I make contact with the closest firm?  All admissions consultants largely work over the phone and online. Geographic location should not be a factor in selecting a consultant unless you have a strong preference to work face-to-face.

A firm is not listed in the directory. Does that mean they are no longer in business? Absolutely not. This is a growing directory. The listings and features will expand over time. If a firm is not currently listed, it is because they have requested not to be included based on their current volume of work or because we are still setting up profiles for their team members. At launch, however, more than 100 consultants are listed in the directory, more than enough to serve the needs of any active applicant to a highly ranked business school.

How do I leave a review for a consultant with whom I have worked? At the bottom of each consultant’s page, there is a section where you can submit a review. All reviews will be verified and moderated by Poets&Quants‘ staff.  In order to post a candid review, you must be a registered user with Poets&Quants, provide an email address and personal information so that we can verify your professional relationship with the consultant you are reviewing. Only your first name and last initial will be published with your review. You may only leave one review per consultant.

Can I search by highest rated consultants? Yes, eventually. When enough reviews have populated the directory among enough consultants, we will enable this search parameter.

I am having trouble with the directory/leaving a review/other, who can I contact? Email Heather directly for help requests.

A WORD ABOUT FIT

Over the course of the coming months, we plan to refine the directory and its parameters, adding new, useful features that you, the user, tell us might be helpful (stay tuned for a user-feedback survey). No matter how much we add within the directory pages, we know there is much more to finding your perfect-fit consultant than cost or even experience. The right fit for you will incorporate some of the factors already listed in the search parameters, but building an effective relationship with a consultant may also be the result of style and chemistry, attributes we expect to add to the directory in future revisions.

If you are looking for an admissions consultant, we encourage you to reach out to the consultant or firm and follow their process and protocols for deciding whether or not to work together, or with whom, in a larger firm. We hope to have made that process easier than ever before. Happy hunting!