Best Business School Admission Consultants

This outline of a full admissions consulting gig at Vantage Point is similar to what most clients can expect when they hire an admissions consultant

THE NO. 1 MOST FAVORABLY REVIEWED CONSULTANT: MELISSA JONES OF FORTUNA ADMISSIONS

Among the nearly 350 admission consultants in the P&Q directory, no one has more highly favorable reviews than the former assistant director for the MBA program at INSEAD, Melissa Jones of Fortuna Admissions. Though she is one of the few consultants without an MBA, she boasts an extraordinary background. Jones has lived in five countries, conducted business in 34 and traveled to 45 different nations. Before becoming an admissions consultant, she had worked in marketing and communications for such global brands as Sony, AbInBev, and Xerox.

Fully a dozen of her clients–who have gained admits from such schools as MIT Sloan, INSEAD, London Business School, and Cambridge Judge–have written total raves for Jones. Consider this praise for Jones from a MBA applicant who is going to MIT Sloan this fall. “She was extremely professional and informative; she knows her work,” writes the candidate.

“She spent a lot of time with me understanding about my journey in life and guided me to pick up the right stories. Melissa has a great attention to detail and was able to pick up the insights which even I didn’t know about me. I found the whole process to be very reflective. I got accepted at MIT Sloan, and I don’t think I could have made it without Melissa.

‘I COULDN’T IMAGINE GOING THROUGH THE ADMISSIONS GAUNTLET WITHOUT HIM BY MY SIDE’

In fact, many applicants who write reviews for their consultants make similar claims. Even though the vast majority of candidates get into their target schools without the assistance of a consultant, those who get paid help often believe that made a big difference in their acceptances or scholarship awards. Another applicant who got into Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and Chicago Booth (the latter two with substantial scholarship awards) after working with Paul Bodine, who came in second with the most favorable reviews, credited the San Diego-based consultant with his success. “I am pretty certain that this would not have been the case had I not enlisted Paul for admissions guidance,” he says. “I couldn’t imagine going through the admissions gauntlet without Paul by my side at every turn.”

Of course, there are positive reviews and then there are total raves. Few admission consultants more intimately connect with their clients as Guido, a Chicago MBA who had been a strategy consultant at The Boston Consulting Group and a recruiting manager for the consulting firm’s North American offices before becoming an MBA admissions consultant. Enthusiastic clients are nearly giddy when describing their experience with the consultant. “She was my number one cheerleader, always pumping me full of positivity whenever I had doubts and nudging me along, the couple of times that I lost focus,” shares one happy customer. “More a friend and mentor than just another consultant, Angela went out of her way to take me and a couple of other clients for dinner, when she was last in London for business.”

It’s also one thing to get a glowing review from a client who gets into one of their target MBA programs. It’s totally another to get a rave from a client who only got rejections. Yet, Guido has managed this rather remarkable feat. One recent applicant described buying a two-school package from her but got rejected from both schools. “Although I was not successful in my applications to either of the two schools I chose, this was mainly due to my middling GMAT score,” the candidate conceded. “Amidst all this intense competition for a top MBA programme, it was Angela who gave me such a strong chance. I am forever grateful for her patience, energy and perpetual positivity, and I do not intend to waste either of our efforts. Now armed with a strong GMAT score, I am using what I learned from Angela previously, to submit applications to the top five schools and I hope to do her proud!”

MEET THE TOP TEN MBA ADMISSION CONSULTANTS

Melissa Jones of Fortuna

1. Melissa Jones: Based in Toronto, Canada, Fortuna’s Jones has been doing MBA admissions consulting for nearly five years. Before making the transition into the industry, she had been marketing manager for global marketing at Xerox/Buck Consultants in Toronto and then assistant director of marketing for the MBA program at INSEAD in France, a job she held for three and one-half years. She’s also the founder of Syrian Welcome Dinners, an organization founded in 2016 that matches local residents in Toronto with new Syrian refugees to help them feel welcome.

Review Excerpt: “Melissa provided help with areas I had not even considered. Melissa was compassionate to understand my unique situation and help me position my strengths to the best possible degree. In particular, I was very impressed with the approach Mellisa took to help me handle my recommendations. Pre-work in this regard help made the process pain free for my recommenders.”

Author and MBA admissions consultant Paul Bodine

Author and MBA admissions consultant Paul Bodine

2. Paul Bodine: Based in San Diego, Bodine cut his teeth in the admissions business with Accepted.com long ago after working as a freelance writer for the Orange County Register and having his own writing consulting shop, The Operative Word. He’s been helping MBA applicants for the past 20 years and is the author of six admissions booksm including of Great Applications for Business School.

Review Excerpt: “I could hardly believe it when I received the admit phone call from Stanford GSB. So excited!!! I contacted Paul in November because I had read and really liked his book. I used both his “all-in” and hourly service for my round 2 MBA applications. I was admitted to Stanford GSB and Chicago Booth (with $40k scholarship), and got waitlisted at HBS. Paul provided tremendous help in almost all aspects of my application – from school selection, essay editing to the data section review and the mock interview. His deep expertise and insights was crucial to the success.”

About the Author...

John A. Byrne

John A. Byrne is the founder of C-Change Media, a global digital media company of higher education content. C-Change now has five websites, including Poets&Quants, and the author or co-author of more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers, and is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, and editor-in-chief of Fast Company. He also is the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools.