Tuck | Mr. Federal Civilian
GMAT 780, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. S.N. Bose Scholar
GMAT 770, GPA 3.84
Duke Fuqua | Mr. O&G Geoscientist
GRE 327, GPA 2.9
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Big Pharma
GRE 318, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Indian O&G EPC
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Wharton | Ms. Product Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. Indian Globetrotter
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Jill Of All Trades
GRE 314, GPA 3.36
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB
GMAT 740, GPA 3.95
Wharton | Mr. Swing Big
GRE N/A, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Big Brother
GRE 329, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Nonprofit Admin
GMAT 620, GPA 3.3
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Tepper | Mr. Tech Strategist
GRE 313, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Musician To Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 1.6
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Darden | Mr. Military Vet
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Ms. ELS
GRE 318, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Investment Banking
GMAT 750, GPA 3.1
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5

How B-Schools Must Prep for the Next Revolution

AJ Warner (right), founder of Touchdown! Admissions Consulting

Why You Should or Shouldn’t Hire an Admissions Consultant

An MBA education is certainly expensive. Add to that the cost of an admissions consultant and you could be looking at thousands of dollars on top of six figures in tuition.

Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at US News, recently discussed the implications of hiring an admissions consultant and a few ways applicants can save their money and, ultimately, still submit a strong application.

It’s All About Confidence

According to a recent Graduate Management Admission Council’s prospective students survey, 17% of MBA applicants used an admissions consultant during the application process.

Mike Ivancie, an MBA student at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, tells US News that he considered hiring an admissions consultant when applying to b-schools, but ultimately decided not to. While Ivancie says he understands why applicants may feel more confident in hiring one, he tells US News that he was confident in his storytelling ability and in the admissions process.

As a result, he tells US News, he spent about $150 on an online GMAT test prep course.

“Objectively, it drastically improved my score, so I’m really happy about that,” Ivancie tells US News.

Benoit Banchereau, director of marketing and admissions at HEC Paris, tells US News that MBA applicants tend to hire admission consultants when they struggle with having the confidence to sell themselves.

Having the encouragement from MBA admissions consultants can be helpful, but Banchereau tells US News that admissions consultants can only do so much since a consultant can’t help an applicant if he or she doesn’t have the proper credentials to be admitted.

The Danger in Ghostwriting

In a 2014 study conducted by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) — which was formed in 2006 to tackle ghostwritten applications — 40% of respondents said at least one manager asked them to draft their own recommendation letter.

Nick Barniville, an associate dean at ESMT Berlin, a German business school, further stresses the importance is submitting an authentic application.

“I would say that there are almost no situations in which I would recommend using an admissions consultant to get into business school … unless you can completely disguise the fact that you are using one,” Barniville tells US News.

In addition, Barniville says being heavily coached in the application process can yield negative results once you get admitted to a school that you’re not fit for at all. He tells US News that if MBA applicants are worried about their strength in crafting an application, remember that admissions officers value substance more than style and form in an application.

“Admissions people are human beings,” Barniville says. “They want to hear real stories from people. I don’t think an application has to be a perfectly polished piece of work. I just think it has to be an interesting and authentic reflection of a person.”

Sources: US News, Graduate Management Admissions Council, Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants