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