Darden | Mr. Senior Energy Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.5
Tuck | Ms. Nigerian Footwear
GRE None, GPA 4.5
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Finance Musician
GRE 330, GPA 3.6
NYU Stern | Mr. Hail Mary 740
GMAT 740, GPA 2.94
Harvard | Mr. London Artist
GMAT 730, GPA First Class Honours (4.0 equivalent)
Harvard | Mr. Merchant Of Debt
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5 / 4.0 in Master 1 / 4.0 in Master 2
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Low GPA High GRE
GRE 325, GPA 3.2
USC Marshall | Mr. Ambitious
GRE 323, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. Professional Boy Scout
GMAT 660, GPA 3.83
SDA Bocconi | Mr. Pharma Manager
GMAT 650, GPA 3,2
N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. Young PM
GMAT 710, GPA 9.64/10
Wharton | Mr. Indian VC
GRE 333, GPA 3.61
MIT Sloan | Mr. Tech Enthusiast
GRE 325, GPA 6.61/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Midwest Dreamer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Foster School of Business | Ms. Diamond Dealer
GRE 308, GPA Merit
NYU Stern | Mr. Low Undergraduate GPA
GMAT 720 (Expected), GPA 2.49
Stanford GSB | Ms. Try Something New
GMAT 740, GPA 3.86
Darden | Mr. Military Missile Defense
GRE 317, GPA 3.26
Wharton | Mr. Army Bahasa
GRE 312, GPA 3.57
Harvard | Mr. Consulting To Public Service
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Strategy To Real Estate
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Standard Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. 1st Gen Brazilian LGBT
GMAT 720, GPA 3.2

These MBA Admission Consultants Got The Most Favorable Reviews In 2020

Top MBA Admission Consultants of 2020

The Ten Most Favorably Reviewed MBA Admission Consultants of 2020

If you’re applying to a highly selective MBA program at a world-class business school, the odds are against you. You’ll be competing in a self-selecting pool of largely exceptional candidates. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, with the world’s most selective MBA program, rejects 93% of its applicants. At INSEAD, the highest-ranked school outside the U.S., two of every three candidates are turned down for admission.

Those daunting odds, along with the ROI on a prestigious MBA, have fueled a massive industry of pricey admission consultants who counsel and advise many candidates. Poets&Quants directory of MBA admission counselors now boasts 497 profiles of active consultants who help to put applicants in the best possible light. The directory now features more than 3,500 verified assessments–both positive and negative–of consultants by their clients.

Who stands out in this ever-enlarging crowd of professionals? In our fourth annual review of the world’s most favorably reviewed MBA admission consultants, we’ve singled out the best of the best on the basis of reviews they have received in the past year. These are the professionals who are most likely to shift the odds in a candidate’s favor. Their reviews overflow with effusive praise. One example for Lulu Curiel, a Harvard MBA and founder of Ivy Advisors, who is eighth on this year’s list: “She is more than a consultant,” wrote a 2022 admitted candidate who used her service.  “Lulu is always available. She is well studied, takes genuine time to learn about her fellows and helps to decipher trends in your story, educational, and work experiences that help you compose a strong application. She also helps you see your blind spots. Her relationship with several alums and admissions personnel is a differentiator because it provides unique access and insight into the process. Lastly, Lulu is a problem solver.  I hit a challenging moment in my process, and she found a solution.”

20 OF THE TOP MBA ADMISSION CONSULTANTS OF 2020

The consultants on our 2020 list all obviously gain similarly enthusiastic reviews. This year’s list features many familiar names, most of whom have appeared on our three earlier rankings of the consultants who get the most kudos for their service. But only four consultants–Paul Bodine, Alex Leventhal, David White, and Alice van Harten–have made our honor roll every single year. Another two–Jessica Shklar and Sherry Holland–have made the list on three different occasions. Yet, the new list had plenty of newcomers, too, with nine of the 20 never having made an earlier ranking.

For the second consecutive year, Rajdeep Chimni, the founder of Admissions Gateway in India, takes top honors with 66 favorable reviews in the past year. His firm’s Class of 2022 clients racked up an enviable record of success. He says that 85%+ of the class accepted a Top 10 admission, 54% of the admit offers clients received were from Top 5 business schools, and 28% of their admits have a full ride to a Top 10 MBA program. All told, Admissions Gateway clients received combined scholarships offers that totalled $8.5 million.

Not far behind Chimni on our list is Scott Edinburgh, a Wharton MBA and former Deloitte consultant who leads Personal MBA Coach, with 55 reviews. Rounding out the top five are Eli David of Ivy MBA Consulting, Katharine Lewis of mbaMission, and Liza Weale of Gatehouse Admissions. Weale broke into the top five as a newcomer, no less.

This year’s list, newly expanded to 20 due to the overwhelming response to our earlier rankings, features a vast array of highly talented advisors (see table below). They come from some of the biggest firms in the business, including mbaMission, Fortuna Admissions and Stacy Blackman Consulting, and also consulting boutiques, including Personal MBA Coach, Ivy MBA Consulting and the Ivy Groupe. Of them all, mbaMission can lay claim to having the most consultants among the top 20: five different counselors, accounting for one in four of the most favorably reviewed consultants in the business.

None of this comes cheap. Weale, an MIT Sloan grad and a former Bain & Company consultant, charges $500 an hour for her advice or a hefty $14,000 for a three-school package of consulting. Yet, the highest hourly rate of the consultants we’re highlighting this year goes to Devi Vallabhaneni, a former member of the Admissions Board at Harvard Business School who has interviewed hundreds of applicants in Boston, London, and Paris for HBS. Her hourly rate at mbaMission? A breathtaking $900 for 60 minutes of advice. Among the top 20 advisers, the least expensive is Greg Guglielmo of Avanti Prep who charges $275 an hour, while Rishabh Gupta of GyanOne Universal in India boasts the most affordable three-school package at just $3,000.

26 MBA ADMISSION CONSULTANTS BOAST PERFECT 10.0 SCORES ON CLIENT SATISFACTION

Shaifali Aggarwal, Founder & CEO of Ivy Groupe

Shaifali Aggarwal,
Founder & CEO of
Ivy Groupe

This year, for the very first time, we’ve also crunched the data to show an overall satisfaction score for consultants in addition to the number of favorably reviews from clients each has received over the past year. We asked clients how likely is it that you would recommend this consultant to a friend, family member, or colleague? A score of 10.0, the highest possible, included the answer “without hesitation.” A score of one, the lowest possible, expressed the client’s view that he or she would not recommend their consultant. The metric gauges both the loyalty of a consultant’s relationships with clients as well as how the consultant met client expectations. When consultants on our top 20 list shared the same number of positive reviews, their satisfaction measurements were factored into their numerical rank.

Only one of our top 20 received a perfect 10.0 score: Shaifali Aggarwal, a Harvard Business School alum and founder of New York-based Ivy Groupe. Across 21 separate client reviews, she gained the highest satisfaction ratings possible. Her clients gave her rave assessments. “In addition to helping curate the content of my applications, Shaifali was a crucial part of my support network when things inevitably did not go my way,” wrote one admiring applicant who will be attending Stanford’s MBA program this fall. “She coached me through these hiccups in an elegant and comforting way.”

To make our annual guide even more helpful to potential users of consultants, we’ve also included a list of the consultants who scored a perfect 10.0 on this metric, as long as they have more than five positive reviews from clients in the past year. This list brings attention to 26 admission advisers who may consult on a part-time and therefore cannot rack up larger numbers of annual reviews. Some applicants may prefer these low volume providers of savvy advice.

The Top 20 Most Favorably Reviewed MBA Admission Counselors

 

ConsultantFirmPositive Reviews*Overall Satisfaction ScoreHourly Rate
1. Rajdeep ChimniAdmissions Gateway659.78Packages Only ($7,400/3 schools)
2. Scott EdinburghPersonal MBA Coach559.73$440
3. Eli DavidIvy MBA Consulting449.88$295
4. Katharine LewismbaMission419.90$500
5. Liza WealeGatehouse Admissions399.97$500
6. Sherry HollandStacy Blackman Consulting339.78$365
7. Karen HamouFortuna Admissions329.94$365
8. Lulu CurielIvy Advisors319.90$340
9. Alex LeventhalPrep MBA289.86$365
10. Greg GuglielmoAvanti Prep279.91$275
11. Harold SimanskymbaMission269.89$350
12. Rishabh GuptaGyanOne Universal269.85Packages Only ($3,000/3 schools
13. Nisha TrivedimbaMission259.92$350
14. Jessica ShklarmbaMission259.74$350
15. Charli TaylorCareer Protocol249.86Packages Only ($11,000/3 schools)
16. Alice van HartenMenlo Consulting239.91$550
17. Harshad MalimbaMission229.88$350
18. Shaifali AggarwalIvy Groupe2110.0$350
19. David WhiteMenlo Consulting219.90$550
20. Paul BodineAdmitify.com219.86$349
  • Number of favorable reviews posted between

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.