Yale | Mr. Army Infantry Officer
GMAT 730, GPA 2.83
Stanford GSB | Mr. Lost Trader
GMAT 760, GPA 3.93
Said Business School | Ms. Ordinary Applicant
GMAT 710, GPA 3.37
Stanford GSB | Mr. Start-Up To F500
GMAT TBD, GPA 3.62
Stanford GSB | Mr. Startup Founder
GMAT 700, GPA 3.12
Harvard | Mr. M&A Post-Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.6
Yale | Mr. Consulting Escapist
GMAT 760, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Banking To Startup
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Master’s To MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
USC Marshall | Mr. Versatile Entrepreneur
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
INSEAD | Mr. Aerospace Manufacturer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Non-profit
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Real Estate Developer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.12
Stanford GSB | Mr. Failed Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Immigrant Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Fintech Entrepreneur
GMAT 710, GPA 3.04
Yale | Ms. Business Start-Up
GRE 312, GPA 3.6
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Cornell Hopeful
GMAT Targeting 700+, GPA 2.5
Harvard | Mr. Big Fish, Small Pond
GMAT 790, GPA 3.88
Tuck | Mr. Crisis Line Counselor
GMAT 700, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Digital Engineer
GMAT 700, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. IB/PE To Fintech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.14
USC Marshall | Mr. Supply Chain Guru
GMAT GMAT Waiver, GPA 2.6
McCombs School of Business | Mr. First-Time MBA
GRE 332, GPA 3.3
HEC Paris | Ms. Public Health
GMAT TBD, GPA 4.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Music Into Numbers
GMAT 730, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Top Salesman
GMAT 610, GPA 4.0

These MBA Admission Consultants Got The Most Favorable Reviews In 2020

A selection of MBA admission consultants who achieved perfect 10.0 customer satisfaction scores

THE TOP CONSULTANTS HAD TO PASS A RIGOROUS EXAMINATION SCREEN

To make our annual honor roll of top MBA admission consultants, every counselor’s reviews had to pass a rigorous two-step process. Unlike some other pay-to-play and unverified lists on the Internet, where advisers actually have to pay a fee to allow reviews on their profiles, this is a pure journalistic endeavor, not a pay-to-play model. In our database, you’ll find both positive and negative assessments of consultants and firms (if you have had a bad experience, we strongly encourage you to share it with others so that they can avoid those issues). Whether positive or negative, no review is published unless it passes through a fine screen.

First, every published review up until our deadline of April 15th had to be independently verified by Poets&Quants with both the client and the service provider. Secondly, every appraisal was then painstakingly reviewed so that only MBA consulting assignments were counted. Eliminated from the count were reviews for undergraduate or Executive MBA applicants, free introductory consultations, career counseling, and case prep advisement, and group sessions for such organization as the Forte Foundation. Those restrictions often brought down the number of favorable reviews for the top consultants and kept others off the list. Chimni, for example, has 173 five-star ratings in our database but gets credit for 65. Scott Edinburgh, in second place, is credited with 121 reviews, 55 of which he received in the year under review. An honorable mention, for sure, should go to Maria Wich-Vila, a Harvard MBA, who has received 68 appreciative appraisals from clients who have used her ApplicantLab software platform (see ApplicantLab: A Cheap, Virtual Alternative To A Pricey MBA Admissions Consultant?)

Skeptics may argue that consultants who rack up the most positive reviews are merely more assertive in encouraging their clients to write favorably about their experiences. Or that the list would exclude part-time counselors who could be just as good as full-timers but aren’t exposed to as many clients. But MBA applicants who take the time and effort to write their expressions of praise are the ultimate endorsements of superior consulting work. The more reviews any consultant has, the more credible and authoritative the result. When a client writes a positive referral for a consultant, that action goes beyond customer satisfaction: It becomes a measure of customer loyalty.

CLIENT TESTIMONIALS OFTEN GIVE CONSULTANTS CREDIT FOR GETTING THEM ADMITTED

The reviews, moreover, often go into the kind of convincing detail that reveals the extent of a consultant’s commitment to client service. Admits to leading business schools generally convey how important it was to get honest, candid feedback on their efforts, to have a coach, mentor, and cheerleader in their corner at every turn of what is often a grueling journey to a highly selective MBA program where the vast majority of applicants are routinely rejected.

They praise their advisors for gently leading them through an introspective examination of their personal and professional lives and for drawing out of them the most compelling narratives and the lessons drawn from them. (You can search our consultants’ directory by the number of reviews a counselor has received from clients. Just go to search parameters in the left rail of the directory and click under candid reviews to “highest number of reviews.” Consultant profiles will pop up in order of the number of assessments from clients each has received).

Not everyone can afford to hire an MBA admissions consultant, of course, and many candidates certainly don’t need one. Despite the high costs, however, few of the clients who have written reviews have any remorse. One after another, their testimonials often support the notion that they would not have gotten into their target schools without their help.

A GRATEFUL 2020 STANFORD GSB ADMIT: ‘SHE DUG DEEP AND PEELED ALMOST EVERY LAYER I HAD’

Karen Hamou of Fortuna Admissions

Karen Hamou of Fortuna Admissions

A 2020 admitted student to Stanford Graduate School of Business paid homage to Fortuna Admissions’ Karen Hamou who ranked in our top ten this year. “Her incomparable support and enormous help made it possible for me to gain admission to the most selective MBA program in the world! As an international student, I was very stressed by the interview process, especially that English was not my native language. Though I have done many interviews in the past, I was not sure how to address the MBA interview and how to communicate effectively. Adding more stress to the matter, I had only three weeks to prepare, while I was working 16 hours a day, since the moment I was invited for the interview.”

The applicant describes Hamou as his “secret weapon.” “Karen did not waste any time, and immediately we started working on my interview skills,” he added. “We did some tough mock interviews. Karen did not go easy on me, not in the interview and nor in the feedback. She dug very deep and peeled almost every layer that I had. She explained carefully what was right, what was wrong, and how I can improve, always with a smile and a great attitude. She was so engaged in the process, that sometimes it felt that she wanted it more than I did. Having those sessions with Karen made me very confident. There is no doubt that my work with her was critical for my success. I got accepted to all three schools that I applied to, and eventually, I choose to go with Stanford GSB.”

CONSULTANTS WHO EARNED A PERFECT 10.0 CLIENT SATISFACTION SCORE

ConsultantFirmPositive Reviews*Hourly Rate
Shaifali AggarwalIvy Groupe21$350
Kate RichardsonmbaMission15$350
Yaron DahanMenlo Coaching13$550
Daniel RichardsmbaMission11$350
Helen SummersmbaMission11$350
Krista NannerymbaMission11$350
Caryn AltmanStacy Blackman Consulting10$365
Jen KedrowskimbaMission10$350
Maria Wich-VilaApplicantLab10$1,999/3 school package
Donna BaumanStratus Admissions Consulting9$425
Melody JonesVantage Point9$345
Cassandra PittmanFortuna Admissions8$365
Emma BondFortuna Admissions8$480
Jenifer TurtschanowARINGO8$260
Rebecca Heath AndersonMenlo Coaching8$550
Beth TidmarshStacy Blackman Consulting7$365
Betsy MassarMaster Admissions7$300
Devi VallabhanenimbaMission7$900
Jessica ChungFortuna Admissions7$365
Susan KaplanmbaMission7$350
Alex Ruiz LeeARLee Consulting6$195
Laura FreedmanAccess Education6$250
Melissa BlakesleembaMission6$350
Natalie Grinblatt EpsteinAccepted6$330
Tiffany JaksicBravura Prep6$7,450/3 school package

* Consultants with perfect 10.0 customer satisfaction scores and more than five reviews in the past year

Previous Most Favorably Reviewed MBA Admission Consultants

2019: Best Reviewed MBA Admission Consultants of 2019

2018: Ten Of The Best MBA Admission Consultants of 2018

2017: Top Ten MBA Admission Consultants of 2017

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.