Brian Birdwell

Senior Instructor

Career Protocol


United States

Net Promoter Score: 10

Consultant Bio

Hi! I’m Brian. I fell into the MBA admissions world over 17 years ago when I earned A 780 on the GMAT (and 99th percentile scores on the GRE and LSAT) and started helping others master those tests. First through test-prep, and later through my coaching work at Career Protocol, I have helped hundreds of clients navigate the roller coaster of admissions, presenting the most inspiring candidacy possible in their MBA applications.

Applying to business school is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get crystal clear about who you are, what you want, and how you aim to get there. Not an easy task!! But an oh-so-rewarding one. That’s what’s kept me in the field for almost two decades. I love building relationships with smart, ambitious people. And I love experiencing this transformative part of their journey with them. I bring all the skills I’ve picked up in my diverse endeavors as a teacher, software developer, acupuncturist, outdoorsman, musician, and father to bear in helping my clients achieve their goals. Let’s do this.

Company Information

OK you’re smart, so you’ve probably read a lot of these. Here’s how we’re the same as some admissions consultants out there: in our elite school packages, we touch every single part of your application for your target schools as many times as we need to until the finished product inspires both you and us. We bring over a decade of expertise to bear, and we do all of this on a predictable timeline. Much more interesting, though, is what makes Career Protocol different. We’re not really consultants. We’re teachers. Career Protocol is a Professional Development Firm.

We think the MBA application process is a golden opportunity to uplevel your professional profile and executive skillset BEFORE you take the leap into the MBA. So instead of simply editing your essays, we use the MBA application as a training ground for new capabilities that will last you a lifetime.

Menu of Services and Associated Costs

Think of the Authentic MBA Application Package (as we call it) as a nearly year-long course in executive-level self-awareness, communication, and relationship building skills tailored to your needs and experiences. We work with you on every aspect of the MBA application not only to maximize your chances of success but also to uplevel your executive skillset in the process. Your Career Protocol Instructor will teach you how to explore your values, tell epic stories, and build genuine relationships with your fellow humans in everything you do (yes, even when you’re just writing an MBA application!) so that you can have the impact you want to have in your career. Imagine how empowered you’ll feel the first day of class knowing that you used the whole year prior to your MBA building key leadership skills with an experienced teacher by your side.

If you want someone to edit your essays, work with friends and family. If you want to transform your ability to stand out for the rest of your career as the bright shiny unicorn* you are, work with us.
*We mean unicorn in the one-of-a-kind-unique sense, not in the instagrammy** rainbow sense.
** We do like instagrammy rainbow unicorns, tho. Especially the cupcake kind.
The fun doesn’t stop. We’ve got…
• The Interview Hero Coaching Program
• YOMO: You Only MBA Once (AKA Your Guide to Getting Your Best MBA Internship), and
• How to Be the Smartest Person in the Room (AKA The Consulting Case Interview Hero Program)
These are all affordable group coaching programs to help you target and get the internship and post-MBA job you really want, while – of course – building your professional skillset every step of the way.

Location: Montana, United States


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P&Q Consultant Reviews

  • The Coach You Need!!
    3 days ago
    I was in over my head when I started the MBA application journey. I didn't know what I didn't know. Brian kept me on task but didn't inundate me with what I should/shouldn't be doing. All along the way, Brian always met me where I was on my journey, whether I was really energized and overwhelmed (at the beginning), with lists of lots of schools to research, or anxious or after a few tough drafts when I wanted to throw in the towel and quit, or worried about not getting in, Brian met me where I was at each step of the way. I needed someone who wouldn’t just be a coach but would also be a reassuring and steady friend. As I dug into writing ...
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    Class of 2025 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • MBA Wizard
    8 months ago
    Coming from an unconventional personal and professional background and carrying an embarrassing test score, I had little concept of just how deeply challenging the MBA application process would be or how I would successfully navigate it. In our sessions together, Brian’s wizard-like wisdom, calm, and love of a good story helped me to focus my energy where it mattered most, and his thoughtful promptings at the right times helped me to better understand my identity and experiences, get clear on my career goals, and think bigger about the impact I really wanted to make. Had I not taken the plunge and moved beyond resources scattered elsewhere, I know I wouldn’t have emerged from this process as my best self. Today, I am expecting an offer ...
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    Class of 2024 Applicant
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • The Cheerleader I Needed!!
    8 months ago
    I had initially not planned to work with a consultant, but as R1 approached, I quickly felt overwhelmed with all of the conflicting guidance on the internet and knew that I needed a cheerleader to help me get through the process. Brian was incredible to work with and exceeded all of my expectations! He is one of the most positive and energetic people I've worked with, and truly made my application experience as positive and stress free as it could be. My favorite part of the experience was the guided reflection, where Brian helped me connect my stories to my values, which served as the foundation for my essays and applications. Brian's prompts were thoughtful and thought provoking and helped me learn more about myself ...
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    Class of 2024 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • The MBA Application-Saver!!
    9 months ago
    When I started my journey to apply to an MBA program, I didn’t know what I was about to face. I moved from Italy to Houston six years ago and had never applied to an American college before. I knew that I needed some guidance to navigate this long process, and working with Career Protocol and Brian was the best decision ever. I came from a non-traditional background, and I struggled a lot with the GMAT first and the GRE after. No matter how much effort I put into those tests, my score was still low. The test stressed me so much that I often felt that I wasn’t good enough for business school and would have never been accepted to any good school. In ...
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    Class of 2024 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • The GOAT
    12 months ago
    I had read hundreds of "successful" essays and numerous how-to guides. But when I actually sat down with my applications, I had no clue how to put the pieces together in a way that did justice to my profile. I stumbled around with a few attempts and realized that I was going to sabotage myself if I kept trying to go it alone. I needed an experienced sherpa to help me climb this mountain. Who, though? I decided on Career Protocol because I felt that they were able to articulate a great framework and process, and when I looked through the slate of consultants available, Brian's profile jumped out at me because it didn't read conventionally. It felt fun, cool, and grounded, while still being extremely ...
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    Class of 2023 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Great Experience & Great Results!
    12 months ago
    Brian was an invaluable piece of my MBA application journey and a true pleasure to work with! His guidance directly led to 4 interviews, 3 admission decisions and ultimately my enrollment at a top-5 program. We were on a tight timeline to begin with, and I wondered if we could really pull these applications together from start to finish in just a few short weeks. But despite his cool, laid-back demeanor, he kept me on schedule and accountable to all deadlines throughout the process. Brian also had a knack for asking the right questions, which helped me discover my own personal/professional story, and he challenged me to communicate that story in the best light possible to Adcom. His feedback wasn’t always the easiest to take, ...
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    Class of 2024 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.