A future Hahhhvahd applicant and friend ran into a fabled brick wall of stereotypical reality when he requested some free advice from an admissions consultant on the BWAAAAAAAh forums. I dunno what was said, but I’m sure it threaded along one of the following all-too-generic pathways:
— Your GMAT’s too low.
— You don’t have any career advancement.
— Your undergrad GPA/institute sucks.
— You’re too old.
— Your intramural football team sucked, too.
— You didn’t qualify for Ironman Hawaii. Pitiful!
It’s inevitable that someone’s application is going to be weak somewhere in the soup of criteria any xBS AdCom uses. Sure, we all long for perfection, but if you truly rock on every aspect of your application, then you’re probably going to be just fine not going to b-skool. You’re superhuman and will make us all look like fools. 🙂
Disclosure: I didn’t use an admissions consultant save the opportunities they offer for free: accepted.com‘s chat sessions and Admissions Telethon were fantastic, especially because I was able to talk — physically — with someone after reviewing my resume. I also used Clear Admit‘s Blog and school reviews, despite getting royally snubbed by the BoB Awards (don’t worry guys and girls, me and my skillet o’ vittles are totally over it!)
However, I can definitely envision a situation where a consultant is in your best interest, so let me explain the reasons why I didn’t choose one:
1. My existing network was robust. I’m blessed to know some very, very accomplished people — Columbia alums, Bain and McKinsey associates, etc. With top-flight MBAs under their belt, and a good knowledge of who I was as a person, they were invaluable in helping me craft a strong application.
2. Confidence in my career goals. By no means is my progression toward third-world development a perfectly-spun web. However, my essays opened with a “revelation” moment that pinpointed my exact reasons for pursuing an MBA. I didn’t really need to craft or concoct anything from my past in order to make a compelling, persuasive essay.
3. I’m not big on paying for advice, anyway. No, seriously, I avoid it. I’m totally a DIY guy unless absolutely necessary (I once installed an alternator in my car for this very reason). I’d give myself X-rays if they let me! This ties in well with my fourth reason…
4. Budget-conscious applications. Those application fees take a big chunk out of your account balance, and I wasn’t very comfortable with doubling those costs. Yes, an MBA from a top program will pay off in the long run, but I was stubborn enough to believe that I could get into a top program at the lowest cost. Berkeley disagreed. 🙂