Accepted’s MBA admissions consultants have helped thousands of business school applicants get accepted for the past 30 years. As professional business school admissions consultants with more than 80 years combined of direct admissions committee experience, our team knows the application process inside and out.
When you choose Accepted, you’ll have a passionate and invested admissions consultant dedicated to helping you specifically, in addition to the support of a team of uncommonly talented professionals, including former admissions directors, published authors, journalists, and career coaches.
We have helped applicants get into all the top MBA programs around the world, including Harvard Business School, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Columbia Business School, Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, INSEAD, and London Business School. Click here to view a complete list of all the business schools our clients have been accepted to.
Jamie spent more than eight years at London Business School, serving as admissions director for Early Career Programmes and head of the Recruitment & Admissions Team. With a background in storytelling, thanks to her early career in PR, she’s been quoted in the Financial Times, Insider, and U.S. News & World Report. Jamie has been an admissions consultant for four years, focusing on UK grad and MBA programs, and is passionate about making her clients’ goals a reality – academic, professional, or personal!Learn more about Jamie Wright.
A former member of Columbia’s MBA admissions office, Michelle has a background as a digital/broadcast editor and reporter, tech and finance executive writing coach, and social media presenter, with global work experience in South Asia and Europe. In her more than 15 years of MBA and grad admissions consulting, she’s guided clients to admission to top U.S. and European MBA programs. Clients say Michelle, who has a Columbia University MS in journalism, is insightful, honest, creative, and problem-solving.Learn more about Michelle Stockman.
Vanessa has more than seven years of graduate school and scholarship consulting experience and specializes in helping clients communicate their research and goals. She’s coached clients to top programs in engineering, English, social sciences, and business and has mentored applicants for major scholarships for the past five years. Vanessa has taught writing for over a decade and is particularly skilled in writing for professional communication. Her working style is client focused, organized, and positive.Learn more about Vanessa Febo.
Esmeralda consistently receives five-star reviews on Poets&Quants, GMATClub, and Trust Pilot for her personable coaching style, helping her clients present their best. Her nine years in MBA admissions as former Yale SOM associate director of admissions, Michigan State director of MBA admissions, and Cardiff Business School (United Kingdom) consultant prepared her to effectively help clients gain entry to elite MBA/EMBA programs and a wide range of master’s programs, as she’s done for more than eight years.Learn more about Esmeralda Cardenal.
In her past roles as executive director of admissions at CMU Tepper and assistant dean of admissions at Georgetown McDonough and Pittsburgh Katz, Kelly oversaw admissions for 23 years for the MBA and master’s programs in management of information systems, computational finance, business analytics, and product management. Having approved more than 38,000 admissions decisions, she has a deep understanding of what top MBA programs value. Her working style is warm, supportive, straightforward, and organized. Kelly is also a member of AIGAC.Learn more about Kelly Wilson.
Dr. Christie St-John, a member of AIGAC, has a deep knowledge of MBA, specialized master’s, and EMBA admissions. With more than 25 years of experience as MBA admissions director and career coach at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, she’s read thousands of essays and conducted thousands of interviews around the world. Her clients have been admitted to Columbia, Wharton, Harvard, Kellogg, UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan, Virginia, Oxford, INSEAD, and ESADE, among others.Learn more about Dr. Christie St-John.
An AIGAC member and Michigan Ross MBA, Natalie has served as admissions dean/director at Michigan Ross, Cornell Johnson, and ASU Carey. With almost two decades of admissions experience, she’s helped hundreds of clients get admitted to top U.S. and international business schools, graduate programs, colleges, and universities in her 15 years as a consultant. Described by her clients as strategic, engaged, creative, nurturing, and direct, she’s earned high ratings on Poets&Quants, GMAT Club, and Trust Pilot.Learn more about Natalie Grinblatt Epstein.
Jennifer has helped applicants get into HBS, Stanford, Wharton, and other elite schools for 24 years. She is known for her fast (often next business day) response time, powerful wordsmithing, and meaningful guidance (she’s in Israel, where Sunday is a workday!). If you’re part of a dense applicant pool (e.g., Indian engineering, consulting, finance) and wondering how to stand out from thousands of others like you, speaking with Jennifer is the first step to creating an application that will get you noticed!Learn more about Jennifer Bloom.
Attending a top MBA program can be the ticket to achieving your professional dreams, but getting accepted is not easy. Hiring an MBA admissions consultant to assist you in delivering your best possible applications can give you a major assist, but is it worth the investment? How do you choose the right one?
Here are the things you must ask to determine if the consultant you are considering is the right one for you.
There are endless discussions on forums and message boards questioning the value of admissions consulting. One of the more common arguments against using a consultant runs something like this:
“I know so many MBA students at top schools who got in without an admissions consultant. It just is not necessary to use one.”
I’m sure if you took a poll of business school admissions consultants, the majority would have gotten in without the assistance of a consultant. Some, especially the more senior ones, also would not have taken a GMAT prep course before applying to b-school. However, over the last thirty years test preparation has gone from being an act of desperation to a competitive edge, to a mainstay of the application process. Today, to maximize chances of a top score and acceptance at the best possible school, most applicants take a test prep course.
The same phenomenon has occurred with admissions consulting. At this point, using a consultant is not crucial for everyone but it is extremely helpful for all.
The question is not whether one can get accepted to a top MBA program without a consultant. Yes. It is definitely possible. The question is: Are the advantages of using a consultant worth the cost?
Working with an experienced admissions consultant does provide a competitive edge and can:
So can you gain acceptance to a top b-school without using an admissions consultant? Certainly. Should you try? Only if you don’t value the experience, objectivity, and skill that can provide you with returns many times the cost.
The categories below will guide you in asking the relevant questions to consultants you are considering.
Several years ago, BusinessWeek published an exposé on the unethical practices of certain MBA essay writing services. These companies are not reputable admissions consultancies that guide, mentor, help applicants brainstorm, and then work with them to edit and polish their essays. They write essays for applicants.
Business school administrators all agree that submitting ghostwritten essays is unethical.
Application agents are a little different. They counsel applicants and are paid by schools for procuring applications. Sometimes they are paid by both the school and the applicant. In the latter case there is a clear conflict of interest.
Schools tend to want lots of applications; it makes them look good and allows them to be more choosy. Applicants should be counseled to apply to the schools where their goals are supported and they have a decent chance of getting in -- not to schools that make the agent or school’s marketing team look good.
Seek a consultancy that relies upon revenue from applicants. Your success is their success. Your interests align.
There is no value in using sample essays (or your friend’s essays) as templates and even less value in trying to copy them, even in part. The discovery of such abuse of the sample essays will likely cause your rejection.
Many of Accepted’s sample essays have been on the site for decades and also include helpful analyses as to what makes them work well. It is one of the hundreds of free resources we offer to clients and visitors. Admissions committee members are familiar with our sample essays, so trying to copy them would be extremely foolish. At one point, Jonathan Fuller, then Senior Associate Director of Admissions at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, even tweeted: “I swear I read Linda’s exact sample essay a few times in R1.” What do you think about the authors’ chances of acceptance?
Let’s say you have a friend who was accepted last year. Why can’t you use her essay as a guide, template, or source of material? Ignoring for the moment the ethical implications, realize that many schools use a service where they check your work against a computer database of previously submitted essays. Also, the schools want to know who you are as a person and a candidate. Why would you pretend to be someone else?
So, by all means learn from the sample essays provided on our site. That’s what they’re there for. But write your own. FYI: Accepted will cease work with clients who copy and refuse to write their own essays when confronted with the plagiarism.
Now that we know what to look for in choosing an admission consultant and what to avoid, let’s switch gears and talk about what simply isn’t that important:
Having a Degree for the Program in Question
Some applicants think that they’ll have a better shot of getting into a top school if their admissions consultant also went to a top school or who has a degree in the program in question (e.g. an MBA admissions consultant with an MBA, or more specifically with an MBA from your target program).
You might logically think, “If she got in, then I’m sure she can help me get in.” However, you need to think a bit more broadly.
First of all, applications change year to year. The fact that one admissions consultant went to a top b-school X years ago and another didn’t simply isn’t connected at all to their ability to help you create a winning application. A consultant doesn’t need to run a company to know how to ace an MBA application. Skills in financial modeling aren’t important when guiding someone who is applying to b-school.
An admissions consultant needs to know how to help you tell your story in a clear, coherent, and compelling way. A good consultant certainly understands what specific schools value, but they don’t have to attend to get that insight. Moreover, not being affiliated with a school (as an alum) may allow a consultant to encourage clients to look beyond stock choices or the alma mater to explore other schools.
Finally, many admissions committee members don’t have program-specific graduate degrees either. You don’t need an MBA to work in a business school’s admissions office. But the admissions committee members do know how to evaluate an application..
Whether or not consultants have the graduate degree you are trying to obtain is irrelevant to their ability to help applicants. What skills and knowledge should they have that will be important to you as an applicant?
Seek someone with those three qualities and you will have chosen well.
Check out our most recent media mentions as Accepted consultants weigh in on what's new in the world of admissions.