Expert MBA Admissions Consultants 

Get Accepted! Speak with an admissions expert today!

Meet the MBA Admissions Team

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.

Get to know our MBA consultants and you’ll see why Accepted can help YOU get accepted!

Esmeralda Cardenal

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.
Dr. Christie St-John

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.
Natalie Grinblatt Epstein

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.
Jamie Wright

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.
Kelly Wilson

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.
Sadie Polen
Sadie has more than ten years of experience in higher education. She reviewed statements of purpose, personal statements, and resumes for political and public service opportunities and made candidate selections for elite programs at Harvard University. She also has experience advising individuals on their career and post-graduation plans. Sadie holds a BS from UC Davis, an EdM from Harvard, and a DEI certificate from Cornell. Learn more about Sadie Polen.
Michelle Stockman

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 Febo

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.
Jennifer Bloom

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.

Things to Consider When Choosing an MBA Admissions Consultant

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.

  1. Why​ ​Use​ ​an​ ​MBA​ ​Admissions​ ​Consultant?
  2. What​ ​You​ ​Should​ ​Look​ ​for​ ​in​ ​an​ ​Admissions​ ​Consultant
  3. When to Run​ ​the​ ​Other​ ​Way:​ ​Avoiding​ ​Essay​ ​Writers​ ​and​ ​Application​ ​Agents
  4. Choosing​ ​an​ ​Admissions​ ​Consultant:​ ​What’s​ ​NOT​ ​Important

Why​ ​use​ ​an​ ​MBA​ ​admissions consultant?

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:

  • Boost chances of ​acceptance​ ​to​ ​a​ ​“better”​ ​school.​ ​​“Better”​ ​implies​ ​more​ ​professional​ ​opportunities, increased​ ​earnings,​ ​a​ ​deeper and more valuable network,​ ​and​ ​an​ ​educational​ ​experience​ ​more​ ​to​ ​your liking.​ ​Just​ ​looking​ ​at​ ​dollars​ ​and​ ​cents,​ ​“better”​ ​represents​ ​potentially​ ​tens​ ​of​ ​thousands​ ​of dollars​ ​more​ ​in​ ​your​ ​pocket​ ​during​ ​your​ ​career.
  • Help​ ​you​ ​snag​ ​a​ ​scholarship.​ ​​Savings:​ ​tens​ ​of​ ​thousands​ ​of​ ​dollars.
  • ​​​Save​ ​you​ ​the​ ​cost​ ​of​ ​reapplication.​​ ​Applying​ ​to​ ​b-school​ ​or​ ​any​ ​other​ ​graduate​ ​program, including​ ​application​ ​fees​ ​and​ ​travel​ ​expenses,​ ​can​ ​cost​ ​several​ ​thousand​ ​dollars.​ ​Apply​ ​one​ ​time and​ ​save money and time.
  • Reduce​ ​the​ ​time,​ ​stress,​ ​and​ ​frustration​ ​you​ ​(and​ ​those​ ​close​ ​to​ ​you)​ ​experience​ ​during​ ​the admissions​ ​process.​ ​​A good admissions consultant will protect you from following detours​ ​or floundering​ ​for​ ​weeks​ ​as​ ​you​ ​struggle​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​what​ they​ ​know. As a future MBA, you already understand that time is money.

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.


What​ ​you​ ​should​ ​look​ ​for​ ​in​ ​an​ MBA ​admissions consultant

The​ ​categories​ ​below​ ​will​ ​guide​ ​you​ ​in​ asking the relevant questions ​to consultants you are considering.  

  • Consultant’s​ ​Experience

    Absolutely​ ​ask​ ​about​ ​her​ ​experience​ ​with​ ​your​ ​programs​ ​of​ ​interest,​ ​your​ ​demographic​ ​group,​ ​and​ ​your industry.​ ​At the same time, ​understand​ ​that​ ​a​ ​really​ ​good​ ​consultant​ ​is​ ​always​ ​discovering ​new​ ​programs,​ ​learning about significant changes in existing programs,​ ​and​ ​about new​ ​types​ ​of​ ​applicants competing for seats in the class. A consultant at the top of her game will be current with all the trends, and will know how to help you present yourself as a fully realized individual--beyond ​the​ ​stats​ ​and​ ​the​ ​stereotypes. She will guide you toward presenting yourself distinctly, with a compelling story and valuable qualifications. ​
  • The​ ​Process

    Before​ ​you​ ​talk​ ​to​ ​consultants,​ ​consider​ ​what​ ​services​ ​you​ need.​ It is possible that after reviewing your basic profile, a consultant will suggest that you broaden or edit your list of target schools so you will have a better chance of acceptance. It is also possible that after reviewing your essay drafts, he will recommend a fresh and more effective angle.

    Still, even before beginning your work together, ​ask​ ​the​ ​consultant​ ​how​ the services you are considering ​will​ ​be​ ​provided​ ​in​ ​practical​ ​terms. Ask about turnaround times for edits, how long you should allow for each application, for ​information​ ​gathering,​ for getting letters of recommendation, etc, and ​who​ ​exactly​ ​you’ll​ ​be​ ​working​ ​with.​ ​This will give you a realistic framework for what’s involved in the work ahead.

    Ask if you’re talking to a salesperson or to the consultant whom you will be working with. (You want to speak to the consultant.)
  • Service​ ​Differentiation

    Ask​ ​what​ ​the​ ​consultant​ ​considers​ ​special​ ​and​ ​uniquely​ ​valuable​ ​about​ ​her​ ​service​ ​and​ ​expertise​ ​–​ ​you should​ ​get a clear understanding of what makes her service different.  Look for testimonials on the website, especially those that are recent, and whenever possible, from applicants who were accepted to your target schools.
  • Accessibility

    Ask​ ​about​ ​the​ ​consultant’s​ ​accessibility​ ​by​ ​email,​ ​phone/Zoom ​–​ ​is​ ​he​ ​available​ ​on​ ​weekends,​ ​evenings? 
  • Candor

    Are you prepared to benefit from ​the​ ​consultant’s​ ​full​ ​expertise?​ ​If​ ​so,​ ​ask her, if​ ​you​ ​target​ ​a​ ​program​ she considers​ ​an​ ​unreasonably​ ​high​ ​reach​ ​or​ ​draft​ ​an​ ​essay​ she ​​ ​considers​ ​off-target,​ ​will she ​tell you​ ​frankly?
  • Prices

    Most​ ​consultants’​ ​prices​ ​are​ ​listed​ ​on​ ​their​ ​websites,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​services​ ​are​ ​often​ ​multifaceted or complex,​ ​so​ make sure you understand exactly what services you are getting. ​Make​ ​sure​ ​you​ ​understand​ ​if​ ​fees​ ​are​ ​time- ​based​ ​($X​ ​per​ ​hour)​ ​or​ ​flat​ ​rate​ ​($Y​ ​for​ ​a defined​ ​basket​ ​of​ ​services).
  • ​AIGAC​ ​Membership

    The​ ​Association​ ​of​ ​International​ ​Graduate​ ​Admissions​ ​Consultants​ ​(AIGAC)​ ​promotes​ ​professional standards​ ​and​ ​ethical​ ​guidelines​ ​for​ ​our​ ​profession.​ ​AIGAC​ ​members​ ​(individuals​ ​and​ ​firms)​ ​are​ ​vetted for​ ​acceptance​ ​into​ ​the​ ​organization,​ ​and​ ​adcom​ ​members​ ​at​ ​top​ ​b-schools​ ​attend​ ​annual​ ​AIGAC conferences.​ ​Ask​ ​prospective​ ​consultants​ ​if​ ​they​ ​are​ ​AIGAC​ ​members​ ​to​ ​confirm​ ​their​ ​professional qualification.

    FYI:​ ​Linda​ ​Abraham,​ ​Accepted’s​ ​president​ ​and​ ​founder,​ ​is​ ​a​ ​co-founder​ ​of​ ​AIGAC​ ​and​ ​served​ ​as​ ​its​ ​first president.

Run​ ​the​ ​other​ ​way:​ Do not use ​essay​ ​writers​ ​and application​ ​agents.

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.

What​ ​about​ ​essay​ ​samples​ ​or​ ​templates?

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.​ ​

Choosing​ ​an​ ​admissions​ ​consultant:​ ​What’s​ ​NOT important

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?

  1. ​Experience with and insight into the admissions process.
  2. Outstanding​ ​editing​ ​skills.
  3. Mentoring​ ​mojo. ​

Seek​ ​someone​ ​with​ ​those​ ​three​ ​qualities and you will have chosen well.

What’s next?

Client Feedback
A really big thank you for taking pains to understand my profile, editing all the brain dumps into winning essays. And more importantly you've kept the communication channels open and answered silliest of doubts I had and that to me was invaluable. I should thank my friend who recommended me and I am definitely going to recommend your services to my friends/acquaintances. Read more