Expert MBA Admissions Consultants 

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Meet the MBA Admissions Pros

Our consultants have been advising college and graduate school applicants since 1994. Based in Southern California, with consultants in North America, Europe, and Asia, our team of experts can assist you, like they have helped thousands of others, no matter where you are or where you want to go.

When you choose Accepted, you will be assigned your own consultant dedicated to helping you, as well as the support of a team made up of uncommonly talented professionals, including former admissions directors, published authors, and PhDs. It's the best of dedicated one-on-one mentoring combined with the breadth and depth of a larger company.

Our Admissions Consultants

Not only do our consultants have the experience and expertise needed to make you stand out, they have the passion necessary to help you get accepted. It's not just what we do – it's who we are.

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

Esmeralda Cardenal

Former Associate Director of Admissions at Yale SOM, Director of MBA Admissions at MSU Broad, and consultant at Cardiff Business School in the UK. Since 2014 has guided Accepted clients to acceptance in various graduate programs including MBA and masters in finance, business analytics, data science, sustainability, and public policy.

Get in touch with Esmeralda Cardenal.
Dr. Christie St-John

Over 25 years of experience as MBA admissions director, career coach and Chief Military Recruiter at Vanderbilt University and Tuck School of Business, consultant at Université de Nice, and adjunct faculty at Vanderbilt, Dr. St-John has a deep knowledge of MBA and graduate admissions.

Get in touch with Dr. Christie St-John.
Chen Chadash

Chen brings to your MBA application an international, military background and experience as a management consultant and UCLA Admission Ambassador as well as an MBA admissions consultant. 

Get in touch with Chen Chadash.
Dr. Philippe Barr

Dr. Philippe Barr served as Assistant Professor in the French Department at UNC-Chapel Hill for 7 years and coordinated the application process for the masters and doctoral programs. He also served as Assistant Director of MBA Admissions at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Get in touch with Dr. Philippe Barr.
Jennifer Bloom

Professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.

Get in touch with Jennifer Bloom.
Michelle Stockman

Professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.

Get in touch with Michelle Stockman.
Natalie Grinblatt Epstein

Former Admissions Dean/Director at 3 top business schools with hundreds of admitted clients. Understands exactly what admissions directors are seeking.

Get in touch with Natalie Grinblatt Epstein.
Carol Drummer

Former dean of graduate admissions who for 10 years reviewed and signed off on over 4500 admissions decisions per year. Has taught communications and rhetoric since 1991.

Get in touch with Carol Drummer.
Rachel Slutsky

Has served as a writing tutor, consultant, and adjunct professor teaching writing. Has also assisted applicants in applying to an array of MBA and graduate programs. Earned her masters from the University of Chicago and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Harvard University.

Get in touch with Rachel Slutsky.
Vanessa Febo

Draws on ten years of experience teaching writing and guiding students and clients through the application process. Her applicants have been accepted at top universities, including Harvard, Stanford, and USC.

Get in touch with Vanessa Febo.
Jamie Wright

With more than eight years of recruitment and admissions experience at London Business School, Jamie is the former Admissions Director for Early Career Programmes at LBS. Originally from the U.S., Jamie is now based in London.

Get in touch with Jamie Wright.
Santosh (Sam) Prasad

A Chicago Booth MBA who previously served on the Student Admissions Committee. Sam brings career experience from a diverse set of industries including portfolio management, derivatives trading, socially responsible investing, and health care.

Get in touch with Santosh (Sam) Prasad.
Cindy Tokumitsu

After a successful career in business publishing, Cindy has worked 15+ years with Accepted, every year helping clients get accepted to top MBA, law, and med programs. She is a pioneer in the niche of EMBA application consulting. 

Get in touch with Cindy Tokumitsu.
Dr. Karin Ash

With 30 years of career/admissions experience at four universities, including Cornell’s Johnson Business School and College of Engineering, Dr. Ash facilitated students’ entry into the world’s best companies. As a member of the adcom she also evaluated applications; she knows what schools and employers seek

Get in touch with Dr. Karin Ash.

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?

A Note from Our Founder

"What do I love about admissions consulting?

I've always been fascinated by people's life stories. Ever since I was a young child, I have loved reading biographies. And everyone – not just the famous – has a story. Discovering that story, and helping applicants articulate it, is a fascinating process.

Additionally, the editing process is a game to me. I was a writing tutor as an undergrad at UCLA and received excellent training there. I found then, and still find today, that figuring out the best way to express a phrase or tell a story is like solving a puzzle. Almost as good as Sudoku. Finally, I love hearing, ‘Thank you. I’m in!"

See Linda's full profile here.

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 accepted.com and I am definitely going to recommend your services to my friends/acquaintances. Read more