Are MBA Consultants Worth It? It depends.
The debate over whether to engage an MBA admissions consultant is on the minds of countless MBA applicants. Here are the 3 key factors to use when evaluating MBA Consultants and which partner is worth it:
#1 Assess the caliber of the admissions consultant team- huge differences exist across even the main firms
#2 Check online reviews for the admissions firm to validate quality, track record, and service
#3 Look at the scope of services to assess what firm resources, if any, you’ll have access to
Let’s take a deeper look….
#1 Assess the caliber: does the consultant team have actual experience in MBA admissions from the top programs?
The stakes are high in engaging an MBA admissions consulting partner, as applicants want to get it right the first time with admit success. In recent years, MBA admissions firms have grown their teams to include former Admissions Officers (AdCom) from the elite MBA programs. These former- Adcom-turned- MBA-consultants have closely-guarded, insider knowledge of how Adcom committees make admit and ding decisions.
At MBA Insight, we wanted to assess the level of Adcom expertise across the leading MBA admissions firms. Here are the results:
Our review followed the method, criteria and caliber standards outlined below.
Method: We scoured the team profiles on MBA consultant websites. We compared the team profiles with data on Linkedin to find out which MBA admissions firm had former Admissions Officers from the elite programs.
Criteria: We looked for former full time employed Admissions Officers (Adcom) to see the differences in talent across the known MBA consulting firms. We excluded student or alumni interviewers and contract readers, as they are not former Admissions Officers, although some firms count them as such in their marketing materials.
Caliber: We focused on the former Adcom from the two European (EU)programs, LBS and INSEAD, and the top 7 US programs, M7 business programs, as they have the highest demand by far over lower ranked schools. The M7 business schools include: Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business & The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
#2 Check online reviews to assess quality but know that reviews can be biased
Applicants who are aiming for the top 7 MBA programs and the top EU programs find that the skills, expertise, and support of a quality mba consulting partner is worth every penny. Please see MBA Insight’s latest ranking based on reviews submitted and check other review sites, as well, to get a complete picture from different sources..
See our ratings of mba consulting firms here.
#3 Find out what the scope of services will be
Have you ever been to an all-inclusive resort but have been dismayed by the limits and caveats? The same is true of the comprehensive engagements offered by some MBA admissions firms. Ask about whether the comprehensive model is truly unlimited by time, if there’s a diligent matchmaking process, and if there will be access to other consultants/resources at the firm. Too often, MBA applicants get stuck in a tunnel-vision relationship with just one consultant at a firm and aren’t able to benefit from the firmwide resources because of contract fine print.