You guys, there’s a whole wide world of free MBA application resources that I want to introduce you to! Today’s post is about free half-hour profile evaluation calls with admissions consultants. I did four of these calls before I applied to school, and each one gave me valuable insight into what standards I would need to meet for my candidacy to be compelling to b schools, since they would be taking a risk on me and my unorthodox TV production background.
My fifteen-minute tip for today is to sign up for one (or more) of these calls ASAP to get a sense of what an MBA application specialist thinks of your candidacy. And of course, it helps to have a game plan going in to get the most of your time with them!
The Usual Suspects
This is by no means a complete list of all of the admissions consultants out there; these are the folks that I’m most familiar with. I did my calls with Admissionado, Admit Advantage, Fortuna Admissions, Janet Stark Admissions Consulting (once I had started my applications), mbaMission, and Stacy Blackman.
- Admit Advantage
- Clear Admit
- Fortuna Admissions
- Janet Stark Admissions Consulting
- Stacy Blackman
- Veritas Prep
You may want to give yourself a week or two before your first call so you can adequately prepare. Half an hour isn’t that long, so you’re going to want to get the most out of your time.
You should be able to at least loosely articulate why you’re interested in pursuing your MBA and what your career goals / interests are. You’ll also need to send a resume and answer some questions to schedule your call, and it’s always helpful to either have taken GMAT or to know what you’re scoring on practice tests so the consultants can help evaluate your schools list.
The other important thing to know is what you want to learn from these calls. Do you want an objective evaluation of your red flags? Perspective on the likelihood of admission to your dream school? Suggestions of schools you may not have thought to add to your list? Write it down!
Timing and Strategy
I suggest staggering these calls by a few days or a week so you have time to adjust your strategy and questions going into each successive call.
Making several of these calls is great to practice pitching your career goals and overall application narrative. You’ll see which stories are compelling and get feedback on how to shape your career goals to be as clear and direct as possible. Between calls you can work on improving your story, adding new elements in, or auditioning entirely new sets of goals if you’re deciding between a couple of different ideas.
Grain of Salt
I actually had a pretty unpleasant experience with my first of these calls. I was first looking into applying to business school, and I used this call as a way to broadly assess my candidacy. It was August 2013, just before my twenty-sixth birthday. The woman I spoke to told me that I needed to apply that winter (so, take the GMAT and apply in under five months) because if I waited any longer, I would age myself out of top MBA programs.
Her advice sent me into a total tailspin. Looking back, I realize how ridiculous it was, but it sounded pretty legit (and horrifying) at the time. Luckily I had an amazing second call (with Fortuna Admissions, FYI) that set me straight and led me to the Forté Foundation and their prep program.
Don’t let anyone talk you out of your MBA ambitions. If you get a piece of advice that feels wrong or sounds like total crap, take it with a grain of salt and use future calls / advice / informational interviews to double-check it. If everyone gives you the same advice (for me, to get a 70%+ on the GMAT quant), then that’s probably good advice to follow. And if that advice is scary, have conversations about how you can defuse it so you can move forward.
Hope that helps, and tune back in in a couple of days for an upcoming post about the specific advice I got when I did these calls!
Image courtesy of Dimension Films.