top 6 mba admissions consulting firms and counselors

All the Best MBA Admission Consultants of 2020

top 6 best MBA Admission Consultants

Updated May 28, 2020

Once you’ve determined your dream school(s) and scheduled or taken your GMAT, you may realize that getting your application together is a daunting process. How do you answer the personal questions? How do you want to represent yourself to admissions officers? Is there anything you should leave out? And how do you spin personal setbacks, or best present your undergrad years?
There are so many questions that potential MBA candidates ask themselves. When it comes to your future, the right B-school can mean many thousands of dollars in earning potential, VC money, networking, etc. With so much on the line, many people look to the field of MBA admissions consulting to ensure that their MBA application is up to the rigorous standards of today’s programs.
To help you navigate the world of MBA consulting, we’ve put together a list of the best MBA admissions consultants; check out the chart below to see how these different consulting firms stack up to one another in terms of their services, qualifications, and prices.

Please note that several of the links included below are affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we may earn a referral commission if you use one of the courses below. Only use the links if you have been helped by our review!


MBA Admissions Consultants Reviews & Exclusive Discounts

 

MBA ADMISSIONS CONSULTANT admissionado MBA Admissions Consulting MBAMission Admissions Consulting accepted mba admissions consulting veritas prep mba admission consulting The MBA Exchange admissions consulting
RANKINGS #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6
COMPANY STACY BLACKMAN CONSULTING ADMISSIONADO mbaMISSION ACCEPTED VERITAS PREP THE MBA EXCHANGE
EXPERIENCE 18 years 12 years 20 years 25 years 17 years 23 years
1-SCHOOL STARTING PRICE $4,850 $2,185 $4,900 $4,575 $4,700
HOURLY RATE $325 $325 $350 $350 $325 Not Available
# OF ADMISSIONS ADMINISTRATORS ON TEAM 28 4 12 7 4 48
PERSONAL CONSULTANT
FREE CONSULTATION
INTERVIEW PREP
ESSAY REVIEW
SPECIALIZED ESSAY EDITING
REJECTION REVIEW
WAITLIST SUPPORT
PRE-APPLICATION STRATEGY
ADVANCED APPLICATION STRATEGY
ADMISSION BOOKS/GUIDES
GROUP INTERVIEW PREP
CAREER COACHING
NON-MBA CONSULTING Grad, Undergrad Medical, Law, Grad, Undergrad Undergrad Law, Policy, Grad
GET STARTED Start Now Start Now Start Now Start Now Start Now Start Now

For more on our ranking and review process, jump down to the bottom of this article to see How We’ve Ranked the Top MBA Admissions Consultants.

If you have decided to hire an admissions consultant, choose carefully. Your relationship with your admissions consultant is going to have a big impact on the trajectory of your education, so you should make the right choice the first time. With test prep and tutors, you can often replace the tutor or retake the course if it doesn’t work out. Hiring a consultant, however, involves spending time developing a relationship. You usually have a limited time to do this, with MBA admission deadlines looming overhead. Your consultant should spend months getting to know you, uncovering your personal story, what motivates you, and why a particular set of schools are a fit. Much of this work is done in the weeks ahead of your admission deadline, and at that point, switching a consultant is likely impossible. Most high-quality consultants will already have filled out their client list by then, and there simply won’t be enough time left to build an effective relationship. You will likely have to wait until the next round of admissions.

Below, we go through each MBA consulting firm with an overview of their services. We’ve even included some of those firms’ top individual consultants, as reviewed by clients online.

To make sure that you know what you’re getting into as you navigate the world of MBA consulting, we’ll also walk you through exactly how consultants work, and how to organize your search so that whoever you decide on can lead you all the way to your dream school.


Quick Links to MBA Admissions Consultants Reviews


Stacy Blackman Consulting (Rank: #1)

stacy blackman mba admissions consulting

 

OVERALL RATING:

Over the course of almost two decades, the Stacy Blackman Consulting team has built a successful track record using time-tested techniques and best practices. They have deep experience with every top-tier school and a variety of industries, and their team of consultants consist of more high-level MBA admissions administrators than any other consultant service on our list.

Their All-In package is one of the best truly all-inclusive packages available, with access to your consultant day and night. We love their team approach with individual partnerships as well as the meticulous nature of their consultant matching and application review. Overall, we rank Stacy Blackman Consulting as our number one MBA admissions consulting firm.

Stacy Blackman Featured Consultants:

  • Caryn Altman: Admissions Officer, MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
  • Sherry Holland: Director of Admissions, experience at Duke University,  Fuqua School of Business

Stacy Blackman Staff MBA Program Experience:

  • Harvard University, Harvard Business School (HBS)
  • Stanford University, Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB)
  • London Business School (LBS)
  • University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Business School
  • Columbia University, Columbia Business School (CBS)
  • University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
  • MIT, Sloan School of Management
  • Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
  • INSEAD
  • + more

LEARN MORE ABOUT STACY BLACKMAN CONSULTING


Admissionado (Rank: #2)

admissionado MBA Admissions Consulting

OVERALL RATING:

Admissionado has a unique way of putting together an MBA application. They pair each client with an MBA expert consultant as well as a storyteller. In doing this, they are able to take an average applicant and tell their story in a compelling way. We love this style.

Their Deluxe package offers a lot of support, and they offer a few other budget-minded packages and tailored services as well. Bottom line: Admissionado provides a compelling package for every prospective MBA student out there.

Admissionado Featured Consultants:

  • John DC Miles: Entrepreneur,MBA from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business
  • Mark Lellouch: Business Strategy Consultant, MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB)

Admissionado Staff MBA Program Experience:

  • London Business School (LBS)
  • Harvard University, Harvard Business School (HBS)
  • University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Business School
  • + more

LEARN MORE ABOUT ADMISSIONADO


mbaMission (Rank: #3)

MBAMission Admissions Consulting

OVERALL RATING:

mbaMission offers experience and excellent customer service. They have great online reviews and we like their individual approach, where applicants are supported by the entire mbaMission team. However, for the price they offer, we’d expect a little bit more admissions administration experience in their team members; though that’s not to say their team doesn’t know their way around the admissions process.

They offer a free 30-minute consultation with your chosen consultant before a commitment, which is necessary because they ask you to choose your own consultant. We prefer a more extensive matchmaking process than this, but some applicants would rather choose their own individual consultant, and this method can lead to great results and applicants feeling more empowered and confident about their role in the process.

mbaMission Featured Consultants:

  • John Sisk: Media Executive, MBA from New York University, Stern School of Business
  • Kate Richardson: Management Consultant, MBA from University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
  • Rachel Beck: Business Journalist, MBA from Columbia University, Columbia Business School

mbaMission Staff MBA Program Experience:

  • Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
  • Columbia University, Columbia Business School (CBS)
  • University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
  • University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
  • + more

LEARN MORE ABOUT MBAMISSION


Accepted (Rank: #4)

accepted mba admissions consulting

OVERALL RATING:

Accepted has the most diverse product offering we’ve seen, which we love.

Their team has quite a bit of top-tier admissions committee and director experience, which we also think is a great asset. Each applicant is assigned to one consultant, but has the backing of the entire team, our preferred approach. Still, Accepted lacks some of the a la carte services that other consultant teams offer, such as a career coaching package.

Accepted Featured Consultants:

  • Natalie Epstein: Dean of Admissions, MBA from University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
  • Cindy Tokumitsu: Business Writer, studied at the State University of New York at Buffalo

Accepted Staff MBA Program Experience:

  • University of North Carolina, Kenan-Fagler Business School
  • Michigan State University, Eli Broad School of Business
  • Cornell University, SC Johnson College of Business
  • London Business School

LEARN MORE ABOUT ACCEPTED


Veritas Prep (Rank: #5)

veritas prep mba admission consulting

OVERALL RATING:

Veritas Prep offers new students a free consultation and multiple levels of services, from hourly rates to full packages you can purchase for up to 8 schools. Veritas also offers a number of GMAT + admissions packages, so that you can carry their services from the very beginning of your MBA applications.

Many of the online reviews for Veritas Prep GMAT resources are positive. Veritas excels not only at helping students score what they need on the GMAT but also working to make sure that you have all the resources you need to prepare for your specific school. However, their relative levels of experience, when compared to other major consultant firms, are somewhat low. They have a low number of former admissions officers on their team, and with only 17 years of operation, are also the second youngest company out of the top consultant firms on our list.

Veritas Prep Featured Consultants:

  • Tiffany Hughey: Principal Consultant, MBA from Harvard Business School
  • Jennifer Nakao: Assistant Director of Admissions Consulting, MBA from Stanford University School of Business

Veritas Prep Staff MBA Program Experience:

  • UCLA, Anderson School of Management
  • University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
  • Columbia University, Columbia Business School
  • Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business

LEARN MORE ABOUT VERITAS PREP


MBA Exchange (Rank: #6) 

The MBA Exchange admissions consulting

OVERALL RATING:

The MBA Exchange, founded by Harvard Business graduate and entrepreneur Dan Bauer, employs dozens of former admissions officers to their staff, (from schools like Harvard, Stanford and Wharton) which is an impressive amount of direct experience in the MBA admissions game.

When it comes to advising, MBA Exchange opts for a team-based approach. While this ensures that each student gets the backing of a number of experts ready for most scenarios, you lose the benefits of having a personal coach with eyes on your specific application, which is something we think MBA applicants should really value in a consulting firm.

The MBA Exchange Featured Consultants:

  • Pauline Jennett: Admissions Director, MBA from University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School

The MBA Exchange Staff MBA Program Experience:

  • Harvard University, Harvard Business School (HBS)
  • University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Business School
  • Stanford University, Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB)
  • MIT, Sloan School of Management
  • Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

LEARN MORE ABOUT MBA EXCHANGE


Other MBA Admissions Consulting Options

The top 7 MBA admissions consulting options listed above all have great things to offer, whether it’s personal 1-on-1 coaching, professional consultants with top-tier admissions experience, or consulting packages that provide unlimited access and extra resources for the GMAT, essay tips, and individual school admissions. Here are some other popular choices for MBA admissions consulting.

Menlo Coaching (Rank: #7)

Prep MBA (Rank: #8)

Square One (Rank: #9)


MBA Admission Consultant Alternatives

If you are weighing the option of hiring an admissions consultant but cannot decide on one, or if the fees are too high for you at this time, consider some alternatives.

Many students reach out to B-school alumni for advice. Alumni can be a valuable source of information about the culture of the school and the best way for you to present yourself. Former and current admissions officers will often also offer feedback and tips on how to create the best MBA application possible. Many schools have alumni interviewers, and you can try to get in touch with them for free (but limited) advice. Sometimes you’ll find that a source with no personal stake in the game can give some of the best advice, even though they aren’t professionals.
Many of the firms we’ve ranked have individual services that aren’t as expensive as their packages. If you just need some brushing up on your resume or want advice on reapplying to your dream school, take a look at their a la carte packages.
If you are most worried about your GMAT score, consider getting a top GMAT prep course to maximize your score. Have a look at our comparison chart for an in-depth breakdown of each of the top GMAT prep courses and how they stack up against one another.

Check Out Top GMAT Prep Courses


How We’ve Ranked the Top MBA Admissions Consultants:

After reviewing the top six MBA admissions consultants, we have ranked them based on the following criteria:

Experience

Like any service, there are many reputable providers and others that aren’t. It is often difficult to easily determine which one is which, but one way we’ve found is how long they’ve been in business. One sure way to determine if an MBA admissions consultant is worth the price is if they have been in the business for many years, and if their consultants’ credentials match their price.

Matchmaking Process

Like every MBA candidate, every admissions consultant is different, so it’s important to be matched with someone that works with you. Larger companies will have a large enough team to match you with the right person. If you work with a smaller company, be sure that the individual is a good fit for you and your goals. The matchmaking process should include criteria like target-school expertise, industry alignment, personality, and demographic knowledge.

It is so important to get this right immediately. The consultant-applicant relationship must be strong in order to put together the best application. Consultants typically spend months getting to know the applicant before the application package is completed.

If you decide to work with a smaller company, be sure to interview a few to get a feel for the type of consultant that you need and will be the best fit for you. We have no preference for large companies v. small companies, as long as the relationship works, it works!

Some firms will use a more decentralized, team-based approach to admissions counseling. While we like the idea of a support team, we prefer each candidate to have a one-on-one relationship with a consultant and have ranked this style higher. We really like firms that offer a dedicated consultant plus the backing of the entire team.

Is Unlimited Truly Unlimited?

Most applicants will apply to between 4 and 6 programs, so choosing a firm that has representation across many schools is important. When ranking MBA admission consultants, we weighted the firms with consultants from many or all of the top programs more heavily than those without. However, if you are only applying to one school, finding the firm or consultant with that school’s expertise is more important than broad experience.

We have come across admissions consultants with no top-tier experience on their team, and for some of the most competitive schools—this can be a disadvantage.

Top-Tier Admissions Committee Representation

Most applications are due around the same time, so MBA admission consultants find themselves incredibly busy during that time of year. If a firm allows individual consultants to take on too many clients at a time, the clients may find that the consultant is not as available as the due date looms.

Some firms expect their consultants to take on more than 20 clients per round. As a result, the consultants are spread too thin and are not able to offer the attention that might be necessary.

We ranked firms higher if they limit the individual consultant’s client load to ensure that each client is given the attention that they deserve. We also rank firms higher if the consultants are not expected to take on every single client sent their way.

Limits on Consultant Load

Most applications are due around the same time, so MBA admission consultants and counselors find themselves incredibly busy during this time. If a firm allows individual consultants to take on many clients at a time, the clients may find that the consultant is not as available as the due date looms.

Some firms expect their consultants to take on more than 20 clients per round. The MBA admissions counselors within a firm are spread too thin and are not able to offer the attention that might be necessary.

We ranked firms higher if they limit the individual consultant’s client load to ensure that each client is given the attention that they deserve. We also rank firms higher if the consultants are not expected to take on every single client sent their way.

Team vs. Individual Approach

Ask any potential admissions consultant what services and resources they offer. Many just offer one consultant, and that’s it. Some will have a decentralized team-based approach. Others will have a point person plus an entire team working with you. This team could include client liaisons (who are available to answer more general questions), former admissions officers with school-specific expertise, and a reviewer to go over your final application package. Additional services like these are incredibly valuable.

We prefer a team headed by an individual consultant, as we’ve found that this offers avdeep relationship necessary for the most success along with additional accountability. Additional eyes on your application, especially from someone with your dream school’s expertise, is invaluable.

Additional Resources

MBA admissions consultant firms should have resources that include prior essays, interview transcripts, guides, and best practices for each school. That way, if you don’t need to purchase a full package, these a la carte services can fulfill your highest-priority needs for a lower price.

Yelp

What do Yelp users have to say? Yelp seems to be one of the only sites without fake reviews (at least not many, and you can usually tell which ones are not entirely scrupulous). When ranking firms, we looked at the quality of reviews over time. We ranked firms with great reviews over the years higher than those with very few or only recent reviews.

Free Evaluation

As we mentioned, MBA admissions consultants are not miracle workers, and they’re not all going to be a perfect fit for you. We rank firms with a free consultation or analysis higher because we think it is necessary to get a feel for the style, experience, and personality before you decide on one. After all, you’ll be spending quite a bit of time talking to them!

What We’ve Left Out:

Self-Reported Success Rates

You’ve likely noticed that many MBA admissions consultants advertise their success rates online. We have left these numbers out of our criteria. That is by design. We think that self-reported success rates are often misleading. Almost all consultants advertise a 96%+ success rate, so it isn’t a differentiator.


FAQs

What is an MBA Admission Consultant?

What is an MBA Admission Consultant?An MBA admission consultant operates either as an individual, a part of a boutique company run by a few experienced experts, or as part of a larger firm with many consultants. They generally provide MBA program direction and application advising, which can include any number of services. Consultants will walk you through every element of today’s MBA admission requirements, which can include essay direction, resume overhaul, and interview prep. Some also provide test prep, and pre- and post-application services, as well as rejection and waitlist planning. Nowadays, they’ll even help make sure that your social media accounts will hold up to scrutiny from even the strictest admissions committee. These various services either come in one large consulting package—which costs more with every school you apply to—or as individual, ‘a la carte’ packages that provide you with specific services for a lower price Consultants help potential MBA applicants put the best spin on their admissions package and tailor the package to what an individual school is looking for. Usually, they are graduates or former admission officers of top-tier MBA programs, but not all consultants have the same experience level. When it comes to hiring an MBA admission consultant, checking out their professional and educational pedigree is a smart first move.

Who Should Hire an MBA Admission Consultant?

Hiring an admission consultant is obviously a monetary investment, but it will also demand a great deal of your time. Considering the commitment required of you, it’s definitely a good idea to spend time considering whether MBA consulting will be worth it for you.

An admission consultant could be of value to you if you find the MBA process daunting or if you want to maximize your chance of success. MBA consultants are there to guide you through the process, help show off your best assets, and spin the not-so-great elements of your admissions package.

For example, consider MBA admission essays. The essay process can be hard, or even near-impossible for plenty of MBA applicants—you have to convey what makes you special and unique, but also what makes you a safe and reliable candidate. Packing all that information within a tight wordcount is no easy task, but it’s exactly what a good MBA admissions consultant knows how to do well. Items like MBA admission essays are their bread and butter.

If you have a difficult time selling yourself, an MBA consultant can be invaluable. With years of experience under their belts, they’re also great resources to help prepare for problems that you may never have considered.

If you are on the cusp of your desired school’s averages, for instance, you may want to hire an admission consultant to help push the rest of your admissions package to the top of the pile. However, if you scored in the low 600s on your GMAT and your school has a median score of 700+, an admissions counselor may not be the right investment. In that case, spending a little extra on a GMAT course to boost that score would probably serve you better. There are resources available for every level of applicant, so check out our other GMAT pages to see which investment makes the most sense for you.

If you do decide that an MBA admission consultant is the way to go, know that prices, experience, and services vary widely. Doing a little up-front research is imperative in selecting an MBA admission consultant. That’s where we come in! To make your MBA consultant search easier, we’ve done  most of the heavy lifting of that research for you.

Will an MBA Consultant Get Me Into a Top Program?

What is an MBA Admission Consultant?It’s important to manage your expectations of what an admissions consultant can and can’t do. An admissions consultant cannot turn an average MBA applicant into a stellar one, and no amount of spin can bring you up to high MBA admission requirements, such as changing the concrete numbers of your GMAT score. There is no guarantee that hiring an admissions consultant will get you admitted.

While they can’t perform miracles, consultants are able to help you show off your greatest assets, help you sell yourself, and help you address any issues that an admissions officer might question. It might be tough to hear at times, but having an experienced admissions consultant who is realistic about possibilities and gets you into the RIGHT school will turn out better in the long run than someone who pushes for a program that’s out of your reach.

It is also important to realize that they do not apply for you. You still have to put in a considerable amount of time and energy into the application process. Sometimes, a consultant will even have you doing more legwork than you might have done applying on your own; but, they’ll be there to professionally guide you through every step of the process. You will still have to fill out the application, write your essays, request recommendations (and write the post-recommendation thank you note), and interview. The consultant simply guides you through this process and makes sure that you are maximizing your potential.

Many students assume that admission consultants will write their essays for them. While this does happen on occasion, it is first, unethical, and second, potentially damaging to your application. If your admissions essay is considerably better than your standardized test essays, an admissions panel will likely see through it, and reject your application. If it seems to be almost identical in style and structure to other applicants, they might also reject your application. Regardless of how bad you think your writing is, it is never advisable to have someone else write your essay. The consultants that we have reviewed do not write essays on your behalf. They will, however, guide you through the process and advise you on different writing topics. In fact, there’s so much demand for students who need help writing MBA admission essays that some consultants offer specialized essay revision services outside of their standard consulting packages—check out our comparison chart to see which ones do, and which ones don’t.


Top 9 MBA Admission Consultants of 2020

Best MBA Admissions Consultants Course Feature 1-School Price
Stacy Blackman Consulting All-in Package $4,850
Admissionado Consultant + Storyteller team $2,185
mbaMission High User Reviews $4,900
Accepted 25 Years Experience $4,575
Veritas Prep GMAT + Packages $4,700
MBA Exchange Team Admissions Experience $4,000
Menlo Coaching B-School Profiles Variable
Prep MBA Exclusive Access: 5 Clients Per Year $5,995
Square One 4-Person Team per Client $6,400

 

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