Admission Consultants

Hi all,

I'm applying to some M7 programs this year and am considering using an admissions consultant. I've narrowed it down to two consultants: Stacy Blackman and Amerasia. Does anyone have any experience with either? I'd really like to get some honest feedback on both.

One thing I noticed is that Amerasia only seems to have reviews on gmatclub, and I am wondering why it doesnt have reviews elsewhere like Stacy Blackman. Candid feedback appreciated. Really interested in things like responsiveness, insights.

Thanks!

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Comments (301)

Jun 16, 2012 - 12:27am

I'd go with Sandy K if you can afford it. Hands down the best. And he doesn't charge per hour. Be careful with per hour consultants. Less incentives to be productive and you don't know what you're paying for

Jun 16, 2012 - 10:21am
solb22:
I'd go with Sandy K if you can afford it. Hands down the best. And he doesn't charge per hour. Be careful with per hour consultants. Less incentives to be productive and you don't know what you're paying for

Evidence to support this claim? I find Sandy, and his ridiculous "predicting your odds" series on P&Q, to be obnoxious.

Best Response
Jun 16, 2012 - 3:00pm
cinnamontoastcrunch:
solb22:
I'd go with Sandy K if you can afford it. Hands down the best. And he doesn't charge per hour. Be careful with per hour consultants. Less incentives to be productive and you don't know what you're paying for

Evidence to support this claim? I find Sandy, and his ridiculous "predicting your odds" series on P&Q, to be obnoxious.

People find him obnoxious because he's blunt and brutally honest in his assessment of candidates' chances. This stands in sharp contrast to what other admissions consultants do, and as a reasult a lot of people get turned off by him. I personally find the honesty refreshing. If you read through the poets and quants series, his analysis of the applicants' chances are spot-on. I would love to see a follow-up series where they actually reveal which schools these people got into. I'm guessing sandy's prediction success rate will be around 90%.

As I said before, I corresponded with sandy via e-mail regarding my chances. He told me in no uncertain terms that HSW are out and that booth/sloan/columbia are possible if I raise my gmat and do something outside of work that stands out. He basically said, "look you're an asian guy in trading at a company almost no one has heard of. HSW is not gonna happen for you." I actually liked his candor in that regard.

Stacy Blackman is truly awful. I used one of their consultants the first time I applied. Ok essay revisions but nothing that my friends could not have done. Very little insight and after I got dinged I sent my consultant an e-mail asking for her thoughts on what happened and how I can improve when I re-apply. Absolutely no response whatsoever. I thought that was remarkably unprofessional given the money I spent on the service. Jeremy Shinewald of MBA Mission was pretty bad as well. I talked to him for about an hour for an initial consultation; the guy is a slick talker but no substance whatsoever. He's sort of the Barack Obama of admissions consulting.

The business as a whole has a very perverse incentive structure. You pay a pretty hefty sum ($2500/school for most services, discounted rate per school if you do multiple apps), the amount gets paid all at once, and there is no chance of any sort of partial refund if you don't get in anywhere. Essentially what this does is ensure that consultants are given little incentive to be honest with applicants and to work their butt off for them. The structure is similar to pro baseball in this aspect, where you see players get ridiculous guaranteed money, only to flop due to complacency.

Jun 16, 2012 - 1:28am

DO NOT use stacy blackman. Probably the worst consulting service out there.

I talked to Adam and Drew Hoff at Amerasia. Nice guys, but I don't think they're worth the money.

The value-add of these services, given the price tag and lack of a refund, is quite dubious.

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Jun 16, 2012 - 12:59pm

I used his service and found it exceptional. I got into HBS. As far as any other evidence-not sure what you really want but from the consensus I've seen online he's the best in the business.

I'd use him for your one dream school if you're worried about price. If you really don't find his series informative and funny on poets and quants, I don't know if you're gonna like working with him. But don't let your fear of having your essays torn apart stop you from hiring him.

Either way-good luck

Jun 16, 2012 - 3:19pm

I agree that Stacy Blackman's service isn't worthwhile. I was not impressed when I did my initial consultation with them.

I did one with Sandy as well, and I can handle his brutal honesty; it's his pompous attitude that I can't handle. I think if you want someone that won't bs you, Alex Chu is a good choice.

On the point that consultants are cheerleaders that will unrealistically tell you that you have a shot at school XYZ...they will work with you on any school of your choosing, but it shouldn't take an admissions consultant to tell someone that he/she doesn't have a shot at H/S/W with a 2.9 and a 670. Gotta give them something to work with. At the same time, they should have an incentive to be honest with candidates because their reputation and track record is at stake...perhaps that's why they encourage people to apply to a safety school in their top 3 so they can save face.

I think admissions consultants' value is in their ability to babysit an applicant and hold his/her hand through every step of the process. Some people like/need that, others don't.

Disclosure: I'm not working with a consultant on my apps.

Jun 16, 2012 - 4:17pm

I used Adam at Amerasia. I thought he was worth every penny.

You should schedule an initial consultation with both, see who impresses you the most and then make a decision.

Shoot me a PM if you have any specific questions about Adam/Amerasia. I'd be happy to chat with you about it.

Jun 17, 2012 - 7:26pm

I researched a whole slew of admissions consultants before choosing one. I had a free consultations (either email, phone, or both) with HBS Guru (Sandy), Veritas, Clear Admit, Inside MBA Admissions, Stacy Blackman, MBA Mission, Paul Bodine, and MBA Exchange.

I am an nontraditional candidate and I have some unique work experience. I am also a good writer (I had to write a ton in a past job), but I had no idea what b-schools were looking for in the application. From forum browsing, I could tell that my work experience and GMAT made me a strong candidate, but I used the admissions consultant feedback sessions to find out which schools I should target and what strategy I should use when applying.

Interestingly, most consultants (except for one) generally gave me the same advice and feedback based on my story, GMAT, undergrad GPA, and work experience. They each reinforced what I had found in my own research and told me how they would help me polish my applications. Here is what I thought of each:

HBS Guru: Blunt feedback and gave me my chances of admission to the top schools. He was very nice to me on the phone and I liked much of his advice. He thought I had decent chances to the top schools but a couple things (like my age) could hold me back. However, I decided not to go with him because he told me that with my background I should say I want to go into consulting (which would be a lie) because it made the most sense. MC isn't something I want to do and I have a personal problem with being dishonest to get into a school. Maybe I am foolish, but if I have to lie to get in I would rather not go - also I don't "need" an MBA, I just think it will help.

Inside MBA Admissions: Seems like a good firm. Nothing special though. Cheaper than most.

Stacy Blackman: This was the outlier. The consultant was severely unfriendly. From the very first minute of the conversation she seemed to have an axe to grind. Maybe someone from my industry rubbed her wrong previously, but I have no idea. She also basically told me that I had nothing to offer a top school and was wondering why I was even bothering to apply to HBS/Wharton/CBS/etc. Honestly, I was shocked during the conversation because you would think I ran over her dog or something. I thought about emailing Stacy herself to complain, but I decided that I don't care if her company destroys itself.

MBA Mission: Jeremy was very friendly and we got along well because we were/are both writers. Gave me blunt feedback on my candidacy and odds of admissions. I chose not to go with them because they are truly a bunch of writers. They help you tell the story. That's not what I needed. I can write well, but I need strategic guidance to bring out the best of me in the application. I would recommend this company to those that aren't good storytellers but know what admissions strategy they want to use.

Paul Bodine: I had read his book and had high expectations - he delivered. I like this guy and I think he knows what he is talking about. He is lesser known and only selects a handful of clients. He was easily one of my top choices.

MBA Exchange: These guys seems good as well. The email feedback was really useful. However, they allow for a phone consultation. For me, this was a deal-breaker.

Veritas: Big player with lots of consultants. They have decent backgrounds and seem to know what they are talking about. They also occasionally offer discounts.

Clear Admit: This is the company I ended up going with. I paid much more money but they seemed to have the whole package: Experience in admissions departments at top schools, full-time consultants, industry experts, honest feedback, consultants value integrity and honesty, and friendly customer service. This was not an easy decision, and I ended up paying a few thousand more dollars. I feel it has been worth it as I got the best.

Here was my order of preference for admissions consultants taking into account quality, price, service, etc.:

1) Clear Admit (Excellence in every category, but you pay $ for it)
2) Veritas or Paul Bodine (Good overall)
3) MBA Mission (Good for those who need writing help)
4) HBS Guru, Inside MBA Admissions, MBA Exchange (Depends on your situation/perspective)
5) Stacy Blackman (you couldn't pay me to use)

Hope this helps.

Dec 18, 2012 - 9:39am

Who did you work with at ClearAdmit, was your application successful? I had a great call with the consulting company but am concerned that there are so few reviews online.

ClearAdmit was the most optimistic about my admissions chances, which while nice to hear, raised a red flag.

Jun 17, 2012 - 10:33pm

HG14 - thanks for sharing your thoughts, this is very helpful. It sounds like we have similar backgrounds (consulting), and as a career switcher, i'm interested to hear what your thoughts are in terms of discussing this in your applications. If you don't mind sharing a little more about your background and the strategy you ended up employing, i for one would definitely appreciate it.

Jun 18, 2012 - 11:17pm

Spalding,

I may not have made it clear, but I don't come from consulting. I have a background in both the military and in the private sector. My strategy was to be completely honest in my goals. Since I am fully sponsored, I stated how I will take the business I am working in to the next level. I described a realistic progression in the business - including eventually becoming the CEO. I briefly explained my passion for the industry. I also highlighted my past leadership experiences - especially in the military.

I don't want to give too much of my history away because I am willing to bet that I am the only applicant with my particular background.

Jul 6, 2012 - 5:47pm

After reading the posts in this thread, I'd like to say that I am truly sorry that you have not been happy with your interactions with my company. We have had a phenomenal track record for over a decade, with a very high percentage of clients receiving merit scholarships that make the service pay for itself - and then some. We also strive to treat each and every client with respect and truly enjoy the process of helping clients be successful.

Brady4MVP: As I had mentioned to you in an earlier thread as well, I was surprised to hear the summary of your experience: "OK revisions and very little insight." We have so many layers of support that I wonder why you did not let us know that you were not receiving quality feedback. Even now, after the fact, I would certainly be interested in understanding more about why this did not work for you. As a former client, you have my direct email and I encourage you now, just as I did when you began with us, to be in touch. It sounds from your post that you were not aware of our policies or resources, and since you did not contact me personally, I am summarizing here. Every client has a client liaison, a flight tester, and my direct line if there are ever issues. You can always ask for a second or third read, and a fresh perspective from a new person on the team. You should always feel free to reach out to any of these resources should you not feel 100% comfortable with your service and you will indeed proactively hear from your client liaison and me in this regard. We also offer an option to cancel once you start and we do offer a refund if you are not successful. I do stand behind our service and would certainly always be receptive to direct feedback should you wish to speak offline and discuss details.

HG14 and CinnamonToastCrunch: the two individuals who did not work with us, but did not enjoy the phone consultation, I am sorry. We spend many, many hours every week offering advice online, over the phone and in person - for free. I have a ton of respect for my team and enjoy them all as human beings. I am surprised that anyone would find them to be abrasive or rude, and am having a hard time imagining who you could have spoken with or what could have happened. It is always our intention to help, not offend, and I apologize on behalf of my team.

There is a reason why Stacy Blackman Consulting has stayed strong while so many other companies have come and gone every year. I'd like to note that of almost every company discussed here, Stacy Blackman has been around the longest. While I literally have thousands of satisfied and successful clients, it's truly painful for me to hear when there are individuals who walk away unsatisfied. That is my personal failure and I do everything that I can to avoid it. This is why I encourage direct communication during the process; it's the only way we can ever be in a position to fix whatever is not working with a particular client.

Jul 7, 2012 - 3:30am

I followed up with Stacy Blackman herself (not the consultant I talked to) after seeing that she cared enough to respond to my posted comments. Even though my first impression last year wasn't a good one, I think others may have much better experiences based on my most recent interactions. I recommend that people check out the consultants they are considering for themselves, using their free evaluations, before making a decision. What worked for me, and who I "clicked with," will not resonate with everyone. So long story short, I wanted to give some props to Stacy for trying to address any past issues both on this forum and with me.

Jul 7, 2012 - 3:54pm
aq25:
Hi all,

I'm applying to some M7 programs this year and am considering using an admissions consultant. I've narrowed it down to two consultants: Stacy Blackman and Amerasia. Does anyone have any experience with either? I'd really like to get some honest feedback on both.

One thing I noticed is that Amerasia only seems to have reviews on gmatclub, and I am wondering why it doesnt have reviews elsewhere like Stacy Blackman. Candid feedback appreciated. Really interested in things like responsiveness, insights.

Thanks!

Hello aq25, I am an admissions consultant, and I run Master Admissions, a boutique firm. I was asked by Andy from WSO to start a thread here a few months ago because I have a lot of experience in the investment industry-- it's called Q& A with Betsy Massar of Master Admissions. I don't have a marketing staff, so I am not as widely known as some of my peers, but I would be honored if you take a look my information and my responses as a member of the WSO community. I am also happy to talk with you on the phone about services or about the admissions industry as well, which is mostly, but not entirely, composed of ethical people who really want to help prospective candidates get into the very best school possible.

Like my peers, I'll give you a free consultation, as a number of other monkeys here know. I prefer to do it on the phone, so I can get a sense of who you are and whether we might click. Fit with any consultant, as well as with a business school, is paramount.

I have a few reviews on GMAT club -- but I haven't "worked" it over there. I think the system now requires that consultants pay for a thread over there -- so bear that in mind.

I recommend everyone do what others on this board have recommended -- check out the person who is going to be working directly with you. That will be your closest relationship, and it has to work for you, as it is your investment.

As for fees -- well, it really depends on how you want to do it. Most firms have hourly pricing, and you can pace that way if you want. Others have essay-by-essay pricing, which may work for you too. It's really all about ROI for you in terms of both money and time.

Any way, I do what I do because I love it. I do what I can to help someone feel great about the process, as unsettling as it can be. I'm here at WSO for similar reasons. I also want to dispel myths about the process where I can and give you resources so you don't have to speculate so much about the do's and don'ts.

I do answer PM's, and am happy to help those who don't want to show all their cards to the whole web. Fair enough. In exchange, I hope you will at least ask one of your questions on my thread, so everyone else can benefit from your query.

So as we progress forward to the first-round deadlines -- 79 days until HBS! -- let me know if I can help.

Good luck to everyone who is applying!

Betsy

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-w-betsy-massar-of-master-admissions
Ask away!
  • 1
Dec 3, 2012 - 3:08am

pr0ficient:
I used Adam at Amerasia. I thought he was worth every penny.

You should schedule an initial consultation with both, see who impresses you the most and then make a decision.

Shoot me a PM if you have any specific questions about Adam/Amerasia. I'd be happy to chat with you about it.

I was planning on a consulting from alex from amerasia .Please can you comment how good are they ? s it worth $2100 per school and the time they give you and whether they help you get in ?

Jul 7, 2016 - 5:14pm

Admission consultants - reliable reviews (Originally Posted: 01/03/2015)

All,

This question must have been posted quite a few times already, but most topics on this subject seem a bit outdated. Did any of you use an admission consultant for MBA applications? I am currently trying to find a good and reliable consultant, but all admission consultants on GMATClub get either 4.9 or 5.0 as a score - not a very valuable indicator to me. Moreover, if somebody opens a topic about a specific admission consultant, all of a sudden 4-5 very positive reviews pop up by people who -coincidentally - only have 1 or 2 posts. In conclusion, most reviews seem to be incredibly unreliable.

Preferably from already existing members - did you use an admission consultant? If so, what firm and what did you think about them?

Thanks!

Jul 7, 2016 - 5:41pm

MBA Admission Consultants (Originally Posted: 06/12/2013)

What are everyone's thoughts on hiring an MBA consultant to help with the admissions process? What companies have the best reputation? If an applicant did go forward with one, how far in advance should one reach out?

Appreciate any feedback. Thanks in advance.

Dec 18, 2012 - 2:42pm

I worked with Deena and got in to Columbia, Wharton, and HBS - the only three programs I applied. I couldn't recommend the company highly enough. Trust me, after looking around (see my post above), they are worth the extra cost vs. some discount admissions consulting firms.

Jul 7, 2016 - 5:56pm

Can anyone recommend an MBA admissions consultant? (Originally Posted: 06/10/2015)

Has anyone worked with an MBA admissions consultant? The prices seem very expensive. I was looking at MBA Mission and the prices are Complete Start-to-Finish Package²
Get Started One-School Package: $4,100
Multi-School Complete Start-to-Finish Packages³
Get Started Two-School Package: $5,350 - Save $250
Get Started Three-School Package: $6,600 - Save $500
Get Started Four-School Package: $7,850 - Save $750
Get Started Five-School Package: $9,000 - Save $1,100
Get Started Six-School Package: $10,150 - Save $1,450
Get Started Seven-School Package: $11,100 - Save $2,000

Has anyone worked with someone they could recommend and would be cheaper? Thanks

Oct 16, 2013 - 2:02pm

^ I checked Clear Admit and I don't see Deena, so I think she left to do something else.

I also had a good initial call with Clear Admit and a not-so-great call with Stacy Blackman. But I recently spoke with a friend who had a great experience with a Stacy Blackman consultant and mentioned that it's the individual consultant (not the consultancy) that matters and suggested I reach out to the SB consultant he used. I trust his experience was positive, but the mixed reviews on SB does make me a bit uneasy.

I was wondering if anyone has had a good SB experience? And if so, who with? And for bad experiences, well, I'm not asking for divulgence of their names, but maybe very high level b/g (were they previously in admissions or were they relative newbies - like recent MBA grads).

The impression I get is they (SB) hire a lot of consultants and the quality really varies (just like the mixed reviews) with who you get - either someone who was previously an admissions professional at a top b-school, or some recent MBA grads.

Oct 17, 2013 - 9:23am

Yuo basically answered the question yourself - experience absolutely depends on who you work with. On that note, I think you have to do two things to give yourself the best chance of having a good experience with a consultant: 1) Get a referral from someone who had a very positive experience (not just okay, they cost too much money and there are too many out there to settle); and 2) Talk to the multiple times to make sure you connect and trust them.

I was pretty set on using a consultant for applications this year. Among other things, I have a pretty weak GPA ,and knew that execution would be huge, but more importantly, I had a lot of stories that I wanted to figure out how to get into each app. I ended up talking to maybe 10 different consultants until I found one I liked. The first few I talked to were just random sign ups, and to put it bluntly, I was not impressed by any of them. After that, I got specific names from friends in bschool, and ended up talking to a few of them before making my decision. The one I ended up going with already had glowing reviews from friends, but also seriously impressed me when I talked to her.

Having just completed five R1 apps, she was nothing short of a superstar. We'll see if I get in anywhere, but if I don't, I very much think that she helped me present myself in the best way possible.

I don't think there's a standard background that makes the best consultant (again, I've only worked with one). The best consultants are going to have a good udnerstanding of the process, which is not rocket science, but more importantly, will actually know you. As opposed to an essay editor (also an important skill that many have), they will actually look at an essay and steer you in a different direction based on their knowledge of your experience and goals. I can go on for a while about this, but I know for fact that my essays would have been significantly worse if I hadn't used a consultant.

Jul 7, 2016 - 6:08pm

Are Admissions Consultants Worth It? How Did You Choose Who To Work With? (Originally Posted: 04/25/2013)

I'm 25 years old, currently a mechanical engineer at a small (~30 person) manufacturing firm. I received my undergrad in engineering and economics from a non-target public university with a 3.02 GPA.

I'm looking to transition into finance, particularly investment banking and/or private equity.

I don't want to get into the details of my position too much because I don't think it's extremely relevant, but because of the uniqueness of my situation I was considering hiring an admissions consultant to work with me. I'm about a year and a half from applying (I'd like to apply next fall to start in 2015).

I was just wondering if anyone has used admissions consultants here before. Are they worth it? How did you decide which one to go with? Did they help you with anything aside from solely preparing your application? How far in advance did you start working with them?

I'm taking the CFA on June 1st, so after that I'll probably start looking into this in a lot more detail, but I figured I'd start looking around just a little bit right now. Any help is appreciated!

Oct 17, 2013 - 9:35am

Non target with average credentials got into a hsw. Couldn't have done it without sandy. Changed the topic of one essay completely and changed the focus of the other. Insights were definitely worth the $.

Jul 7, 2016 - 6:12pm

Need opinion - Admission consultants!! (Originally Posted: 06/26/2014)

Hi all,

I'm applying to some MBA programs this year and am considering using an admissions consultant. I've narrowed it down to two consultants: DreamMBA and Admissionado. Does anyone have any experience with either? I'd really like to get some honest feedback on both.

One thing I noticed is that Admissionado only seems to have reviews on gmatclub (which seem to be basically fake) , and I am wondering why it doesnt have reviews elsewhere. Can did feedback appreciated. Really interested in things like responsiveness, insights.

Thanks!

Oct 17, 2013 - 9:52am

AnalyzeThat, would you mind sharing what you consider were "average credentials" to get into HSW. Or if you're not comfortable with that, maybe we can discuss via PM?

I've considered using Sandy/HBSGuru but I tried emailing him before and never got a response. He's also pretty blunt - which I suppose is refreshing, but it also made me a bit apprehensive. I don't plan on applying to H/S but I might apply to Wharton and some of the other schools, so I wonder if I should be using Sandy.

Oct 20, 2013 - 3:15am

I've always been very suspicious of bschool consultants and their business model in general. It seems like they're only going to work with people who already have a good shot of getting into their target programs and/or they'll steer you towards programs that you already have a good shot at (they'll present programs as reaches that are, in reality, sure things), in order to improve their success rates. Also, their writing is usually subpar. That being said, I can see them being potentially useful for the marginal candidate, who has the right qualifications, but truly needs the guidance due to that candidate's inexperience. Is it worth the price tag? Probably not, even for that marginal candidate (most of the stuff you're paying for is readily available for free on sites such as this one), but it may be if you need the guidance to get into H/W/S.

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
Jul 7, 2016 - 6:31pm

Admissions Consultants (Originally Posted: 01/17/2008)

Does anyone have experience with an admissions consulting company that they care to share? Any recommendations on who to use or if they are worth the cost? Please feel free to send me a PM if you would rather keep this information private. Thanks!

Dec 20, 2013 - 10:31am

Esuric:

I've always been very suspicious of bschool consultants and their business model in general. It seems like they're only going to work with people who already have a good shot of getting into their target programs and/or they'll steer you towards programs that you already have a good shot at (they'll present programs as reaches that are, in reality, sure things), in order to improve their success rates. Also, their writing is usually subpar. That being said, I can see them being potentially useful for the marginal candidate, who has the right qualifications, but truly needs the guidance due to that candidate's inexperience. Is it worth the price tag? Probably not, even for that marginal candidate (most of the stuff you're paying for is readily available for free on sites such as this one), but it may be if you need the guidance to get into H/W/S.

I think gmatkoopa more or less described it. A consultant can't work miracles (seriously, those SBC 1-time posters are really misrepresenting things), they can only help you collect your thoughts and approach so to present yourself as best as possible as you are.

As for whether it's worth the price tag or not... I don't think a consultant is needed if the applicant is diligent and has been reading bschool stuff for many months and can self-motivate themselves. To each their own. I think a consultant is useful when you have little time to go through those blogs which is like information overkill and noise, or need someone to help center your thoughts, improve the impact of your essays (tell you when you're actually 'answering' the question or getting the point of the essay). A consultant is not necessary, but can be quite helpful for certain people looking for the guidance.

Lastly on underselling someone's shot - that could be a matter of being more conservative in their analysis. It's hard to say anyone is a sure thing. There have been people who have gotten H/W interviews but get dinged at a lower ranked school. But what I did was I took up a bunch of free initial assessments with the usual suspects and got their opinion to see what each said, even Sandy at HBSGuru who is suppose to be more blunt. Then I used all of that and what I read to make my own judgment call on what are reaches and targets.

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:11am

I would definitely go with Sandy K and not Stacy Blackman. Sandy K is very upfront which I think is good for an admission consultant.

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:12am

Business School Consultants (Originally Posted: 07/08/2015)

I could not find much using the search function. Does anyone have any personal experience or second-hand experience dealing with the likes of Stacey Blackman, Clear Admit, Expartus, Accepted, The MBA Exchange, or MBAMission? Any information would be helpful.

Thanks.

Play the long game - give back, help out, mentor - just don't ever forget where you came from. #Bootstrapped
Sep 11, 2017 - 2:13am

I can't comment about Stacy Blackman but I used ClearAdmit and a couple others and found them useful only if you need someone to structure your deliverables and meet deadlines. As far as input, especially the essays, they were all pretty useless and at times seemed to recycle stuff found in popular B-School Application books. I would save the money

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:14am

Agreed with the above, save the money. I hired Expartus for the full 2 school package ($5K) - not only did i get rejected from both schools without interview offers, but my consultant was also fairly non-responsive after we finished the first application. I understand MBA programs are difficult to get into, but for 5K I would have expected emails to be returned in under a week.

For reference: both schools were between #5 and #10 rankings. I currently work at a bulge bracket investment bank in NYC, with a 710 GMAT, 3.6 GPA, recommendations from my MD and VP, and a fairly significant amount of volunteer work.

AEKDB
Sep 11, 2017 - 2:17am

I used Square One Prep and recommend them highly. I got into two M7s and friends of mine also used them and all got into multiple M7/T10 schools

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:18am

Don't forget Sandy Kreisberg. Have only spoken to him on the phone but have heard from others that he does a great job.

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

Dec 19, 2013 - 8:02pm

lol @johnsmith12345

How obvious is that?

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
Sep 11, 2017 - 2:21am

Non-target here. Thank you for posting your story; keeps us motivated. I think there are going to be a few nay-sayers here -- stupid HS kids who will say that your story is made up. Any way you can get a star to add credibility?

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:23am

Congrats

When you joined the buyside, how did you describe your Big 4 experience? Do you find your work from Big 4 to be relevant? How did you find the headhunter to work with?

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:24am

When you were interviewing with the HF / headhunter did you say you were interested in working at a HF or just 'buy-side'? I would think if you just said 'buyside' they would blow you off as someone who was just interested in getting out of audit as opposed to getting into something specific (HF, PE, etc.) This is at least the case in my experience

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:26am

How much experience did you have with valuation and equity research prior to your interview? Was this something that you were doing on your own already, and were able to pitch some ideas - or were they just looking to see how adept you were with accounting?

What were some of the things you had listed on your resume that you think distinguished you from others. Was there a specific project that kept coming up during the interview?

I'm just trying to get a feel for how you leveraged your audit experience.

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:27am

How did you land a buy side gig from audit? When they asked technical questions, were you able to answer them or did they stick to fit type due to your background? I guess I just dont understand how the transition would work since they seem like totally different positions.

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."
Sep 11, 2017 - 2:29am

What kind of positions did the headhunters tell you about when you were in Audit? Was it mainly F500 companies, and also was it mostly pure accounting, or were there positions in FP&A, Treasury, Investor relations etc?

Do you think Big 4 is a better option than a FLDP at a large F100 company if the goal is to become a manager/director in Corp Fin, in more of FP&A, Treasury rather than controllership, or SEC reporting.

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:30am

Thanks for making yourself available for questions. Your LinkedIn strategy is genius - that is the answer to the first problem of getting the interview as an auditor. As for the second step of acing the interview, what did you say to convince them to hire an auditor? Did you try to leverage your limited TAS experience?

Great post - FYI I posted a link to this in my group Big 4 Accounting.

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:31am

Which group within PwC TAS or Deloitte FAS would you say will help the most in trying to get onto the buyside? Also what's the current strategy/role at your firm right now? Ever consider the CFA in addition with your CPA?

I think I'm one of the few people that would be willing to read your 10,000 word post about your experience btw.

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:39am

I have an offer at a conservative Fortune 100 insurance company in product management and another as a consultant for a company that provides financial software to buy side firms (Reuters, Fact Set, Bloomberg) .

In your opinion, which would lead to better opportunities down the road to break into the buy-side?

"Don't let making a living prevent you from making a life." John R. Wooden
Sep 11, 2017 - 2:44am

Thanks so much for making yourself available. Similar to your background, I started out in big4 in Hong Kong 3 years ago, after graduating from a top public school in the Midwest. About 4 months ago, I moved to a transaction service role in another big4 firm.

Currently I am looking to jump into IBD or a F500 corporate development role. I have also started preparing for the GMAT, in case things do not work out and I will have to go back to business school.

My question is
1. I understand how I can leverage my experience in dealing with financial statements, i.e. their footnotes, proforma adjustments. but how did you address you knowledge on modeling, valuations, as well as specific industry experience (e.g. If the buy-side firm are TMT-focused, while your audit experience was with industrials)
2. In your opinion, what set you apart from other big4 staff that wanna make the move as well?
3. In my situation, do you think I should continue to network and try to break in, or go for business school earlier ?

Thanks

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:49am

+1. Thanks.

I'll be joining a big 4 out of NYC next fall (PwC/Deloitte)... Looking for your insight as to whether or not your area of practice within Audit helped at all. I'm looking to be either in Banking/Capital Markets or Private Equity space within Audit, as I feel while it will still be Audit, I can at least touch some Finance, albeit in a small capacity. What were your type of clients within Audit, and did you find this to positively or negatively impact you in anyway?

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:50am

From experience if I am an engineering major eventually could I make the transition into finance if I do not like engineering but have a degree in it? Thank you.

Mps721
Sep 11, 2017 - 2:52am

Did the headhunters/potential employers see value in your CPA? I know there are countless threads on whether there is value and what the buy-side thinks of the CPA.

EDIT: I think it's awesome that you made buy-side out of Big 4 Audit. Everyone is constantly saying "it can't be done"

Sep 11, 2017 - 2:54am

Also in additions to my previous question... Is there a pay difference salary/bonus between the groups in the Big 4? Do KPMG/Delloite Corporate Finance get a higher salary/bonus than tax/audit?

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