Yes, someone really asked us that.
First off – you do know that EssaySnark is an MBA admissions consultant, don’t you? That’s, like, what we call ourselves. (We know other people may call us other names, especially after they get our feedback returned in their inboxes.) Or why else did you pay money to us to ask our opinion about your candidacy for MBA admissions? Puzzling.
Here’s the actual question we got:
Should I hire a consultant ?: My recommenders don’t have any experience of writing recos for B schools. Even though they are exceptionally happy with my work, they don’t know how to go about it. She has even suggested that I should write one for myself and she would be happy to edit that and send it across. Then about the essay also, I have written something for all the schools I was thinking of applying to but then I don’t feel confident about it. Would a consultant help me weave a better story or even edit it and work her magic ? The thing is that the price for a school seems so huge. And, all these schools have different essays so I cant just use one essay in the other.
First of all: YOU CANNOT WRITE YOUR OWN LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION.
We’ve covered this before on the blahg (like, a lot) but we realize that we haven’t said it recently. So here it is:
DON’T WRITE YOUR OWN LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION.
Don’t even write them so that your recommender can edit them. All of that is a) unethical, b) against the rules, c) grounds for app rejection, or admission reversal, or expulsion from school if they didn’t catch it in time, and oh yeah, d) unethical.
Most schools this year introduced specific questions into the application, whereby you have to vow that you didn’t write the recs, and your recommenders have to also attest to the fact that they wrote them themselves. And adcoms have been known to call up a recommender and ask them point-blank: “Did you write this?” Don’t put your recommender in that position. Play by the rules, people.
If you’re seriously worried about how your recommenders will do with this task, then sign up for our Recommender’s Instruction Sets, which helps them to manage the workload and guides them through the process when you’re asking them to do multiple recommendations for you.
Next: An MBA admissions consultant cannot “work her magic” – because there is no magic. People who are admitted to a top bschool are those who work THEIR OWN magic – in other words, the ones who WORK.
In this process, as in so many in life, there is a direct correlation between the amount of effort expended and the results achieved. If you’re expecting to present a chunk o’ change to some admissions consultant and have them create a winning app for you somehow, well, you’re likely to be VERY disappointed.
Sure, there are plenty of consultants who will take your money – there’s even a sh!tload of unscrupulous companies out there that will write your essays for you. And you can drop a bucketfull of ducats (or rupees) in their hands if you want. But will it pan out for you?
Any admissions consultant worth her (or his) weight is going to prompt you to do the work. They’re going to support you in the process of figuring out what it is that you need from the MBA, and which schools are the best fit for you, given your specific background and those goals and interest. And they’ll hopefully prevent you from making a royal mess of yourself in what you say on the page.
A good admissions consultant – one who actually has a chance of helping you get in – is going to be more of a coach and advisor than anything.
At least, that’s how we roll around here, and it’s the way that the quality consultants we’ve worked with in the past do things.
There are a few out there (and lots others who aren’t).
But magic? Nah, nothing in this process has to do with magic. Hard work. Prep and polish. Maybe a little prayer.
It’s predictable, by and large, who gets in and who doesn’t. It’s what you have already done in the past that’s going to dictate those future results.
A consultant can DEFINITELY help – a qualified one.
But the magic needs to come from you.