(If you’re just looking for current MBA Admissions Consulting rates, you’re welcome to click here, but I strongly encourage you to read the rest of this page before you think about hiring us. Your call, though.)

If you’ve read through our website already, you probably realize that we’re a little bit contrarian about everything. Charles has spent nearly two decades helping students get into top MBA programs, and we’re convinced that the most successful MBA applications are painfully honest, incredibly clear, and maybe a little bit unorthodox.

If you’re chasing an elite MBA, the admissions process is unbelievably competitive, and your odds of success will be enhanced if you can find creative ways present yourself as an unusual and compelling candidate.

If you’re looking for a standard, impersonal, one-size-fits-all approach to MBA admissions consulting, then you’re probably not in the right place. But if you want an approach that’s interesting, energetic, independent, and – most importantly! – honest, then you might want to keep reading.

Creating your MBA application “sound byte”

There’s a ton of noise out there when it comes to business school applications, but the success of your MBA application will come down to one thing: what will the admissions committee remember about you?

Imagine that the admissions committee of your first-choice business school is sitting at a long table, with a massive stack of MBA applications in front of them. If you’re applying to an elite MBA program, it’s possible that the poor slobs at that table have seen literally thousands of applications over the past few months, and odds are good that the admissions committee members are skimming applications as quickly as they reasonably can.

When the bleary-eyed admissions officers pull your application from the stack, they’ll say, “Oh yeah, this guy. I remember him. He’s the guy who ________!”

And here’s the big question: what, exactly, will appear in that blank? Will the admissions officer’s voice trail off, since you didn’t say anything memorable in your application? Or will there be a nice, crisp, memorable sound byte, which succinctly explains why you’ll be awesome in business school and beyond?

As an applicant, your job is to make sure that your MBA admissions “sound byte” is special — or at least as special as you can possibly make it. As MBA admissions consultants, we take a holistic, big-picture approach to your application. You’re not just trying to answer individual essay questions when you write an MBA application: you’re trying to make a clear and memorable marketing statement.

As we begin to work on your applications, we always focus on giving overworked admissions committee members a powerful, compact picture of who you are as a future business leader. Yes, it’s important to write polished, compelling essays, and it’s always wise to make sure that every detail of your resume is written correctly. But unless you’re clear about your overall message as a candidate, it will be incredibly difficult to maximize your potential as an MBA applicant.

MBA program selection

Since you’re reading about MBA admissions consulting right now, visions of HBS and Stanford acceptance letters might already be dancing through your head. And maybe you have a great chance of getting into those programs — or at least enough of a chance to make an application worthwhile.

But the business school application process is incredibly exhausting, and — if we’re being realistic — there’s a limit to how many MBA programs you can apply to. Sure, if you could clap your hands and apply to every top-15 MBA program in the world without exerting any extra effort, you would probably do so.

But once we exit MBA application fantasyland, you have some difficult choices to make. How much effort should you put into applying to “reach” schools? Should you apply to a “backup” school, and if so, which one? Should you consider applying to two or three “backup” schools? Is there an MBA program that offers a specialization (marketing, health care, entrepreneurship, media, sports business, etc.) that you should consider, even if that particular MBA program might not otherwise be the sexiest choice?

If you’re struggling to cut through the business school noise, we’ll help you to select a balanced group of target schools that suits your professional, personal, and geographic goals. And we’ll be brutally honest about your odds of admission, even if that honesty is not necessarily what you’d hear from others in our line of work.

There are few guarantees in the MBA application world, and even the best MBA admissions consultants are often pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised by their clients’ results in the application process. But we’ll do everything we can to give you a realistic idea of your chances at your target schools. Our job isn’t to sugar-coat reality and inflate your ego; we’re here to give you the best possible chance at admission to an MBA program that will actually fit your career and life goals. And for almost every applicant, that process begins with a very honest look at your profile and your list of target schools.

Once we’ve agreed on your ideal list of MBA programs, then we can dive into process of making your marketing message shine in your essays.

Which brings us to the fun part…

MBA application essays

First of all, let’s get this out of the way: we won’t write your MBA applications for you. If you’re looking for that sort of thing, call somebody else. It’s your name on the application, and the essays will be your work, in your voice. We’re just here to help you make your essays as brilliant, vivid, and flattering as possible.

After helping clients with their MBA applications for more than a decade, we can offer you some good news: most of your competitors are writing overwrought, nondescript, generic essays that sound like the most boring cover letters you’ve ever seen. But we also have some bad news: your essays might also sound like the most boring cover letters you’ve ever seen.

Your MBA essays need to be strong, bold, passionate, and interesting. You can’t waste the admission committee’s time with long, introspective diatribes that are jammed with pretentious GRE vocabulary. You have to be clear about who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and where you’re heading in life — and ideally, your essays should be energetic, conversational, and likable.

In other words: the admissions committee is filled with human beings, and they appreciate a good, entertaining story, just like anybody else.

If you write boring, generic essays that sound like desperately constipated cover letters, you certainly won’t get the admissions committee’s attention. Sure, your profile might be strong enough to get you in regardless of your essays, but if you’re like most MBA applicants, you could probably use every advantage you can get, no matter how small. Making yourself sound like a lively, likable, entertaining human being can enhance your candidacy immeasurably.

Again, your goal isn’t simply to answer the questions that appear in your MBA applications. Your goal is to present yourself as a compelling, successful future business leader. Throughout the entire process, we’ll stay focused on your overall message and on the overall tone of your essays. If we can position you as a fascinating, magnetic personality — while presenting a crystal-clear argument about your potential for success in the business world — then your odds of admission will increase substantially.

How the MBA admissions consulting process works

Generally speaking, our first step is to schedule a session (usually two hours, depending on the candidate) to discuss your goals and craft an overall strategy for your MBA applications. By the end of our first meeting, you’ll hopefully leave with a clear MBA admissions “sound byte,” a strong overall marketing message, a specific list of schools to target, and rough outlines of the topics for your first batch of essays.

As we move forward through the process, you’re free to decide how much — or how little — assistance you want. Many of our MBA applicants meet with a consultant every week or so during admissions season to discuss their essay drafts; others prefer to meet only when they have specific questions about their overall message, and others want a consultant by their side throughout the entire process. If you need a ridiculously detail-oriented editor, we have a talented “writing buddy” on staff who can fine-tune the grammar and punctuation on your essays and resume, and we can arrange mock MBA interviews if you need help with that part of the process.

But if you just need a little bit of help getting yourself pointed in the right direction, we’re also happy to give you a few hours of big-picture marketing advice, and let you handle the rest on your own.

How we’re different

Unlike most MBA admissions consultants, we don’t offer MBA application “packages.” All of our MBA admissions services — including MBA essay editing, resume editing, school selection, discussions about your overall strategy, interview coaching, and mock interviews — are priced at a flat rate per hour. It simply isn’t fair to charge you several thousand dollars per application if you don’t need several thousand dollars’ worth of assistance, so we charge you only for the services that you actually use.

More importantly, we’re not afraid to take risks, explore creative ideas, and find unusual ways to make you stand out from the rest of the MBA applicant herd. Our first priority is to position you as an outstanding future business leader who will be a perfect fit for your target MBA programs, and we definitely need to ensure that your career trajectory is presented in a clear, coherent, and impactful way.

But if your odds of admissions will be enhanced by a brilliant “curveball” essay — on, for example, your recovery from a brain parasite, how your Fu Manchu mustache brought your work team together, your ability to eat a 20-scoop Vermonster sundae, why you wear your “fat pants” to work on Wednesdays, or the time when your parents forced you to marry a coconut in a religious ceremony — then we’ll make sure that your “curveball” essay is the best it can possibly be. (And yes, those are real examples from our clients, all of whom were admitted to elite MBA programs.)

There are dozens of admissions consultants out there, and some of them are absolutely phenomenal. But if you want to inject some creativity, flexibility, and unorthodoxy into your MBA application process, then we might be the right choice for you.

A full rundown of our admissions consulting rates and policies can be found here, and you might want to check out our FAQ page for more information on how our MBA admissions consulting services work. Or feel free to contact us if you questions about your specific situation.

Thank you for reading this far, and good luck with your MBA applications!