“If you’re looking for an MBA consultant to apply to the most competitive programs, Karen is an excellent choice.   I had applied  – and been rejected – to six competitive MBA programs two years before I found Karen.  I first contacted her to review my unsuccessful applications and see where I might have gone wrong.  At the time, I knew it wasn’t my GMAT, and I thought perhaps I was just too old to be admissible.  Her review was extremely helpful, and I decided to both re-apply and work with her in the context of admissions consulting.  Based on my experience (and acceptance!), I cannot recommend Karen highly enough. 

To start, Karen is really easy to work with.  She’s responsive, generally quick with her replies, and good about setting and keeping appointments.  One might think these things are the basics, but a surprising number of consultants in high-demand fail at this.  Karen’s ability to keep organized and on top of things is strong, which provided much stress reduction in the process; I knew the weak link wouldn’t be her.

Beyond this, Karen is great at the core tasks of her job.  In crafting an application story and writing essays, I think most applicants are weak at either the content generation or in editing down to the word limit.  Karen is exceptional at both of these activities.  In terms of content generation, she has a deep and intimate knowledge of what admissions groups are looking for, she asks very thoughtful questions, and is simply an outstanding career counselor.  I have worked with several mentors in my career, and twice I have sought formal career counseling, and I felt like Karen did a better job than all of them at understanding what I wanted to achieve and matching me with potential career paths of which I was previously unaware.  Where I would present vague generalities about my own temperament, preferences, and aspirations, Karen would respond with concrete possibilities and options to consider.  I found our sessions extraordinarily helpful in the brainstorming part of essay writing.

Further, Karen is a bang-up editor .  She’s great at both making suggestions to distill content as well as the nitty gritty of striking frivolity from a thread (guilty here).  At times in the process I would send her what amounted to a prose grenade, and in reply I would generally receive concise and thoughtful responses, redirecting me to a more helpful line of discussion.  Several times since we worked together, I’ve wished I could hire her to edit other things I have written unrelated to MBA applications. 

Karen is really knowledgeable about the MBA admissions process and is also  interpersonally very insightful .  It is difficult to convey how useful this combination of skills was in the process, but it made a huge difference in a myriad of ways:  I considered programs that were a great match and to which I otherwise wouldn’t have applied; I removed aspects of my application which might have been perceived as reflecting “poor judgment”; I expressly included a downside of my candidacy I’d have preferred to gloss; I expounded on things I wouldn’t have emphasized; she coached me at times to make things more succinct, less theoretical, shorter, and even sexier.  She personally knew many of the recruiters and admissions personnel with whom I interacted and was able to provide tips on how to navigate specific interactions and interviews with them.  When I first applied to MBA programs, I had none of this insight, and I truly felt it made the difference into me getting in this time around.

Finally, Karen made a real difference in my application process by providing encouragement.  Several times I sent her some miserable draft or note of failure or expression of indecision, and she would reply with, “Hang in there” or “It’s not that bad.”  or even, “Ok, if you’re going to do the other thing, how?”  I did not appreciate until well into the process how much I really needed this.  A someone from a “non-traditional” background, I lacked people in my life who understood the effort, difficulty, competitiveness, or stress involved in applying to top MBA programs .  When I started the process, I knew I needed a coach, but I didn’t know I needed a cheerleader, and I found this to be the most surprisingly helpful aspect of working with Karen.

Karen is great and well worth the money.  I wish I’d found her two years before I did.”

North Star Admissions Consulting