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Are MBA Admissions Consultants Worth It? When to Hire

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An MBA Admissions Consultant can help you get accepted into a leading business school. But is hiring one worth it? Or, more precisely, in what circumstances should you hire an MBA consultant?

Consider hiring a college admissions coach when applying to any of the top MBA programs. The best business schools are highly competitive. A consultant can improve your chances dramatically, especially if you find aspects of the process challenging or have gaps in your application.

Let’s explore the benefits of working with a consultant, factors to consider when making your decision, and tips on how to choose the right one. You should gain a clear understanding of whether an MBA admissions consultant is the right choice and how to find the best fit to maximize your chances of success.

Odds of MBA Acceptance

Getting accepted into a prestigious MBA program is tough. The acceptance rates for top 10 business schools range from 6-30%, so most applicants are rejected. Even those with strong qualifications face significant competition.

For example, Harvard Business School admitted 938 new MBA students in 2024 from 8,149 applications, an 11.5% acceptance rate. Stanford GSB has an acceptance rate of about 7%, admitting 431 students from 6,190 applicants recently.

Your odds improve with a strong application. High GMAT scores, a solid GPA, and relevant work experience are key. However, personal essays, recommendations, and interviews also matter. Admissions committees look for well-rounded individuals to contribute to their programs.

When Should You Hire an MBA Admissions Consultant?

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Working with an admissions consultant can be very helpful. The application process is long, complex, and stressful. Having someone in your corner can make a big difference. Few people get into top MBA programs on their own.

Certain groups benefit more from consultants. Consider hiring one if:

  1. You have a low GPA or GMAT score.
  2. You’re a non-native English speaker with a lower TOEFL score.
  3. Your target school is highly ranked, such as the M7 schools – Stanford GSB, Harvard Business School, Wharton (UPenn), Northwestern Kellogg, Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, or Columbia Business School.
  4. You have limited experience with application writing and storytelling.
  5. You need help to objectively articulate your strengths and experiences.
  6. You are facing tight deadlines.
  7. You have received rejections in previous application cycles.
  8. You require assistance in securing letters of recommendation from supervisors.
  9. You work in an industry that rarely sends employees to business school.
  10. You are significantly older or younger than the average applicant.
  11. You’re applying from an overrepresented field, like finance or consulting, and need to stand out.
  12. You want to maximise your chances of securing scholarships or financial aid.
  13. You have application red flags, like a criminal record or honor code violations.

If you fall into one of these categories, it’s not the end of the world! That’s exactly why admissions coaches exist – to help you find your way to your dream school.

Now, what if you don’t fit into one of the above categories? Most people will benefit from an admissions consultant in some way. However, an admissions consultant may not be worth it if you’re applying to non-competitive, online MBA programs. For example, Western Governors University offers an online MBA that accepts almost 100% of applicants. With acceptance rates that high, you don’t need a consultant to help you stand out.

What Does an MBA Admissions Consultant Do?

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An MBA consultant assists you throughout the admissions process. They answer your questions, provide insights and feedback on your application materials, help you meet deadlines, and increase your chances of getting into your desired schools. He or she acts as a mentor and partner—someone invested in your success.

Consultants offer a range of services. Some provide comprehensive support, covering everything from strategy to essays, letters of recommendation, resumes, and interview preparation. Others focus on specific aspects, like essay editing, interview prep, or scholarship applications.

A great thing about admission consultants is their flexibility. You can customize their services based on your needs. If you want guidance every step of the way, comprehensive support might be what you need. If you’re confident in your application but need help with specific parts, a temporary second pair of eyes might suffice.

Remember, MBA applications should focus on what’s best for you. An admissions consultant can be extremely helpful, but it’s okay if it’s not the right choice for you.

Your responsibilities

We’ve covered what an MBA admissions consultant can be. Now, it’s important to note what an MBA consultant is not: they are not responsible for filling out or writing any part of your application. They can and should provide invaluable guidance, but should not be doing any of the work for you.

Having someone else write any part of your application is the surest way to get rejected – don’t fall into that trap. Admissions committees can sniff out inauthenticity a mile away.

Related: MBA Essay Tips: 10 Essential Do’s and Don’ts

How Do I Pick the Right One?

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After deciding to work with an admissions consultant, the next step is choosing the right one. This decision depends on your background, budget, and specific needs. Here are five key factors to consider.

1. Services 

Consultants offer different services. Some provide comprehensive support, while others focus on specific parts of the application. Think about how much help you need.

The advantage about coaching marketplaces like Leland, versus more traditional firms like Stacy Blackman, is that you have more flexibility in your options. Comprehensive packages are not the only available offering – you can custom build the plan that is right for your needs.  

2. Experience 

Consider the consultant’s experience, including how long they have been helping applicants. There is a wide range of experience available, from recent admits and current students to alumni and former admissions committee members.

Consider factors such as:

  • Which programs have the consultant’s clients been admitted to?
  • What kind of reviews does the consultant have?
  • Do you prefer someone with admissions committee experience?

3. Cost 

Cost is another major factor. Former admissions officers are typically more expensive than current students or alumni but come with professional training. Students or alumni have more recent insight on campus offerings – both have their pros and cons.

The price of MBA admissions consultants can vary greatly depending on the factors listed here; but to give you a ballpark, take two examples. A comprehensive application package through Stacy Blackman Consulting will cost you anywhere from $7,000 to $18,500, depending on the number of schools you’re applying to. Hourly coaching through the same platform is listed at $395/hour. On the other hand, hourly coaching through Leland MBA coaches will cost somewhere between $60 to $350, depending on the experience level of the coach. Most comprehensive packages sit between $2000 to $10,000. 

Ultimately, understanding your resources and setting a budget beforehand will help you make the right decision for you. 

4. Specialization

Many consultants have educational or professional backgrounds that make them better suited to certain kinds of applicants. For example, if your target school is Stanford GSB, look for coaches who were on the admissions committee at Stanford or attended GSB themselves. If you’re from a consulting background, working with a coach who was a consultant or has specific experience helping consultants is a good strategy.

Some coaches also specialize in certain parts of the application. If you want help with essays, find a coach who’s an experienced writer/editor with strong communication skills. Again, as with everything in MBA admissions consulting, the right choice will come down to your unique background and application needs.

5. Rapport

Finding an admissions consultant is like finding a therapist. You’ll work with them for a significant amount of time, and the application process can be personal. Most applicants want to partner with someone they connect with. Ask yourself: will this person care about me and my application journey? Can I see myself chatting with them weekly for the next few months? If the answer is “yes,” you’ve found a winner.

If you decide MBA admissions consulting is for you, invest time in finding the right coach, especially for comprehensive support. Many sites offer free intro calls with potential coaches. Don’t hesitate to ask about their background and approach. Some questions include:

  • What got you interested in coaching?
  • What have you learned from your experience?
  • What will you tell me about my application that others won’t?
  • Is there anything you advise against in the application process?
  • What would our working relationship be like?

Who you work with is important. Be polite but firm, and be prepared to answer questions as well—a coach wants to know if you’re a good fit for them, too!


It’s estimated that around 30% of MBA applicants use consultants during their application process. This number is higher for those applying to top-tier business schools, where the competition is particularly intense.

The increasing popularity of MBA admissions consultants reflects their value in helping applicants enhance their profiles and navigate the complexities of the application process effectively.

The cost of MBA admissions consultants varies widely and depends on the type of service. Hourly services start at $60 at some firms and closer to $400 at others. Comprehensive packages can range from $2,000 to $20,000+, depending on the coach’s experience level, the consulting firm, and the number of schools.

MBA admissions consultants can be worth the investment for many applicants. They provide expert insights, personalized strategies, and support throughout the application process. This can significantly enhance an applicant’s chances of gaining admission to top business schools, which can lead to substantial long-term career and financial benefits.

Start by researching potential consultants and reading reviews from past clients. Look for consultants with a proven track record of success, relevant experience, and a communication style that matches your preferences. Schedule initial consultations to gauge their approach and compatibility with your goals.

It’s best to hire an MBA admissions consultant as early as possible in the application process. Early engagement allows for a more strategic approach, giving you ample time to refine your profile, craft compelling essays, and prepare for interviews.

However, consultants can also provide valuable assistance at later stages if you’re seeking targeted support.

The benefits of using an MBA admissions consultant include personalized guidance, expert insights into what top business schools are looking for, and structured support throughout the application process.

Consultants can help you present a cohesive and compelling narrative, avoid common pitfalls, and ultimately increase your chances of acceptance.

No, an MBA admissions consultant cannot guarantee admission to any business school. While they can significantly improve your application and provide valuable insights, admission decisions are ultimately made by the schools based on a variety of factors. A consultant’s role is to enhance your chances, not provide guarantees.

Many MBA admissions consultants offer free initial consultations. These sessions allow you to discuss your goals, ask questions, and assess whether the consultant’s services align with your needs.

Take advantage of these consultations to find the right fit and to understand how the consultant can help you achieve your MBA aspirations.

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This article was written by the team at Lerna Courses. Sometimes we find it most efficient to produce and update articles collectively rather than relying on a single author. Rest assured that this content has been at least double-checked by our capable researchers.

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