Choose the right individual or company to guide you through the process of admission.

An MBA is a life-transforming experience. It is one of the most important investments of your life and the first step of your journey leading to the realisation of all your professional and personal aspirations. The stakes are high with fierce competition. The seats in top business schools are limited. Your mind is surrounded with doubts and hundreds of questions related to your candidacy.

In India, especially, the culture of education is such that the student is a dependent right from the school stage. Parents nurture and help him or her at every step, until the under graduation stage. In addition, there are counsellors, tutors, and helpful relatives and friends who advise on the best course of action.

Even after a few years of experience, at the MBA admissions stage, many young professionals are confused. They desire an MBA, for it means lateral placements, great hike in salary and an opportunity to explore a new career track. However, they are clueless about how to distinguish the unique aspects of their profile, what their post-MBA goals are, how to select the best fit MBA schools and how to approach the essays. Who can they seek when they have so many questions at this crucial juncture?

Mentor and guide

An MBA admissions coach is of crucial importance here. A coach, like a mother, will hand hold the aspirant every step of the way. Once an aspirant has made a firm decision regarding their MBA, the coach can help them follow a strict study plan for the GMAT and follow it through. Motivation is a key component crucial in the admissions process and right from the start, under the mentorship of a coach, a candidate can maintain their levels of motivation and charter progress periodically to ace the GMAT and enthusiastically prepare for the applications.

The coach also leverages his or her expertise and know-how of the admissions process to guide the applicants and help them develop their profile and submit winning applications to attract the attention of the admissions committees.

Specifically, here is how the coach will help:

You will realise your true goal because of the support and structure provided by your coach.

With objective and practical step-by-step coaching, you will realise the best strategy true to your independent profile.

You will brainstorm exhaustively with your coach to dig deep into your life and come up with your essay anecdotes which you will write and then work upon.

A coach can identify the areas of improvement in your personality which may pose a problem during the interview phase.

You will make your decisions regarding your college selection and you will be confident in them because you will have shared them with an objective listener.

Because of the clarity you will obtain through the coaching process, you will feel more confident and relaxed and thus be in a position to work upon your applications with more conviction. With coaching you will achieve small milestones. You will explore your full potential because of the level of accountability and commitment involved. So, it is never too early for hiring a coach.

How to find the best one?

Selecting the right coach is challenging especially in the face of the sheer numbers of service providers in the market. There are two main kinds of admissions consulting companies:

Boutique admissions consultants: The coaches work one on one with applicants and generally work with only a selected number of applicants every year.

Companies which offer admissions consulting: They train a large number of GMAT takers every season and with a strong sales team, convert many of their existing test preparation clients for the admissions consulting service.

A candidate can be spoilt forchoice especially with such a disparity in the quality and rates of services provided. Some people are naturally drawn to the more popular companies in the industry simply because of their easy approachability and omnipresence. In their mind, they relate this to admissions success. Other applicants seek smaller outfits, boutique admissions coaches if you like, which pledge personalised attention.

Guidelines

Following a few simple guidelines can help you choose on the right person to help you with the applications:

Research on different admission consulting companies to find which suits you the best. Every company has a different work methodology and you need to figure out which one will give you the best value in terms of strategising on your candidature and help you with the application essays writing and polishing.

Insist on speaking to the person who will be working directly with you. Ask them to clearly define how they will help, their qualifications, expertise, experience and success rate.

If you choose a bigger company, it is highly probable that application consultants or MBA essay writers are hired on a freelance basis. There might be inconsistency with respect to the level of expertise, and to avoid being stuck with a relatively raw coach, insist on getting all details of the consultant you are assigned to. Also ask if you will be dealing with only one person for all the applications, essays and interviews help.

Make sure that you connect with your coach. Pay close attention to the way your prospective coach deals with you. Are they easily accessible, empathetic, prompt and quick to respond? Pay close attention to your gut instinct. Mostly, it is right! If you have doubts about your prospective coach’s ability, look elsewhere.

More than the price you are paying for the service, consider the value you will get in return. Saving a couple of thousand rupees will not help you at all if you do not achieve your goals.

The writer is an Admissions coach and author of ‘Destination MBA: Showing You How To Get There!’