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Admissions Consultants Find Wide-Spread Acceptance at Top MBA Programs, Poets & Quants Reports

Earlier this week, the new business school website PoetsandQuants published the first of a three-part series about the growing acceptance of admissions consultants by admissions offices at top-tier MBA programs. Entitled “Suddenly Cozy: MBA Admissions Consultants and Business Schools,” the article highlights the fact that vast numbers of applicants to the most prestigious schools employ the help of paid admissions consultants and that top schools, once skeptical and even disapproving, have begun to accept and even welcome the consultants themselves.

“The relationship between the top schools and the consultants has gone from chilly to positively cozy,” P&Q writes. Contributing to this shift are several factors, the article continued. “They know we’re not going away,” one admissions consultant told P&Q. In fact, admissions offices have increasingly begun to realize that consultants, viewed by many prospective applicants as a top source of information on MBA programs, often have a greater reach and wield more influence over who applies where than individual admissions offices themselves, P&Q writes.

Noting that up to a third of applicants to top-tier schools now use admissions consultants in preparing their MBA applications – and as many as one in every two applicants to Harvard, Stanford and Wharton – the article went on to describe the ways in which admissions offices have begun, quite literally, to warmly welcome admissions consultants into the application process.

Paid admissions consultants in recent years have found themselves privy to behind-the-scene tours, meetings with admissions directors and MBA deans and direct collaboration with admissions offices on a range of projects.

For example, for the past three years, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) has visited top MBA programs as part of its annual spring conference. Last spring, MIT Sloan and Harvard Business School hosted the AIGAC group and the consultants also met with admissions officers from Dartmouth, Yale and Duke. Columbia, New York University, Michigan and INSEAD even provided a glimpse of their actual admissions process, evaluating three hypothetical candidate profiles for the group, P&Q reports.

As part of the P&Q article, Clear Admit’s own Graham Richmond, the current president of AIGAC, discussed how the decision to form an association of admissions counselors grew out of a series of presentations he and others made to admissions officers. With the support and collaboration of admissions directors at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, AIGAC drafted a code of ethics that consultants pledge to follow to ensure that applications continue to be the work of the applicants themselves.

This kind of growing communication and collaboration between schools and admissions consultants has really helped eradicate misgivings admissions officers may have had in the past about the role of consultants in the admissions process.

So, too, has the reach of the consultants to prospective applicants, according to the P&Qarticle. The fact that the Clear Admit blog you are now reading is read by more than half a million unique visitors a year is not lost on the schools, who have begun to view admissions consultants as an efficient marketing tool to reach more people than they would going out on the road. Increasingly, schools’ communications offices reach out to us directly with news about their programs they want to share with prospective applicants. And according to a survey by AIGAC last year, consultants’ sites now rank third behind school websites and the BusinessWeek rankings as a source of information for MBA aspirants, P&Q reports.

For the complete Poets & Quants article, click here. And look for the second in this three-part series to air tomorrow, September 23rd.

Posted in: MBA News

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