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The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

My background – consulting at BCG for 3 years, former member of Nomura’s corporate strategy team, typical IIT engineer profile, average CGPA (7.7) and GMAT (730) — made me wary about applying to top tier MBA programs. Now, having been admitted to both Haas and Wharton, I really see the benefit of The Red Pen’s structured approach, perspective, services and networks.

I had heard about The Red Pen from my friend who had a similar profile and had been accepted to Columbia Business School. When I spoke to them, what really stood out for me was how they support candidates at every stage of the application process. Their onboarding session helped me examine loose ends in my thinking and stories and laid a solid foundation for my business school application.

The multiple reviews of my essay drafts by multiple consultants were useful and unique in my experience. We practiced for my interviews with Booth and Haas in Round 1, and Stanford and Wharton in Round 2. Their feedback helped me reflect on my strengths and weaknesses and gave me the confidence to project my opinions during the interview.

My lead consultant put me in touch with an alumnus at Stanford before I started the process and at Booth before my interview. Additionally, I had the opportunity to attend an information session organized by TRP with an admissions officer from Columbia Business School in Mumbai. All of these interactions were invaluable in increasing my understanding of these schools and what they were looking for!

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The fundamental role of independent educational consultants is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?