Services & Prices

 

FROM SCRATCH EDITING — $2800 (yup, per school)

Our plan for ultra-devoted types who want to maximize their chances for their Number 1 choice school. We give you a really no-bull discussion which includes your chances, what you might do to improve your application, and what schools are maybe better choices. That is actually free, and you can get that by sending us a resume and outlining age, stats, etc. Or calling us at 617.354.2242, but beginning w. an e-mail is better.

If you want to go ahead, we will outline what you have to do, essay by essay, and suggest how best to present yourself.

Then we will have you write your essays and go back and continue to bug you for improvements based on more and better details, better lessons, better mastery of the narrative, more shrewd goals and reasons for attending your dream school, etc. etc.

That is a back-and-forth process by email (especially after things have gotten started) and phone (in the beginning), which often takes about 3-6 iterations per essay (sometimes more, but that usually means trouble!!, but we stick with you). We also will review your recommendations, if you have access to them, and suggest tweaks in terms of details, etc. In some cases, applicants send us other parts of short answer questions, and in some cases, applicants ask us what their favorite hobby is, or what what gender they are (some people become very dependent on working with a consultant, not a good thing, and we try to wean you away from that, if in real doubt about your gender, put down FEMALE, if under-going a sex-change operation, apply to Stanford and write about it).

Who should sign up for From Scratch Editing ? Ultra dedicated, plan-ahead types who have absolutely dreamed of going to HBS, Wharton or Stanford their entire lives and just cannot wait to get going. Are you like this client?

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ONE-TIME SANITY CHECK — $900.00 PER SCHOOL

If you email us your entire application including the essays, data sheet, recs (if you have them), and resume:

  • We will go through each question, appraise its strengths and weaknesses, point out key mistakes, make suggestions for improvement [or deletion] and figure out a better spin;
  • We will also give you ‘macro’ advice about positioning, the proper balance of work versus non-work content, the proper ‘voice’ to use given you ‘positioning’ strategies.
  • We will also go through your resume and other materials looking for ‘hidden’ assets–many winner essays, especially for HBS, can be developed from neglected nuggets in your resume, or casual phone remarks (“Oh yeah, well I did supervise a Girl Scout cookie drive with 40 girls and we sold 1,000 boxes of cookies, is that leadership?”)
  • We will put it all together, your positioning, your voice, specifics about each question, suggestions for better answers.
  • First, we will send you an e-mail outlining all the above, macro and micro issues, and then we will follow this up with a brainstorming phone call where we will go over each question in your draft, note the issues above, and figure out how to improve that question in your first draft, or suggest killing that response for something else.

WHY DO WE CALL THIS THE “ONE-TIME” SANITY CHECK OPTION

If you have completed a new application for Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and other schools, we quickly give you an up or down appraisal, plus tips for reworking answers, macro suggestions, and–if it is very close to when the application is due–some REAL HONEST advice about whether you should defer and hit a later round. IT IS CALLED THE ‘ONE-TIME’ SANITY CHECK BECAUSE AFTER WE GO THROUGH APPLICATION ONE -TIME AND TALK TO YOU ON THE PHONE, THE SERVICE IS OVER. Some people call this the one-night stand option, because you don’t get another date.

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THE DING REPORT — $900.00

Help I was dinged at HBS/S/W and it hurts and I want to know why? If you send us your stats, essays and recs, we will go thru the whole package with you, by e-mail and on the phone, tell you what we think your shortcomings were, make suggestions for improvement, and suggest both action and repositioning strategies for next time, plus give you a realistic and brutally honest rap on what we think your chances are, where you should apply, etc. –Amazing.

WHAT DOES A DING REPORT LOOK LIKE???

DING REPORT SAMPLE

The below is the text of ding report for a Wharton application, which includes a headnote,and then running commentaries and endnotes to each question. This is sent to you after a review of the application you send us. Then you get a chance to ask questions about our notes by email, and then we can talk by phone to go over remaining questions and advice for next year.

The text below is only my comments, and the questions. The actual text of the essay has been omitted for privacy reasons, but you can get a real good idea of how this kid screwed himself by just reading my comments.

HEADNOTE:

SEE NOTES AND MILD INSULTS IN THE MIDDLE OF ESSAYS AND AT THE END. ESP. IN ESSAY ONE, WHICH WAS KEY.

THAT ESSAY WAS PROBL. ONE OF YOUR BETTER ONES, AND THAT ONE, AS NOTES SHOW, IS DEEPLY FLAWED. OTHERS RANGE FROM ODD (5) TO UNDERCOOKED (6 AND 4) TO OFF THE POINT, SORTA, 2.

DING NO SURPRISE. NOT ENUF HERE TO DRIVE YOU IN, AND GOALS, WHY WHARTON, ACCOUNT OF INFLUENCES, ALL SERIOUSLY FLAWED, UNDER-REPORTED, STUFF ABOUT WHY MBA, WHY NOW IS ONLY ADEQUATE AND CLICHE AND GENERALIZED EXPLANATIONS OF THINGS USED TOO OFTEN; NOTES HIGHLIGHT EXAMPLES

READ THIS OVER, AND IF QUESTIONS, EMAIL OR CALL, ALTHO I’LL BE TAKING CARE OF SOME MEDICAL STUFF TIL ABOUT APRIL 8TH OR SO, SO JUST LET THIS COOK AND GET BACK TO ME AFTER THAT.

LOOKING FORWARD, ALL THIS COULD BE EASILY IMPROVED ONCE YOU GET USED TO EXPLAINING THINGS FULLY, GIVING BETTER CONTEXT, FLESHING OUT GOALS AND INFLUENCES, ETC. ETC. ETC. STORY IS FINE, EXPERIENCES ARE OK, IT WAS JUST A MATTER OF EXECUTION.

GET THEIR FEEDBACK AND LET ME KNOW WHAT IT IS, ALTHO IT WILL TRACK, IN MUCH LESS DETAIL, AND W. SOME DIMNESS, WHAT I REPORT BELOW, WHICH BASICALLY IS THE ANSWER, ESP. COMMENTS ON FIRST ESSAY. ALTHO REST DID NOT ADD TO YOUR SCORE EITHER. STATS ETC ARE GOOD,BUT

YOU WERE NOT CLOSE THIS YEAR, IMHO, AND WENT INTO INTERVIEW ALMOST, IF NOT IN FACT, DEAD MEAT.AROUND TMRW, SO EMAIL ANY SUPER PRESSING ISSUE. IF NOT LET’S TALK IN MID APRIL. SK

ESSAY ONE:

Essay Question 1: Taking two years to pursue an MBA requires a considerable investment of time and resources. Please describe the path leading to your decision to pursue a Wharton MBA now. How do you expect the MBA experience to benefit you on both a professional and personal level? (1,000 words) For reapplicants, please replace this essay with the reapplication essay, below.

ESSAY ONE –READING NOTES

?????AHEM, ABRUPT AND OFFPUTTING INTRO OF THIS IDEA. CONTEXT OF WHERE THIS IS HAPPENING, WHEN, AND WHAT COMPANY IS ULCEAR, AS ARE DETAILS OF WHO THOSE DIVERSE CULTURES WERE. WHEN, WHERE

AS A SUMMARY OF PRE-GRAD SCHOOL WORK HISTORY, ABOVE IS MIDLY UNCLEAR ON BIG ISSUES OF INFLUENCES, AND ANNOYING UNCLEAR ABOUT DATES, NAMES ETC. WHICH I SPPZE WE COULD LIVE W. BUT ANNOYING.

HUH, WASNT THAT WHAT YOU WERE DOING BEFORE, SOUNDS LIKE AN EMPTY CLICHE DUNNO, ALL THE ABOVE IS HALFWAY BETWEEN SOMETHING GOOD AND A RESUME DUMP.

HUH?????????

DUNNO, ABOVE IS SORTA HALF WAY BETWEEN A RESUME DUMP AND A GOOD ACCOUNT OF HOW FINANCE OF WHAT, WHEN, WHAT DID YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT IS SO FRIGGIN HONEST ABOUT THAT ASSESSMENT, IT IS RATHER CLICHED AND DOES NOT SEEM TO GROW OUT OF WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, ALL THAT MUCH.

THIS IS LIKE A NEAR MISS, IT IS CLICHED, SORTA IMPERSONAL, NOT GROWING ENUF OUT OF STUFF WE HAVE HEARD ABOUT YOU IN ANY DETAIL, AND A LITTLE ROBOTIC. NEED TO BE A LITTLE MORE DETAILED ABOUT THAT, NAME ACTUAL JOBS. AND FUNCTIONS. THAT SEEMS A LEAP, AND WE ARE UNPREPARED FOR IT. YEAH, WELL IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER TO DEVELOP THAT OUT STORIES YOU TOLD ABOVE AS PART OF YOUR PATH TO AN MBA, INSTEAD OF JUST LISTING IT HERE,IN SOME UNCONVINCING AND FORMALIST WAY.

ALWAYS A HARD PART OF THE APP TO BE HONEST ABOUT, BUT YOUR VERSION IS MORE INSINCERE AND UNCONVINCING THAN MOST.

ABOVE IS GENERIC, AND ALHTO ‘TRUE’ TO A DEGREE, IN LIGHT OF BAD VIBES WE ALREADY GOT FROM ESSAY SO FAR, WHICH IS ALSO PRONE TO CLICHE AND LACK OF DETAIL, IMPERSONALITY, ETC. IT REALLY BEGINS TO RUN ONE THE WRONG WAY. DITTO!! IN SPADES ACTUALLY.

DUH, YEAH, BUT WHICH DO YOU WANT TO BELONG TO? AND WHY?? AGAIN, LAME.

ESSAY ONE –ENDNOTES

CLOSE, AND PARTS OK, BUT SEVERAL WEAKNESSES–CLICHES, LACK OF SPECIFITY, LACK OF PASSIONATE AND DETAILED EXAMPLES, SOME JUMPY TRANSITIONS, VAUGE GOALS ETC. SINK THIS ALTHO PARTS ARE OK. WHAT HAPPENS, AS NOTES HOPEFULLY MAKE CLEAR, IS THAT ONCE READER BEGINS TO GET ANNOYED, EVEN STUFF THAT IS SO-SO, E.G. WHY WHARTON, BEGINS TO FESTER, SO AFTER A SPRIGHTLY START, THIS KEEPS GETTING WORSE, AND FINALLY ANNOYING, AND YOU WILL BE TAGGED, IN FEEDBACK W. UNCLEAR GOALS, LACK OF WHY NOW, NO SENSE OF WHAT W. CAN REALLY DO FOR YOU, UNCLEAR INFLUENCES, ESP. HOW TECH AND FINANCE PARTS OF YOUR LIFE FIT IN, ETC. ALL OF WHICH IS TRUE. ALSO YOU OMIT KEY PERSONAL GROWTH MANTRAS –WORK LIFE BALANCE, ETHICS, MENTORS, ALL STUFF THEY LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT . NOT FATAL, BUT IT ALL ADDS UP.

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ESSAY TWO

Essay Question 2: Describe when you were a part of a team where the group process and/or intended outcome failed. What was your role, how did you contribute to the process or outcome, and what did you learn? (500 words) HUH, SET UP OF WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE IS CONFUSING A BIT AS IS YOUR ROLE, WHO APPOINTED YOU BOSS AND WHY ARE YOU KNOCKING HEADS.

ESSAY TWO ENDNOTES:

DUNNO MAN, POSSIBLY GOOD SITUATION, BUT YOU DIFFICULITES BECOME SIT COM LIKE AND WE SEE NO REAL EFFORTS ON YOUR PART TO ANALYSZE, PARTICULARIZE, OR CAPTURE WHAT WAS REALLY GOING ON, WHO WAS INVOLVED BEYOND CLICHE TYPES OF OBSESSIVE PERSON, REGULAR GUY, ETC. NO SENSE OF DIFFEREENT COMMUNICATION STYLES, DIFFERENT CULTURAL BACKGRONDS RESULTING IN TEAM DYSFUNCTION, SURE THERE IS PLENTY OF DYSFUNCTION BUT IT IS ALL CLICHE. SECOND HALF OF THIS IS TOTAL BS, AND UNRELATED TO ANY PARTICULARS YOU CAPTURE ABOUT GROUP MEMBERS AND THIS REAL SITUATION.

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ESSAY THREE

Essay Question 3: Describe an impact you’ve had on an individual, group or organization. What did you do? How has this experience been valuable to you or others? (500 words) OH, HOW ABOUT PUTTING THIS, IF IT REALLY HAPPENED, IN FIRST ESSAY. HUH, CONTEXT IS UNCLEAR,AND IDEA THAT YOU WOULD BE GIVEN SUCH A MAJOR LEADERSHIP ROLE ,E.G. TO FORM YOUR OWN TEAM, ON A HI-PROFILE AND EXPERIMENTAL PROJECT, WELL, IT STRAINS CRUDILITY, THIS HAS EXAGGERATION AND BULLSHIT WRITTEN ALL OVER IT. HOW MANY PEOPLE, WHO??? WHO MADE YOU BOSS, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE, THIS IS SOME WET DREAM. WHO WERE THESE MEMEBERS, THE PHD’S??? OR THE NEW TEAM OF YOUR PEERS???? IT IS JUST CONFUSING. ET.C HOW?????THIS IS A MORE FRUITFUL OBSTACLE TO TALK ABOUT. PHEW THAT IS PRETTY LAME TAKE AWAY HOW WE DONT REALLY GET ENUF DETAIL ABOUT THAT WHAT? WE DONT GET A FEELING FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE OR WHAT THE REAL OBSTACLES WERE

ESSAY THREE–ENDNOTES

SITUATION, METRICS OF THE GROUP, GROUP DYNAMICS, ETC. ARE ALL OPAQUE AND ANNOYING AS DISCUSSED, TOO MUCH A VICTORY LAP ( AND BARELY CREDIBLE AS STATED) AND NOT ENUF AN ANALYSIS OF HOW YOU WERE EFFECTIVE IN MEETING OBSTACLES 1 2 3 4 AND WHAT YOU LEARNED FROM EXERCISNG THOSE STYLES OF LEADERSHIP AND TEAMWORK.

::

ESSAY FOUR

Essay Question 4: Describe a situation where your values, ethics or morals were challenged. How did you handle the situation? (500 words)

SITUATION IS SORTA OK, ALTHO SOMETHING OF A STUNT, SINCE YOU DID NOT REALLY HAVE TO DO ANYTHING, BUT IT DOES PRESENT DILEMMA IN DRAMATIC WAY, A BETTER ANSWER WOULD HAVE SHOWN YOU GRAPPLING W. SAME ISSUE IN A MORE ORGANIZED AND SERIOUS WAY, E.G. HOW YOU WORKED OUT A COMPENSATION FORMULA FOR KIDS AND ADULTS LIKE THAT WHO GET UNEMPLOYED AS A RESULT OF DO-GOODER STUFF, AND WHO YOU CONSULTED, WHAT YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS WAS, ETC. ETC.

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ESSAY FIVE

Essay Question 5: Please identify and explain what you would consider the weakest area of your application. (250 words)

HUH, THAT IS WHAT THE FIRST ESSAY IS FOR, AND NOT A BIG DEAL, QUITE FRANKLY. WHT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, IT IS NOT AN OPTION NOW EITHER IF I AM READING FIRST ESSAY CORRECTLY CONFUSING AND ODD, AM I MISSING SOMETHING, WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU EXPLAINING AWAY.

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ESSAY SIX

Essay Question 6: Please tell us something else about yourself that you feel will help the Admissions Committee know you better. (250 words)

GOOD CONTENT POTENTIAL, SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN RIGHT INTO IT, OR MAYBE INCORPORATED INTO ESSAY ONE, OR IF HERE, NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT REALATIONSHIP W. THIS KID, AND ESP. WHAT RAMP IS ABOUT, AND WHAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISED THERE.

– This one is for Wharton, well, just our comments, not the underlying application, but you get the idea  

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INTERVIEW PREP — $900.00

HBS MOCK INTERVIEWS

I DO A LOT OF THEM I CAN HELP YOU (I CAN ALSO HELP WITH STANFORD AND WHARTON)

I did over 60 Mock Interviews for HBS Round 1 this fall and summer, those are interviews based on the very same new HBS one-question application you filled out–so I know the latest in HBS interviewing issues. I did over 100 mock interviews for HBS in Rounds 1 and 2 and 3 last year. Over the past 10 years, I have probably done over 800-1000 HBS mock interviews. My knowledge of how to prepare you for an HBS mock interview is based on those experiences.
  1. I know typical HBS questions, including questions often asked of investment bankers, private equity, venture capital and hedge fund associates, and questions asked to those employed in non-profits, the military, manufacturing, and technology.
  2. I know how to help you formulate your core story in ways which can be applied to many questions.
  3. I can predict trouble areas in your application and help you come up with talking points to deal with them.
  4. I can sense what your particular needs are in terms of presentation, for example, if you don’t get to the point soon enough (a possibly fatal habit) or if you appear too aggressive or too arrogant or confident in the wrong way for often thin-skinned (and just plain thin) HBS interviewers (some of whom are predisposed not to like bankers).
  5. I can help you create a back story for your goals which creates a solid platform for Why MBA, Why HBS?
  6. I can help you prepare a strong answer to the question “Why should we take you?” This questions is often asked in several forms:
    • “What can YOU contribute to case method discussion based on background and experience?” “How will your classmates remember you?”
    • “How have you grown as a leader?”
  7. I can calm you down, although that will not be the first thing that happens.
  8. I can help you formulate answers to ‘ice-breaker’ questions such as:
    • “I already know you from your application, just tell me what you think the three defining moments in your life are?”
    • “Pretend I have not read your application and I just met you. Tell me who you are, what you’ve done, and where you want to be 15 years?”
  9. I can help prepare you to face such recently popular questions as:
    • “What is one thing that is not immediately apparent about you to others?” “How would your friends describe you?”
    • “How has the financial crisis impacted you, your friends, your industry and your goals?”
 

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HBS 2+2 MOCK INTERVIEWS — $900.00

I DO A LOT OF THEM: Since the 2+2 program began, HBS has probably interviewed close to 450-500 2+2 candidates in total and I have done mock interviews with close to 20 of them –and that is just the 2+2 program. Last year, for its regular admission cycle, HBS interviewed 1800 people–I gave mock interviews to over 100 of those 1800 people. I really know how to do this, read testimonials here. Over the past 10 years, I have probably done over 600 HBS mock interviews. My knowledge of how to prepare you for an HBS mock interview is based on those experiences. I KNOW QUESTIONS TYPICALLY ASKED TO 2+2 CANDIDATES, BOTH US AND INTERNATIONAL–THOSE WHO ARE LIBERAL ARTS MAJORS, SOCIAL SCIENCE MAJORS, AND SCIENCE MAJORS.
  1. I know typical HBS questions often asked to 2+2 candidates with summer work experience as investment bankers, venture capital and hedge fund associates, medical and lab researchers, non-profit interns, Washington interns, Obama interns, McCain interns, Palin nannies and sled dog wranglers, interns at Fortune 500 companies, interns at start-ups and kids who started their own companies.
  2. I know how to help you formulate your core story in ways which can be applied to many questions.
  3. I can predict trouble areas in your application and help you come up with talking points to deal with them.
  4. I can sense what your particular needs are in terms of presentation, for example, if you don’t get to the point soon enough (a possibly fatal habit) or if you appear too aggressive or too arrogant or confident in the wrong way for often thin-skinned (and just plain thin) HBS interviewers (some of whom are predisposed not to like bankers).
  5. I can help you create a back story for your goals which creates a solid platform for Why MBA, Why HBS?
  6. can help you prepare a strong answer to the question “Why should we take you?” This questions is often asked in several forms:
    • “What can YOU contribute to case method discussion based on background and experience?”
    • “How will your classmates remember you?”
    • “How have you grown as a leader?”
  7. I can calm you down, although that will not be the first thing that happens.
  8. I can help you formulate answers to ‘ice-breaker’ questions such as:
    • “I already know you from your application, just tell me what you think the three defining moments in your life are?”
    • “Pretend I have not read your application and I just met you. Tell me who you are, what you’ve done, and where you want to be 15 years?”
  9. I can help prepare you to face such recently popular questions as:
    • “What is one thing that is not immediately apparent about you to others?”
    • “How would your friends describe you?”
    • “How has the financial crisis impacted you, your friends, your industry and your goals?”

THE PROCESS: THE MOCK INTERVIEW IS DONE BY PHONE.

If you want a mock HBS interview, send me an email to hbsguru@gmail.com, telling me when your interview is, what time zone you are in, what days and times are good for you, and attaching a resume. I will reply back w. dates and times, etc. Then you send me a pdf of your application. Mock interviews take about 60-70 minutes. The price is $900.00 dollars USD. You pay me when we speak and do the interview.  

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