Testimonials from 2005-06 Clients

Testimonials from 2005-06 Clients

HBS, Harvard Business School

Monday, 26 February 2007

Dear Bryan,

I am writing to tell you that I will depart Japan on the 17th of July for my studies at Harvard Business School (HBS). Time flies and I recognize that a year has already past since I started to receive counseling from you. I very much enjoyed the 6 months working with you, which was really memorable but also meaningful. I never thought about myself, my surroundings, my priorities, my past, and my future to the level that we discussed together. I thank you for encouraging me from time to time, and especially teaching me what the entire application is all about: how simply, effectively, and naturally I need to tell admissions committees who I am.

As a counselor, I think you are unique in that you continuously stressed that I should be myself. You implicitly guided me so that I always wrote my true beliefs and often questioned me when you thought my words were not a true reflection. When I came back from visiting HBS last November, I became so keen to become an HBS student that it made be modify my goals essay. From visiting the campus and attending several classes, I thought putting more entrepreneurial aspirations would work positively. However, your instant advice was clear and convincing. “Is this really what you want to be? You should write your true thoughts not what you think the school might like.”

As a result, I felt very proud of my achievement when I learned of my admission to HBS. Not just because it was HBS, but because the success was achieved by expressing my true self. Indeed, this fact was very important to me. Today, it also makes me feel confident that I am a great fit with the school and that I should be able to gain a lot during my 2 years in Boston.

Lastly, I believe I never informed you of my overall application results (I may have informed you one by one, but I suppose you have already forgotten!). I was admitted to 3 schools: HBS, Columbia, and Kellogg, and for the remaining 4 schools I applied, I withdrew my candidacy from 3 and was dinged by 1. Many thanks to your professional and thorough advice, my MBA application resulted in great success.

I trust your every success with your coming clients and look forward to meeting you again in the very near future. I may not be able to meet you personally before I leave, but I will definitely keep in touch. If you or any of your future clients need support, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Haas/UC Berkeley

Monday, 26 February 2007

Dear Bryan,

While I was taking the GMAT, I thought, “I probably won’t do as well as others on this academic test. If I’m going to standout it will have to be in my essays and interview.” That’s when I decided to ask you for counseling. The results were a great success. I applied to nine schools and was admitted to six of them (UC Berkeley, UCLA, Emory, UW Seattle, University of Maryland, UC Irvine), and stopped applying to one. I am very satisfied with the results, especially considering that my GMAT score was not within the 80th percentile range for UC Berkeley and UCLA and that I applied in the third round as an international student. This success was clearly due to my essays.

When I began counseling last September, my MBA preparations seemed adequate. Before I got the sponsorship of my company, I had to make my career goals – the “Why MBA?” − clear. It was not organized completely, but I was confident in what I should write.

Still, there were several things I was lost on. I hadn’t expected the essays would ask me about my sense of values and ethics, or feelings about my family and past. I had no clue what to write about them.

You were very patient in pulling those pieces out of me. You asked me, for example, “Did you ever face this kind of situation? What did you think about it? Why? How?…” You asked me and examined each of my experiences one by one deeply, referring back to the resume which we built up together. Repeating this process, I eventually remembered one experience that I never expected to use as an MBA essay topic.

Of course, the experience represented me and where so much of my life began, yet I hesitated to write about a topic that I thought was so far from the business world. However, thanks to the relaxing atmosphere you created, your honesty, and your discretion, I was able to talk about my experience. After you listened to me seriously, you said, “Great!” The story would be difficult to fit in to an essay, but if its great enough to say, its great enough to write down. Trust me.” You blended the story with other materials and organized everything in to a positive story. By the end, this personal essay became the one that reflected myself perfectly. I got past the difficulty of having a low score and applying in the third round thanks to my essays and my interview based on my essays.

Yes, that interview! Your strategy for interviewing was very stimulating! Later, when I watched the video of myself during the interview practice, I was very embarrassed. However, I was able to enjoy the real interview enough to express my strengths thanks to the recording and your advice.

Now I am just about to fly to the US and am thinking of how I was able to succeed. UC Berkeley, where I am attending, has an acceptance rate of only about 15%. Thousands of people apply to the limited two hundred spaces and the admissions committee reads thousands of essays gathered from all over the world. Under these circumstances, if I had written an ordinary essay, people wouldn’t even remember mine, and this success would never have happened. I strongly believe that you will never be impressive as an MBA applicant among those thousands of applicants if you are not able to clearly express how you are different, what unique experiences/judgment you have, how it can benefit the class, and what kind of business leader you will be in the future. You agreed with my strategy and pulled out my uniqueness and brushed everything up to a professional level. I have nothing but appreciation for what you did for me. Thank you.

My biggest thank you is for your fun counseling. I was under stress from my situation and exhausted from overworking every night. My GMAT score was still low, and the deadline was coming close, but, still I could not wait to have your counseling twice a week, and I always felt more positive on the way home. I believe that these positive and enjoyable feelings improved my essays and interviews. Your counseling not only opened the door to a top business school, but also opened new potential for my life. Thank you very much.

I am leaving for Berkeley at the end of July, a little worried but with high hopes. I am sure it will be the best two years in my life. I am hoping to see you in two years. Please check if I really accomplished what I said in my “Why MBA” essay.

Chicago GBS

Monday, 26 February 2007

Dear Bryan,

How are you? I am now in Chicago and building up my new life to enter school in September. Thinking of last year when I was working hard on GMAT and writing essays, this is like a dream preparing for school, enjoying the summer in Chicago.

I can still remember wondering what differentiated essays when I wrote them for the first time. Should I appeal to the admissions committees that “I am a super woman”, putting as much information and numbers about my “brilliant” career as possible? Or should I write a greater resume than others?

However, I learned that those ideas were wrong through your counseling approach of depicting examples that, in a word, made my essays special by presenting my unique and attractive good points. Also I learned that I was able to write my unique essays by showing the best examples and focusing on “what I can do”, not that “I can do everything”.

Eventually, though it was tough at first, I was able to complete essays that depicted myself and my values vividly. I understood that I had to make the stories attract readers, not write only the facts. However, I did not know how to write them and how to make them appealing. They were apt to be dull and boring at first. However, you drew out the interesting details in my examples one after another from a professional view to attract readers. And then, through my examples, I was able to write vivid stories that made sense by depicting those details.

I believe that it is a very important element for a counselor to have the skill of drawing out those details. On this point, you are far superior to any other counselor. Perhaps you like “people” very much! That is why you listen to people’s stories with curiosity. You always listened to my stories really well until I finished. And then, full of curiosity, asked me, “What happened next?” or “What did you think at that time?” Your attitude of, “I really want to listen to your story!” made me comfortable to share a lot of stories. You understood my personality and values deeply. That is why I was able to write a unique personal essay. I think I was very lucky to encounter a counselor who understands and draws out someone’s personal stories so well.

Also, I would like to thank you for the following two things:

  • Idealistic editing

Though it was difficult for me to write the first essay in English, I chose each word very carefully one by one. You saved those words and made the whole essay more powerful and convincing. I was very satisfied with your thoughtful, well-balanced editing.

  • Flexibility about the schedule

Now looking back, I feel that early October was the most important period for me. Though I finished the GMAT on October 6th, I had not prepared one essay for a school whose first-round deadline was October 13th. I told you I was going to give up applying in the first round. However, you said, “There is no reason to wait,” and supported me every day until I completed the essay for the first round. Thanks to you, I was able to apply in the first round and luckily I got accepted in early December. Everything about the application procedure became easier after that. I really appreciated that. Without your concentrated support, my application schedule would have been totally different. Your counseling service that helped me when I needed help was very precious.

I guess you will be helping many clients write their unique essays also. I hope people who want to write special essays will be lucky enough to find you.


Monday, 26 February 2007

Dear Bryan,

Time flies! Three months have passed by like a flash since I received the acceptance letter from Wharton, and I will soon be flying to Philadelphia. The days I was working with you preparing for an MBA seem like a long time ago. For an applicant like me, who has never lived in a foreign country and rarely uses English in my office, writing essays was the most difficult part of applying for an MBA but it was really successful thanks to you. Before I leave Japan, I want to express my deep appreciation for your help.

I chose your counseling because of my senior colleagues’ strong recommendation. (Actually, many of my senior colleagues from my company chose you as a counselor and had good results. And, of course, all of them were satisfied with your counseling service.) Their words and my decision were perfectly right. Your counseling was comprehensive. You supported me through the entire application which included a resume, essays, letters of recommendation and interviews.

I think the essence of your counseling is communication with your students. For the first month, you made every effort to know me better. You are not only a good advisor but also an excellent listener. You threw many questions at me, we thought about my answers together, and we were able to draw out my best stories. When I had trouble writing about my leadership experience, we discussed a great deal and thought together tenaciously, and finally you gave me a great suggestion of how to focus on unique aspects of my experience. Furthermore, before I talked about my hobby with you, I had never thought one of my hobbies could become such a strong essay.

Another virtue of your counseling is your flexibility. Basically, our counseling schedule was fixed. I met you twice a week face-to-face for fifty minutes each. However, after I completed a few schools’ applications, the essay writing process shifted from finding and discussing topics, to expressing them properly and adjusting them to each school’s questions. So, except for writing about a brand new topic, I shifted more to counseling via e-mail and you sent back your comments as soon as you checked my essays. That flexible style accelerated my application process and saved me time. (Actually, I completed an additional 6 schools in December alone.) Also, I truly appreciate your sincere and quick responses to my hasty e-mails when I came upon some idea on the day before I submitted an application.

By the time we began practicing interviews, I already had topics to answer most interview questions through discussing with you the topics in my resume, essays, and letters of recommendation. All I had to do at that point was adjust those stories so I could tell them naturally during the interview. You gave me useful advice for interviewing, based on the interview style of different schools. In addition, the videotaped lessons with you were very helpful to review my interview presentation (although it was terribly hard to correct my habit of speaking too fast…)

Finally, what I most appreciate is that it was fun to work with you. I really enjoyed talking with you about my work, hobbies and family. I really appreciate that you cheered me up when I had a hard time writing essays and that you praised me when I wrote good essays. At first, writing was troublesome but through your counseling it became enjoyable. (Actually, I improved my writing test scores drastically!) I hope that my colleague XXXX (whom I introduced to you for the following year) will enjoy your counseling as well.

Again, I am truly grateful for your help.