Testimonials from 2007-08 Clients
Monday, 18 August 2008
Now viewing the beautiful view of the Charles River from the MIT campus, I recall my tough but enjoyable times with you vividly. Admitted by my dream school, I am sincerely happy to share this success – the result of working as “a team” between you and me. About one year ago, I saw your web page as an applicant and dwelled on which counselor I should choose. I hope that my direct experience suggests what a prospective MBA student can gain from you, a navigator of MBA applications.
1. Be effective
MBA applicants have the problem of deciding on a trade-off, “Who offers an essay counseling service with high quality at an appropriate price?” I believe that my decision to work with you in July was essential to get admits. Your experienced service enabled me to set up a pragmatic timeline and school portfolio at the beginning. You also gave such deep insights on every single essay topic that I was able to prepare essays in accordance with what the schools wanted to know from me. Thanks to your counseling, I received interview invitations from almost every school I applied to. Meanwhile, your pricing system allowed me to manage my budget; the flat-rate, whole-package was designed from a customer’s viewpoint. I am sure that your service provided me twice the value in output than I actually paid.
2. Be myself
As for coaching style, I love your story-telling style that enabled me to establish the logical steps and connections to express my own career and goals. Without you, I would have had trouble sorting out my complicated career history. Your style is the most sophisticated methodology to bring out my strengths, personality and sense of humor. When I talked with you about my experiences of difficult situations, you pointed out that I could state my consistent strengths through my actions in those situations. You also helped me see what was special in my background and university life.
3. Be professional
The application process is full of stress with tight schedules and demanding tasks. My pressure reached the peak when the schools kept me waiting after interviews or kept me on a waiting list for a long time. Some applicants tend to act emotionally and phone or email admissions offices every day. Like other applicants, I had trouble resisting that temptation or accepting my situation. You taught me professional approaches to show my passion and appeal to the schools by concentrating on my fit and contributions to the school, and expressing additional information that was not in my original application. This was valuable advice for all MBA applicants.
If I were asked “What was the most valuable thing during the MBA application process?” I would answer, “It was working with Bryan, my mentor in my professional career.”
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
“I know a good counselor,” my good friend emailed me right after he got accepted to Harvard. “He will work with only a few clients this year, since he will be going back to UC Berkeley to finish graduate school.” I made an appointment to see you right after.
“How was your TOEFL?” You first asked me frankly after shaking hands at a café on a sunny day. We chatted a bit about the test I took that morning, and then we introduced ourselves. During my first experience of “walk through your resume”, you were already asking me lots of questions: “What exactly did you do?” “How did you do that?” “Could you explain more details?” It was like counseling had already started even before talking about your services! It was very fun as well. I really enjoyed your questions and found a lot of things about myself through the two-hour dialogue.
To be honest, before meeting you, I had almost decided to work with one of the major prep schools in Japan, which dealt with lots of clients. However, I found myself enjoying and being myself much more during our conversation than when I met with a counselor at the major prep school. That’s why I decided to work with you and I believe it was the right decision; after all, “being yourself” is the most important to get no-regret, satisfactory results from the admission process, which asks you to describe “who you are”.
What was the greatest aspect of your service? Editing. Without doubt, your editing was wonderful. I cannot forget how surprised I was when I saw you edited my very long draft to become concise and solid. To me, however, it was not the primary value you gave me. I am most grateful for your detail-oriented and easy-to-follow counseling that took place in a light and fun atmosphere. We laughed a lot.
You did not stop telling me, “still vague, more details,” even when I was writing about my future. It sometimes led me to feel “why are such details needed when writing about the future?” After writing up the first goals essay, however, I found that the “details” not only made my goals easy to visualize but also helped me find and describe who I am, what I really want to do, and what I am looking for in business school life, which made my essays much stronger.
Second, through our dialogues you always helped me find a way whenever I got lost. Do you remember how many times I said, “Now I feel I can do it” after counseling? Sometimes, as you remember, I was not even able to send my draft before counseling. But surprisingly, after responding to your questions like, “Why did you do that even though you did not have to?”, “How did everybody respond?” or “What did you exactly say and why?” I saw the fog burning off before my eyes, felt I found something, and wrote up strong essays very easily. I experienced this many times, and this was the most valuable thing in working with you.
Getting accepted by one of my top two picks, I am now sending thank you notes to many people who supported my application. Every time I say, “I did my best, I enjoyed the application process, and I am very satisfied with my work and the result.” It owes mostly to you, Bryan. Thank you so much, and let’s keep in touch.
Monday, 16 June 2008
You seemed god-like when I saw you make my horrible essays stronger and realized the breakthrough followed by your advice. I can still clearly remember when I asked you to be my counselor in early December after I quit one of the most famous essay counseling services due to slow progress. I was at a loss what to do, because until then, I had applied to only one school. But with your support, I finished four additional application packages almost from scratch and received interview invitations from three.
As a token of my appreciation for your sincere effort, let me show the effectiveness of your counseling to applicants who are seeking the best counselor in the form of this note. I think my testimonial is somewhat different from others in that I switched counselors and so can compare them.
Firstly, Bryan is trustworthy. I always felt that he was trying really hard to enable me to get the ticket to an MBA. This is a decisively important aspect to distinguish Bryan from others. Without such an attitude, no counselor can lead us to success. Where I felt that? When I asked my previous counselor, “What do you think of my ‘outsider’ essay (Wharton)? I already mentioned my handling of human psychological aspects in the ‘leadership’ essay, so I think I should change the core message.” He replied, “OK. Let me check your leadership essay.” I was shocked because he did not remember my leadership essay, although we had worked together for almost 2 months. When I asked the same question to Bryan just after we met, he replied quickly, “I agree. Do you have any ideas related to your studying abroad? Why not use that precious experience? I think your differentiation was… What kind of interactions did you have? What did you feel? Oh, yeah. That is a much better message, because your experience is unique in that…” Remember, you cannot go back, so you cannot put priority too much on the name of big counseling services.
Secondly, his editing skill is far beyond others. His ability to organize several ideas to make one essay and to connect several essays and a resume into a powerful, single application package is unparalleled. Of course, other counselors try to make good essays, but they do not think of making a better essay package by organizing all application materials. They tended to focus on one essay only which led to an inconsistent application package, although each essay individually is not bad. Bryan tried to emphasize making one powerful package, by actively searching for the good ideas that existed in myself, which I often forgot. His editing is also amazingly fast and correct. It takes lots of time for non-native English speakers to make clear, correct, concise essays. My first counselor repeatedly asked me not to write essays over 150% of the word limit, which is a time-consuming process and sometimes cut important ideas before showing my counselor. But Bryan did not demand that and I often sent him essays 300% or even 500% of the word limit, and he shortened them within a couple of hours with astonishing quality. This accelerated my pace and resulted in cost savings.
Thirdly, his counseling schedule is more flexible. When I wanted to consult with him about an outline by email, he quickly replied just after I sent him an e-mail. For our Skype conversations, he was always available when I needed him. Sometimes I thought this guy did not sleep and did not go out at all. I think you must appreciate this quick response especially when due dates are approaching.
Finally, if I were to return to the starting point and if I were asked whether I would tackle the applications with him again, I would say “YES” with confidence. But keep in mind that he is not a relief pitcher but a starter. I hope you will not repeat my mistake.
Sunday, 13 April 2008
I was waiting for this moment to thank Bryan from the bottom of my heart for all his support and effort in leading me to get accepted to many of the top business schools, namely Wharton, Kellogg, and Chicago. This was especially notable because my GMAT was low and because the number of applicants this year increased by 20-30% amid the world economic downturn. It was Bryan who turned such difficult conditions into positive results through his excellent counseling in essays and interviews. If I had to go through the same process again, I would, without any doubt, choose Bryan for my counselor and mentor.
I chose Bryan because he was strongly recommended by my trusted colleagues who also got into top business schools. His past track record and great personality helped me decide without any hesitation. Because Bryan was in the US to finish his graduate degree at UC Berkeley, I quickly secured my seat among his handful of spaces available last year. Our sessions were conducted two days a week through Skype. It worked so well for me as I could make use of my time very effectively at home in a relaxed atmosphere without any make-up on! We usually had sessions every Wednesday and Sunday at 11pm Tokyo time, using the time difference. I received his edited essays and comments when I woke up the next morning. I strongly recommend this new style of counseling for all international students.
Bryan is a great counselor but at the same time a great coach. Needless to say, he is a great editor. He is not only fast but precise and natural in his word selection and expression. Above all, what I really liked and enjoyed was his eagerness to listen to my stories even if he was not familiar with the topics. He is definitely gifted at pulling out one’s implicit thoughts, achievements and future goals by asking questions from multiple dimensions. He led discussions in a very natural way for me to be honest with myself and to find out new dynamics of my past experiences and future goals. He helped me add spices to my stories, without changing their core and essence.
Also, Bryan is very sincere and always provides me with appropriate advice at the right timing. In particular, he gave me very specific advice that helped me overcome my low GMAT score. This method worked well and indeed turned my disadvantage to an advantage by appealing my enthusiasm to get into an MBA program.
Now I am looking back at the whole process of the past 7 months working with Bryan. What I am really thankful for was that he was my counselor but at the same time, a great mentor and friend who was always on my side to cheer me up when I was down and to share my joy when I was finally accepted to many of my dream schools. This might be a weird expression, but Bryan was my strong tranquilizer by all means! Thank you sooooooo much, Bryan! See you around in the US!
Monday, 28 April 2008
Thank you for all the support that you have given me over the past year. It was tough applying while also working in investment banking. I usually came home after midnight. I was also preparing for my wedding at the same time. Despite the many conflicts, I was able to submit applications to 7 top schools, was invited to interviews by 5 of them and received offers from Sloan and Tuck, while withdrawing from one of them. These results would have been impossible without your guidance and I would like to stress the points below that I found especially helpful.
Great understanding of myself
You built a great understanding of who I am/what I want to achieve through counseling and supported me based on that understanding in all aspects of the application process. Your sessions were very exciting because I learnt about myself and how to express myself. It often happened that a small fact that I didn’t think would be worth mentioning became a core component of an essay to express who I am. Because you understood me very well, your advice outside of essays was also always to the point. The advice that you gave me through interview practices significantly improved my answers and indeed I believe that was one of the key reasons why I was given offers.
Commitment and flexibility
Since I had to work usually past midnight, weekends and early morning weekdays were the only times I could meet. You kindly arranged to meet Wednesday and Sunday mornings. Still it often happened that I had to move my Wednesday session to another date because of a sudden meeting at work, but you were always flexible.
I also want to mention that whenever I sent a question, you always answered me immediately. I especially was relieved when I had a critical question just before the deadline of one school. Even though it was already midnight in your time zone, you immediately came back to me with advice. Thanks to your commitment, I was assured that I could always reach you for help when needed.
I also appreciated that you clearly said “no” when you meant so. When you believed my essay idea would not lead to a great essay, you told me early. You were also very direct when my interview answers were not convincing. So when you told me that my draft was great, I was always confident that you were telling me what you meant rather than just making me feel comfortable.
Looking back at the application process, I feel very lucky that I had you as my adviser. It was not always fun and sometimes hard, but I learnt a lot from the process thanks to you. I’m sure that what I learnt from you in the past year will also help me at Sloan as well.
Thank you Bryan, and as we talked, I’m looking forward to sailing with you on the Charles River when you visit Boston!
Tuesday,13 May 2008
Thank you very much for your help and support since last August!! I have been dreaming of this moment to write a “thank you letter” for you.
I know that this year was especially tough for all international applicants due to the sharp increase of applicants in the US caused by sub-prime loans. Moreover, my criteria were not strong because of my age, gender, not working at a famous company and self-sponsored status. But as a result, I was invited to almost all the schools I applied to and was admitted by two schools, namely Columbia and Fuqua. All this happened because of you. I am more than happy to be admitted by some of the top schools in the US.
The MBA application process was a great opportunity to think back on my 35 years of life and to think about what my life will be in the future. I was really lucky to find you to be my advisor as well as mentor. Your job was obviously beyond the role of counselor and definitely you affected my life for the better. I would like to share with everybody why Bryan is the best counselor for the MBA application process. There are thousands of reasons but I would like to point out mainly three things.
First of all, he is a professional at uncovering clients’ strengths and uniquenesses. Honestly, it is often hard to realize one’s own strengths but Bryan drew out these things from my real experiences and as a result my essays became strong.
Second, his directions were really clear and trustworthy. Whenever my essay was not heading in the right way, he would say, “This is no good, very ordinary and not unique at all!” But his words did not discourage me because he always gave me great hints to correct them even though our discussions took time. So whenever he said, “This is good!” I could accept his words 100% and had the confidence that no more changes were necessary. I heard many stories of people wasting precious time for minor changes in their essays. But I fully trusted his judgment. If he said “Good!” it was good. If not, I needed to revise them.
Last but not least were his “one stop” comprehensive services from creating a resume, building essays and training for interviews. I strongly believe that his comprehensive service is really efficient and very strategic. For instance, creating a resume is the first step because he wanted to grasp an overall picture of me as well as identify good essay topics for basic essays such as achievements and goals. Moreover, he knows what kind of essay questions are asked by schools, so he gave me good directions about the order of schools I should apply in. For instance, he said, “XX school asks basic questions for your portfolio, so you should start from XX.” Because of this, my essay building went very smoothly within a limited time.
If I needed to undertake the MBA process again, I would definitely choose Bryan as my counselor!! I really appreciate his personality, quality of his service, and his professionalism.
Now I am thinking which school to attend…this is a nice headache to have. At least I have moved up to another stage of my life and you helped me open the door. Thank you! I hope you will see me next time as a friend!!!
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Thank you, Bryan.
I am really happy that I’ll be studying at a business school in the UK. I would not have been able to have this opportunity if I did not work with you. I want to thank you for your friendship, mentoring and counseling.
When I met you at first, I spent a very comfortable time in spite of speaking in English. (When I started, I was not good at English). We talked about our profiles in a relaxed atmosphere. Through this comfortable time, I decided to work with you a short time later.
At our first session, I was struggling to speak English because I was not able to find good words and phrases in order to express myself. At that time, you told me “No one can speak perfect English, so do not hesitate.” This phrase encouraged me to express myself easily.
Furthermore, when I received a terrible GMAT score on 26th December, you found that I was disappointed so you just listened to my voice on the phone. Soon you reconnected with me via Skype to talk face to face. I was cheered by your kindness. In addition, you advised me to still apply for the second round. I think this suggestion helped me to get a lot of interview invitations, even from top schools, and finally get an acceptance from a UK school.
Sometimes, it was difficult for me to write an English essay within a strict word limit, as well as to edit it to make it more powerful. You always helped me to not only shorten my essays but also to edit more convincingly. I love your well-balanced editing.
Finally, but most important, you brought out my full potential. First, I was proud of my work experiences, which included producing “world first” services. So, I tried to focus on my professional side in my essays. But you advised me to express my personal side too. “Everyone has good work experience at this level, but the way you grew up and developed yourself is your original strength.” You helped me draw out my individuality. I think your advice made my essays more unique and attractive.
Friday, 20 June 2008
First of all, thank you very much for working with me from this April. It’s not too much to say that it is because of your help that I was successfully admitted by three European Business schools, HEC, ESADE, and Manchester.
I definitely think that the way you counsel was very suitable for me, even via Skype. Your advice was always precise and helped me express my uniqueness and strengths clearly and strongly. In addition, your counseling is very efficient. I was able to submit four applications in only two weeks.
To tell the truth, before working with you, I worked with another counselor with a proven record. Her way of counseling was mostly email-based, and looking back, I was not able to think about my uniqueness and strengths intensively because of my TOEFL and GMAT studies. As a result, I failed six American business schools. The former counselor argued that the main reason that I failed was that my TOEFL score was less than 100. After that I tried hard to study TOEFL to get at least 100 but in vain. After I spoke with my closest co-worker who worked with you and had studied at CMU, I decided to change essay counselors at the end of March. It was actually a difficult decision because I already wrote essays for more than six business schools and I invested a huge amount of money in the previous counseling school, but now I can say that my decision was right because I was admitted by three out of four European business schools after working with you. And some of those schools admitted me even though my TOEFL score did not meet their minimum requirement. I was able to persuade them thanks to strong essays and your strategic advice.
I cannot thank you enough for working with me during your busy schedule. Without your help, I would have failed all the business schools to which I applied. I decided to study at HEC-Paris and I am now studying French. I am looking forward to seeing you after graduating from HEC-Paris. I do wish you luck in your future endeavors.
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Thank you so much for your help over the past half year. It was the end of October when I first met you, and I was running out of time because I hadn’t started my essays yet. But thanks to your help, I was able to receive interview invitations from 7 out of 8 schools despite the tough conditions. Finally, I was able to join USC! I really enjoyed working with you, and because I was always telling my wife how much you helped me, she also really appreciates your help. Your counseling was excellent in many respects, especially regarding the points below.
First, I was surprised with your very quick response. Anytime I sent you an e-mail you always responded immediately, and when I sent you my draft essays before going to sleep, I almost always received your comments by the time I woke up the next morning. This was very important for me especially just before deadlines. Even when I wanted to ask a question but only had 30 minutes, I was comfortable sending you an e-mail and waiting for your response because I knew that you would advise me as soon as possible.
Second, your advice was always precise. When I was struggling with the essays, you gave me advice which cleared up my confusion and helped me come up with good new ideas. If I were on my own, I would have struggled and lost time, which might have been dangerous in my situation. The consistency of your advice also helped me greatly to build up an understanding of how to approach all the essays.
And finally, your personality was really important for me. You stated your opinion very honestly and frankly, but I never felt bad from your critiques because I could always feel how much you cared behind your words. Accepting someone’s advice on a very important matter requires a trusting relationship and you were really trustworthy. I was very lucky to work with a person who I could fully trust.
I am going to be living my MBA life on the west coast, and I really look forward to traveling to San Francisco to meet you sometime.
Thank you very much again and good luck with your future counseling!