Testimonials from 2010-11 Clients

Testimonials from 2010-11 Clients

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UC Berkeley Haas

(Japanese version below)

It was last July when I contacted Bryan for the first time. The deadline of the Fulbright Scholarship application was coming soon at that time. I had read other MBA students’ blog posts that linked to Bryan and decided to contact him because I was drawn by his past great results and free trial consultation. I was afraid it was too much to ask him to check all the materials for Fulbright only a week before the deadline, however, he was very gracious towards my request, so I asked him for consultation on my application materials and essays. Bryan thought my application materials were not powerful enough and gave me some severe comments. After that, we had to work very hard to make changes quickly under limited time, so I wish I had contacted Bryan earlier.

Considering to apply to schools in the 1st round, we started the core part as well as common essays that all the schools have. Focusing on Why MBA, career goals, and resume, we discussed a lot to make modifications after writing drafts over and over again. The wonderful thing about Bryan’s consultation is that he leads you to express who you really are in a good way. Having many discussions with Bryan, I felt my essays were starting to express who I am without over-exaggerating my career, while not being boring so that other people could empathize. I came to understand that essays can’t be just “fancy-dancy” because when you choose which MBA schools to apply to, the key to success will be whether your career goal matches what you can learn at a school or not. The reason Bryan can consult on this MBA process is because he understands it very deeply and is superb in writing expressive sentences. Throughout our conversations once or twice a week via Skype, Bryan was thoroughly professional in making the essays complete, all while remaining casual. Bryan showed his understanding of my stories from different angles, and provided fresh eyes. Bryan edited my essays in a more colorful and well-balanced way based on my draft and built up from our discussions, and then I was able to complete them and was fulfilled that I could express what I wanted to.

Bryan led me through interview training with the same attitude. Besides his precise advice about MBA interview questions, what he said to me was, “Smile more.” Of course you have to answer clearly and logically when interviewed. What he meant was that I should include my personality. Reflecting on our discussions of anticipated questions, the content of my answers, and attitude, with Bryan I practiced how naturally I could deliver my answers while being myself . Thanks to this practice, when I was actually interviewed by an adcom, I was able to talk more naturally and deeply, not being typical.

I was able to apply to two schools in the first round and three in the second round (plus two without Bryan’s review). I managed this process at a good pace while consulting with Bryan. With my erratic work schedule, I struggled especially to increase my TOEFL score. It was very important to establish milestones through Bryan’s regular sessions throughout the application process to meet the deadlines coming one week after another. There were so many things that happened during the year of my application process. There were times when my motivation went up and down. Still I was able to move forward step by step without compromising because Bryan always encouraged me.

As a result, my MBA application ended up with me being accepted by my No. 1 school in the first round and also getting a Fulbright Scholarship.  This process is to gain acceptance from schools, but it is also a good chance to think about one’s current and future career. Bryan’s consulting was something more than just applying to schools because I certainly felt like I was opening drawers inside me and checking what I had in my life. If you are applying to an MBA this year, I definitely recommend Bryan.

ブライアン氏と初めてコンタクトを取ったのは去年の7月でした。ちょうどフルブライト奨学生の申請書締切りがあり、他MBA受験生のブログからリ ンクを辿り、フルブライト奨学生の実績とフリートライアルに惹かれて連絡させて頂きました。ぶしつけながら応募書類を全部見てもらえないかと締切 りの1週間程前にメールしたのに対し、丁寧に応対して頂いたので、その後も出願書類・エッセーについてのコンサルティングをお願いすることにしま した。フルブライト奨学生への出願書類には手厳しいコメントを頂き、その後の修正がかなりドタバタだったので、もう少し早くお願いすれば良かったと思っています。

コンサルティングは1stでの出願校を考慮し、各校に共通かつその他のエッセーの骨子となる内容から取り組みました。MBAに行く理由、キャリア ゴール、経歴などに焦点をあて、ドラフトを書いてはスカイプで議論し、修正を繰り返しました。ブライアン氏のコンサルティングの素晴らしいところ は、良い意味でありのままを描くように導いてくれるところだと思います。色々な議論をする中で、下手にキャリアを大げさに書くでも無く、かと言っ て平凡な内容になる訳でもなく、自分の思いを素直に語り第三者から見ても共感できるようなエッセーを目指していたと感じています。MBAを選ぶに 当たっては、自分のキャリアゴールとMBAで学べることが合致するかが重要な決め手となりますので、ただ飾り立てたエッセーを書くより良いと私自 身も納得しています。この様なコンサルティングが出来るのは、ブライアン氏が非常に理解があり、伝える文章を書く能力に秀でている方だからだと分 析しています。週1・2回のスカイプでの議論では、砕けた話もしながらプロフェッショナルに徹し、納得するまで厳しく内容を掘り下げて行きまし た。私の話に対し別の側面からの理解も提案して頂き、新たな伝え方に気付かされたこともありました。そうやって作り上げたドラフトを、さらに表 現・濃淡のバランスについて編集して頂き、私の言いたいことが詰まった納得の行くエッセーに仕上がりました。

同じ姿勢はインタビュートレーニングにも現れていたと思います。私が模擬インタビューを受けたときにブライアン氏に言われたのは(内容に関するア ドバイスも的確でしたが)「もっと笑いなさい」とのことでした。想定質問があり、それぞれに論理的に分かりやすく回答するというのは基本であっ て、さらに私というキャラを人間味を伝えることが大切だという考えに基づいたアドバイスだったと思います。想定質問、回答内容、立ち振る舞いにつ いての議論をしっかりした上で、それらを自分のキャラに取り込み如何に自然に伝えるかというところまで練習させて頂きました。練習の甲斐あり、実 際のインタビュアーとも型にはまった受け答えだけでなく、より自然に深い議論が出来たのが合格の要因だったと思います。

最終的には1stで2校、2ndで3校(+2校をブライアン氏のレビューなしで)に出願しましたが、ブライアン氏のコンサルティングを受けつつ、 一定のペースで進められたのも大きかったと思います。中々点数の伸びなかったTOEFLを継続的に受けつつ仕事の忙暇も変わる中で、凡そ1週間以 内に締切りが重なる各校出願書類をするには、定期的なコンサルティングをマイルストーンにしつつ確実に準備を進めることが重要だと思います。約1 年のMBA準備期間には色々なことがあります。モチベーションの浮き沈みもあります。そんな中、途中で妥協せずにコツコツ続けられたのは、常に背 中を押してくれたブライアン氏あってのことだと思います。

結果、1stで出願した第一志望の中の1校から合格を貰い、またフルブライトプログラムからの奨学金給付も決まり、MBA受験を終えることができ ました。MBA受験というのは大学院の合格が目的ではありますが、現在未来のキャリアについて深く考えさせられる機会だと思います。自分の引き出 しを開けて中身を確かめながら進めていくブライアン氏のコンサルティングは、ただ大学院に合格すること以上の価値があったと感じています。これか らMBA受験をされる方にはぜひお勧めしたいと思います。

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Kellogg, Haas, Tuck, Ross, Fuqua, Anderson

(Japanese Translation Below)

I didn’t have strong English skills or an international background when I began the application process, so I couldn’t earn such good results without Bryan. His service really satisfied me regardless of these results. It was incredibly lucky for me to meet the best MBA counselor. I can’t tell everything well here because my gratitude is too strong. But, I believe I’ll always say “I’m here because of his support” in my future.

In April 2010, I met Bryan by the introduction of my friend who went to Kellogg MBA (Class of 2012). Although my TOEFL score was only 65 and I couldn’t fully tell what I was thinking because of my poor English skills, he told me “You have strong communication skills, so I want to work with you” Finally, I decided to work with him in the end of April, based on my feeling, my friend’s good results and the comparison with other counselors. Looking back on our 1 year, I can say that I chose the best choice.

If someone asks me about an MBA counselor, I’ll definitely recommend Bryan to him/her. It is difficult to write everything here, but I’d really appreciate it, if the following comments could help you all.

–        Elite Essays is just Bryan, so clients don’t have to worry about who will be their counselor.

–        He has bright track records and helped a lot of clients be accepted to top schools.

–        He studied Journalism at UC Berkeley and his writing skills are incredibly strong. His words are awesome and can attract readers to essays.

–        He is friendly but has inner fortitude without arrogance. He always tries to know clients and their personality. These characteristics strongly attract me. We’ve actually built up good relationship and this made us understand each other without talking.

–        If a client chooses “comprehensive packages” among his services, he/she will get good cost performance. The packages include essay counseling, interview training, etc.

–        Working with him through Video Skype has strengthened my writing and speaking skills as well as interview skills.

–        His writing skills and ability to understand made my essays well-organized and interesting.

–        I asked a lot of questions about MBA applications and he really helped me by quickly responding to them.

–        Unlike other counselors, he values clients’ wishes. For instance, he helped many clients who didn’t have strong test scores and they were actually admitted to top schools.

–        It’s a very good point to become friendly not only with Bryan but also his other clients. Meeting with others on an interview training and party gave me nice peers. Bryan also introduced former clients who are MBA students when I visited B-schools.

I want to pay the highest compliment for Bryan here. Thank you very much.

(Translation)

Bryan無しには、海外経験も無く、決して英語が出来るわけでも無かった自分が、MBA受験においてこれほどの結果を残すことは出来なかったでしょう。また、自分の結果を考慮せずとも、Bryanのサービスには非常に満足しています。これほど素晴らしいカウンセラーに出会うことができ、本当に幸運でした。感謝の気持ちが大きすぎて上手く言い表せませんが、何年経っても「Bryanと彼を紹介してくれた友人がいたから今の自分がある」と思えるでしょう。

2010年4月に、Kelloggに進学した友人(Class of 2012)からの紹介でBryanに会いました。当時、TOEFLは65点、思ったことを話せるような英語力でもない状態でしたが、それでもBryanが「君は強いコミュニケーション能力を持っている、一緒に働きたい」と言ってくれたことは本当に嬉しく、今も覚えています。他のカウンセラーとの比較、友人の素晴らしい受験成果、そして自分のフィーリングを信じて、4月下旬にBryanにカウンセリングを依頼することを決定しました。そして、Bryanと共に歩んだ1年間を振り返ってみれば、胸を張って「最高の選択をした」と言えます。

MBAカウンセラーに関する相談を受ければ、私は間違いなくBryanを強く勧めます。全ての理由を文字で伝えることは難しいですが、以下にBryanと彼のサービスについて記載させて頂きますので、皆様の参考になれば幸いです。

・       Bryanが一人でやっているカウンセリングサービス、Elite Essay=Bryanであり、責任の所在が明確。

・       過去の実績が素晴らしく、数々のTop校にクライアントを送り込んでいる。

・       Bryan自体は元々UC Berkeleyでジャーナリズムを専攻しており、今もジャーナリストとしても活動していることから、文章力が異常に高い。中々ユニークな表現で読み手を引き付けられる。

・       個人としても柔らかさと芯の強さを持ったタイプであり、決して傲慢にはならず、「一緒に仕事をしよう」という姿勢でクライアントに接してくれる。また、ジャーナリストならではなのか、各クライアントに興味を持って接してくるため、彼が積極的にこちらのことを知ろうとしてくるところが好きになった。実際に受験終盤では何も言わなくても「この質問なら、このネタを書くよね?」、「言いたかったことはこれだろ?こんな表現だといいんじゃないか?」などという醸成された関係を築くことが出来た。

・       パッケージ型の料金体系を選択すれば、Essayカウンセリング、インタビュートレーニング等が含まれた素晴らしいコストパフォーマンスを得ることが出来る。

・       年間数回の来日機会を除けば、普段Bryanは米国西海岸に住んでいるため、契約開始当初からビデオSkypeで毎週カウンセリングを実施する。これが最初は緊張したが、毎週数時間ずつ英語で自分のことを説明しながら二人でEssayを作り上げていくという作業自体が、Speaking、Writingにも役立った。実際、普段から英語で自分の実績やら志望理由やらを話していたお陰で、Interviewの練習にもなっていたことは間違いない。

・       プロ意識が高く、つまらないネタを出すと容赦なく切り捨てられる。一方で、アピールできそうなネタを出すと、色々な側面から質問攻めをくらい、結果的には非常に良く纏まった面白いエッセイに仕上がることが多かった。彼の文章力と人間を見る力の賜物だろう。

・       出願作業ではかなり不安になることや意味が分からないことが多く、かなり頻繁にBryanに質問していたのだが、全てに1日以内にすぐ返事をくれ、本当に助かった。

・       他のカウンセラーと違い、クライアントの意思を最大限尊重する。例えば少しテストスコアが足りなかったとしても、Topスクール受験を全力でサポートしてくれ、実際にそれほど高くないスコアで何人もTopスクール合格者を生み出している。

・       Bryanともかなり仲良くなり、クライアント同士も仲良くなる。毎週会っているBryanは当たり前だが、Interviewトレーニングや数回のパーティのお会いしただけでクライアント同士が非常に仲良くなり、良い仲間が出来た。また受験校に過去のクライアントが在籍していると、Visitの際などにBryanが紹介してくれる。

ここに改めて、最高の感謝の気持ちと賛辞をBryanに送りたいと思います。本当に有難うございました。

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Harvard, Stanford and Columbia Grad. Schools of Education

Posted 4/1/2011

The past year working with Bryan has been a journey of discovery.  As I have a mixed background in various sectors, stepping into the field of education was at first hard to decide. However, our discussions let me confront my true feelings and understand my goals. I am truly grateful for Bryan’s support which has given me the chance to strive toward my goal of expanding quality education in developing countries, and hope that I can give back to society after graduation.

There are numerous aspects that I respect Bryan for.

To share just a few, they would be his trust, judgment and inspiration.

Trust: During our first discussion, Bryan let me think about what I enjoy the most which helped me realize that I want to pursue my passion for education. Each advice helped me consider my options realistically and also set goals to aim for.  His understanding made me feel as though we have known each other for several years in just a few weeks!  As Bryan let me know about the hurdles I would face, I was able to prepare myself and look forward to the difficult parts of the application process as well.

Judgment: Bryan guided me when I was having trouble judging what to prioritize.  When I worried too much about an issue or got obsessed with something trivial, Bryan helped me look at the big picture.  I believe it is both Bryan’s experience and true consideration that let us make good judgments.  Even in the tightest moments, I was able to feel relaxed and was saved many times by Bryan’s advice.

Inspiration: I was inspired by Bryan’s positive attitude and passion towards our dreams.  I believe that it is his deep and sincere interest in our dreams that keeps us motivated.  Looking back at the past year, I enjoyed every moment of the application process as I felt I got to understand myself more, and my research interests develop through working with Bryan.  Thank you for your dedication which means so much to us.

Thank you very much, Bryan.  I still cannot believe that I have the chance to choose from my top choice schools.  I look forward to sharing with you my future steps and send my best wishes to you and your family.

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HBS (also accepted to Stanford and Columbia)

Posted 3/20/2011

I had heard of Bryan from a past year’s candidate. The person was not a client of Bryan but apparently had heard good things about him. So I found Bryan on the internet and scheduled the free Skype consultation. The 30 minute conversation left a positive impression and I decided to go with Bryan. As such, I never tried out anybody else and I have no way of comparing Bryan with others, but all I can say is that the decision was the right one for me. Here are some reasons why.

1. Experience

Bryan is experienced in this rather complex engagement known as the MBA admissions process. I had no clue. I did not know the rules of the game. There seemed to be numerous landmines in the process and I was not about to start wandering around without clear guidance. Bryan helped me weave through the landmines I needed to avoid in essays and interviews with his vast amount of experience and resources.

2. Background

Bryan has a unique background in being a successful journalist, and I think that is one of his major strengths. In the essays, I believe the ideas, the experiences, and the style, all of it has to come from you, the candidate. There is no other source but you, and I think that is the only way you can genuinely construct a compelling argument to the readers in the admissions office. Whenever I talked to Bryan over Skype, he always asked the right questions that made me think and go deeper. He did not shove his opinion in my face but rather tried to pull everything out of me so that I could write from the best experiences I had in me to answer the question. I think these traits are derived from his background as an accomplished journalist.

3. Personality

I enjoyed working with Bryan. We met over Skype mostly after my working hours. Yes, essays and interview preparations are serious business, but this is a one-to-one interaction and I am a laid-back kind of person. After a long day of work, I was not about to spend close to an hour of my day with a person I did not get along with. Bryan is a nice guy and I liked his dry sense of humor.

Thank you, Bryan, for all of your support!  It was a pleasure working with you and I wish the best of luck for this last year of your consulting business and your new opportunity in the field of journalism!

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HBS (also accepted to Stanford and Wharton)

Posted 3/8/11

Working with Bryan for the past one year has been a truly valuable experience for me, not just in terms of receiving support for business school applications, but also helping me clarify who I am, and who I really want to become. The quality time we spent together led to the self-awareness and confidence that I am ready to join HBS class of 2013. Reflecting back, there are several ways Bryan sets himself apart from many other business school counselors.

1) Flexibility and speed

Given my tight schedule working as a full-time management consultant, one of my highest needs was to receive quick turnarounds on my draft essays. He exceeded my expectations, by providing quick, high-quality feedback, and also by being extremely flexible when I was in a “crunch”. While many counselors prefer to fix times for appointments and stick to them, Bryan was always flexible in terms of when and how long to meet.

2) Journalist approach

Leveraging his journalism experience, he was excellent in terms of asking the right questions to clarify my thoughts and build my self-awareness. For the first few meetings when writing an essay, Bryan would ask hundreds of questions to dig at my thinking. It felt somewhat like a pressure test, but this materially improved the quality of my essays by addressing issues at the root.

3) Personality

Last but not least, working with someone like Bryan is just so enjoyable and interesting. This is a point everyone who worked with Bryan would mention. His professionalism, trust, and sense of humor made all of our meetings so much fun.

Thanks a lot Bryan, and I wish you the best for your next year!

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Wharton

Posted 2/6/11

Thanks to Bryan I was admitted from Wharton, which was my dream school. To begin the application preparation, I met several prominent essay consultants, and now I am confident that the choice I made to work with Bryan was the right and critical one. I felt comfortable throughout the application process working with him, and among many virtues the ones I appreciated the most were;

1. Communication

Although Bryan seemed to understand Japanese, he never used it during the counseling meetings. In addition, he had a great patience not to cut in before I finish speaking. These made our meetings natural trainings for the admissions interviews, since I needed to explain in English fully about each of my essays which often accompanied subtle nuances.

What is more, I was really amazed how precisely he grasped my character after a limited number of counseling meetings. He also remembered tiny details which I mentioned in the past conversations. Based on these, Bryan gave me many hints and suggestions that helped me come up with themes well-suited for my essays.

2. Criteria

Bryan is a gentle and caring person, however, at the same time, he maintains strict criteria for the quality of his clients’ essays. He was very frank about whether he thought I had chosen an appropriate theme for the essay or not. I can’t recall how many times my essay drafts were rejected. Yet, Bryan was right after all, since I was not invited to interview from a school whose essays Bryan doubted, which I submitted anyways, but was invited from all the rest. I think Bryan’s appraisal of the quality of essays is precise and especially helpful for Japanese applicants to acquire the sense of admissions criteria.

3. Support as needed

Among his very tight schedule, Bryan from time to time offered me irregular meetings as needed, for example, before and after my business trips, and on the eve of essay submission etc. I appreciated it very much because I got busier with my job just before the 1st round due dates and also before my interviews.

Bryan is a trustworthy interview trainer as well. After several weeks from my first interview, I was actually getting worse with my self-expression skills, which I didn’t notice myself. Bryan kindly set an additional meeting before my next interview, which made a huge improvement in my preparedness. In regard to Wharton, the ad hoc 30-minute mock interview done on the eve of the interview day helped a lot, since the questions made in the mock interview covered the large part of the questions actually asked in the next day.

Bryan, thanks again and I hope for your clients’ success in your last year as an essay consultant. Good luck for all!

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CMU Tepper (w/unsolicited scholarship), Ivey MBA (full scholarship)

Posted 1/20/11

“Congratulations on being admitted to the Tepper School of Business, and we are also delighted to inform you that you have been selected as a recipient of an MBA Merit ScholarshipAfter seeing this message in my Gmail inbox, I literally jumped out of my chair, and danced like a football player who just scored a touchdown.  Finally I got it!

I am a re-applicant, and trust me, it is painful to go through the whole admissions process the second time.  Double the work, double the pressure, and double the doubt.  Earlier this year, I thought I had put together 3 fairly solid applications, but was waitlisted by two top programs, one in California and one in France.  Being on the waitlist felt like losing at the Super Bowl.  I was dejected and disappointed, and didn’t know how to channel the frustration.  On top of that, I received the news in February, which in my city means weeks of cloudy weather and rain!

Enter Bryan for the rescue.  In the corporate world, there are Turnaround CEOs; in the MBA admissions consulting world, there are Turnaround Consultants, like Bryan.

I found Bryan through his website, which I had used previously for formulating my essays.  When I spoke with Bryan, I immediately jived with him – unpretentious, funny, and yet incredibly insightful.  He recognized the critical gaps in my applications, and made actionable suggestions on what I can do while being waitlisted.

After only one meeting, I knew I wanted to work with Bryan, and went for the full service package.  I told myself: “This time, I am going all in like the Allies landing on Normandy, and Bryan is who I want to have on board with me.”  Looking back, this was one of the best decisions I made in the past year.

When he said being flexible, Bryan really meant it.  We took a two pronged approach by working on my waitlist letters, as well as new applications for this Fall.  He even hosted me to a nice brunch when I went down to California to visit one of the waitlisted schools.  Ultimately, it didn’t work out with those two schools, and Bryan then consoled me “No worries.  Let’s focus on the next steps.”

Like how Ira Glass (One of the most renowned US public radio personalities) would interview someone for an episode of “This American Life”, Bryan patiently drew out the unique points in my profile that I had never realized through our weekly meetings.  Then, he guided me through his time tested application preparation approach, which is to clearly articulate the career goal first, then find the schools that fit my goal, rather than the other way around.   In addition, his personal style just made the process so much more enjoyable, that in the end I actually truly loved writing my essays.  Finally, we submitted 5 apps in record time, thanks to his razor sharp editing skills.  So far I am 1 for 1, with scholarship too. (Note: my client has now been invited for two more interviews.)

Looking back, the key differentiator this time is that Bryan helped me to find, refine, and focus on the things that truly mattered in this application process: my personal qualities, well thought out career goal, and fit with the schools, rather than on the superficial and blinding attributes such as rankings or statistics.

If you are applying or thinking of applying to business schools, do yourself a favour and work with Bryan.  You will not only get the results you want, but I can guarantee that you will also develop as a person too.

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