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Are MBA consultants affordable and worth the fees they charge?

Posted: May 18th, 2018, 12:03 pm
by mcb_mg
We’ve written about the total fees for an MBA that one has to shell out, with some sense on the ranges involved. We’ve also talked about the top admissions consultants with their fees.

Though there is an abundance of articles extolling (or condemning) the usage of admissions consultants (heck even we’ve written about the ‘worth’ of an MBA consultant), we decided to take a more objective look on the topic with numbers. Despite our obvious interests in this topic, we’ll try our best to keep this unbiased and objective.

The idea behind this post is to compare how costly or affordable are the admissions consultants out there and should that be a factor you bear in mind as you embark on your MBA journey.

For this analysis, we are going to use the data from first two links that I have used above and a lot of analytical skills to go along. Let’s start right off the bat then.

Putting things into perspective


The graph shows a comparison of school fees vis-à-vis consultant fees.

For the low and high school fees, we've considered the 1 year low range (~$48K) and 2 year high (~300K) range (Program Fees + Personal Expenses only) from the article about MBA costs.

For the consultant fees, we've considered the scope for a single school review. On the low side, you have MBA Crystal Ball (at ~$900) and for high, we’ve used the figure of $4,750 (yes, international consultants can be costly).

The bubble size in the chart is simply the ratio of admissions consultant fee to the school fees, represented as a percentage.

Let’s see what insights we can draw from the analysis.

Barring an exception of the blue bubble there, which is a sizeable 10% of your school fees, I think the jury is pretty clear that the admissions consultant fees is an insignificant 2% or below compared to the dollars you would end up spending on the actual education.

Using a low-end consultant (only from price perspective, mind you), provided you are sure of quality, makes the numbers even more irrelevant.

Sure this comes with the usual disclaimer that most candidates will apply to multiple schools (read how many schools you should be applying to) and would take up higher scope packages. But even that wouldn’t skew the ratio much – most teams offer in-built discounts for higher scope packages as you determine from you research too.

And then we haven't even considered the possibility of getting tens of thousands of dollars in MBA scholarships.

Are MBA admission consultants worth it?

Which brings us to the million-dollar (err…maybe a few thousand dollars?) question – should you go for it?

Like I mentioned at the start, there are a ton of articles in ‘English’ (including our own version) that would lay out the pros and cons of hiring an admissions consultant.

Purely from a numbers point of view that we just discussed, think of it this way. If the 2% that you invest here gives you even a 5% (we hope that number is a lot more) push, that’s money well spent from an RoI perspective.

Many admission consulting teams worth their money would love to take the entire credit for getting a candidate through. But we all know that’s not true. A reasonable assumption of the credit that consultants deserve, would vary between 20-60% (yeah it is subjective!). But if you believe in that range, then start reaching out to admissions consulting teams and find your match now.