1. Vikram is honest about your chances and has a fee structure tied to your success, both of which are quite rare. He is truly invested in helping you succeed. I decided to apply to INSEAD a little late and first spoke with Vikram five weeks before the deadline for the round. A month is a short time to create a good application however I felt we were able to put together a very good application. If you are dedicated and willing to put in the effort, Vikram's quick turnaround time for providing suggestions or his availability is an advantage. Communicating with him is efficient and he made sure we go through multiple drafts until we felt satisfied with each essay. I live in another country (in North America) and we still managed to communicate regularly – he was just a message away if I need help while working on something.
I had applied to four schools before this – two of which were with the help of a popular American firm which helps business school applicants – and none of those applications went forward to the interview stage. I was surprised at the level of detail and rigor Vikram demands. It made me feel my previous efforts, before I met Vikram, were loosely guided and not focused although I had reputed professional help. He can relate to your experiences and tries to understand every little detail to find hidden gems in your stories which can be used in your essays. For example, he tried to dig deeper to understand the methods I used to drive significant savings for my employer and helped add an additional level of depth to the story. It helped make the story sound authentic and added a personal touch. He will teach you how to write a compelling narrative and point you in the right direction. If you need to choose between a few options while writing an essay, editing your resume or preparing for an interview, Vikram is generally decisive and never in doubt – there is generally some sound logic behind the decisions made.
There is no room for mediocre or average responses during interview preparation. Vikram makes sure you have a great response for questions which could be asked. During any interview of this nature, you are generally asked about your motivation to go to business school and Vikram makes sure the delivery of the story you tell is great. I was quite surprised at the level of preparation for the interviews – we tried to cover all corners. A large portion of my interviews were conversations and there was a large deviation from the standard interview questions but the key was to weave in the appropriate stories I had discussed with Vikram. He tries to probe more about the past experiences listed on your resume as a real interviewer would and cover all aspects.
It is rare to find someone who is deeply invested in your success, always a text message away if you need help, willing to understand all the details of your story, has a robust process to create a good application and persistent about helping you improve.
2. In the B-school application process, having a good sounding board to bounce one's ideas of is pivotal. Vikram's role in helping me identify stories that had potential from the not so impressive ones added immense value to my application. Through Vikram's process that he put in place, he goes to great lengths in understanding the applicant's story. This process personally helped me reflect on myself as well.
As a first time applicant working with him, helped me understand how B-school adcoms function. Overtime, I was able to articulate my stories and structure my conversations better, which ultimately helped me in other settings as well.
Another aspect where Vikram added immense value was instilling a much needed discipline to the process. Considering most of us as applicants have a full time job, among other things to juggle, Vikram's experience guided me in getting 5 b-school applications out in the targeted timeframe.
Though I was based in a different timezone and worked remotely with him, Vikram was always available at odd hours. I experienced this first hand, during my interview preparation. The thoroughness with which he handles the entire application process doesn't leave room for a half-baked application.
Even while dealing with rejects, Vikram's ability to put things into perspective and add value to help make informed choices, eventually landed me an admit into a school of my choice.
Going to B-school is one of the biggest decisions I've had to make, I am glad I had Vikram's guidance and candour while putting my best application forward.
3. I was a bit over 30 when I decided to apply to a school for MBA. I wanted to make sure I chose my consultant wisely and spent almost a month doing my due diligence. I decided to go with Vikram amongst the 5 consultant I spoke with and am very glad today that I made that wise decision. Working with Vikram has been truly an excellent experience for me.
I worked with him for 8 months, applied to 4 schools (INSEAD, LBS, Cornell and Oxford) and got acceptance in all except LBS (I felt I didn't get enough opportunity to self myself in those 2 essays). My success rate was 75%.
Vikram has been more than just an admission consultant for me. He was my personal coach, who invested endless hours in trying to understand me; helped me discover my strengths, weaknesses and potential; assisted me to create a logical and stellar resume; coached me for the interviews; and made me aware of varied techniques and concepts to market oneself. He gave me a true insight into the world of MBA. Spending hours with Vikram altered my approach, not only to MBA applications, but also in day-to-day scenarios of job search and net-working (very important components of an MBA program).
An example of his unwavering commitment was when he prepared me for Cornell's interview, which was scheduled 5 days after my INSEAD deadline. He spent 3 full days (early mornings to late evenings), coaching me on the art of storytelling and ensuring I practiced my content multiple times. In spite of me being a slow learner, he was extremely patient, motivating and never once one gave up on me (though I did multiple times). He said it as it was (no sweet talk) and provided constructive criticism each step of the way. I commend his efforts and push to prepare me for the interview.
I know of a lot of my friends, using reputable and well known consultants, had commented they had never experienced such dedicated service. While they had to schedule appointments to get in touch with their consultants and that too for limited hours, Vikram was literally a whatsapp/message away any time of the day. I believe Vikram is without doubt the best consultant/coach and of great caliber and without him I wouldn't have been accepted in the 3 prestigious schools.
In conclusion, I can say that Vikram was heavily vested in my success. I never fully understood the rational; maybe it has to do with the Success fee model, the high standards he has set for his service or maybe his paranoia to see his clients' succeed. Whatever the reason, you will never regret choosing him.