INSEAD

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.

WHARTON

1. If it were not for Vikram's help, I am sure I wouldn't have been successful in submitting my applications with so much confidence and quality. He helped me in shortlisting schools based on my interests and here I am with a Wharton and Yale admit in hand. After I got rejected from Stanford, to which I applied by myself, I wasn't sure of applying to Wharton but he highlighted my strengths, convinced me to aim high and apply to Wharton.

The best part about working with him was the unlimited working hours that he dedicated because of which all the conversations were detailed and upto my satisfaction. He patiently went through my whole life story in minute details and quickly connected the dots to bring out the perfect story that would make my essays stronger.

The kind of training that Vikram provided during resume writing, essay writing and interview preparation developed a unique way of thinking and helped me highlight the important bits in the applications and interviews in my own natural way.

Vikram never rushed through the conversations, worked with me till late nights and pushed me a lot to bring the best out of me; he gave me exactly the kind of push I was looking for. He was easily approachable at any point of time.

One of my concerns about approaching a consultant was losing out on originality in the essays but Vikram retained my style of writing and always suggested modifications that will make the answers better.

I can say that in my busy schedule he fetched discipline, diligence, skills and resources throughout the process and made me more confident to believe on my stories and goals. It was definitely every penny worth it!

If you want to make the most out of his consultancy, approach early and trust his words – of course "By questioning everything till you are convinced" - like he suggests :)

P.S. I selected Vikram after a lot of research on other consultancies and without a doubt he is the best.


2. An MBA is a significant investment, both in terms of time and money. As I started my MBA application journey, I spoke to a lot of people who had stellar profiles but still got rejected by Top B-Schools, not once but twice. I was determined to get through in the first attempt and hence decided to have a partner in this journey; someone who was an expert in the domain and hence decided to enroll with a consultant. Luckily for me I had friends who had a great experience with Vikram earlier and the choice became easy. However I took my time talking to about 10+ consultants and consulting firms- both India and US based and finally convinced, enrolled with Vikram.

I like the approach Vikram follows of deep self-reflection. Only then do you really realize how you stand out from the crowd and given the competition we face as Indian applicants, this step is extremely crucial. From discussing which B-schools to apply, getting the CV right to endless drafts of essays, Vikram was there to help me, working harder than I did. Also as he got to know me better, he was the one who encouraged me to apply to higher-ranking schools and we eventually decided to apply to Top 10 only.

Throughout the application process I realized that no matter how self-motivated you are, work priorities eat up your time and at such instances, Vikram was there to push me and give a reality check. I was amazed how he managed to remember every single detail about my profile and knew exactly where I need to use it to my advantage. I consider Vikram more as a coach than a consultant. He will not write your essays for you, but will teach you how to write and be patient till you get it right.

Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, it is about the stories you tell. In the true sense, Vikram helped me sell my story to B-School Ad-coms. I applied to 6 schools and interviewed with the best 5 among them -Wharton, Stanford, Kellogg, Duke and Yale and am now headed to Wharton.

STANFORD

I was jumping with joy when I learnt about my daughter's admission in the full time MBA program in Stanford GSB. Though she had an attractive profile, in spite of working with some consultants, she had received rejects from some B-Schools which made her to rethink her strategy. Her network lead to Mr Vikram Shah. With him she could identify the mistakes done and refined her presentation capabilities. With other consultants she realized that her originality was being lost. Uniqueness of Mr Shah is to preserve the originality of each and suitably alerting on the red signals in the application path. After the success from Tepper with attractive scholarship, he stood by her to reach out to top B-schools. Beyond being admitted to the best business school: Stanford GSB, the process Mr Shah follows has greatly helped my daughter change and develop her personality.

CHICAGO BOOTH

Vikram played a vital and key role in my bschool application process. He was there from the start (resume revision/drafting) to the finish (interview advice/practices). I was having trouble in setting and selling my story in the most concise, unique and marketable way possible. Vikram led me to overcome the various obstacles and eventually succeed in putting together stellar applications that led to my acceptances at Booth, NYU and UCLA (and a wait listed spot at Kellogg). He is very responsive and approachable and devoted to his clients. Furthermore, he pushed me hard and served as a great support and guide during the entire process. I would highly recommend Vikram Shah to help you prepare your business school application.

ROSS

1. I was really late in the B-school application process and after hearing some good feedbacks about Vikram, approached him. He understood my interests and helped me select my schools after thorough analysis. He made me think more about what have I done and why have I done what I've done. He patiently listened to my life story and helped me connect the dots tactfully. Don't think if it wasn't for him, I would have been able to come up with such deep insights in my story and articulate it in the essays. He helped me get the best essay out and didn't sit back until it was perfect. He was available almost round the clock barring the sleeping hours, of course and accommodated my office timings pretty well.

Most importantly, he helped me prepare for the interviews amazingly well. His mock interviews were like real interviews. Just like he did for the applications, he tried to get everything perfect here as well. Another thing worth mentioning is the post admission relationship. The communication did not end on my admission. He advised me on a lot of aspects post admission also that has really helped me.

A huge credit goes to him for the invites from my desired schools. I would definitely recommend Vikram.


2. Right from Day 1, Vikram has been a partner in the effort of applying to B Schools – guiding my progress at every step. Unlike most other consultants, he followed this unique approach where he went through a "Life History Walkthrough" to understand every aspect of my life and thus found episodes that I never thought were consequential. Even though he was deeply involved in my essays, he managed to detach himself and read them from a critical, third-person perspective. Through his honest feedback he made me present my essays in such a gripping way that I received interview calls from Wharton, Stanford, MIT Sloan and Ross. Working with Vikram helped me learn a lot of things about myself and my history. I learnt to be articulate and to put things in perspective – skills that I use in my daily life now. Anyone willing to work hard on their applications to see themselves succeed should work with Vikram as he works very hard on each application and ensures that you do too.

TUCK

Vikram is more of a collaborator than a consultant. He will not just limit himself to give feedback on your essays. He worked with me right from scratch to make that final big decision -" To join School A or School B".

It is very important to project a consistent and clear picture of "Who you are" to the Adcom. Vikram forces you to think deep about every word you put in your application. After some sessions I too developed the same bent of mind. This really helped me communicate my message clearly not only in my applications but also during my interviews. He acted like an amazing sounding board giving very objective and clear feedback. On top of that he is very hard working and will make you work equally hard even when the discussions go late in the night.

Most good consultants can help you with the usual mock interviews and articulation and Vikram is really good at it, But what differentiates Vikram is that he is straight forward and you get to know exactly how your application is turning out. No sugar coating , beating around the bush. This really helped me trust his words.

I worked in a bit niche field. Vikram's biggest contribution was helping me position my profile in a manner which was simple to understand but still impressive I still have my resume before I worked with him. We could completely transform it.I would suggest anyone working with Vikram to start early with him. Work hard with him ,give him time , trust him fully and you will definitely get your dream school.

LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL

1. So it was application time, and clueless as I was at the beginning, connecting with Vikram made a big difference in my life. Vikram knows how to help bring out the best in you in your application and really shows you how to market yourself well- and that is exactly what I needed to help me get through to my school of choice.

Vikram's application writing process is tried and tested- it was probably the most efficient process that helped me get my story right. His quality of work is outstanding and having gone through an MBA from a good school himself, Vikram knows exactly what to do at each step of the journey. The best part is that Vikram handles the entire application himself alone- therefore giving me a one-point contact for everything with undiluted assured quality.

The application process requires a lot of introspection and needed me to really think my life through before penning down anything. I knew I needed a friend to walk with me through it rather than a counselor or a guide or mentor. And Vikram did just that- took interest, discussed, probed, pushed and followed-up each and every step of the way to ultimately help me figure out my own story. Being the thorough professional that Vikram is, at no point in time did I feel that I was being judged or evaluated on my life experiences. He knows how to put you at ease right from the beginning. Vikram really takes the effort to get to know you before he helps you figure out what to put down on your app.

Vikram has a very collaborative way of working. As much as I felt initially that I could adhere to timelines and have my application ready well in advance- being a working individual- I often found it difficult to keep pace. Vikram did give me the necessary nudge and push to get me working when I went slack but at the same time, he made it a point that it didn't become a habit. He is well-versed with different working styles and adapts to your requirements. He keeps connected- be it through phone calls, Skype, emails or even SMSs. You don't necessarily have to be in the same city while working with him. I remember for most part of the application process, I was traveling and everything was managed beautifully- irrespective of where I was.

Vikram delivers what he promises- high quality of work, personalized attention to your app, collaborative way of working, and dependable even at odd hours- an ideal fit for working individuals. And if you think he's handling only your applications- You're wrong!! He's doing the same for multiple students and yet the quality is as good as it can get with absolutely no complaints.

As far as the pricing goes- I feel a little bit of a time, energy and money investment now with the right MBA consultant has helped me get what I wanted. Ultimately I wanted someone who could get it right in the first shot and after it all, I thought it was totally worth the expense. I can confidently say that at the end of it all, I have not only gotten into my school of choice, but have also learnt how to showcase the best in me and market myself well- lessons that will take me a long way.


2. Deciding on an MBA was one of the biggest decisions of my life (as it would be for most!) and getting into the right MBA program was critical. To put forth my best application, I realized that I couldn't rely on my judgement alone. What sounded fantastic and mind-blowing to me could sound stupid and childish to the admissions committee and vice-versa. I needed a learned friend, an alter ego to give me a frank opinion of my stuff without worrying that the "truth" would hurt the friendship. I needed someone who could hear my story, tell me where I was on track, and where I'd gone horribly wrong and if possible suggest on the best course of action.

I was lucky to have Vikram introduced to me by someone close, who had worked with Vikram and had got admitted to the school of his choice. Although I wasn't based in the same town (or country!) as Vikram, he assured me that distance wouldn't be a barrier with communication tools such as Skype available. He recommended Vikram very highly and where I was planning to invest millions in my MBA, it certainly made sense to invest in a few thousands for expert advice to ensure that I invest my millions wisely.

Throughout the application process, Vikram was like a guiding light. Himself having studied at world-class business schools and having experienced the entire process himself, Vikram was able to give me a perspective from the inside. From understanding my background and goals, to helping me decide on "the right fit schools", to choosing "the right recommenders", to helping me tell my story, my way, but making sure that it makes sense to the admission committee, and even preparing me for the interviews when I was shortlisted, Vikram was there every step of the way. He was always on top of the game, guiding me throughout the process – challenging me when I wasn't aiming high enough, and bringing me back to reality when I got carried away. Time was no barrier at all and Vikram was unlike any consultant I had ever heard of. He was more like a big brother – available and ready whenever I wanted help, night or day, weekday or weekend.

DUKE

When I started with my MBA application, I was completely overwhelmed with the volumes of essays I had to write and the whole application process. Hence I decided I needed someone who could guide me through the whole process and help me bring out the best in me. A good friend of mine from a reputed B-school introduced me to Vikram and after speaking to him I was convinced he was the right person for me to work with.

While other consultants paint a pretty picture and tell you flowery things you like hearing about yourself, Vikram takes a very different approach. He is brutally honest with you and tells you what your strengths and weaknesses are upfront. I must say working with Vikram is not for the faint-hearted. He gets right to the point, gives you a reality check when required, makes sure you aim high and put your best foot forward. He understand your profile thoroughly, helps you reason and put things into perspective beautifully. While all of us have great stories to put into our essays, what most of us lack is how to put things into perspective. That is exactly what Vikram helps you do – pick a good story and make it into a great one. Right from building my resume, brainstorming about essays, editing essays, preparing for interviews Vikram's help has been invaluable.

From working with Vikram over a period of 6 months and applying to 5 schools, I can definitely say that it has been an incredible learning experience. Beyond putting together strong applications for my schools, he has taught me how to tell a compelling story, how to build a good resume and be absolutely prepared for an interview – skills that will help me throughout my life.

If an MBA is you life's dream, here are three reasons why you should work with Vikram:

  • 1) Rather than telling you things, he teaches you how to do them yourself, he helps you reason and build a great application
  • 2) He is always available and very flexible with his time. He gives you as much time as you wants and never shies away from spending an extra hour
  • 3) He is absolutely honest with you. He doesn't waste your time sugar coating things and saves a lot of your time

Vikram is incredibly good at what he does and a great friend. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking a guide to help them get into a great B-school.

ISB

1. Undoubtedly, Vikram is the best MBA admission consultant in India. Unlike the typical admission consultants, Vikram will ensure that he is there for you right from scratch until the time you step into your dream business school. He has such a holistic working style that after the application process you will be in amazed, not only with the top quality applications you submit but with the entire self-realization process of your strengths and weaknesses.

Vikram brings a very robust framework to the entire MBA application process – Life story exercise, School shortlisting, Resume reviews, Essay reviews, Application review, Interview preparation and final decision making. All of this is coupled with infinite conversations about your goals post MBA and the choice of School A vs B to ensure that you end up getting into your dream school. Vikram knows every top MBA program in and out and having personally experienced the MBA, he brings some invaluable elements into every decision making process during the application process. Another unique quality is his ability to judge your strengths and weaknesses very early on in the process – this ensures that your entire application is focused around schools where you have a higher probability of getting in and most importantly schools that are aligned with your post MBA goals.

I would like to just say that working with Vikram on all my applications has been a very fruitful and exhilarating experience. He sets his standards very high and ensures that you push yourself at every point of the application process; in short you need to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone and keep raising the bar in terms of effort – if you are prepared for taking the plunge, there is no one better than Vikram to help you achieve an admit to the top MBA programs across the globe!

P.S. I had asked numerous folks and done exhaustive research on admission consultants before choosing Vikram"


2. Writing an application involves knowing yourself accurately. Atleast for me, it was not one bit easy to write about myself. Vikram helped me, with his apt questions, understand how to put forward my achievements, skills, etc. His honest, unbiased opinion really helps drive things in the right direction with the right spirit. I applied to only one school, but this has by all means been a very enriching experience. You can be very honest with Vikram, about all your fears, apprehensions as well as goals and ambitions and he helps you identify if you are on the right track. Not only did my essay and resume turn out impressive but while interacting with him I learnt the importance of being articulate and putting things into perspective. The mock interviews were indeed helpful, as I was able to grasp the whole picture and get a feel of what all the school is actually looking for in me as a MBA candidate. I would recommend Vikram to every candidate for whom MBA is a passion and needs the right amount of push to get into the right college!


3. The thing best I guess about Vikram is his genuineness and commitment. He will make sure that you constantly push the envelope and give your best and that, I believe, makes the difference. No compromise on quality! What is particularly impressive is that he is as involved in the process as you are and at times when you tend to slack off and he does not shy off from giving you the stick. Be sure to work hard and Vikram will help you put together a great story.

DARDEN

The best thing about Vikram is his ability to understand your profile and help you find areas which can be marketed. While working on essays, he helped me put the work and projects I had done into a perspective that I had not explored myself coming from a set way of thinking. This really helped me market myself holistically, something that I had been unable to do previous year.

He is thorough in understanding the clients profile and knows well about what is required to get into a top business school. While in essays he was able to get the best out of me by challenging my ideas about various aspects that a B school application explores such as leadership, management etc. At the time of interviews he was very meticulous in preparing me not only in content but also in terms of body language and confidence, areas which are of utmost importance for a business school. While working with him has helped me get into a top business school, more importantly it has been a great learning process and taught me skills which would help me throughout my life.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY

After a terrible experience with a consulting firm for essay review, I was looking for someone who could actually add value to my applications and increase my chances of getting into a reputed college. I am glad I chose Vikram (over tens of other consultancies) and now I am joining school with a $70,000 scholarship!!

It sure was a tough ride from day one. I wanted someone who could push me as my professional and personal responsibilities were making it impossible for me to keep up the motivation of working on applications after a long day. Vikram helped me with school selections and had me thinking about aspects that I had never considered before. It was becoming extremely difficult to decide based on the tons of information available on the net and I now cannot imagine doing it without Vikram's help.

He will make you work really hard and say it on your face if your write-up is crap. I had real tough interview sessions with him and even though we couldn't meet in person, he was always accessible whenever I needed help or had any question.

His patience is just amazing as I would have to send him four final final versions of my essays and CV. I never thought I could have a CV that can look so impressive. Vikram had told me during our first conversation that I had to work 10 times more than the effort I put in on my GMAT, and he did make me work so much. And that when I loved to study for the GMAT and hated those essay writings.

It is difficult to choose a consultant when there are so many around, and each one boasting of their success stories. I am glad I chose Vikram as he gives you exactly what he promises and though he may seem expensive at first, the amount of time he spends with you justifies all of it. Thanks a ton Vikram!!

TEPPER

A lot of people who are planning to apply to B schools abroad believe that they can do it all by themselves and do not need professional help. I was one of those. After writing my GMAT, I set out on the daunting task of applying to B schools. I researched on schools, their rankings, career options and what not. As I read on, I realized that there was so much I did not know. My ignorance was baffling. I was going to make the biggest investment of my life and I wasn't informed enough to make any decisions. That is when I realized that I needed a professional consultant to help me out.

My city did not have MBA Consultants. I made a trip to the closest metro to meet consultants in order to find the right person. I made numerous calls to almost all major consultancies. I even visited their offices in order to meet consultants face to face. The responses in all places were rather disappointing. In bigger consultancies, I only got to speak to the receptionist who was hardly in a position to answer any of my questions. Even if I insisted on speaking to the consultant (at least on the phone), I was refused. They said that I could only speak to the consultant after I enroll. This reaction really put me off. I did not want to gamble 40K to work with someone I had not even spoken to. I carried on my search. In a few places, I actually got to meet the person who would be assisting me in the process. The first thing that was evident after speaking with them was that they had never set foot outside the country. Their knowledge was limited and their answers well-rehearsed. Second, they were quick and very eager to point out the weaknesses in my profile. Although, this did not bother me; but it did seem like a cheap ploy to make me feel "ignorant and unaware" so that I jump at the first offer of help. They also discouraged me from applying in Round 2 even though the R2 deadlines were a good 2.5 months away. After all these interactions, I gave up hope of applying this year.

I came back to my city. I was squandering my time away "facebooking" (since I was told that I could not apply this year), until I came across an advertisement of an MBA Consultant- Vikram Shah. I went to his website. The first thing I noticed was that he too was an MBA grad from a very reputed B- school. The website was crisp, informative and the best thing – there was a mobile number. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was pretty confident that there would be no response if I called. I thought that if at all someone answered; nobody would like to entertain me on a weekend. I was wrong. I called and Vikram responded and I had the longest conversation I had had with any consultant. The differences between Vikram and all the other consultants I had met were glaring. First, he was smart and he knew what he was talking about. Second, he didn't have any qualms about giving out free information. Third, he was not pushy like others. After talking to him, I started wondering if I made the wrong decision in not applying this year and took some time to mull over it. Vikram was always helpful, ready to talk whenever I had any questions for him (this is when I wasn't even a client). I think it would be safe to say that it was because of Vikram that I changed my mind (so glad I did). I had never met this person, but I felt I could trust him. I decided to give MBA applications a shot this year. Time was short but I was confident Vikram would steer me through it.

We started working full swing on resume writing and college selection simultaneously. About the resume, I think it would suffice to say that the Resume that Vikram helped me build was 100, or let say 1000 (or even more) times better than what I would have built myself. I must point out here that Vikram has a way with words. He knows exactly how to put a positive spin on sentences and bring out the meaning with utmost clarity in as few words as possible (which is very important in resume as well as essays). I hope to be as good as he is, someday. On to college selections, that was a very collaborative process. I was insistent on applying to the big names and Vikram helped me choose the right mix of colleges. The most noteworthy thing here is that we discussed the reason why we are NOT applying to certain schools and why we ARE.

After spending a considerable time on resume and college selections, I started writing my first application. Vikram interviewed me and helped me build the stories that would become the subject matter in my essays. This, I believe is the most important aspect of writing an application. It is absolutely essential to get a neutral party's opinion on everything that you have done in your life. Since Vikram had been through the grind himself, he was very well aware of which stories were more compelling than others. He made me look at my own life stories from a different angle and bring out the qualities that are required in an MBA student. That was a unique experience and an eye-opener too. After the thorough self-introspection, I enthusiastically started working on my first set of essays. It would not be an overstatement to say that my first essay was full of crap. Even though I have been an editor of a published book, writing essays is a different ball-game altogether. I particularly found it hard to pen down my life stories and market myself to the admission team. Vikram was a savior here too. He gave me a comprehensive feedback on every word and line in my essays. The essays went through multiple review-rewrite cycles before any of them were finalized. Vikram would not settle for an essay until he found it to be prefect. (Vikram's perfectionist attitude is bound to rub off on all his clients.) He was impeccable with his work. He gave timely (read as hardly took any time) feedback and always gave suggestions on how to improve my essay. Like I said before, he is a master with words and he would help me strengthen my essays, make them as crisp and as emphatic as possible. The final outcomes were always infinitely better than my first drafts. Also, kudos to his patience. Sometimes, I used to get bored of reading the same essay again and again; but, he wouldn't. The thing about the process of MBA Applications (as Vikram had clairvoyantly pointed out before we started) was that one's level of enthusiasm tends to depreciate as the months go by. By the time I was on my third application, I was stressed out, deflated and sapped of any energy or enthusiasm that I had towards my applications. The process, in simple words, was exhausting, especially, when I was trying to balance work and application writing at the same time. It was much more challenging than I thought. That was when Vikram really played an extremely pivotal role. That was the time when I really needed someone to give me a push. At some point, it felt like Vikram wanted me to go to a B-school more than I wanted it myself. However odd this sounds and I hate to admit it, but I often thought of giving up. Vikram was the hugely supportive and as pushy as a parent ;). Finally after 2.5 months of rigorous efforts (more from Vikram, I feel), I finally sent out my applications to 5 very prestigious schools.

Then came the interview calls. Vikram met me in person and helped me practice using mock interviews. He sent me a huge list of questions and material which ultimately helped me a lot during my interviews. Vikram gave me a feedback on everything; the content, the body language, the posture and what not. All that really helped me ace my interview. For my second interview, which was telephonic, Vikram once again conducted mock telephone interview with me and gave me suggestions and feedback to improve my performance. Now, I am finally enrolled at the college of my choice with a significantly large scholarship. And, honestly, a huge amount of credit goes to Vikram. There are many good things about him. But, the best ones are that he is thoroughly professional, takes his work very seriously. He is unbelievably reachable all the time. He is brutally honest, extremely efficient and painfully punctual. All I can say is that, he is the reason that I will be attending B-school this year. And, I am so glad to have come across that advertisement on a fateful Sunday afternoon which pretty much changed the course of my life.