I got a free initial consult from probably the most respected of the myriad MBA admissions consultants and all I can say is "wow." I don't want to reveal the consultant's identity out of respect to him but will reveal my impression. I talked to the fabled man himself and he is completely different from the other companies I've dealt with. In every way.
Firstly, he was very blunt and straight-forward with his opinions. He talked with a self-confience that gave the impression that he knew exactly what he was talking about. He appeared not to be telling me his interpretation of my situation or offering his opinion. Rather, he spoke as an authority. He told me not what he thought was the best way to frame my story but the only way to frame it. I was truly taken aback. When I played devil's advocate and asked if his spin could be interpretted negatively by the adcom, he bristled and told me to stop being "paranoid".
I tried to respectfully present other interpretations of how my story may be presented and he seemed really annoyed by my challenge to his authority. He told me to "stop being an @$$hole" which really shocked me. He sounds like he's done this so many times with so many applicants that he knew his way was best and that I should thus just accept it. When I tried to display some humility, he scolded me saying that I "should stop acting like a dumb kid who is trying to sneak in the back door" and that I should instead "believe in myself." Man, I was really taken aback.
I've never received such harsh treatment from a consultant before and typically would've just hung up. But I couldn't. His suggested framing of my story was truly strong and impressed me (and two confidants who I later recounted it to). I never thought of my story as unique but I now realize it indeed is. I simply wasn't focusing enough on the elements that were so familiar to ne that I had taken them as commonplace (even though they aren't). I feel like I have a coherent plan now.
The reason this guy was willing to be so harsh with me was probably because he didn't care if I hired him or not. This guy is so well-known that he doesn't need the business. He was not fawning or obsequious nor did he try to make me feel good as other consultants had. He got right down to brass tacks. In fact, he gave me the most valuable info, the framing of my story, for free (this was a free consultation). Why pay for the essay/app services then? The weird thing is that now I actually want to hire him despite his borderline rude demeanor. He was just too good. He acted cocky like he knew he was right about everything he said in such a manner that could only lead me to surmise that he indeed was right about everything. I still haven't decided if I'm gonna shell out for this dude but I'm definitely considering it.
Oh, and this occured last week. Sorry that I didn't post this earlier but I broke my hand while playing basketball that night. I'm typing with 6 fingers. No basketball for 5 weeks so I'll have plenty of time to think (and get fat).