Two years ago I attended Tuck’s first Conference of International Educational Advisors. I went with the purpose of learning more about Tuck. And I did learn a lot about Tuck, as expected, but I discovered that I enjoyed meeting my competition and professional colleagues much more than I anticipated. The networking was great!
I have also watched the educational advising industry explode over the roughly 13 years that I have been in it. When I first started Accepted, most people thought I was crazy. Today, new “consultancies” are popping up like mushrooms after it rains. This growth has fueled concerns about quality and integrity in the industry.
As an outgrowth of the Tuck conference and the growth of the admissions consulting industry, in late 2005 I proposed to GMAC that it host a panel about admissions consulting. GMAC accepted my proposal, and last June I was part of a panel presentation at the GMAC Conference entitled “Admissions Consultants: Love ’em, Hate ’em, Use ’em.” On the panel with me were Ricardo Betti of MBA Empresarial, Maxx Duffy of Maxx Associates, and Graham Richmond of Clear Admit.
In response to feedback at the conference and in recognition of a need for a professional graduate admissions consultant association, the four panelists from the GMAC conference have founded the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC):
- To establish standards of practice for top graduate admissions consultants.
- To create a recognized emblem of professional quality and integrity — AIGAC’s Stamp of Excellence — for applicants and the larger admissions community.
- To provide a forum for member networking and professional development.
- To offer schools a convenient conduit for communication with consultants and a means for distinguishing between consultants who adhere to the standards and those who don’t.
On behalf of the AIGAC board, I am proud to announce that AIGAC is open for business. As its first president, I join the other board members in inviting admissions consultants who share its vision, meet its requirements, and adhere to its standards to become members. Join the board, other AIGAC members and me in taking our industry to improved levels of service and professionalism. If you have any questions about AIGAC, please feel free to call me at the AIGAC office (916) 446-3670. If I am not available, please leave a message and some times when I can call you back. Please also feel free to email me with your questions.
I also invite applicants, as you approach the 2008 season, to look for AIGAC’s Stamp of Excellence. Those consultants who display it have met AIGAC’s membership requirements and agreed to operate in accordance with AIGAC’s Principles of Good Practice. That emblem means professional quality for you.
Schools, in general, are supportive of our efforts. Here are a couple of responses that we have received:
- From Rose Martinelli, Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business: “candidates may need guidance in exploring career options, identifying appropriate programs and determining the best way to position their candidacy. An organization like AIGAC assures both schools and candidates that there are industry standards in place and consulting firms linked to this organization are following ethical practices.”
- From Dawna Clarke, Director of Admissions, The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth: “At Tuck, we embrace relationships with educational advisors around the world. The advice they provide to prospective students is mutually beneficial to the students as well as the schools they represent….I applaud the current effort of this group to come up with ethical standards of behavior.”