First-Ever Conference for International Graduate School Admissions Consultants Concludes Successfully in Chicago

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AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, attracted a larger-than-expected turnout for its first-ever annual membership conference. The two-day conference the young organization's visibility and enhanced relationships among admissions consultants and between consultants and schools.

The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) successfully concluded its first-ever international members' conference in Chicago last month. Twenty-six graduate admissions consultants representing 15 consultancies from six countries and four continents gathered to share experiences and best practices with fellow admissions counselors and to speak directly with admissions officers from some of the world's best graduate schools. The two-day conference, held June 18th and 19th, featured panel discussions on a range of topics related to the graduate admissions process and the role of admissions counselors, as well as tours of two area business schools, meetings with admissions officers, and valuable networking events for AIGAC members.

On the conference's first day, members received a campus tour and presentation from the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business in Hyde Park, led by GSB Dean of Admissions Rosemaria Martinelli and the GSB's head of marketing, Chris Iannuccilli. That afternoon members experienced a school tour, presentation, and Q&A session at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, led by Admissions Director Beth Flye and Associate Senior Director for Recruiting, David Janis.

The conference's second day, which took place at the University of Chicago's downtown Gleacher Center, featured a full roster of panels. During the first panel seasoned AIGAC members commented on counseling best practices and challenges. The second panel highlighted the benefits of CRM technology and specifically for the admissions consulting industry. The third and final panel was an admissions roundtable featuring representatives from the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler School of Business, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Berkeley's Haas School of Business, the London Business School, and UCLA's Anderson School of Management. Veteran admissions officers such as Tuck's Christie St. John, Haas's Peter Johnson, and Kenan-Flagler's Sherry Wallace discussed new trends among applicants and ways that admissions consultants can help them do their jobs better. Later, at a joint cocktail hour hosted by AIGAC at the annual Graduate Management Admissions Council conference, conference attendees also had the opportunity to meet with admissions directors from top schools such as Michigan Ross, Cornell, INSEAD, Yale, Indiana, and Tepper.

All participants agreed that the conference, sponsored by Veritas Prep (, Manhattan GMAT ( and Test Prep New York (, exceeded optimistic expectations and represented a significant step forward for the admissions consulting industry. AIGAC president Linda Abraham commented, "Graham and the events committee did a fantastic job." Veritas Prep's Scott Shrum noted that he "had a wonderful time getting to know everyone. Most of all, it was terrific to hear that we all face so many of the same challenges from day to day."'s Cyd Foote agreed: "It was really educational, and I'm excited about the new season and being able to use all we learned, and the chance to finally put a face to everyone's name was the best part."

The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants promotes high ethical standards and professional development amongst graduate admissions consultants, increases public understanding of graduate admissions consulting, and enhances communication with complementary organizations and entities. Its membership now comprises fifty consultants from nine countries, including the U.S., Japan, Mexico, China, Korea, and Israel. Inspired by the collaborative spirit and camaraderie of the consultants who attended Tuck School of Business's Conferences for International Educational Consultants in 2005 and 2006, Linda Abraham of and Ricardo Betti of MBA Empresarial (Brazil) joined with Graham Richmond of Clear Admit and Maxx Duffy of Maxx Associates to form a not-for-profit association to set industry standards for graduate admissions consultants. In November 2006, AIGAC was officially incorporated in the State of California.

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