9. Alice van Harten of Menlo Coaching
The other half of Menlo Coaching with David White, van Harten had worked as a strategy consultant at Bain & Co. and manager for strategy, science, and technology for Elsevier before founding her admissions firm in 2012. With a Ph.D. in the classics from the University of Cambridge, she also has been a lecturer in the humanities at Stanford University. She’s a brainy and highly personable consultant, having secured offers from Bain, BCG, and McKinsey after her academic career. Van She has made all three of Poets&Quants‘ best lists of admission consultants.
Five-Star Review Excerpt: “Alice and the team helped me got into my dream school – HBS! I got to know Alice initially through my friend who also got into HBS last year. I heard so many good things about Menlo, and the team really exceeded my expectations. From crafting the personal story to preparing for interviews, Alice was super involved in every step of the process. She even helped me pick the perfect outfit for my HBS interview!! In addition, I was working on a very tight timeline, and Alice not only provided detailed feedback in a timely manner but also constantly pushed me to deliver the best possible output. She is very candid and genuine. Instead of saying what you want to hear, she tells you what you need to hear. The team, in general, is very supportive. During the interview period, I did several prep sessions, not just with Alice but also with David and other consultants on the team. The mock sessions were tailored for each school, and a lot of the questions we practiced actually came up during the real interviews. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is considering getting an MBA, regardless of your background.” — Class of 2021 Harvard Business School admit
9. Sherry Holland of Stacy Blackman Consulting
A former assistant director of admissions for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Holland has been an MBA admissions consultant with Stacy Blackman Consulting for just over ten years. She has a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University after which she worked in human resources for I. Magnin for three years. At Fuqua, from 2001 to 2005, Holland traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad to recruit, interview and evaluate applicants to Duke’s MBA program.
Five-Star Review Excerpt: “At the outset of my MBA journey, I knew that wanted to attend a top 10 business school, but I wasn’t confident that I could independently craft my personal and professional experiences into a narrative that would resonate with the Admissions Committee. Following an extensive search of MBA Admissions Consulting firms, I finally landed on Sherry at SBC, and from day one she has been an absolute pleasure to work with throughout the entire application process! She truly took the time to help me craft a compelling and consistent story across all the elements of my application. At the end of the day, I was accepted to my top choice program (M7) and I could not be more excited! You’ll love working with Sherry and the SBC team, I know I did!” — Class of 2021 admit
11. Angela Guido of Career Protocol
This is Guido’s second time on our list of the best, having made the debut ranking in 2017 when she was working with mbaMission. Now on her own at Career Protocol, with more than a decade of admissions counseling experience, Guido is not only an MBA consultant but also a career coach. Her reviews have been among the most passionate and enthusiastic on our site. Based in Florence, Italy, she is also a recent author of Interview Hero: How to Ace Your Interviews, Find Your Voice, and Direct the Narrative of Your Life. She joined Boston Consulting Group after getting her MBA from Chicago Booth in 2004, becoming captain of the firm’s women’s initiative. Guido also is something of a GMAT whiz, having been an instructor with Manhattan Prep for eight years from 2006 to 2014. Guido does not have hourly rates, preferring to do a three-school package at a cost of $9,900.
Five-Star Review Excerpt: “Angela is inspiring, authentic, and truly cares about the people she works with. From the very beginning, she gave me candid and realistic feedback on my candidacy, specifically around my low test scores. What impressed me most about her is that she didn’t push to make a sale. Instead, she recommended that I spend my time and resources getting my weaker test scores up, even though she knew this meant I could afford less of her time. On top of that, she referred me to an amazing tutor who helped me gain points on both the quant and verbal sections. Her coaching is inspiring, her resources are extraordinary, but the reason you should work with her is that she puts the best interests of the client first. She is truly on your side. Ultimately, Angela was instrumental in my admittance to Tuck and Michigan Ross. I’d highly recommend Angela to anyone looking for support on their MBA journey!” — Class of 2021 admit
12. Betsy Massar of Master Admissions
A Harvard Business School MBA, Massar had first worked for Goldman Sachs and has spent most of her professional career in and around the financial industry, working on both the sell and buy sides (Barclays Global Investors, now Blackrock), and on Wall Street (in the 80’s), Asia (in the 90’s), and San Francisco (in the new millennium). Founder of Master Admissions, she has been doing MBA admission consulting for more than 10 years. She leads an annual admissions event for MBA hopefuls for the Harvard Club in San Francisco. Unlike many of her colleagues, Massar has been known to turn away people she knows she can’t help and to refer them to other firms, a rare thing, indeed.
Five-Star Review Excerpt: “Betsy was referred to me by a friend who had gotten into her dream program the year prior. I was pretty clueless at the beginning of this process and could not have been accepted into the programs I did without Betsy’s guidance. She does not beat around the bush, is very candid with her feedback, and had an uncanny ability to pinpoint and draw out the unique story in my background. Betsy was incredibly generous with her time and was always available via phone or email throughout this process. I applied to five programs and ended up getting into Chicago Booth, Yale SOM, and Duke Fuqua. I am thrilled with the results and could not have done this without Betsy.
13. Jessica Burlingame of The MBA Exchange
For Burlingame, it’s a three-peat. This is her third consecutive appearance on the P&Q list. Based in the New York metro area, Burlingame has been an MBA admissions consultant with The MBA Exchange for the past 14 years. A Columbia Business School MBA who also has an undergraduate degree from Columbia in English and comparative literature, she previously worked in healthcare consulting, private and investment banking, as well as editorial and business development with The Condé Nast Publications and Vault.com.
Five-Star Review Excerpt: “I worked with Jessica this past year to review prior applications to GSB/HSB and do mock interview prep, and I was ultimately accepted to one of them this time around. She was incredibly helpful every step of the way. I am grateful that I was able to work with her this past year because she thoroughly reviewed my prior application, spoke at length about the overall strength of the narrative, and provided critical feedback that was instrumental in the success of my second try. She took her time getting to know what made me tick and putting my most interesting attributes front and center. She has a keen eye for detail and a knack for writing. Both her high-level advice and minute suggestions were spot-on. I would also highlight that her interview help was incredibly useful and gave me an edge while doing the real thing. She was always responsive and easy to speak and work with, both over email and the phone. I’m glad that I worked with her and recommend her with no reservations.” — Class of 2021 admit