Maria Wich-Vila

Founder

ApplicantLab

United States

Consultant Bio

The only admissions service endorsed by Harvard Business School’s student newspaper, ApplicantLab was launched to level the playing field, providing access to world-class advice at an affordable price. I started volunteering with the HBS admissions office when I was getting my MBA, helping organize events for prospective students.  At those events, I’d invariably be asked: “Applications are due soon, and I’m stressing out, but I can’t afford a consultant! Can you help me?”.  Always happy to have an excuse to procrastinate from reading cases, I agreed.

That was over a decade ago, and I’ve been providing admissions advice ever since. My approach is very pragmatic, and I work best with people who are independent self-starters.  I advocate using a story-based approach as “evidence” to the admissions committees that you possess the very qualities they are looking for.

I help with all aspects of the process, from strategy, to brainstorming, to writing – not only the essays, but also resumes and recommendations too. My almost 20 years of experience as an alumni admissions interviewer for Princeton has made my mock interviews a particular client favorite.

I’m a member of AIGAC, and I have partnered with non-profits aiming to expand access to MBA programs for lower-income or under-represented groups. I am proud to partner with the Forte Foundation and the Riordan Fellows program. I am also a partner of Prospanica (the organization formerly known as NSHMBA), and am on the Board of its Los Angeles chapter, where I routinely hold admissions strategy events.

Company Information

ApplicantLab was created to provide world-class admissions advice at an affordable price. Founded by a Harvard MBA who used to volunteer with the HBS admissions office, our mission is to provide our clients with the frameworks and tools they need to learn how to win the admissions game.

ApplicantLab’s clients have been admitted to the world’s top business schools including: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Sloan, Kellogg, Haas, Columbia, Yale, Tuck, Fuqua, Stern, Darden, UCLA, Cornell, USC, UT Austin, Carnegie Mellon,  Georgetown, Kelley, Olin, LBS, INSEAD, IE, IESE, ISB, Cambridge, and many others! Often times, with substantial scholarships.  We also help candidates applying to the Consortium.

On the part-time and executive MBA front, we have helped people get accepted to Stanford MSx, MIT Sloan Fellows, LBS Sloan Fellows, Ross EMBA, UCLA FEMBA, Darden…and more success stories are being added all of the time!

A key offering of ApplicantLab is its on-demand platform for admissions advice, which will walk you through every step of the process with a series of interactive exercises.

ApplicantLab’s platform won the “Audience Favorite” vote at the “HBS Alumni New Venture Competition” and was named a top ten “Education Technology Pioneer” by the SIIA.

If you’re a motivated, independent worker looking for a cost-effective way to prepare your winning admissions strategy, ApplicantLab could be a great fit for you!

Menu of Services and Associated Costs

ApplicantLab’s step-by-step series of interactive exercises teach you how to win the admissions game.

Here’s how it works:

– For $299, get a step-by-step interactive platform that walks you through everything you need to craft a strong application (essays, resume, recommendations, and interviews).

– If, after going through the exercises, you’d still like more help, you can hire me for additional services. I still charge less than the going market rate for these services, because if you’ve gone through the exercises first, I know I won’t need to repeat myself and thus I can be efficient with my time. Not having to repeat myself makes me happy, so I charge less.

 

Location: United States

Email: hello@applicantlab.com

Website: http://www.ApplicantLab.com

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P&Q Consultant Reviews

  • Great turnaround story with ApplicantLab!
    2 weeks ago
    To give you some context, I applied to a bunch of schools last year with the help of a traditional admissions consultant. I ended up with a total of 8 rejections (7 without interview, 1 after interview & waitlist). The bad part of my profile - Indian, male, 4.5 years of work experience. No great brand names or real feeder companies on my resume. Fairly mediocre grades for an Indian (6.6ish GPA). The good part - Slightly diverse work experience and background, lots of ECs and community involvement. After I was rejected last year, I contacted Maria and offered to pay her for a "ding analysis." I had already bought the tool, but figured a ding analysis would help me figure out what went wrong. Maria ...
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    Class of 2021, Admit
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  • ApplicantLab is the best out there! Impossible is Nothing!!
    4 weeks ago
    "I would say do not even think of applying to M7 schools. Duke, Ross should be fine", said Stacy Blackman Consulting during their 30-min free evaluation call, without even listening to my "what matters most?" story for once. I was dejected. From that moment just over a year ago to getting into Stanford GSB on a full tuition fellowship, has been an amazing journey! It all started when Maria listened to my story after I reached out to her as one of the 50 finalists for the Stanford Reliance Fellowship (given to 3 Indian students every year). Being the first one to pursue a proper college education in my family, let alone applying to a business school, I had no clue about the admissions process ...
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    Class of 2020, Admit
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  • Admitted to Haas with Full Scholarship
    1 month ago
    I used ApplicantLab for my application to Berkeley Haas. At that time I had not many options in choosing an MBA consultant, because my budget was very tight. After seeing the CV-making tips from ApplicantLab, I decided to subscribe. It was the BEST INVESTMENT I've ever made in my MBA journey! ApplicantLab helped me to ponder my life story and package it together to address Haas' essay prompt accurately. I also used ApplicantLab to prepare for my interview. I followed each step and was very diligent in putting together my application. As a result, Haas welcomed me with a full scholarship and fellowship!
    Chrissa da Gomez
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Super helpful for a triple admit!!!
    1 month ago
    I used ApplicantLab for my applicants to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton in Round 1, and was accepted to all 3. Private admissions consultants were so so expensive and not an option for me, so I took the leap, and could not be happier about my choice. The service is unconventional as a concept, but superbly executed by Maria and is (to me) a gamechanger. I had questions about how effective an online system would be, and am blown away by how much direction it gave my essays and my interview prep. I felt super comfortable with my essays by the end of the process, and went through so many fewer iterations than I read about from other applicants. I cannot imagine any admissions consultant service ...
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    Class of 2022, Admit
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  • Best investment ever
    1 month ago
    I was a re-applicant to schools this year when I found ApplicantLab. I heard about the tool through the Forte Foundation's MBA Launch program and tried out the free trial. After just an hour working with the tool I could tell that I needed to buy it. It's a one-stop-shop for organizing all of your brainstorming and applications. Filling out the tool is actually fun because there are some great features such as writing out your stories and dragging and dropping the traits that it represents. Then, when you want to write about certain traits, you can use a filter to bring up the stories that best represent those traits. However, the absolute BEST part of the lab is that Maria makes videos where she ...
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    Elizabeth Visconti
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  • Re-Applicant
    1 month ago
    About me: I am an Asian male working in IT consulting (but not from India). I just got admitted to Wharton in R1 as a re-applicant. Last year, I was rejected after wait list. As the school didn’t provide feedback after rejection, I was seeking any possible way to enhance my package besides English and interview practice. That’s when I came across ApplicantLab. I tried the free module and immediately decided to purchase it because it specifically pointed out the strategy for people like me who want to transition from IT consulting to strategy consulting. That REALLY surprised me because I thought such tool like many admission books in the marketplace can only provide general advice, but Maria did an amazing job making an interactive ...
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    Class of 2020, Admit
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  • Helped Me Achieve My Dream
    1 month ago
    I was not very confident about how a tool would help me write essays or get me into top business schools. I thought, "Are you really serious? This is just a tool, man!". I must admit today I laugh at myself when I think what I used to think about this tool. Since it was just for a few bucks, I thought let's go for it. I bought the tool and started working on it. I showed my last years resume to a couple of people and everyone said "Hey, did you really apply to business schools with this resume?". I was highly embarrassed. I paid so much for that and now they were laughing at me on this resume? Trust me: I was awestruck ...
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    Abhishek Mahna
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  • Applied to 4 schools, admitted to Yale, Oxford, LBS – still waiting for Haas!
    1 month ago
    When my friend, a Boothie, said that ApplicantLab is the single best investment he had ever made in his life, I thought he was overselling the service. A mere six months later, when I got three admits from the four schools that I applied to (still waiting for the other one school to get back), I knew he was RIGHT! Coming from a developing country of Indonesia, few of my friends have gone through the MBA admission process, let alone top business schools’ admission process. I knew that I had to take the GMAT, but I had zero knowledge on how to package my experience and “sell” my profile to the Adcom. I also knew that I could get help by paying some $5,000 money to ...
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    Chrissa da Gomez
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  • Applicantlab helped me bag admission into INSEAD & OXFORD
    1 month ago
    My journey to securing a spot at my dream MBA schools would not have been possible without Applicantlab!!! I am a South African and was never exposed to the typical US/Europe Ivy league school application process. I had written the GMAT and scored 640 so I knew that everything would hinge on the rest of the application seeing that my GMAT score wasn’t above 700. To put it simply, I needed the remainder of my application to be extraordinary! I did my research and found that Applicantlab was the best on the market. It is extremely cost effective and very convenient because much of the work is done a pre-established platform which eliminated complexities relating to time zone and consultant availability. I was skeptical at first, ...
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    Class of 2019, Admit
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  • Accepted to CBS with fellowship!
    2 months ago
    I strongly recommend ApplicantLab to anybody considering an MBA! I come from a fairly vanilla work background and was worried about differentiating myself among applicants in my "bucket". I utilized ApplicantLab for every aspect of my application (resume, essays, interviews, recommendations, etc) as the tool has advice for anything you could think of, as well as things you may not think of! Before using the tool, I had no idea that MBA admissions committees look for resumes that highlight experiences that generally aren't the focus of traditional professional resumes. Within the ApplicantLab, you are encouraged to map out experiences in your personal/undergraduate/professional life that demonstrated key traits that MBA programs look for in strong applicants (leadership, mentoring, innovation, overcoming obstacles, etc), and then allocate those ...
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    Class of 2021, Admit
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