Harvard Business School
Net Promoter Score: 7
Maria started volunteering with the HBS admissions office when she was getting her MBA, helping organize events for prospective students. At those events, she’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, she agreed.
That was over 15 years ago, and she’s been providing admissions advice ever since.
Maria founded ApplicantLab in order to level the playing field when it comes to MBA Admissions – expert advice shouldn’t cost a fortune!
ApplicantLab’s unique on-demand platform gives applicants all the advice they need to prepare strong applications in self-service format for one low price. After working through all of the advice modules, users who wish to receive additional help are able to schedule 1:1 reviews to receive individual feedback and guidance on how to refine and strengthen things.
Because of this setup, ApplicantLab’s optional services are extremely high value for money (since we don’t have to spend our valuable time covering the “basics” with you).
Maria is a member of AIGAC, and has partnered with non-profits aiming to expand access to MBA programs for lower-income or under-represented groups. ApplicantLab is proud to partner with the Forte Foundation, the Riordan Fellows program, as well as Prospanica (the organization formerly known as NSHMBA). Maria serves on the Board of Prospanica’s Los Angeles chapter, where she routinely holds admissions strategy events. In addition to advising MBA applicants for over 15 years, she has served as an alumni admissions interviewer for Princeton for over 20 years, helping to make her mock interviews a particular client favorite.
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!
ApplicantLab’s step-by-step series of interactive exercises teach you how to win the admissions game at a significantly lower cost than working with a traditional consultant!
Here’s how it works:
– For $349, get a step-by-step interactive platform that walks you through everything you need to craft a strong application (essays, resume, recommendations, and interviews).
– After going through the exercises, should you like additional guidance and 1:1 feedback, we offer a number of optional add-on services including our famous “Sanity Checks” (in which we review your resume and overall story to make sure your application “foundation” is strong), Strategic Essay Reviews, Editing Services, and Mock Interviews.
Location: United States
10=Without Hesitation, 1=I would advise against it.
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I worked with Maria on my MBA applications, and I got admitted to IESE Business School. The Applicant Lab platform made me change the way I approach the application process. The platform is very organized and thorough. Working with Maria is a smart investment. She gave me valuable consultations on building my story, and on aligning every piece of the application with that story – from the resume to the essays to the interview prep. I highly recommend using the Applicant Lab platform and working with Maria.
Coming from the most over-represented applicant pool, INDIAN-MALE-ENGINEER, I realized the need for professional consulting. Then I came across ApplicantLab by Maria, and after reading its great reviews, I took the trial. It immediately made me feel confident that I also can MAKE TO MY DREAM SCHOOL. Step-by-step, I then subscribed to all the services that Maria offers. The ApplicantLab is definitely the best one-stop portal for anything you need regarding any top business school. Maria has done a fantastic job of organizing her knowledge and experience on an online platform that you can use at your own pace. I particularly liked the “Why MBA & Career Vision” section, as it helped me lay a strong foundation essential for a winning application. Also, a unique virtual experience (including tons of excellent videos!!) of brainstorming core stories allowed me to prioritize each story according to different leadership qualities. I never ever imagined that a website could offer you this much!!! Before moving forward to drafting essays, I thought it would be good to try out Maria’s “Sanity Check” service in which she reviews the crux of your application. And it was really really helpful. Maria made several corrections to my strategy and suggested several ideas on how to connect the dots while avoiding pitfalls common to my background. It boosted my confidence that I’m going in the right direction. After completing all the modules in ApplicantLab, I started drafting essays. But I had a huge writer-block; neither had I written anything for a long time nor was I good at writing (you might judge it from this review :)). But by that time, I had full confidence in “my core story” and “Maria.” So, I decided to buy “Maria’s Strategic Essay Review,” and it was the best decision. Maria’s suggestions on how to make the essays logical, and how to be genuine, truthful, concise, and humble, really helped me tighten-up my essays. All of these essay reviews helped me overcome my fear of writing as well. In short, her deep experience (having worked in the industry for several years) allowed me to stand out from the rest of the applicant pool, and I got interviews from all the schools. After talking to several alumni, I was sure about was that if I prepare well for HBS, I can do well for others as well. So first, I spent an ample amount of time completing ApplicantLab’s Interview Prep module. Maria has made great videos offering concrete advice on all commonly asked questions. But HBS’s interview is very different from others, so I scheduled three One-on-one mock interviews with Maria, and each one was worth it. Being an HBS alum, she knows the different line-of-questions that could be asked, and we practiced everything in those three sessions. Also, having multiple sessions allowed me to practice some questions multiple times. Maria helped me both in terms of content and delivery. By the end of the third session, I was confident that I was ready for the D-day. Now, after getting into all the top-3 business schools, I would say Maria was the key to my successful results. And the reason it worked for me was that I had full confidence and trust in Maria, right from the beginning. So, overall I will always recommend ApplicantLab and Maria’s other services!!! Good luck!!!!
Accepted to Ross($), Cornell, UCLA, and Tepper ($). I used ApplicantLab after having a bad experience with one of the top consultants who had charged their usual hefty fee. I used ApplicantLab’s videos/essay advice, resume review, essay review, and mock interview services. Maria went above and beyond those paid services by responding super-quick and going the extra mile throughout the application process. I cannot recommend her highly enough, even if she were to double the price of her services!
I come from an over-represented applicant pool (Indian, Engineering background) and wanted to make sure my application stood out. Other consultants had told me that the application process can only be completed by spending 6 months to 1 year on it. I did not have the luxury of time and felt constrained by the lack of response and the sluggish pace of the ‘top consultant’ that I had hired earlier. Initially, I was hesitant to try ApplicantLab because of the lack of personal interaction. I eventually chose it because of the affordable price, the great reviews, and the possibility that I could independently work on my application according to my timelines, not the hard-to-reach consultants’.
The essay and resume reviews, and the mock interview prep were key to my success. I knew I had made the right decision when I went through the ApplicantLab modules which provided the clarity, structure, and recommendations on how to craft my essays for each school. Maria helped me narrate my stories in an impactful way and submit my applications within my target timeline of 3 months! The mock interview and the write-up following that were quite useful too. Maria was very helpful and responsive to the questions I had later as well.
These reviews helped me so much when I was going through the admissions process and I vowed to pay it back when I was done. So, here I am. Just a few months ago I was in your shoes reading each and every review to make sure I wasn’t drowning more of my savings into a pipe dream. After scouring this site and many others, I decided to give ApplicantLab and Maria a shot. My only regret was not finding her earlier in my admissions process. What Maria has done is a breath of fresh air. She’s basically offering you outstanding consulting services for a fraction of the price. It’s time these larger admission firms get a real competitor in the space. After one session with Maria, the entire purpose of my essay shifted. She took a real look at my background and told me, without fluff, what I needed to capitalize on. It was the honest feedback I needed to hear. I didn’t want to be told that my essay was great and that I could add in a few more concrete examples. I needed to know if the “vision” I was presenting made sense to who I am as a person and whether that was enough to get me into a top program. I can honestly say without Maria’s help I would not be headed to Columbia in the fall. I must also add I was extremely late in the admissions cycle because of my GMAT and was pressed for time. This is where ApplicantLab came in. So, if you are late in your process and really need to start taking a critical look at each piece of your application, please do not hesitate. Get on ApplicantLab and work from there. Then check out Maria’s one-on-one services to really get that story airtight. After getting an interview with CBS, I also used Maria for my interview prep, and once again she was phenomenal. I walked into my interview free of anxiety. I can not recommend Maria and ApplicantLab enough. Honestly, I have friends that completely regret paying thousands of dollars to their consultants and not starting with Maria first. For the price, you have absolutely nothing to lose.
Used ApplicantLab in conjunction with other consulting services. And the platform was just as valuable as what any of them provided but so much cheaper! The $ you spend is totally worth it for the materials that you get. I found it particularly helpful for my Booth interview short responses (separate essay they send you that has to be completed on short notice).
One caveat is that the videos should be used as a guide/tool and if you disagree with some advice ApplicantLab, you should look at it with perspective and be honest with yourself. I would say I used about 95% of the advice they provided but went ‘against the grain’ on some other things she said.
Overall, the only school I got into was one I did not use any external consulting services besides ApplicantLab so I would say it was valuable.
TL;DR: Some of the best money I have ever spent. If you are looking for a one-stop-shop where all info for each school is aggregated, and where you can craft a winning school-specific essay for every application, look no further. Don’t let skepticism hold you back!
If you are reading this it’s probably because you are skeptical – as I was when I was in your shoes – of how a product could somehow deliver the same results as a traditional admissions consultant. I honestly could not afford a full package from any of the consulting agencies, so I decided to give it a shot. After all, it costed about the same as one hour of most consulting services. Boy, did I make the right choice! The very first thing I wanted was a place where I could find all the information about every school I was thinking of applying to. Reading through hundreds of websites and blog posts and putting it all together in a few docs here and there was eating away at my time. ApplicantLab aggregates all the information of a very wide variety of schools in one place. That alone was worth the price tag. Then I needed to understand where my strengths and weaknesses were, and how to exploit this info to craft a great application. The ApplicantLab product is beautifully thought out to help you figure this out in a very simple, fast process. It helps you create the building blocks that will make up a great resume and essays. The final touch comes in preparing the resume and essays. Even assuming I could have found the building blocks by myself (which I doubt), you need to put them together in different ways for each school, to connect with the different admissions committees. I would have never figured this out by myself, let alone before the school deadline. The Lab does it for you though, with an awesome breakdown (in video and written form) of every essay question for every school, complete with great examples. This helped me really understand my target school, and put together the building blocks in the right way! In full disclosure, I did cheat a little bit in this last part of the process. I ordered a “reality check” with Maria with my rough drafts and resume, just to ensure that my starting point before polishing was good. This service, which returns a ~20-30 minute video with Marías thoughts, was also worth its weight in gold. I did have to make a couple of changes to my thought process and essay topics, but it really helped me fully understand the whole process and use the product even better. In the end, I only applied to Berkeley Haas, which I felt was the best fit for me (by the way, the Product also helps you figure that out too), and I got in with a significant scholarship! Hands down, the best value for money ever!
If you’re still wondering if you should work with ApplicantLab and Maria- I beg you to please give it a try. It will save you ~10K USD for the best-in-class admission help! In my application journey, I started with an hourly package with another consultant and I was not really happy with the limited tips I got from these expensive $350 per hour consultation and slow turnaround time. Then my friend referred me to the ApplicantLab and it was a game-changer for me! I wish I could have met ApplicantLab much earlier so I wouldn’t even need to pay for those expensive hourly rates! The strategy section on the Lab was so intuitive that it allowed me to build a strong set of career goals and personal branding. The school-specific tips for essay writing were step-by-step guiding me to craft my stories. The best thing is that you can read the tips inside and watch (tons of) videos as many times as you want for a one-time payment!
I also highly recommend the strategic essay review and interview prep with Maria. During these sessions, Maria offered very constructive feedback based on my profile and school characteristics.
For HBS, I did a mock interview with Maria and also with another famous guy who specializes in HBS (I paid two mocks to put my best shot fwd for HBS). Maria’s mock session totally won! It is a lot more affordable and in-depth than the other mock interview I had. She read my entire application for HBS mock and literally predicted many of my real interview questions.
Thank you, Maria, for creating the ApplicantLab!
I learned about ApplicantLab from a friend who got into Wharton with the help of Maria. I started the application process very late: finished the GRE test at the end of October, and did not start researching and preparing for the essays until mid-November. Additionally, I decided to apply for 10 business schools which means that there were over 20 essays to write. At first, I was a little skeptical about how much a website could help with my application, so I did not pay for the premium version. Two days later, I realized researching for each school’s programs, clubs, defining value was extremely time-consuming and there was no way I would finish all of them before the deadline. I contacted my friend for advice and he explained to me how ApplicantLab has all of those for each school summarized on a single page. I signed up, and it was life-changing. With a combination of videos and text, I learned about each school in 1-2 hours and felt have a very good grasp of how I would fit into each school as well as if their offering would fit me. What impressed me the most is how much Maria knows about each school’s character and culture. For example, besides schools like Haas that make their defining value explicit, Maria also discusses the implicit culture that exist in each school and what kind of candidate they prefer. This is extremely helpful because I made sure to select my stories based on each school’s values. I also used Maria’s personal feedback services on my first draft and my resume. Her feedback was very constructive and eye-opening. She pointed out the resume that I used for recruiting is completely different from the one that should be used for MBA applications, which later proved to be very true. I did not use an MBA consulting service besides ApplicantLab, and the couple hundred spent is one of the best investments I’ve made. Compared to the MBA consulting services that would cost thousands of dollars, ApplicantLab is just as effective. As someone who only has three years of experience, I got into Wharton, Yale SOM, and CMU Tepper with ApplicantLab’s help.
Maria gives clear information about the MBA admissions process. The Applicantlab “coursework” helps you understand where the many pitfalls of the admissions process are and helps you prepare for the frantic application season.
Most importantly the questions she asked helped me put my best foot forward by helping me think about my past experiences and which ones I wanted to share in my essays.
Thank you for creating such an incredible tool! I fully recommend, even if you are using a consultant (which I didn’t, except for an essay review for 1 of my 5 applications), because ApplicantLab allows you to organize your application holistically and experiment different dispositions of your stories, background, and future contributions to the community. I got accepted in all the 4 programs I applied to in R2 (except NYU Stern, because I withdrew my application after being invited to interview for NYU Stern – I had my Chicago acceptance and would’ve needed to travel overseas to NYC to interview). I decided not to apply to Stanford GSB, HBS or Columbia, so I don’t know how that would have gone, but I’m super happy with my first-year studies here at Wharton. In R1, I had applied only to MIT Sloan with a lower GMAT and weak story, resume and essays (even with typos!).
Short on funds, a negative outlook from traditional consultants for your dream schools, consultants talking in a language you think is nonsense – if any one factor out of these resonates with you, read on!
I got to know about ApplicantLab through a GMATClub scheduled webinar Maria was giving wherein she talked about how and what of the MBA preparation. The moment I started listening to her, the candid nature of her advice made a difference to me. I thought I cannot afford this, coming from India and this being a running experiment (I only had one chance at this before everyone got me married, right?) I was just half-listening like I had to put my attendance to the session. My ears got perked up only when I heard there is some trial coupon being shared. This made it safe, right? I wouldn’t need to burn two months worth of rent to sample it. I noted the coupon, tried it for a few days and I was only till the career goals part but I loved it. There was guidance for each application+interview only for this much amount and if I went even to Indian consultants, I will easily be burning 5x of this price. The price made sense, as did the reviews on GMATClub which I read only post this stage. None of the few people around me had heard of this buzz, so it was my leap to take. And leap, I did.
I was worried that I might also need a real person for a sanity check and I couldn’t afford to buy there time again (International!), so I did get a one application package from a traditional consultant. Wise decision? Yes! The glaring difference between their pieces of advice made me see my application myself from the point of view of the adcom at times. The insight Maria guides you through maks you understand the entire process as if you were driving it. Since it’s no longer a magic black box of ’10 ways to talk impressively’, it helps.
School selection: She really doesn’t give you cooked advice. Find people, do your research, find syncs and know for yourself where you can go and where you want to go. A traditional consultant might restrict you here, based on their experiences even if they have their hearts at the right place.
Basic skeleton: The first few sections which make you start talking about your real story, your future story and the gaps in your story and how to fill them – helps. A big deal. You cannot start putting a face to something which is hollow right?
Application advice: Break each question word-by-word, go for school’s values and link everything together. The questions that Maria breaks each essay topic into is so comprehensive that it’s sufficient to check and cross-check if you have answered it completely. They are also pretty exhaustive so you could pass them on to a friend for proof-read.
Interview prep: A lot many people take interview advice from Maria which must have its own perks. But if you choose not to, the interview advice in the Lab is pretty exhaustive as well! I went through the advice and then a few mocks with friends and seniors. That served me well.
The only part I think could be included is some samples for applicants to understand what successful applications look like. I saved each and every screenshot Maria shared, however concise and there is a floating idea that you shouldn’t see other people’s work lest you get narrow in your approach. But I really felt more confident when I read those samples and it helped me curate better stories because talking about my life is something I haven’t done ever and a lot many cultures tend to belittle their life story and a lot many tend to glorify.
To sum up, if you are thinking about whether to go for Lab and will it be personal enough advice, go for it. The advice doesn’t need to be personal. It’s the same for everyone. The journey for self-exploration is one’s own and that’s what you’ll make individually through Lab.
I used Applicant Lab for my Interview Preparation. I also paid a Consultant for the same but it was not helpful at all. Applicant Lab will provide good fodder for answering run-of-the-mill questions. I was interviewed for Rotman School of Business and got an admit. I prepared my answers using tips from Maria. I went through the videos 2-3 times and made notes. It really helped. I was able to make up a good story to convince the ad-com. Just trust Maria and her video lessons. Thank You!
I can confidently say that my applications would have looked very different before I found Applicant Lab. It was recommended to me from a fellow women’s weekend participant, and I am SO happy that I found it. Maria’s videos help A TON in preparing applications, and it is so much knowledge for the $299 price tag. She helps with things like school brand traits, how to address weaknesses, how to spin your past experiences for each school, specific stories each school looks for— things that I didn’t necessarily know how to address. Applicant Lab also offers add-ons like resume reviews, “sanity checks” to make sure your resume + essays holistically flow, which I took advantage of as well, and the feedback I got was great because it pointed out weaknesses in my essays that I could fix before hitting the submit button. I definitely recommend applicant lab to everyone I know applying to MBAs!
I was very fortunate to meet Maria at an event back in 2015 and get to know ApplicantLab. I wasn’t applying to MBA programs back then but going into this application cycle (2019) I was one step ahead. I’d say the most important piece of ApplicantLab is that it works on your schedule! If you need to check things at 2am you know you can go into your account and start reviewing prep material or jotting down ideas for your essays. Maria has also placed a ton of valuable content about each school and the essay writing process which saves you the time it’d take to go and find it through google searches. I found myself constantly going back to her videos for refreshers or ideas on how to start a particular essay. I’d be willing to say that you can get through the MBA application process with just ApplicantLab and campus visits but it never hurts to watch and see content from other folks.
After scouring the many MBA consulting sites out there and reading all the reviews I could, I came across ApplicantLab as an alternative route. For someone who wanted to independently work on my own schedule and wanted a framework to support that, ApplicantLab was perfect!! The modules guided me through presenting a true, articulate story about why an MBA made sense given my background and actually helped me learn a lot about myself in the process. With a lower GPA (3.2), I was concerned that the rest of my application needed to be flawless if I was going to get any admits. After hitting submit, I truly felt that I had done all I could to put myself in a place to be admitted, all thanks to the support and guidance of ApplicantLab.
After applying, I received 3 interview invites (2 T10, 1 T15), and ended up with acceptances at 1 T10 and almost half-tuition to the T15 school. I am so thankful for having utilized ApplicantLab. It was the right choice for me and think it can be the right choice for anyone who is hard-working and willing to put in the time to put forth a solid application!
Maria is excellent – very communicative and knowledgeable, I enjoyed all my back and forth conversations with her. The ApplicantLab process is intuitive and easy to use as well – for a very reasonable price it helped me create a solid framework and process for all my ideas, story, history and so forth 🙂
There is no way you will be disappointed with the purchase here – the process will help you craft the story you’re looking for and make sure you are putting your best foot forward with your application!
To give you a rough idea of my background – I was a finance major in the UK but spent all years since doing consumer products entrepreneurship in the US.
Worked out well and got accepted to Stanford GSB – highly recommend!
Coming from a non-traditional background, I was totally lost about how to go about the MBA Application process. Most Admission consultants were very pricey and unaffordable. Then I stumbled upon ApplicantLab and I was astonished as to how it covered the entire 9 yards of the MBA application process. Applicant Lab provided a structured approach for me towards the application process. With the strategy module, I was able to easily understand my strengths & weakness from the Adcom’s perspective and learn how to maximize my strengths and mitigate my weaknesses. Also through the career vision and why MBA, I was able to clearly state my career vision and why I wanted an MBA. Furthermore, for each school’s essay, Maria provides solid video advice on how to tell your story and sell yourself in the way Adcoms want. Worried about what to do after getting interviews, don’t worry Maria has got you covered with her interview modules, video advice, and even mock interviews.
Another part of the lab I took advantage of and I advise applicants to do the same is the Sanity Check Consultations. It helps provide a cold eye review of your entire application and whether all your application pieces fit together coherently.
Honestly, for the price point, the value proposition that Maria’s applicant lab gives is incredible. It has helped bring clarity to a lot of ambiguities in the MBA application process and I don’t think I would have been able to crack the MBA application process and get into my dream MBA program: Stanford GSB and guess who’s now going to GSB free of charge? Yes, you guessed right, Me!! Unbelievable!! Thank you, Maria. Thank you ApplicantLab.
I always had a deep-rooted skepticism for any form of online coaching/advice. Online advice, I felt, could never be personalized and would provide generic results. I was skeptical about whether at this price point, I could get personalized advice. Applicant Lab, however, dashed all my inhibitions. Applicant Lab is a Gold-mine for school research and MBA admissions advice.
I initially got introduced to Applicant Lab’s offering when I saw Maria’s webinar on creating the Resume. Once I went through Maria’s advice for creating the Resume. I could immediately see that even though my resume was packed, it lacked in content and appeal. Mind you, at this time I had already gone through several edits with 2 separate consultants.
At 299$, I could not go wrong with the investment and I decided to invest in the Platform. I am an Indian Engineer with a decent GMAT score with some great work experiences. However, I was fighting the stereotype of an overrepresented applicant pool, insignificant international experience, and an above average age group. Maria’s advice to neutralize these stereotypes were pragmatic. With the modules, I was able to assess and restructure my goals, relevantly express my life experiences and get tons of research materials on schools.
Applicant Lab has a cascading and linked structure that helps you recollect and build your stories. The Lab is so detailed that almost all scenarios are covered. And if anything is missing, Maria’s help is an email away. She is really quick to respond to queries. The Lab covers a lot of ground for a number of schools. It is evident that Maria has taken painstaking efforts to research out EVERY essay for EVERY school. She dissects the question behind the questions, highlight the relevant characteristics for different schools and provides essential resources to build your essays.
My previous experience with Admission Consultants had not borne great results. I always felt that sometimes a Consultant’s control over how the essays should sound like led me to write uninspiring and trite responses to my answers. Although the essays did cover all the essential points that needed to be covered, I still felt that the essays were constricted and did not bring out the entirety of what I wanted to say. The results showed as well.
Applicant Lab takes away the problem entirely. It gives you a detailed framework of what to include for each essay and gives you the independence to style the essay. I was happy with the way the essays turned out and so did a bunch of schools.
Overall, I am glad that I invested in Applicant Lab. I would credit my acceptance to Columbia Business School (with Scholarship) almost entirely to Maria and Applicant Lab. Applicant Lab is a well-researched platform packed with meaningful insights and is recommended toolkit for everyone attempting to crack the MBA admissions process.
I used ApplicantLab to apply to five schools in round 2. It really helped me to organize my thoughts and tell my story in a complete and compelling way. I had some weaknesses in other parts of my application, so I needed to nail the essays. I was accepted to three schools and I couldn’t be more excited! I highly recommend ApplicantLab, especially if you’re applying to more than 2 programs.
ApplicantLab was very helpful, particularly for the process of drafting essays. With so many potential topics to cover in my essays, ApplicantLab helped me to sift through my anecdotes and cohesively link my work experience and personal history. Maria is also very knowledgeable about the nuances of admission at various schools and a great person to have on your team in addition to the app. As a result, I was admitted to several M7 schools including H and W.
I originally heard Maria speak on an application prep webinar right before I started applying, and I could immediately tell that she thoroughly understood the MBA admissions landscape. I decided to start off with the free version of ApplicantLab, but I got hooked and I wanted to use all that it had to offer — so I decided to move forward with purchasing the full package with all of the modules, and I later learned that I made an awesome decision. I really liked that Maria’s resume advice was clear cut and showed me exactly how I needed to phrase my experiences to bring out the richness of my story. Additionally, she provides SCHOOL SPECIFIC information (which is beyond amazing), so I knew precisely what I was dealing with for each program. I spent a lot of time on ApplicantLab, as it was my go-to for rewriting my entire resume and generating the stories for my essays. I am so glad that I used this service, and I’m so glad that it’s available 24/7, I had access to the modules, videos, guides, interview prep tools, etc. early in the morning and late after work/the gym. I ended up getting into my top three programs HBS, Columbia (with merit funding), and Fuqua (with merit funding), along with a few other awesome schools. I’d like to attribute much of my success to ApplicantLab, as a student who didn’t have an amazing GPA/GRE/GMAT or thousands of dollars to pay for an admissions consultant I’m really glad that I had ApplicantLab — it helped me to achieve some OUTSTANDING outcomes.
I’ll get straight to the point here: admissions to top business schools is a game and I found that ApplicantLab was there to help me every step of the way to win it.
Coming from a background in strategy, I was really attracted to how well thought-out the modules are in ApplicantLab were and how it is structured to continue to build upon each other in order to develop a holistic profile for your application.
B-school applications are so stressful because of the ambiguity and different needs from each school. Maria covers all situations and her modules would essentially guide you throughout the whole process from start to finish. Starting out with career visioning and strengths and weakness modules, you will get a better understanding of what your “red-flags” are (we all have them!) and how to address them head-on. This will form your foundation and narrative that you’d want to communicate with your schools.
After that, Maria does a deep-dive into every top business school that you’re interested in– this is the most valuable part of the lab. She actually spells out what each school is looking for in its candidates – from traits to culture to personality. I found that I could tie in the narrative I developed earlier with this insider knowledge on each school to build a compelling storyline for my application.
Since the essay for HBS is so open-ended, I really utilized the extensive online resource in order to develop the storyline that I needed to get my message across. I then opted for a sanity check with Maria to get her view on how my entire application is looking. The feedback I got from her was specific and extremely valuable – it addressed the remaining weaknesses/confusing items in my application. More importantly, I felt good submitting my application then because I knew I had put my best foot forward.
Upon receiving my interview invite from HBS, I knew I had to do a mock interview with Maria to prepare. During the mock, I was amazed at how much she knew about me through my application. She even did additional research on my industry and background to pre-empt questions that I might be getting on the real thing. I was so glad I went through it earlier with her because I got 2-3 of the same questions during my actual interview at HBS!!
It’s been a long journey and I’m so glad that I have an acceptance from HBS to show for at the end. Look, at $299 (what a bargain!), there is simply no other admissions consultant that will give you the same breadth AND depth of information that ApplicantLab has to offer.
Another plus point is Maria uses her unique combination of empathy and humor (check out her stuff on YouTube) to make things not boring (extremely important!) and I really felt her energy and passion which can only come from doing work that you really believe in.
Thanks, Maria for your help in getting me accepted to HBS!
Using ApplicantLab was my secret weapon! Maria really broke down the application process into the most manageable chunks. The pre-work section of the Lab is super reflective and really helped me drill down on not only what my journey has been, but the value I can add to any b-school community. My essays basically wrote themselves after I completed this section. Moreso, Maria adds video explanations on each essay and walks through 20+ minutes of tips and tricks. I recommend this to literally everyone instead of using other services. I got into Wharton and HBS! 10/10 will recommend ApplicantLab over every other option
When you first log in to Applicant Lab, you are asked to complete a diagnosis, which gives you a sense of where you stand. While this first module helped me validate some of my strengths, it also shed light on some of the weaknesses in my profile. Looking at my report, being accepted to a top MBA program felt almost impossible. Yet today, I have offers from my two dream schools: Columbia and Harvard.
The secret is realizing that no one is perfect, that we all have our flaws, but also have something to offer. We all have distinct journeys, and the Lab truly enables you to create an authentic, compelling, and unique story to share with Admission Committees.
The platform is organized in an intuitive way that accompanies you throughout the application process, breaking it down into phases from personal profile dissection to interview preparation. As a result, rather than jumping right into drafting the essays, the initial modules encourage you to take a step back and think about who you are, what you have done so far, and what you aspire to do. While this might seem daunting, the Lab is filled with helpful recommendations and insights to guide you. I was surprised by the level of detail and specificity of the suggestions offered, which varied by topic and school.
The Lab is a tremendous tool. If you are starting out your application process, I do not think there is a better service out there – clear, relevant and comprehensive. In some instances, the platform can even be enough to get you into top MBAs. However, in my case, although it helped me organize my thoughts and detail my experiences, I owe a bigger part of my success to Maria, the brains behind Applicant Lab.
She is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to the various MBA programs and what they are after – Something that is reflected throughout the Lab. She is sharp and critical during discussions and is a fervent defender of a no BS policy when she reviews essays, which forces you to focus on what matters. Her inputs proved valid repeatedly, and so, I ended-up trusting her wholeheartedly (and rightfully so!).
And while all of these qualities are invaluable, what sets Maria apart from other MBA advisors is her inherent enthusiasm and genuine nature. She was blunt, supportive, kind, and fully invested in my story and journey, which spanned over two years. I even sought career advice from her, when I struggled to choose between different professional paths! It was so much more than I could have expected from an MBA advisor and I honestly cannot imagine this whole process without her in the equation. She pushed me, believed me – She was like a coach, only 8,000 miles away, and for that, I will always be grateful.
Applying to graduate school is challenging. You will want to have the right support and tools at hand, and if I were you, I would bet on Applicant Lab. I did and look where it got me!
Thank you, Maria.
Applied to 8 MBA programs in R2 of the 2018-2019 cycle and used ApplicantLab to craft my essays. From the essay-drafting to the interview prep, ApplicantLab was INCREDIBLY helpful. Maria’s advice was spot-on for each essay and I literally followed her recommendations on what types of things to focus on for each essay. I was extended 7 interviews and received two full rides to T10s, a full ride to a T20, and 80k at a T15. I’m thrilled with my results and would recommend ApplicantLab and Maria to anyone.
As a non-traditional applicant who doesn’t know many people with MBAs or who are applying to business school, ApplicantLab was incredibly helpful in crafting my story, making sure all the details made sense and knowing what to emphasize for each school. “Human” consultants were out of the question for me because of the cost, and in hindsight, I cannot believe they would have been worth the money. ApplicantLab has a module about you, your past, your goals, strengths and weaknesses and how to sell your story, and asks very detailed questions to be able to give you personalized advice based on your responses. The module guides you through the process of crafting everything you need before you actually start writing, and it actually feels like a person is guiding you, except that “person” is available 24/7. Once you have completed that section and have all of your ideas and anecdotes organized, and have a story that makes sense, the Lab guides you through each application with very detailed advice for each question of each school you are applying to. If you should need it, I found that Maria and Carin were always a quick note away from answering any additional questions. Honestly, for the price (essentially the price of one more application) there is no reason not to take advantage of ApplicantLab; while I think I would have been accepted into a good business school without it based on my profile, I’m not so sure I would have gotten into HSW and others (with significant merit scholarships at some of them) if I didn’t have such a cohesive story that made sense all through the resume, essays, short answer questions, and interviews.
ApplicantLab has been crucial for getting me accepted into my top schools. By the time I signed up, I already had my story crafted but AplicantLab helped me making it more cohesive and linking my background and previous experience with my future goals. Knowing that I had access to Maria for 1:1’s when I needed extra help was also important for me as it provided me with clarity and peace of mind. Maria was extremely helpful with mock interviews. I felt more confident and prepared after our session. I’m very excited about the journey ahead and grateful for finding AplicantLab in my MBA application journey.
In December 2017, I was chewing over an admit to the Forte MBALaunch program and whether I was really cut out for top business school programs. After all, I had a 3.2 GPA and wasn’t a manager–could I really apply to T25, let alone HSW? ApplicantLab made it happen. Not all of us are current MBB or IB with cash to burn on expensive consultants. Thanks to Maria’s incredible product, I was able to apply to EIGHT (YES, EIGHT) top programs in R1. I received seven interview invites (one to HSW!) and four admits, three with scholarship offers. The program was unbelievably easy to use, even as I was losing my mind over eight separate apps. I recommend ApplicantLab to everyone I meet who is interested in admits to top programs.
I have used two services for my MBA admissions 1) ApplicantLab 2) Blind interview with Maria 1) The Lab – first of all, she has put all her passion and love in this lab, so how can it not be so Awesome as it is!!! Those of you who are going to get started with this research lab will not take more than a few minutes to start realizing the same. This tool is the best thing that has happened for MBA applicants. The beauty of this invention is that it keeps guiding you to keep you on the right track and you get to learn, research, and explore your stories all by yourself. It was fun for me because I found the lab like experiential learning – it’s not going to spoon-feed you but let you find you the right spoon and the right food for yourself. To get the most value out of this lab, it is best to follow all the steps and do the exercises then and there. 2) Blind interview with Maria – this one helped me most with my interviews. This session will save you if you are already late in the process and have no idea what to do! She gave me more than the time allotted for his call. In over 90 mins, she asked me a set of questions (listened to my answers with absolute attention) and in the end, took each question in detail and told me what needed to be spoken and what not and also how. She evaluated my stories and ideas and put them into the right buckets. She also suggested me to add a few points which I had not thought could be included that way and made the responses more beautiful than ever. After this session, I became extremely confident about my content, and I believe this confidence shaped everything else right for me. The way she puts her efforts, attention, and analysis to better the answers is something I have not found elsewhere. Previously, I was reluctant to put money into a mock interview that can be easily done by friends and peers. But after this session, I realized that the value this session returns is unparalleled and the amount she is charging for this service is much much much less in comparison to what she is delivering for you. Love you, Maria! The world of ‘MBA admissions’ was never easy without this lab!
As someone who didn’t have any insight into the process before applying, ApplicantLab caught me up quickly. The platform logically walks through the application process, providing general career focused advice as well as school-specific guides that are a wealth of information. I was continually impressed To see how frequently the information in the modules was updated. It is clear that this product is getting better with time. Similarly, Maria and her staff were always very quick to respond to any questions I had along the way. I know that I would not have had the success I did if it weren’t for ApplicantLab!
The ApplicantLab platform is fantastic for helping you think through the different aspects of your application and getting school-specific advice for essays and interviews. I also greatly appreciated that they were responsive to my emails with specific questions about the platform/process. I am very impressed with the whole platform and I recommend ApplicantLab to any prospective MBA applicant. I ended up getting into Haas with a significant merit scholarship and am beyond thrilled to start there this fall. 🙂
Applicant Lab has immensely helped me in finding my MBA story and crafting my essay to the level of perfection that I got an interview and ultimately an admit to my dream college, Indian School of Business.
I cannot say enough good things about Maria and the ApplicantLab software. The software gives very detailed advice and really helps you navigate what AdComs are “really” looking for in their questions. I did not have a stellar GPA or GMAT but thanks to ApplicantLab and Maria’s reviews of my essays, I was able to leverage my strengths and got full scholarships to Ross and Yale, got interviews at ALL the schools that I applied to (including MIT Sloan) and will have all my school decisions in by April. Maria truly cares about the success of her clients, and I know I could not have done this without her! Especially if you are unfamiliar with the MBA process and need detailed guidance, ApplicantLab is a must!
After coming off an unsuccessful application season, I wanted to make sure I utilized all avenues to not repeat my mistakes this time. After hearing some positive word-of-mouth, I signed up for ApplicantLab to see for myself. I used the Lab in addition to working with actual real-world consultants, and it turned out to be an immensely useful guiding tool through the application journey.
I must say that ApplicantLab was the most value-for-money item in my entire MBA application expense list. Maria’s inputs and ideas often were the starting point for all my school essays. I did 8 applications in the entire season and utilized the Lab for all of them. Maria has a great understanding of the entire process and freely shares her knowledge through the Lab. Its almost like having a close friend who you can bank on in this stressful journey.
For the two additional questions posed by Booth after interview invite, the Applicant Lab team (hello Carin!) was quick to update the portal with their thoughts. Overall, I highly highly recommend this tool to everyone, even those working with consultants on full packages. The additional perspective, tips & guidance is worth much more than the cost.
Let me start by saying that without Maria, I would not have received offers to UPenn IPD and Carnegie Mellon MIIPS. Originally, I had planned to get an MBA and took the GMAT (score a bit under 700), but discovered these alternative programs that combine business, design and engineering, and knew that that was my true path.
I had already paid $$$ for a (very good) MBA consultant, so my essays were solid, but I had not even thought about a portfolio, since MBA applications don’t require them. I started searching the internet for additional help and found Maria. I had about a month and a half to create a highly-visual business portfolio from scratch. Needless to say, Maria’s advice and review of my portfolio (at her exceptionally accessible price point) was what I needed to solidify my offers of admissions. I am truly grateful to Maria.
One final note: Working with Maria (after speaking with a few consultants previously) showed me that she values integrity more than anyone I’ve encountered in this field. She is beyond trustworthy.
I must write and share this story because it will help not only one but everyone in the applicant pool for all the MBA programs out there. A story of ONE for ALL.
I am more than 35 years old – A NO NO for all the consultants (considered too old) I have 2 undergrad degrees – A NO NO for all the consultants (considered a degree collector) One GPA is very low, under 2.8 – A NO NO for all the consultants One GPA is high, above 3.5 – Just OK for all the consultants High GMAT, above 730 – A plus for all the consultants Have not worked for a well-known company – A NO NO for all the consultants
I just finished my interviews with Columbia, Wharton, and SLOAN.
So how did I do it so far? And how much money I have spent? ApplicantLAB and only $250.
I must thank all the consultants who refused to help me because they considered me as a risky case for their credibility of getting people into top 10 schools.
I decided to study MBA because I wanted the knowledge and backbone to start my own idea, my own business. I did not know I was considered too old and considered as an outlier! I just knew this is what I want to learn! This is What I want to do with this part of my life!
So I went ahead and studied for GMAT (best resources: Manhattan GMAT and GMAT CLUB – more on GMAT history later and will share with you all my FLASHCARDS) I got a score above 730.
Then I started looking for books on Amazon on how to apply for MBA. The first book that came up on Amazon was a book written by one of the famous consultants, who charge more than $350 Per hour. On the first 20 pages, it was written about the consulting company of the author and how it has advantages if I use a consultant for this journey. So after finishing the book, I went to the recommended consultancy website and signed up for a free 30 minutes consultation. I entered my age, my GPA, and my GMAT score. After one week, when I received no response, I sent another form, still no response! So I called and spoke with the company! I was promised a call back that I never received! I could not understand WHY!
So I bought another book on Amazon from another consultancy company. I contacted them for a 30 minutes free consultation, during which I was told the following:
• You are too old • Your GPA is too low • You have not worked for a renowned company like Google or Apple • You may be only accepted in a part-time program or executive MBA and only for schools that are ranked 10-20.
When I told them my dream schools are Sloan, Wharton, and Columbia, I was told, well they are all really stretch schools for you. It will not happen.
So I researched online and went to the most renowned MBA website out there (for privacy reasons I will opt out to name names) and wrote down the top 10 consultants listed on that website. I was so sad and could have not believed what that consultant had told me! Was taking the GMAT and spending all that time a waste? Why am I not a good fit? I am smart, determined, and I know exactly what I want.
The story above repeated itself but even worse. One very famous consultancy company told me that they will make an exception and will take my case only with a freelance consultant who works for them occasionally. They charged me about $400 for the first 2 hours. I called and told my story for 45 minutes during which the consultant was completely quiet and then she/he told me that she/he will contact me after her/his analysis. I already had done so much research that I knew exactly what my weaknesses and strengths are and I had already told all of them during those 45 minutes. After 2 weeks of not hearing from her/him, I contacted the consultant and was told that she/he has been too busy and they will try to send me the analysis in 2-3 business days. 3 weeks of my precious time passed and I received an email that was the duplicate of what I had said in that 45 minutes and at the end saying that I should only target schools that are ranked 10-20 and only the executive programs! When I asked for the rest of my 1 hour and 15 minutes to talk about my resume, I was told that she/he has taken that time to write that analysis and if I want more time I have to buy another 2 hours! :O I was furious because I had lost 3 weeks and had received my own insights as $400 analysis!!!!!! That situation could have not been more like that of being stuck with a horrible law that sends you to the prison at the end! Another consultant told me that he/she will get back to me and never did! He/she refused to even respond to my follow up email.
I had heard about ApplicantLab the year before but I was hesitant because it was only $300! How can it be that all consultants charge $5000 and above for guidance on one school only and this website offers unlimited advice on unlimited schools for $300!
I had no choice but to use ApplicantLab! And I am a believer that everything happens for a reason! I am so HAPPY that all the top 10 ranked consultants refused my case because then I would have not used ApplicantLab and I would have not been where I am today! I also realized that I do not need the noise that I am too old, or I am not fancy enough! I wanted only my noise on my applications and that was this is what I want to do and this is where I want to study and I am going to do my best to get it! That is the only noise you need
Before these consultants, I did not even know that you could be considered too old for learning!
ApplicantLab helped me with all the following,
• Helped to realize what schools are truly my dream schools! I have added and deleted schools from my list because of ApplicantLab! Because of ApplicantLab, I learned o How to research schools. o How to contact students of each school. How to approach them! What is the politest way to contact them! What to expect! what to ask and how to ask! o How to learn more about the community, culture, and learning experience of each school. • Helped me realize why I really want an MBA. True Self-awareness • Maria, the founder of applicantlab, has provided, extremely detailed and thorough research on each school and has provided very detailed instruction videos on each school. There are details from how to contact students, research schools, to how to craft your essays and build your stories and there is even details on how to fill out the forms of each school and you know that each school’s form is different from the other! But she has even those covered in videos and writing!!!! • Maria has even constant and immediate updates on each school’s academic change from curriculum to application requirements. • There is a MAY WE HELP YOU form at the bottom of each page, that you can fill out and receive an immediate response from Maria or Carin on ANY QUESTION OR CONCERN YOU MAY HAVE AT NO CHARGE! There is no “it took me 30 minutes to answer this question of yours and you owe me 100 dollars!” in ApplicantLab. Pure and Genuine HELP!!! If I were Maria I would charge users! Every time I sent a question about my resume or application or story or essay, I got an answer in less than 24 hours! • There is detailed help on how to do your interviews from the over the internet ones to the one on ones • There is also Sanity check, resume, essay editing help which I highly recommend to sign up for as they are very much affordable and extremely valuable and I wish I took more advantage of them! The last-minute sanity check that I did, was just completely path changing as Carin saw stories in my essays that I thought are not important but were! And pointed out stories that are not as important and I thought they were.
Do not let the noise of consultants (=lawyers) deter you from the path you want to go and community you want to be part of! Do not spend thousands of dollars and let someone else tell you what schools or programs you should go to. Sign up with ApplicantLab, and find yourself, find your voice, and better understand the schools that you want to go to and NEVER EVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE OR WHAT GPA YOU HAVE.
I have reached out to more than the 10 top consultants and I have done thorough research and examination on this path. My advice is coming from my journey and my heart! None of those consultants would have ever dreamed that I would get interview invitations from Columbia, Wharton, and Sloan.
In the movie “pursuit of happiness”, the father tells his son that “don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do something because it only means that they cannot do it”
So don’t let any consultant tell you that you cannot go to a certain program because it only means that they cannot do it!
Best of luck all of you!
I started with my applications (been already late for an international student) in Round 2 for most of my target schools. I had hired a conventional consultant for 2 of my target schools. I was midway through my applications when a friend of mine suggested me to try Applicant lab. I was apprehensive, so initially, I used his account to get a feel of it. The depth to which Maria has covered each and every module is simply amazing. This was when I decided to buy ApplicantLab as I was getting the complete package for 1/5th of the price I had paid to my consultant. I could already feel the depth of Maria’s insight in this sphere as I progressed through the modules. There simply could not be any easier way to delve into the various components of the application package in a single platform than ApplicantLab. The lab is designed in a way which makes the various components of the application package synchronized. After completion of the modules I was confident that I did not miss out on any content matter from my experiences; what I needed was a final touch of editing and proofreading for me to confidently hit the submit button. This is when I booked 2 sanity checks out of 3 of my remaining target schools. Maria’s sanity check is the ultimate cherry on the cake. Post this, I was confident that I was putting my best foot forward and even though I might not land an offer, I was satisfied that my application could not have been better. I received interview invites from 2 out of the 3 schools that I used ApplicantLab for. I just booked one more session with Maria for the interview in which she prepared me school specifically. I got an offer from 2 of my target schools and I am humbly happy to join one of the top schools in Asia this year!
As a nontraditional business school applicant with public policy experience and no GMAT score (I only took the GRE), I initially thought I didn’t have much of a chance at getting accepted to top MBA programs. I balked at the prices of most private admissions consultants, but fortunately one of them referred me to ApplicantLab.
ApplicantLab was a godsend: it taught me how to describe my story and experience in a way that would appeal to business schools, and eventually helped me land interviews and acceptances to some of the top programs in the country, including Sloan and HBS! I also bought a few hours of review time (as well as interview prep) from Maria herself, and her advice and guidance were absolutely indispensable. Her unparalleled insight into the business school admissions process helped me identify and fix a number of weaknesses in my application, and I would not have found a way to translate my policy experience into a business-oriented career vision without her expertise.
Considering the affordability of ApplicantLab versus other private consultants, the value you receive is off the charts. Whether you consider yourself a standard applicant with a business/consulting background or someone like me who comes from an entirely different world— it’s a no brainer! I cannot recommend ApplicantLab and Maria highly enough.
I used ApplicantLab for my MIT Sloan Round 1 application and I plan to use it for my Round 2 apps as well. I am using ApplicantLab for 5 MBA apps and I’m sure I could choose more…. and it’s just one flat fee! Anyways, I received my MIT Sloan acceptance call last Tuesday for Round 1 with a full fellowship!! I am over the moon and I owe a lot to Maria’s ApplicantLab!! I know it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of ApplicantLab’s step-by-step (like incredibly granular) instructions on how to structure my ENTIRE application. Maria gives solid guidance on whichever path you decide to take with your apps (e.g. she provides great feedback on each of the pics for the Booth main essay, as well).
I thought the “Review Advice” in the pre-writing section was INCREDIBLY helpful as I had trouble distilling what I thought would be relevant to the Sloan community. It definitely pushed me in the right direction and I have to give a significant amount of credit to Maria for helping me get there.
The flexibility of the self-pace style of ApplicantLab was also a boon as I was able to get assistance on my app whenever I wanted without relying on calling a consultant who may or may not answer the phone right away.
For those who are worried that ApplicantLab isn’t personalized enough… don’t fret. It goes very in-depth and highlights your traits that are desired by each school. You just have to do some thinking while in the brainstorming phase — the same kind internal digging you’d do with a regular consulting service.
In sum, ApplicantLab was a very valuable resource during my R1 application cycle and I wouldn’t be in my current position without it! 10/10 recommend if you want bang-for-the-buck help getting into a top MBA program!
Full Disclosure: I am a first gen college student, first gen grad student. This entire process was something I had no prior resources to leverage.
The first step when thinking about grad school is getting a sense where you stand. The first instinct is to check school sites, and at most you can see GMAT/GPA/Work experience. After asking students enrolled, I learned that that doesn’t paint the whole picture. I knew my GPA, my work experience, and was in the process of studying for my GMAT. I was afraid of going into the application process without all the facts.
It was a tough pill to swallow when I did research and saw that most resources were several thousand dollars to get that “secret insight”. I was fortunate enough to hear about Applicant Lab during my time in the Riordan MBA Fellows Program. I spent an entire afternoon inputting my background, and the feedback really transformed my entire trajectory. It grounded me with proven information as to where I stood, what things I could do to improve my application, and help me frame a game plan. I had planned to apply to school the following year, but with the insight provided to me by ApplicantLab, I felt confident to do so that very year, and I was blessed to be accepted into several top 10/15 schools.
The greatest resource that Applicantlab offers is the customized, and simple to use portal that provides meaningful feedback for a fraction the cost. Any issues that you may face, Applicant lab has the answer (missing math in undergrad, low community service, etc). Logistically, it also helps keep everything together. Once you have many drafts of essays and deadlines going, having a portal to circle back to and stay on track of things makes a world of a difference.
Control your own path, with the help of the Applicantlab tour guide. Don’t let your dreams hinder on not being able to afford thousands of dollars for someone else’s advice.
Did you ever feel, “He finally heard me. Things are falling into place.”? This was exactly my feeling when I heard from Darden’s admission office that I’m being offered a place in the Class of 2021. You’d expect me to think of my loved ones first after hearing that. Well, quite literally yes. I thought of ApplicantLab and Maria. ApplicantLab is what I needed. I was an MBA aspirant who wanted a shift in industry using an MBA but had no idea about admissions process. After my GMAT, I started talking to different consultants and taking free profile evaluations. The funniest part was, I couldn’t get a proper genuine evaluation from any one of them. Some of them tell me I should be applying to HBS and Stanford. When I told them that I myself did not believe that I could get into HBS, they started selling their services. I was fed up with everyone. But suddenly I came across someone who for the first time gave me an honest review of my profile, didn’t try to sell me their product and genuinely wanted to help me: Maria I came to know about ApplicantLab from an e-GMAT webinar, thanks to Rajat and Payal. In my first interaction with Maria over e-mail she clearly told me not what I wanted to hear but the actual scenario in admissions. She told me where I should go and not where I can go. There’s a lot of difference. She only talked to me about my post-MBA goals and life ambitions and not just where I want to study. She then told me how I should select my schools. I never thought I’d say this, but I started thinking, “Nah! I would choose Darden over Wharton.” She recommended me no schools but taught me how to choose my schools perfectly. This is exactly what’s great about ApplicantLab. ApplicantLab makes you competent to say your story the best way possible. In my experience with ApplicantLab, forget about writing MBA essays. I learnt a lot about myself, my traits, my stories, my character, my strengths and my weaknesses. It was like a 2 month introspection into myself. ApplicantLab’s process is the most streamlined I ever saw. It is as smooth as it can get and you’ll never feel stressed. All the material in the lab is hand crafted specific to each school by Maria and it is amazing to see specific strategies for each essay question in each school. You’ll be surprised by the amount of detail that’s put into the material. The best thing about Applicant lab is, you are doing everything. Today I have the satisfaction of writing my own essays and still getting admitted into one of the best schools. Applicant lab doesn’t craft your essays. It makes you capable of writing the best essays. Applicant lab helps you choose which one of your stories to go with which essay. This will in turn make it easy for you in your interview, because you are going to be the same person on writing and in person. Applicant Lab’s greatest strengths are it’s process and school specific material. I can assure you, you can never get so much information and guidance from anyone other than Maria. For people like me, who couldn’t afford a full time MBA admissions consultant for thousands of dollars, ApplicantLab is a boon. You may have to put in a little more effort than you would with a full time consultant, but for what you are saving economically and mentally, it’s not even a trade off that you should think twice about before making. I very strongly recommend Applicant Lab to everyone, especially those who are starting your application from scratch. Believe me, you’ll never regret your decision. ApplicantLab and Maria are the best thing that happened to me in my MBA admission process.
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 responded to my email and refused. She said that I should go through all the modules, and I’ll be able to figure out exactly why I was dinged. She said that if I couldn’t, I could get back in touch and pay her to get it, but she didn’t believe I would need it if I finished the modules within the Lab. She was right. I not only figured out where my application fell flat last year, but also knew exactly what parts of my background to highlight this time around. The Lab has a section on how to address potential weaknesses (I obviously had a lot!). Additionally, the career module of the Lab is pure gold. It really forces you to think through your story, how realistic your goals are and what you want out of business school. I’d say that my entire narrative going into applications this year was due to the career module on the Lab. Absolutely fantastic stuff.
The Resume section is pretty amazing. It had the characteristics of a “bad” resume, and my previous year’s Resume seemed to fulfill all these characteristics. I ended up making my own Resume format based on the advice given here and it worked wonders for me. The school-specific and essay advice is incredibly detailed and useful. Maria really walks you through what the school/question is really looking for, what resources you should touch on and how to make your essay strong and genuine. Each essay question has a video of Maria walking you through all these details. The effort she’s put in is fairly obvious, absolutely nothing is superficial.
I could probably go on and on about ApplicantLab, but the best way to see if its right for you is to sign up. It is a fraction of the cost of a traditional consultant. Buying it is a no-brainer if you want world-class admission help without the heavy price tag.
P.S. Just wanted to add that I got into Tuck and some other schools this year with ApplicantLab, but my traditional consultant last year told me not to even bother applying there. She felt that I did not stand a chance at all at Tuck and actually refused to work with me on that application. This should tell you enough.
“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 and I wanted someone to guide me – not spoon-feed me like most Indian consultants do, for exhorbitant rates on what the admissions team expects from applicants. And Maria was willing to be the mentor I was looking for!
I wanted to take a DIY approach with some expert inputs along the way – something ApplicantLab offered in a unique way as Maria has listed specific advice for each school in terms of short write-ups and in-depth videos…and with a good dose of humor!
The best thing about the ApplicantLab platform is that it guides you to do a lot of “pre-work” before getting to write essays. Be it about your career journey, leadership traits, extracurricular stuff, future goals – it all comes into a matrix form once you are done with the pre-work steps. Then, it is very easy to pick and map the important points for a particular essay prompt. More importantly, this pre-work gives you enough time for self-reflection, something that eventually helped me bring out my most personal and authentic stories in the “what matters most” essay.
Towards the R2 deadline (I applied to 3 schools all in R2), I was lagging behind and so I even availed a few hours of help for AL’s premium services, where each of the conversations with Maria were very helpful, especially for my MIT and HBS MS/MBA applications.
On the platform, the video guides for essays of all schools are in-depth and you’ll have enough guidance to write the best essays on your own – that’s what ApplicantLab stands for: “Be your own admissions consultant!”.
In all, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with Maria and would HIGHLY recommend anyone to go for it. ApplicantLab will be your best guide if you are taking the DIY approach!
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!
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 being more helpful or adding more value to my admissions process.
Thanks again Maria!! And if you’re already a self-driven, motivated applicant, then there really is no need to shell out thousands – the system works superbly.
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 goes through ALL of the top business school applications and explains the rationale behind the questions and has rock-solid approaches to take so that you can respond.
If I didn’t have access to the videos, I would have spent many hours of unnecessary time thinking about what Maria explained via her informative and entertaining videos.
On top of that, I bought a few hours of review time from Maria herself. Not only was ApplicantLab itself relatively inexpensive, but Maria’s hourly rate (about $150) was much less than other consultants (some charge $300-$500?!).
Hiring a consultant for $4000+ is just insane, ApplicantLab is ~$300 and you will get absolutely equal or better value.
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 platform able to tailor to each one’s situation.
Compared to the price of 1-on-1 consultant package, ApplicantLab is totally a steal. As it has one flat price regardless how many schools I used, it really has more than what I could use. Particularly, the “Pre-writing” module is super helpful. It not only has a detailed “Review advice” for each essay question but also has a check list for me to check if my essay covers everything. In addition, like other reviews had said, Maria is very helpful and replied very fast for additional questions I have. There were several times she replied even within one hour!
Lastly, as my interview last year didn’t work out, I also purchased 1 mock interview with Maria. Maria’s feedback is extremely helpful and to the point. Even though she gave feedback right after the mock interview, she was able to capture everything I said and gave detailed feedback for each question. I got several insights into adcom’s mindset and developed better answers throughout our discussions.
In short, I would highly recommend ApplicantLab for everyone even if already having a 1-on-1 consultant package. Thank you, Maria!
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 when I saw Maria’s advice on how to build a resume for MBA school. At that time, I wanted to punch my consultant too badly. I mean, how dare he made me make a resume that was the worst resume in the world. Maria has made a comparison on what a good resume is and how badly you can make your resume. And all the qualities of a bad resume were there in my old resume. It was BS.
I worked on my resume again and followed the advice that was provided on the tool. I felt a bit confident that at least I have made something better this year than what I did the previous year. This also made me realize that some of the “big” consultant companies are using their big names to get the business but are hiring low quality consultants to provide services.
I started working on other modules of ApplicantLab. Initial modules help you brainstorm by asking you to think a lot and answer many questions. I felt a bit less confident on how boring it was. But I realized its worth once I started writing my essays. I felt that whatever the questions were asking was already brainstormed by the tool in the initial stages. It got so easy to just pull the information/answers I already wrote and plug them in the essays to make a story. There are many sanity checks that ensure that you are adding the information that the essay is looking for. The best thing is you have very specific information for every school.
I even realized that my previous consultant was not even providing me any direction or ideas to write my essays. He was just asking me to remove this and add something better. But ApplicantLab has very well explained videos for every school. Maria has provided many ideas/examples for you to think and has provided good directions to help you get further ideas.
Feeling more confident now, I started working on my first essay and this way I ended up submitting 10 applications within 30 days.
It was Diwali night (A North Indian Festival) when I received my two interview invites within a span of 30 minutes. I got excited and opened the interview module of ApplicantLab and started preparing for interviews. My experience with interview module was again awesome. All the general and behavioral questions are very well explained and they guide you to generate many ideas to talk about. This went in my favor. I prepared well and started receiving interview calls from a couple of more schools in the mean time. My interviews went awesome.
I ended up spending less than what I spent last year and got admitted to 3 schools with huge $$$s.
It was 2 weeks after the interview of one of the schools that I came to know I got admitted with an unexpectedly high scholarship.
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 MBA consultant, but given my Indonesia salary, surely I wouldn’t be able to make it.
At that time Maria and her ApplicantLab came as my life savior.
From the start, ApplicantLab guided me to categorize my experiences into buckets. I began to reflect on my character development, the reason I want to do MBA, and the path I want to pursue after my MBA. I like how ApplicantLab does not tell you to write what the Adcoms want to hear, instead, let you authentically portray your best side and be the genuine you!
Of course, as a normal human, there are times I felt that the whole admission processes are very exhausting. Luckily, Maria kept the entire process interesting using her humorous content and empathetic videos. Her story-based approach allowed me to stay engaged, and I imagined that my life is a book that the Adcom will very much love to read.
Overall, I would STRONGLY recommend self-motivated applicants to subscribe for ApplicantLab service for three reasons. First, the quality of content and the school research that Maria has done is second to none. The research will help you to understand deeply about the school and tailor your application. Second, the level of authenticity you will achieve in your application. After all, the Adcoms are not looking for uniform MBA essays done by professional essay-makers. They want to see the real you. Thirdly, a supportive friend throughout your ruthless MBA application journey ahead. Maria is wondrously responsive, and beyond herself, she cares that you succeed in your application.
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, so I signed up for the FREE trial. After a few short sessions I felt extremely confident about the quality of the product and decided to take the plunge and subscribe to all services. I have never regretted making that decision.
The platform is aesthetically appealing and very user-friendly. It takes the applicant on a journey and puts you in the shoes of the admissions committee member to ensure that you not only develop an authentic essay that speaks to your truth but do so without losing your targeted audience.
The platform is structured in such a way that by the time you get to finally writing the essay you already have a few anecdotes and key stories to help you answer that “daunting” essay question which was extremely helpful for me. I’m an accountant by trade, so essay writing and storytelling doesn’t come naturally to me. The good thing about the tool is that you can revisit the modules as many times as you want at no extra charge. I revisited the modules a few times before I wrote my first draft essay.
I then booked an essay review session with Maria where she went above and beyond my expectations and not only provided written guidance on how to improve my essay but include an audio feedback recording where she explained her thoughts around her written mark-ups allowing me to fully understand how to action any amendments. Her turnaround time was phenomenal, always responding to every query, essay or email within 24 hours.
I submitted my essays and when I got shortlisted to the interview stage I was able to progress to the interview module at no added cost. I did a mock interview with Maria and I can honestly say she is EXTREMELY thorough. She prepared me for all kinds of questions which left me extremely confident on the actual day of the interview.
Honestly, had it not been for Applicantlab and Maria’s support I would have never been accepted to neither INSEAD nor OXFORD. She not only got me accepted to these schools but helped me write the essays that resulted in me securing a scholarship for both schools.
If you’re still not sold on the many benefits of Applicantlab, I highly recommend that you signup for the free trial. You won’t regret it! I only used Applicantlab for all my applications and my ordinary GMAT score together with Applicantlab resulted in an extraordinary application package.
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 experiences/stories to your essays, application boxes, as well as your interview question responses (especially useful for elaborating more on stories that you could not include within your essays). Most of this advice is included in extensive videos that Maria has recorded for each specific section of the application process.
In terms of essay advice, Maria includes specific advice (both written and videos, which often include much appreciated humor) for each required and optional essay for a school. I can’t stress enough how detailed the advice is for these essays. Maria includes hyperlinks to specific offerings that each program is particularly proud of (and thus, very good to reference in your essays). There is advice for basically any top-50 program and Maria will add schools if there is interest.
I also purchased a mock interview with Maria. Maria’s advice was incredibly detailed and the interview itself simulated my actual interview to a tee. She spent about 1.75 hours speaking with me; she recorded the interview, and then discussed her feedback on the responses I gave to each question. I found the small tweaks she suggested to my answers particularly beneficial (putting less emphasis on my technical experience vs interpersonal experiences). I definitely felt like my interviewers were impressed with my responses.
Ultimately I was accepted to CBS + another top-15 program, and received interview invitations to the other 4 schools I applied to (but withdrew my applications as CBS was my top-choice). Not only that, I received a generous fellowship from CBS, which most people told me was a significant reach for me!
I strongly believe it would be beneficial for every MBA applicant to utilize ApplicantLab; Maria has put a great service together, and the price is almost certainly cheaper than any other admissions consultant service.
Maria and her selfless service got me into my #1 choice for business school – Columbia!!!!
Maria took the time to walk me through what a realistic but compelling carreer vision looks like and in many ways helped me put compelling words to things that were just thoughts in my head. She helped me see how my passions and gifts could be leveraged in different career paths that would fit my season of life. After nailing down a very compelling career vision, Maria gave me the tools I needed to write the essays that led to my interview and acceptance at CBS!
I would recommend Maria and ApplicantLab to anyone considering B-School!
In short – ApplicantLab covers all aspects of an application, has personalized advice to address the weaknesses in profile and an in-depth analysis of all the essays of the school and writing advice that caters to all kinds of MBA applicant profiles.
ApplicantLab is a complete product for MBA admissions – with help on brainstorming, strategizing, essay writing, resume writing and interviews. There are sections that help jog your memory to draft life stories and make your application come to life. The analysis of each of the essays is very intricate and mentions exactly what the school expects. There are video tutorials on how to navigate the schools’ website to dig for material in terms of clubs, electives etc. There is a diagnosis of your profile, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses and how strengths can be leveraged and how your weakness can be addressed. I was a job hopper, had a sort of average GMAT and below average undergrad grades and all these concerns are addressed in the modules.
Maria and Carin have also always replied to my questions within 24 hours. I also booked a “Sanity Check” session with Carin, and it was the best review ever. It was crystal clear on things I needed to write and things I needed to remove from my essays, how my story could be enhanced and there were suggestions for editing as well. There was also a detailed review of my resume in the sanity check session and I was able to bring down my resume to 1 page, highlighting all the best parts. I absolutely needed no other tool/consultant after the video review. I was struggling with the “Why MBA” part and there is a whole section on ApplicantLab dedicated to this. It will help you frame a story that starts with your past/current position, ending with your long term goal and fitting the MBA perfectly in between.
ApplicantLab has also helped me with the interview process since doing the extensive modules on the motivation for an MBA and the particular school created the content for all my answers. Why MBA? Why not a different path to your goals? Why MBA Now? Why a particular school? Why not some other school? Why should we admit you? All these questions became much easier to answer!
I recommend ApplicantLab to all MBA applicants. It is really cheap, user-friendly and a complete tool addressing all aspects of an MBA application.
Almost exactly a year ago (October 2, 2017) I was rejected from CBS early decision, my dream school since forever. I applied with what I thought were OK stats (e.g., 730 GMAT, 3.8 GPA from Southeast Asian Uni, MBB + PE). Dinged without interview.
So I did what any rational re-applicant would do and immediately hone in on a higher GMAT score (which I was able to bump to a 750). The NEXT thing I did was go on these forums and find myself an MBA admissions consultant.
At this point – we’re practically on the same boat – and I found that Applicant Lab seemed to fit my needs (low risk $-wise, self-paced, school-specific help). I ALSO looked at these reviews myself and thought that there was NO WAY these reviews were LEGIT. Funnily enough, upon writing this review, I realized that you had to submit a work email address to even WRITE a review (so yeah, these reviews must be largely legit). Now that we’re past the whole fear of ‘fake reviews’, you have to believe that this is LEGITIMATELY THE BEST MONEY I HAVE SPENT ON MBA ADMISSIONS.
ApplicantLab (which is practically a web-based application dashboard) really sorts everything out for you from start to finish (YES, INCLUDING THE INTERVIEWS). The videos that accompany each stage per school were very insightful and really put things into perspective.
For me, the most useful part of the Lab was the interview preparation part. It combines external tools (where to find the likely questions) with internal tools (like what things would which schools be concerned about) and how to position your story to address those questions. It ensures that you have an excellent framework for dealing with the entire gamut of questions you can be asked.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Literally no one in my entire family has EVER attended an MBA program. In my country, only 10-15 people go to a top 15 MBA program EVERY YEAR. So there is almost NO ONE to ask advice from. Hence, almost everything in the Lab was news to me. I realized some very specific things that I would never have figured out in my lifetime (e.g., leave a lot of the point-blank bragging for the recommendation letters – so at least it’s someone else saying you’re the world’s best at X; or don’t focus on a SINGLE STRENGTH throughout your application).
I swear to God, ApplicantLab really fixed my re-application package, my interview prep, and helped me FINALLY get into CBS.
With a quantitative score hovering at the 55% percentile, I knew I was going to be facing an uphill climb to convince admissions officers that I would be a good fit for the rigor of a top MBA program. Not knowing where to start, I scheduled a few free thirty minute consultations with some of the top MBA Admissions Consultants. They confirmed my worst fears, recommending I look at safe MBA programs in the Top 40 or 50. One even told me that in order to achieve my dream of a Top 25 program my applications would have to be “flawless.” Luckily, they could help… at a cool $11,000+ dollars for my five schools. As a non-profit manager, this equated to about 1/3 of my annual salary, before taxes. It’s no wonder I started to lose hope.
However, just a few months before the Round 1 deadlines, I was lucky enough to hear about ApplicantLab through an email from the Forte Foundation. I was hesitant at first, would access to a website really help me get accepted to a top MBA program? After four months of using ApplicantLab throughout the entire application process, I can finally say HELL YES. ApplicantLab was the only ‘consultant’ I used to write all of my five applications and I was accepted to Duke Fuqua, the school of my dreams in early action with a scholarship! I was also accepted to Oxford Said and received interview invites at all 5 schools before withdrawing my other applications. The best part? I paid the same amount to apply to five schools as ONE HOUR with a consultant at the other firms. My friend also used the service and had similar success. She was just accepted to Darden in Early Action with a lower-than-average GPA.
Since I spoke with those consultants last year, my GMAT/GRE score did not change. I didn’t suddenly acquire a promotion, a Noble Peace Prize, or some incredible extracurriculars. The only factor that changed is that I started to use ApplicantLab. The program walked me through every step in the process from developing career goals, to brainstorming my leadership stories, to the actual essay writing, to interview prep. There were multiple modules that are totally unique to ApplicantLab. In particular, the Career Vision and Why MBA modules were essential in making my eventual career essays and interviews bulletproof. Maria asks you questions in these modules that you might have not even thought about and gives you concrete examples to build upon for your own goals.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to the carefully curated and specific advice Maria has supplied for every single school, short answer, essay, and most common interview questions. In most of the schools, you can even access 10-30 minute video presentations where she tells you how to best answer the question. She also recommends the specific traits AdComs at your particular schools are looking for in your application.
Save the money you planned on using for expensive admissions consultants for business school. When you use ApplicantLab, you are going to need it for next year’s tuition!
I started at ISB two months ago. It has been an incredible two months, and this would not have been possible without Maria’s help. I started using Applicant Lab to help me with my application for ISB last year. Applicant lab always had answers to all the silliest of questions that I had. To add to that, Mari’a videos were amazing and informative. Even if that were not enough, I mailed Maria for the craziest of doubts and got a reply within 4-6 hours. Her replies helped a lot to clear any sorts of confusion that I had related to my application. Her advice, be it via Applicant Lab or with her replies always always helped. I would advise anyone, just go for Applicant Lab, try it out once if you are unsure. She offers an amazing trial version which will clear any sort of initial skepticism you might have regarding the product. Going for Applicant Lab was the best decision I made during my entire admission process! Without which converting ISB would not have been this easy.
Belonging to an over-represented applicant pool (Indian male candidate working in an IT industry) and scoring an average GMAT score (700), I very well knew that the chances of getting into a top-tier B-school were slim. Almost all the admission consultants whom I approached pretty much dissuaded me to apply to any of the top 25 B-schools. But Maria was probably the only one who said – “Lets give it our best shot” and actually encouraged me to do so. I ended up getting wait-listed in two universities and got an admit from HEC Paris (one of my top choice schools). I can safely say that the Applicant Lab and Maria were the primary reasons because of which I could get into such an esteemed B-school even after having a low GMAT score.
I basically used all the features of the Applicant Lab including the add-on services such as the strategic feedback sessions, editing services and the mock interview session with Maria. My views regarding the product and the services are as follows: Applicant lab as a tool: I feel , the applicant lab is a very innovative and intuitive tool which has succinct and complete advice segregated school wise. I was pretty much amazed by the detailed advice available on all the schools and specific suggestions for each and every essay question that is available in the Lab. Strategic Feedback sessions: Booking the strategic feedback sessions for each school proved extremely helpful in my case. Maria used to give me a personalized feedback on the essays and even the short answer questions from the application forms. In many cases Maria actually chalked out the central theme of the essays which would best portray my candidacy. I strongly believe this was a game changer for me. Getting such a personalized and elaborate feedback from a Harvard alum was indeed a steal at the price at which it was offered. Editing Services: Applicant lab has a tie-up with Admissionado for the essay editing part. The turn- around time is pretty good and you really get better versions of your drafts in practically no time. Maria was kind enough to do the editing herself for some of my essays during the strategic feedback session itself. Mock Interview session: The interview prep section of the Lab is by far my favorite segment. Maria has uploaded video advice for almost all the possible questions that someone could get in an interview. I extensively followed the advice posted on Applicant Lab for all the interview questions and I believe it worked pretty well for me. I also took a mock interview session with Maria and I can’t emphasize enough upon how much this helped me. During the course of 90 minutes Maria fine tuned all my answers and made sure I was touching upon all my highlights within the 30 minute interview. I remember one of my interviewers specifically told me that my answer for the question ‘Walk me through your resume’ was one of the best he had heard during this year’s application season. The entire credit for this goes to Maria. During the mock interview session she practically framed this answer for me by recollecting the data she had read in my essays during the strategic feedback sessions.
To sum it up I would just like to mention that Maria and the Applicant lab were instrumental in getting me admitted to my top choice B-school. I can’t thank Maria enough for the support throughout the application season. I must have posted close to 50 queries via emails to her during the entire process and I always got an elaborate reply for each one of these queries within 24 hours. In short I will recommend Applicant Lab to all the prospective candidates who want to get into a top b-school.
I would strongly recommend ApplicantLab to anyone! I applied for four schools last year, spent a ton of money on admission consulting service, and didn’t get one offer. This year I used the ApplicantLab throughout my whole application season. The content was amazing. Before I subscribe to the full version, I didn’t expect too much from it. When I start navigating the lab, it is so much more than I expected! I can not only map my stories using the tool, but also get customized specific advice for every single program I apply for!!! That is really amazing! Maria provided such detailed insights for every single essay for every single top school!!! Watching the video for each essay in each school is always my first step in writing my essays this year when I start writing after the brainstorming sessions, and I still go back to check those videos when I need. In addition to essays, Maria also created detailed instructions on how to write resume and how to approach recommendation letters, even short answer questions in the data form! I also used Maria’s interview prep service. I have used many admission consultants to prep for interview with me. Maria’s interview prep service is by far the most comprehensive and useful one. She spent more than 1.5 hours with me, record the session, and went through almost all the tricky questions that may come up during the interviews based on my background. I got so many great insights from Maria’s interview prep that I didn’t get from any other admission consultant. The ApplicantLab plays an important role in my application this year. You get so much more than you are paying for. I would highly recommend it to any applicant.
I just started my MBA program at IE, and I want to share how good the service Maria provides before my super busy weeks start. Before I purchased her service, I actually researched a lot. I saw so many reviews but the only concern that I had was IE. As you may know, IE’s admission process is kind of strange. You have to create a video and a slide and an essay answering the questions provided by IE. But eventually the reasonable price made me purchase her service, and it turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever bought. I was skeptical about how it works before I started using her service, but she embedded her own video explaining everything in every section so that I didn’t have many questions in each of the sections. What amazed me the most was she also put her video specifically for IE. There were more than 10 questions that IE asks you to write about (you need to choose 3 of them) and she covered everything in the video. She waled me through which question I should answer and shouldn’t and why. I think that made her service so affordable. Prior to using her service, I created some videos but I recreated all of them to follow her advice. As someone who is a non-native speaker, I wanted her to check my essay and videos by purchasing her extra service, and she kindly checked everything such as a theme or strategy or structure etc. She also posts so many videos about how to prepare for an interview and I prepared everything according to her advice. Also asked her to help me practice mock interviews and her advice was really great. Surprisingly an interviewer asked me 80-90% from the questions that she made me prepare. Also my interviewer told me that all of people in the admission office gathered at one place to watch my video because it was really good! Furthermore I got scholarship that can easily cover the cost that I paid for her service. I read this kind of post before I purchase the consulting service but I thought her friends wrote all of them and that made me doubt the quality of her service. If there is somebody like me, I can assure that she will make you get in any school that you want to get in.
Working with Maria in conjunction with her online exercises was a great combination! She helped me narrow down the various “stories” I had in my head to identify short and long-term goals that told an honest story and were closely linked to my personal background. From there, she provided incredible editing on my resume, essays, and letters of recommendations. Her edits were detailed and clear, especially when paired with the video explanations that she provides. She was extremely responsive – one of my recommenders realized last minute that the application would not let her go over the suggested word limit and Maria quickly got back to me with suggestions for how to cut it back. I couldn’t believe that for a fraction of the cost of a 1-school package of regular consultants, I was getting multiple schools reviewed!
I applied and got accepted in Round 3 at MIT. That I got the entire process done (and eventually admitted) is a testament to Maria’s superior know-how and editing prowess. I cannot recommend her highly enough. I ended up taking the GMAT too late in the game (after Christmas), not realizing that Round 3 acceptances are very rare. I also had another “red flag” in my profile that was making me feel pretty hopeless. In comes Maria, who first placated me that not all hope was lost. First things first was to come up with an angle with which I applied. Maria provided a simplified step-by-step process, also making me see the reasoning behind each part (aka – kinda like knowing how the Adcom would think in each process). With her guidance and assistance, I was able to craft a coherent and pertinent narrative. This made me have hope as it gave me a unique story to compete against the equally qualified candidates that exist in Round 3. Then came the essays, especially the MIT video. Again, Maria helped me out a lot by coming up with a story that used music (a die-hard hobby of mine) as a lens to analyze my career thus far. She also guided me in how to create a video that told that story, providing guidance in everything from graphics to editing. Following an interview invite, I decided to schedule some one-on-one time with Maria herself to do a mock interview. The process was very smooth and the feedback was pertinent. Best part? She recorded the entire session, both interview and feedback, in video, along with minute breakdowns. This was extremely helpful as it gave me a reference point to go back to the night before my actual interview. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I received the offer. After all, Sloan was the only school I applied to. I owe my success to ApplicantLab and Maria. This is a fabulous product with detailed and personalized service. For the price I paid, I think this was a much better alternative than all the other products elsewhere right now.
I was accepted by both Stanford GSB and HBS. Maria and the ApplicantLab helped me so much to make my dream come true. I sincerely recommend Maria and the ApplicantLab to the future applicants. What makes Maria’s method of giving admissions advice special is not only the cost but the quality of content. Take resume editing as an example, I couldn’t find anywhere else such detailed and professional guide in writing a resume as her resume module. Then, when it was time for her to edit, she was able to do so quickly, using a video to let me know exactly what she thought and saving time. As an international student, I wanted to have a consultant who is a native speaker and went to the top business school. Maria went to HBS and Princeton, and she has helped many applicants to get into top business schools. When I watched Maria’s videos and chatted with her on the phone, I found she has great command of English. The words she uses are precise and witty. She is so efficient when giving me feedback on my resume, essay. She is so patient when helping me with the mock interviews. I see professionalism in everything Maria did. I feel so luckily that I could work with Maria. I appreciate Maria to bring the ApplicantLab to the world. In summary, Maria and the ApplicantLab are the premium and efficient service with affordable price. If I were to apply to MBA again, I would choose Maria’s service even the cost is three times higher! Thank you Maria!
Let me start off by saying that Maria has changed my life. I originally wasted $10k on 5-school package from a “famous” admissions consulting firm. I had seen their ads everywhere, they were very active on certain message boards, their founder had been interviewed in a ton of articles, and sadly, I mistakenly thought that was an indicator of quality. It wasn’t. With Maria, I was able to pay a fraction of the price, and I got into two programs, including my dream school. Think about that: I paid a famous firm $10k and got 5 rejections; I paid Maria a tiny fraction of that, and got 2 acceptances (Tuck and MIT). She is the ideal admissions consultant for people who work long hours, people who are self-starters, or people who want someone to “tell it like it is”. The fact that her prices are so low is just icing on the cake; even if she charged what everyone else does, it would absolutely be worth it.
Getting an MBA in Canada has been a long time goal. However, I was really anxious about how I would be able to afford it. With Maria’s help, I was able to present my best application possible which allowed me to obtain a significant scholarship (nearly half tuition). Maria’s editing of my resume and essays was done professionally and efficiently, pointing out any opportunities to improve the format, include features of my profile I might have left out unintentionally, and mostly providing important feedback that made me felt like she was sitting right next to me discussing my application in person.
Getting an MBA from an Ivy League school was a long term dream of mine and thanks to Maria’s Applicant lab that I just graduated in May 2017 from Columbia Business School ! I wanted to do an MBA after getting a considerable experience and so I put it off till I had had 5 years of experience. Too my surprise I learnt later that even with a 720+ GMAT score it was tough for applicants over the age of 30 years and specially for an Indian Male Engineer like me. Thankfully I learnt about Maria and Applicant lab from a friend of mine who had gotten into London Business School with a profile similar to me. I signed up at Applicant lab and was right away amazed by the organized structure of the app. It introduced me to all the questions that different universities asked and different parts of my resume that I had to update and build into essay answers. It seemed overwhelming at first but Maria did a great job of keeping me focused and handling applications one by on as different deadlines approached. And finally when I heard back from Columbia regarding my interview Maria spent multiple sessions with me until she thought I was ready. I also learned at Columbia that 50% of candidates who are interviewed are rejected. So I DO EMPHASIZE the importance of being prepared for your interviews with someone like Maria’s help. In all I highly recommend Applicant Lab as it improved my odds of getting into a top 10 school
Maria’s guidance helped me get a full ride to Kelley. I especially appreciated how Maria provided her edits through video recordings, which helped uncover my most powerful stories and explain my career vision in a persuasive way.
I was first interested in Maria’s ApplicantLab online tool, but during the further phase of the application I needed some customized ‘touch up’ to my essay and help me with mock interview, it was no brainer that I picked Maria’s hourly consulting service. Maria’s tool saved a lot of time, so when I did hire her, because of all the files I saved on the website, Maria had already go through my detail background from my online profile, so I did not have to spend nearly as much time explaining my information, and the consulting session thus become extremely efficient–I only used 3 hours of consulting time overall for my essays and mock interviews and achieved all my goals. Maria’s essay really brings out the sparkles of my original wordings, and close my logic gaps by asking me the right question and gives right recommendation. After her touch up I was amazed how big the difference it made. The mock interview session was also very helpful as well. Maria would mimic the real-case interview by asking follow up questions and give very detailed feedback about how to improve the answer. I really like that she always bring out constructive advice to help me bring a stronger case in front of the interviewer. Overall I’m really happy I run into the site and hopefully this start up will help more student like me realize their dreams.
Maria is phenomenal to work with. She is extremely efficient in editing documents and works closely with you to elevate the cohesiveness of your application, ensuring the various parts complement one another. Working with her helped me refine my post-MBA goals and clearly articulate how business school represents the perfect bridge between them and my previous experiences. Moreover, she challenged me to think differently about my goals, ensuring that I used the application process not only to get into my dream school but also as an opportunity to engage in candid self-reflection. Doing so with the help of a long-time admissions officer who has had many of the professional experiences towards which prospective business school students often aspire–from executive to startup founder–was invaluable. Maria has developed a unique blended learning approach, mixing interactive online exercises with videos, notes, and in person conversations (her mock interviews are particularly helpful). This allows her to deliver much better service than other consultants at a fraction of the price. I enthusiastically recommend her.
ApplicantLab and Maria were total game changers for me. The Lab helped make the application process far less overwhelming and expensive than it could have been, and I was admitted to two top programs – MIT & HBS! Contained within the Lab were some of the best resume, essay and interview advice that I found during the entire application process and the Lab gives you one place to house all of your application materials and brainstorming. I cannot recommend purchasing access to the Lab highly enough. I definitely cannot imagine doing the application process without the Lab!
Jeff earned his BA in American Studies at Yale. Jeff worked as an Associate at VO2 Partners, a private equity firm focused on health and wellness ... View Featured Coach
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