Maria Wich-Vila

Founder

ApplicantLab

United States

Consultant Bio

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

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

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

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

Company Information

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

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

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

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

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

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

Menu of Services and Associated Costs

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

Here’s how it works:

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

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

 

Location: United States

Email: hello@applicantlab.com

Website: http://www.ApplicantLab.com

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P&Q Consultant Reviews

  • ApplicantLab - My Secret Weapon (Accepted To Darden & Sloan)
    6 months ago
    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 ...
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    Jose Ramos
    MBA
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • ApplicantLab For The Win!!
    7 months ago
    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 ...
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    Class of 2021 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Accepted To Stanford GSB
    7 months ago
    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 ...
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    Class of 2020 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Accepted: Stanford GSB (Full Ride), Wharton-Lauder (Partial Scholarship), Kellogg, Yale SOM (Partial Scholarship)
    7 months ago
    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 ...
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    Class of 2021 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • ApplicantLab - Game Changer For MBA Admissions
    7 months ago
    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 ...
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    Nishant Panigrahi
    MBA
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • ApplicantLab Made Applying To Five Schools In One Round Doable
    7 months ago
    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.
    Cynthia Mills
    MBA
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Fantastic App & Consultant
    7 months ago
    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.
    Class of 2021 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • ApplicantLab Is A MUST!
    7 months ago
    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 ...
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    Class of 2021 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Got Accepted At HBS!! Thanks, ApplicantLab!
    7 months ago
    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 ...
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    Class of 2021 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • HBS & Wharton Admit :)
    7 months ago
    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
    Class of 2021 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.