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

  • Booth, Kellogg, Columbia & Fuqua Admits - Thanks To The Lab
    2 months ago
    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 ...
    Read the full review
    Class of 2021 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Applicant Lab & Maria - Not Just For MBAs!
    2 months ago
    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 ...
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    Jillian J
    Other Admit
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  • Remove The Noise (Negative & Positive)
    2 months ago
    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 AND I just finished my interviews with Columbia, Wharton, and ...
    Read the full review
    Class of 2021 Other
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Put Your Best Foot Forward With ApplicationLab!
    3 months ago
    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 ...
    Read the full review
    Class of 2021 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • A Godsend For A Non-traditional Applicant!
    3 months ago
    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 ...
    Read the full review
    Class of 2021 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Incredibly Helpful! Got into MIT Sloan with Full Fellowship!
    4 months ago
    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 ...
    Read the full review
    Class of 2020 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Where To Start - Applicant Lab!
    4 months ago
    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 ...
    Read the full review
    Class of 2020 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Oh! God Can't Be So Nice To Show Me ApplicantLab
    4 months ago
    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 ...
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    Murali M
    MBA Class of 2020 Admit
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  • Great turnaround story with ApplicantLab!
    5 months ago
    To give you some context, I applied to a bunch of schools last year with the help of a traditional admissions consultant. I ended up with a total of 8 rejections (7 without interview, 1 after interview & waitlist). The bad part of my profile - Indian, male, 4.5 years of work experience. No great brand names or real feeder companies on my resume. Fairly mediocre grades for an Indian (6.6ish GPA). The good part - Slightly diverse work experience and background, lots of ECs and community involvement. After I was rejected last year, I contacted Maria and offered to pay her for a "ding analysis." I had already bought the tool, but figured a ding analysis would help me figure out what went wrong. Maria ...
    Read the full review
    Class of 2021 Admit
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  • ApplicantLab is the best out there! Impossible is Nothing!!
    5 months ago
    "I would say do not even think of applying to M7 schools. Duke, Ross should be fine", said Stacy Blackman Consulting during their 30-min free evaluation call, without even listening to my "what matters most?" story for once. I was dejected. From that moment just over a year ago to getting into Stanford GSB on a full tuition fellowship, has been an amazing journey! It all started when Maria listened to my story after I reached out to her as one of the 50 finalists for the Stanford Reliance Fellowship (given to 3 Indian students every year). Being the first one to pursue a proper college education in my family, let alone applying to a business school, I had no clue about the admissions process ...
    Read the full review
    Class of 2020 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.