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Graduate: 12 Years
Undergraduate: 12 Years
Yale School of Management
Brand Management and Development
Marketing and PR
Net Promoter Score: 9
After spending years marketing major companies—including the National Hockey League and Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions—Susan found her true passion helping MBA applicants strategically market themselves to their target business schools. Combining her marketing expertise and over a decade of admissions consulting experience, she helps clients identify the stories from their lives that best convey what makes them great and will differentiate them from other applicants. Using her wealth of school-specific knowledge, Susan ensures that each of her clients effectively demonstrates their fit to the admissions committees. Most importantly, Susan guides her clients to communicate their story in an engaging and compelling way across all elements of their application to bring their story to life. Through all of this, she acts as a client’s coach, sharing strategic advice, making the process more manageable, and keeping them accountable so they can achieve their important goal. Susan is fully invested in her clients every step of the way. She pushes them to reflect deeply on their experiences so that they submit their best possible applications.
Susan has an MBA in marketing and strategy from the Yale School of Management, where she earned distinctions in marketing and negotiation and was a second-year student advisor and an active member of the Women in Management Club. She started her marketing career as a marketing consultant, later becoming director of corporate marketing for the National Hockey League, where she collaborated with national sponsors and oversaw multimillion-dollar marketing programs. Susan first entered the MBA admissions space as a brand manager for GMAT and GRE programs at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, where she drove all aspects of the product lines, including product development and marketing. She was drawn to working directly with MBA candidates and became a consultant at mbaMission. She has her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan and started her pre-MBA career as a policy analyst at the Department of Labor.
mbaMission is the world’s leading MBA admissions consulting firm and the only one exclusively recommended by Manhattan Prep and Kaplan GMAT. Our dedicated, full-time Senior Consultants work one-on-one with business school candidates to identify and showcase their strongest attributes in their applications.
When applying to an elite MBA program, you need elite experience on your side. mbaMission’s full-time consultants are highly skilled communicators with comprehensive knowledge of the MBA admissions process, and helping you navigate that process to your fullest potential is our sole priority. You can be confident of having our undivided attention, because admissions consulting is our exclusive focus. In pursuing your MBA, you are making an important investment in yourself, so choose a firm whose singular objective is helping you achieve your goals.
Our full-time team includes MBAs from all the top programs. Although you work exclusively with one dedicated consultant at mbaMission, you benefit from the experience and input of our entire team. Our consultants intercommunicate constantly, sharing information, ideas, feedback, and recommendations. We also conduct semimonthly meetings, require ongoing training, and hold an annual full-company conference, where we gather to discuss best practices and continue improving our skills and knowledge base. More than 20 full-time admissions experts combine their know-how and experience to advance your cause. We know that our being at the top of our game means you have the greatest chance of success, and together, our team will find the best ways to strengthen your application.
One-on-one consultation services, comprehensive admissions and school-specific guides, a robust blog, free eBooks, essay analyses, and other valuable resources—visit our Web site to find all that mbaMission offers.
Want to know your chances of being admitted to business school? Wondering how to differentiate yourself from other applicants? Sign up for a free, 30-minute consultation with an mbaMission Senior Consultant today!
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New Jersey, United States
10=Without Hesitation, 1=I would advise against it.
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I worked with Susan on 2 schools during round 1 applications. I did the Start-to-Finish Package and thought it was well worth it! I was extremely impressed by how Susan personalized the start-to-finish package for each school, and did not simply reuse aspects from the first school we completed.
Susan did a thorough deep dive into my background to help me craft the best stories for the schools I was applying to. She helped me identify my strengths that aligned well to each schools values, and helped me craft these strengths into strong stories that both highlighted my experiences and spoke well to the admissions committees. When it came time for interviews, Susan provided invaluable feedback in how I should visually present myself and best verbalize my accomplishments.
Throughout the entire application process, Susan is completely open and honest in her feedback. She is extremely meticulous and will keep turning content with you until it is absolutely perfect.
Without Susan’s help I would not have written nearly as strong applications, would have had a difficult time staying on track for round 1 deadlines, and likely would not have gotten into my goal schools. I would highly recommend her services to anyone looking for an mba admissions consultant!
If you’re reading this review, you’re probably asking yourself the same two questions that I did: Is it really worth thousands of dollars to hire an MBA consultant? And if so, is Susan Kaplan the right consultant to hire? I will do my best to answer both of those questions.
As some background…
I was born and raised in a small, Midwest town in the United States. I attended a good (not great) public university, where I played a Division-1 sport and graduated with a 3.9 GPA. I turned pro after college and played for two years at the minor league level. I then spent six months as an investment banking analyst at a reputable “middle market” firm. I scored 700 on the GMAT (48 quant) and I applied to HBS and Tuck, two schools that were at the top of my range.
1. Is it really worth thousands of dollars to hire an MBA consultant?
The harsh reality is that every individual that gets into a top MBA program inevitably takes that seat from someone else. The process is highly competitive, and preparation is everything. It is also binary – you either get in or you don’t – so the reality is that outcomes determine whether hiring a consultant was money well spent. I looked at it this way: Whether a consultant provided me with 50% or 1% improvement during this process, that could very well be the difference between whether I was admitted and not. I wanted my best chance at success, leaving no stone unturned, so I hired Susan as my consultant from start to finish for both programs.
This is not a simple process that you can accomplish with little to no effort. A consultant will not complete your application for you. Quite honestly, it would be a mistake to approach it with that mindset, especially considering the financial commitment. If you have the means ($), have the foundation/resume to be competitive, and have the time and work ethic to fully commit to this process, you will absolutely benefit from working with an MBA consultant. If you are halfheartedly invested in the process, your money is better spent somewhere else because you are competing against a group of highly distinguished, fully committed applicants.
2. Is Susan Kaplan the right consultant to hire?
The short answer is, with conviction, YES. Susan was instrumental in helping me better understand the MBA application process, HBS and Tuck’s expectations, and how to best present my application to each program. Initially, we spent a significant amount of time identifying my post-MBA goals and which programs would be the best fit for me, both in terms of culture and career development. We then began to craft my story based on my experiences, tailoring this story to each program. We identified the best options for recommendation letters and then started preparing for my essays and additional responses.
Susan provided critical guidance and accountability throughout the entire application process. She provides direct, efficient feedback and is quick at responding to questions. She has “been there, done that” and, thus, makes sure you are prioritizing the appropriate tasks and staying on track with your set timeline. If you are looking for someone to coddle you, Susan should not be your first choice. If you are looking for someone who is passionate, responsive, accountable, and committed to doing what it takes to get you into your dream school, then you are in the right place. When you hit “Submit Application,” you will know that you have given yourself the best chance at success.
I truly believe I was able to put forth my highest quality application possible with Susan’s guidance and accountability. With that said, I look forward to attending my top choice, the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business, in the fall of 2023.
Susan was instrumental in helping me gain admission to my top-choice schools. I opted for the Start-to-Finish package, and Susan provided me with invaluable guidance throughout the process.
From the outset, Susan invested considerable time in getting to know me and my background. She employed a strategic approach to identify my unique strengths and determine the target schools that would best suit my profile.
Susan was adept at crafting compelling narratives that were both creative and coherent. Her ability to distill complex ideas into clear, concise language proved especially valuable, given my tendency to be overly verbose.
With Susan’s guidance, I was able to construct compelling arguments that demonstrated my suitability for each of the schools I applied to. Her keen eye for detail and honest, constructive feedback helped me refine my essays until they were polished and persuasive.
I was impressed by Susan’s responsiveness and the quick turnaround time she provided for feedback. Her candid approach, while challenging at times, helped me to produce my best work.
In the end, Susan’s coaching proved indispensable. Thanks to her efforts, I was admitted to Kellogg and Booth with generous scholarships and waitlisted at Sloan. I wholeheartedly recommend Susan to anyone seeking a thoughtful, caring coach to guide them through the admissions process.
Choosing to work with mbaMission—and Susan particularly—was one of the best career decisions I could have made. She was extraordinarily helpful at every turn, and truly shepherded me through the entire process, from school selection to deciding which round to apply in, to honing my narrative to build the strongest application possible, to the essays themselves. Thanks to Susan I was admitted to both of my target schools: Stern and Tuck.
The business school process is very much a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know”—there are so many components to consider and to make sure to get right. Susan was the consummate guide, helping me prioritize, keeping me on schedule, and helping me think critically about how exactly an MBA would get me to where I want professionally, why each program was or wasn’t a fit for me, why I was a fit/positive addition for those program(s), and how to communicate all of that in my essays and my resume.
I cannot recommend Susan highly enough!
I signed up for the Start-to-Finish Package for two schools from mbaMission (Wharton and Haas). I first had a free consultation with Jessica Shklar, and she ultimately matched me with Susan.
As someone who comes from a nontraditional background, I lacked confidence and I wasn’t sure how to navigate the MBA admissions process. Susan helped me understand how to convey my unique story and experience in a way that made sense for business school. She also helped me reflect deeply on what I wanted to really achieve post-MBA. The process of brainstorming and writing essays with Susan was a truly transformative experience, one that made me realize my own strengths in the competitive applicant pool for both Haas and Wharton. However, what made Susan stand out the most for me was her attention to detail and honest feedback. Susan’s feedback pushed me to perfect my application, and I honestly don’t think I would’ve gotten into these programs, let alone with significant scholarships, without her support. I can tell she deeply cares about the people she works with and was always available to hop on a call if I had any questions about her feedback. I cannot recommend Susan enough!!
In addition to Wharton and Haas, I also got into Booth, Yale, Tuck, and Michigan (all with over 50% scholarships). After working with Susan on Wharton and Haas, I felt more confident tackling these other applications by myself!
I did the Start-to-Finish Package for two schools with Susan, Kellogg, and Ross. While my work experience and community involvement were strong, my GPA was average, and my test scores were on the lower end of the range. I wanted to work with an expert who could help craft my story to overcome any hesitations that an admissions committee would have about my candidacy.
Susan is able to guide you expertly through the process of finding your greatest strengths as a candidate and then piecing together a story about you, your schools, and the fit between the two. She is completely honest and meticulous with you throughout the ideation, essay writing, resume development, and interview process with a keen eye for detail in each component.
Without Susan’s help, my applications would be much worse and I wouldn’t have gotten into my dream school, Kellogg, let alone Ross as well.
Coming from a military background, Susan was instrumental in helping me gain acceptance to my top choice MBA program. She not only helped me in crafting my essays and stories, but her process helped me reflect on myself, my experiences, my values, and my business school objectives. Her process has helped me succeed in multiple interviews with behavioral questions. My MBA application timeline was hectic with many work requirements, but she took the time to understand my schedule to help ensure I was always able to meet deadlines. Her feedback is always on time, and actionable, and she was always available to talk about any feedback/questions. Susan pushes you from day one in a professional, direct way to help you achieve your goals and dreams. Susan is fully invested in her clients and with you every step of the way. I highly recommend Susan’s services without hesitation to anyone applying to an MBA program to gain acceptance and learn more about themselves. Susan genuinely wants you to succeed.
I worked with Susan on 4 schools, targeting a Round 1 deadline (and only starting ~2 months ahead of deadlines). Susan was an incredible partner in guiding me through a daunting process.
Susan did a fantastic job in pushing me to put forth my best to really enhance my applications. She was always extremely punctual with her feedback on my essays and other deliverables. Her feedback would be tough at times, but it was exactly what I needed to really excel in the process. She was able to pair her knowledge on each of the programs with my story and background to help craft a great narrative for each of the schools I applied to. I really appreciated her effort to truly get to know me in order to provide the best personalized counseling for my process.
Finishing all of my applications in such a short time frame was difficult, and I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Susan. But with her help, I was admitted to HBS, Wharton, Booth, and Kellogg. I am very grateful to have worked with Susan throughout this process, and I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a consultant.
When I began working with Susan, I was skeptical I could get into an M7 business school on my first try. I had a good GMAT score and a reasonable GPA but at 24 years old and with only 3 years as a Deloitte consultant, I felt I needed real help to stand out.
From the get go, Susan pushed me to look into why I wanted to go to B School and to dig into my post MBA career goals. The process was extremely organized, clearly cut out, very well tailored for people like me who have slight OCD and a touch of anxiety and need to know exactly what will be expected of them. Susan had a wealth of experience, recommended I apply to MIT Sloan based on my criteria, and communicated a wealth of material so I could adequately do my research. She reviewed each of my essays about 7 times and minutely went over each aspect of my application. In the end, I got interviews at HBS, CBS, and MIT Sloan, all 3 schools I had applied to Round 1!
After the interview, I ended up not getting into HBS but I was accepted to CBS and MIT, MIT with a 100k scholarship. The outcome was unreal. Thank you Susan so much for your help and support during this process, 10/10 recommend for a very professional and successful b school consulting experience.
I signed up for the complete start-to-finish package with Susan Kaplan. I cannot thank her enough as her advice and help throughout the process got me into a top 7 school!
Susan and I had several hours of brainstorming sessions. These sessions were tough and intense, and Susan would often let me know that I was not digging deep enough. However, these lengthy and honest sessions helped Susan really get to know my profile, strengths, weaknesses, etc. During these sessions, we often discussed my goals and Susan’s analyses of my transferable skills really helped me identify my short- and long-term goals. After these sessions, we could easily shortlist schools and build a framework for my essays.
As an (over-represented) re-applicant for some schools, I needed to ensure that my essays highlighted a fresh profile. Susan was fantastic in mining through my experiences to find thoughtful and powerful stories for the essays. Susan’s feedback was always direct and her comments were very, very detailed. I had a habit of writing long pieces, and Susan was really patient and helped me convey impactful stories within the strict word counts, without diluting the narrative. Not to mention that Susan would ensure that ALL aspects of my application tied together to provide a detailed and engaging profile. Her keen eye for detail would also often help pick-up things that you would overlook.
Susan’s experience and suggestions on how to tackle the interviews were life-savers. She knew exactly what the interviewer was looking for and how to hold his/her attention.
If you are looking for someone who is easily available, honest, and practical with their advice, I would really suggest that you opt for Susan. Her several years of experience will not let you down.
I worked with Susan on mbaMission’s start-to-finish package for 4 schools (M7), targeting Round 1 deadlines. Susan was an amazing guide through the whole process, keeping me on track to putting together applications that represented me well.
Susan has a wealth of knowledge on school-specific aspects of the application and what each school is looking for in different parts of the application. She really helped me connect the dots to craft a great narrative and taught me how to market my strengths to the admissions committee.
Susan was incredibly punctual in reviewing and providing feedback on my essays, sometimes even getting back to me ahead of schedule to help me meet my timeline. Her feedback was definitely challenging, but after working through it my application looked a lot better. She was also readily available over the phone to clarify any of her comments. My interview prep session with her was also helpful – she gave me constructive feedback on the key areas that I could definitely improve on during the days leading up to the actual interview.
It was not easy to meet the R1 timeline, even though I had started quite early. When I was falling behind, Susan didn’t shy away from giving me a wake up call and pushed me through the process. At the end of the day, I’m really happy that I got accepted to one of the programs! I highly recommend Susan for anyone looking for a consultant.
Susan has been on my business school journey with me for years, and I know that I would not have gotten to the end without her guidance and support. I started working with Susan as a college senior applying for deferred admissions programs. I knew I wanted to pursue an MBA but had no idea what the admissions process would require (I was definitely a little unprepared going in!). Working through the Complete Start to Finish Package with Susan was a complete gift – she helped me take a step back to understand my strengths and how all of my experiences fit together to tell that narrative but also where I was a little weaker and how we could strategically approach this aspect of my application. This established a great framework for the application and really helped to tell my story in a way that I was confident about. But, actually writing that story turned out to be incredibly hard. As an engineer, I had absolutely no experience writing essays or storytelling and it definitely showed! Susan really helped to transform my writing style. Her feedback is direct and she knows how much to push you to generate your best work – I went from writing long stories that were mostly “fluff” with no real content to understanding how to write strong narratives with concrete examples to really illustrate the topic. This is more than just a goal for business school applications; it is a lifelong skill that Susan helped me to build – one that has already benefited me in my career and will continue to do so in business school.
Although my first try at business school applications did not result in an offer, it provided a great opportunity to reflect and take the time to make my application even stronger. I always knew I would reapply to business school and throughout the next few years, Susan stayed in touch and was an amazing sounding board when I was trying to round out my experiences and strengthen my story. When it was time to reapply, I chose Susan again as my consultant because not only did she know my story, but I knew she was rooting for me and would give me the push that I needed to submit my best application and one that I was really proud of. I worked on a few different schools with Susan this time and chose schools that had every type of essay and interview possible – written, video, case interviews, etc. Like the first time, Susan’s feedback was invaluable and helped me to build interview and communication skills that are applicable in the “real world” and will propel me to become a stronger student, employee and leader. But, the thing that I benefited from the most this time around (besides applications that I am so proud of) is a strong sense of what I want to do with my career and how I can get there. The Complete Start to Finish Package gives you the opportunity to dive deep into your experiences, strengths and interests (which ultimately pointed me in the direction of what I wanted to do in my career). But, it was Susan who helped me lay the foundation of what I would need to do to get there and how an MBA at my target school was a necessary piece of that puzzle. Her insistence that I do my research to understand the industry and the skills needed for that role helped me develop not only a strong application but a plan that I am excited about. This process with Susan was personally instrumental in preparing me for business school, and I feel ready to take on all that it offers.
Susan embodies the perfect balance of support and feedback. She takes the time to really understand her clients as individuals and constantly strategizes to help them realize and highlight their unique strengths. She never wavers from her goal of pushing you to do your best work, and the result is always something that you will be proud to call your own. I look back on my time with Susan and am so thankful for all of the effort because without her, I would not be headed to London Business School (my dream school!).
I worked with Susan on the start-to-finish package for 4 schools, was admitted to 3 of them, and used all of the self-reflection and tools that Susan provided me with to apply to and get accepted at 3 additional schools.
I didn’t have many friends who had applied to business school, nor did I have a great understanding of the application process, and Susan was a true partner and guide throughout the whole process. I tend to be quite verbose as a writer and sometimes I struggle to concisely make a clear point. While I knew why I wanted an MBA and what in my past experience made me qualified, I was having trouble articulating it clearly in my essays. Susan was a tough critic and pushed me to write at a much higher level than I would have on my own. I appreciated that she didn’t just say a good job when my applications were “good enough”, she pushed me to the next level, and I don’t think I would have as many acceptances and scholarships to top programs without her!
Despite her pinpointed and sometimes tough feedback, Susan was a warm and caring coach who truly cared about my journey and who was rooting for me throughout the process. She made me feel proud of my accomplishments and was such a great cheerleader. With her help, I was admitted to Kellogg, Tuck, Columbia, Darden, and Yale SOM all with scholarships and to Wharton as well! I can’t recommend Susan enough!
I purchased the school package, and I was accepted to my number one choice, Columbia Business School (CBS). I highly recommend working with Susan, and quite frankly, I would not have been successful without her. She is motivating while also empathetic, and no doubt has a wealth of knowledge about MBA schools and the MBA application process.
Susan’s knowledge about CBS and its values and criteria shaped the way I approached my application and essays – and she has this knowledge for any school you apply to. I can’t understate how important this is. Every call, despite my hours of research online, she would bring up several points that would improve my application and essay for CBS specifically and that only someone with her experience could know.
Beyond her wealth of knowledge, my favorite thing about working with Susan was her ability to remain empathetic and motivating, at the same time as challenging me to dig deeper. By “dig deeper” I mean two things: (1) MBA applications (in particular, the essays) take a lot of self-reflection. She will push you and challenge you to truly understand what motivates you, and it comes out in the essays. And (2) while you write the entirety of and own the essays and applications, she ensures that everything you do and write has purpose and makes sense in layman terms, which is particularly useful if you have been in the industry for several years.
I would recommend Susan without hesitation.
I started my MBA journey in 2018, and despite having a decent GMAT score, I got dinged by many top B-schools. Re-applying to these schools was a significant challenge before me. After a lot of deliberation and research, I zeroed in on ‘mbaMission’ to help me with my applications.
I spoke with Susan in July 2019 and felt an instant connection with her with the way she listened to my story, gave her inputs on the possible weaknesses in my application and the steps I could possibly take to improve them. She explained to me about the rigor and focus it would take to put together a strong application and instilled so much confidence in me in our first interaction that I decided to work with her and bought a two-school start-to-finish package.
The brainstorming document that she shared initially really pushed me to think through my story: strengths, weaknesses, achievements, failures. A full 1.5-hour session that followed really helped me create a concrete foundation for all my applications. She constantly encouraged me to do thorough research about the programs and school resources, learn about my fit with the school, and, most importantly, think through my story. Susan responded to my every query and would regularly schedule calls to make sure I am never stuck and always on the right track. She never shied away from giving an honest opinion and comments on my essays and provided constructive feedback to direct me towards the best version of my applications. On many occasions, I did feel all burned out and frustrated working on multiple iterations and drafts, but Susan really helped me piece together an effective and sound application.
She also helped me get the video component of the application right that one of my schools required. She made sure that I practiced it right to master this segment. I was elated when I got the interview calls from both the schools. Susan arranged mock interview sessions (and at very short notice for Kellogg) with her that really helped me prepare for the most dreadful part (for me, at least) of the application process.
I got admitted to both the top schools (Cornell and Kellogg) that I applied to with her help. I would strongly recommend Susan to anyone and everyone who is headstrong about getting into a top B-school. I am really excited to be going to Kellogg this year and can’t thank her enough for making it possible for me.
I had already written the first drafts of my essays, but I wanted some professional help to edit them. I turned to Susan Kaplan, whose advice was incredibly insightful and absolutely instrumental in ultimately achieving success. She worked with me to perfect my writing while maintaining my own voice and ideas. This was what I was most impressed by with Susan – she was able to help me overhaul my essays while preserving my own identity within the writing. I also leaned on Susan for help when prepping for one of my first interviews, and her advice there was equally insightful.
I was ultimately accepted to 3 of the 4 schools Susan assisted me with, including Kellogg, Wharton, and Haas. Without Susan’s help, I do not believe I could have possibly achieved these same results. I’d strongly recommend her to anyone looking for help throughout the application process.
I did the Start-to-Finish Package for two schools with Susan, Tuck, and Yale. I also applied to HBS, Ross, and Foster on my own. Coming from a non-traditional background I was daunted by the MBA world and wanted to be sure I was able to tell my story authentically, but in a manner that would resonate with MBA admissions committees. Ultimately, I was admitted to Tuck and waitlisted at Yale. I also receive admission to Ross with a full-tuition scholarship and Foster with a moderate scholarship. While Susan and I only worked together on Tuck and Yale I know without a doubt that my other applications also benefited from our work together. I would 100% recommend working with Susan.
Susan is often characterized as “tough”. I don’t believe this to be a completely accurate characterization. Susan was relentless at making sure I put my best foot forward, while also being a deeply empathetic and supportive colleague. The MBA admissions process is tough and requires you put in the work, Susan makes sure you do it. She helps you to find your story and paint a clear picture of who you are and what you bring to the school. There were times when I got frustrated because I thought I was addressing a comment, but she would say I hadn’t gotten it yet. This can feel tough, but it was absolutely essential in pushing me to be as effective as possible in my essays. She knows what it takes to succeed and was invested in my success.
I deeply appreciated all the time Susan put into to get to know me during the brainstorming process and beyond. During the brainstorming, Susan identified themes that I hadn’t thought of based on the information I sent her about my experiences. She was spot on and I was surprised how someone I barely knew could so quickly get at the heart of who I am. Additionally, after writing a few drafts of my first essay I didn’t feel fully comfortable with the direction. We spoke about it at length and finally, it clicked for both of us what the thesis of the essay really should be. This extra time she spent to make sure I got my message just right was incredibly helpful and it was also the moment I knew Susan would keep working on a problem as long as it took to get it right.
My applications also required video components, which I was originally terrified of doing. Susan showed me how to master them with ease and after our practice sessions, I felt completely calm and prepared.
Finally, Susan was always on time with her responses and provided thoughtful, detailed comments on my numerous draft essays and other materials draft.
I highly recommend Susan! It was so reassuring knowing she was on my team and I could go to her with any question at any time. I’m thrilled about schools I got into and couldn’t have done it without her!
Susan was extremely helpful throughout the entire process (finalizing GMAT scores, narrowing down my school list, reviewing my application materials, prepping for interviews…). I appreciated her no-nonsense approach; I felt like her lack of sugar-coating really helped me create the best possible application. It is clear she is very invested her clients, and she always made the time to hop on the phone to review an essay or email answer even my smallest questions (like what to wear to interviews!). Susan was a wonderful help throughout each step of the application process, and I felt much more confident having her in my corner.
Susan is a fantastic admissions consultant. I can’t say enough about her contribution to my applications.
She spends a lot of time upfront clearly laying out her process so that working with her is efficient and methodical. We spent a lot of time brainstorming my story and how it will fit with my target programs. I did not have a safe school and she respected that decision – her goal is to make your application the best it can be for each school you choose. Within the framework of my story, she pushed me to adapt each application to the specific schools to increase the likelihood of success. The application has to be genuine and has to align if/when invited to interview, so she is careful not to draft actual text. She NEVER missed a 48hr turnaround deadline and frequently sent through comments earlier. During crunch periods when I needed things turned around more quickly she took the time to explain what my options were and her availability to accommodate. Her guidance is always clear, helpful, and specific when it needs to be. She must have turned my HBS essay 30+ times and the 4 others 15+.
Applied to 5 schools; Accepted to 4 (HBS, Wharton ($$), Tuck, Kellogg ($$$)), wait-listed at 1. White male in finance.
She is not stressful to work with. She can seem ‘tough’ at times, but in the best way possible: only because she knows if your application does not yet fully reflect your potential in the context of each school’s values. She will insist that the essays can get better and will give you the guidance to help you get there.
Finally, she’s on your side. She cares about your success and will be anxious with you when decision are released!
I highly recommend choosing Susan as your admission consultant.
I first talked to Susan during a free phone consultation, after reading all her positive reviews. These initial 30 minutes convinced me that she would help make my applications stronger, and I decided to work with her for a 3-School package. I had a set list of schools in mind that I wanted to apply to. Although all 3 were reaches, she didn’t encourage me to apply to safety schools. I only had two months to submit my three applications, which was enough given Susan’s punctuality for returning material. She never missed her two-day deadline, and often returned documents ahead of time. She sent back comments on at least 50 versions of my essays and resumes. She was always available for a quick phone meeting when I needed help defining the direction for an essay or understanding a comment. Many reviews describe Susan as being “tough,” and that’s exactly what I needed. I thought at first that I had precise career goals and reasons for getting an MBA, but she challenged my assumptions, thereby making my personal statement clearer. She helped me pinpoint the distinct aspects of my background and personality that I could bring to a business school community. All these elements were extremely helpful for my essays and resume, but she was also great for interview preparation. I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been accepted to my top choice (top-ten program), with a significant scholarship! Susan was instrumental in helping me get there!
I hired Susan Kaplan to help me with my applications for the MBA class of 2021, with excellent results! I applied to 3 business schools and was admitted to 2 (HSW and another top school with $$) and waitlisted at 1 (HSW). I started working on my applications in June with deadlines in September after I completed my GMAT. We started with a review of my target schools and Susan gave me honest feedback about my chances. She helped me go through my personal and professional history and identified ideas for effective essay topics that I wouldn’t have pinpointed on my own. Although I was largely responsible for my application timeline and keeping myself on track, Susan was always prompt with feedback and never missed her review deadlines. I am currently residing abroad and she did a good job of accommodating the time differences with our calls.
Overall, the biggest value I got out of the consultancy was the essay feedback. I come from an engineering background and Susan helped me phrase my stories and experiences in a way that someone from any field could understand. Of course, I did all of the writing, but her comments were invaluable in shaping how I told my stories. She did an excellent job of finding themes that tied experiences from my personal and professional lives together. She pushed me to go much deeper into my motivations and mindset than I would have otherwise. Although I had very strong stats going into the application process, I believe it was my essays that set my application apart. I would highly recommend Susan to any applicants that are looking for open, honest feedback but are also self-motivated and not looking for someone to “mother” them through the process. At the end of the process, I felt like the applications were fully my own, with Susan providing the push and assistance to make them the best work I could produce.
With Susan’s help, I was admitted to a top business school and I am 100% certain I couldn’t have done it without her.
I come from an overrepresented applicant pool and knew I needed a lot of help to build a compelling story that stood out to admissions committees. In our 30-minute intro conversation, she gave me honest and direct feedback on my profile and I was impressed by how much she pushed me to reflect in just a short call. I tested other admissions consulting companies as well but came back to Susan as I knew she would keep me laser focused on refining my story. Her program started with a deep dive on every facet of my profile and personal background and after she invested who knows how much time, we were able to put together the building blocks of my application. Over the next few months, I honestly can’t count how many essay and resume revisions she helped me with. Each time, she pushed me to further distill my thoughts into the most impactful messages that would resonate specifically to the schools I was applying to. I am incredibly grateful for Susan’s help throughout the process and highly recommend her for any applicant.
I had Susan during the initial free phone consultation and hired her for a two school package. With her help, I got into 1 of the top 10 schools she helped with and accepted at 2 other Top 10 programs I applied to on the side, admission successes for which I heavily relied on my essay work and application strategies from my work with Susan. Susan is great at identifying and pulling out stories for your essays. First and foremost, she helps you identify your “story” and makes you stick with this story throughout. In this aspect, her marketing background shines through. She really pushes you to be introspective and think about what stories you want to tell in your personal statements. For essays related to “why this school” she ensures that you do your research and, most importantly, is the reinforcement to make sure your story is cohesive and stays on track. Susan also promptly replies to emails and inquiries. My advice for those deciding to hire a consultant is to really think about your post-MBA goals and story (personal/professional). If you believe you need help developing these, then hire Susan! I would also add for the cost-sensitive customers, do some research about your top choice schools – particularly focusing on what their essay questions are and what they look for in their applicants. If you are hiring her for a 2-school + package, I would hire for schools that are unique in their application processes and student qualities — this should help you get the most bang for your buck.
Susan is truly an invaluable asset in the MBA admissions process. I was very nervous going into the process, as I was coming to the table with a non-traditional educational background (social sciences undergrad degree), a non-quantitative job, and good, but not amazing, test scores. From the beginning, Susan worked tirelessly to get to know me on a personal level and what was unique about me; using her background in marketing, she refers to herself as your “personal brand manager” throughout the process. As we prepared my applications, she consistently questioned and challenged my assumptions about my motivations for getting an MBA and my future career plans to help me narrow down my exact goals, which helped immensely during essay writing, networking with the schools, and interviewing. As other reviewers mentioned, Susan is tough, but in my opinion, in the best way possible. She puts so much time and effort into making your application the absolute best it can be with copious thoughtful comments and revisions to essays and pointed questions during brainstorming and interview prep. At every step of the process, Susan was by my side, simultaneously pushing me forward and cheering me on.
Thanks to Susan’s help, I was accepted to 3 out of the 3 schools I applied to with her, two of which we both agreed were reaches and one where I received a full ride. Every time I found out I got in somewhere, Susan was one of the first people I wanted to tell. If you’re considering getting a consultant to go through this process (which I absolutely believe you should), I would 110% recommend hiring Susan!
I came to Susan while in the midst of studying for the GMAT, exploring MBA programs, and uncovering my post-MBA goals (all within a very short deadline for round 1). Susan structured the overwhelming process, ensuring I was set up for success.
She contributed a few key insights that helped my application become significantly more competitive. She provided a deep understanding of what admissions was hoping to uncover within the essay prompts, and helped me to generate ideas to demonstrate my aptitude/qualifications and my passion.
With her help, I was admitted to a top 5 MBA program.
As an applicant with a non-traditional background, I knew that I was going to need all of the guidance I could get on the business school application process. I decided to enlist mbaMission’s services, and the company’s founder highly recommended Susan. Working with Susan was the best decision I could have made. She gave me invaluable advice and asked me all of the right questions that I had no idea I needed to be prepared to answer.
When I started with Susan this past fall, I was very late in the admissions process. I intended to apply to schools for round 2, but was still studying for the GMAT and deciding which schools to apply to at the same time. Right off the bat, Susan helped me set realistic expectations for studying/working full time/applying to schools in a short time period. She helped me cut down my school list to schools that would be a good fit for me and that I could realistically get into. She advised me to stick with previous GRE scores (and helped me realize that these scores would get me into b schools) so that I would not waste any more time studying for the GMAT and actually start focusing on working on my applications.
Susan also made sure that every single minute of my time with her was spent wisely. For example, during our first brainstorming call, Susan realized that I needed to do more research on my short term and long term post- MBA career goals; specifically, how my target school would support me in these goals, before we could proceed any further. She stopped the conversation short so that we would not waste any more time, and gave me guided questions to think about as I did my own research on these topics.
Susan never missed a deadline and usually returned any items I sent to her for feedback early. Susan’s feedback was always thorough and insightful.
Susan provides very blunt criticism (as others have touched upon), but without her help I know I would not have gotten into my top choice school. She makes you work really hard, but it will pay off immensely!! She sincerely wants to make sure that you have the best application possible. I am a better business school candidate because of working with her.
I worked with Susan for nearly the entirety of the past year, through 2 rounds of b-school admissions (which might sound like a bad thing, but read on to learn why!), and highly recommend that you give her a call if you are in the early stages of applying to business school. Your applications will be better for it. I initially applied in the last round of admissions for the Class of 2019, and hired Susan after a 30-minute phone call with another mbaMission consultant who was no longer accepting third round candidates but who heavily endorsed Susan. Going into this final round, Susan was super-candid about my odds of getting accepted (spoiler alert: they were not great). This candor and honesty has been a theme of my work with Susan, and I really appreciated it. I decided to proceed with the final round apps, and Susan was with me every step of the way. She held herself accountable to promised turnaround times, and was often open to expedited reviews as I got into crunch time for certain apps. I applied to three schools in this last round, and was waitlisted at two of them (rejected from one) – which, all things considered, was a pretty good outcome. The brainstorming / career goals exercise, which then flows into outlining first drafts of essays, are such helpful steps that I think set mbaMission and Susan, specifically, apart. Susan pushed me to set realistic and specific goals by tying in my past experiences (personal / professional), identifying knowledge / skills gaps that I needed to fill, and highlighting how specific resources at my target programs are going to help me realize my goals. One of the best parts of working with Susan is how much she pushed me to go one level deeper – always getting to the “how” and the “why” vs. just stating the “what”. Pointing to specific resources and identifying why I want to pursue them and how they fit with my goals made my story much more compelling than just saying which specific resources I was excited about. I would not have gotten to this level without Susan’s guidance. Susan’s feedback not only helped ensure that each aspect of my applications was individually strong, but also that there was an almost tangible common thread / consistent story running through the entire application. I applied again in Round 1 for the Class of 2020, and – after kicking around the “is it worth the money”-question – decided to work with Susan again on my second attempt. Her feedback on my essays and other materials, as well as video components and interview prep was invaluable. I am thrilled that I will be attending a top-10 program (my top choice) in the Fall!
I went into the application process unsure of whether or not I wanted to spend the money on an expensive admissions consultant with the financial burden of business school on the horizon. One 30 minute (free) consultation with Susan was more than enough to convince me that my applications would be significantly more well-rounded with her help. As a non-traditional (engineering) candidate not surrounded by many top level MBA graduates, Susan’s experience navigating the whole process was an absolute difference maker in my application. The documents that mbaMission provides to get student’s backgrounds are very through, but Susan took the time to really get to know me more than just my profile and my test scores, and was able to even suggest how some of my stories could fit into essays even when I didn’t immediately see the fit. She was also able to quickly identify areas where I was weak (post-MBA goals) and spent the necessary time helping me nail those down. Throughout the whole process, it would have been very easy for her to say that my materials were “good enough” and move on to helping another client, but I am convinced that Susan does not have those two words in her vocabulary. She will not let you settle for “good enough”. Even on your 7th revision of an essay, if there is one sentence that might be able to be tweaked just a little, she will provide that feedback. I must have sent Susan 40 drafts of different essays, resumes, recommendation letters, etc., and never once did she miss her promised 2 day deadline. While she does take 1 week off in the fall for vacation, she still reviews materials and met every deadline even through that time period. She is also always available for a quick phone meeting if you need one, and will push you in all the right directions. In other words, while I am sure she helps a good number of applicants, I never once felt that I was being short changed in anyway so that she could help another client or bring on more volume. She was also really helpful in the interview prep and especially preparing for the Video Essay that some schools required. I was very hesitant about the video essay, but after a session with Susan, I left very confident in my game plan. If you are hoping for someone to actually do the hard part of writing your essays, or for a cheerleader through the process, don’t hire Susan. If you are looking for someone who will always push you to submit the very best materials and application possible and provide candid feedback (she will tell you in your first meeting that you have your friends and family to tell you how great you are, she will tell you what you need to hear) that will add to your application, look no further than Susan Kaplan. With Susan’s help, I ended up on the waitlist at a Top-5 program, and accepted at a top-10 school with a significant scholarship, where I will enrolling for my MBA this fall. I would (and have) highly recommend Susan to anyone starting on the process.
I worked with Susan to prepare my school application, and I feel it was a great investment. With work, studying for the GMAT, and a quickly approaching deadline, I had limited time to put all the parts of my application together, and I did not want to waste any of it trying to figure out if I am approaching each step in the best possible way. I wanted to just focus on the content and delivery of each step: essays, resume, short answers, interview, and all the other small things that contribute to your overall application profile. Having Susan guide me throughout the process perfectly fit that goal. I think many of the other reviews already cover her way of working with a client, but I will highlight what stands out. I did all the work, thinking, and writing of the actual content. Susan provided guidance on what a good application would say about an applicant and was able to look at my work and tell me if it’s achieving that goal or not. It also helps to have the outside perspective because you may think what you have written clearly states an idea, but in reality it doesn’t because you, the writer, “fill in” all the gaps subconsciously since it’s coming from your own mind. Susan, though, cannot do that and quickly points out what is not making sense, or you’ll notice if she got the wrong perspective from your work, indicating a rewrite or clarification is necessary. The investment was challenging for me, but I am thinking long-term and believe it will pay off since I got into my target school (and more). Do I think a talented or experienced individual can put together a stellar application without a consultant? Definitely. Can someone find all the application guidance they need through internet sites and forums? Sure. But like any decision you make in life, you need to assess your circumstances and make a well thought-out choice. For my circumstances, it made perfect sense to work with Susan, and she did her part *very well*. I couldn’t have asked for someone better.
I purchased a school package with mbaMission thinking it would be helpful to have someone edit my resume and essays. I couldn’t have imagined how much more Susan would be for me. When I struggled to find a way to make my story interesting, Susan helped me see how I was unique and my qualities worth sharing. When I was trying to narrow down the schools I would apply to, she was honest in telling me which she didn’t feel were great fits. When I felt unprepared and unsure during my pre-interview practices, she knew how to be encouraging while providing constructive criticism. Even more, seeing that Susan was truly invested in my success made all of the hours spent revising my applications slightly less painful! I know Susan was instrumental in my acceptance at Kellogg. My experience makes me think how disadvantaged other applicants must be who don’t receive the same insight and support. I would absolutely recommend Susan to anyone considering business school!
After speaking with admissions consultants at a few companies, I ultimately selected Susan because of her amazing reviews on GMAT Club. I knew that she had a reputation for being tough, but that’s what I wanted, and that’s what I got. Susan helped me get into Stanford, my dream school, and I can’t thank her enough. I’m embarrassed to think about how bad my applications would have been without Susan’s help. As a non-traditional applicant with an engineering background, I needed assistance with all aspects of my application – post-MBA career goals, school selection, resume, essays, recommendations, and interviews. Susan guided me through all of it flawlessly. “This just isn’t working.” Susan never hesitated to tell me when something wasn’t working. When I was ready to give up, Susan pressed onward. We went through ten revisions of some essays, and Susan never missed the two-day turnaround. Even if I hadn’t gotten into any business schools, going through the application process with Susan would have been worth it. She encouraged me think critically about my motivations, strengths, and accomplishments, and got me into the habit of asking why to drive down to the deepest levels of a decision or goal. I have no doubt that the applications I submitted were the best I could possibly submit. At times, I thought it was overkill, that there was no way one more revision could make a difference. But Susan always found room for improvement. And it’s hard to argue with success.
The price of mbaMission packages looks scary, but fret not, you have made a good investment. When I started the whole MBA process, I could see myself studying for GMAT and eventually getting the hang of it. However, I was scared of the essays and the admissions process. So, I decided to read reviews like this one and made up my mind to work with Susan. Susan is a straightforward, diligent and caring person. What I really like about her is that she motivates you to give your best. The whole system that mbaMission has developed (brainstorming, outlining essays, etc.) requires lots of hours, so be prepared for some serious soul-searching and essay writing when you sign up. Susan has vast knowledge about the schools, and she is happy to discuss which schools would be a good fit for you. Take advantage of this opportunity and don’t ignore her advice! She was right from the beginning about which schools I would get into. I won’t deny that working with Susan in the beginning was challenging, but that was mostly because I wasn’t fully prepared for B-school. Susan highlighted my strengths and weaknesses early on in the process and pushed me to think hard on why getting an MBA was important to me. Through this soul-searching, I was able to nail down the career goals part of the application (which is incredibly important). Susan is an amazing editor and will not let you walk away with BS in your essays (she will call you out on it). For my first school, I think we worked on 15 essay drafts, and each draft was significantly better than the last one because of Susan’s editing and comments. One of my biggest fears of working with a consultant was that my essays might not sound like me by the end, but with Susan, that was never the case. She will give you numerous comments in the essays, but you are the one doing all the writing. Also, the process gets easier once you write your first few essays…by the end of my applications, I would nail my essays down in 3 to 4 drafts. Susan is extremely accommodating with her schedule for calls or any last minute requests you might have. She is so dedicated to her clients that even when she takes her August “holiday”, she will still edit essays and return your work according to mbaMission’s return policy. With the flexibility of mbaMission packages, I worked on everything – from resume to my answers for the online application – with Susan along with the essays. With Susan’s help, I felt comfortable and satisfied with every application that I submitted. Next step in the MBA game was interviewing. Susan and I did mock interviews in which she gave me good tips, based on her knowledge of schools, on how to improve my answers and make them relevant to what the school was looking for in their candidates. These practice sessions prepared me very well for the actual interviews. Funny interview story – I got super nervous in my first interview and sent a panicked email to Susan after it. She is such a positive and caring person – she wrote a long reply saying that everything was going to be fine! And she was right…I got two acceptances (with scholarship) and one waitlist from my dream school! Another advantage of the mbaMission package – I worked with Susan to prepare an update for the school where I was waitlisted. My acceptances wouldn’t have happened without Susan. I absolutely loved working with her, and I highly recommend Susan and mbaMission to anyone considering B-school seriously. Thank you, Susan. You have been a great mentor!
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