Admissions Consulting

ApplicantLab

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Joined: Mar 19, 2019
Purchased Course: Jul 16, 2018
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Yale & Ross Admit with Full Scholarships

March 19, 2019
  • Teacher: Maria Wich-Vila
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

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!
Joined: Mar 6, 2019
Purchased Course: Sep 7, 2017
Verified Real Student Review

REMOVE THE NOISE (NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE)

March 6, 2019
  • Teacher: Maria
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

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 for 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 in to 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 FLASH CARDS) 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 that 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 lawyer 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 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 Selfawareness
? 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 Karin 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 Karin 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 consultant 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


positivelyMBA
MBAblueredwhite
Joined: Feb 22, 2019
Purchased Course: Nov 4, 2018
Verified Real Student Review

ApplicantLab is a godsend for nontraditional applicants

February 22, 2019
  • Teacher: Maria
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

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 was 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 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.
Joined: Feb 20, 2019
Purchased Course: Nov 11, 2018
Major: Finance
Country: Russia
Verified Real Student Review

thank you AdmissionsLab

February 20, 2019
  • Teacher: Maria Wich-Villa
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

Hi,
I would like to share here my story.
GPA 3.9 out of 5
TOEFL 109
GMAT 710
masters in economic cybernetics and PhD in economics (Russia)
I have prepared my essays and applications using the ApplicationLab and have an interview training with Maria.
First and most important about the applicantlab:
it helps you identify how to present your story in a better way, what to highlight and what is not at all important.
Secondly,
it helps to identify the examples you should give in your essays - which are valuable to the admissions.
thirdly,
it shows what each school is looking for in their students (it saves a lot of time for the applicant, you have all the information at hand)
Finally, it is a great value for money. Other consultants charge by hour and it takes much more budget to allocate.
Regarding the interview: Maria was great asking the most severe questions and giving great feedback. After this trial real interview was really easy, because Maria covered almost all the questions I was asked.
So, I got admitted to Stanford, MIT and Chicago. And HBS executive program.
Thank you, ApplicantLab. It is our common success!
Joined: Feb 4, 2019
Purchased Course: May 21, 2018
Country: Australia
Verified Real Student Review

Humble Beginnings

February 4, 2019
  • Teacher:
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

Just like so many others, I am a long time (1.5 years) lurker.
First, some background to put my story in context.
I, like so many others here, had always wanted to do an MBA. However, my exposure to international options was limited. I never appeared for CAT/ XAT or any other Indian competitive exam either.
I felt comfortably settled in my job with early promotions and decent hikes as milestones.
Fast forward to April 2017, my husband calls me in office and says ? the visa application results came through. I am flying off probably by June.
Umm..
Okaaayyy.. what now? I love my job!
The voice at the back of my head said ? this is your chance!! What could be better timing, it has fallen in your lap like a gift, now Go and Get IT! Now is when you can realize your dream of an MBA and become golden.
My husband and I had always discussed what will we do when he moves to US ? the plan was always for me to go for an MBA. But all of these talks were on the dining table, I had never studied for it or taken any serious action.
Until I just had to.
While helping him pack and move, I enrolled in a local GMAT coaching centre, with a dream to go to H/W/S.. lol. Excuse my lofty aspirations, I was na?ve and ignorant.
I studied at the GMAT coaching centre, while also researching about the process and the requirements.
My office ? however mundane you might imagine it to be considering that I am an IT analytics consultant - is very demanding. I have to put in 60+ hour work weeks at intervals ? not regularly though.
Fast forward to me juggling office and GMAT ? I appeared for the exam 1.5 months into my initial introduction to it.
640.
To be fair ? I had scored only 640 on GMATPrep1 and 680 on GMATPrep2 right the day before exam (both on same day one day right before the real GMAT ? I know, stupid).
However, I was greedy and hoping that I would miraculously score a 730. I kept reading stories of people who only got 600s on GMATPreps and scored 720+ on the real exam and prayed and hoped that something like this would happen to me too.
I was not one of them.
I was, however, determined. I cried in the cab on my way back home. I mourned and cried and pitied myself for exactly 1.5 days and got back into the game.
Purchased GMATClub tests for quant. Studied verbal by doing and redoing the official GMAT guide.
28 days later ? appeared for the exam again.
Received a 710.
I was not happy. I was not sad. I broke the 700 mark. My husband was ecstatic. But I, having read so many debriefs, knew that it was not enough (and they said 720 is the new 700, so no trophies there).
I did not go to an IIT. Did not work for a fantastic glamorous firm. My undergrad college is not even among the top 100 (dare I say 200) in the country.
I did not have amazing extra-curriculars.
I, however, had a lifelong dream of finally becoming golden with that silver bullet of an MBA.
I decided to go ahead and apply with my dismal 710 score. I worked with 2 consultancies, applied to 5 with the first one, and 3 with the other one. I was invited for interview by 3 schools. One of them was Kellogg (doesn?t it interview everyone anyway), Tepper (they had a Women?s weekend ? I received the invite 3 days after hitting submit on my application - did they get time to read my application?), and ISB. I was also waitlisted without interviews by 2 schools.
None of the offers were converted.
I was adamant to break through the top 20 schools. I had read about how hard it is for an IT Indian, but really had no idea how cut-throat the competition in-doing was.
When the last decision came through in March-end 2018, I was in a very dark place. To say that it was rock-bottom is an understatement, I could not sleep and could not eat. I took the rejection very badly.
Which in itself shows how ?un-ready? for business school I really was.
Tip ? you can practice getting rejected while you?re at it to fare better in this process. I, for example, started asking for random upgrades in flights and hotels. I was almost always rejected (almost ? because I wasn?t once). And it helped rewire my brain to take rejections as part of my daily life. They may say yes, or they may say no ? but really, you?re not doing that bad right now either.
A new opportunity to travel to international client location came through to me at that time. Since I was looking for a change, anything to break through the night, I said yes straightaway.
After the initial sting of rejection subsided, I started to reflect on my applications and interviews. First things first, the goal ? I had said MBB on my applications. For someone like me, with 710, no golden undergrad, no prior management consulting experience, it was downright stupid. The 2 consultants that I had worked with did not find that goal unrealistic at all.
Second - my essays weren?t really that honest either ? they were doused in what I thought I should say, and what I thought would make me look like a winner in front of the adcom ? aka ? no sincerity (came through even to me during those re-reads). Nothing from the 2 consultants on THAT either.
I decided to discuss what I thought with one of the more ?intimate? consultancies of the two ? I said that I thought that my goal was probably too ambitious/ unrealistic for someone without a golden pedigree.
The response came ? ?we are happy to work with you this time (no feedback on the goals statement) ? however, having said that, you were punching above your weight in the last cycle, and looks like you are trying to do the same this time too. The schools you are targeting are all??jksdnjsvjheg? ? translated to me as ? ?you have no shot, apply to lower colleges kiddo?.
It felt like a punch.
When I went into that first application cycle, I was delusional, sure. However, I had realised how difficult it really is during the process. The reason I paid so much money to these consultants was for them to help me realize this dream ? I already know its hard. But can you help me?? Or if you cannot, can you be honest during or before the process, and not after-the-fact?
If there is just one thing that you consider while choosing to work with a consultant, it is ?
? They should believe in you.
Now to all you brilliant people, it might sound too romantic and perhaps even stupid. But for me, the belief is the only secret ingredient. The consultant should be a person who holds nothing back and gives you all the advice that they think will help you. Regardless of your undergrad, or your work ex, or your GMAT score.
I think the consultant who works with any applicant should not know about these details at all. One person can do the identification of the schools they think are right for you based on your profile, but the one who helps with your application should know nothing; except you as a person and your essay story. (business advice for you all boutique consultants).
Anyway ? as I settled into the new international location, I started studying again for GMAT.
Appeared for the test a month later. 710 again (Q48 V40). Felt like a loser.
But decided to go ahead with applications again, to work harder on them, and apply to ?lower? ranked schools.
I did not want to pay thousands of dollars to any consultant.
But I still wanted to make sure I don?t miss the mark by 100000 kilometres. I had read reviews of ApplicantLab, and decided to go for the trial version of the application.
It blew my mind.
And considering that the cost was almost only as much as 1 school?s application fee for UNLIMITED applications, I decided to go for it straightaway.
Maria is brilliant. If you just go through with the tool and see the amount of hard work that she has done ? for EVERY school?s application form ? you will understand and marvel at her brilliance.
In one of her advice videos (in some relevant context) she says ? ?these schools are good, but they are not HOGWARTS?. I disagree ? hers has definitely contributed in making her a magician - and ApplicantLab is pure magic.
What distinguishes ApplicantLab in my opinion ?
? Price - I mean, seriously?
? Quality of advice is just plain spectacular ? here?s the thing ?
o the tool does not know if you scored a 780 or 650. It does not know if you are Minister of Foreign Affairs or a software engineer.
o the tool does not ? cannot ? hold back. The advice remains the same for a 780 and a 650 person.
o The tool gives you advice EVEN FOR THE other APPLICATION COMPONENTS ? which, IMHO, tend to make or break your chances. So fine, you did brilliant with your essays using that 780-score advice from the ?consultant?. What about the rest of the 12 pages you need to fill on the form? The adcom goes through all of it while making their decision, not just your essays.
o Maria is brilliant.
? Step-by-step process ?
o You get started, and you build upon your strengths and weaknesses.
o You have everything documented, from what you can leverage to where can you show improvement, and how.
? Interview advice ?
o Does not charge extra for it.
o And it is just plain brilliant (you know, Maria).
? Turnaround time ?
o Ok, so you may think that working with a ?real? person gives you more intimate/ quicker/ personalized advice. But in my case atleast, the ?consultants? had a turnaround time of 3-4 working days. ApplicantLab has a small box at the right-hand side corner of her tool ? you just type in your question, and ladies and gentlemen, I kid you not, Maria or someone from her team, HAS ALWAYS responded within 1.5 days (working or not).
o And the advice is pure gold.
I can go on and on, but I am already close to 2000 words and I should really get back to work.
As parting words - I have cracked into 3 of the top 10-20 schools with big sums of scholarships, ISB, a top 10 school without scholarship, and have 4 top-15 waitlists. Two schools have rejected me ? which was my wrong-doing ? I rushed the application for one of them and recorded the essay for another in ?not-a-right-state? of mind.
And, I am a reapplicant to all of the above schools.
The above is just my perspective, and my journey.
There will be many bumps on your road, and you will meet many people who will tell you that your dream is unrealistic. For all that its worth, it might be ? but it might also not be ? and it is our duty to do justice to ourselves, and try just one more time.
The night is dark and full of terrors ? but hear this, young men and women, the earth is yours and the fullness thereof. Be kind but be fierce. - Winston Churchill.
But hey, if the shoe fits. :)
Joined: Jan 31, 2019
Purchased Course: Sep 8, 2017
Verified Real Student Review

Incredibly Helpful! Got into MIT Sloan with Full Fellowship!

January 31, 2019
  • Teacher: Maria
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

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!
Joined: Jan 19, 2019
Purchased Course: Jan 1, 2017
College: USC
Major: Business
Industry: Accounting
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

Launching pad for success- thanks applicant lab!

January 19, 2019
  • Teacher: Maria Villa-Wich
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

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. First instinct is to check school sites, and at most you can see GMAT/GPA/Work experience. After asking students I enrolled, I learned that that doesn?t pain 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 is the customized, and simple to use portal that provides meaningful feedback for a fraction the cost. Missing math in undergrad, low community service, etc any issues that you may face, Applicant lab has the answer. 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.
Joined: Jan 18, 2019
Purchased Course: Mar 23, 2018
Country: Canada
Verified Real Student Review

ApplicantLab is one-stop solution.

January 18, 2019
  • Teacher: Maria Wich-Vila
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

Hi all,

I am usually not the person who takes time to review services; however, I couldn?t stop myself from sharing my amazing experience with ApplicantLab and Maria.
I have a competitive GPA and GMAT score in addition to strong international and diverse work experience. I didn?t think I needed help with my MBA applications and applied to my first choice MBA program on my own. I was rejected in the first round. It caused me frustration and disappointment. I didn?t know what I did wrong and started looking for advice. After researching about several MBA admission consulting services, I decided to go with ApplicantLab to help prepare my application for my other choices. In the first few minutes of using ApplicantLab, I knew exactly why I didn?t get in before.
I had no idea how to frame my stories or what the schools are actually looking for until I went through modules in ApplicantLab. The instructions are very detailed and thorough. Maria has done tremendous research for each school and what you need to showcase to strengthen your profile for the admission committee. There was no way for me to know these details without the help of ApplicantLab. You cannot find these things on google.
I am a MBA student at University of Cambridge, Judge Business School now and I give a huge credit of me getting into this school to Maria and ApplicantLab. I wouldn?t have gotten in without using ApplicantLab. It is absolutely the best investment (and it is relatively very inexpensive) you can make towards your MBA. So, if you are struggling with your MBA applications, ApplicantLab is one-stop solution.
Joined: Jan 16, 2019
Purchased Course: Mar 9, 2018
College: VIT University
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Industry: Engineering
Country: India
Verified Real Student Review

Oh! God can't be so nice to show me Applicant Lab.

January 16, 2019
  • Teacher: Maria
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

Did you ever feel, ' He finally heard me. Things are falling into place.' This was exaclty 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 Applicant Lab and Maria.
Applicant Lab is want 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 tell them I myself donot believe that I could get into HBS they start selling their service. 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 her product and genuinely wanted to help me. @Maria.
I came to know about Applicant lab from an e-gmat webinar. Thanks for Rajat and Payal. In my first interaction with Maria over e-mail. She clearly told me not what I want 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 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 I chose my schools perfectly.
This is exactly what's great about applicant lab. Applicant Lab makes you competent to say your story the best way possible. In my experience with applicant lab, 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.
Applicant lab'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 get 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, Applicant lab 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 tradeoff 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. Applicant Lab and Maria are the best thing that happened to me in my MBA admission process.
Joined: Mar 24, 2017
Purchased Course: May 18, 2018
Country: India
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Great turnaround story with ApplicantLab!

January 3, 2019
  • Teacher: Maria
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

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/que stion 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.
Joined: Dec 29, 2018
Purchased Course: Jun 24, 2018
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Highly recommended tool - will be a great asset during the MBA application journey

December 30, 2018
  • Teacher: Maria Wich-Vila
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

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 Applicant Lab 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 Applicant Lab 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.
Joined: Aug 2, 2016
Purchased Course: Nov 15, 2017
Verified Real Student Review

ApplicantLab is the best out there! Impossible is Nothing!!

December 25, 2018
  • Teacher: Maria Wich-Vila
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

"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!

But 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 - and 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. And 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 ApplicantLab/Maria and would HIGHLY recommend anyone to go for it. ApplicantLab will be your best guide if you are taking the DIY approach!
Joined: Aug 30, 2017
Purchased Course: Aug 21, 2017
College: Institute of Chemical Technology
Major: Chemistry
Industry: Food Service/Lodging
Country: Singapore
Verified Real Student Review

Applicant Lab - Helped me achieve the impossible

December 23, 2018
  • Teacher: Maria Wich-Vila
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

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 favourite 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. In short I will recommend Applicant Lab to all the prospective candidates who want to get into a top b-school.
Joined: Oct 20, 2016
Purchased Course: Apr 18, 2017
Verified Real Student Review

Great Tool!

December 21, 2018
  • Teacher: Maria
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

I have recently used Applicant Lab's services for my application process. We all are aware how much a normal admission consultant would charge - at least a couple grand. Unlike a normal consultant, Applicant Lab charges just a fraction of it and actually guides you to prepare your application process, this whole process actually a good experience or a good introspective session that one needs. Maria would help you if you are stuck anywhere, provide you good insight on what actually the Ad Com looks for, help you tailor-make the essays and responses for different questions that they might ask and train you for interview. Overall, I would highly recommend their tool and the process it lets you go through. Trust me it's value every buck you pay for.
Joined: Dec 19, 2018
Purchased Course: Jul 23, 2017
College: ie business school
Major: Sociology
Industry: Medical/Health Care Devices
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

ie business school accepted

December 19, 2018
  • Teacher: Maria
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

I got accepted by ie business school in 2017 because of Applicantlab, and I?d like to share my fantastic experience. Before I purchased her service, I?d done a lot of researches and saw a millions of great feedback about Applicantlab. However, I had a concern which was actually the unique application process used by my target school, ie business school. As you may know, ie's admission process is quite different than the other schools and you are tasked to create video content on top of an essay to answer questions provided by the school. Although I had the concern above, many good reviews had me purchase the service and it turned out to be the best service I've ever bought.
The well automated algorithm she created is indeed perfect. I was skeptical as to how it worked, but it?s very intuitive to go through all the required processes such as brainstorming, preparing for essays, and interviews. She embedded her own video explaining everything step by step in order for users to understand what to do on the tool. What amazed me the most was she also put her video specifically for each school including ie business school. There are more than 10 questions that ie asks you to write about (you need to choose 3 of them) and she basically covered everything in the multiple video. She even advised that which questions I should answer and shouldn't, and most importantly why I should answer them.
To me, the most useful part of the service was ?how to prepare for interviews?. Based on her advice, I prepared for all the questions, and surprisingly 80 ? 90% of the questions that I was asked during the actual interview were what she told me to prepare before the interview. Interestingly enough, the interviewer even told me that all the adcoms thought my video, which I created based on Maria?s advice, was the best among all the candidates in my intake.
Again, I was a bit skeptical at the beginning but now I cannot believe she is still providing applicants with this level of service at ultimately low cost. If you get scholarship at the end, the fee for this service would be almost nothing. I strongly recommend to purchase her service before you waste money on cheap MBA consulting service.
Joined: Jul 1, 2013
Purchased Course: Oct 1, 2017
College: CSU Long Beach
Major: Accounting
Industry: Entertainment/Leisure
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

Silver Bullet for MBA Admissions

December 17, 2018
  • Teacher: Maria
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

I'm a workoholic.

Working 60+ hour weeks, two non-profits, and a side business, I needed admissions help that could operate with my schedule but still quench my thirst for details and specifics.

ApplicantLab was the perfect solution for me.

It contains amazingly detailed videos of not only what to do, but why you do it, which is really the secret sauce of admissions! The online tool walked me through the entire process of building up my MBA profile, and made sure that I thought through all of the important introspective questions that are necessary at putting together solid essays.

After building up my profile strategy, it helped me brainstorm essay topics and ultimately helped me create outlines, drafts and final versions of my essays. Finally, working with Maria via her videos on the essays were amazing. Her professionalism and upbeat attitude helped get me through a tough application schedule.

Ultimately, I got into my top choice!
Joined: Oct 3, 2016
Purchased Course: Mar 1, 2017
Major: Business
Industry: Consulting
Verified Real Student Review

Super helpful for a triple admit!!!

December 16, 2018
  • Teacher: Maria Wich-Vila
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

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.
Joined: Dec 16, 2018
Purchased Course: Jun 26, 2017
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

Best investment ever

December 16, 2018
  • Teacher: Maria
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

I was a reapplicant 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.
Joined: Aug 11, 2015
Purchased Course: May 13, 2017
College: Texas A&M University
Major: Business
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

Full-ride at Columbia Business School!!!

December 15, 2018
  • Teacher: Maria Wich-Vila
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

I used ApplicantLab's platform for my application to Columbia's August-entry MBA program and received a full merit fellowship for both years and I couldn't be happier!! Prior to using ApplicantLab, I had a couple of calls with traditional admissions consulting firms who told me my chances at a T10 program was slim to nil, that I should aim for T15-20 programs, and that they are reluctant to help me target a T10 school. Needless to say, the dispensed advice was off-the-mark and I decided to use ApplicantLab to take a stab at the admissions process myself.

My biggest takeaway from ApplicantLab is how intuitive it is to use to flesh out your unique story - this was my first time applying to an MBA program but the platform gave me step-by-step guidance on understanding my strengths/weaknesses, school-specific advice that is peppered with funny anecdotes and useful videos created by Maria, and awesome brainstorming tools for essays. The platform also gave me the flexibility to work on the application at my own pace (sometimes I have a stretch of several hours to work on it while other times it may just be 15-20 minutes during a lunch break - regardless, the platform provided the right probing questions and advice to get my ideas flowing!).

Two oft-overlooked sections that I think really gave me the edge: the resume writing and interview prep sections. In the resume section, Maria really outlines the importance of the resume despite the short time an Adcom might spend glancing at it. She also provided an easy-to-use and adaptable template that helps frame how I wanted to tell my story in the context of the overall application. In the interview prep section, there was useful but candid advice on how to approach the common questions (why MBA, why now, why this school, etc) as well as some unique questions through written and video advice. She also has several videos explaining how to really excel in Skype interviews as well as "record yourself" interviews used in the application process by Yale SOM and others. Overall, super thorough and relevant for pretty much any school you may be looking at.

Finally, Maria responds to questions through email which was an added bonus. She is experienced and provides practical and actionable advice to really move you ahead of the applicant pool and is a super approachable and professional individual. I highly recommend ApplicantLab for anyone interested in attending the MBA program of your dreams!!
Joined: Nov 23, 2015
Purchased Course: Aug 12, 2017
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

Helped me achieve my Dream

December 14, 2018
  • Teacher: Maria Wich-Vila
  • Recommended forVerbal: No  Math: No
  • GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A After: N/A

I was not very confident about how would a tool help me write essays or get me into top business schools. I was like "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 was like "Hey, did you really apply to Business schools with this resume?". I was highly embarrassed. Come on, I paid so much for this and now you are laughing at me on this resume?

Trust me: I got 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 a BS.

I worked on my resume again and followed the advice that was provided on the tool. I felt a bit confident that atleast 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 brainstorm you alot by asking you to think alot and answer alot 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 alot many ideas/examples for you to think and has provided right 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 the schools that I came to know I got admitted and that too with unexpectedly high scholarship.

I have added my detailed story here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/stepping-into-my-10-years-long-dream-thank-you-applicantlab-262884.html

Happy learning!
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