MAC Approved Admissions Consulting Reviews
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MAC Approved is a trusted advisor to prospective top-tier MBA program candidates  and has helped clients to be admitted into the world’s most elite business schools. Our strength lies in our consultants who are former top-tier MBA program Faculty members, former MBA admissions committee members and all are top-tier MBA program graduates. We allow you the opportunity to speak directly with our top-tier admits.

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Great Services
September 24 | 2014

6 out of 6 people found the following review helpful
       By MrMBA2016 joined: March 28, 2013 | 28 | 8 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Comprehensive Admissions Package (CAP)   Consultant:  Denise Handa
Having a sub-average GPA and GMAT score, I was very skeptical about getting into my top dream schools. Denise helped me focus on the strengths and positive aspects of my candidacy. Without her sincere assistance, I could never make it Duke with scholarship. Not only that, I got admitted to Tepper and Georgetown, and invited to interview by Ross.

She was always available to help and talk over phone. Due to the time difference, she consistently had to get on phone at oddly times. At a certain point in time, I realized that we are working on 12th version of an essay. She was still patient and supportive, while giving her sincere feedback. Without her, this process would definitely not be as fruitful as it was. Duke was a dream school for me to get into, minding my GPA and GMAT, but dream became true after Denise guided my focus on positive points of my application, the ones I was not aware of if she were not there.

After all, I would like to appreciate all her efforts and recommend her to all MBA applicants.
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1 Commented by phoenixfeathers on July 26, 2015
Hi. Your review is very encouraging. I'm in the process to select an admissions consultant. I have had a bad experience in the past, hence I want to ensure that this time I don't repeat the mistake. I would like to ask you a few questions about your experience, which I believe will help me make a rational decision. Can I please have your email address? Thank you.
2 Commented by MAC on July 28, 2015   Edited on July 28, 2015
Hi phoenixfeathers, Thank you for all of your postings, however, it is probably best protocol to contact MAC Approved directly and speak with our consultants. We offer a free evaluation at no cost to you. We understand that you had a bad experience with another consulting firm. However, I am sure MAC Approved can help you tremendously as we successfully placed many candidates. Best Regards.
3 Commented by RaviR on August 25, 2015
It was the best investment I made in my future. Yes I am happy to share my experience with MAC and Denise. You can send me a PM and I will share my email address. - Ravi
 
Very Happy in the End
August 27 | 2014

4 out of 4 people found the following review helpful
reviewer identity verified by membership
       By Anonymous joined: September 18, 2011 | 28 | 8 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Comprehensive Admissions Package (CAP)   Consultant:  Denise Handa
I worked with Denise, from MAC Approved, during my application process.

While conducting my due diligence on various consulting firms, I was initially disappointed. My first experience was with a representative from another firm. I felt that the call was rushed and that the rep did not truly review my profile before making a judgement on my application's potential success and failure. The representative discouraged me from applying to my top choice and instead attempted to encourage me to make my backup option my top choice. Moreover, the rep suggested a few other alternatives that were much lower ranked and not options I ever considered or would have desired attending. I left this interaction feeling discouraged and began to question my own application success.

I decided to continue looking at other firms, and soon after met Denise and could not have been happier. Denise spent the time reviewing my profile as a whole and spent a significant amount of time discussing my options. Ultimately she encouraged me to apply not only to my initial choices of NYU Stern and Georgetown, but to consider applying to Booth and Kellogg. I was accepted at all the schools in which I applied. Moreover, I was very happy with Denise as a guide through such a stressful process. Denise took the time to really connect with me as an applicant and review every part of my profile. We worked together to brainstorm on ideas and highlight those strengths identified to put my "best foot forward."

For anyone looking to hire an application consultant, I would strongly suggest taking a look at MAC Approved and to work with Denise.
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An unquestionably valuable investment
April 08 | 2015

4 out of 4 people found the following review helpful
       By Anonymous joined: October 12, 2013 | 0 | 5 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Comprehensive Admissions Package (CAP)   Consultant:  Denise Handa
Considering that I started out early in the admissions game, I had time to do a fair bit of research and spoke to several consultants before I chose Denise and MAC Approved. What impressed me most during the initial call was Denise's optimism with regards to my chances at the schools of my choice, and how she had started thinking about strategy even as we were just beginning to talk. This was in sharp contrast to my experiences with some of the other consultants who seemed bent on inducing fear, giving out sort of a you-need-me-to-succeed message. I strongly feel that this positive attitude of hers rubbed off on my applications too.

I also had my qualms about MAC's pricing (lower than most other firms) and whether the quality of consulting would be reflective of it. After having gone through the complete experience now, I can confidently say that these qualms were unnecessary. Denise was available almost 24x7 (we worked through Christmas break) and was very responsive to emails and calls all throughout. She pays amazing attention to detail and insists on partnering with the applicant on even the smallest aspects of the application. While I started out thinking that this was silly, it didn't take me long to realize the value in doing it.

Overall, I believe this is one investment I can never put a price on. My interview went amazingly well, and I was accepted into UCLA Anderson as a result. I highly recommend Denise & MAC Approved and feel that their services were completely worth the time, money and effort.
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Comprehensive
August 11 | 2014

2 out of 3 people found the following review helpful
       By charlieharold1 joined: February 27, 2014 | 2 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Comprehensive Admissions Package (CAP)  
Last year I didn’t know much about consulting firms until I spoke with a friend who used MAC for her business school applications. I really had doubts about how a company could make a candidate like myself to stand out from the usual b-school applicant. My industry (finance) has many individuals who apply to b-school and similar to me, most want to go into investment banking post-MBA.

I was really apprehensive but listened to my friend and spoke with another prominent admissions consulting company. The consultant strongly recommended that I look at “stretch schools” since my choice of schools (Kellogg, Darden, UCLA, Stern and Georgetown) were not realistic. She said that my 690 GMAT score didn’t stand a chance. I became really disheartened as I didn’t understand the philosophy of “stretch schools” and just decided to pass all together. My friend who used MAC said to get a second opinion and then make a decision. After 2 months of procastinating, I finally reached out to my friend’s consultant for a free evaluation.

I spoke with her MAC consultant who had been an admissions consultant for 8 years for only top-tier programs. I was pleasantly surprised as he told me that MAC doesn’t believe in “stretch schools” and their philosophy is to push the candidate to do achieve only the best. I was even more thrown back as he recommended HBS, Berkeley, Wharton, Booth and Columbia, which was really a 180 from the first company. I ended the discussion and said I would get back to MAC.

I gave it a week and decided to work with my MAC consultant on 5 applications. I applied to HBS, Berkeley, Wharton, Booth and Columbia as he recommended with a 690 GMAT score. After about 86 drafts and several months of investing my time, I started to hear back with interviews. I did really well in all of the interviews except for HBS initially. I was put on the waitlist after my interview and was then accepted. At that point, it was too late as I had already put down my deposit at Wharton and could not withdraw. I was accepted to all 5. I think schools share this information but not sure so I decided not to. I feel that it was a REALLY long process overall but I am happy to say that it paid off. I really thank Sue, Tom, Deepak and others at MAC who helped me see differently.
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MAC Approved - The Top Admissions Consultancy
November 12 | 2014

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
       By Anonymous joined: November 12, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Comprehensive Admissions Package (CAP)   Consultant:  Denise Handa
Simply put, Denise was a vital and necessary part of my MBA admissions process. I felt that I was a strong candidate for the top business schools given my GMAT scores and work experience, but realized my GPA, college activities, and outside work involvement could hinder my application. I decided to use a consultant to maximize my chances of an outstanding application.

I talked to over 10 admission firms before deciding on Denise. On the very first phone call before I was a client, Denise provided more honest and thoughtful feedback than any of the other firms, and it was clear she was the best choice by a wide margin. Once I hired Denise, Denise was heavily involved in all parts of my application. She helped to direct which aspects of my candidacy to highlight in essays vs. the resume vs. the short answer questions. She played a significant role in the brainstorming and selection of essay topics that were differentiated and highlighted unique parts of my candidacy that I would have never thought to write about. We worked closely together to structure, refine, and finalize all essays, short answers, optional materials, and resume bullets over dozens of iterations. When it came time for interviews, we practiced live at least 4 times for each school given the nuances of each school's interview questions.

I applied to Booth, Kellogg, HBS, and Wharton and was successful at each in large part to Denise's help. I would not have even come close to this outcome without her help. Not only am I attending Booth, I am one of the very few who can say they turned down a scholarship at a top 5 MBA school. Many of Denise's clients receive scholarships through the strength of their application - an incredible ROI that most do not factor in when choosing and paying for a consultant.

If you are applying to the top business schools and want to maximize your chances in this very difficult process, you must reach out to Denise and set up an introductory phone call. She will help you far more than any high GMAT score, any high GPA, any terrific work or leadership experience, etc. could possibly help.
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Huge success with Denise from MAC Approved
November 19 | 2014

2 out of 3 people found the following review helpful
       By pmarler joined: November 17, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Comprehensive Admissions Package (CAP)  
Denise was an absolutely critical part of my being accepted to the Stanford GSB. I don't believe I would have been accepted without her help and guidance.

I had spoken to several consultants before Denise, but it was clear immediately that she was the right fit for me. She had a rare combination of AdCom background, consulting, creativity, and experience that not many other consultants had.

I told Denise that Stanford was my top choice and she immediately started putting together a plan that would highlight my strengths as they related to the school. I was a strong candidate (good school, GPA, GMAT) but Stanford is so selective that it's really difficult to know what they're looking for. Denise did not disappoint. She worked tirelessly to overhaul my resume and my essays and was always available to discuss strategy. I'm sure late night phone calls with crazed b-school applicants aren't easy, but she was always available and always went the extra mile.

In the end I got into the most selective b-school in the world thanks to Denise. You won't regret working with her.
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I Highly Recommend Denise and MAC Approved!
March 05 | 2015

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
       By Anonymous joined: October 17, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  N/A
This review is for:  Comprehensive Admissions Package (CAP)   Consultant:  Denise Handa
After finally receiving a GMAT score that I was happy with, I began to look for an MBA consultant because I was told by a friend at HBS who used one that it was totally worth it. Like everything in life, I was very thorough when searching for an MBA consultant. I ended up speaking with five well-regarded consulting companies.

My former colleague, who got into a top 3 school in the prior year, put me in touch with his former consultant, Denise from MAC Approved. He had nothing but good things to say about her and I quickly realized why. On my four prior consultative calls, the consultants rushed me off the phone. On my call with Denise, she patiently and professionally answered every one of my many questions. I was also impressed with Denise's direct top tier AdCom experience and the fact that she had 10+ years of helping 99% of her clients get into their top choices. Given all of this, I knew Denise was the right consultant for me.

Denise has been amazing and energetic throughout the very painful and drawn out MBA applications process. I decided to apply to four schools in the northeast: HBS, Wharton, Columbia, and Stern. When Denise and I started, I had two months until R2 deadlines, which I now realize was not a lot of time. To help me hit my aggressive schedule, Denise pulled together a project plan that allowed me to keep track of my workload. We methodically tackled my essays and told my story effectively with the help of a Program Expert. Over many brainstorming sessions, Denise consistently and genuinely strived to pull things out from my background that I had not thought about. She encouraged me to reflect deeply on my life, bringing out learnings from my personal and professional experiences, and allowing me to complete rich essays. The entire time, Denise remained excited about my applications, treating them as if they were her own.

While I was unsure how my profile would stand up against other profiles, I got interviews at ALL of the schools that I applied to! Denise was very helpful during interview prep as well. She knew exactly how the interview sessions would differ between each school and she held a minimum of three mock sessions per school so that I would feel prepared. I appreciated her “partnership” approach throughout this process.

All in all, Denise has become a great mentor. She is always available by phone or email to help me think through important decisions, passing her wisdom on to me in a non-judgmental and helpful way. I sincerely recommend Denise and MAC Approved to anyone who wants to get into a top MBA program.
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Review for Denise Handa
November 24 | 2014

1 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
       By jlin14 joined: November 11, 2014 | 1 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Comprehensive Admissions Package (CAP)  
I worked with Denise after having introductory calls with four consultants. I selected her based on her experience and overall enthusiasm, and it legitimately felt like she cared about my story and helping my career. I was not disappointed at all - I applied to Columbia early decision and was accepted in less than four weeks of my application submission (incl interview time).

The process is likely similar for all consultants - resume, essays, application package, additional communications to the school, and interview prep. However what set Denise apart was the incredible energy, attention to detail, and perspective of admissions officers that she brings. We easily went through 6-7 turns of the resume where Denise pressed me to dig up fine details of my past that I had long forgotten. I had to write 5 essays as a re-applicant and we went through at least 3 turns on each one. She has the experience and wherewithal to take her knowledge of my story, and immediately outline what the topics of the five essays should be to paint a coherent and consistent message that conveyed my personal passions and career aspirations. So while all the content and writing came from my own experience and passions, she was an absolutely savvy curator of these anecdotes and passions and helped formulate it into words on paper in ways that best appealed to an outside admissions officer. She was extremely detail oriented, and spent significant time redlining grammar and sentence structure matters - though our writing styles were quite different and I would override her revs at times just to ensure it was my own voice.

When interviews came around, we had three calls, each up to 2 hours long, to review every possible permutation of each typical interview question. It was incredibly rigorous and probably 10x more than really necessary; but I walked into that interview with total confidence and not at all nervous - after all, that is the point of good preparation.

Overall Denise's greatest strength is her caring. After having so many calls, we genuinely clicked in our chats, and talked about many topics outside of just the MBA applications - things from general career mentorship, fun interests, her career, stories of her dropping into law classes as an MBA student and so forth. I honestly think that her greatest asset is that she has such a bubbly and infectious personality, it brought out the best and most positive in myself. And while that seems rather soft and intangible, it had a concrete impact when I sat down to write the essays. Finally, working with Denise was truly fun and enjoyable. Writing application essays is an absolute chore - no getting around that. But having someone to help whose fun, whose fully engaged and cares, who will catch your mistakes, and keep you on schedule, made it a very smooth and successful process. Denise was ultimately one of the rare people I've worked with that not only had a great pitch at the very start, but in fact exceeded on every aspect of her mandate, and followed through to the very end.
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Tailor-made, extensive and just perfect!
April 29 | 2015

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
       By MktgMBA joined: April 29, 2015 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Some, but not all
This review is for:  Comprehensive Admissions Package (CAP)   Consultant:  Denise Handa
Having secured a GMAT score that I believed fairly represented by analytical and verbal skills, I was now prepared to concentrate on the remaining process and requisites of a B school application. It was only at this point of time that I realized role of an admissions consultant. Initially I was under the impression that I could put together a smashing application and bring out the best that my profile had to offer. After a couple of attempts and time quickly running by, I still couldn’t put together an application I was completely happy with as it lacked finesse. On further researching and speaking with colleagues I knew that in order to put forth my best and get into my top choice of schools, I could leave no stone unturned, especially since I belonged to the most competitive Indian applicant pool, and thus using a consultant would only further strengthen my case. Now with the decision made, it was time for me to choose which an agency from the numerous ones out there.
I decided the best way for me to compare the offerings was to setup the free evaluation call with as many agencies as possible, and I am glad I did. Almost all the consultants I spoke to during my evaluation seemed to be in a hurry to finish the call and their insights were very generic and not tailored to my CV that they ask to submit before setting up the free evaluation call. I acknowledged their professionalism about not extending time at all, but I sensed if I were to work with any of these firms, I would need someone who would connect with me not just at a professional level but personal too, someone who wouldn’t rush through just to get things over with but allow enough time to hear me out and be as excited as I am during the entire process. With these thoughts in my head and ruling out all the firms until that point, I came across MAC Approved. Having gone through quite some of these evaluation calls, I wasn’t expecting MAC Approved to vastly different. But after speaking with Denise (MAC Approved consultant), I was pleasantly surprised. Trust me; I am not exaggerating when I say this evaluation call lasted 4-5 times longer than any of the other ones so far. Denise was patient and well informed about my profile. She was very accommodating in answering all my questions even though technically we hadn’t began working together. With a clear picture of how MAC Approved would help me and especially glad after speaking to Denise, I knew she was best fit for me. To be concise, Denise doesn’t want your business as much as she wants to help you make it through your top school choices, quite contrary to what I felt with the other consultancies.
Now that I am finally through the roller coaster ride of applications and admitted to a top school, here are a few glimpses of what it is like to be working with Denise. Denise will not tell you what schools you should apply to, in fact she is totally against the idea of “Safe reach and dream” schools concept. After speaking to her, I saw the point. One should apply to schools that one is interested in and not because some consultant tells you that your chances at school A are better than school B. Denise would help me submit the best application regardless of the school in question and at the end we definitely did. Apart from Denise’s passion what struck me most is her willingness to help and her creative thinking. From connecting dots to weave a strong essay to being always accessible on mail or Skype, I sometimes felt her enthusiasm diminish mine; hence further motivating me to give my best. There were many instances where Denise stepped outside her professional boundaries to accommodate my requests, which goes to show her commitment to the candidate.
Denise interview preparation is truly efficient and deserves a special mention. I was able to schedule as many mocks as I wished counting back from the actual interview, to ensure I was more than prepared. Denise helped frame responses and the mocks ensured that these responses became my second nature, enabling me to not only have a calm composure during the actual interviews but also have impactful and well-formed responses. There are a plethora of questions Denise prepares you for, so be assured that there won’t be anything that you wouldn’t be prepared for. So when I finally interviewed with Fuqua, Tuck, Kenan-Flagler and ISB, I was doubly prepared and felt confident.
To summarize, Denise has contributed to my success not just as an admissions consultant, but also emerged as a guide, mentor and a friend, with whom I will definitely be in touch in the future too. With this I would recommend MAC Approved and Denise to anyone who wants a personal approach to admissions consulting.
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Got into All
July 06 | 2015

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
       By mmcarthy99 joined: July 6, 2015 | 1 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  
This review is for:  Comprehensive Admissions Package (CAP)   Consultant:  Denise Handa
I am not really the ideal candidate when it comes to applying to b-school. I hold a low GPA from undergrad (2.0 - 3.0) and a low GPA from graduate school (2.0 - 3.0). The only plus was my GMAT score of 700+ that I hoped initially would help me in my applications.

When I started working with Denise, she made me aware of several factors that were in my favor despite my low GPAs. Things that one would never consider but I think with her admissions background, these things helped me significantly. Even though there are many admissions consulting companies which I spoke to, I found that there are not many that have been on the other side of the admissions table. ZDenise brought this expertise to my applications even though I was skeptical at first about applying to top tier programs.

After submitting several applications to Cornell, Wharton, Booth, Columbia and Fuqua with Denise's help. I was pleasantly surprised that I was accepted to all of my choices. But what I did not realize (without Denise's help), I would actually get scholarship money. All of the schools came back with a significant amount (but I'm still looking to see if I can get more).

I am really pleased at the end with the outcome and would recommend their services.
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