Hourly Services Reviews
    Number of reviews [38]      Average Rating:       (4.9/5)
Stacy Blackman

Partner with one of our consultants to work on whatever aspect of your applications you choose.


Great Services, Very Efficient
April 17 | 2015

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       By Anonymous joined: April 17, 2015 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Dawn (SBC)
The hourly services were fantastic. Very concise and helpful advice that significantly helped my candidacy.

And it's catered exclusively to your requests (e.g. resume review, essay review, etc.) I would recommend Dawn Clare and Erika Olson to anyone interested.

I did not feel the need for the comprehensive services because I felt that I could already write well and had a strong understanding of what my "message" would be to the schools. For those who are in the same position and are looking to spend less, I would recommend the hourly service package.

Also - the hours and flexibility of those I worked with were very helpful and impressive.
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HBS Bound Thanks to Paul Kang!
April 17 | 2015

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       By Anonymous joined: July 20, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Paul (SBC)
WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR: I reached out to SBC in November and this point had submitted 2 round 1 applications but wasn’t 100% satisfied with my essays. I was getting ready to submit my last application to HBS round 2 and knew that my essays / application as a whole needed an extra umph! I first thought of hiring a consultant to help me better position myself through the essay. Given that I was further along in the process, I opted for hourly services vs the whole package and had a better idea of how I wanted to use my time.

WHY SBC: Before deciding to work with SBC, I reached out to 4-5 other consulting services to get a better idea of which one was the right fit for me. I spoke directly with the consultants that I would be paired with and this helped me to finally settle on SBC and Paul. I definitely think it is critical that you do your homework beforehand and speak directly with the consultant you are going to be working with so that you and they have a better idea of what you are looking for and how they can help you.

WHY PAUL: My initial free 30 min conversation with Paul went over the allotted time. During this first conversation, Paul already had pointers about how I could better position myself for HBS and areas / strengths that I should focus on. This initial conversation with Paul let me know that (1) he was genuinely interested in helping me through this process and (2) was willing to put in the time and effort to do so. I cannot stress how important it is to find the consultant who is genuinely interested, is going to put in the time to really help you through EVERY step of the process and is able to give you the insights specific to your application. A few of the other consultants I spoke to came across as though they were reading from a script and applied the same "mold" to each person.

HOW PAUL HELPED ME: I had several phone conversations / emails with Paul about my background, work experience, future aspirations, etc. It was through these conversations that Paul helped me to really pinpoint certain strengths / areas that I could develop into a full essay. I wrote several different versions of my final essay and at each step Paul was there to provide me with feedback / steer me into the right direction. I also want to point out that Paul or any other consultant will not write the essay for you – you definitely have to put in 99% of the work.

Paul also helped me prepare for my mock interview – really focusing on the questions that I would be asked and how I should respond – and also reviewed my post reflection essay for HBS. Getting his sign off and help during the latter part of the process was incredibly reassuring and helpful.

WHY PAUL IS GREAT: Paul has an outstanding track record of placing people at top b-schools and is also a GSB alum. Paul’s greatest strength is his understanding of what b-schools are looking for. Through his insight, he was able to help me steer clear of sensitive / mundane essay topics and help to really broaden my perspective of what I wanted to write about. Secondly, Paul is incredibly flexible. During this period, I also used another consultant who was not as flexible and it definitely showed. My other consultant required the standard 2 business day turnaround (with time constraints) and was completely unavailable during certain periods of time. Given that this process is extremely time sensitive and time consuming, it made a world of difference that Paul was willing to hop on the phone / email day of or next day.

RESULTS: I am happy to say that I am HBS bound this fall and could not have done it with Paul’s help (seriously!!!). I know that the $$ is high, but it is 110% worth it! I can only speak on behalf of my own experience with Paul and with hourly services, but highly recommend Paul!!
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April 14 | 2015

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       By Anonymous joined: February 25, 2015 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Bill (SBC)
Hi all,
I was a little skeptical initially about signing up for a consulting service and I tried to do the application process on my own. Later on I realized that the process was taking a lot of time and I was not confident that my application can stand out in the crowd.
I set up a free consultation with Bill Chionis of stacy blackman. After the initial talk , I came to know how I should redraft my resume to highlight my strengths. Then I set up hourly services to go over the essay topics and application process. Bill was very patient, professional and extremely supportive. He guided me to bring the best out of me to the application. My general advice to all future applicants is to go for a consultant. The consultant is very well experienced in this process and he can elevate your essays to the next level and provide you with realistic feedback. I noticed every time I got my essays reviewed that I am able to project myself better.
One more point is when you work all alone, you may not be aware of what others are doing and how much is the competition in terms of ideas and personal strengths. A consultant like Bill can always point out the comparative weakness and strengths in your profile and identify the ways to compensate for your weakness.
A consultant may not be able to land you in harward if you are a dumb ass but he can polish your profile, highlight your strengths, smoother out your dark areas and may unexpectedly bring out previously ignored aspects of your personality into the game. All these will help you to stand out and give you a better chance to your dream schools. I got admitted to all my dream schools and Bill has helped me in all aspects I mentioned above and I will give a five star rating to him and strongly recommend him to any future candidate.
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Hourly Services
April 13 | 2015

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       By Anonymous joined: April 12, 2015 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Jessica Liang
I purchased an hourly consulting package from Stacy Blackman Consulting and worked with Jessica to hone my essay approach after the first round. She was very focused and provided useful feedback that guided my writing without taking control or pushing me in a direction I felt uncomfortable with. She was ultra responsive and also helped me prep for the interview process very well. They offer a great resource for practicing online interviews that is unmatched. I was successful in getting into the school that I worked with Jessica on the application for. I'd highly recommend Stacy Blackman Consulting and Jessica.
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Highly recommend Stacy Blackman
April 09 | 2015

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       By Anonymous joined: April 8, 2015 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Esther (SBC)
After a 16 year career in Finance, I decided to change my career path and pursue my MPH - Masters in Public Health. My top choice school had an acceptance rate of less than 10%, so I decided to get help with the application process. I was also concerned because my GPA from college was less than ideal. A friend suggested Stacy Blackman. He was accepted into a top MBA program with their help.
Stacy Blackman worked very hard to match me with the best consultant based on my interests. I worked with Esther Magna who has her MBA as well as her MPH.
During our initial 30 minute consultation, Esther really focused on learning about my goals, strengths and weaknesses. Throughout the entire application process, she provided invaluable feedback and advice. With Esther's help, I highlighted my past experiences and revamped my resume and personal statement, which were especially important components in my application since I was doing a career change. Esther also prepared me for my interviews, by giving me great interview tips and drafting questions for the admissions committee. Admissions later told me the interview was the key deciding factor in my acceptance.
Esther was patient, professional and quick to reply to any emails. It was also very easy to schedule calls with her, despite the three hour time difference. Working with her made a normally stressful process very easy.
I would highly recommend Stacy Blackman Consulting to anyone applying to a masters program, even if it's not for a MBA.
I was accepted into my top choice school and I couldn't of done it without the help of Esther and Stacy Blackman Consulting.
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I couldn't have done it without Bill
April 01 | 2015

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       By Anonymous joined: February 13, 2015 | 2 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Bill (SBC)
Bill was absolutely amazing. I purchased the hourly service (6 hours in total), and now I wish I worked with him for full service and for a longer time period – and that’s after getting into all the schools to which I applied. I was not the strongest candidate (gmat and gpa wise) but he was able to guide me through these challenges incredibly.

Bill tells you everything straight - which is what you need to hear. If you can't make realistic goals, then you probably shouldn't be applying to b-school. He worked on every data point and focused on what each school looked for in their applicants. This was crucial for the essays / interviews – displaying how you’re unique and how this uniqueness will benefit the school and how the school will help in nourishing your unique abilities.

Bill, to me, was very easy to get along with and also very available to all my questions/concerns. You will have to work hard, but he makes you work hard on the things that matter, so you don’t waste time with dead-ends or items the schools will not care about. I got into every school I applied to (3 U.S. News top 25’s) and definitely could not have done that without his guidance.

I am very glad to have worked with Bill. He was a definite stress reliever and believed in me more than I believed in myself.
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Highest possible recommendation for Andy
March 31 | 2015

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       By Anonymous joined: March 31, 2015 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Andy (SBC)
For round 1, I only applied to HBS and didn't use a consultant. I was well aware of consultants, but felt that I wanted to do the process on my own. I felt that using a consultant would make my application unauthentic. I didn't get in.

For round 2, I decided that I needed the help. I did my research and landed on SBC. I was paired up with Andy and couldn't have been happier with the outcome. I was admitted to Stanford and Wharton.

Andy was incredibly helpful in crafting my story. To my surprise, my application did not lose any authenticity. In fact, I felt like Andy was able to help me better tell my own story and ultimately helped give my application depth and personality. I picked Andy because of his experience in writing and editing, and it paid off. He always gave great edits and feedback in a very timely manner. I really can't say enough positive things about Andy and the help that he gave me. He's a great guy and a great consultant.

Coming from someone who consciously decided not to use a consultant for Round 1, the truth is in the facts. I was dinged on my own with HBS and was 2/2 with Andy's help.
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Wharton-bound, made possible by Andy!
March 30 | 2015

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       By Anonymous joined: August 25, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Andy (SBC)
In October, I decided to apply to business school. I knew I would need to stay focused, organized and motivated in order to meet the R2 deadlines for four schools. I also knew that I was a subpar writer and lacked confidence in marketing myself at the level that top business schools often expect. I discovered SBC and met Andy, who graciously took on the task of helping me with my resume and essays.
 
I really enjoyed working with Andy, because he offers direct and honest feedback. If a topic would not work, he would say so rather than spending time trying to make it work. Additionally, Andy is incredibly responsive over e-mail, even on weekends. He has a 24-hour response goal, but he was always able to turnaround my essays ahead of this goal. Lastly, Andy is VERY patient. There were many times when I really struggled to connect the essay prompt with a good story, but Andy did not give up on me by just telling me what to do. Instead, Andy offered constant guidance as I slowly worked through idea after idea after idea and version after version after version of the same essay. Even as the R2 deadlines were fast approaching, Andy stayed available and supportive to the point where I started an essay three days before the deadline (not recommended) and was still able to get a strong essay together with a day to spare!
 
In the end, results speak for itself, as I will now be attending my dream school - Wharton!
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Highest possible recommendation for Paul
March 26 | 2015

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       By Anonymous joined: February 13, 2015 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Paul (SBC)
I could not recommend Paul more highly.

I consulted with Paul as part of my round 2 application process for GSB, which is the only school I applied to (and which I was admitted to!).

I reached out to SBC because I had heard exceptional things about their service through friends. After doing an initial call with Esther, I did a little diligence, learned of their shockingly high GSB admit rate, and agreed to connect with Paul, a GSB alum who worked with the admissions committee as a student, who is still part of their alumni interview network, and who has advised many students successfully with their GSB applications.

My situation was also unique in that I had done a fair amount of work on my application (written essay drafts, found recommenders, etc.) beforehand over the course of one week of long nights, but was unsatisfied with the results I was seeing. Paul immediately turned it all around for me. He single-handedly pushed me to develop the necessary self-awareness to write compelling GSB essays, helped hone my stories and anecdotes, explained in detail the way that applications are read and reviewed (and what they are looking for), and shared best practices around style, content, and tone that would simply be unknowable except by consulting with someone as knowledgeable as Paul.

Paul was readily accessible for follow-up calls, reads, moments of frustration, and I was always 100% confident that he would make it a priority to get back to me quickly, and with succinct, clear and practical advice that I could act on immediately.

Stylistically, I felt Paul was pretty unique. My brother also used an admission's consultant (10 years ago) before attending HBS, but his consultant was extraordinarily micro-managerial and my brother ended up writing something like 15-20 drafts of each essay over the course of 4 months as a result -- it worked but it was painful. In contrast, Paul's style is very much above the board. He tells you when you're going off track (in a nice way), he helps you hone your strategy and encourages you to make sure your strategy is compelling before putting pen to paper, and he ensures that what your application walks the right balance between representing yourself most effectively and being humble and authentic (not an easy task). He is not focused on editing your vocabulary or grammatical choices, or at least he wasn't with me. I ended up putting together an application that I felt very excited about in just a few weeks and with only a few hours of Paul's help (and many long nights of working on my own, but with clear vision of what I was doing thanks to Paul).

Paul also helped me prepare for my interview on late notice. We did a preliminary 30 minute call, he gave me some high-level guidance and told me to prepare -- I did -- and then two days later we did a 1-hour mock interview. The mock interview went well (thanks to Paul's preliminary tips on how to prepare), my real interview went well (and shared a lot with the mock interview Paul conducted), and it all worked out in the end!

Great guy, great service, very happy with the result, obviously... highly recommend!
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Wonderful Experience!
March 24 | 2015

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       By mjg27 joined: March 24, 2015 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Sherry (SBC)
I used Stacy Blackman Consulting's hourly services after a friend recommended them to me. She used the comprehensive package but I was not able to afford that so started using them after I had a list of schools I was interested in and had started writing the essays. I worked with Sherry, who was incredibly helpful, on overall application strategy (briefly), essay review (45%), and interview prep (45%). She also was able to talk me through what to highlight from my career and extracurriculars, and how to tailor each application to each school specifically. I got the flu a few weeks before the application deadline so was running behind on the essays, but Sherry still managed to fit in editing my many essays. While the comprehensive package would have been valuable, the hourly services were just what I needed and working with Sherry was great!

I was interviewed at 4 out of the 6 schools I applied to (and was really reaching for 4 of the schools I applied to in terms of test scores) and so far have been accepted at 3 of those schools including Fuqua. Thank you Sherry!
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