ApplicantLab Admissions Consulting Reviews

Admissions is a tough game; we teach you how to win it. ApplicantLab is an on-demand series of interactive exercises that walk you through everything you need to craft a winning application. Created by an HBS grad with almost 15 years of experience, ApplicantLab takes admissions consultants’ tools and puts them in your hands. Learn more.
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ApplicantLab Admissions Consulting Reviews

ApplicantLab On-Demand Admissions Guidance Tool
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Maria Wich-Vila
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Carin Nelson
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210 Reviews
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May 06, 2024

Joined: Aug 20, 2023

Posts: 15

Kudos: 15

Multiple Admits + Multiple Full Scholarships, Beyond my wildest dreams!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

After writing the GRE, I thought I the most difficult part of the MBA Application process was over. However, upon starting the application process, I realized how lost I was, and how unprepared I was.

Luckily, discovering ApplicantLab early helped set me up on the right path. I love how it breaks the application process into bite-sized chunks, from research, to brainstorming, to the initial draft, to the final checks. ApplicantLab even provides details on how to contact students, and how to best use school websites to dig up interesting details. But perhaps what it does best is allow you to tell your best stories. Only after using ApplicantLab was I able to transform my essays from vapid word salads to deeply personal, unique, and powerful essays that showed why I wanted to get an MBA, and how I would use it to impart change in the world.

Even as an international student who is an overrepresented minority, I was able to obtain admission to a lower-ranked T-15 with a 120k scholarship and two T-20s with full scholarships. Quite frankly, due to my demographics, I had expected to not receive any money, and I am sure that my wonderful essays were instrumental in that.

All in all, Maria and her team at ApplicantLab have created a truly useful resource that can help you get into the school of your dreams!

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April 25, 2024

Joined: Feb 27, 2023

Posts: 1

Kudos: 8

Self-reported Score:
730 Q49 V41
740 Q49 V41

7 applications; 6 interview invites; 6 admits; $300K+ scholarships!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I'm an international student and the MBA application process initially was a bit daunting, and seeing the admission consultant prices spooked me even more. I looked for alternate options and came across ApplicantLab. I was initially sceptical as I was scared this would not have personalized information, but after reading client testimonials, I decided to take the chance and boy, did it pay out!!!

I applied to 7 schools in total - Stanford, Kellogg, Booth, Yale, Fuqua, Darden and Stern - and got interview invites from all of them except Stanford. All the interview invites converted and I received $300K+ in scholarships!

The Lab helped me across the process - some specific examples below:
•⁠ ⁠I loved how the Lab split the entire process into different modules and summarized it all into to-do lists. From initial identification of profile strengths & weaknesses, building career vision and brainstorming stories to writing the essays, LORs and resumes, the advice given is super helpful and gives the best structure to the whole process.

•⁠ ⁠The interview prep module is also amazing with school-specific advice and detailed videos for even the 1-minute video interviews that you would have to do for some schools

•⁠ ⁠The BEST thing about this is the team - my initial misconception that you might not have personalised advice was broken during the first review I had with Austin. She helped me perfect my initial story and gave me ideas on what I could do better and how I can show my story in the best way possible. I had my interview prep and school review with Ken and he gave me some great pointers on how I can make my essays better and how I can tell my stories better in my interviews. And Maria is always super responsive and gets back within a few hours, always positive and encouraging!

I would highly recommend the tool as you go through your application process, as an individual tool or complementary to other services that you are availing. The tool and the team behind it will have your back :)

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April 24, 2024

Joined: Jan 17, 2022

Posts: 37

Kudos: 33

Verified GMAT Focus score:
645 Q84 V84 DI77 (Online)

Applicant Lab - One stop shop to realizing your MBA dreams!!


After checking out a few reviews, I tried ApplicantLab and it was the best decision. After multiple GMAT attempts and being stuck at a lower than average score for my target schools and coming from an ORM, I wanted to strengthen the other aspects of my application and ApplicantLab did exactly that!!

Applicant Lab portal provides all the resources we need and allows us to create our own narrative using those resources!! It allowed me to keep my originality intact whilst adhering to what schools are looking for.

Apart from the 1-year Lab subscription, I also took a Sanity Check since I wanted expert advice on whether my essays are conveying what I intend to convey. Carin did my sanity checks and I cannot recommend her enough!! She has been absolutely clear in her communication and critical when she needed to be. I felt that Carin wanted me to succeed and the kind of criticism she gave was absolutely needed for me to present my best self in front of the admissions teams across business schools.

Speaking about Applicant Lab, Maria has done a great job in distilling all the advice in bite-sized pieces that don’t overwhelm you. My advice would be to sign up well in advance so that you can follow through with all the advice at the intended pace. But you can also jump through modules as I did.

Out of the 4 schools I applied to (2 M7 and 2 T15), I got interview calls from 2 schools (1 M7 and 1 T15) and then got waitlisted at both schools. I reached out to Maria for advice at that time and several other times in my application journey. Maria always responds back quickly with all the necessary info and a ton of positive attitude. She has a great sense of humor which comes through in her messages also. I got off the waitlist at both the schools and will be headed to what has been my dream school all along, Chicago Booth!!

To conclude, Applicant Lab is a DIY tool with all kinds of resources at your disposal. Those resources are more than sufficient for the application, trust me!! (Resources for Resume/Essays/Video essays/Recommendation letters/Scholarships/Waitlist etc). But it is upto us to make the best use of it.

Thank you Applicant Lab!! Thank you Maria and Carin!!

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April 04, 2024

Joined: Apr 04, 2024

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

As an international applicant, the MBA application process felt daunting and confusing to me. I initially engaged a consultant (hourly services), but when a friend from Stanford told me about ApplicantLab later on, I signed up immediately.

I used ApplicantLab’s processes and was admitted to Stanford (my dream school), Berekely, Wharton and MIT, and also received $50k+ in fellowship awards.

Here’s how ApplicantLab helped me:
• Modularized the ENTIRE MBA application process into bite-sized chunks from start to finish. Every single piece of information is essentially codified into digestible blocks e.g. setting your strategy, why MBA, brainstorming essays, recommendations, short-answer questions, interviews etc. The Lab also has a to-do list for you to keep track for your application process, which helped me stay organized
• Packed with Information. Each module is jam-packed with so much valuable information, either through text or videos. If you’re in a hurry, there are TLDR sections where you read the important points and move on, saving you precious time
• School-specific advice. This is GOLD. ApplicantLab provided really specific advice for each school, including the schools’ brand, traits they’re looking for (e.g. leadership/innovation) and essay advice. This helped me to craft my essay to fit the school’s profile
• Brainstorming exercises. Introspection and self-reflection do not come naturally to me, so the brainstorming prompts and questions from ApplicantLab helped me to think of my personal story and weave it into my application so that my authenticity can be felt
• Customized help. I signed up for ApplicantLab’s value-added services and worked with Luqzan for my essays. I am forever grateful to Luqzan for pushing me on my essays to dig deeper and refine my stories to answer the question (especially for Stanford and Harvard essays!). The process is also extremely convenient, and because the feedback was given in a video format, I could replay the video multiple times over to internalize the feedback

Overall, ApplicantLab gives you way more bang for your buck – I was paying more per hour for a consultant than what I paid ApplicantLab. You really do get a wealth of information and customized support from the team. Also, I love the story and mission of ApplicantLab – I believe access to information should be democratized to level the playing field, so thank you Maria and team for creating ApplicantLab!

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February 14, 2024

Joined: Feb 28, 2023

Posts: 10

Kudos: 1

Verified GMAT Classic score:
720 Q49 V39

Trying out ApplicantLab was the best chance that I took. I had just sat my first GMAT and was looking for guidance on how to tackle the whole application process. Coming from India, all those highly rated consultants who I felt would be the best for me, were priced completely out of my reach. To add to the cost was the fact that these consultants work in packages of 3 or 5 or more schools. This felt like a limiting factor. What if I wanted to apply to more schools? What if I changed my mind and wanted to apply to some other school than what we would decide initially? Do not misunderstand me. I come from a non-traditional background, and at that time, I also felt that I would be best served in a 1-1 model working with a consultant. But I also felt like that would hamper my originality.

In my research phase, I spoke with a lot of students and someone fleetingly mentioned Applicant Lab. It was after this that I tried the trial version and I was hooked! Applicant Lab felt like the perfect blend of the guidance I needed while keeping my originality intact and being able to tell my story in my way.

Another big factor was I wanted to be sure of the person I would be working with. I saw many of Maria’s videos on YouTube, and what struck me was how genuine she seemed, a good person, someone trustworthy, and I liked her sense of humor too!

Apart from the 1-year Lab subscription, I also took a Sanity Check since I was in a huge mess regarding my story. I am not exaggerating, Maria hand-held me throughout the process, helping me narrow down my choices and making me realize the holes in my initial story. I cannot thank her enough. There are almost 50 emails back and forth between Maria and me, and not once did I feel unwelcome. Maria will be your cheerleader in your journey.

Speaking about Applicant Lab, Maria has done a great job in distilling all the advice in bite-sized pieces that don’t overwhelm you. My advice would be to sign up well in advance so that you can follow through with all the advice at the intended pace. But you can also jump through modules as I did.

Coming from a non-traditional background, I was struggling with my resume. The way Maria has set up the Resume module - getting into the nitty-gritty is so good! The school-specific advice was a goldmine for me. I cannot speak highly enough of the value of this module especially.
Applicant Lab has some advice for every facet a candidate might need help with. Right from helping guide how to reach out to students and looking for potential companies to target, to giving tips on trying to re-negotiate scholarships, Applicant Lab has it all.

Another aspect of Applicant Lab that I liked is that it does not have any ‘sample’ essays or guides. There are excerpts only where Maria would just give you a flavor of the essence of how to go about telling your story, and that’s all. You have to think for yourself. And that’s the best part! You sharing your thoughts in your own words.

After I got my interview calls, I was worried about how to go about preparing for them. But Maria has covered interviewing ‘in detail’ within Applicant Lab. Just to give you an example, she even tells you how to position your camera and where to look, and a very funny, but extremely handy trick to use in training yourself to look at the camera when speaking!

I applied to 6 schools in R1 and interviewed at 5 of them. I got significant scholarships at 4 schools, and none of this would have been possible without Maria and Applicant Lab.

While concluding, I would like to point out that Applicant Lab is like a DIY admissions consultant. What I mean is, there will be no one pushing you and prodding you to get up and make the effort. You will need to be able to hold yourself accountable. And if you are someone like that, there is no better tool for you out there than Applicant Lab. This will be the best $300 you will spend.

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January 21, 2024

Joined: Nov 27, 2022

Posts: 1

Kudos: 0

Verified GMAT Classic score:
710 Q49 V38

All You Need for your MBA Application with the Lowest Cost


To give an overview of my profile and application journey, I applied to 3 M7, 2 T15, and 1 T20 schools. I have below average GMAT and GPA for all of them except 1 T20 school. I knew that I had to craft excellent applications and show the schools that I deeply researched them to stand a chance. And I did that with amazing resources at ApplicantLab. I went 5/6 on interviews and was accepted to Stern and UNC Kenan-Flagler ($$$$). At the start, ApplicantLab does a great job of establishing the right foundation(crafting your vision, why MBA, leadership stories, and resume) – I highly recommend the add-on service Sanity-Check-, which you build upon in later stages(essays and interviews) of your application. After that, Essay Advice and Interview Prep modules give you all you need to know to write killer essays and put your best foot forward during interviews.  Maria and her team are super responsive and they really care about the applicant’s success. I used all of their add-on services (sanity check, resume and essay review/polishing, interview prep), which I benefited a lot. In one instance, when I was running out of time to have an essay polishing service for one school before the deadline, Maria advised me to not take the risk and proceed without a polishing service, even though the advice was not in their best interest monetarily. I think this applicant-centric viewpoint and exceptionally detailed information make them the best consulting service out there.  To anyone interested in add-on services, I worked with Luqzan for my sanity check, essay/resume reviews, and interview prep. His help and the care he took were incredible throughout my application process. Wishing everyone the best of luck!

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January 04, 2024

Joined: Sep 09, 2021

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified GMAT Classic score:
750 Q49 V44

5 apps >> 4 interviews >> 3 admissions !


I would say the comprehensiveness and affordability of this platform are its two golden features!
I had chosen the following top 5 schools to apply to, HBS, GSB, MIT, CBS, and Booth. For these schools, at least, the material that Maria covers in the lab is very comprehensive. I also check it a few more schools like Wharton and Oxford and the contents seemed equally thorough.
TBH, I did not go through the modules step by step, but I meticulously studied all the advice and material provided. I believe between ApplicantLab and the publicly available info online, 85% of the applicants have all they'll ever need to apply. Trust me on this! I am not coming from a typical "feeder" background, nonetheless I could find the guidance I needed in the lab.

The price difference between the lab and the typical admissions consultant made me highly skeptical in the beginning. When I saw Maria's videos on YouTube before signing up, I did not sense greed or deception. Hence, I trusted my judgment and here I am with three admissions from GSB, CBS, and Booth!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
December 22, 2023

Joined: Jun 11, 2023

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified GMAT Classic score:
720 Q49 V40

ApplicantLab- an investment that you'll never regret


ApplicantLab has lots of advantages. The school specific essay advice was something that stood out for me. I felt it was regularly updated and gives you proper guidance on how to shape your essays. ApplicantLab does not have support for certain schools and in those cases you can send an email using the prompt on the portal itself. Carin/Maria promptly reply to all the emails within a day and I always heard back from them when I was confused. I literally asked questions like "I have idea 1 vs idea 2" which would stand out better so it was nowhere like no consultant

After you are done with your essays there is an option to get their consultant to review it.

The guys who review your essays are alumni of top business schools and they really know what they are doing. To top that of, if you need a re-review of the essay for the same school you will get it at half the price. I remember getting my essays to these schools 4 times until I hit the right story.
I credit my admission to Foster, Scheller, McCombs(each with fee waivers of 70% at least) totally to ApplicantLab.
Thank you very much! Quality topped with affordability makes you a gem!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
December 20, 2023

Joined: Oct 08, 2022

Posts: 91

Kudos: 45

Verified GMAT Classic score:
770 Q49 V47 (Online)

No brainer - save thousands of $$


An excellent and well thought out product that contains all that you could possibly need from admissions consulting.

- Guided process to help develop your MBA story
- In-depth information about what schools are looking for
- Guides for every question you could find on an application
- Detailed interview guides
- Resume advice
- And best of all, super fast answers to any questions that you email Maria about.

I literally do not understand why you would pay a small fortune to admissions consultant when you can find everything with ApplicantLab. In fact, even if you have a consultant, spending the $300 or so makes sense to me in order to get access to all this material, guides, and online application tracking system.

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December 19, 2023

Joined: Dec 19, 2023

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Highest ROI of Your Life

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

If you apply to business school without using ApplicantLab, I think you're doing yourself a disservice. I didn't have any friends or coworkers applying to business school this year, and using just ApplicantLab and the add-on services, I got into Kellogg with a half tuition scholarship.

Here's the thing: no matter how uncommon your background, adcom is going to be looking for similar things (i.e. that you've demonstrated leadership, that you can get a job after graduation, that an MBA will fit your needs). It makes NO SENSE to pay thousands of dollars to reinvent the wheel with a traditional admissions consultant. The ApplicantLab modules do a really good job of breaking down the components of a successful MBA application, it just takes time, introspective, and initiative to apply the information to your own circumstances (and if you're applying to business school, you've presumably got ample reserves of time, introspection, and initiative).

Christians have the Bible. Celtics fans have the 2008 championship. Every major group has something they pay a religious devotion to. For MBA applicants, that's ApplicantLab's school-specific advice. This is going to be your Rosetta Stone while writing your essays. 2 major value props: it helps you decipher what the school is REALLY asking in the question (believe you me, it's usually far from obvious), and it helps you understand the culture and priorities of each school so you can subtly weave those breadcrumbs in your essays. To me, this is the biggest value of ApplicantLab compared to a traditional admissions consultant. Sure, a traditional consultant could walk you through the high-level components of a business school application and get you equally as prepared for that portion as ApplicantLab (at 10x the price). But I'm very skeptical that the random consultant you get from some agency is going to have in-depth, program-specific knowledge of each of the 5+ programs you're applying for. If you're serious about getting into your dream program, it's a no-brainer.

Finally, the add-on services. Big fan of these as well. I think it's very helpful to get a second set of eyes on your materials by someone who has experience with the application process. I'm not sure how traditional consultants do it, but ApplicantLab's process for reviewing essays is completely asynchronous (they record a video explaining how you can improve your essays/resume/etc). I like this for two reasons: it mimics the way adcoms review your essays (you don't get to explain to them why you chose to put that sentence there) and you can review the video as many times as you need. Really solid service, and offered way, way cheaper than a traditional consultant.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
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