|All Reviews > ApplicantLab Reviews|
Joined: Jan 02, 2017
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: Nov 04, 2018
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It was end of January and I had just taken my GMAT and not even looked at any of the essay prompts for the applications. I had a of couple things to address in my application: Low GPA, Below 700 GMAT, and a career path that did not really seem to add up (Undergrad Major Health Science, Post-College WE: US Navy, and Post-MBA Career Path: short term – Consulting Long term – Sports Industry). On top of all of that, did I forget to mention, my first application was due in ONLY 5 weeks!! I did not even know where to start or how to tell my story.
I didn’t use Applicant Lab in a linear manner (you can use it in whichever sequence/parts you prefer, that’s the beauty of it!). It was difficult for me to connect the dots for my career vision in the beginning, so I decided to skip that part and come back to it later. I drafted my resume and wrote the essays first. How Maria, breaks down each essay prompt for every single MBA program out there (I cannot THANK YOU enough for that!) into smaller questions that are easy to answer and create the structure and flow of some of the best essays I have ever typed. Talking about different past experiences in my essays really helped me self-reflect and connect the dots in my career vision/story.
Having ApplicantLab instead of a consultant, allowed me to reread and re-watch her advice over and over again something an actual consultant would have not allowed at random times of the night. Also, instead of having a consultant to call and rely on to answer my questions about a specific school and possibly edit my essays, it really forced me to connect to students at every single school I applied and get answers and tips from them (someone who had recently made the transition to where I wanted to be next year/in a couple of months). Few of them even went above and beyond my expectations and were generous enough to give me mock interviews. Trust me, I was nervous at first and did not know how to properly reach out to current students either. But, Maria does such a great job giving practical advice that is easy to implement and use to network with current students who end up becoming your allies and rooting for you in this admissions process.
The entire admissions process and ApplicantLab were a great learning experience to prepare me for business school. To be able to use the resources I have available, network with others, and deliver a final product that meets the needs of both parties (the business school and myself). I would have not been able to get that same learning experience and growth if I would have used an admissions consultant, instead of ApplicantLab. I literally talk about this product to every current or prospective MBA student I meet and highly recommend it to anyone reading this right now. My results: I ended up getting accepted to NotreDame, Emory, Tepper, and Cornell all with scholarships and in the FINAL round of the application cycle. Thank You Maria for creating just a great product and helping me make my dreams a reality!
Joined: Mar 07, 2018
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Short on funds, a negative outlook from traditional consultants for your dream schools, consultants talking in a language you think is nonsense - if any one factor out of these resonates with you, read on!
I got to know about ApplicantLab through a GMATClub scheduled webinar Maria was giving wherein she talked about how and what of the MBA preparation. The moment I started listening to her, the candid nature of her advice made a difference to me. I thought I cannot afford this, coming from India and this being a running experiment (I only had one chance at this before everyone got me married, right? ) I was just half-listening like I had to put my attendance to the session. My ears got perked up only when I heard there is some trial coupon being shared. This made it safe, right? I wouldn't need to burn two months worth of rent to sample it. I noted the coupon, tried it for a few days and I was only till the career goals part but I loved it. There was guidance for each application+interview only for this much amount and if I went even to Indian consultants, I will easily be burning 5x of this price. The price made sense, as did the reviews on GMATClub which I read only post this stage. None of the few people around me had heard of this buzz, so it was my leap to take. And leap, I did.
I was worried that I might also need a real person for a sanity check and I couldn't afford to buy there time again (International!), so I did get a one application package from a traditional consultant. Wise decision? Yes! The glaring difference between their pieces of advice made me see my application myself from the point of view of the adcom at times. The insight Maria guides you through maks you understand the entire process as if you were driving it. Since it's no longer a magic black box of '10 ways to talk impressively', it helps.
School selection: She really doesn't give you a cooked advice. Find people, do your research, find syncs and know for yourself where you can go and where you want to go. A traditional consultant might restrict you here, based on their experiences even if they have their hearts at the right place.
Basic skeleton: The first few sections which make you start talking about your real story, your future story and the gaps in your story and how to fill them - helps. A big deal. You cannot start putting a face to something which is hollow right?
Application advice: Break each question word-by-word, go for school's values and link everything together. The questions that Maria breaks each essay topic into is so comprehensive that it's sufficient to check and cross-check if you have answered it completely. They are also pretty exhaustive so you could pass them on to a friend for proof-read.
Interview prep: A lot many people take interview advice from Maria which must have its own perks. But if you choose not to, the interview advice in the Lab is pretty exhaustive as well! I went through the advice and then a few mocks with friends and seniors. That served me well.
The only part I think could be included is some samples for applicants to understand what successful applications look like. I saved each and every screenshot Maria shared, however concise and there is a floating idea that you shouldn't see other people's work lest you get narrow in your approach. But I really felt more confident when I read those samples and it helped me curate better stories because talking about my life is something I haven't done ever and a lot many cultures tend to belittle their life story and a lot many tend to glorify.
To sum up, if you are thinking whether to go for Lab and will it be a personal enough advice, go for it. The advice doesn't need to be personal. It's the same for everyone. The journey for self-exploration is one's own and that's what you'll make individually through Lab.
Joined: Jan 28, 2019
Applicant Lab was an amazing starting tool for the application process. While you might not need it if you have already committed to a package deal MBA consultant, it is by FAR the best bang for its buck in the admissions process.
You are getting guidance on everything from how to brainstorm for the essay to detailed feedback and tips for each individual MBA program to detailed guidance in the interview process, the resume writing process, and the essay story process. You can't get that kind of value for just hundreds of dollars anywhere else.
If you are self motivated and ready to just get running with the application process, go ahead and buy this instead of shelling out thousands for an admissions consultant. I personally ended up using an admissions consultant, but that was because I didn't have the motivation to go through the process on my own.
Joined: Mar 14, 2019
I decided to use ApplicantLab after trying the trial version for couple of weeks. I found the tool to be extremely helpful on my MBA journey. The guidance from Maria's videos really helped me structure my applications for several schools - Maria put so much effort in creating guidance for each school individually that it felt like a consulting was working specifically for me. The videos helped me choose the stories that made the most sense for essays and other parts of the applications; I learnt how to show the impact I've head throughout my career by correctly structuring and communicating my stories. ApplicantLab helped me become more comfortable with showing my vulnerabilities without turning them into sob stories.
One of the things I liked the most was advice on DOs and DON'Ts for the applications - mistakes that I guess most applicants like me make in their MBA applications.
Working in the ApplicantLab was very smooth and enjoyable since the tool guides you through the process extremely well.
I would definitely recommend it for all MBA applicants - especially since the price is nothing compared to all the benefits you will get.
P.S. I got into three T10 schools and ApplicantLab helped me immensely during the application process.
Joined: Dec 13, 2017
Maria is excellent - very communicative and knowledgeable, I enjoyed all my back and forth conversations with her. The ApplicantLab process is intuitive and easy to use as well - for a very reasonable price it helped me create a solid framework and process for all my ideas, story, history and so forth :-)
There is no way you will be disappointed with the purchase here - the process will help you craft the story you're looking for and make sure you are putting your best foot forward with your application!
To give you a rough idea of my background - I was a finance major in the UK but spent all years since doing consumer products entrepreneurship in the US.
Worked out well and got accepted to Stanford GSB - highly recommend!
Joined: Jan 13, 2018
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I’ll get straight to the point here: admissions to top business schools is a game and I found that ApplicantLab was there to help me every step of the way to win it.
Coming from a background in strategy, I was really attracted to how well thought-out the modules are in ApplicantLab were and how it is structured to continue to build upon each other in order to develop a holistic profile for your application.
B-school applications are so stressful because of the ambiguity and different needs from each school. Maria covers all situations and her modules would essentially guide you throughout the whole process from start to finish. Starting out with career visioning and strengths and weakness modules, you will get a better understanding of what your “red-flags” are (we all have them!) and how to address them head-on. This will form your foundation and narrative that you’d want to communicate to your schools.
After that, Maria does a deep-dive into every top business school that you’re interested in– this is the most valuable part of the lab. She actually spells out what each school is looking for in its candidates – from traits to culture to personality. I found that I could tie in the narrative I developed earlier with this insider knowledge on each school to build a compelling storyline for my application.
Since the essay for HBS is so open-ended, I really utilized the extensive online resource in order to develop the storyline that I needed to get my message across. I then opted for a sanity check with Maria to get her view on how my entire application is looking. The feedback I got from her was specific and extremely valuable – it addressed the remaining weaknesses/confusing items in my application. More importantly, I felt good submitting my application then because I knew I had put my best foot forward.
Upon receiving my interview invite from HBS, I knew I had to do a mock interview with Maria to prepare. During the mock, I was amazed at how much she knew about me through my application. She even did additional research on my industry and background to pre-empt questions that I might be getting on the real thing. I was so glad I went through it earlier with her because I got 2-3 of the same questions during my actual interview at HBS!!
It’s been a long journey and I’m so glad that I have an acceptance from HBS to show for at the end. Look, at $299 (what a bargain!), there is simply no other admissions consultant that will give you the same breadth AND depth of information that ApplicantLab has to offer.
Another plus point is Maria uses her unique combination of empathy and humor (check out her stuff on YouTube) to make things not boring (extremely important!) and I really felt her energy and passion which can only come from doing work that you really believe in.
Thanks Maria for your help in getting me accepted to HBS!
Joined: Mar 27, 2019
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When you first log in to Applicant Lab, you are asked to complete a diagnosis, which gives you a sense of where you stand. While this first module helped me validate some of my strengths, it also shed light on some of the weaknesses in my profile. Looking at my report, being accepted to a top MBA program felt almost impossible. Yet today, I have offers from my two dream schools: Columbia and Harvard.
The secret is realizing that no one is perfect, that we all have our flaws, but also have something to offer. We all have distinct journeys, and the Lab truly enables you to create an authentic, compelling, and unique story to share with Admission Committees.
The platform is organized in an intuitive way that accompanies you throughout the application process, breaking it down into phases from personal profile dissection to interview preparation. As a result, rather than jumping right into drafting the essays, the initial modules encourage you to take a step back and think about who you are, what you have done so far, and what you aspire to do. While this might seem daunting, the Lab is filled with helpful recommendations and insights to guide you. I was surprised by the level of detail and specificity of the suggestions offered, which varied by topic and school.
The Lab is a tremendous tool. If you are starting out your application process, I do not think there is a better service out there – clear, relevant and comprehensive. In some instances, the platform can even be enough to get you into top MBAs. However, in my case, although it helped me organize my thoughts and detail my experiences, I owe a bigger part of my success to Maria, the brains behind Applicant Lab.
She is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to the various MBA programs and what they are after – Something that is reflected throughout the Lab. She is sharp and critical during discussions and is a fervent defender of a no BS policy, when she reviews essays, which forces you to focus on what matters. Her inputs proved valid repeatedly, and so, I ended-up trusting her wholeheartedly (and rightfully so!).
And while all of these qualities are invaluable, what sets Maria apart from other MBA advisors is her inherent enthusiasm and genuine nature. She was blunt, supportive, kind, and fully invested in my story and journey, which spanned over two years. I even sought career advice from her, when I struggled to choose between different professional paths! It was so much more than I could have expected from a MBA advisor and I honestly cannot imagine this whole process without her in the equation. She pushed me, believed me – She was like a coach, only 8,000 miles away, and for that, I will always be grateful.
Applying to graduate school is challenging. You will want to have the right support and tools at hand, and if I were you, I would bet on Applicant Lab. I did and look where it got me!
Thank you Maria.
Joined: Feb 27, 2018
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I cannot say enough good things about this service. I was almost willing to pay thousands for a consultant as I wanted the highest chance of getting into my schools but opted for ApplicantLab first. I'm glad I did. From the essay-drafting advice to the interview prep, Maria makes it INCREDIBLY easy to draft your essays and brainstorm your narrative. By using ApplicantLab, I was able to finish 8 applications in a single round.
I've been extended 7 interviews out of the 8 schools I applied to and I've been offered full ride scholarships at McCombs, Fuqua, YSOM, and an $80k fellowship at UCLA. I would recommend EVERY MBA applicant start with ApplicantLab.
Joined: Dec 18, 2016
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I have used two services for my MBA admissions 1) ApplicantLab 2) Blind interview with Maria
1) The Lab – first of all, she has put all her passion and love in this lab, so how can it not be so Awesome as it is!!! Those of you who are going to get started with this research lab will not take more than a few minutes to start realizing the same. This tool is the best thing that has happened for MBA applicants. The beauty of this invention is that it keeps guiding you to keep you on the right track and you get to learn, research, and explore your stories all by yourself. It was fun for me because I found the lab like an experiential learning - it’s not going to spoon-feed you but let you find you the right spoon and the right food for yourself. To get the most value out of this lab, it is best to follow all the steps and do the exercises then and there.
2) Blind interview with Maria – this one helped me most with my interviews. This session will save you if you are already late in the process and have no idea what to do! She gave me more than the time allotted for his call. In over 90 mins, she asked me a set of questions (listened to my answers with absolute attention) and in the end, took each question in detail and told me what needed to be spoken and what not and also how. She evaluated my stories and ideas and put them into the right buckets. She also suggested me to add a few points which I had not thought could be included that way and made the responses more beautiful than ever. After this session, I became extremely confident about my content, and I believe this confidence shaped everything else right for me. The way she puts her efforts, attention, and analysis to better the answers is something I have not found elsewhere. Previously, I was reluctant to put money into a mock interview that can be easily done by friends and peers. But after this session, I realized that the value this session returns is unparalleled and the amount she is charging for this service is much much much less in comparison to what she is delivering for you.
Love you Maria! The world of ‘MBA admissions’ was never easy without this lab!