|All Reviews > ApplicantLab Reviews|
Joined: Sep 11, 2013
770 Q51 V42
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: Jul 14, 2017
I used ApplicantLab for my R1 applications last fall, and was admitted to HBS. ApplicantLab was an incredible help throughout the application process, and I couldn’t have gotten in without it.
I had a somewhat non-traditional background with non-traditional career goals, so it was difficult for me to find relevant application advice either from my network or online. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous going into the application cycle and I knew I needed help understanding the admissions game. However, I knew I couldn’t afford the thousands of dollars that other admissions consultants charge (especially with more debt to come once I started school!). I heard about ApplicantLab and knew I needed to try it.
Every part of the online tool is easy to use and extremely helpful, and takes you through the entire application process from initial strategy to essay brainstorming and writing to interview prep. What initially sold me on ApplicantLab was the “essay mapping” portion of the tool, which helps you brainstorm all of the stories you might want to use in your essays and allocate them effectively across schools and essays. (For an example, start around 0:47 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Av5yVlJYBw). The visual organization really helped me make sense of all of my stories and pull them together into cohesive essays.
In addition to the essay section of the tool, I think the resume and interviewing sections were so helpful. At the start of the application process, I just had my “engineer” resume, which was entirely too long and full of boring technical details. ApplicantLab helped me turn that resume around completely into one that showcased the highlights of my career in a concise way. The interviewing section was just as helpful, and was full of great videos of Maria answering common interview questions. She really helped me get a sense of what the interviewer was looking for with each question.
Overall, ApplicantLab was absolutely fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone looking to apply. I encourage you to try the free trial!
Joined: Dec 24, 2016
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]
Applying for business school is a long and expensive process. Between test prep courses, taking the GMAT a couple of times, books, and materials, I easily spent around $2500. So, by the time I got around to actually applying for school, I was really reluctant to spend any more money, especially not on an admissions consultant. It was a few weeks before the Round 3 application deadline, I had pushed my GMAT to the last possible second and my window to produce a few quality essays was quickly closing. I had written 40 versions of my personal statement when I realized I really needed some additional guidance. I briefly flirted with the idea of applying fresh for Round 1 next year, when I remembered hearing about an online format that could potentially help with the application process. I had listened to a podcast with the founder of Applicant Lab and made a mental note of it a while back, but since I had decided that I wasn't going to pour any more money into the application process I hadn't really pursued it. One night, after I had written the 87th version of my essay, I decided to sign up for Applicant Lab. I justified spending the $300 because that would be the same price that I would pay for an hour with a consultant through my test prep company.
Well, Applicant Lab turned out to be one of the better decisions I had made throughout the application process. After a few minutes on the platform, I realized that the direction I was trying to take with my essay in, made me a "high-risk" applicant. I totally scrapped what I had and started anew. The interface was really user friendly. Maria has posted some great informational videos. The platform itself was well worth the $300. It offers guidance and really organizes all the thoughts floating around in your head. You can save versions of your essays for multiple schools. It actually already has the essay prompts from each school saved. Maria, herself, was also a tremendous help. She was kind enough to do a document review in video format for me, which was great because I could refer back to it whenever I needed it. The site has great info and really guides you to help brand yourself. The night before the round 3 app deadline, Maria and I were emailing back and forth until midnight! (I'm not sure if this is just because she took pity on me, but she really came through for me. Maria comes off as a genuinely helpful person...she's also really quirky which is nice when you're stressed out of your mind!
I did end up getting in to my first choice, UCLA Anderson. It took a lot of hard work and dedication on my part, but I believe Applicant Lab also played a huge role. I don't even want to think about what would have happened if I had gone with my original essays! I highly recommend Applicant Lab to anyone who doesn't want to sell a kidney to pay for a decent admissions consultant!!!
Joined: Feb 15, 2016
710 Q47 V40
620 Q49 V21
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: May 12, 2017
I had the most amazing learning experience from ApplicantLab. The idea to curate your essays and recommendations from well thought out story ideas, which finally YOU can stitch together is invaluable! Nothing gets the adcom notice you more than a story which has 'heart'. Applicantlab tool enables just that! Writing your stories, with your structures, your tone & tenor makes your essays genuine & standout - a very crucial aspect of the application process. Maria's easy to understand tips & tricks, well structured modules 'gamifies' the otherwise mundane & exhaustive application process. Smooth structure, Super useful tips/tricks is an amazing way to get your work done!
Needless to say, in the world of Pricey admission consultants - ApplicantLab is a blessing. Exceptional service at an affordable cost!
My recommendation to fellow students will be to try it & you wont regret it. Made my admit to Stanford & INSEAD a breeze!
Joined: Aug 04, 2015
I have applied to 5 universities in the US and have been accepted in all of them: Berkeley, Ross, Cornell, NYU and UCLA. ApplicantLab's advice and expertise have been critical to me for 2 main reasons. First, it provided me a efficient way to lay down my life experience, and therefore, a way to rediscover parts of my life/experiences that made me shine in my essays. Second, ApplicantLab's explanation of different schools' essays helped to improve their quality and understand better what the admission committees are looking for.
Finally, I totally recommend watching the sample videos in her interview module. It really helps understand the purpose and focus of those interviews.
Joined: Jul 21, 2016
730 Q48 V41
I was applying to business school while working for a non-profit space, so paying $8k (cost of a 4-school package from most consulting companies) wasn't feasible. However, I was worried about competing against other candidates who were taking advantage of such services, and I really needed a formal way to think through all the story ideas spinning around in my head.
I was able to go through the entire application process from resume to essays on my own time, without having to worry about scheduling calls (although after going through the module, I did end up taking advantage of ApplicantLab's editing services, which were phenomenal as well). The advice that the module provided was identical - if not more personalized in some instances - to advice I'd heard that my friends received from their consultants.
The platform provides a great way to organize all of your stories, link them to values, and pull them into cohesive essays. They will stay organized and be there waiting for you every time you need to take a brain break and come back. Such a cost effective way to de-stress the application process!
Joined: Apr 29, 2015
MBA admissions are complicated, to say the least. It isn't always a matter of being extraordinary rather extraordinarily telling your story. That is where ApplicantLab excels; it provides you a framework to put your best foot forward.
When I started my MBA prep, I availed different profile evaluations offered by top MBA consultancy. However, the result was more or less the same. They gave a general feedback and enticed me with the so called limited time discounts to avail their services. On the other hand, there is no sales pitch by ApplicantLab rather a sense of empathy. I was fascinated to see how simple it was to start the free trial. Not only this, I got a complete profile evaluation based on my ethnicity, job function, industry, future goals, etc. Needless to say, I opted to go ahead with ApplicantLab.
I honestly believe that the work Maria does for her clients is worth far more than the price of ApplicantLab. ApplicantLab without a doubt demystify the MBA admission process. It provides a framework that is thorough in its research and details. Not only this, Maria is super friendly and always ready to answer the questions. She answers each question with intent to help her clients, not for the sake of answering.
Above all, ApplicantLab is the way forward for MBA admissions consultancy. It eliminates the veneer between consultants and customers and presents a sequential framework that is intuitive and comprehensive. Not only it helped me to put my best foot forward but also allowed me to introspect and understand what I truly wanted from an MBA.
Finally, I will recommend ApplicantLab to any aspiring MBA candidate. You will not find a more dedicated and helpful consultant than Maria. I am grateful to her for allowing me to understand my strengths and secure admission in a top ten ranked global MBA program.
Joined: Jun 15, 2017
700 Q49 V35
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
I’m a regular guy from Latin America who wanted to pursue an MBA at a top school. After sitting for the GMAT and getting a 700+ result, I THOUGHT it was over… And then I started to get acquainted with the “admissions game”.
You can read my detailed review below, but I want to start with my conclusion: Applicant Lab is REALLY worth to use. Take my advice and use the free trial they offer: It’ll give you a sense of how powerful the system is, and after ½ hour working with it, you’ll realize that it is THE best option. I actually enjoyed a lot during the whole process working with the Applicant Lab. I promise you, you won’t regret it =).
So, let’s go to the facts. Do you have any clue of the size of the “admissions consultancy” game? I did my research, and turns out it is a 35M US$ yearly market. And the reason for this is that there are plenty of consultancy firms out there, and they all operate the same way: at first, they will “take a look at your stats”. After this assessment, IF you ROUGHLY look good enough, they will charge you A LOT of money in advance, and then start working with you. Be aware: If your stats don’t look good enough, they will tell you something such as “they have no consulting vacancies”: no one in these kind of agencies likes neither an unhappy customer nor a black spot in their records.
Your stats may not be exactly perfect (e.g., no volunteering), but you know both that you will be an unbelievably good fit for a top Business School, and that this HAS to be your next step in your professional career. So, the key question is… How will you tell your story to your dream school and be accepted if you can’t even pass the “high performance admissions consultancy firms” barrier?
Well my friends, I have good news!! María just created the perfect solution: The applicant lab. It’s really simple. It starts with a diagnostic tool: you will be asked to input information about yourself, and the Applicant Lab will tell you where you stand in the 4 pillars of your application: Academics, People Skills, Post-MBA employability and whether you can prove you have can be a “Leader”. After this assessment, it has customized advice to your actual profile. And the greatest thing is that through this advice it will not only teach you how to look into your college / work experience to find facts to counterbalance what might worry an Admissions Committee, but also why such things matter to an Admissions Committee.
This fact repeats itself all over the applicant lab advice for all portions of your application, and believe me: it makes the difference to know what an Admissions Committee is looking for. In case you get an interview, you’ll feel SO much more confident if you have used the applicant lab: you will know what the person in front of you might be thinking or may ask you based on your profile, and you’ll already know how to tackle these concerns.
It’s going to sound weird, but Applicant Lab not only taught me everything I needed to know to apply to a top business school: it actually taught a lot to me about myself. After 1 week working inside the Applicant Lab I had a clear image of what I wanted to do after Business School, what were the key “hits” of my career that could make me be accepted by a top Business School, and it broaden my spectrum of schools, i.e., after reading the applicant lab’s specialized advice for other schools that I had previously not considered, I realized that there were many other options beyond those I had considered at first.
And the best part is that everything is organized in a REALLY easy to use, on-demand tool. You can access it any time you want, it is full of videos (which not only contain the core of the great advice, but are brightened with Maria’s exceptional sense of humor), examples and explanations that will make the whole application process actually enjoyable.
I was accepted to a top 5 FT Ranking school. I met other people from my country who was also accepted to this school, and while having a drink with them and talking about each other’s road to Business School, I found out that they had used a traditional consulting firm. And guess what? They not only spent 10 times more money than I did, I actually think that the advice I got from the Applicant Lab is SO much better than the advice they received from the consulting agency they used.
The bottom line is that there’s no better alternative out there. The “value for money” ratio of the applicant lab approaches infinite. Use their free trial, and believe me, you’ll understand why I say this.
Joined: Mar 02, 2017
740 Q50 V40
I applied and got accepted in Round 3 at MIT. That I got the entire process done (and eventually admitted) is a testament to Maria's superior know-how as encapsulated in her ApplicantLab online tool. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Even though I had top grades from an elite college and a 730+ GMAT, I had waited too long to take the GMAT test (after Christmas) and so missed the round 2 deadlines. As I started researching how tough it is to get in during Round 3, and as I realized that I had some other “red flags” in my profile, I started to feel pretty hopeless about my chances.
In comes ApplicantLab, which helped me feel that not all hope was lost. First things first was to come up with an angle with which I applied. ApplicantLab (the website per se) broke the process down into many small parts, each of which seek to establish a story and elicit a personality trait from my professional experiences. These were usually done through short, informative video tutorials that Maria hosted on her site. Not only did this simplify the process, but it also made me see the reasoning behind each part (aka - kinda like knowing how the Adcom would think in each process). With her guidance and assistance, I was able to craft a coherent and pertinent narrative. This made me have hope as it gave me a unique story to compete against the equally qualified candidates that exist in Round 3.
Then came the essays. The video essay for MIT stumped me. It was difficult on two fronts - actually coming up with an interesting story, and the technical skills to capture and edit video. After watching some video tutorials on ApplicantLab, I learnt how to edit video and synchronize audio through Camtasia. The video tutorials even go so far in depth as to direct users like me to find license-free audio clips too! With all those resources available, I found the video essay process a lot more manageable. And it was published without a hitch.
Following an interview invite, Maria's website delineated the stories that I was to prepare. Seeing that the website helped me out so much, I decided to schedule some one-on-one time with Maria herself to do a mock interview. The process was very smooth and the feedback was pertinent. Best part? She recorded the entire session, both interview and feedback, in video, along with minute breakdowns. This was extremely helpful as it gave me a reference point to go back to the night before my actual interview.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I received the offer. After all, Sloan was the only school I applied to. I owe my success to ApplicantLab. This is a fabulous product with detailed and personalized service. For the price I paid, I think this was a much better alternative than all the other products elsewhere right now.