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

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Maria Wich-Vila
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June 10, 2017

Joined: Sep 02, 2014

Posts: 85

Kudos: 436

Self-reported Score:
770 Q50 V44

Applicantlab is great! Got me into my dream school.


Let me start by saying Applicantlab is a great product which helps those who dont want to spend 1000s on MBA school admissions. I feel like it removes the "hype and flashiness" from all those expensive consultant programs and gives you whats needed for a great application at a very affordable cost.

Now for the details -
I heard about the lab on a e-gmat webinar. I was still not serious about my applications since there was lots going on at work and in family life. Eventually, I reached a stage where I decided a full-time MBA is not an option and my choices narrowed down to a few schools on West coast.

I joined the Applicantlab just to get some help and more to get some discipline to my otherwise disorderly application process. First thing you will be super-impressed by is how responsive Maria is - I had some issue signing up and I literally heard back from her in minutes! Not only did I get access, she was also inquisitive about my background and what schools I was applying for etc.

Second thing you will realize, the lab structure is actually very neat and innovative. It might seem simple - you are just jotting down your life history (personal and professional) and having a software arrange it for essays, recommendations and what not. But its much more than that. You dont just list your strengths and weaknesses, you decide where to use what, how not to repeat yourself, where which experience makes sense. In a way it is a continuous polishing of your application but one story at a time.

Third thing, if you are new to this application process like I was - you will realize it is very very important to have a set of impartial, professional eyes evaluate every word of your application. MBA application, for good or bad, needs a lot of introspection and sometimes the things you decide to present to the application reviewer about yourself, even though important to you, may not show you as "leadership material" which is what they need to see. Maria brings a wealth of experience in this regard. The way she asked to restructure some of my same stories made them much polished. The difference between my first and final drafts, even though they had same content, was phenomenal and I am sure improved my odds of selection by a lot.

I already mentioned Maria is very responsive, but she also goes above and beyond. When I mentioned I am applying to Berkeley Haas but to the evening, weekend program (the requirements, essays are different), she posted specific, new videos for this program within a couple of days. If you tell her you are working towards a deadline, she will make sure she gets back to you in a very reasonable time, some times even in the middle of the night.

To summarize, I definitely recommend Applicantlab. I never joined any super expensive firm for admission consultation. I used the initial lab and added 1 hour of time for personalized essay review (trust me, the 1 hour allowed me to have like 5 drafts of each essays and Maria worked well over the 60 minutes with me). I had decided to apply to only one school (so it was became my dream school :)) and Applicantlab helped me get into it. Hope it can do the same for others!

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May 28, 2017

Joined: Mar 02, 2014

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Wasted $10k on


I was super-stressed about applying to business school: I had a relatively low GPA from a non-elite undergraduate college, and I worked for a tiny start-up company.

It felt like everyone I knew was hiring admissions consultants, so I did too. I had seen an expensive firm's ads everywhere, they were very active on certain message boards, their founder had been interviewed in a ton of articles, and sadly, I mistakenly thought that was an indicator of quality. It wasn't. Unfortunately, I "invested" $10k into this firm's comprehensive admissions consulting package for five schools.

What a waste.

It was a waste of money, but also a waste of time.

I ended up getting rejected from every school I used them for.

Devastated, looking ahead to Round 2, I stumbled upon ApplicantLab and gave it a chance. I figured it was only a few hundred bucks -- so what was the worst that could happen?

I only had a few weeks to pull together a R2 app, so I needed good help, and I needed it fast.

Within minutes, the Lab was giving me guidance on what my perceived weaknesses were, with actionable advice on how to face them head on. I also started going through the Career Vision module, and quickly understood, thanks to the videos and exercises provided, that the career vision / why MBA rationale I had originally applied with were terrible. I'll never know if that's what got me dinged, but you'd better believe I was frustrated that my super-expensive admissions consultant had never brought up any of these issues to me!

The rest of the Lab was great: I work super-intense hours at a start-up, and so instead of needing to wait around for my consultant to be available, I could simply log in to the Lab and power through the steps.

Each step of the way, there is advice on what to do next. There is also advice on what NOT to do, what things to AVOID, with samples provided. The "good interview / bad interview" examples were not only useful, they were also funny.

The whole way thy rough the Lab, I'd curse under my breath as I'd see an amazing tip or insight that my expensive so-called "expert" had never thought of. I felt like I was getting BETTER advice -- from a website! I think it's because of all of the videos of Maria; you really feel like someone is sitting with you, helping you.

Long story short: I ended up getting accepted into Tuck and MIT!

If you are reading this, you might be considering shelling out thousands for one of these so-called "elite" firms. You might fall for their fancy marketing or their 30-minute "free consultations" (which are really just sales pitches where they butter you up to take your money). Don't do it!

When I was at Tuck's "Welcome Weekend", I ended up chatting with LOTS of people who hired admissions consultants, and almost everyone was underwhelmed and felt that they had been swindled. I know the feeling -- my initial consultant swindled me too.

Don't tell Maria I said this, but seriously she could raise the price of ApplicantLab to a few thousand dollars, and it would still be the best deal on the market.

I paid $10k for a firm with fancy marketing and got nothing.

I paid a small fraction of that for ApplicantLab, and got two acceptances, including to my dream program.

It doesn't get any better than this.

BUY IT, USE IT -- you won't regret it!

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May 22, 2017

Joined: Jun 19, 2016

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
720 Q48 V41

Got 1 of the 10 Global Leadership Awards at Ivey!


If you are looking for the most efficient and cost-effective tool in the market right now, then the Lab is for you.
I am so happy I found this wonderful tool. Before that, I was so worried that I would be spending thousands on admissions consultants. And, whenever I scheduled free assessment calls with mainstream consultants I felt more of a sales pitch rather than a real evaluation of my profile.
Not with Maria, she really tells you like it is. She was brief and honest (and quite funny!). Afterwards, I felt more trustful of the online tool she created. And thank God for that, because after I signed up, I encountered a simple and intuitive application that really gave me the insights of how the AdComs thinks.
The best of all is that you are the author of your own unique story. The Lab just helps you present it in an strategic manner. It doesn't write the essays for you, but helps you identify important features in your career and personal life that helps overcome any weaknesses/gaps in your profile that may worry you.
The navigation through the Lab was simple, and when the School changed one of its essay questions for this year's admission process it only took 2 days for Maria to update videos and tips with key advice.
I would definitely recommend ApplicantLab. I got one of the highest scholarships the School offers, worth CAD 50,000 (half tuition!), on less than 1% the cost, and I did it by being honest and presenting my own story.

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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.
May 18, 2017

Joined: Feb 15, 2014

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Indian applicant, over age 30, IN at COLUMBIA


Getting an MBA from an Ivy League school was a long term dream of mine and thanks to Maria's Applicant lab that I just graduated in May 2017 from Columbia Business School ! I wanted to do an MBA after getting a considerable experience and so I put it off till I had had 5 years of experience. Too my surprise I learnt later that even with a 720+ GMAT score it was tough for applicants over the age of 30 years and specially for an Indian Male Engineer like me. Thankfully I learnt about Maria and Applicant lab from a friend of mine who had gotten into London Business School with a profile similar to me. I signed up at Applicant lab and was right away amazed by the organized structure of the app. It introduced me to all the questions that different universities asked and different parts of my resume that I had to update and build into essay answers. It seemed overwhelming at first but applicant lab did a great job of keeping me focused and handling applications one by on as different deadlines approached. And finally when I heard back from Columbia regarding my interview Maria spent multiple sessions with me until she thought I was ready. I also learned at Columbia that 50% of candidates who are interviewed are rejected. So I DO EMPHASIZE the importance of being prepared for your interviews with someone like Maria's help. In all I highly recommend Applicant Lab as it improved my odds of getting into a top 10 school

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April 23, 2017

Joined: May 05, 2014

Posts: 1

Kudos: 0

Very helpful, very strightforward!


Let me start with emphasizing that, coming from continental Europe, I am not used to applying for universities like for jobs: essays, CVs, reference letters, standardized tests - a new world for me to accustom to.

I created my first essays and CVs without any outside help/counselling and quickly realized that it doesn't only depend on linguistic skills whether your essay/CV will shine or not, but that there is a very specific, though unwritten code, which you have to follow if you want to be taken seriously. Maria has recognized that this code can be taught - and has done a great job in showing the (surprisingly straightforward) rules of writing a good application in her online tool.

As this "code" is standard throughout business schools, it is a good idea to make the information available in an online tool, rather than explaining the whole process over and over in one-by-one sessions (this is what drives up the prices of individual counselling). Maria has chosen to provide this information on ApplicantLab -- but, of course, if you THEN have questions about your INDIVIDUAL essays/CVs, she is always there to conduct one-by-one sessions (which you can purchase additionally at a reasonable price). This makes the whole package so much cheaper than other similar offerings.

So, the bottom line is: it is not all too difficult to write a good application - as long as you know how to do it!

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April 17, 2017

Joined: Mar 30, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Reapplicant, Accepted to Columbia with a Fellowship!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

Maria has created an incredibly intuitive, easy to use online tool. As a reapplicant, I knew how stressful and time consuming the application process was, but ApplicantLab broke it down into bite-sized pieces that were easy to follow and allowed me to tackle the application in a principled way, on my own time.

I loved how structured the tool was, taking me through the process of articulating my goals, brainstorming the various stories that I could tell, and then figuring out how to best package that into a coherent and cohesive application. What ApplicantLab expertly did was help me truly understand what was likely to resonate with an admissions committee, and tailor my application accordingly.

Most useful were the videos that guided me along the way, providing expert advice in an easily digestible and on-demand format. Moreover, these videos were actually entertaining to watch, making an inherently stressful process more lighthearted and enjoyable. I also loved that I could contact Maria when I needed to to get additional guidance or support as I was completing my application.

I have worked for many years developing online learning environments and tools, and can attest to the fact that ApplicantLab is at the cutting edge of online learning theory. I enthusiastically recommend this to anyone applying to business school--it truly proves that you can get great service and a great product without having to break the bank.

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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.
April 13, 2017

Joined: Oct 20, 2015

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Accepted to my top choices! Full Scholarship to Kelley!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

When I first began to explore the application process, I was extremely overwhelmed. Fortunately, I found ApplicantLab, which was able to break everything down into much more manageable pieces. For example, I especially appreciated the career vision module that not only helped me brainstorm supporting evidence for my post MBA goal, but also gave me a lot of insight into how an AdComs view an application.

Learning how to strengthen my application through tools such as an "origin story" were a game changer for me. I highly recommend ApplicantLab to anyone seeking clarity on how to articulate their most powerful stories!

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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.
April 10, 2017

Joined: Jun 05, 2015

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

ApplicantLab helped me get into my dream school

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

As someone who originally paid for a traditional consulting service and was severely disappointed with their experience, ApplicantLab was an excellent tool that saved my business school application process. It not only gave me the same advice I was getting from the traditional consultant at a significantly lower cost, but it also gave me direct step by step guidance that felt like I had a consultant with me the entire time. By following the detailed questions in each module, I was able to build an application that highlighted my strengths and got me into a Top 10 program. I would 100% recommend ApplicantLab for anyone applying to business school.

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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.
April 06, 2017

Joined: Jun 29, 2015

Posts: 238

Kudos: 63

Verified score:
740 Q50 V40

Simply the Best....Period...


About me: I belong to an over-represented demography (Indian, male, engineer) hence I knew from day 1 that I'll need to work extra hard on my applications. I got my final GMAT early October hence I had just 8-10 weeks to submit 5-8 high quality applications for US schools in R2. I have previously worked with many top consultants, have talked to almost every major consulting firm and have wasted thousands of dollars, without any concrete result. I was impressed by Maria's expertise in the domain and decided to sign up with ApplicantLab. I'm glad I did.

About ApplicantLab: My first biggest challenge was school selection. I mailed Maria and she was kind enough to do a profile evaluation and recorded a video of her with her recommendations. I shortlisted 6-8 schools and started working tirelessly. ApplicantLab is an amazing tool for the self-starter types. Moreover, if you get stuck some where Maria is super helpful. She responded to all my queries and emails mostly within a day. Also, she has made the platform very engaging. You don't feel like reading a book, her advice examples are interesting, humorous and keeps you engaged. There are hours of videos that she has made and it's a treat to watch them. All videos are very professionally made, high quality and Maria is super intelligent and gives you a clear insight of what adcoms are looking for.

Content: The advice that Maria has put together on this platform is simply outstanding. It's a steal at the price at which it is offered. The platform can be customized and it provides advice based on your "unique" situation (such as low GMAT, over-represented group, low GPA etc.). Maria is a seasoned professional in this industry and her advice is bang-on. At times she would tell something about my profile and I would be like "why didn't it came to my mind earlier?".

When you start writing essays, she has done school by school research, essay by essay analysis for each and every school and have addressed "every" possible concern that an applicant might have. Her advice is step by step and this platform substantially cuts down your time to research on schools. I remember when I had to make a video essay for my MIT application, she had a full 1-2h tutorial on how to quickly make a video along with all useful links and tools. Superb.

Much of the content that she has put on the ApplicantLab came in handy for me during the interviews as well. She has comprehensively worked on every type of concern or question that adcom may have about your profile and how to tackle it. Another good part of ApplicantLab is that it doesn't charge you per school, as most consultants do. Applying to B-schools is a hectic process and many times you may end up applying to more/less schools than you initially planned. ApplicantLab doesn't penalize you for that.

It's a highly highly recommended product for anyone applying to business schools (or even thinking about it). If any of you want to understand more about ApplicantLab and how it helped me in my journey, feel free to PM me. btw, I'm matriculating at Kellogg :)

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August 07, 2017

Hi Rohit,

Congrats on making it to Kellogg!

I am beginning my applications for fall 2018 and looking at my options for consultants.

You said Applicant Lab does not charge you per school. But is there a limit on the number of schools you can apply to with Applicant Lab?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Have a great term!


August 15, 2017

Hey Madhuri,

I'm another ApplicantLab user that has successfully gotten into the school I wanted and it's an awesome product! After you sign up, you can use it for unlimited number of schools (as long as it's offered on there) and there's school-specific essay and other advice so definitely a great bang for your buck!

April 05, 2017

Joined: Mar 01, 2016

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

$100K Scholarships @ Kellogg & CBS & In at Sloan thanks to ApplicantLab

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

The ApplicantLab tool was the most helpful resource I used when planning and writing my MBA applications. I ended up applying to 6 schools and got into Kellogg & Columbia with $100K scholarships and was also accepted at Sloan and waitlisted at Wharton. The ApplicantLab online tool has so much great advice and information all in one place which really helps you get your story across throughout the entire application without wasting space by repeating information and making sure you cover all your bases. The tool goes through each part of the school's specific application and gives advice on what to include there as well as what that school specifically looks for. The tool has videos where Maria walks through examples of how she might craft her answers if she was applying again and then also has written information as well for each question and section. The tool also helps you go from the brainstorming phase of the application to writing and then proofing before you submit. I wouldn't have been able to apply to so many schools without the ApplicantLab tool and definitely credit ApplicantLab for my success in sharing my story with the schools I applied to! I highly recommend ApplicantLab for anyone going through the process and the tool is much cheaper and a way better value than a full time consultant, particularly if you are applying to multiple schools.

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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.