ApplicantLab On-Demand Admissions Guidance Tool 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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Based on 93 reviews
February 04, 2020

Joined: Feb 23, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
770 Q50 V44

Summary: Accepted to HBS, Kellogg (with $$$), and Darden ($$$$). I used ApplicantLab's videos/essay advice, resume review, essay review service, and mock interview. Maria went above and beyond even those paid services by taking the time to have a call with me about choosing between my options, and she went so far as to connect me with her personal friend who is a professor in a topic I'm interested in. Cannot recommend her highly enough, even if she were to triple the price of her services!

Details: I come from an over-represented applicant pool and needed to make sure my application stood out. I had applied to HBS in previous years and was rejected, so I really wanted to do it right this time. Other consultants had told me my admissions chances were very low as a re-applicant, as I hadn't had a ton of professional changes/advancement since the prior year when I was dinged. Initially hesitant to try ApplicantLab because of the lack of personal interaction, I went for it because of the low price point and the great reviews.

I knew I made the right decision right off the bat, when I went through the modules on brand building - the insights I gained on my own work just from mapping them out as she recommended were invaluable in themselves. With her recommendations on qualities and skills to emphasize based on my background (engineering), I was able to easily identify the best stories to use in my essays and interviews.

Then came the resume review - I've had my resume reviewed before by former admissions officers, so I didn't get as much value out of this, but the resume review was a pre-requisite for the essay reviews (resume review was extremely affordable).

I started off with one essay review for my HBS essay - sticking with a similar topic and structure as the year I got rejected - and Maria TORE IT APART. I re-wrote it from scratch based on her recommendations and was 10x more confident in the new essay. I am 99% certain the new essay is one of the biggest reasons I got an interview. With how valuable that review was, I bought reviews for the rest of the schools I applied to - now that I had an idea of what topics, qualities, and stories to tell, the later reviews were more about tailoring the stories to the individual school.

Mock interview: I did a mock interview with Maria for the HBS interview. With how unpredictable the HBS interview can be, I wasn't sure if the mock interview would help, but it was undoubtedly worth the money. Many of the questions she asked were asked in my real interview, and the mock interview helped me answer them confidently and clearly. Her write-up afterwards was so useful too, and I was able to go back to review the questions I didn't answer so well.

Afterwards: needless to say, I was thrilled with the outcome. Accepted to my dream school and two other top schools with a lot of scholarship money that made the cost of ApplicantLab one of the best investments I've ever made. But the icing on the cake - after emailing Maria with profound gratitude, she offered to have a call with me to talk about my options. And, while the call in itself was excellent, once she knew my career interests, she wrote an email to a personal connection - a professor in the field of study I'm most passionate about - and I'm meeting with him at a school visit this weekend. Talk about truly caring for her users!

I will forever recommend ApplicantLab to any aspiring MBA applicant, because: 1. Maria makes admissions consulting affordable to most people, not just those from lucrative backgrounds; 2. for the value she provides, she could charge just as much as the major admissions consulting firms; 3. she demonstrates true care for her users; 4. her bubbly and energetic personality makes her genuinely fun to work with! You will not regret working with ApplicantLab or Maria!

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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.
February 13, 2020

Joined: Dec 08, 2016

Posts: 58

Kudos: 56

Verified score:
750 Q50 V40

Essential to get admission to your dream B school


To be honest, initially, I was quite skeptical about any online tool for the MBA application especially because I was new to the process and had a very limited network of those who had gone through the process. So I wanted more of personal attention to know what works and what does not in the MBA application.

After having some research and connecting with those who had used it, I decided to purchase the subscription and compared to other consulting companies it costs very less so I thought why not. But today I cannot be surer that I would have gotten to the top 10 US MBA program if it had not been ApplicantLab and Maria.

She has given too much thought into building this tool. It covers everything which is required to project the best version of yourself to adcom members of top MBA programs. The tool covers everything from scratch i.e. school selection, identifying strengths and weaknesses, Why MBA, Career Vision, etc. However, the most useful thing I found about the tool and Maria was advice on each school essays. Her videos are very insightful and help one to build the right story/hook for the essay. Guide videos help one to identify which personality traits to highlights and what is best to do so.

Additionally, the tool is equally good for Interview prep and Resume writing. So I would say it is a complete package at a very very reasonable rate. However, words of caution – ApplicantLab can only help you if you are self-motivated and ready to introspect about your REAL achievements, REAL values, and REAL future goals. It pushed me to think about my aspirations and values.

My results: I ended up getting accepted to Ross and Duke Fuqua my top choices. Thank You, Maria, for creating such a great product and helping me make my dreams a reality!

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January 04, 2020

Joined: Jul 15, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
740 Q49 V41


I learned a lot about MBA programs and admissions from ApplicantLab. Maria walks you through all the pitfalls and really helps you understand how admissions officers think about a student. She explained every step of the process, helping me to build a foundation of knowledge and then slowly building that up until I was really happy with my submissions.

I bought this product thinking it would be a cheaper way to learn about admissions but once I finished it I think it's actually better than hiring a consultant, at 1/20 of the price.

Maria and Carin (Maria's number 2) are fantastic to work with, always responsive and hard working. I couldn't recommend this enough.

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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 28, 2019

Joined: Jun 04, 2018

Posts: 697

Kudos: 519

Verified score:
730 Q47 V44

Even 10x as expensie, it would still be great value for money


ApplicantLab is an amazing tool to make sure you tick all the boxes of your application.
The amount of material and guidance is pretty breathtaking considering the reasonable price tag.

The tips offered for a large range of b-school are very specific, recent and most importantly unique. (e.g. very different guidance for Columbia as opposed to Tuck).

As a note of caution;

ApplicantLab does not do the work for you. To fully utilize the potential AL offers, you do have to put in quite some time, however, the investment will certainly be worth it.

I used the tool to apply to both Cambridge Judge and MIT Sloan and got into both schools.

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December 12, 2019

Joined: May 21, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
740 Q48 V42

tl;dr: I got into Stanford GSB using only Applicant Lab; I watched hours of videos of Maria's advice on everything from career vision to specific essay questions to interview prep - wayyy more than I would be able to afford from typical admissions consultants. ApplicantLab is a good fit for people who meet the following characteristics:
1) not trying to use your entire life savings on admissions consulting
2) want a ton of detailed info on each part of the admissions process
3) don't want/need hand-holding

Longer review: I'm currently working in int'l development work, so as you can imagine I do not have thousands of $$$ to throw around on admissions consultants. However, I knew that I'd go crazy if I tried to tackle the massive MBA application process without some guidance or advice (esp. since my initial plan was to apply to 8+ schools...). I came across ApplicantLab on one of these forums and was skeptical - even though it's much less expensive than other companies, the $270 still seemed like a pretty large commitment on my current budget. (note: I know I know, how am I going to pay for b-school? that's a problem for tomorrow...)

Despite my skepticism, I'm very glad that I chose to sign up! Applicant Lab has been super helpful at each step of the MBA admissions process. As someone who gets a little obsessive over things, Maria's hours of video advice were a godsend. She has 10-30 min. videos on every possible aspect of the application - including career vision, "why MBA?", specific school essay questions, interview prep, recommendations etc. What I appreciated most is her candor and frankness. For instance, I still remember the moment when I got to the Post-MBA Career Vision module, where I indicated that I wanted to change both industry and function. Her video response was basically like "WRONG GOAL, GET A NEW ONE" - a bit shocking at first, but it forced me to reconsider how I presented my goals, and I came out with a much better career story because of it. What you lose in individual advice, you gain in terms of breadth - I estimate I've listened to over a dozen hours of her advice, making it a pretty decent bargain. If you think you can listen to advice and figure out the implementation of that advice on your own, then this is definitely the way to go.

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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.
November 19, 2019

Joined: Mar 10, 2013

Posts: 166

Kudos: 255

Self-reported Score:
620 Q44 V31
690 Q47 V37
610 Q47 V28
700 Q50 V34
700 Q49 V36
690 Q48 V35
750 Q49 V42
730 Q50 V39

ApplicantLab was a Lifesaver


ApplicantLab was truly a lifesaver for my MBA applications. It had all of the inside information that I needed to get into business school. One piece of information that I did not know was that the top reason qualified candidates get rejected from top schools is that their post-MBA goal is not realistic enough.

I realized that this was the reason that I did not get into CBS last year (going in now).

ApplicantLab is completely worth the money. Maria is kind, frank, humble, and knows her audience; she will tell you the truth needed to craft the best application for b-school. This will toughen you up and help you see yourself in the correct light.

ApplicantLab is for people who are self-disciplined and don't need hand-holding. You basically reap what you sow when using this tool. If you do things at the last minute, you will get
the result that comes from that decision. If you put in your best work, you will at least have no regrets regardless of your MBA decision.

ApplicantLab also has just the needed information for applying to business schools. There are no frills or bells and whistles of any kind, but the information given is gold.

One main drawback that I saw in ApplicantLab is that the interview questions given were not all asked in my interviews for CBS and Booth. I think more work could be done there.

Regardless, I will completely recommend ApplicantLab to anyone who needs low-cost but high-value MBA consulting.

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November 08, 2019

Joined: Jul 12, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Best money I've ever spent

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I bought applicant lab on a friend's recommendation and I am SO glad I did. I had no idea where to start with my applications and this program helped me figure everything out. There is school-specific advice on what each program is looking for, what traits to highlight and how to write about yourself effectively. Almost more importantly than explaining how to structure essays and what to write, this lab also explains what NOT to write and how to avoid pitfalls. I definitely would have made some of these mistakes had I not checked with applicantlab.

This program is an absolute steal and I highly recommend it. I got into my top choice school (M7)!

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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.
October 28, 2019

Joined: Nov 10, 2014

Posts: 3

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
650 Q47 V33

Helpful, cost-effective and genuine advice



I subscribed to ApplicantLab based on the suggestion of a friend for my SOP and recommendation letters last year i.e. for the admission to Mannheim Business School (Germany) for admissions in 2018. I had applied at the last moment (June, 2018) and so wanted my essays to be perfect. My GMAT score was 650 and I had over 10 years of IT Consulting experience. The tool 'ApplicantLab' was very helpful after an initial payment of $300. This also gave about an hour of consulting time with Maria (Founder of ApplicantLab). ApplicantLab application really helped me to brainstorm on various achievements from my past experience. I paid another $300 for an additional hour of Maria's consultation to help me with the structure of my SOP and recommendation letters. She was very helpful in guiding me and being frank about what might work and what might not. I finally got the interview call and made it to Mannheim Business School that year. ApplicantLab is especially very helpful if you are applying to many schools. You don't have to pay every time for every essay. Maria's inputs are very genuine and if you are really willing to spend some effort from your side for preparation of your SOP, Resume and Recommendation letters, I would definitely suggest ApplicantLab as a satisfied customer. This really made a difference to my application process.

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August 17, 2019

Joined: May 22, 2018

Posts: 3

Kudos: 7

Verified score:
730 Q47 V44

ApplicantLab made helped me complete my apps in 1.5 month


I decided to apply to b-school with a very short timeline. I didn't achieve the GMAT score that I wanted until Dec. 4th and I applied round 2 in Jan of the following year. I didn't start my applications (other than asking for recommendations) until after Dec. 4th. ApplicantLab's aggregation of research on the 4 schools that I applied to helped speed up the essay writing process immensely. Instead of clicking around websites, I was able to go to one place and customize the message and examples of my essays for each school with ease. I also used the interview prep module to quickly prep for 3 interviews. The interview was an easier part of the process for me, so I don't think the interview prep section of AppLab would be great for those who need a lot of help. But it did the job for me.

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July 25, 2019

Joined: Jul 22, 2018

Posts: 29

Kudos: 20

Verified score:
730 Q47 V44

Great for Self-Starters


When I began looking at consulting services to help me with MBA applications, I couldn't believe how expensive they were. As someone who is trying to save up for grad school, it just didn't make sense to spend thousands. After looking around a bit, I came across ApplicantLab. I tried the free trial for a few days and found that it had lots of helpful advise and would really help me complete my applications without a huge price-tag. I have to mention that you really need to be a self-starter to thrive using ApplicantLab, as there is no one who will be pushing you to do stuff like there might be with an actual consultant. Also, every time I have had a question, Maria has responded to my emails within 24 hours, which I find incredible. I used the "sanity-check" to check my resume and goals/why MBA info and found it extremely helpful in cleaning up my resume and putting the finishing touches on my goals. I also plan to use the essay help. I'm getting all of this without having to pay thousands of dollars, so I'd say its easily been worth the money.

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