|All Reviews > ApplicantLab > ApplicantLab On-Demand Admissions Guidance Tool Reviews|
Joined: Jun 15, 2017
700 Q49 V35
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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.
Joined: Jun 13, 2017
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]
I was accepted by both Stanford GSB and HBS. ApplicantLab helped me so much to make my dream come true. I sincerely recommend ApplicantLab to the future applicants.
I read 6 books about applying to the MBA, and I searched hundreds of articles and videos on the internet in order to learn how to apply for B schools. After I started to use the ApplicantLab, I realized there’s no need to use other materials anymore. The ApplicantLab provides the best content available anywhere – free or paid -- about the MBA application.
Some people may say the advantage of the ApplicantLab is its cost is cheaper than those super expensive admissions firms. However, in my opinion, what makes the ApplicantLab special is not the cost but the quality of content.
Take resume editing as an example, I couldn’t find anywhere else such detailed and professional guide in writing a resume. My friends who hired famous consultants told me they just got some sample resumes and essays, but not many tips on how to write them. Also, the content in the ApplicantLab is accessible to us anytime, anywhere. It’s just more efficient than the service of traditional consultants.
As an international student, I wanted to have a consultant who went to the top business school. Maria went to HBS and Princeton, and she has helped many applicants to get into top business schools. Maria’s videos with advice in the ApplicantLab were precise and witty. She is so efficient when giving me feedback on my resume, essay. She is so patient when helping me with the mock interviews. I see professionalism in everything Maria did.
I feel so luckily that I could work with Maria. I appreciate Maria to bring the ApplicantLab to the world. In summary, Maria and the ApplicantLab are the premium and efficient service with affordable price.
If I were to apply to MBA again, I would choose ApplicantLab even the cost is three times higher! Thank you Maria!
Joined: Aug 07, 2010
730 Q50 V39
I am a very happy customer of ApplicantLab and recommend it a 100% to anyone looking to get into a top school. Maria is a real pleasure to work with and I really enjoyed the process of MBA applications due to her.
I was worried about getting in because I am from an over-represented group (e.g. Indian Male Engineer) and have more work experience than the typical candidate.
The tool is very well structured and reflects the founder's deep understanding of the MBA admissions space. All the modules are very well designed and flows seamlessly. The tools focuses on the the important aspects of each segment.
This tool was easy to use, transformed my essay strategy, and got me in to 2 top programs and an Interview from HBS. The fact that it costs so much less than a traditional consultant is icing on the cake, but it's perfect for people who like to do things themselves.
I found ApplicantLab through a friend who had used Maria's services to get into Wharton.
Joined: Sep 02, 2014
770 Q50 V44
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by post count [?]
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!
Joined: Mar 02, 2014
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!
Joined: Jun 19, 2016
720 Q48 V41
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.
Joined: Feb 15, 2014
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
Joined: May 05, 2014
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!
Joined: Mar 30, 2017
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.