|All Reviews > ApplicantLab > ApplicantLab On-Demand Admissions Guidance Tool Reviews|
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
610 Q46 V28
710 Q48 V39
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]
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
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]
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
760 Q49 V47
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
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
760 Q50 V41
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
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!
Joined: May 15, 2018
710 Q47 V41
I cannot say enough good things about Maria and the ApplicantLab software. The software gives very detailed advice and really helps you navigate what AdComs are “really” looking for in their questions. I did not have a stellar GPA or GMAT but thanks to ApplicantLab and Maria’s reviews of my essays, I was able to leverage my strengths and got full scholarships to Ross and Yale, got interviews at ALL the schools that I applied to (including MIT Sloan) and will have all my school decisions in by April. Maria truly cares about the success of her clients, and I know I could not have done this without her! Especially if you are unfamiliar with the MBA process and need detailed guidance, ApplicantLab is a must!
Joined: Feb 11, 2018
750 Q50 V41
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
I started thinking about MBA programs in January 2019, and while I had a few factors going in my favor (strong GMAT, Ivy undergrad), I also figured it would be an uphill climb. Among the obstacles to overcome: I'm an ORM, on the older side, and struggled during undergrad (~3.0 GPA). With that in mind, I thought I'd be fortunate to end up at a T15. Instead, with Maria and ApplicantLab's help, I'm headed to an M7 this fall.
ApplicantLab does a masterful job of taking you through the whole process, from helping you think about your past and career aspirations, to framing your story, to preparing for interviews. After going through all of Maria's modules, I genuinely felt that I understood myself better and that I was more prepared to talk about my past, present, and future.
Perhaps even more valuable were the details that Maria provided for each school's essays. The amount of work and thought that went into every single essay question is evident as soon as you click into her suggestions and explanations. She did an incredible job not only analyzing directions you might take each question, but backed that up with why she thought adcoms might be asking those questions. For example, on Columbia's "why NY" question, she pointed out that the video associated with that question changed from the R1 2017 version, and analyzed why they might have changed it (and how that affects how you might develop your answer!). There's a TON of content available for each and every question, along with videos that are really fun and easy to go through. I genuinely don't think that my essays could have reached the level of polish that they did without Maria's keen eye.
This all comes at SUCH a reasonable cost. For anyone who's a self-starter and trusts their own writing and brainstorming process, ApplicantLab is a no-brainer. I couldn't recommend it highly enough!
Joined: Mar 06, 2019
I must write and share this story because it will help not only one but everyone in the applicant pool for all the MBA programs out there. A story of ONE for ALL.
I am more than 35 years old – A NO NO for all the consultants (considered too old)
I have 2 undergrad degrees – A NO NO for all the consultants (considered a degree collector)
One GPA is very low, under 2.8 – A NO NO for all the consultants
One GPA is high, above 3.5 – Just OK for all the consultants
High GMAT, above 730 – A plus for all the consultants
Have not worked for a well known company – A NO NO for all the consultants
I just finished my interviews for Columbia, Wharton, and SLOAN.
So how did I do it so far? And how much money I have spent? ApplicantLAB and only $250.
I must thank all the consultants who refused to help me because they considered me as a risky case for their credibility of getting people in to top 10 schools.
I decided to study MBA because I wanted the knowledge and backbone to start my own idea, my own business. I did not know I was considered too old and considered as an outlier! I just knew this is what I want to learn! This is What I want to do with this part of my life!
So I went ahead and studied for GMAT (best resources: Manhattan GMAT and GMAT CLUB – more on GMAT history later and will share with you all my FLASH CARDS) I got a score above 730.
Then I started looking for books on amazon on how to apply for MBA. The first book that came up on Amazon was a book written by one of the famous consultants, who charge more than $350
Per hour. On the first 20 pages, it was written about the consulting company of the author and how it has advantages if I use a consultant for this journey. So after finishing the book, I went to the recommended consultancy website and signed up for a free 30 minutes consultation.
I entered my age, my GPA, and my GMAT score. After one week, when I received no response, I sent another form, still no response! So I called and spoke with the company! I was promised a call back that I never received! I could not understand WHY!
So I bought another book on Amazon from another consultancy company. I contacted them for a 30 minutes free consultation, during which I was told the following:
• You are too old
• Your GPA is too low
• You have not worked for a renowned company like Google or Apple
• You may be only accepted in a part time program or executive MBA and only for schools that are ranked 10-20.
When I told them my dream schools are Sloan, Wharton, and Columbia, I was told, well they are all really stretch schools for you. It will not happen.
So I researched online and went to the most renowned MBA website out there (for privacy reasons I will opt out to name names) and wrote down the top 10 consultants listed on that website. I was so sad and could have not believed what that consultant had told me! Was taking the GMAT and spending all that time a waste? Why am I not a good fit? I am smart, determined, and I know exactly what I want.
The story above repeated itself but even worse. One very famous consultancy company told me that they will make an exception and will take my case only with a freelance consultant who works for them occasionally. They charged me about $400 for the first 2 hours. I called and told my story for 45 minutes during which the consultant was completely quiet and then she/he told me that she/he will contact me after her/his analysis. I already had done so much research that I knew exactly what my weaknesses and strengths are and I had already told all of them during that 45 minutes. After 2 weeks of not hearing from her/him, I contacted the consultant and was told that she/he has been too busy and they will try to send me the analysis in 2-3 business days. 3 weeks of my precious time passed and I received an email that was the duplicate of what I had said in that 45 minutes and at the end saying that I should only target schools that are ranked 10-20 and only the executive programs! When I asked for the rest of my 1 hour and 15 minutes to talk about my resume, I was told that she/he has taken that time to write that analysis and if I want more time I have to buy another 2 hours! :O I was furious because I had lost 3 weeks and had received my own insights as $400 analysis!!!!!! That situation could have not been more like that of being stuck with a horrible lawyer that sends you to the prison at the end! Another consultant told me that he/she will get back to me and never did! He/she refused to even respond to my follow up email.
I had heard about ApplicantLab the year before but I was hesitant because it was only $300! How can it be that all consultants charge $5000 and above for guidance on one school only and this website offers unlimited advice on unlimited schools for $300!
I had no choice but to use ApplicantLab! And I am believer that everything happens for a reason! I am so HAPPY that all the top 10 ranked consultants refused my case because then I would have not used ApplicantLab and I would have not been where I am today! I also realized that I do not need the noise that I am too old, or I am not fancy enough! I wanted only my noise on my applications and that was this is what I want to do and this is where I want to study and I am going to do my best to get it! That is the only noise you need
Before these consultants, I did not even know that you could be considered too old for learning!
ApplicantLab helped me with all the following,
• Helped to realize what schools are truly my dream schools! I have added and deleted schools from my list because of ApplicantLab! Because of ApplicantLab I learned
o How to research schools.
o How to contact students of each school. How to approach them! What is the politest way to contact them! What to expect! what to ask and how to ask!
o How to learn more about the community, culture, and learning experience of each school.
• Helped me realize why I really want an MBA. True Selfawareness
• Maria, the founder of applicantlab, has provided, extremely detailed and thorough research on each school and has provided very detailed instruction videos on each school. There are details from how to contact students, research schools, to how to craft your essays and build your stories and there is even details on how to fill out the forms of each school and you know that each school’s form is different from the other! But she has even those covered in videos and writing!!!!
• Maria has even constant and immediate updates on each school’s academic change from curriculum to application requirements.
• There is a MAY WE HELP YOU form at the bottom of each page, that you can fill out and receive an immediate response from Maria or Carin on ANY QUESTION OR CONCERN YOU MAY HAVE AT NO CHARGE! There is no “it took me 30 minutes to answer this question of yours and you owe me 100 dollars!” in ApplicantLab. Pure and Genuine HELP!!! IF I were Maria I would charge users! Every time I sent a question about my resume or application or story or essay, I got an answer in less than 24 hours!
• There is detailed help on how to do your interviews from the over the internet ones to the one on ones
• There is also Sanity check, resume, essay editing help which I highly recommend to sign up for as they are very much affordable and extremely valuable and I wish I took more advantage of them! The last-minute sanity check that I did, was just completely path changing as Carin saw stories in my essays that I thought are not important but were! And pointed out stories that are not as important and I thought they were.
Do not let the noise of consultants (=lawyers) deter you from the path you want to go and community you want to be part of! Do not spend thousands of dollars and let someone else tell you what schools or programs you should go to.
Sign up with ApplicantLab, and find yourself, find your voice, and better understand the schools that you want to go to and NEVER EVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE OR WHAT GPA YOU HAVE.
I have reached out to more than the 10 top consultants and I have done thorough research and examination on this path. My advice is coming from my journey and my heart!
None of those consultant would have ever dreamed that I would get interview invitations from Columbia, Wharton, and Sloan.
In the movie “pursuit of happiness”, the father tells his son that “don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do something because it only means that they cannot do it”
So don’t let any consultant tell you that you cannot go to a certain program because it only means that they cannot do it!
Best of luck all of you