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 107 reviews
November 08, 2019

Joined: Jul 12, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Best money I've ever spent

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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: 21

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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June 23, 2019

Joined: Nov 04, 2018

Posts: 11

Kudos: 0

Self-reported Score:

It was end of January and I had just taken my GMAT and not even looked at any of the essay prompts for the applications. I had a of couple things to address in my application: Low GPA, Below 700 GMAT, and a career path that did not really seem to add up (Undergrad Major Health Science, Post-College WE: US Navy, and Post-MBA Career Path: short term – Consulting Long term – Sports Industry). On top of all of that, did I forget to mention, my first application was due in ONLY 5 weeks!! I did not even know where to start or how to tell my story.

I didn’t use Applicant Lab in a linear manner (you can use it in whichever sequence/parts you prefer, that’s the beauty of it!). It was difficult for me to connect the dots for my career vision in the beginning, so I decided to skip that part and come back to it later. I drafted my resume and wrote the essays first. How Maria, breaks down each essay prompt for every single MBA program out there (I cannot THANK YOU enough for that!) into smaller questions that are easy to answer and create the structure and flow of some of the best essays I have ever typed. Talking about different past experiences in my essays really helped me self-reflect and connect the dots in my career vision/story.

Having ApplicantLab instead of a consultant, allowed me to reread and re-watch her advice over and over again something an actual consultant would have not allowed at random times of the night. Also, instead of having a consultant to call and rely on to answer my questions about a specific school and possibly edit my essays, it really forced me to connect to students at every single school I applied and get answers and tips from them (someone who had recently made the transition to where I wanted to be next year/in a couple of months). Few of them even went above and beyond my expectations and were generous enough to give me mock interviews. Trust me, I was nervous at first and did not know how to properly reach out to current students either. But, Maria does such a great job giving practical advice that is easy to implement and use to network with current students who end up becoming your allies and rooting for you in this admissions process.

The entire admissions process and ApplicantLab were a great learning experience to prepare me for business school. To be able to use the resources I have available, network with others, and deliver a final product that meets the needs of both parties (the business school and myself). I would have not been able to get that same learning experience and growth if I would have used an admissions consultant, instead of ApplicantLab. I literally talk about this product to every current or prospective MBA student I meet and highly recommend it to anyone reading this right now. My results: I ended up getting accepted to NotreDame, Emory, Tepper, and Cornell all with scholarships and in the FINAL round of the application cycle. Thank You Maria for creating just a great product and helping me make my dreams a reality!

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April 17, 2019

Joined: Mar 07, 2018

Posts: 39

Kudos: 16

Verified score:
720 Q47 V41

Short on funds, a negative outlook from traditional consultants for your dream schools, consultants talking in a language you think is nonsense - if any one factor out of these resonates with you, read on!

I got to know about ApplicantLab through a GMATClub scheduled webinar Maria was giving wherein she talked about how and what of the MBA preparation. The moment I started listening to her, the candid nature of her advice made a difference to me. I thought I cannot afford this, coming from India and this being a running experiment (I only had one chance at this before everyone got me married, right? ) I was just half-listening like I had to put my attendance to the session. My ears got perked up only when I heard there is some trial coupon being shared. This made it safe, right? I wouldn't need to burn two months worth of rent to sample it. I noted the coupon, tried it for a few days and I was only till the career goals part but I loved it. There was guidance for each application+interview only for this much amount and if I went even to Indian consultants, I will easily be burning 5x of this price. The price made sense, as did the reviews on GMATClub which I read only post this stage. None of the few people around me had heard of this buzz, so it was my leap to take. And leap, I did.

I was worried that I might also need a real person for a sanity check and I couldn't afford to buy there time again (International!), so I did get a one application package from a traditional consultant. Wise decision? Yes! The glaring difference between their pieces of advice made me see my application myself from the point of view of the adcom at times. The insight Maria guides you through maks you understand the entire process as if you were driving it. Since it's no longer a magic black box of '10 ways to talk impressively', it helps.

School selection: She really doesn't give you a cooked advice. Find people, do your research, find syncs and know for yourself where you can go and where you want to go. A traditional consultant might restrict you here, based on their experiences even if they have their hearts at the right place.

Basic skeleton: The first few sections which make you start talking about your real story, your future story and the gaps in your story and how to fill them - helps. A big deal. You cannot start putting a face to something which is hollow right?

Application advice: Break each question word-by-word, go for school's values and link everything together. The questions that Maria breaks each essay topic into is so comprehensive that it's sufficient to check and cross-check if you have answered it completely. They are also pretty exhaustive so you could pass them on to a friend for proof-read.

Interview prep: A lot many people take interview advice from Maria which must have its own perks. But if you choose not to, the interview advice in the Lab is pretty exhaustive as well! I went through the advice and then a few mocks with friends and seniors. That served me well.

The only part I think could be included is some samples for applicants to understand what successful applications look like. I saved each and every screenshot Maria shared, however concise and there is a floating idea that you shouldn't see other people's work lest you get narrow in your approach. But I really felt more confident when I read those samples and it helped me curate better stories because talking about my life is something I haven't done ever and a lot many cultures tend to belittle their life story and a lot many tend to glorify.

To sum up, if you are thinking whether to go for Lab and will it be a personal enough advice, go for it. The advice doesn't need to be personal. It's the same for everyone. The journey for self-exploration is one's own and that's what you'll make individually through Lab.

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April 16, 2019

Joined: Jan 28, 2019

Posts: 2

Kudos: 3

Self-reported Score:

The most price efficient!

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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.

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April 08, 2019

Joined: Mar 14, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 5

Amazing help with MBA applications!

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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.

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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 04, 2019

Joined: Dec 13, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Wonderful - accepted to Stanford GSB!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

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!

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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.
March 28, 2019

Joined: Jan 13, 2018

Posts: 13

Kudos: 5

Self-reported Score:
610 Q46 V28
710 Q48 V39

Got accepted at HBS!!! Thanks ApplicantLab!!!

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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!

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