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 85 reviews
April 09, 2018

Joined: Jul 18, 2015

Posts: 3600

Kudos: 2858

Verified score:
710 Q50 V35

Help me achieve my Dream


I was not very confident about how would a tool help me write essays or get me into top business schools. I was like "Are you really serious? This is just a tool Man!".

I must admit today I laugh at myself when I think what I used to think about this tool. Since it was just for a few bucks, I thought let's go for it. I bought the tool and started working on it. I showed my last years Resume to a couple of people and everyone was like "Hey, did you really apply to Business schools with this resume?". I was highly embarrassed. Come on, I paid so much for this and now you are laughing at me on this resume?

Trust me: I got awestruck when I saw Maria's advice on how to build a resume for MBA school. At that time, I wanted to punch my consultant too badly. I mean how dare he made me make a resume that was the worst resume in the world. Maria has made a comparison on what a good resume is and how badly you can make your resume. And all the qualities of a bad resume were there in my old resume. It was a BS.

I worked on my resume again and followed the advice that was provided on the tool. I felt a bit confident that atleast I have made something better this year than what I did the previous year. This also made me realize that some of the "big" consultant companies are using their big names to get the business but are hiring low quality consultants to provide services.

I started working on other modules of ApplicantLab. Initial modules brainstorm you alot by asking you to think alot and answer alot many questions. I felt a bit less confident on how boring it was. But I realized its worth once I started writing my essays. I felt that whatever the questions were asking was already brainstormed by the tool in the initial stages. It got so easy to just pull the information/answers I already wrote and plug them in the essays to make a story. There are many sanity checks that ensure that you are adding the information that the essay is looking for. The best thing is you have very specific information for every school.

I even realized that my previous consultant was not even providing me any direction or ideas to write my essays. He was just asking me to remove this and add something better. But ApplicantLab has very well explained videos for every school. Maria has provided alot many ideas/examples for you to think and has provided right directions to help you get further ideas.

Feeling more confident now, I started working on my first essay and this way I ended up submitting 10 applications within 30 days.

It was Diwali night (A North Indian Festival) when I received my two interview invites within a span of 30 minutes. I got excited and opened the interview module of ApplicantLab and started preparing for interviews. My experience with interview module was again awesome. All the general and behavioral questions are very well explained and they guide you to generate many ideas to talk about. This went in my favor. I prepared well and started receiving interview calls from a couple of more schools in the mean time. My interviews went awesome.

I ended up spending less than what I spent last year and got admitted to 3 schools with huge $$$s.

It was 2 weeks after the interview of one the schools that I came to know I got admitted and that too with unexpectedly high scholarship.

I have added my detailed story here:

Happy learning!

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April 02, 2018

Joined: Sep 12, 2016

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
740 Q49 V42



Absolutely amazing! Cheap and highly effective!
Starting from how to write resume to how to get the best recommendations, ApplicantLab covers everything. The best thing is you get unlimited access and can use it to prepare the best applications for all your targeted universities. ApplicantLab (through tons of exercises and tips) also helps you to understand yourself well and develop a well-defined post MBA plan. Maria is extremely supportive and provides feedbacks that will make you a strong candidate.
I am from Bangladesh and very few people from my country apply to the top MBA programs. So there were not many people to guide me when I decided to apply for my MBA. Also, other consultants were so expensive that it was impossible for me to avail their services. ApplicantLab was a life-saver for me! Even though they provide the service at such a cheap price, their service is topnotch.
I only applied to three universities – Babson, York and Johns Hopkins. I got selected (with scholarship) to all of them. Johns Hopkins offered me 100% scholarship for their MBA program!! Babson offered $20K scholarship and York offered $10K. All of these were possible because of Maria and ApplicantLab!

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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.
March 22, 2018

Joined: Feb 23, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

HBS Admits, thanks to ApplicantLab!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

ApplicantLab got me and my girlfriend get into HBS and several other top MBA programs. I honestly do not think we could have done it without the app, and I think everyone applying to business school would benefit from it.

We did not work with any traditional consultants, but having gone through the whole process, it is hard to imagine what they would offer that you cannot get from Maria and the app at a small fraction of the price.

For people who like to work on their own schedule, I actually think ApplicantLab is the better option. Maria provides detailed written and video analyses for nearly every question on each school’s application which you can consume all at once or whenever you have time. The analyses are excellent at pointing out the opportunities (and risks) that every question on the application presents--even the very small ones that are easily overlooked.

Even if you do decide to go with a consulting company, the ApplicantLab’s price point makes it a no-brainer as an additional resource. Maria is incredibly responsive to questions (not sure how she does it), and has filled the app with many years of insight and experience. Really can’t overstate how much this app helped us!

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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 22, 2018

Joined: Jan 02, 2017

Posts: 14

Kudos: 6

Verified score:
680 Q45 V38

Good advice every step of the process


This is not your typical admissions consulting services. If you have the will to put in the effort, Applicant Lab will help you in every way possible.

I am a second time applicant. First time, which was over 5 years ago, I had paid over $600 to had my essays written for me. In hindsight, I realized that the consultant took no interest in knowing me. What she produced was a stereotypical file of essays and SOPs, which lacked "ME".

This time around, I was determined to not follow the rat race, but truly understand why I want to do an MBA, what motivates me, and what are my strengths/weaknesses.

After researching via GMAT Club and attending a session on Resume building from Maria through eGMAT, I bought the online Lab access.

It really helps you structure your thoughts and dig out the times when you did great at work or in personal life, but might have forgotten about it or didn't think that experience would help in your application. The Lab helps you identify your weaknesses, and then work on it to present the best version of "YOU".

I religiously worked with the lab and watched all of Maria's videos over 2-3 months. I received excellent remarks on my resume. During my interview at Ross, my interviewer was very impressed with my preparation. She was happy with the thought and effort I'd put in to know the school and how it fits with my goals.

At first, I was a little scared that the whole experience of Applicant Lab will be impersonal. I thought, it will be one advice for all, and I might get stuck again with representing myself in a stereotypical way. But I was quite impressed with the depth of options offered. Maria doesn't hand anything to you on a platter. She will present you with her thoughts, what she thinks works, and given your situation what works best - rest is up to you. If you follow the tool religiously, you'll see how it enables you to know yourself better.

If you're looking to be spoon-fed, then I won't suggest using the lab. But if you want to write your own essays, and present a genuine self to the schools you're applying to - Applicant Lab is your best bud.

By the time I completed all the modules from Lab, I knew exactly what I wanted from an MBA, why Ross and Schulich, my strengths and weaknesses, what I brought to the table - and I could talk or write about it in a precise and succinct manner.

And if you are really in doubt, and need human interaction, Maria is available at all times for help. She'd answer my emails within a day. I'd thought I will request her to do Skype interviews with me, but her interview module was so interactive that I didn't need to.

All in all, best value for your buck. Especially if you are on a budget and believe in doing things by yourself.

Thank you Maria! Your product was not only helpful in my admission process, but also has helped me find and build my perspective and gather my thoughts - and I am finding that increasingly helpful along every step of my MBA life.

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May 17, 2018

Thank you so much buddy. You gave a very good explanation about ApplicantLab.

March 15, 2018

Joined: Mar 16, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
710 Q51 V34

Very innovative and helpful website for DIY applicants


I am a DIY applicant and I strongly recommend this website to those who have no clue how to structure your essay.

My favorite part of the ApplicantLab is actually the videos, especially those in the School Mapping and the Interview preparation. The amazing walkthrough of the schools' website helped me to understand what they are looking for in each candidate. It also helped me to determine whether the school is a good fit for me. I certainly see lots of great efforts have been put on individual schools to walk people through their essay topics. These contents are updated quite often.

I definitely like watching a lively person in a video better than just read the long and tedious articles about how to write essays and how to prepare for the interview. With that being said, if people do enjoy reading, ApplicantLab has the script right underneath each video.

They have a free trial for a week. So definitely worth checking out!

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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.
March 14, 2018

Joined: Nov 08, 2017

Posts: 26

Kudos: 3

Verified score:
740 Q49 V42

Perfect Product For Me


This is what I sent Maria after receiving admission to my top school:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! As a fringe candidate that was considered too inexperienced (2 years out of college), too young (24), and probably too dumb (2.9 GPA), I needed every ounce of help I could to craft a cohesive and persuasive story for my MBA applications. Without the ApplicantLab setup and your personal help, I probably don't receive a single acceptance. 3 acceptances later, including the Tepper School at CMU, I want to thank you a hundred times over for setting up a fantastic, intuitive, and most importantly, effective tool for MBA applications. I've referred you to everyone that will listen, and will continue to do so. Bottom line: ApplicantLab works, and it works well.

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March 07, 2018

Joined: Nov 12, 2016

Posts: 6

Kudos: 5

Verified score:
710 Q47 V40

First rate advice at a fraction of the price - Oxford admit


Key message:

**Expensive firms are not the only viable option!**

ApplicantLab is essentially a series of one on one recorded consulting sessions that you can replay time after time! It's personalised, intelligent advice that doesn't have any personal agendas or biases. Here's how it helped me.

The reason I looked for extra advice was that I lacked some confidence in my profile and I also felt a bit out of the loop being so far away from the US and Europe, as I was based in South Africa. In retrospect, I think many people people feel this way; it's normal.

Maria's platform caught my eye while I was looking for supporting material. The price was far better than the traditional admissions consultants and after the free trial of the platform I took the plunge and purchased access. The beauty of an appified, online admission advice process is the following:

1. Maria's words and advice have been chosen very carefully for her videos, and you can go back and listen to them over and over
2. The platform's algorithms are smart and give you personalised advice that I found very helpful, for example in identifying your strong and weak points
3. You can work at your own pace, which means you have enough time to type down various thoughts and reflections. You simply wouldn't have that amount of time with a consultant unless you paid for huge amounts of time
4. You can get personalised, well-researched advice for any of several top tier schools at no extra cost. If you want to add a school, it's easy.

Maria and her team have clearly put a huge amount of time and effort into curating a product that I found so relevant and helpful, greatly assisting me to get admitted to Oxford in stage 4 of the 6 rounds of admissions (this year there are only 4 rounds). I was blown away.

Don't consider this a second choice to traditional consultants - the lower price point is not a marker of its usefulness or quality. It's simply due to the online nature of the offering that the price comes in more affordably. Plus, if you decide you want someone to speak to, Maria is available for one on one consultations at additional rates.

I wholeheartedly recommend ApplicantLab. Good luck!

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January 30, 2018

Joined: Nov 04, 2011

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
710 Q48 V38

Best service out there


**I am writing this review after already having received my admissions decisions and committing to a school**
I was really on the fence about whether to shell out thousands of dollars per school to make sure I had a buttoned-up admissions package, but at the suggestion of a friend I decided to try ApplicantLab first.

Honestly, this is the best b-school related decision I made. The modules are incredibly helpful and allow you to go at your own pace. She has specific advice for each school, and in my opinion, the advice is probably as good as any other service out there - for a lot less money.

In addition to how helpful the modules are, Maria is also super responsive via email and truly goes above and beyond to answer your questions. I feel like I got to know her well, and she is really invested in your success.

I honestly couldn't have gotten into my schools without her, and I'm so thankful for her "lab" and support!!

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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.
January 22, 2018

Joined: Jun 17, 2016

Posts: 501

Kudos: 503

Verified score:
720 Q49 V39

Best Investment Ever


Before I write anything else, I want to confess one thing here:
There were two main reasons I subscribed to applicantlab:
1. It’s was just 300 bucks (~ 20000 INR)
2. It’s a HARVARD Alumna product
The low price (when every other consultant, including the Indian consultants in the world, is asking for thousands of dollars) gave me a feeling that even if it does not help I am not loosing much and the Harvard tag gave me an assurance that I am in safe hands. Plus when I attended one of its webinar (organised by e-gmat), I came to know about Maria’s experience of helping students in their applications for more than 10 years, I had little doubt left that I want to subscribe to applicantlab. So I subscribed. And I must admit, it turned out to be one of the best investment I ever made. (Trust me. I am a Gujarati and we people are known for our shrewd business and financial acumen ;)
Afterall, I got 200x return in terms of scholarship :p
What did it do (Read BEST FEATURES of Applicantlab):
- It gave me insights into my profile’s strengths and weakness.
- Gave me suggestions on how to mitigate / address those weaknesses and leverage those strengths.
- Gave me direction on how to research more deeply about my goals / vision.
- Provided ideas to approach people for informational interviews
- Helped me brain storm ideas about my personal story
- Provided prompts to brain storm stories on leadership, teamwork, persuasion, failures, etc
- Gave me school / essay specific suggestions and directions
- Kicked me right direction to research school specific details
- Helped me prepare my recommender
- Helped me build my resume
- (Bonus) Provided a tutorial on how to make a video essay (which is becoming common with more and more bschools every day). Trust me it’s a real struggle if you are not a pro in that field.
- And my favourite is the Interview Module. I will just say this “I appeared in 3 interviews so far and have cleared all of them”. And trust me I have not used a single other source but applicantlab for interviews. In a word / sentence, I would say “It is simply the BEST in the market”.
Methods provided on the module to practice your interview skills, the framework on for each for each of the commonly asked questions in bschool application interviews and more importantly what not to do for each question make the interview module the highlight of applicantlab.

In case, you still have doubts about applicantlab, read this:
When I applied earlier this year in R1, I was in-between jobs (had to leave the previous one without having a new one in hand), but still it did not affect my chances much because I had covered it that weakness well through other parts of my application and I could do that only because of Maria & her applicantlab.

About myself: Mostly I will be matriculating at Kelley but awaiting a couple of other results before I make a final decision.

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January 16, 2018

Joined: Nov 08, 2017

Posts: 3

Kudos: 0

3-time admit - Applicant Lab is THE BEST

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I was a reapplicant to schools this year when I found ApplicantLab. I heard about the tool through the Forte Foundation's MBA Launch program and tried out the free trial.

After just an hour working with the tool I could tell that I needed to buy it. It's a one-stop-shop for organizing all of your brainstorming and applications. Filling out the tool is actually fun because there are some great features such as writing out your stories and dragging and dropping the traits that it represents. Then, when you want to write about certain traits, you can use a filter to bring up the stories that best represent those traits.

However, the absolute BEST part of the lab is that Maria makes videos where she goes through ALL of the top business school applications and explains the rationale behind the questions and has rock-solid approaches to take so that you can respond.

If I didn't have access to the videos, I would have spent many hours of unnecessary time thinking about what Maria explained via her informative and entertaining videos.

On top of that, I bought a few hours of review time from Maria herself. Not only was ApplicantLab itself relatively inexpensive, but Maria's hourly rate (about $150) was much less than other consultants (some charge $300-$500?!?!).

Hiring a consultant for $4000+ is just insane, ApplicantLab is ~$300 and you will get absolutely equal or better value.

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