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 88 reviews
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: 499

Kudos: 539

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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January 01, 2018

Joined: Jan 01, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
760 Q51 V41

You can't beat ApplicantLab!


About me: I am an Asian male working in IT consulting (but not from India). I just got admitted to Wharton in R1 as a reapplicant. Last year, I was rejected after wait list.

As the school didn’t provide feedback after rejection, I was seeking any possible way to enhance my package besides English and interview practice. That’s when I came across ApplicantLab. I tried the free module and immediately decided to purchase it because it specifically pointed out the strategy for people like me who want to transition from IT consulting to strategy consulting. That REALLY surprised me because I thought such tool like many admission books in the marketplace can only provide general advice, but Maria did an amazing job making an interactive platform able to tailor to each one’s situation.

Compared to the price of 1-on-1 consultant package, ApplicantLab is totally a steal. As it has one flat price regardless how many schools I used, it really has more than what I could use. Particularly, the “Prewriting” module is super helpful. It not only has a detailed “Review advice” for each essay question but also has a check list for me to check if my essay covers everything. In addition, like other reviews had said, Maria is very helpful and replied very fast for additional questions I have. There were several time she replied even within one hour!

Lastly, as my interview last year didn’t work out. I also purchased 1 mock interview with Maria. Maria’s feedback is extremely helpful and to the point to me. Even though she gave feedback right after the mock interview, she was able to capture everything I said and gave detailed feedback for each question. I got several insights into adcom’s mindset and developed better answers throughout our discussions.

In short, I would highly recommend ApplicantLab for every one even already having 1-on-1 consultant package. Thank you, 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.
December 28, 2017

Joined: Dec 28, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Self-reported Score:
770 Q49 V44

Super helpful for a triple admit!!!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I used ApplicantLab for my applicants to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton in Round 1, and was accepted to all 3. Private admissions consultants were so so expensive and not an option for me, so I took the leap, and could not be happier about my choice.

The service is unconventional as a concept, but superbly executed by Maria and is (to me) a gamechanger. I had questions about how effective an online system would be, and am blown away by how much direction it gave my essays and my interview prep. I felt super comfortable with my essays by the end of the process, and went through so many fewer iterations than I read about from other applicants. I cannot imagine any admissions consultant service being more helpful or adding more value to my admissions process.

Thanks again Maria!! And if you're already a self-driven, motivated applicant, then there really is no need to shell out thousands - the system works superbly.

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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.
December 25, 2017

Joined: May 27, 2017

Posts: 2

Kudos: 5

Verified score:
730 Q48 V42

An excellent tool created by a wonderful person


I used ApplicantLab for my Round 1 applications this season, and it is truly amazing (and I made it into my top choice schools!)
Maria has put a lot of time and effort into developing this tool that pretty much answers every question you have (or even questions you should have had but hadn't thought of) and walks you through each step of the application process. The questions that Maria lays out on the tool are meant for you to be introspective and think about what truly matters to you, and in the process, create essays that are true reflections of who you are as a person. The best part about ApplicantLab is that it does not interfere with your creative freedom at all, but in fact, encourages it. Also, Maria's essay advice is tailored to each specific essay for each school, and is absolutely fantastic. Her videos in particular are super helpful, and make you feel like you always have someone who is looking out for you. Maria's advice is always honest and straightforward, and helps you not get freaked out by the plethora of misconceptions out there on MBA forums.
Maria herself is such a lovely person. Every time I emailed her, she always took the time to provide detailed answers to my questions and really looked out for me.
Overall, dare I say that this tool can more than replace any admissions consultant - and for such a reasonable price, it is SO worth it! Thank you, Maria!

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December 25, 2017

Joined: Oct 10, 2017

Posts: 11

Kudos: 2

Self-reported Score:
730 Q49 V41

Incredibly Helpful! Got into MIT Sloan with Full Fellowship!


I used ApplicantLab for my MIT Sloan Round 1 application and I plan to use it for my Round 2 apps as well. I am using ApplicantLab for 5 MBA apps and I'm sure I could choose more.... and it's just one flat fee! Anyways, I received my MIT Sloan acceptance call last Tuesday for Round 1 with a full fellowship!! I am over the moon and I owe a lot to Maria's ApplicantLab!! I know it wouldn't have been possible without the help of ApplicantLab's step-by-step (like incredibly granular) instructions on how to structure my ENTIRE application. Maria gives solid guidance on whichever path you decide to take with your apps (e.g. she provides great feedback on each of the pics for the Booth main essay, as well).

I thought the "Review Advice" in the pre-writing section was INCREDIBLY helpful as I had trouble distilling what I thought would be relevant to the Sloan community. It definitely pushed me in the right direction and I have to give a significant amount of credit to Maria for helping me get there.

The flexibility of the self-pace style of ApplicantLab was also a boon as I was able to get assistance on my app whenever I wanted without relying on calling a consultant who may or may not answer the phone right away.

For those who are worried that ApplicantLab isn't personalized enough... don't fret. It goes very in-depth and highlights your traits that are desired by each school. You just have to do some thinking while in the brainstorming phase -- the same kind internal digging you'd do with a regular consulting service.

In sum, ApplicantLab was a very valuable resource during my R1 application cycle and I wouldn't be in my current position without it! 10/10 recommend if you want bang-for-the-buck help getting into a top MBA program!

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December 31, 2017

Hi friend,
I was about to buy the Applicant Lab package but just wanted to understand if I should buy it now or later. I will be taking GMAT in March, 2018, i.e. planning to join the classes in 2019 if all goes well. I understand that I should take it now itself as the subscription/account doesn't expire. What do you suggest?

January 02, 2018


Currently, the subscription does not expire. She wants to incentivize people to start as soon as possible! So I recommend getting the package now!

January 06, 2018


I'm looking to apply for MIT Sloan next year like and I have few question if you may. How Applicant Lab helped you to get fellowship? The dashboard seems that has only three stages (Strategy-Preparation-Writing) and supporting documents.

Also, do the team help to review essays and resume after I'm done?

January 07, 2018

I think Applicant Lab helped me frame my story / my strengths more clearly. ApplicantLab Premium has a lot steps within those stages you mentioned to help you distill your story. I didn't have ApplicantLab review my essay and resume. I had my friends do that. I think creating your initial draft of essays through ApplicantLab coupled with having your friends thoroughly review grammar/cohesion are what helped me create a more compelling story. Also, properly preparing for the interview is key. Applicantlab kinda helped me with that as well but I used YouTube and LiveWire more for that.

December 11, 2017

Joined: Nov 01, 2016

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
680 Q44 V38

Accepted into top choice MBA school -- with a FULL scholarship!!


I was rushing to submit my applications for R1 and I only had 4 weeks to draft several compelling essays! My GMAT was a median score, so I was quite stressed and frankly overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done.. it was a slow start.

I stumbled upon Applicant Lab on the GMAT club and read good reviews. I thought I would give it a try since at this point, I had to use my time very efficiently.

Applicant Lab was very helpful in directing my energies towards productive brainstorming, drafting and final editing. There was also a diagnostic section in the beginning that assessed my profile and gave specific instructions how I can strengthen my application i.e. given a median GMAT vs. really smart people all around the world. This encouraged me and helped me craft a compelling and targeted story.

Maria is very hands-on and helpful. I loved the videos as it makes her come to life, like the 'MBA Alumni Friend' you could bother! Of course I reached our to other MBA alumni for advice on my applications, but they are obviously very busy people and I couldn't bother them on the details. Maria (through applicant lab) gave me the nitty gritty for each essay/ recommendation question on my application and wow- this was mighty helpful!

Fast forward several weeks after, I got into my top choice school - INSEAD with a FULL scholarship!! Using the applicant lab 'frameworks' and Maria's advice on my scholarship essays were a big help. I couldn't be happier and I would definitely recommend Applicant Lab in a blink of an eye. :)

Thank you Maria! You are doing amazing things.

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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.
June 15, 2018

Hi. Congrats on your admission and the exceptional full ride. I am also a client of applicantlab, but I have not seen any advice regarding scholarships on the lab. Where and how did you get Maria's advice on your scholarship essays? Have you paid her extra money to get a personal advice? How much was the fee?

November 19, 2017

Joined: Jul 25, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Preparation for submission and interview

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by gmat club tests [?]

I want to say that what Maria is doing with ApplicantLab is really great as it provides excellent, easy-to-use service at an extremely affordable price. I used the standard tool service for preparation of the pack of documents to Columbia, Chicago Booth and Wharton as well as editing services for all essays to Columbia and Columbia interview preparation with Maria. I need to add that I was invited to all of the schools I applied. In my opinion, expensive consulting services do not work better than what Maria proposes, I can compare it as I tried initially one of the respectable and expensive consulting providers for Wharton, but I got a feeling that they proposed corrections to make your consulting as long as possible and to make you pay more for more hours, that's just what I had + I was really demotivated as my previous consultant was finding faults even when I did not see any. Finally, I submitted a version which contained a ton of comments from the consultant and I still got invited for an interview. Review of the essays and preparation to Columbia with Maria was a completely different experience. She was so helpful, friendly and supportive, responding to my emails really quickly. After the mock interview you will have it recorded version which is invaluable as you can listen to Maria's comments when it is convenient for you. Essay editors comments were reasonable, without this typical "I don't understand what you are talking about here..." what I had previously. I believe that there is a lot of value in using ApplicantLab and advise it to all. Finally, I was admitted to Columbia with 50k fellowship. Thank you Maria for your help!

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November 18, 2017

Joined: Jun 30, 2014

Posts: 28

Kudos: 9

Self-reported Score:
750 Q49 V42

'The real MVP' of your app process !!!


ApplicantLab is an amazing, super easy to use, highly customizable tool at a fraction of the cost of what other admissions consultant services charge.

About me - I come from one of the most over represented demographics – IME (Indian Male Engineer). Those of you who are aware of how college admissions play out would know, being part of an over represented group makes the already tough process, tougher. Unfortunately I had to learn this the hard way. After unsuccessfully applying to several schools in my first year, not to mention the hours and money down the drain, I was desperately looking to identify drawbacks and improve my profile. As a re-applicant, I also had the added onus on me to show how I have improved since last time.

Enter ApplicantLab, at this juncture!

One demo session with ApplicantLab, I found exactly what I was looking for. ApplicantLab handholds you through the entire application process by presenting a highly customizable path where you can choose amongst the numerous combinations to tailor the advice to exactly any background, any career vision and any target school. Are you a candidate from an over represented pool targeting a common post MBA career choice at an M7 school, Applicantlab’s got your back! Poor acads with limited ECs aiming to change career, Lab’s got you covered! You can think of any possible scenario and Maria has useful advice for each and every one of those.

But this is just the beginning. ApplicantLab ties your best stories with traits that schools are looking for and helps align stories with specific schools, depending upon what each school is looking for in their candidate. For example, it may seem, most schools are just asking different variations of the same questions and there is a strong urge, given the paucity of time, to rehash the same essay. And that, my friends, would be a massive mistake. Maria’s excellent guidance on bringing out the qualities that make you a good ‘fit’ with the school would often be the deciding factor on getting and interview call or being waitlisted/denied.

Now you may ask, but what about the essays? How do I know that I have written the perfect essay that would make the admission committee sit up and take notice? Believe me, after going through the ‘branding’, ‘mapping’ and ‘pre-writing’ sections, writing the first draft would be a breeze. You can definitely take help of your friends to edit the essays and use the numerous guidance videos in ApplicantLab to refine them further. And if you are still not satisfied, and want a final touch, Maria offers an essay editing service as well.

Additionally, once you do get the interview call, ApplicantLab offers guidance on interview prep, selecting recommenders and a host of other related stuff. It basically covers end to end of the MBA application process. Some of the advice would remain extremely helpful (especially those on networking) even after your MBA app is complete.

Thus, if you want to get the best help for your application at an extremely low price, with the option of starting with the basic package and getting add-on services only in case you need it, ApplicantLab is a no-brainer. I highly recommend it and I promise that you won’t regret your choice. You can sign up for a free 15 day trial and check for yourself.

As for me, my story has a happy ending. I got admitted Duke Fuqua and with that my MBA application journey came to an end. Best of luck to you all who are thinking of starting your MBA application journey. If you have any questions about ApplicationLab, feel free to pm me.

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