June 15, 2017

Joined: Aug 30, 2014

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Stacy Blackman Comprehensive Package - Erica


I would like to give my two cents on the comprehensive package services by Stacy Blackman. I had the opportunity to work with Erika Olson as my consultant. I had signed up for a comprehensive package for two universities.

Let me give a brief background about myself. At the time of my application, I was working as a Performance Manager with Schlumberger Middle East SA. I was based out of Abu Dhabi. Prior to Abu Dhabi, I had worked in oil fields in Iraq for a year and a half. Being a female employee and working in geographically unstable locations such as Iraq in a male dominant industry such as Oil and Gas, might sound a fantastic outline for an essay for a B-School. Unfortunately, it is not. It is quite stereotypical to assume that and to be honest a bit cliche.

Yes, there are a lot of factors that the admission committee looks into prior to shortlisting you for an interview. Erika played a very big role in helping me to understand my strengths and making sure my profile stands out; she ensured my essays clearly highlight who I am, my traits and my qualities that I bring to the table. Some people work well with people who are very strategic and organized in their approach. If you are one of such person, then Erika can definitely help you bring out the best in you in your essays.

Having said that, I also strongly believe that while your consultant can help you bring out your strengths in your stories, it is important to sometimes stick to your gut feelings.

While working on my Essays with Erika, after 10 extensive and grueling versions of my essays I changed the approach of the story completely. I felt that even after 10 versions something was not clicking. That is when you expect your consultant to be patient and open to your point of view in spite of the long hours spent by her on your essays, fixing the minor details and the tone. This is exactly what I got from Erika. Although Erika disagreed with me on few things, she respected the fact that this was my essay in the end and I should feel comfortable while telling my stories.

Erika helped me with the comprehensive package for 2 universities - Kellogg and Haas. With the help of these 2 essays, I ended up applying to 7 universities and got an invite for the interview from 6 of them. I decided to work on my Harvard Business School Interview with Erika. Given her years of experience and expertise on this subject, she clearly knew what sort of questions to expect and prepared me well for the interview. I still remember her comment at the end of my mock interview - 'You are a rockstar and I am sure you'll do well'. Needless to say, I am joining HBS, my dream college this fall.

I am very thankful to Erika for her constant support and her confidence in me. This tiresome journey of getting through my dream B-School would not have been possible without her.

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