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Heidi Hillis graduated from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1998, where she was the student chair of the Global Management Program (GMP) and helped craft the first Global Management Immersion Experience (GMIX) to China in 1997. For several years she served as an alumni interviewer for the Stanford GSB.
Heidi’s 24-year career in business has taken her across the globe, helping her to develop a truly international perspective on the value of a business education. She has worked as a director of micro-finance for a nonprofit in Russia, a amanagement consultant for McKinsey & Co. in London, a senior product manager for a European e-commerce company, and a finance director for a major South American telecom. Most recently she helped launch an industrial minerals company in southern Chile.
In the course of her career Heidi has created several business internship programs and has interviewed hundreds of job applicants. In addition to the MBA she holds an MA (1991) and BA (1990) from Stanford University.
Joined: May 16, 2020
750 Q48 V45 (Online)
I had the pleasure and privilege to work with Heidi for my applications to 6 top MBA programs in the US, and ultimately got accepted by 4 schools. As an applicant of South Asian origin working in finance, my two biggest concerns were presenting a differentiated enough story amongst what tends to be one of the most competitive pools in the application process + being able to put my best foot forward given the demanding nature of each application and the limited time I had with my job to focus on the application process.
Heidi made the process incredibly seamless. I found her to be a great listener, where she gave me the freedom to craft my own story, while constantly challenging me on bits that needed more work / clarification. Once we developed the general narrative, Heidi had specific, pointed feedback on how to modify the story for each school, thereby allowing me to put my best foot forward and obviously typifying her differentiated understanding on what different schools are looking for. The application process is ultimately a game of margins, and I felt that Heidi's knowledge and expertise brought an additional element of specificity to my applications which I could have never achieved on my own.
Heidi was also extremely methodical in her approach and we did a lot of legwork around putting different aspects of my personality, interests, past experiences etc. into tangible narratives, prior to starting the essay writing process. The impact of all of this work was that by the time I had finished writing my applications, not only had I internalized my "business school story" fully, but also fully internalized the dozens of other things that then came handy when the interviews started rolling in a few months. I cannot stress enough how easy it made the interview process, where I did not feel the need to do dozens of mocks or anything, because the fundamentals of my story were so clearly laid out owing to the work I did with Heidi. This is a testament to Heidi's experience and vision as a coach, where the path from application inception to interview is fully clear in her mind, and the work she makes you put in the beginning goes a long way in the application cycle.
The other standout quality for me was Heidi's incredible work ethic and how available she made herself to make the process easier for me. Turnaround time for every single draft was almost always less than 24 hours, and if for some reason there was a conflict on her side, the communication around it was super clear and significantly well in advance. Furthermore, Heidi's calendar was always open to schedule a call to discuss literally anything, brainstorm ideas etc. There were never any limitations on phone/video calls - she was always there. Going into the application process this was the type of unbarred access and support I had hoped to receive, and Heidi simply over-delivered on this aspect.
Five stars all the way for Heidi. The business school application process is an incredible commitment on so many fronts, and Heidi could not have been a better mentor and coach to not only make the process seamless but incredibly rewarding in itself.
Joined: Jan 24, 2021
When I started my MBA process, I had already worked in admissions consulting myself for 4+ years, albeit at the undergrad level. Even though I was very familiar with personal essay-writing, interview prep, etc., Heidi *still* added tremendous value to my MBA applications.
First, I was applying from a “non-traditional” business background, and Heidi was instrumental in helping me capture and articulate my experiences in a clear, concise way that would make sense to an admissions reader. Also, with thought-provoking questions and comments, Heidi guided me to develop a coherent and compelling application “narrative” that connected my past experiences with concrete post-MBA goals. At first, I signed on with Fortuna to do a one-school package. But I quickly realized how helpful Heidi was and began adding on more hours, more interview prep, etc. Ultimately, I was very proud of the applications I submitted, and I can’t imagine having achieved such high-quality without Heidi’s advice and expertise.
In terms of working style, Heidi is reliable and attentive. She checked in on my progress regularly, responded to my questions in a timely manner, and always turned around essay edits within a day or two (even faster, as we got close to deadlines). On several occasions, she sent me articles/online events that she thought I might be interested in given my career goals. In such a fundamentally stressful process, working with someone as reliable and thoughtful as Heidi went a long way in helping me (mostly) preserve my sanity!
So, my best advice to you: work with Heidi, and get a multi-school package from the get-go. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself wanting Heidi’s sage input on as many application materials as possible.
(Lastly, including this info because I know some people look for it as they read reviews: I was admitted to several top 10 programs, including Wharton and Kellogg.)
Joined: Jul 08, 2020
Heidi helped guide me through the admissions process and gave me a good understanding of what admissions departments look for in MBA applicants. I was applying to selective programs (M7/T10), and wanted to make sure I was putting my best foot forward with applications, so opted to go for the premium package. Heidi's help with essays and interview prep was invaluable, and she was instrumental in my success. I received acceptances to two of my top choice schools, in no small part due to her feedback while crafting my story for the programs I was applying to. Highly recommend her!
Joined: Aug 08, 2017
I worked with Heidi on my business school applications and she was extremely supportive, responsive, and knowledgeable throughout. She played a pivotal role in all aspects of the process, including recommender strategy, application form strategy, essay planning and revisions, and interview prep.
She paid attention to the various stories in my life and helped me uncover key themes that really highlighted who I am. Once I began drafting essays, she provided thoughtful feedback with very quick turnarounds. I felt supported throughout. Overall, it was an amazing working with her and I recommend her to anyone applying to competitive business schools!
Joined: May 02, 2020
I was lucky enough to work with Heidi and transform from being someone unfamiliar with the idea of business school to an admit to both Harvard and Stanford. Heidi was the perfect coach throughout the application process. She asked thought-provoking questions that helped me introspect and develop a compelling narrative. She also is mindful of details and deadlines, and she turned around comments and edits on my drafts in record time.
Heidi is very knowledgeable on the nuanced differences between different business schools and the decision criteria of the admissions committees. This helped throughout the process, but it was especially apparent when preparing for interviews. Business school admissions interviews are unlike any interview I've experienced before, but Heidi's guidance and mock interview beforehand prepared me well and kept me at ease.
Five stars for Heidi and Fortuna - if you're about to embark on the application process, you'll want to have them in your corner.
Joined: May 29, 2016
740 Q47 V44
Despite originally not planning to work with an admissions consultant, I ultimately reached out to Heidi as I hit a wall with the "What Matters" essay at GSB - my dream school. Given that I only had limited time and much of thinking already complete, Heidi recommended the flexible hourly package (5 hours+). With the minimum amount of time, i was originally a bit nervous -- however, even with 5 hours, Heidi still managed to identify my strongest stories and themes that I could never have on my own. The overall experience was also wonderful, and it was such a joy to work with her - even though we were on opposite time zones during the holidays, she worked flexibly to meet my schedule and continued to encourage me through warmth and affirmation. For anyone applying to GSB, or anywhere really, I highly highly recommend working with Heidi.
Joined: Apr 09, 2020
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I have just been admitted to my top three schools (including my dream school Stanford GSB)!!!
As an international candidate with an untraditional background, I was not sure where to start or how to move throughout the MBA application process. On top of that, I did not have a lot of time as I started working on my application only two months before the deadlines. However, I was fortunate enough to have Heidi on my side.
Heid was super knowledgeable about every element in this process, to the smallest details in every school I planned to apply. Sometimes it seemed as if Heidi completed her MBA at all M7 schools (and not only at Stanford GSB). Heidi’s experience, down to earth well-structured approach, and crazy response times (less than 24 hours, even on holidays!) made the difference.
In addition to being a great admission consultant, Heidi is a great interviewer. As a nonnative English speaker, I was stressed by having to interview in English. However, Heidi was able to provide some great feedback and tips throughout the mock interviews that we conducted. She even introduced me to her colleagues in Fortuna, who gave me extra practice and insight.
As a closing mark, I have to say that Heidi is not only super professional but also the nicest person. Applying to business schools can be an intense and stressful process, yet when you have Heidi on your side, it gets much better.
Joined: Aug 05, 2018
740 Q49 V41
It has been a long journey but at the end I am admitted to 3 Business Schools included my dream school. I am an international candidate on the older side that never applied to a US School. Heidi helped me going through the process with a clear mindset and guidance, motivating me but always with a down to earth approach. I felt she was genuine and very experienced on how to best tackle the next steps.
After submitting my application she went through the interview process and she even recommended me to her colleagues for a second opinion.
You profile is what it is but working with Heidi and Fortuna guarantees you the best chance for your application.
Joined: Jan 29, 2019
720 Q47 V41
I had at least a dozen assessment calls with other consultants before I was referred to Heidi. I was told by all of them that my chances of getting into the two schools that I applied to were slim to none, and no one that I spoke to seemed excited to work with me. I knew that Heidi was the right partner for me for this process during our first phone call. She was encouraging throughout the entire process, and she did a great job identifying my strengths. Going into the application process, I had no idea what I wanted to write about, but Heidi spent a lot of time working with me to craft the story I wanted to tell. I was ultimately accepted to my top choice (Stanford), and I feel immense gratitude for her her help.
Joined: Jan 09, 2019
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]
I worked with Heidi Hillis throughout my business school application process. She offered critical/actionable feedback and provided creative/interesting insights every single step of the way! She helped me to uncover and articulate my story and goals in a clear and compelling fashion. As a result of this support, I got into my top two programs (HBS and LBS) and received one of the largest scholarships possible at LBS.
Furthermore, Heidi is very responsive and flexible - she worked around my hectic schedule and took calls on weekends and before/after work as needed. The Fortuna team as a whole is very talented, professional, and enjoyable to work with. Although Heidi was my consultant, she pulled in experts for particular parts of my application and questions as they come up. Everyone was very helpful!
I highly recommend Fortuna and Heidi Hillis in particular!