GMAT Club

Helen Summers Reviews

Company: mbaMission

Before joining mbaMission, Helen Summers served as the director of MBA Programs at Management Leadership for Tomorrow—a national nonprofit that guides underrepresented minorities through the business school application process—where she developed curriculum and programming for nearly 1,000 fellows. Helen’s passion for business school admissions began when she was earning her MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS). In recognition of her significant involvement in admissions efforts and outreach there, Helen received the HBS Student Association Award and the Bert King Fellowship. Before attending business school, Helen was a senior financial analyst with Johnson & Johnson (J&J)—during which time she earned her CPA—and began her five years with the company as part of the Financial Leadership Development Program (FLDP). She gained valuable experience through rotations in finance and accounting, managing Motrin Franchise marketing expenses and analyzing the financial impact of new initiatives in the production process of cardiac catheters and stents. As a graduate of FLDP, Helen returned to J&J’s corporate headquarters, where she helped develop a new financial reporting system and managed the $160M budgets of the company’s CEO and CFO. She is a former Division I scholarship tennis player and has completed two Chicago marathons in recent years. Helen now enjoys exploring vegetarian and vegan cooking.

4.9 /5 Average Rating
Based on 57 reviews
August 13, 2018
matts55

Joined: Jan 23, 2015

Posts: 2

Kudos: 6

Verified score:
710 Q47 V41

Five-Star Coach – Helen Summers

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Deciding to use a consultant:

During my 1.5 years prior to working with Helen, I secured a >700 GMAT, did extensive school research, and attended a dozen MBA networking events. Although I had an idea of what story and themes I wanted to share on my applications, I was unsure how to tell my story in the most effective manner. I began researching different admissions consulting firms when I discovered Helen’s bio at mbaMission.

Soon into my introductory call with Helen to discuss my profile, career goals, and target schools, I knew I wanted to work with her. Helen displayed her knowledge of consulting applicants in applying to top MBA programs and had experience consulting applicants with a background like mine. She was also more than ready to help me shoot for my target schools – HSW.

Essay writing:

The essay writing portion of MBA applications was my biggest challenge. I am confident in my writing abilities, however producing a common theme across multiple essays and free-form application questions requires vision and skill. This is where I needed the most help.

Helen and I held discussions to brainstorm what personal and professional experiences would be most effective to share with each school. Once we settled on a strategy, including which essays to write first and which experiences to match with what essay prompts, I began to write. Helen never once missed a turnaround deadline. In fact, I can recall more than a few occasions where she delivered one business day earlier than expected. Her comments were always detailed and constructive.

What I enjoyed most about working with Helen was how opinionated she was. When she didn’t like how a story came together, she would simply tell me why and to try again. No sugar-coating. Helen reviewed each essay, which averaged 4 – 6 drafts and provided the same rigor of feedback to my free-form application questions (an often overlooked and valuable portion of the application).

Interview prep:

Once I received interview invitations to each program, Helen quickly transitioned into mock interview mode. She conducted three separate mock interviews, each proving to be accurate simulations of what I encountered. Since one program offered a team-based interview, Helen organized for her company to conduct a virtual group interview.

Final results:

In the end, I was admitted to two programs (including my dream school) and waitlisted (and withdrew before a final decision) at the third.

If you’re looking for an experienced and talented consultant, look no further. Helen was an absolute joy to work with. I highly recommend Helen Summers.

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August 12, 2018
mba2100

Joined: Aug 12, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
760 Q49 V45

Could not have done it without Helen!!

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I could not have asked for a better person to work with than Helen Summers. She went above and beyond to help me with all aspects of my applications through every stage of the process. Whether it was helping me brainstorm, editing multiple drafts of my essays, giving me feedback on video essay recordings, preparing for interviews, and managing an incredibly long waitlist process (successfully!), Helen provided invaluable support, encouragement, and insight every step of the way.

During the writing process Helen pushed me to dig deeper and convey a message that would resonate and set my story apart. She was extremely timely with her comments and was not afraid to provide the direct and honest feedback I needed to hear. After receiving interview invitations Helen helped me practice through mock interviews and understand the different interview styles I could expect from each school.

The MBA application process is a marathon. Helen's guidance helped me navigate the process successfully and achieve results well beyond my expectations. She was there for me at every step of the way. With her help, I received interviews at all of the programs I applied to, generous fellowships from top programs, and I was admitted to my dream school!

To anyone who is hesitant about working with a consultant I would highly recommend it, especially working with Helen!!

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June 24, 2018
Priyansha.saxena@yahoo.co.in

Joined: Jul 03, 2013

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Helen is REALLY good!

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As an Indian applying to US B- Schools, I spoke to a few other consultants before deciding to work with Helen. What really caught me was her optimism and confidence in helping me put up my best foot forward in my application. While other consultants might push you to target more "safe" schools and be skeptical about targeting "reach" schools, Helen always encouraged me to go after the schools of my preference. She was EXTREMELY responsive throughout the process, which is why I never faced issues with deadlines. I also want to highlight that she will not let you put up a feeble application in any case and will keep pushing till you produce a solid output. We had hours of brainstorming calls that enabled me to really think about the experiences I wanted to present to the admission committees. I got a few admits with fellowship as a result of her efforts and have decided to attend Yale. I very strongly recommend Helen as an amazing consultant who not only will help you sail through your entire application process seamlessly, but will also constantly help you stay positive and on track.

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June 07, 2018
CambridgeCapp

Joined: Jun 07, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Helen is the BEST, hands down!

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Helen is truly the best there is. Seriously!

She consistently supported me in finding my most authentic voice, and was an incredibly sharp thought-partner. As an hourly client, Helen was always cognizant of my time and I never once felt ‘short-changed’ by any of our interactions. She always pushed the extra mile to answer questions, and never hesitated to reach out to her to offer multiple perspectives when helpful. Her interview preparation was on-point and her ability to meaningfully instill confidence was unparalleled. Helen’s realness won my trust in an instant, and her thoughtful tough-love helped me to be my best.

Tactically, Helen’s speed and flexibility – even throughout the holiday season and peak R1 moments – was fantastic. With a complex international travel schedule, Helen and I always managed to find time to connect at any frequency and duration required. She swiftly answered quick questions and provided well-framed, strategic answers to more complex ones. In the chaos that is the MBA application process, Helen helped me feel in control.

Throughout this entire process, I not only got into my top choice school but also gained a true friend and champion in Helen!!

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April 29, 2018
BTone1011

Joined: Dec 17, 2016

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Helen Summers - Worth Every Cent!! Five-Star Consultant

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I will be attending the University of Michigan Ross this Fall on a fellowship, and Helen Summers was essential to this outcome and my entire business school application process. What I appreciated most was her quick turn around time for every essay draft I sent her. Seldom did I wait more than 2 days for her to turn around my essay drafts with comments. This was especially impressive given that we were working together through December/January holiday season. I also found her detailed commentary on every essay and resume draft I sent to her incredibly helpful. Helen did a fantastic job at dissecting “my story” and pointing out the flaws in my anecdotes. She challenged my writing every step of the way, and it made me better each time. Working with Helen ultimately made me more introspective about my life story and what I wanted to have come through in my application. In addition to essay reviews, I had several phone conversations with Helen throughout my process to discuss GMAT strategy and Recommendation letter strategy. It’s important to note that I signed up for MBA Mission’s Hourly Package. Because the package was based on time spent, I was extremely cognizant and aware of every minute that I used for these consulting services. That being said, I can comfortably say that I never once was concerned that any billable minutes weren’t maximized. Helen was incredibly efficient in combing through my essays and resume while giving back meaningful feedback. When it came time to purchase additional hours, more than I initially planned for, I had zero hesitation because I knew every minute spent to on my application by Helen was going to help. Although I never ended up getting my target GMAT score, Helen did a great job of keeping me focused and helping me bolster every other part of my application, including my optional essay! She will give you the “tough love” that you need, and I truly felt like she was one of my biggest cheerleaders; you can really tell that she is passionate about this stuff. If you want to get into the school of your dreams, she will best position you to do so. I also had three of my friends use Helen this past year and they all got into the schools of their dreams, schools including Wharton, HBS, and Stanford. - I would highly recommend her.

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April 25, 2018
gumbyland

Joined: Mar 15, 2016

Posts: 4

Kudos: 2

Responsive and professional - Highly recommend Helen Summers

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As a Canadian student applying to top business schools in the U.S., I had very little knowledge of the intense level of competition. I didn't know anyone in my immediate circle who has successfully applied to a top U.S. MBA, so I had no reference point either.

I started the process intent on using the DIY-way, but quickly found myself completely lost - what is a "narrative" or "story", and what matters most to me and why?

I knew I needed help. I set up 7 consultations with various companies and knew after my first conversation with Helen that she knew what she was doing. She pointed out my strengths, weaknesses, and told me some strategies to address my lower GPA. After our call, Helen sent a detailed follow-up email with free resources that I could use, regardless of whether I decided to work with her.

A few things to highlight about my experience working with Helen:

• Responsive: Helen never missed a 2-business-day turnaround deadline, and often returned edited drafts to me sooner. I started working with Helen in Mid-October with one application due in November. It was quite a short turnaround since I was very naive about the intensity of the process, but Helen's responsiveness made it more than manageable.
• Your personal cheerleader: Helen gave me her vote of confidence on my target schools and told me to go "full throttle" on the applications instead of suggesting that I apply to "safeties". While some consultants suggested that I apply to lower-ranked programs or schools that weren't a great fit, I'm glad that Helen pushed me to apply for my dream schools.
• Thorough and thoughtful: I did no less than 10 drafts for some essays and Helen always had good feedback and pushed me to push my own thinking. Even if I was happy with a draft or a sentence, she gently guided me towards a path of constant improvement.

I applied to 4 schools in total (H/S/W and a Top 10 program) and worked with Helen on 2 school packages. I was accepted at one of the schools we worked on together and one program where I did the application myself. However, even though we didn't work on that app together, I believe I wouldn't have put forward such a strong application if I didn't have all the back-end work that I did with Helen on the other application.

I'm off to my dream program this fall, and I would highly recommend working with Helen Summers and mbaMission.

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April 24, 2018
PurpleDrank3000

Joined: Aug 21, 2017

Posts: 11

Kudos: 18

Self-reported Score:
550 Q34 V31
560 Q36 V31
660 Q47 V34
700 Q45 V41

Hire Helen Immediately!

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When I think of Helen, five words that come to mind are honest, responsive, blunt, personal, and strategic. My goal was to gain acceptance to Harvard, and I purchased mbaMission’s “Start-to-Finish” package after a free consultation with Helen.

Brainstorming
Regrettably, I have never been an introspective person. Helen sent me an extensive brainstorming document that forced me to be thoughtful about my past, present, and future on a professional and personal level. When we had our one-on-one brainstorming session, it was obvious she had taken time to think critically about my life story. This was demonstrated by her asking very pointed questions about my upbringing, academic/career decisions, and transition points. At the end of our long call, I was certain about the story I wanted to tell HBS. To be very clear, Helen never told me explicitly what I should tell HBS. She encouraged me to be thoughtful about communicating what was truly important to me. She pushed me to make the final decision.

Essay, resume, and short answers
I purchased the “Start-to-Finish” package because I wanted to iterate each part of my application until I was satisfied. Helen was meticulous and blunt when reviewing my essay: “This isn’t clear”, “This doesn’t gel with what you said earlier”, “I like how you said this”, “Try to use less words”. Each draft progressed in flow, efficiency, and style. It was very rewarding because I maintained my distinct voice and the final product was 100% authentic. Helen never forced her thoughts on me. Helen took this same approach to my resume and short answers. She never missed a deadline and was sometimes well ahead of schedule.

Interview
I had ~10 mock interviews (Helen, current students, alumni, friends) before my official HBS interview. My session with Helen was closest to the real thing. My interview preparation with Helen gave me confidence and calmed my anxiety about the interview.

Overall, Helen enhanced my application process in every way. She was pivotal to helping me achieve acceptance to HBS. Have no reservations about working with her.

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April 15, 2018
bertho87

Joined: Oct 10, 2015

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
700 Q47 V38

Helen Summers - Great professional, very kind and available

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Last year, I decided to apply for MBA programs in the US. However, as a French engineer, I didn’t know much about the application process. I had no friends or family with an MBA, so I was getting into complete unknown territory here. After reviewing all the requirements (GMAT, TOEFL, essays, extracurricular, recommendations, transcripts,…), I knew that I definitely needed help to succeed.

I found out about admission consultants on the Internet and scheduled free consultations with the biggest admissions consultant businesses. After few calls, I wasn’t very enthusiast as they only focused on my GMAT/TOEFL score (700/102) and my target schools. I finally scheduled a free consultation with Helen Summers from mbamission. It was completely different as she was genuinely interested in me and my story. I immediately knew I wanted to work with her. I chose to go with the 4-schools « Start to Finish » package. I ended up getting admission offers from 3 schools from the top 15, one with a scholarship.

Here’s few adjectives to describe the amazing experience of working with Helen :

- Demanding : The first few weeks, we brainstormed and discussed for hours about my background and my work experience to identify inspirational stories that could be used in my essays. I think this initial brainstorming was essential as it provided solid grounds for the my applications. She really pushed me to clarify my goals and deepen my story. (Why an MBA? Why now ? Why these schools ?) Helen didn’t want to settle for generic answers and I had to devote a lot of time to introspection in order to have a compelling story to tell.

- Responsive : Helen was very responsive in reading my drafts, adding comments, and sending them back always within 48 hours, sometimes on Sunday !! When I needed to schedule a call or ask specific questions, she always reached back very quickly. When we had to schedule mock interviews in January/February, she was available and always very punctual.

- Honest : All along, she offered me very honest and but constructive feedbacks. As a non-native English speaker, I definitely needed help to produce high quality essays and she didn’t miss to point out things that she didn’t like or understand (words, ideas, or a turns of phrase,…) I wrote between 5 to 8 drafts for each essay and I’m really proud of what we delivered. Helen also did a great job in preparing me for the interviews. The questions she asked me during mock interviews were spot on and the real interviews went very smoothly with no big surprise thanks to her.

- Kind and warm : Helen has been very supportive during the few months we worked together. I really enjoyed the time we spent on Skype during brainstorming sessions, essay reviews, or mock interviews. She is not only a great professional but also a very kind person that makes you feel supported in this long and stressful process.

In a nutshell, I definitely recommend Helen to anyone considering applying for an MBA, especially international applicants like me. I wouldn’t have done it without her !!

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April 05, 2018
fpatel

Joined: Jul 15, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
710 Q47 V40

Helen helped me get into my top choice reach school!

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Helen was honest and ended up being very accurate about my chances of admissions for the schools I was looking to apply to. She is easy to talk to and has a tough love approach which pushed me to put forward the best application possible. I also had a low undergrad GPA and Helen knew how I could shape my application to put my best foot forward.

She was extremely timely with her responses and it was easy to set time with her to ask any question I had throughout the process. She always had answers and never steered me wrong!

A few HUGE value adds stand out to me:

1. During the brainstorming sessions, when I would get stuck, she always had ideas and examples that got my brain churning. She was honest with feedback about stories and experiences that I came up with which really helped me shape my essays/interview answers.
2. For interviews, she had great advice on how to prepare, tweak answers and make a good impression. With her help, I was confident for the in person interviews which, I believe, made a big difference.
3. Throughout the time I was wait-listed, I was in constant communication with admissions. She helped me come up with talking points for in person admissions meetings and she helped me approach every email and update. All of this really helped me get noticed and I came off the wait-list quickly.

All in all, I don't know if I would be starting at my dream school in the fall without her and I am so thankful.

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January 31, 2018
tblefevre

Joined: Mar 22, 2016

Posts: 1

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
770 Q50 V47

Fantastic and Successful Experience

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I worked with Helen Summers as part of a successful Round 1 admissions cycle for three top-tier schools. I made the decision to apply rather late (end of July) and Helen helped me cull my list to my top schools so I could dedicate the appropriate amount of focus to them, worked with me to find my story, told me the blunt truths about my essay drafts, and assisted my preparation for the interviews. She was tremendously fun to work with and did not shy away from providing tough advice, which is exactly what is required. It was an excellent experience.

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February 07, 2018
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13 Older and Non-Verified Reviews for Helen Summers