|All Reviews > Jessica Shklar > Jessica Shklar Reviews|
Joined: Dec 15, 2015
730 Q48 V41
In summer 2015, I decided to hire MBA Mission’s Jessica Shklar to work with me to apply for top business schools in the U.S. Jessica really lived up to her reputation – she turned out to be the most professional, insightful & empowering coach I could imagine to guide me through the hectic application process.
In previous year, all the top schools I applied for dinged me. I was very insecure about my chances as an older Asian male who has never lived outside Asia. MBA Mission has a well-established process to make sure the consultants gain a holistic understanding of each applicant. On top of the process, Jessica is insightful – I felt that she immediately understood me, my stories & the vision I had to become the best possible version of myself. I started the application process only one month before the R2 deadline, but Jessica gave up her personal time to make sure I could meet all the deadlines. Some of my friends read the essays Jessica worked with me to develop - they were moved to tears.
In the end, I got offers from 4 very good business schools. Out of the offers, I decided to go to Austin with one year deferral.
From no offer to 4 offers – Jessica really made a difference for me and to me, she is much more than a consultant – she is more like a well-trusted mentor that any young professional would be lucky to have.
Joined: Jul 01, 2016
720 Q44 V45
Jessica was awesome, and I definitely recommend her to anyone looking for guidance in the MBA application process. She was extremely personable in her approach and took the time to get to know you at a deeper level (and she has an amazing memory so everything you say, she'll remember and remind you later later). During our sessions, she wasn't afraid to be honest or push back when an idea wasn't working out, but never excluded any possibility! She's also a pretty fast talker so your sessions will definitely be productive and efficient. The focus of our work together ranged from (in order of time spent) essays, brainstorming, application, resume, interview prep,
Joined: Dec 17, 2015
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]
I met Jessica through a 30 minute free consultation, and was immediately impressed. She was sharp, had pointed questions, wasn't shy to point out my weaknesses, and quickly illustrated she had a game plan to help me create a strong application. I choose to work with Jessica for R#1 admission for 2 school, but found working with her so valuable and insightful that I did not hesitate to expand my package ultimately to 4 schools.
The application process seemed daunting and chaotic (especially when you have a demanding full time job), but Jessica came to the table with a structured approach that was key for success. It began with a thorough brain-storming session, where Jessica quickly honed in on accomplishments/personal stories that would stand out to the admission committee. Having seen potentially thousands of application she provided invaluable insight on what differentiated me as a candidate, things that I might have potentially overlooked. Together we formed the "story" I would tell, which we continued to refine throughout the process. Even at that point I was amazed to see how vested she was in ensuring my "story" was tight, and demonstrated all the characteristics of a successful candidate.
Next was the writing process, where I think Jessica really shines. While I would rate my writing skills as above average, with Jessica's guidance I was able to take it to a higher level. In reviewing my drafts (at all hours of the night... I swear I got emails from her at 2am), her feedback was brutally honest (i.e. this sentence bores me, or love this intro but the rest just does not deliver) and full of clear guidance. Often I found it difficult to articulate what I was trying to say, so Jessica, draft after draft, would ask clarifying questions on that section until finally the right words landed on the page. This was a clear indication of her relentless commitment to ensure I had a superb essay. Similarly, when I pointed out I wasn't 100% happy with an introduction or conclusion, she never said "no its great" but pushed me to improve upon it/offered new approaches, so to ultimately ensure that the essay was the best reflection of myself.
Ultimately, I was accepted to 3 of the 4 schools an accomplishment that Jessica was invaluable to. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for someone who gives honest and transparent feedback, has a structured approach to the application process, is a great writing coach and has an unwavering commitment to the success of her clients.
Joined: Dec 16, 2015
750 Q49 V44
I worked with Jessica for one of my applications for Round 1 of 2015. I initially selected her for my free 30 minute review because of the similar nature of our work backgrounds. After those 30 minutes, I was fully assured that she would help my story shine through in my essay.
Throughout our brainstorming and editing process, Jessica did a phenomenal job of explaining to me why she thought different elements of my background should or should not play a more prominent role. And, due to the potentially controversial nature of my essay, she took some of her own time to vett it with co-workers, eventually coming up with advice on how to better describe the learning experience I underwent. Her creativity throughout the process cannot be overstated.
I thoroughly enjoyed working with Jessica because she had (and still has) a vested interest in my success. She enthusiastically answered questions as mundane as "Is this in line with typical interview attire?" and provided a great sounding board for assuaging my initial concerns post-interview. And though Jessica is relentlessly positive, she still remains honest. She was quick to point out areas for improvement or application faux pas I was committing.
Even though Jessica and I discussed only one of my applications, I was able to use knowledge I gleaned from our talks and apply it to my other applications. As a result of our work together, I earned admittance to four of the five schools to which I applied (including the one we focused on), while earning a place on the wait list on the fifth. I have no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't have been nearly as successful without her help.
Joined: May 31, 2016
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Simply put, I would not have gotten into the GSB without Jessica’s honest, clear guidance and structured support. From our very first 30-minute consultation call, she was focused on my candidacy and how to best represent myself to each graduate program. She wasted no time trying to “sell” me any work/package. I ended up working with her on two “full school packages” from October of 2015 through March of 2016. Each time we spoke, it felt like she was 100% focused on me, my work and my questions.
Jessica’s guidance and working style is highly structured. I had no idea how to plan for and work effectively during the multi-month application process. Jessica was able to provide structure to (what felt like) chaos and guide me through each phase of the writing, submission and interview process. Jessica broke down a daunting application process into manageable phases of work, all stepping stones leading to a successful application experience!
I will also highlight that Jessica is clear and honest. When you’ve taken the GMAT many times and wonder if you should keep pushing for higher scores, she is pragmatic and honest when advising you yes/no. Whether your latest draft is not up to snuff or perfectly achieves its goal, she tells you. Her feedback is clear, constructive and actionable. She is highly responsive to emails and phone calls, and it is reassuring to know that her good counsel is just a click/call away whenever you need it!
Last, Jessica’s mentorship does not stop at the end of the application season. She has generously given me her time and focus to talk through graduate school funding, coursework advice and share her insights about many aspects of the b-school (and specifically GSB) experience.
Working closely with Jessica not only helped me get into the GSB. It continues to help me to get the most out of my time in b-school. Thank you, Jessica!
Joined: Apr 29, 2014
With PhD in engineering and working as a researcher, it was tough for me to apply to B schools but even harder was to prepare an application that can justify my career path. When I attended one of Jessica Shklar’s session on admission process, I felt that I should definitely discuss my unique case with her. The best thing about Jessica was she never timed the 30 minute free consultation. She made me feel comfortable and at the same time posed questions that were very critical for the application process. She never pressurized me to sign up with her. Instead she asked me to work on ways to improve my application before even deciding to go with her.
I wanted to apply to only top 5 B-schools. My biggest challenge was that I had no clue how to connect dots from my professional and personal life. Everything looked very discrete and was not sure how to put them as a story in my essays. I think signing up for start to finish package was very useful. Once I reviewed my brainstorming document with Jessica, she knew exactly what examples we should focus on. The advantage of Start to finish package is if you are working on more than one application with a different essay prompt, your consultant already knows the key professional and personal parts of your life from the brainstorming document. Thus, it was easy for Jessica to suggest stories we should be including in essay 1 vs essay 2.
Jessica is very well organized. She not only keeps a track of her time but also ensures that her clients meet their deadlines. I got all my essays with edits from Jessica on or before the expected 2 day deadline. If it is a quick question, Jessica will definitely reply asap. I remember discussing some behavioral questions with her over email before one of the top school’s interview. Even though those were not quick questions, she understood my need and was very willing to respond quickly over emails. Even though it was a professional relation with Jessica, I felt a personal touch.
The other advantage of Start to Finish package is that we also get a chance to do mock interviews. Jessica’s expertise in interview preparation was very helpful. She advised that never practice your answers because you don’t want to memorize your answers. This is very true. The best advice she gave me was to read several behavioral questions and think about multiple scenarios so that I have enough examples from my past to tell during interview. It really worked for me because for one interview question I was asked to tell more than one scenario in which I showed a certain behavior. At that time I did’nt have to take that awkward pause because I already had thought about so many different situations from my professional and personal life. All thanks to Jessica for asking me do this rather than rehearsing my answers.
When I started thinking about signing up with a consultant, things were hazy. I wanted to do MBA from a top B-school but was not sure if I have done enough in my past to get admitted to the schools I want. Jessica helped me at every step of the application process and with her support I got admitted to three top B- schools. Thanks Jessica for making this happen.
Joined: Jun 01, 2016
740 Q48 V44
I worked with Jessica on an hourly basis on my three applications for Round 1. Jessica is sharp, honest, and really passionate about her clients. The perfect combination for a bschool admissions consultant.
She was incredibly considerate of my time and always made sure we worked on things efficiently. For example, she was honest with me about which essays she thought needed another pass, and which she thought were fine as is. She was upbeat, and was sincerely committed to getting me in to my schools.
What I personally appreciated most about Jessica was her ability to talk openly and honestly with me about the parts of my application that gave me a lot of anxiety - the GMAT and my interviews. She logically weighed the pros and cons of retaking the test, and walked me though the admission committee's mindset during interviews.
I got interviews at all of my schools, and ultimately got to choose from two of them. I cannot thank Jessica enough for her help with my applications, and for helping me remain calm (or, as much as possible) during the process.
Joined: Apr 27, 2015
720 Q49 V39
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]
When I first started the MBA application process, I really had no idea where to begin. I was one of the first of my peers to apply to business school and was coming from a somewhat non-traditional background (family business).
After doing some preliminary research, I decided to reach out to MBAMission and set up an initial consultation with Jessica Shklar. In our first meeting, I was immediately blown away by how much interest Jessica showed in my story and how much it genuinely seemed that she cared about my future (and admission to the business school of my choosing). Even in our first consultation, she was already coming up with the best possible ways to tell my "story" and present my accomplishments.
Throughout the admissions process, Jessica was there every step of the way. From reviewing my resume until it was absolutely perfect to going through iteration after iteration of my essays, Jessica was always willing to help and guide me through the process. Jessica was especially helpful during the "waiting" process, always willing to calm my nerves and answer any calls/emails/questions I had (no matter how often and I'm sure annoying!).
In summary, I really could not be happier with the consulting experience Jessica provided for me. I would not be where I am today without her help and truly believe that she is the reason I was accepted to Columbia Business School.
Joined: May 26, 2016
I was unfamiliar with the MBA application process and decided to choose mbaMission (Jessica) to guide me from start to finish. I evaluated several consultants at the time and, after talking with Jessica, I felt that she was the right person! In the 30-minute free session, Jessica tried to help me as much as she could within the time limit. If you have a chance to evaluate many consultants, you will certainly know that the free session is actually the marketing session. However, this is not the case for Jessica. I bought 5 school start-to-finish package and eventually got interview at HBS (post-interview waitlisted and dinged), Wharton (admitted), and Booth (admitted). So in this review, I would like to tell you 3 key points about Jessica that eventually led to my successful applications.
1. Identification of Meaningful Personal Stories
In my case, I was able to list out personal stories that really shaped my life but, at first, connection among them was relatively weak. Hence, I was so tempted to write about my job, initially. Jessica was an expert in identifying meaningful personal stories and she would keep asking you to explain those stores in details. During the process, you would start to realize by yourself how much impact those events were. In the end, a few personal stories represented the core part of my essays and were used for 4 schools (out of 5) and accounted for at least 70% of word counts. I wrote only 1 paragraph about my job for each essay and its role was to support my personal stories.
2. On-Time Delivery and Perfection
Jessica always commented my drafts, on time, and she would not stop doing it until the essays are perfect. She would ask you to write as much as possible up 50% more than maximum word counts and gave you tons of comments that, sometimes, took me a week or so to address. This is a very efficient process. You overwrite it first and then remove certain parts, one by one, so, in the process, you will see the big picture and force yourself to consider each point in depth. You would likely run out of energy before she does. On each school, I worked with her at least 8-12 drafts. And even my final draft sometimes still had her pending comments that I needed to remove because of limited space.
3) Genuine and Authentic
My essay got me an interview at HBS so it was great, although I couldn't convert the interview to the offer. The essay question was "Introduce yourself to classmates" and was the great opportunity to show your personality so I wrote it in a very personalized and funny way, while mentioning some of my achievements but not too many (imagine you brag for 10 minutes. How could that be interesting to your classmates?). Before I submitted my essay, I sent the essay to my boss (and my recommender) for review. And he said "this essay is so authentic. It feels like you are speaking to me..... It's alive". Jessica helped me set the tone for my essay and, in my opinion, I like HBS essay the most.
So in my opinion, I strongly recommend Jessica. You need experts who can look into your stories and express independent opinions. During MBA application, you will burn out. So better invest now and get the best shot.
Joined: May 26, 2016
I chose mbaMission and specifically Jessica on the recommendation of a friend who applied to business school the year before me and thought that mbaMission was the reason that he was able to get into a great school and complete his applications on time, and I could not agree more.
I was extremely impressed with Jessica from the start of my consultation and have recommended her to friends already. The consultation is a free 30 min session and I assumed that she would mainly sell me on mbaMission. However, she did so much more than that. I did my consultation 6 months prior to starting the application process and I asked her what I could do to strengthen my application. Because she had spent time looking into my resume and activities, she gave me actionable items which I did over the next 6 months that really strengthened my application with tangible examples – and that was even before I hired her!
I decided to apply to 6 schools and I do not believe that I could have done it without Jessica. The ability to send an essay off to Jessica and have her look at it with fresh eyes and a different and honest perspective was so valuable. Not only did it help me stay on track with timing throughout the process, but she also had a different perspective and would point out when I said something that didn’t make sense due to company/industry terminology, didn’t answer the school’s question or was not my best work.
Her ability to answer quick questions that would have taken me valuable time to research (and who knows if I would’ve gotten the correct answer) and help me with interview prep kept me sane through the process and helped me feel confident and prepared during the interviews.
I think that the brainstorming sessions however, were where Jessica really went above and beyond my expectations. My brainstorming doc was a total of 26 pages full of disjointed random things and stories. I was so impressed how Jessica was able to connect my work, health situation, volunteer, and family experiences all into one strong story full of rich, measurable, tangible examples. She even pulled some great quotes from my doc that I used as my intros to many of my essays! The story she helped me create really painted the best picture of me as a candidate and enabled me to get into one of my top schools which I am so excited to attend!