Maria Wich-Vila Reviews

Company: ApplicantLab

5.0 /5 Average Rating
Based on 105 reviews
February 04, 2020

Joined: Feb 23, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
770 Q50 V44

Summary: Accepted to HBS, Kellogg (with $$$), and Darden ($$$$). I used ApplicantLab's videos/essay advice, resume review, essay review service, and mock interview. Maria went above and beyond even those paid services by taking the time to have a call with me about choosing between my options, and she went so far as to connect me with her personal friend who is a professor in a topic I'm interested in. Cannot recommend her highly enough, even if she were to triple the price of her services!

Details: I come from an over-represented applicant pool and needed to make sure my application stood out. I had applied to HBS in previous years and was rejected, so I really wanted to do it right this time. Other consultants had told me my admissions chances were very low as a re-applicant, as I hadn't had a ton of professional changes/advancement since the prior year when I was dinged. Initially hesitant to try ApplicantLab because of the lack of personal interaction, I went for it because of the low price point and the great reviews.

I knew I made the right decision right off the bat, when I went through the modules on brand building - the insights I gained on my own work just from mapping them out as she recommended were invaluable in themselves. With her recommendations on qualities and skills to emphasize based on my background (engineering), I was able to easily identify the best stories to use in my essays and interviews.

Then came the resume review - I've had my resume reviewed before by former admissions officers, so I didn't get as much value out of this, but the resume review was a pre-requisite for the essay reviews (resume review was extremely affordable).

I started off with one essay review for my HBS essay - sticking with a similar topic and structure as the year I got rejected - and Maria TORE IT APART. I re-wrote it from scratch based on her recommendations and was 10x more confident in the new essay. I am 99% certain the new essay is one of the biggest reasons I got an interview. With how valuable that review was, I bought reviews for the rest of the schools I applied to - now that I had an idea of what topics, qualities, and stories to tell, the later reviews were more about tailoring the stories to the individual school.

Mock interview: I did a mock interview with Maria for the HBS interview. With how unpredictable the HBS interview can be, I wasn't sure if the mock interview would help, but it was undoubtedly worth the money. Many of the questions she asked were asked in my real interview, and the mock interview helped me answer them confidently and clearly. Her write-up afterwards was so useful too, and I was able to go back to review the questions I didn't answer so well.

Afterwards: needless to say, I was thrilled with the outcome. Accepted to my dream school and two other top schools with a lot of scholarship money that made the cost of ApplicantLab one of the best investments I've ever made. But the icing on the cake - after emailing Maria with profound gratitude, she offered to have a call with me to talk about my options. And, while the call in itself was excellent, once she knew my career interests, she wrote an email to a personal connection - a professor in the field of study I'm most passionate about - and I'm meeting with him at a school visit this weekend. Talk about truly caring for her users!

I will forever recommend ApplicantLab to any aspiring MBA applicant, because: 1. Maria makes admissions consulting affordable to most people, not just those from lucrative backgrounds; 2. for the value she provides, she could charge just as much as the major admissions consulting firms; 3. she demonstrates true care for her users; 4. her bubbly and energetic personality makes her genuinely fun to work with! You will not regret working with ApplicantLab or 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.
May 30, 2020

Joined: Apr 24, 2017

Posts: 18

Kudos: 1

Self-reported Score:
700 Q50 V35

I tried my best to get a good score in GMAT and ended up with 700. After that, I felt lost, I didn't know what to do as I didn't understand what are the next steps.

I thought that the biggest battle is GMAT, but it is not! (the applications/essays are the biggest hurdle to tackle)

I heard about admission consultants that charge 3,000$-10K+ for there service. I had no clue what service I would get as I read mixed reviews. By chance, I found ApplicantLab on GMATClub. The price is amazing (less than 300$) and it is a 24/7 service. The website describes everything with prerecorded videos. You can go for additional services to review your CV and the applications.

Advice: Try to book early the slots with Maria as the bookings my not be available during peak season times.

In short, with support of ApplicantLab,I ended up applying to 3 schools and got accepted to 2.

I wish ApplicantLab had a section with videos advising applicant on scholarship applications (they do have advise of scholarship essays if they are part of the application example IESE's application).

Thank you Maria!

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May 08, 2020

Joined: Jul 29, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:

ApplicantLab is simply the best tool out there


TLDR: I had absolutely no experience with college applications before, but ApplicantLab helped me get into a couple of my top school choices on my first try. When applying to school, you really need to put yourself into the shoes of the Admissions Committee, and there is no better / cheaper way to do this than to spend some time with this tool (hard to call it a tool even - it was such a personalised experience!)

I did a fair bit of research before going ahead with AL, and only heard positive things about it. Phone calls with consultants never really worked for me, as you just can’t absorb 100% of the information being given. Signed up with AL, and loved the flexibility of being able to work on my application in my own time. There are a lot of videos at each step, which makes the process highly interactive, and IMO, better than talking to an expensive consultant.

The Lab is a treasure-trove of information on the entire application process, starting from your strengths and weaknesses and your resume and all the way till your essays and interviews. The best part is the customised advice for each school out there – I can’t imagine the kind of work that went into this, but Maria is a superstar and the value provided by AL is phenomenal.

Furthermore, there is advice for literally everyone on there. Come from a family business but want to go into consulting? Engineering background transitioning to finance? It makes you think like an Adcom member yourself, and drills into you the Do’s and more importantly the Don’ts of writing your essays.

Finally, I signed up for an essay review with Maria, and was SO GLAD I did that. A couple of anecdotes that I initially thought were amazing were fully taken apart by Maria, and I went back to the drawing board and made some changes.

ApplicantLab covers every bit of the admissions process, and it’s a must have tool for every applicant out there. The unbelievably low cost is just an added advantage – even at 5x the cost it would provide a lot of value.

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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.
May 01, 2020

Joined: May 09, 2018

Posts: 7

Kudos: 0

Thank You Maria!!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by gmat club tests [?]

Hiring a consultant from a big firm doesn’t guarantee results. Sometimes, if not most of the times, it might backfire when one lacks a clear understanding on how one should go about the admissions procedure. Secondly, imparting a structure to the essays is always challenging and it sometimes took me a lot of research to just gather the crux of the essay. These two primary problems were addressed on point by Applicant Lab.
I was doubtful initially about how virtual admissions guidance works but believe me the Lab is awesome. Everything is so structured that one doesn’t need to maintain any checklist for admissions procedure. I know how difficult it is to research about a school and gather a framework to write the essays but Maria did so for over 50 schools. One can easily find school specific advice just by adding the school to the list.
Another important aspect is the 3X tool that addresses on how one needs to potentially fill the gaps in the profile. This is sort of a personalized advice that lab gives after entering the credentials like GPA,GMAT, Professional details, Community service etc.,
Lastly, the interview prep (includes advice for KIRA assessment as well) is hands down the best feature of Applicant Lab. I tailored my responses after going through Maria’s advices on the Lab. Maria’s advice on power position postures eased my nerves before interviews. I cannot comment on the sanity checks and one to one interview sessions as I didn’t use those features but I’m sure after experiencing the Lab’s virtual services that Maria would go all guns blazing if chosen as an admissions consultant.
The main reason I chose Applicant Lab was to use it as a substitute to the advice I get from my admissions consultant. But 90% of the time Applicant Lab has been primarily responsible for the beautiful first drafts that I wrote. For people who could not afford to hire a consultant, I strongly suggest that Applicant Lab priced at $299 is the best companion. And for people who want to go with big firms, shelling out $299 is like availing an insurance coverage so that you can work independently if you are not impressed with your lead consultant.

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April 26, 2020

Joined: Dec 11, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

ApplicantLab is the best tool at an outstanding price!


Accepted to Ross($), Cornell, UCLA and Tepper ($). I used ApplicantLab after having a bad experience with one of the top consultants who had charged their usual hefty fee. I used ApplicantLab's videos/essay advice, resume review, essay review, and mock interview services. Maria exceeded my expectations by responding super-quick and going the extra mile throughout the application process. I can’t speak highly enough of her, even if she were to double the price of her services!

I’m from an over-represented applicant pool (Indian, Engineering background) and wanted to ensure that my application was strong. Per other consultants, the application process could only be completed by spending 6 months to 1 year on it. I did not have the luxury of time and felt constrained by the lack of response and sluggish pace of the ‘top consultant’ that I had hired earlier. Initially I was hesitant to try ApplicantLab because of the lack of personal interaction. I eventually chose it because of the affordable price, the great reviews and the possibility that I could independently work on my application according to my timelines, not the hard-to-reach consultants’.

The essay and resume reviews, and the mock interview prep were key to my success. I knew I had made the right decision as I went through the ApplicantLab modules which provided the clarity, structure and recommendations on how to craft my essays for each school. Maria helped me narrate my stories in an impactful way and submit my applications within my target timeline of 2 months! The mock interview and the write-up following that were quite useful too. Maria was very helpful and responsive to the questions I had later as well, and provided valuable insights to help me choose the right program per my career interests.

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April 24, 2020

Joined: Oct 24, 2013

Posts: 4

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
720 Q50 V37

The best MBA admissions consulting tool out there!!


Maria has created something truly phenomenal. I enjoyed every aspect of Applicantlab. It helped me land not only all the dream schools but also a decent scholarship in them. I strongly advise all the applicants (especially Asian students) to switch to Applicantlab instead of spending thousands of dollars on other admission consultants, who honestly don't do justice for the prices they charge. Applicantlab was very useful for gathering my thoughts, achieving clarity, and showing me where I need to improve further.

Moreover, Maria is very responsive and does the job with the utmost passion. I had a great time using this tool, and I cannot recommend her services enough! Thank you, Maria, for designing such a fantastic admissions tool!

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April 22, 2020

Joined: May 04, 2016

Posts: 2

Kudos: 5

Verified score:
750 Q49 V42

Huge Thanks to Maria!! Got into HBS, GSB, and Sloan!!!!


Services Used:
Applicant Lab, Sanity Check, Strategy Essay Reviews, One-on-One Interview Practices (in short, everything Maria offers :) )

Coming from the most over-represented applicant pool, INDIAN-MALE-ENGINEER, I realized the need for professional consulting. Then I came across ApplicantLab by Maria, and after reading its great reviews, I took the trial. It immediately made me feel confident that I also can MAKE TO MY DREAM SCHOOL. Step-by-step, I then subscribed to all the services that Maria offers.
The ApplicantLab is definitely the best one-stop portal for anything you need regarding any top business school. Maria has done a fantastic job of organizing her knowledge and experience on an online platform that you can use at your own pace. I particularly liked the “WHY MBA & CAREER VISION” section, as it helped me lay a strong foundation essential for a winning application. Also, a unique virtual experience (including tons of excellent videos!!) of brainstorming core stories allowed me to prioritize each story according to different leadership qualities. I never ever imagined that a website could offer you this much!!!
Before moving forward to drafting essays, I thought it would be good to try out Maria’s “Sanity Check” service in which she reviews the crux of your application. And it was really really helpful. Maria made several corrections to my strategy and suggested several ideas on how to connect the dots while avoiding pitfalls common to my background. It boosted my confidence that I’m going in the right direction.
After completing all the modules in ApplicantLab, I started drafting essays. But I had a huge writer-block; neither had I written anything for a long time nor was I good at writing (you might judge it from this review :)). But by that time, I had full confidence in “my core story” and “Maria.” So, I decided to buy “Maria’s Strategic Essay Review,” and it was the best decision. Maria’s suggestions on how to make the essays logical, and how to be genuine, concise, and truthful, really helped me tighten-up my essays. All of these essay reviews helped me overcome my fear of writing as well. In short, her deep experience (having worked in the industry for several years) allowed me to stand out from the rest of the applicant pool, and I got interviews from all the schools.
After talking to several alumni, I was sure about was that if I prepare well for HBS, I can do well for other schools also. So first, I spent an ample amount of time completing ApplicantLab’s Interview Prep module. Maria has made great videos offering concrete advice on all commonly asked questions. But HBS’s interview is very different from others, so I scheduled three One-on-one mock interviews with Maria, and each one was worth it. Being an HBS alum, she knows the different line-of-questions that could be asked, and we practiced everything in those three sessions. Also, having multiple sessions allowed me to practice some questions multiple times. By the end of the third session, I was confident that I was ready for the D-day.
Now, after getting into all the top-3 business schools, I would say Maria was the key to my successful results. And the reason it worked for me was that I had full confidence and trust in Maria, right from the beginning. So, overall I will always recommend ApplicantLab and Maria’s other services!!!

Good luck!!!!

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April 19, 2020

Joined: Apr 05, 2016

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

A one-stop-shop to get into your dream school!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

TL;DR: Some of the best money I have ever spent. If you are looking for a one-stop-shop where all info for each school is aggregated, and where you can craft a winning school-specific essay for every application, look no further. Don't let skepticism hold you back!

If you are reading this it's probably because you are skeptical – as I was when I was in your shoes – of how a product could somehow deliver the same results as a traditional admissions consultant. I honestly could not afford a full package from any of the consulting agencies, so I decided to give it a shot. After all, it costed about the same as one hour of most consulting services. Boy, did I make the right choice!
The very first thing I wanted was a place where I could find all the information of every school I was thinking of applying to. Reading through hundreds of websites and blog posts and putting it all together in a few docs here and there was eating away at my time. ApplicantLab aggregates all the information of a very wide variety of schools in one place. That alone was worth the price tag.
Then I needed to understand where my strengths and weaknesses were, and how to exploit this info to craft a great application. The ApplicantLab product is beautifully thought out to help you figure this out in a very simple, fast process. It helps you create the building blocks that will make up a great resume and essays.
The final touch comes in preparing the resume and essays. Even assuming I could have found the building blocks by myself (which I doubt), you need to put them together in different ways for each school, to connect with the different admissions committees. I would have never figured this out by myself, let alone before the school deadline. The Lab does it for you though, with an awesome breakdown (in video and written form) of every essay question for every school, complete with great examples. This helped me really understand my target school, and put together the building blocks in the right way!
In full disclosure, I did cheat a little bit in this last part of the process. I ordered a "reality check" with Maria with my rough drafts and resume, just to ensure that my starting point before polishing was good. This service, which returns a ~20-30 minute video with Marías thoughts, was also worth its weight in gold. I did have to make a couple of changes to my thought process and essay topics, but it really helped me fully understand the whole process and use the product even better.
In the end, I only applied to Berkeley Haas, which I felt was the best fit for me (by the way, the Product also helps you figure that out too), and I got in with a significant scholarship! Hands down, the best value for money ever!

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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.
April 18, 2020

Joined: Jan 30, 2019

Posts: 2

Kudos: 2

Admitted to my top choice M7 with merit scholarship

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

ApplicantLab was absolutely crucial in helping to navigate the MBA admissions process. Also, unlike other admissions consulting services the value received for the cost paid is extraordinary. For a few hundred dollars (fraction of the thousands that other consulting services charge) you get a tool that provides you with ALL the information you need with incredibly deep insight into what the schools are looking for, and how to best position yourself to impress them.

My results speak for themselves. As an over-represented minority with meh work background, decent GMAT, and below-average GPA - I got interviews for all of the M7's and T10 schools I applied to. Ultimately I was admitted to my top choice M7 and with a merit scholarship.

Save your time, save your money, save your admissions journey, get ApplicantLab.

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April 11, 2020

Joined: Feb 09, 2020

Posts: 1

Kudos: 0

ApplicantLab and Maria got me into HBS and Wharton!!!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

If you're still wondering if you should work with ApplicantLab and Maria- I beg you to please give it a try. It will save you ~10K USD for the best-in-class admission help! In my application journey, I started with an hourly package with another consultant (not fo H/W) and I wasn't really happy with the limited tips I got from these expensive $350 per hour consultation and slow turnaround time. Then my friend referred me to the ApplicantLab and it was a game-changer for me! I wish I could have met ApplicantLab much earlier so I wouldn't even need to pay for those expensive hourly rates! The strategy section on the Lab was so intuitive that it allowed me to build a strong set of career goals and personal branding. The school-specific tips for essay writing are very detailed and inspiring! These tips are much more insightful than the ones I got from my hourly consultant despite the big agency name. (duh...they've got more money for marketing). The best thing is that you can read the tips inside and watch (tons of) videos as many times as you want for a one-time payment!

I also highly recommend the strategic essay review and interview prep with Maria. During these sessions, Maria offered very constructive feedback and she actually remembered my stories! For essay review after working through the steps on the ApplicantLab, I exclusively worked with ApplicantLab for my HBS and Wharton and loved the comments from Maria!

For HBS, I did a mock interview with Maria and also with another famous guy who specializes in HBS. Maria's mock session totally won! It's a lot more affordable and insightful than what was offered by the famous specialist. Maria read my entire application for HBS mock and she literally predicted 70% of my real interview questions!

Thank you Maria for creating the ApplicantLab!

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