|All Reviews > Melissa Blakeslee > Melissa Blakeslee Reviews|
Joined: Feb 25, 2018
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I started looking for an admissions counselor in March for Round 1 deadlines in September. Of the six free consultations that I did with various admissions counselors, Melissa’s really stuck out in that she was extremely genuine, acknowledged both the strengths and weaknesses in my candidacy, and was very relatable. I also liked how Melissa had her MBA from Kellogg (one of my target schools) and had ad com experience. I hired Melissa in around May.
Even though the applications weren’t due until September, I am glad that I was able to start prepping with Melissa as soon as possible. Our initial meeting was over an hour reviewing my brainstorming document, where we came up with a variety of vignettes and themes that resonated throughout all of my essays. Melissa was also able to provide tremendous value in my resume; she helped me concisely describe the variety of roles and responsibilities that I’ve had throughout my career and the “so what” factor that would resonate with the ad com.
The biggest challenge in my candidacy was my test score. I switched from the GMAT to the GRE and took the GRE twice in June and July. When I told Melissa my score, she encouraged me to take the GRE one more time….with the only availability on the day before my first application was due in September! Luckily since all my applications were complete except for the test, I had the capacity to take the test and I finally crushed it!
Melissa was also very helpful with the interview prep – she helped me figure out other elements of my candidacy that I should talk about that weren’t addressed in my resume or essays.
Ultimately, I was accepted to all four schools that I applied to (Kellogg, Haas, Ross, Fuqua) with substantial scholarship money to all but one. Melissa had more faith in my candidacy than I had in myself….as we were prepping for interviews she said she thought I would have some tough decisions in a few months. Melissa also helped me with my tough decision…we talked through the strengths and weaknesses of each school for an hour and she helped me feel comfortable with my decision.
I couldn’t have done it without Melissa! She’s the best!
Joined: Nov 23, 2016
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Coming off a zero admit season I was desperately seeking good advice and counsel for my reapplication season. As part of my search, I reviewed the list of consultants on mbaMission website and decided to set up a 30 min complimentary call with Melissa. I was intrigued by her experience leading the admissions committee at an actual business school, and wanted to get her thoughts on my candidacy and approach.
While I decided to go with an Indian consultant for a school package due to budgetary constraints, I didn't want to miss out on Melissa's expertise and decided to go for hourly services with her.
I loved Melissa's direct but positive & encouraging approach to my questions, and while initially I was apprehensive about how the whole "hourly" service will work, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of value I was able to derive from it. I used Melissa's expertise in fine-tuning my resume, reviewing essays for a couple of schools, getting answers to miscellaneous questions, and I finished it with a mock interview. For those who may be apprehensive about spending 4-5K to get such expert advice as a full package, I'd say the "hourly service" is a great way to not miss out on some very valuable support and guidance.
Melissa's feedback on essays and story structure was crucial (specially for Fuqua's 25 things) and she also suggested some super edits to resume bullets which were minor changes but greatly increased the impact of the bullets. The mock interview was also very helpful as we focused on pace and tone apart from the stories. I also sought her advice on things like interviewing with alum vs on campus and it was reassuring to make those decisions knowing that I was not doing it alone.
I had final offers from Chicago Booth, Kellogg & Duke Fuqua and I have no qualms in admitting that Melissa had a material effect in ensuring these great results.
Joined: Feb 21, 2019
Prepping for the GMAT and GRE (I took both) was an exhausting process. I've always been a solid student (GPA 3.8), but I kept missing the mark on these standardized tests. I wasn't very happy with my scores, and was thinking of applying round 3, to start school in fall 2018. Melissa was instrumental in my decision to wait, get the best scores I possibly could, not rush the essays, and apply round 1, in order to start school in fall 2019. I followed her advice and will be starting school in about 6 months at USC Marshall. Her honest assessment of my candidacy was so appreciated. I don't know if I would've made the cut had I applied in round 3 last year.
When it came to essays, I didn't know where to begin. Melissa really helped me hone my focus, and again, her honesty was greatly appreciated. One of my essays was so far away from where it needed to be that Melissa declined to give notes on it, and instead suggested that I start over with a different approach (she specified the approach). I was paying hourly, so I'm very grateful that she didn't waste time correcting an essay that was so poor to begin with.
Melissa is awesome in terms of communication, time management, and giving helpful, honest feedback. I would highly, HIGHLY recommend.
Joined: Nov 19, 2017
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I was what you would consider an untraditional applicant - I didn't come from a business background and didn't know anyone who was familiar with the MBA process. I had no idea where to start and I really needed someone who would be there to guide me every step of the way. That's when I requested to work with Melissa Blakeslee, and it was by far the best decision and investment I've ever made.
I signed up for a seven school package with Melissa, which was a huge investment, but one that was worth every penny and every social outing I had to say no to over the summer. I didn’t have the most amazing stats (690 GMAT, 3.3 GPA) and I had no idea how to approach the essays, but Melissa placated all my worries from the start while still being honest about my candidacy. Prior to our initial brainstorming call, she had me complete an intense questionnaire/brainstorming doc that really forced me to think deeply about who I am, what makes me tick, and what I want out of an MBA. Melissa and I discussed my responses at length and even got into some of the more personal experiences in my life, which would ultimately serve as inspiration for many of the essays I would write. She was amazing at weaving my stories (professional or personal) into a cohesive narrative that got to the heart of every essay question. It was not easy at first – I had to delete and re-write a lot of things to really show the HOW and WHY, but it was so worth it when I had the finished product. It was almost addicting to see an email from Melissa with her thoughtful revisions. She is truly a word ninja – I have no idea how she does it, but she is an amazing storyteller. She’s also lightning fast and always available for help via email or phone. She sends revisions back much sooner than the 48 hour turnaround time, and I never had to worry about waiting to hear from her.
Of the seven schools I applied to, I applied to one Early Action and the rest in R1. I received invites to interview at five including my EA school (the remaining two did not release interview invites until much later), and Melissa was right by my side helping me prep for each interview. I was so scared and shy when it came to interview prepping, but Melissa was a rockstar and walked me through every question that could possibly come up for each school. She helped me gain confidence in myself and ultimately crush every interview.
By mid-October, I was accepted to my EA/top choice school with a scholarship! I immediately withdrew from the other schools, but did keep myself in the running for one super reach M7 school I applied to and another school that would have been close to family for me. Although I got dinged from the M7 school, I did get an acceptance call from my final school (Anderson) which was still extremely exciting!
Melissa was instrumental in not just helping me craft my story and guiding me from start to finish, but keeping me sane and positive throughout the entire process. She is totally dedicated to you and is the best wingwoman you could ask for. You will be doing yourself a HUGE favor by working with Melissa. Take it from someone who comes from a laid back, non-traditional industry who thought they had little chance of being admitted to b-school. Melissa is not just an amazing consultant, but she is an equally funny, non-judgmental, and wonderful human being as well. I’ll always be grateful to her and will think of her when I start at Fuqua this fall!
Joined: Feb 10, 2018
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In April, I signed up for a 3-School Round 1 package with Melissa. Melissa was amazing throughout the whole process. She wasted no time getting all the information she could from me and assigning me homework in order to get for us to get the best essay stories possible.
It is worth noting that I was also studying for the GMAT while working on my essays with Melissa, and she was very conscious and respectful of my study time. She often helped push me to study more and do better by providing words of encouragement. After I took the GMAT, she was one of the first people to reach out asking how the test went, but never applied too much pressure to make me feel as though if I didn’t do well on the test that we were in trouble.
Melissa and I worked on 3 schools together, but I applied to 6 programs in total. Melissa was a huge help when deciding which programs to apply to, whether she was going to help me with that school or not. We immediately got to work writing for my target schools, which actually was pretty fun compared to typical essay writing. Melissa always responded with in depth comments, and structural notes that really helped my essays paint a clearer picture. Communicating with Melissa is seamless. Our phone calls always felt very relaxed and natural while being extremely informative. I believe MBAMission has a 48 hour turnaround period for all materials, but Melissa usually responded to all my requests with a day, sometimes in just a few hours for random questions and asks.
After receiving my interview requests, Melissa and I would spend an hour on the phone a couple days before each meeting. I was always very nervous about these interviews, but Melissa really helped calm these fears, while also helping me prepare. I think this was a huge reason I ended up getting admitted to my programs.
Melissa is definitely worth the investment. I believe my time with her made me a better writer, and a stronger candidate. I believe she was a huge reason I ended up getting a scholarship from my school of choice, and admitted into multiple programs. Melissa really helped calm my nerves during this extremely anxious process. Melissa is a great asset to any MBA application process, and I would absolutely recommend her to any and all people looking for someone to help their application make a splash.
Joined: Jan 30, 2019
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When I was considering business school, I had a lot of questions about whether it was the right next move. I was already working in investment banking, so I knew that for the return on my investment to work, it would have to be a top school. After doing some research, I scheduled a call with Melissa and she helped walk me through every aspect of the process and figure out if the schools I was interested in were attainable. I could tell that she really knew what she was talking about, and she definitely was on my team from day one. After our discussion, I knew that despite the somewhat off putting price tag, it was worth it given my busy schedule.
Once I was signed up, Melissa was by my side every step of the way. She was incredibly responsive and kept my application process moving very efficiently. She played a key role in helping me narrow down a list of schools into a targeted application strategy, and then craft a compelling story tailored to each program that would really highlight my strengths. I was surprised a few times when even after several months, she would recall facts or stories that I had mentioned and prompt me to work them into my apps--she made me feel like I was her only client. Melissa did a great job of pushing me to improve areas that were weak and to really focus my essays on "showing" and not "telling". I leaned on Melissa every step of the way, and by the time I was ready to submit applications, I knew that I was putting my best possible foot forward.
A few key parts of the process where Melissa really shined:
- School Strategy: Melissa really helped me pick realistic and stretch schools, offering insights on culture and recruiting that gave me a lot of confidence in my ultimate choices
- Brainstorming: I found it hard to translate my experiences and background into a cohesive story, and Melissa was fantastic at working with me to filter out the unnecessary parts and keep the good stuff
- Essays: Melissa was very prompt, almost always flipping drafts back to me next-day (sometimes the same day) and helping me make consistent progress
- General Support & Advice: Any time I had an application-related question (seriously, any time... I had a ton of questions), Melissa was more than happy to talk and help me work through it. She was 100% on my team, and gave me a ton of confidence in my processes
Overall, I couldn't recommend her enough! Melissa pushed me where I needed it and supported me the entire way, and definitely played a key role in my admissions (with fellowships) to Wharton and Columbia.
Joined: Jan 26, 2019
In May I signed up for a 5-school Round 1 package with Melissa. After our 30-minute consultation I knew she was the perfect fit, giving me the difficult-to-hear advice while also ensuring me that hard work could put me in the position I wanted to be in. At that point I had taken the GMAT 3 times and did not have a score that would allow me to apply to the business schools I wanted to attend. To make a long story short, 5 months later I had switched tests and taken the GRE twice; applied to Fuqua, Darden, Ross, Tuck; and was accepted to all four schools! None of this would have been possible without Melissa.
Although I had gone through two full GMAT courses and many private GMAT tutoring sessions, Melissa was the first person to encourage me to switch to the GRE. I took her advice and after taking the GRE twice I got a score that was well within my target school's ranges.
The essay writing process with Melissa was fun! Melissa took the time to really get to know me so the topics that we picked for each essay prompt truly reflected my personality, my reason for applying to business school, and my goals. I appreciated that Melissa asked me pointed questions, pushing me to dig deeper to "show, not tell" my experiences. In the end, I felt that my applications were a very wholesome story and I was very pleased and proud to submit them to my original list of target schools. In terms of process, Melissa far exceeded the expected turn around response time. From turning around essay drafts to responding to my questions on how to fill out other aspects of the application, Melissa was incredibly prompt, frequently responding to me within hours.
Melissa was very helpful in the interview prep process, spending an hour on the phone with me before each interview, critiquing my responses to her huge interview question bank. These sessions were incredibly helpful and gave me a lot of confidence walking into interviews.
Melissa is absolutely worth the investment, my process is proof. She is also a wonderful person who genuinely cares about her students, you're not another number with Melissa. If you're looking for someone who will get you from where you are to accepted to multiple schools by helping, guiding, and pushing you to put your best foot forward, Melissa is the best person for the job.
Joined: May 24, 2018
I signed up to work with Melissa for round 2 applications for a 5 school package with the intention of applying to 8 schools. Melissa was amazing throughout the entire process.
At first, as I was pretty clueless of the process and quickly became overwhelmed. Melissa was always available to walk me thought the unknown and help me organize my thoughts. She advised me on which 5 schools out of the 8 she thought would be best for me to include in my package. We initially started with the background questionnaire that helped me explore every area, accomplishment and goal that would be relevant for my application.
During the essay writing process, Melissa helped me select the best experiences to use for my essays and guided me to tell these stories effectively. She was always ahead of time returning her revisions, which I truly appreciated especially during the holidays. Thanks to her dedication and quick turnaround, I was able to get through all the schools I was applying to before the deadlines.
Melissa went above and beyond to ensure I was presenting the best work. One of my essays subject was a little on the controversial side and I wanted to ensure my tone was not angry. I asked her if she thought it sounded angry. She mentioned it was difficult for her to interpret what I had written as angry because she knew me too well by then and could not read the essay impartially. She then reached out to a colleague and had her read the essay to get another person’s perspective.
Melissa was great prepping me for interviews. One of the people interviewing me even mentioned to me that I was the most prepared out of the 6 people he had already interviewed.
Melissa really was AMAZING! A true advocate. She is friendly and easy to talk to, but also honest, forthright and willing to give constructive criticism when necessary.
Joined: May 10, 2018
To the reader, I’ve sat in your shoes and faced the uncertainty of whether or not I would get any benefit from an admissions consultant after committing a lot of money upfront. I had read the horror stories online and had friends with negative experiences. I did the 30 minute free consultations with a few firms to narrow down my selection. I promise that, if you choose Melissa, you’ll have a terrific experience. I worked with Melissa on a five school package and all five schools I applied to were M7 schools. In addition I was working on a very tight timeframe – we started working together in mid-November and I hadn’t taken the GMAT. Yet with Melissa’s encouragement, support and help I was able to submit all five applications and was admitted to three M7 schools including with a significant fellowship and scholarship. I’m delighted to be attending my dream business school in the fall and Melissa was the driving force behind that. I can’t recommend her highly enough.
This is why you should hire Melissa:
1) Dedication: Melissa is completely dedicated to her clients. Given I was applying to five top schools all in the second round, Melissa and I were working right up to the early January deadlines. She was sending me edits on drafts on 26th December, New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day. You can ignore mbaMission’s statement that consultants reply in two days and don’t email you on holidays – Melissa replies much faster than that and is very flexible if you have deadlines. She is always happy to have calls. We had everything from two hour long brainstorming sessions to email exchanges over the wording of a 50 word short answer question. We’ve had multiple calls over school decisions and mock interviews. In short, you’re hiring someone who will partner with you through this arduous process.
2) Expertise: Her Kellogg MBA and experience as Executive Director of Admissions at Rice’s MBA program speak for themselves. She has the expertise and track record to guide you through everything from school selection to essay editing to interviewing. She will challenge you and give you frank feedback on your candidacy. She has seen it all and so can always help you.
3) Support and Encouragement: I can promise you that taking the GMAT and applying to business schools while working at a demanding job will be difficult and you will be faced with setbacks. I was concerned because I was an older candidate from a very competitive applicant pool applying in the second round to the best MBA programs in the world. Melissa gave me the encouragement and support to realise that my candidacy could stand-out and that I could be successful even on a tight timeframe. She also gave me the confidence that I didn’t need a safety school.
4) Essay Topic Selection and Editing: The essays are a key piece of the application and it’s where Melissa added significant value. She helped me select topics that showcased my unique strengths. She constantly pushed me in each mock draft I sent her to “show rather than tell” and use examples about how I could have an impact. She tailored each essay to each school I applied to. Melissa is excellent at decoding the sometimes cryptic essay questions to ensure that you’re answering in the right way.
5) Mock Interviews: Melissa is great at giving you mock interviews. I felt so well prepared going into every interview I had. Melissa even gave me a separate mock interview after a mock team based discussion to ensure I was prepared for other parts of the school’s interview. I walked out of every interview thinking I had really excelled and that Melissa had put me in a position to succeed.
In conclusion, hire Melissa. She’s going to be your best advocate in a very trying process. She has the skills and expertise to ensure you put your best foot forward. She has the dedication to meet any deadline and provide her insight on any question, no matter how great or small it is. She has the personality to encourage you to keep pushing ahead. Hiring Melissa was the best decision I made as part of the process and it will be the best decision you make.
Joined: Mar 13, 2018
I worked with Melissa on a 2-school package, and truly appreciate the time she put into every step of the process. From our 30-min consultation, she was really helpful in setting expectations about what was realistic and building my confidence that I could get into one of my target schools.
Melissa was really helpful in talking through potential essay topics in the application process, taking the time to get to know me as a person and highlighting stories and qualities I hadn't thought to talk about. She was extremely timely and thorough with essay edits, editing countless drafts of each essay. She answered all of my silly questions, and helped me feel confident throughout the process, which was something I definitely struggled with. She went above and beyond in the interview process, making me feel prepared not just for the interviews that were part of the school packages but for all of the business school interviews I had. In the end, I was admitted to both schools with scholarships! I can't thank Melissa enough for all of her help and support throughout the process and would highly recommend her to anyone embarking on the business school application process!