|All Reviews > Melissa Blakeslee > Melissa Blakeslee Reviews|
Joined: Apr 24, 2018
700 Q42 V42
After taking the GMAT twice, I knew I wasn’t going to score better than a 700, which was in the range of the schools that I was looking at attending but on the low end. I knew that I needed to put together the strongest application possible, so I reached out to mbaMission to work on a 4-school package.
Before talking with Melissa for our free 30-minute consultation, I knew that I wanted to apply to Kellogg but I wasn’t sure what other schools would be realistically in my range. Melissa talked to me about what I was looking for in terms of class size, instruction style and culture and told me to consider Fuqua and Ross. She was encouraging yet realistic and having her help me narrow down what schools to realistically look at and prepare for was incredibly valuable.
I originally started off working on Kellogg, McDonough, Fuqua, and Ross with Melissa. I was going to apply to HBS myself because it was a reach so I thought I would do it alone and have Melissa help me with McDonough as a safety net. After finishing the essays for Kellogg, I was so proud and confident of the application I was putting together that I asked Melissa to help me with HBS instead. Shoot for the stars! In the end I got into Kellogg, Fuqua, and Ross with incredibly generous scholarships to each. In the end I did not end up applying to McDonough because I was confident in my applications to Kellogg, Ross and Fuqua and that paid off.
Melissa is brilliant at helping you find your unique story to distinguish you from other applicants yet highlight your fit with the school’s mission and culture. One way she does this is through the brainstorming doc that she asks you to fill out when you start working together. This is just a document that asks you numerous questions and allows you to share any relevant stories including setbacks, learnings, critiques, passions, etc., I invested a lot of time in the brainstorming doc and that investment completely paid off because Melissa got to know me very well and was able to weave together a narrative made up of disparate and individual stories that I had written about, tie them together, and then package them in a way that would appeal to the different schools I was applying to. The way she brought different parts of my life and experiences together that I never would have was creative and natural.
Other than essay writing, the most game-changing thing about working with Melissa was that she revealed the strategy to applying to businesses school in general and to each one individually and together we crafted a strategy for each school. Anyone can write the essays, do the application, and attend an interview, but it’s hard to make sure that every single interaction you have with a school is cohesive, well thought-out and intentional and Melissa helped me with that. She helps you attack the application process so that you are comfortable presenting yourself in the most authentic, confident, and appealing way.
Melissa was a godsend throughout the brutal b-school application process and if there is anything that I would advise applicants and prospective applicants to do in order to achieve the best results is a) work with Melissa and b) spend serious time on the brainstorming doc. Throughout working together Melissa was understanding, encouraging, and realistic. At the end of the day there is luck involved in who gets admitted where, but I encourage everyone applying to schools that they think are out of their reach to apply and work with Melissa to put together the best application possible. I can't recommend her enough!
Joined: Dec 14, 2016
710 Q48 V39
The MBA application process is grueling and I was incredibly lucky to have Melissa in my corner through it all. Vetting admissions consultancies is a long process and I walked away from my free consultation with Melissa knowing that she'd be an asset during my application process. She wasn't afraid to give me detailed and honest advice from the get go, and her experience as a director of admissions and a marketer showed.
I had a general idea of the professional and personal experiences that I'd draw from, but Melissa was able to key in on the most important aspects and tailor different stories that would work for the schools that I was applying to. Melissa was always positive and knew how to showcase my strengths in ways that that would appeal to the admissions committee. Beyond her help with my essays and stories, Melissa always kept me on schedule - she was quick with her responses and she always made it a priority to keep me on track for my round 1 applications. Even Hurricane Harvey couldn't slow her down.
The bottom line is this: it's a significant investment to hire an admissions consultant, but the returns can far outweigh the costs. MBA students are foregoing two years of income and spending ungodly amounts of money, so it's important that you maximize your chances of going to a top program. Melissa helped me with this and ultimately got me into the program of my choice. I couldn't have done it without her.
Joined: Oct 28, 2014
I worked with Melissa Blakeslee on a 4-school package and it was a phenomenal experience overall. I started the process extremely early, signing up with Melissa months before essays were even released. Beginning with the free consultation, I could immediately tell that she was focused on giving me as much value as she could. I felt that we immediately clicked because of her passion, knowledge about the programs, and sincerity.
Melissa coached me through the GMAT process (I scored a 710, and one month later a 740) and was very honest about how my score would play a role in my overall application profile. Once I hit a 740 she candidly told me the time investment to score higher would not be justified for the returns it would get me and we focused our efforts elsewhere.
Throughout the school selection process we spoke at least twice a week via email (frequently more), and Melissa was always extremely responsive to phone call requests. We weighed each school's pros and cons as they related to me and my personality. She even set up phone calls to go over each school after I visited them and learn what my impressions were. That was truly the best thing about Melissa - she took the time to learn who I was and what I wanted. And to be perfectly frank, I didn't even know what I wanted. We figured it out together.
As we worked through essays Melissa was a fantastic resource. Her edits were concise and thoughtful. We probably went through 4-6 iterations of the first essay, and then really flew through the next ones as I learned the process. We had an hour long brainstorming session for each one (did I mention how available she was?) that really focused on crafting a compelling story for each school. Melissa has a deep understanding of what each school is looking for.
As I received interview invites Melissa also scheduled mock interview phone calls that were very helpful. I've always been great at interviews but she gave me tips and tricks to really hit the points interviewers are looking for. Despite those tips being a huge help, I would say the best thing Melissa did was talk me off the ledge as I got nervous beforehand. Her calming reassurances showed that she truly cared about me and my success.
I could go on and on about how great Melissa is, but just sign up with her already. The results speak for themselves. I was accepted into every school I applied to (Kellogg, Ross, Darden, and Tuck) with significant scholarship offers at all but Tuck. I'll be attending Kellogg in the fall and could not be happier about my decision to hire Melissa. As great as she is at her job, she's also a fantastic person that I am still in frequent contact with and consider a great friend. If you want more than just an essay editor or someone who reiterates advice you can freely find online, choose Melissa!
Joined: Jun 13, 2017
710 Q44 V42
I can't say enough great things about working with Melissa. I did 30 min consultations with a couple of different consultants/companies, and I instantly felt like I "clicked" with Melissa. She was so encouraging and supportive throughout the entire application process- from helping me narrow down my list of schools to apply to, edit my essays, prep for interviews, and come up with a waitlist strategy.
I felt like Melissa really knew the ins and outs of the different programs, and took the time to learn my stories/strengths and how they could be applied to each individual application.
I really looked forward to each conversation we had - she was such a cheerleader and advocate and truly a joy to work with.
I think the results speak for themselves: out of the 6 programs I applied to, I was dinged from 1, waitlisted at 1, and accepted to 4 amazing schools (Fuqua, Ross, Stern, Anderson)! Working with Melissa was definitely the best decision I made throughout the business school application process.
Joined: Mar 07, 2018
750 Q50 V41
I’m an East Asian male working in finance – an over-represented group in business school. Before reaching out to Melissa and mbaMission, I talked to another consulting company and was basically told that I have little chance at the top 10 given my background. While I always appreciate frank advice, I felt extremely disappointed and somewhat upset at the quick judgement since I knew people with similar background who’d made it.
The MBA process was long and stressful so it’s important for me to work with someone who’s honest but who’d have faith in me. During the initial call, Melissa showed just that. She was direct in acknowledging some potential weak spots. But rather than delving into them, Melissa pointed out other parts of my background that are unique and focused the conversation on what I could do to stand out more, starting with making my resume more result-oriented. Immediately I felt she was already on my “team”. Her positivity and problem solving (instead of problem identifying) approach made me feel a lot better going into and throughout the process. Through the ups and downs of the application season, her supports and encouraging words never failed to build up my self-confidence.
In total, we had over 200 email exchanges, and Melissa was always super-fast with her response. The two areas Melissa helped me the most with were with my essays and interview preparation.
First, Melissa understood very well the Adcom’s perspectives and helped me become more confident in bringing out my personality. I had heard the advice “be yourself” countless times; but that’s easier said than done. For example, when telling my stories, I would keep out some character-revealing details thinking they might sound too “geeky” and unimpressive. But Melissa’s enthusiasm with those stories made me realize they are more unique and interesting than I’d thought. That’s another great thing about working with Melissa. With her approach, the application process really became a self-discovery journey. I came out of this process more self-aware and comfortable with who I am than I’d ever been.
Second, Melissa was fantastic at helping me transform my long-winded essay drafts into concise and engaging ones. When I thought there was no way to cut the word count without hurting the content, she did so time and again. On the other hand, when supporting details were lacking, she asked pointed questions and helped me identify relevant examples from my experience that I’d overlooked.
I applied to four top-10 schools, got interview invites from all four, and was admitted to two, one of which is in the top-5. None of those achievements would have been possible without having Melissa as my coach, my project manager, and a supportive friend throughout this process.
Joined: Mar 05, 2018
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Melissa was an invaluable resource for me throughout application process, from brainstorming how to tell my story, to helping me craft compelling essays, to helping me successfully navigate the waitlist process. She knows each school inside and out - I was blown away by her deep knowledge of what differentiates each program and what each admissions committee looks for as a result!
When reviewing my essays, Melissa provided specific feedback from the perspective of the AC, whether calling out an experience that I did not explain in enough detail or helping me narrow my focus in shorter essays. She also helped me recognize how highlighting specific elements of my story created a more powerful explanation for "why Kellogg."
When I was originally waitlisted at Kellogg, Melissa guided me through the difficult process, providing me with tactical next steps about how I should approach each waitlist update strategically and continue to express my interest. Her advice proved to be accurate and invaluable - I was successfully pulled off of the waitlist and admitted to my dream school!
The perfect balance of high level feedback on my story, detailed feedback on essay wording, and moral support through what can be a grueling process - I cannot recommend Melissa highly enough!
Joined: Mar 05, 2018
750 Q48 V45
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As I prepared for the gauntlet that is the MBA application process, I weighed the option of enlisting the services of an MBA admissions consultant. These packages, or hourly services, are a significant investment. It's important to know what you want to achieve through hiring a consultant.
One way to practically ensure you will have a good experience with admissions consulting services would be to work with Melissa Blakeslee. Melissa was an outstanding partner to me throughout the admissions process and was a critical driver of my acceptance into an M7 program.
I feel it is common for top MBA applicants to believe in their own infallibility -- I myself fall into this trap at times -- so let me spell out specifically what value Melissa brought to my process:
-Melissa helped me clarify my goals: Conversations with Melissa helped me move beyond surface-level goals and drill down with specificity into what I really wanted, what schools would fit those goals, and how to spell those goals out with impact in admissions essays
-Melissa challenged me: Like I said, lots of top MBA applicants have had success in their careers and believe in their own infallibility to an extent. When you come to realize the quality of talent in the applicant pool, it becomes clearer how an admissions consultant who will push you to perfect your application in all aspects can be a competitive advantage. For me, Melissa struck the perfect blend of cheerleader and coach -- supportive of my progress but critical of my application where I needed it.
-Melissa has a keen eye toward storytelling -- Her past as a brand marketer is evident in her work. She has a natural ability as a storyteller. In my opening call with her, Melissa was able to pick out unique stories from my professional and personal past and perfectly flesh them out into ideas for compelling essays. Absolutely invaluable.
Beyond all this -- Melissa was timely, efficient, and flexible to work with. I highly recommend her and can't thank her enough for her role in helping me achieve this dream!
Joined: Feb 07, 2017
740 Q46 V47
Melissa Blakeslee was AMAZING!!! At first, it felt like a lot of money to spend on a school package - but let's be honest, it's a drop in the financial abyss that will be business school and couldn't have been more worthwhile.
She immediately zeroed in on my most pivotal stories (professional and personal) from the 20-page brainstorming document and our first few conversations then fit them into unique essay structures, helping me shape applications that were compelling for each particular school. In working together, expect to gain an incredible resource who definitely pushes you and is also your biggest cheerleader. Melissa was not only incredibly professional/responsive and always turned drafts around early, but was SO much fun to work with and definitely made me more confident as an applicant and person. I couldn't have gotten through the process without her!!
Joined: Oct 03, 2016
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When scoping out admissions consultants, I had only one simple criteria – someone that cared and would serve as an advocate and a friend throughout the process. In the saturated landscape of admissions consulting, Melissa is someone who will go the extra mile for her applicants. Her relationship with clients is not transactional, but vicarious. I can readily attest to Melissa’s empathy and care for her clients, along with her deep knowledge of the admissions world from her own experience as an admissions director.
Working with Melissa was a fantastic experience. She was always responsive, reliable and speedy with turning over reviewed documents. She made constructive and meaningful suggestions to my personal statements, and helped me prioritize the most important qualities to highlight for each of my target programs. Beyond the logistics, she helped to bring a sense of ease and comfort with her upbeat personality to an otherwise daunting application process. I remember a specific instance where Melissa offered her assistance to prep me for interviews even though it meant running over the remaining hours available– that is how much she invests in her applicants. Melissa also provided career insights from her rich experiences, which is something I did not expect from an admissions consultant.
With Melissa’s valuable support and guidance, I was able to gain admission to Kellogg, HBS, and Wharton!
Joined: Apr 11, 2016
770 Q50 V46
I was a skeptic of MBA consultants before the application process began, but having got through the process intact I can say with confidence that Melissa was well worth the investment. Here's some takeaways from my experience:
1) Melissa's professionalism and service completely exceeded my expectations. I read a lot of horror stories on these message boards, especially with hourly clients. I was worried that I might get treated like a second class customer, but if anything, I got more than I was billed for. Melissa was ALWAYS available, responded quickly, was MORE than fair when it came to billing and helped me get the most out of my money. More importantly, I always felt like Melissa genuinely was interested in my application. I never got off a call with her and thought "well I could have just googled that," she always had advice or insight that was specific and useful to me. I think she really cared about where I got in - sometimes she was even emailing me for updates on my applications!
2) To me, one of the most helpful aspects of having a consultant was that it helps set expectations throughout the entire process. Melissa's personal experience on an MBA admissions committee was extremely helpful, as she was able to give specific, personal advice on how to approach each step and what to expect. I also felt completely prepared for interviews - not just what questions would be asked and how I would answer, but also the atmosphere and the overall experience.
3) Melissa was extremely helpful when it came to deciding how I would frame my story. In the first couple weeks of talking with her, I completely reshaped how I was going to tell my story. She suggested I include a ton of information I was going to leave out, and I really feel like the things she pushed me to include in my app (mostly extracurricular type stuffI never would have included without her advice) really helped stand out and were huge talking points in interviews.
4) Maybe the biggest reason to have a consultant is just to have a "voice of reason" throughout the process. I could throw any random question I had her way and she would always give me an honest and really helpful answer. It's great to have an EXPERT review your essays and resume and get tangible advice.
For me, the bottom line is that this was well worth the investment and it made my entire experience better and less stressful. It's certainly possible to submit a decent application without a consultant, but if you are serious about getting into a competitive program then I would highly recommend working with Melissa or another consultant.