Melissa Kate Joelson Reviews

Company: Fortuna Admissions

Melissa is a veteran writer, editor, and storyteller. Over the last 20 years, she’s helped executives, companies, and brands identify what makes them truly unique and how to tell that story in the most compelling way. As the former Director of Communications at INSEAD, she worked closely with the Admissions team for the school’s flagship MBA program and collaborated with counterparts at peer schools both in the US and Europe. At SAP, the global tech giant, she led communications for the President of Europe, Middle East & Africa, advising him on his messaging, writing and editing his material, and coaching him for key interviews. Melissa now combines her intimate knowledge of the business school landscape and her years of executive communications experience to help applicants communicate a unique and compelling fit with the school of their dreams. She is a graduate of Brown University.

5.0 /5 Average Rating
Based on 9 reviews
February 22, 2024

Joined: May 18, 2022

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified GMAT Classic score:
710 Q45 V42 (Online)

Admitted LBS and INSEAD - Melissa Joelson


My first experience with admissions consultants was not a good one. When I first considered MBA plans I spoke to a number of consultants early on, one of which told me that it was very unlikely with my background that I would get into LBS or INSEAD. "It's just not going to happen", were the words used.

Then along came Melissa. After researching several admissions consultancies, Fortuna stood out as adopting a more personalised approach, taking the time to delve into a candidate’s background to properly understand their story and strengths for the different MBA programs. Working with Melissa was less about the applications initially, and more an exercise in deep and considered self-reflection. Who am I. What experiences shaped me. What do I want in life. And why.

It wasn’t until I started working with Melissa that I developed any confidence in my ability to attend a top MBA program. Melissa was instrumental in drawing that out. She was clear, concise, realistic and, facing tight-deadlines, firm. She kept me honest and focussed throughout the whole process, gave clear instructions as to what was expected, and, importantly, ensured the responsibility for delivering rested with me.

Melissa genuinely believes in the candidates she works with and wants them to succeed. Even when Melissa had to travel between the US and France for family emergencies, she remained online and connected through every step of the way – late night calls to match time-zones, email exchanges from airports ahead of deadlines – Melissa was unstoppable.

I hadn’t even planned to apply for INSEAD – I had already ruled myself out. After working with Melissa to understand my strengths as a candidate we were able to rule INSEAD back in.

I am truly grateful for my time working with Melissa. She was critical in helping me put my best foot forward and receiving offers that I never thought were possible. Thank you so much!

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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.
December 29, 2023

Joined: Jun 13, 2022

Posts: 154

Kudos: 57

Verified GMAT Classic score:
700 Q49 V35 (Online)

Had a wonderful experience working with Fortuna Admissions.


For my MBA admissions I used Fortuna Admissions' services. I had a wonderful experience working with Melissa Joelson. She guided me in every step of my applications journey, right from the beginning to interview prep. She made sure she brought out the best of me. She thoroughly reviewed my life experiences, work experience, and made sure I convey the right things. She challenged me to focus on my WHYs and WHATs of MBA application process and beyond. She has experience working with diverse set of candidates and would be an amazing mentor for anybody looking to get into "tough to get into" category B-schools. Melissa was extremely friendly and empathized with my situations while pushing me to do more when I could. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with their services and recommend it to others as well.

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December 05, 2023

Joined: Dec 05, 2023

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified GMAT Classic score:
670 Q48 V34

Accepted at IESE due to Melissa's expert coaching


Working with Melissa was an amazing experience. She assisted me in every part of the application process, helping me finding more about myself, making me feel more confident and changing the perspective I had about myself. Overall, it would be impossible for me to prepare on my own an application like the one I ended up submitting. The only resemblance between the original documents I wrote and the ones I submitted is the white background paper... She was tireless in getting the best of each sentence, trying to get the most of the story I was telling. Melissa kept pushing me to go deeper in every detail, which allowed me to write unique essays that truly reflected who I am. And it wasn’t just the writing. After preparing my interview with Melissa, the real interview with the admissions team felt like I was doing it for the second time. Melissa’s help was absolutely decisive for the success of my application to IESE!
Melissa was kind and patient, but at the same time she never allowed me to go out of focus, making it the perfect balance. At the end of this journey, Melissa is not ‘just’ the coach who helped me writing all the documents I needed. She is a person from whom I seek real advice and I whose opinion I completely trust. My application process has just ended and I already miss my meetings with her…

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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.
June 28, 2023

Joined: May 17, 2023

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Got into Wharton - Love Melissa Joelson!


I was so lucky to be able to work with Melissa Joelson. I had a difficult timeline for my applications and she worked with me to make sure we could achieve what I needed to in a short window. When reviewing my essays, Melissa was amazing at asking the right questions and prompting me in different ways to think about how to further flesh out my thoughts or to get to the heart of what I was trying to communicate. She never tried to change my voice or vision, but rather to help me present it in a more effective way. She showed so much kindness, compassion, and support along the way. I really felt like she was invested in my success and not just in the application process. Thank you, Melissa!

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May 29, 2023

Joined: Mar 19, 2022

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Self-reported Score:

Got Into Booth & Yale Thanks To Melissa Joelson!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I had the pleasure of working with Melissa as my MBA consultant, and I’m happy to say that with her guidance, I was accepted into both Yale and Booth with scholarships of $100k and $90k, respectively.

Despite my initial concerns about working with a larger consulting company, Melissa’s personal approach made it feel like a true collaboration. She took the time to get to know me personally and helped me to craft an application that truly reflected my goals, aspirations, and experiences.

One of Melissa’s greatest strengths was her ability to draw out my strengths and highlight them in a way that felt authentic and compelling. Throughout the application process, she was a constant source of encouragement and support, providing straightforward feedback that helped me stay motivated and focused.

I believe that I wouldn’t have been accepted into my dream schools without Melissa’s guidance and support. She is a skilled and dedicated consultant, and I would highly recommend her services to anyone looking to make the most of their MBA application.

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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.
August 29, 2022

Joined: Feb 03, 2020

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified GMAT Classic score:
710 Q47 V40

Melissa Joelson really went the extra mile


I reached out to Fortuna because I had heard how successful they were coaching you through your MBA application. I liked the fact that one would work with a coach that really knows the school and the application process. In my opinion there is no better way to apply for an MBA than with a team of people that includes former admissions committee members.

I got matched with Melissa Joelson and knew from our first meeting that she was the perfect coach for me. Melissa is amazing in getting your story across and seeing things in your profile that you did not even realize were valuable assets to your application. She will also not hold back from looking at your weaknesses and suggesting ways for you to improve.

The main factor that made Melissa an amazing coach for me is the passion that she brings to your application. I went through a busy time during my application process and Melissa did not lose her motivation one bit. Applying to such prestigious business schools can be intimidating and stressful. Having someone on your side that wants you to succeed nearly as much as you - that’s what really made the difference for me and my application. I was admitted to and can’t wait to go to my dream school. I really appreciate all the efforts that Melissa made to help me achieve my dream.

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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.
August 22, 2022

Joined: Jul 05, 2014

Posts: 4

Kudos: 11

Melissa Joelson CHANGED my life beyond INSEAD

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

Just having read the previous reviews on Melissa's page has put - an embarrassing big self-conscious smile on my face. I couldn't echo their sentiments more. The memories I tried to shut out in the darkness, Melissa made them shine as powerful tools for my interview. You may say my title is exaggerated, but I feel it is an understatement and here is why.

I am the worst at interviewing. I believed I did not have the “right” background and did not have a clue where to start and how to best use my time, given I was in the middle of a relocation and assigned a new programme to lead.

I did many intense interview preparation sessions with Melissa. When we were in the flow, Melissa stayed on past her paid time to ensure we got to where we needed for that session. There was homework with the right focus, so I did not have to worry about anything else.

To be able to decipher someone, break down their beliefs and build them up again to be someone that can use their setbacks as strengths in an interview and beyond takes more than skill, experience and knowledge. It is all of that, with the complete devotion that Melissa had put into my success, that made this happen.

I put my faith in Melissa's guidance, and it paid off. I am now on the INSEAD Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) programme starting in October.

Thank you, Melissa Joelson. My family thanks you too and so do my friends. See you at my graduation!

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July 04, 2022

Joined: Apr 22, 2020

Posts: 18

Kudos: 5

Verified GMAT Classic score:
760 Q50 V41 (Online)

Thanks To Melissa I Got Into My Dream B-School!


My journey started with Matt Symonds from Fortuna who is someone i will remember for a very very long time to come.
Matt Symonds is the best seller i've come across and was super prepared even for the free session i had scheduled with Fortuna.
Matt helped me and told me that with help of consultants at Fortuna who worked at top B Schools, i would be able to get into the Bschools of my choice.
He then connected me to Melissa and assured me that i would be in safe hands with Melissa and sure enough i was.
Right from the start of my journey with Fortuna Admissions, Melissa took a keen interest in knowing me personally and made every effort to bring out the best stories I had. She helped bring out memories and stories which I used to think were insignificant, but eventually it helped build my application and essays. Melissa doesn’t shy away from calling a spade a spade and that was needed rather than me having false optimism about certain topics. She nudged me and helped me get my applications ready in time even though I was personally going through a rough time with a hectic work schedule and bad health.
Melissa also helped me a great deal with my recommendation and recommender strategy. She constantly kept me on my toes and was following up periodically with me to get her the drafts on time.
By brainstorming and strategizing, Melissa helped me realize what the adcoms looked for and how to build on those aspects to have a better shot on my applications and eventually got me into ESCP. We were on a very tight schedule, however, Melissa was able to very quickly edit and polish my essay drafts and got me ready in time. If not for Melissa and her tough love and how hands on she was, I would not have been able to prepare an application reflecting my true potential nor make the deadline.
I would vouch for Melissa as when you have a super tight deadline and when things might look to be against you, and there's hardly any room left to make it in time to apply to your dream school which you have worked so hard for you would definitely want someone like Melissa Joelson in your corner, along with Emma Bonds and Matt Symonds.

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June 06, 2022

Joined: Jul 16, 2018

Posts: 213

Kudos: 68

Self-reported Score:
700 Q49 V36

Accepted to INSEAD, thank you Melissa Joelson !


After a terrible experience with a local consultant resulting in getting rejections from multiple MBA programs, I started researching an admissions consulting firm which could keep up with the high standards that top universities expect.
I approached two companies. The first one claiming to be the most prominent in the industry, they avoided even the free consultation that they advertise and they just sent me some emails, an approach I did not like at all so I did not pursue with them. The second company was Fortuna. I had a thorough conversation with Matt, and eventually I decided to apply to INSEAD with Fortuna.
The consultant I was appointed was Melissa Joelson. Melissa played a huge role in my eventual acceptance to INSEAD. First of all, we had many 1 on 1 zoom conversations throughout the process which I believe were much better and efficient than a mere exchange of emails and allowed for better communication, bonding etc.
Second, she made sure that every achievement that I had made throughout my life was well portrayed. There were several times that I would mention an action/achievement that I thought was unimportant, but she would insist on including it and explained what positive impact it could have on my application.
In addition, she made sure every paragraph, sentence and word was properly crafted and up to the high standard that the Adcom is waiting to see. If you decide to work with her be prepared to revise each and every part of the application multiple times before reaching the desirable result. She will also make sure that everything is on point well before the deadline. We submitted the application in less than a month, a request I had made when we started our cooperation.
Overall, Melissa made sure that we presented the best version of myself to the Adcom. The worst thing a candidate could do is not have a personal “id” in their essays, a faceless piece of writing that will just pile up to thousands of rejections. Melissa made sure that through the essays I showed INSEAD who I am and what is special about me so that INSEAD considered and accepted me.
Melissa was also truly committed to our cause, during and after the application process, providing me with her opinion regarding any questions that troubled me. It was the only application that I submitted and was 100% confident that I would secure a spot. I just knew that there was not a single reason why I should be denied, as everything was so well thought out and written beautifully and professionally.

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