|All Reviews > Monica Okrah > Monica Okrah Reviews|
Joined: Jun 11, 2017
700 Q47 V38
Monika was recommended to me by one of my closest friends who told me “if I hadn’t worked with Monika, I wouldn’t have gotten into HBS.” I trust my friend, so I decided to work with Monika, and I feel very fortunate to have done so.
I was a reapplicant (interviewed at my top schools but ultimately rejected). I really didn’t think there was any way to improve my application as I thought I’d crafted my apps to reveal everything there was to know about me. With that said, I sent my applications to Monika to get her thoughts, and she said that while she was impressed with what I submitted the year before, my apps left her wanting more. Monika sold me when she told me that the bullet points underneath the employment section of my resume were confusing. This was a direct feedback I’d actually gotten in my HBS interview, so I knew that Monika was the real deal. To keep the review somewhat brief, I’ll highlight three areas of the application where I found Monika’s help to be truly invaluable.
When I first applied to school, I wrote what I thought were the best essays I’d ever written. Monika, however, described the essays as “good, but predictable.” She was right. She sent me a worksheet and asked that I fill it out. The worksheet essentially was a way for me to highlight key moments in my life. She spent time digesting the information and then scheduled a phone call with me to discuss. What I really appreciated about this experience was that she didn’t take my answers at face value. She really tried to peel back the layers to get a better sense of who I was. We brainstormed potential essay topics based on our conversation and the document that I’d already filled out. We talked about our vision for each of the potential essay topics, and from there narrowed it down to one (we did this for each school to which I applied)—the one we thought would reveal more of who I was. We worked on the essays for about 2-3 months, and over the course of those months, the essays completely evolved—my first draft looked completely differ than the final draft. I sent the final draft of the essays to two friends, and the feedback was extremely positive. One of my friends, who had critiqued my HBS essay the year before (she wasn’t a fan of that essay!), simply said “wow, this is great.”
My resume was not well crafted last year, so Monika wanted to make sure that we spent a good amount of time here so that each bullet point under my employment section was not only easily understood by a layperson, but also highlighted the impact I had at the organizations of which I’ve been a part. I think Monika was excellent in helping me to put together a very solid resume. Although she graduated from HBS herself and fully understood what I’d done at my job, she asked many probing questions to see how we could better phrase each bullet to highlight impact.
Monika also found a way to make my “interests” section quite interesting. I won’t reveal her secrets in this review, but the way we structured it made it memorable for readers. In one of the admit weekends I attended, the person who interviewed me brought up one of my interests I'd listed on my resume to a group of current students,
The section is probably the first part of the application that is seen by the reader, so it’s crucial that it’s done well. Last year, I failed to give this section of the application the proper attention. Monika made sure that we changed that. We spent a few weeks drafting and refining our answers.
MBAadmissions has a timeline for turning around comments; it’s usually two days for essays and one day for the resume. Monika never missed a deadline. In fact, she was often early. She also stayed on top of me to make sure that I was putting in the time and the effort to incorporate her comments and feedback and improve whatever part of the application we were working on. Even though she was always staying on top of me, I must say that Monika was also patient. For one of my applications, we felt that the essay wasn’t quite where it needed to be. We were aiming for a Round 1 submission, but opted for Round 2, and I’m glad we did. The final output was excellent.
I feel that I could go on forever writing a glowing review for Monika, but I won’t. If you’ve continued to read up until this point, I’ll leave you with this: the service is expensive, but it’s absolutely worth it! I can say that because with Monika’s help, I was able to not only get into my top schools, but I also secures a merit based fellowship that covers my tuition and fees—that’s over $150,000!
Joined: Jun 10, 2017
700 Q49 V36
I interviewed 5 consulting companies, but the thing about Monica that caught my attention was that she genuinely cared about my story and saw my potential when others didn’t. With the other companies, they tried to steer my school selection to easier programs. I got the impression they wanted to ensure a high success admission rate. With my initial profile, they were probably right. My GPA and GMAT scores were below the averages of the schools I was applying to and my story was unstructured. Monica was different. She saw my passion, believed in me, and was 100% honest with what it would take to get there. If you want someone who will help you get into your dream school, then go with Monica.
Monica laid out a plan to address my GPA and GMAT. We deferred round 1 applications, and I focused on GMATs for a few extra months to boost my score from the 600s to the 700s. Then, she recommended that I sign up for a corporate finance class and obtain an A to demonstrate my academic capabilities. With those milestones complete, the brainstorming session with Monica launched the frame work for my story. As I told Monica various accounts from my life, she always had such great follow up questions that highlighted the heart of the story and how we could incorporate that into the essays. She was phenomenal at helping me write essays that flowed like a conversation telling the reader who I was. For some of my essays, I had 7 or 8 drafts and Monica would always promptly return her corrections with good clarifying questions.
When I got my interviews, I was a nervous wreck. I remember I bombed my first mock interview with Monica. However, she thoroughly walked me through my interview to help outline my responses and did it in such an uplifting manner. Through the entire application process, she was extremely encouraging. It gets daunting and stressful as you’re crafting these applications and prepping for interviews, but having Monica there to encourage and guide me made such a huge difference. When I finally had my real interviews, I aced them.
I am so glad I chose Monica as a consultant. She was pivotal in helping me get to know myself better and creating a strategy that would get me into the perfect school. I got into Haas, and I am absolutely thrilled. I can’t recommend her enough.
Joined: Apr 14, 2017
730 Q49 V41
Applying to business school had always been at the back of my mind. I had been in touch with mbaMission’s founder, Jeremy Shinewald for a few years before deciding that I was ready to apply. Given my story and the schools I was targeting (HBS and Stanford), Jeremy recommended I work with Monica. I will never be able to thank him enough for this.
Working with Monica was a delightful experience. She is detail-oriented, attentive, creative, reliable, professional, and clearly knows her way around the application process.
What made this collaboration so seamless is that I truly felt that Monica’s approach was highly tailored to my personality, my strengths, and my weaknesses. She was able to achieve this by taking the time to know me in order to bring the best out of me.
I knew that my biggest issue would be essay writing. Through our numerous brainstorming and drafting sessions, Monica appropriately helped me dissect my story and turn it into compelling essays. She helped me identify the correct structure, tone, and anecdotes to convey my ideas in the best way possible. I am still amazed by the contrast between the first and final drafts of each of my essays.
Monica also helped me prepare for my interviews in the most thoughtful way possible. For HBS, she shared detailed notes with one of her colleagues who conducted a mock interview with me. In hindsight, it really felt like the real thing. For Stanford, she prepared questions that helped me better communicate my passions, my accomplishments, but also my setbacks. This was all incredibly helpful.
Besides the essays and interviews, Monica also helped with the short answers on the actual applications. She helped me transpose my resume into a more business school friendly format. She even helped my recommenders with the letters that they ultimately submitted for me!
I really did get the full package with Monica. Along the way, she would check in, encourage me, or follow up after an interview. She showed that she was invested in my success, and that she cared. I would not have achieved my dream of attending HBS without her. Aside from the incredible mentorship I received throughout this process, I really feel like I have made a friend.
Thank you, Monica!
Joined: Dec 22, 2014
If an MBA is a personal discovery journey, working with Monica is the perfect way to prepare :)
I got to know Monica through a friend, currently HBS student.
When I had my 30-min call with Monica, I already knew what my biggest struggle would be - essay writing. I was under some time pressure, didn't have much experience in essay writing and had an unconventional career path I was struggling to take advantage of.
After our initial call, I knew I had found the right person to help me. Through her targeted questions and comments, I knew Monica would push me stay true to myself and would help me bring the best (and even leverage the worst) of my personal and professional paths.
On essay writing, Monica was a life-saver.
She helped me brainstorm the structure of my essay, what my stories and decisions meant to me, and which anecdotes would best convene my personality and would be more authentic. She would criticize, praise, help me think through my experiences and have a magical way to helping me communicate what I was really trying to say, even if I didn't know it at first (it's borderline scary sometimes). Plus, as a non-native speaker having Monica helping me was essential - she would turn convoluted sentences into incredibly powerful messages.
Monica also helped me prepare for my interview - and here again she was an amazing help.
Monica helped me understand the mindset of the interviewers, the best pace, depth, breath, and also what were the must-have questions/answers that I would need to prepare to. Thanks to Monica I was able to feel confident and relaxed, and follow her advice of being as genuine and authentic as possible during the interview :)
In the end I got an admitted to my target school - HBS - and I could not be more happy I got to work with Monica on this journey!!
Thank you Monica!! :)
Joined: Apr 14, 2017
Applying to business school is a daunting task. Prior to beginning the process, I imagined it being very stressful. For this reason, I had put off applying for a couple of years. After taking the GMAT a few times and a getting a lower score than I had hoped, I was discouraged. I knew I really needed to be thoughtful in the way I crafted my application. My strength was my work experience and, in order to get accepted to a top program, I needed to tell my story well, highlighting my breadth of experience and unique qualities that would make me successful in business school.
This is why chose to work with Monica, and I'm so glad I made that decision! She was the perfect mix of being supportive and encouraging while being 100% honest. She was honest with me about the need to overcome my lower GMAT score, but was optimistic that I could get into a top MBA program.
From the early stages of creating the brainstorming document, she really took the time to understand my background and pinpoint the unique qualities and experiences I have compared to other candidates. She really celebrated the unique stories from my background and got me excited to push forward.
Some essays were more fluid for me to write, others took 7 or 8 versions. I was so confident, however, after each essay that I was able to highlight the best stories and demonstrate my strengths. She really went above and beyond to make sure my applications were strong.
In the end, what I thought would be a stressful experience actually turned out to be fun! As my stories came to life through the essays, and I gained confidence and greater clarity regarding why I was going to business school. I learned a ton about myself along the way. I truly wouldn't have had the success or positive experience without Monica's help.
Oh, I should also mention that ultimately getting accepted to Michigan, Chicago Booth, and Emory was pretty fun too!
Joined: Jul 25, 2016
730 Q49 V41
I absolutely loved working with Monica!
Applying to b-schools is a very long and grueling process, filled with a lot of uncertainty and ambiguity. It’s also one of the more competitive evaluations you can go through. Combining those two factors, I knew it would be worth getting some guidance and support.
I was recommended to mbaMission from my GMAT instructor (Manhattan Prep), whom I was very happy with. I scoured their website, reading the bios of each consultant, and decided Monica would be a great fit.
My dream school to attend was HBS… Monica is a graduate of HBS and deeply understood what the admissions committee was looking for. My background was in investment banking… before b-school, Monica was also a former investment banker so she understood the strengths and weaknesses of my experience/resume. My main concern with the application process (after getting through the GMAT) was crafting compelling essays… I hadn’t written essays like this since I applied to undergrad and saying I was a bit rusty is certainly an understatement. This was where Monica really shined. Monica helped me structure the writing process, working together to unpack my personal experiences and then weave the most compelling anecdotes into a cohesive story. As I’m sure many people feel at the outset, I didn’t think I had many fascinating stories to talk about in my essay, but after working together through a handful of versions, I came away incredibly happy with how my essays turned out. I give Monica a ton of credit for this!
Each step of the application process has its challenges and Monica helped me stay organized and tackle each one diligently. I’m very grateful for her mentorship, work ethic, and undivided attention throughout the entire process. I’m happy to report that I was accepted to HBS and will be attending this fall.
I simply could not have done it without Monica!
Joined: Aug 04, 2013
Before I get into the review, a few items about myself:
1.) American who was born/raised in the Chicagoland area.
2.) I'm at a company that works with utilities and renewable energy developers across North America. My job function is a structural engineer.
3.) Undergrad GPA: 3.30, Masters GPA: 3.28
4.) GMAT: 750 (6.0 AWA, 7 IR, 50 Quant, 42 Verbal)
5.) I'm extremely involved with a structural engineers association and other engineering societies.
I'm a somewhat unorthodox candidate (given that I'm a structural engineer as opposed to a mechanical or electrical) who really needed help. While I knew that I wanted to get into business school, I wasn't quite certain I could do it by myself. So, I enlisted Monica to help me craft my story. As some here have echoed, she won't do the work for you. You will need to do the brainstorming and the writing of the essays. She will help you craft your story as well as edit the essays to really bring out the best person you can be so that the admissions staff sees a polished candidate.
I knew that I couldn't really articulate why I wanted to go to b-school and Monica helped me find the real reasons why I wanted to go. When I got done with the essays, she would tear them apart (in a good way) and ask all the questions to prod me towards finished and cohesive essays that presented a consistent narrative. She also looked at my weaknesses (relatively lower GPAs for undergrad and grad school) and we were able to be proactively address those in optional essays to go on the offensive instead being reactive. She also made certain that I understood the industries that I was going into, so that I had a clear idea of what I was talking about. Before I submitted my applications, she did a final review of my applications (after I had done it 3-4 times) to make certain I didn't miss anything. After I got interview requests from multiple schools, she helped me with interview prep so that I properly communicated what my passions were and how I felt I was going to be an asset to the schools that I applied to.
Bottom line, Monica helped me tremendously. She helped a seemingly hopeless structural engineer figure out what the next steps were so that I could get to where I needed to be. While the hourly rates were truthfully very highly, I felt as though it really helped me get to where I wanted to be and I wouldn't have done it any other way.
Joined: Apr 10, 2017
750 Q50 V41
I really enjoyed working with Monica as I applied to b-school for the fall of 2017. After looking through a couple of consultants across a few different companies, I chose Monica given client testimonials online, her prior experience in banking/finance (my field), and the fact that she had earned her MBA at HBS (my #1 choice). I planned to be very efficient and focused as I applied, and accordingly chose to go with the hourly service to keep me on track.
Right off the bat, Monica's background came in very handy as we edited my resume, since she knew what industry jargon to cut out and how best to highlight my accomplishments / achievements in the workplace.
Regarding my essay, I thought I had a fairly good idea of what wanted to say and submitted my first draft. Monica sent back her first revision with very honest feedback, pointing that though my essay was fine for an initial draft, it lacked a cohesive message or theme to make it easy for the reader to understand my story. A bit discouraged, I called to discuss her feedback, and Monica calmed me down and let me know that we had a lot to work with and that we would be able to craft an essay that spoke to my strengths in a more cohesive manner. After discussing my background in some detail, we identified a theme that ran across different points in my life, and we put together a writing plan based on that theme.
With the more focused plan, the writing process became much more seamless. Monica returned all revisions promptly and really helped me to dig deep and refine the examples that drove home my points. Her warm personality came through in her comments, and she helped me feel relaxed and much more in control of the application process. Since I chose the hourly service, she also kept me regularly posted on how much time I had used up, so that I knew when to buy additional time or when to focus on self-editing instead.
With my much improved essay and resume, I submitted my HBS application and was invited for an interview some weeks later. To prepare, I scheduled a mock session with Monica. Since HBS interviews are customized for each applicant, Monica had read my application and tailored my practice interview to mimic the real thing, instead of asking run-of-the-mill questions. Her feedback on my responses helped me feel better prepared for interview day, and ultimately, some of the questions we practiced came up during my actual interview! This is a testament to how well she understands the admissions process.
For the good news: I was admitted to HBS in December, and can attest to the important role that Monica played in getting me there! I am excited to be enrolling this fall, and appreciate all of her hard work in helping me get my application to where it needed to be. I truly recommend her services for applicants looking for a warm, honest, experienced consultant who's in their corner!
Joined: Mar 26, 2013
740 Q46 V46
While deliberating whether to apply to b-schools last summer/fall, I decided to reach out to a few MBA consulting firms to test the waters and gauge my likelihood.
My initial call with mbaMission was actually with another consultant, but realized after the call that she only available in a few weeks. With the hopes of starting the application process sooner, I enquired mbaMission for consultants who were immediately available. Of the options given, I decided to go with Monica based on good reviews I read about online.
Right from our first brainstorming call, I knew that I had made the right decision. I felt comfortable breaking out of my introverted shell, and share with her everything and anything on my mind. It was clear that she had done her homework as well - she asked me very detailed follow-up questions based on the brainstorming questionnaire I had filled out prior to the meeting, and often referenced even the most minute things I had written on there to provide advice / suggestions. It was through her that I was able to fully introspect on myself - my values, aspirations, accomplishments and even failures. These provided me a strong ground to source my stories as I went on to write my essays.
Initially I was going to go for a 2-school package only, but as I got to further appreciate Monica's expertise and effectiveness as a sounding board, I decided to use her for all of my remaining 3 schools as well. Over a little more than 3 months, we had very frequent calls in addition to the back-and-forth emails with edits. I was especially impressed with how Monica could let me know when something didn't seem right to her, without making me feel offended. Her constructive feedback was always delivered in a direct and genuine manner.
I applied to a total of five M7 schools in R1 with Monica's support, and was invited to interview from Wharton, Sloan and CBS. I was ultimately accepted at Wharton (with $$) and Sloan (withdrew application from CBS).
I highly recommend Monica to anyone who's thinking of applying to b-schools. She will not only be a great advisor but also a friend to emotionally support you through the process.
Joined: Apr 09, 2017
Selecting the appropriate consultant is not an easy task. Some of you may have the luck to get someone refer a good consultant; but for others, you will have to select someone blindly.
In my case, I was lucky to know about Monica thanks to a friend of mine, who highly recommended me to contact her. He basically told me he got admitted to his top choice thanks to her. So, I trusted him and reached to Monica.
It is important to add that I had a low GMAT (640), so I knew I was starting the process with a disadvantage.
After having the free 30min consultation with Monica, I knew she was the perfect consultant I needed. First, she encouraged me to apply, regardless of my low score, but she made clear that I needed to have an outstanding application to offset the GMAT score. But she was confident we could achieve this if I dedicated time and effort. I accepted the challenge!
As you probably know, the application process is complex and time consuming. You are required to elaborate several essays, short answers, update your resume, elaborate on extra-curricular activities, etc. Basically you need to think carefully every answer. If you first think about it, you might get overwhelmed, overthinking what to say or write, and may be at risk to prepare an application without the proper structure or guidance.
Thanks to Monica, she helped me to straighten my thoughts, brainstorm, dig deeper not only in my professional life, but also in my personal one. This helped getting to know more about myself. She also managed to extract more interesting anecdotes, challenges, that I initially thought weren´t relevant to the essays. Another very favorable point is that her previous experience in HSB admissions helped me understand the viewpoint of the person from the admissions office who would read my application. So, my application ended up like a holistic description of myself. I can even say that she basically ended up knowing me more than some of my family members.
Another favorable aspect is that she helped me prepare with mock interviews which really helped me to loose nervousness, prepare myself, and know which kind of typical questions I would be asked during the actual interview. Thanks to this, I felt confident and when ended my interviews, I felt great!
In retrospect, I can personally affirm that I enjoyed the whole process. I think this should be the whole point, in order to happily dedicate a considerable amount of time, without getting overwhelmed or frustrated.
In the end, I got admitted to the top schools I applied: GSB and Wharton! A dream come true, that I can assure you; it would have never happened if I had not been coached by Monica.
Thank you Monica for everything!