Nicola Sandford Reviews

Company: Fortuna Admissions

Nicola brings deep expertise in recruitment, one-on-one career coaching and resume building to her Fortuna work. Passionate about student recruitment and outreach, she previously held the role of Assistant Director on the Career Services Team at INSEAD Singapore. Nicola was also responsible for managing Corporate Partnership Development with companies in the Finance and Social Impact Sectors across the APAC region. Prior to her position at INSEAD, Nicola worked at Merrill Lynch in London, managing MBA recruitment from top business schools for both full-time and internship positions. She has also been responsible for managing international recruitment into the Middle East. Nicola holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Otago, New Zealand and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management.

5.0 /5 Average Rating
Based on 6 reviews
May 04, 2022

Joined: Jun 01, 2021

Posts: 4

Kudos: 7

Verified score:
730 Q49 V41

Highly recommend Nicola! Comprehensive and personalised


I engaged Nicola on an hourly basis for review of my draft essays, review of my application in addition to interview prep.

I thoroughly enjoyed the process and felt Nicola was responsive and comprehensive. We were on a short timeline but she managed to provide immense value during the short time we worked together. In addition to essay review, she helped me to probe deeper into my motivations for business school and helped to flesh it out in the essays.

I came into my MBA application prep with a skeptical mindset on using an admissions consultants given the costs and reviews online. I am glad to be proven wrong, beginning with the initial call with Matt Symonds, who gave a very compelling value proposition. Nicola then exceeded my expectations on the value of an admissions consultant.

I would give Nicola and the Fortuna team two thumbs-up for the services rendered.

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August 29, 2018

Joined: Jan 04, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
700 Q49 V36

Highly recommend Fortuna Admissions and my coach Nicola Stanford


I am from a non-traditional MBA background and believed a coach is necessary to help me navigate the highly competitive and complex process of MBA application.
Thanks to Nicola, Matt and Caroline, the journey was instead really enjoyable.

I chose Fortuna because of the recommendation from a good friend and the fact that, as ex staff from INSEAD, some of the coaches have deep insights about my dream school.

Nicola and I are in nearby time zones across the Tasman Sea(AU and NZ), allowing the communications being very timely and convenient.

As I said, the entire process was very well planned with a clear timeline. I was able to focus on tasks in hand and knew everything is under control. There are specific tools and guidance for each step along the way. For example, the initial comprehensive questionnaire was extremely valuable as a tool for self-reflection and gathering material for essays.

For the whole time, Nicola was extremely helpful. She had enlightened me to discover the meaningful stories of my life. In terms of the application, the essays and forms were carefully reviewed by Nicola and Caroline for dozens of times. Nicola also helped me with interviews and the scholarship application.

In summary, Nicola is a great coach and I highly recommend anyone choosing her and Fortuna Admissions. Without their help, I probably wouldn't survive the admission competition and eventually receive an offer from INSEAD. A big thank you to the team.

Lastly, I have to mention the Youtube channel and the website of Fortuna Admissions, which are great resources for MBA applications.

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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 15, 2018

Joined: Aug 15, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Truly helpful

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I do not come from a typical background for MBA programs and thus had little clue about the whole application process. Moreover, my work was quite demanding and thus I did not actually have much time to write the essays.

Nicola exceeded my expectations. Due to my busy schedule, not only that she always came back to me within 1-2 days (including weekends on odd hours!!!), but throughout the whole application process I actually realized that I also got to learn how to present and write about myself in a humble yet very competent way. The whole process for me was truly a coaching experience and was not just a mean to get the application submitted.

She always remembered even very little details about my whole profile which has helped me connect the dots to write cohesive essays.

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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.
June 13, 2018

Joined: Jun 13, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
710 Q49 V37

So grateful!


Fortuna helped me to achieve my goal to get into my dream school INSEAD. Nicola, Caroline and Matt were incredibly helpful and I would always choose Fortuna again.

The whole procedure was very fast forward and structured and all of them were constantly available for support and questions. They also pushed myself to new limits - things I would not have done without their guidance and support. The great thing was that we started in well advance with all the preparations of the application process, so we had enough time to create a great overall application.

One of their biggest strengths is their huge experience of all the top tier schools and Programmes. You have all the inside knowledge on hand and can rely on a vast amount of expertise.

I am sure that they were a very important pillar of my admission and I am absolutely grateful for that. THANK YOU FORTUNA!

I can only suggest to everyone who seriously considers to apply to the top 20 Programmes to at least sign up for the free consultation of Fortuna: get convinced of their excellence by yourself.

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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.
September 18, 2017

Joined: Sep 02, 2016

Posts: 20

Kudos: 6

Verified score:
690 Q49 V35

Essential for MBA Preparation


As someone without any connection to MBA students or alumni, I had a difficulty in compiling my essays and the overall application process. After contacting several admission consulting services and comparing their service, responses towards my questions, explanations, and overall feeling to the consultant, I decided to choose the service from Fortuna Admission. For me, to be comfortable to the consultant is essential as basically they will be your mentor who will guide you through self-reflection and question your motivations pursuing MBA, which could lead to many personal sides of life!

Nicola Sandford was really an amazing mentor. I felt like she genuinely want to know about my motivation and background, pointed out several of my strengths and weaknesses, then showed me how to make my profile stood out as a unique individual. The feedback from her were really accurate and fast! She will not stop until she know the essays and the overall application are ready to be submitted. She sometimes also discuss with Caroline in supporting me and happily answering my (many) questions.

As a result, I am successfully admitted to INSEAD and HEC Paris, with a significant amount of scholarship! I am sure the result will go different way if I didn't have the support from Fortuna Admission. Many thanks to Nicola, Caroline, and Fortuna team for supporting me to achieve my MBA dream!

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October 19, 2016

Joined: Jul 27, 2015

Posts: 1

Kudos: 0

Verified score:

Great Experience for INSEAD, highly recommended


I was very overwhelmed by the thought of facing mba applications. Especially for INSEAD, which has one of the longest applications of any MBA program. Fortuna really helped me get organized from day one, making sure I took adequate time to reflect on my background/motivations and develop a cohesive story, and then guiding me through each hurdle of the process. With my advisor, Nicola Sandford, as well as Caroline (former Admissions director at INSEAD) I had the confidence that I was submitting an application that not only displayed my story in the best possible light, but also directly targeted INSEAD. Because Fortuna has years of experience on both sides of the admissions process (both as admissions consultants and admissions gatekeepers), they really know how to get the best out of you. For example, while I did not have a ton of international experience prior to applying, Fortuna helped me successfully emphasize the things that were most relevant to the INSEAD admissions team. Nicola and the Fortuna team know INSEAD better than anyone, and I am forever thankful for their guidance over the past year.

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