GMAT Club

Jessica Shklar Reviews

Company: mbaMission

After graduating from Harvard College with a degree in anthropology, Jessica Shklar worked in nonprofit education, first doing curriculum development for an adult education center and then in the admissions office of a small university in Los Angeles, where she advised applicants to both the undergraduate college and several graduate programs, including business school. While there, she developed and delivered workshops around the country on Selecting the Right College and How to Write an Effective Application Essay. Having been accepted to every business school to which she applied, including Stanford, Kellogg and Yale, Jessica ultimately chose to attend HBS, where she completed her MBA with distinction (graduating in the top 10%). After starting work, she volunteered in the New York City public school system, helping high school seniors with their college applications. She has worked at several Fortune 100 companies, including American Express and JPMorgan Chase, where she was the quality leader and a senior vice president for Chase Home Finance. Jessica is also a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, with specific expertise in Six Sigma deployment and initialization.

Source: http://www.mbamission.com/about/?display=team&name=jessica-shklar

5.0 /5 Average Rating
Based on 90 reviews
June 01, 2015
mc1987

Joined: Jan 08, 2015

Posts: 0

Kudos: 5

Self-reported Score:
720 Q46 V44

It’s hard to articulate just how positive of an experience it’s been working with Jessica throughout the past year. Coming from a non-traditional background and a somewhat mediocre state school education, I knew my application could easily go either way with admissions committees. When Jessica came highly recommended from two close friends who had been accepted into great schools, I jumped on the opportunity to work with her.

Jessica’s knowledge and experience were critical as I navigated the application and essay process (as well as the interview and waitlist processes). As someone who has a tendency to overshare, Jessica was direct and upfront in telling me when to include more concrete, quantitative information. In the same way she was quick to encourage when it was appropriate to share personal experiences. There’s a strange balance of blending personal anecdotes with quantifiable actions in the application process, and it’s a balance I certainly knew nothing about. Jessica’s ability to guide me through this awkward process was crucial.

In the end, Jessica helped give a voice to the work and actions I had spent the past five years building. In doing so she gave me a confidence in my story that I will forever be grateful for. In the short term I know her guidance (and curating) turned me from an average candidate to a strong and competitive applicant. However, in the long term I feel as though her direction has helped me embrace my story and use it to my advantage as I navigate school and the career to follow.

I think it’s worth noting that Jessica is personally invested in each of the individuals she works with, and she’s genuinely interested in our success as clients, students, and future business people. I can be the biggest of skeptics when it comes to wondering about ulterior motives, but working with Jessica turned out to be a breath of fresh air. She has no incentive to give her clients false praise or gratuitous encouragement. She’s honest and transparent with her feedback and suggestions, and I think that it’s because of this that she’s so good at what she does. I knew I was always getting her strongest recommendation and I was never left to wonder about underlying reasoning.

I know we’re all here to get into a great school, but working with Jessica has given me so much more than that. My time spent with her has prepared me to be a better student and businesswoman, and for that I cannot recommend her highly enough.

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May 28, 2015
Anonymous

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When I decided to re-apply to business school, I knew what I wanted and where I wanted to go. The problem was my non-traditional background: all in fundraising for small non-profits. I knew what I wanted, but had a hard time explaining (in terms that they would use/want to hear/see) to schools why they should want me.

Jessica was the one who helped me find the words, both words that fit my voice and words and phrases that would make sense to an admissions officer.

I was frustrated by other consultants who would say, "you can't do that" or "you can't say that" or "that means nothing," but didn't provide constructive ideas for what I COULD say or how I could rephrase it. "That means nothing," was especially infuriating, because it was incredibly belittling to me and insulting to the work I had done as a professional (pro tip for anyone who wants to be an MBA Consultant, don't insult your clients).

Jessica never, ever told me my work was "nothing," and was brilliant in providing new ways to think about my story and new ways to phrase it. She listened well, asked me good questions, and helped me talk through my story in a way that made it clear and helped my inspiration and determination shine through.

Jessica was especially helpful in the planning stages of my application, when I was doing some thinking about my school list for a re-application. She had valuable suggestions about schools I hadn't considered, and pointed me to the tools and services provided by mbaMission that she thought would work best for me.

Thanks to her hard work, insight, and care, I was admitted to three of the five schools I applied to, including my dream school. Not only did she guide me in my admissions process, but she gave me a boost in preparation for when I start the program in the fall.

Thank you, Jessica!

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May 04, 2015
Anonymous

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I sought out help from MBA Mission starting in Round 1 and continued through the very end of Round 2. I was particularly seeking hourly consulting services to fine-tune my essay ideas and some ad-hoc advice on resume, recs, etc with the biggest focus being on essays.

My initial 30 minute free consultation was with Jessica Shklar and I felt that in this brief session alone, I could get a sense of the depths to which I knew she could truly help me pinpoint what to focus on in my essays and how to really convey the thread of my experiences in the most powerful way possible.

She got on the call prepared and ready, having analyzed my profile and what information I provided to the website. I could tell she really reviewed my background and the materials I provided, so that I didn't have to waste anytime reviewing things again in summary. Since I was worried about how much money to invest in expensive consulting services, I admit I was hesitant about buying these services because I was worried I would dish out tons of money for what might be mediocre guidance. I got off the call truly feeling the she was personally invested in my success and I knew I wanted to continue with her as a consultant. In just thirty minutes, I felt I had a MUCH clearer picture of what angle I could focus on in my essay stories.

The thought of tackling all the business-school essays gave me incredible anxiety : I was self conscious about my writing, I was concerned about being an industry-switcher and how to really prove to the admissions committee why and how I was planning to carve out my future career based on the past experiences that shaped me. I had an immediate sense of relief and clarity with Jessica because she so easily and naturally found ways that I could tell my story- in a very captivating and genuine way that never occurred to me before. And that is what you need in a consultant.

Unfortunately, Jessica had been pretty booked up with R1 clients and when I decided I wanted to buy some consulting hours, I had to pick someone else to work with at first. But ultimately, I felt that my expectations were not met by that person, and after one session, I felt unhappy with who I was left with. They just did not compare to the rapport I felt with her. I contacted Jessica and told her how I felt, what my concerns were, and if she could find a way of taking me on as a client because I was convinced I needed to work individually with her to really accomplish my goals. She was prompt in immediately addressing my concerns, not only did she find a way for the company to refund me for the consulting services I wasn't happy with, but she ultimately told me she would find a way of fitting me in as one of her R1 clients so that I could work with her instead.

Jessica worked with me from this point forward, as I applied to one R1 top tier school, and then 7 other top R2 schools. She is excellent at giving really raw feedback, directly pinpointing what you need to fix, where you're not being clear, what you do well, what you are still not doing right etc. - What I value most about her support was that she isn't afraid to be tough with you. At first, the writing critique process can feel really personal and the feedback can be painful but I cannot emphasize how important it was for me to have someone like Jessica who was not afraid to tell me her opinions on each point of my essay in the most blunt and direct way possible. At times, it hurts, but its what you really need to get your essay into the best shape possible. And this is ultimately a valuable aspect of Jessica's style because she doesn't waste your time or money - basically, she tells it like it is, and doesn't sugarcoat it for you. In this gut-wrenching process, that is exactly what you need, especially when you're going through draft after draft, competing with thousands of people, juggling with deadlines, and want to get those acceptance letters. It was critical, and it helped enormously. Because I could really see how my essays had evolved, and how I even improved the drafts I was giving her after only my R1 essays. Because I took her feedback and applied it to my thought process.

Throughout the months, Jessica was always clear and reliable about what she needed from her client group - she also reminded us about what deadlines we should be aware of and how to facilitate that with her two-day turnaround so that she could ensure we were not freaking out at the last minute and begging for a 24 hour turnaround of a final draft or needing to pay the expensive rush fee to get it back from her - she was always very clear with what she needed to be able to give the best support most efficiently. Even down to the specifics of how to write your emails to her, with what in the subject line, so that she could most efficiently get back to our requests.

In hindsight, I felt like writing essays and crafting your story for business school applications really feels like you go through therapy. And Jessica was like my therapist in this aspect! You go through a LOT of self-reflection about who you are. I was truly floored when my decision letters started rolling in. I did not get into the top 2 most competitive schools - I got into all other 5 schools (highly competitive programs), with incredible merit scholarships, and was waitlisted at 1 other. I really was overjoyed with my results. No matter what, you have to put in the best effort possible to get the best out of consulting services. Jessica was the person who got me to the level I needed to be at - I felt confident that I was submitting my best work. And my results reflected this.

I highly recommend Jessica Shklar - she was a consultant that was truly invested in my success and I have no doubt that she maintains this standard with each and every one of her clients.

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May 04, 2015
Anonymous

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I worked with Jessica from October 2014 up until recently, thanks to a friend’s recommendation. Though at the time I wasn’t sure if I would hire a consultant given the price tag, I scheduled a free 30 min call with Jessica to learn more. During that call, it immediately became obvious to me why my friend had recommended Jessica. Having spoken with a few other consultants from other companies, I knew Jessica was the right fit for me. There is no consultant out there who is more professional, dedicated or hardworking than Jessica. I highly recommend working with Jessica if you are considering hiring a consultant.

Jessica is the utmost professional. mbaMission has a 2 day return policy and Jessica often provided feedback well before that deadline. Even during crunch times, Jessica always provided comments in time, helping to keep me in check. Because I worked with Jessica, I felt that I was continuously making progress throughout this process. She kept me moving forward, and more importantly, pushed me to go deeper with my essays and applications. Jessica is also a great editor and writer. Her feedback will help you make sure that no word is wasted and that your essays are as crisp as possible.

Jessica is also direct – which is a great thing considering that this process is often very vague. Jessica won’t beat around the bush. Instead, she will give you her honest opinion and then help find you ways to get you to where you want to be. Moreover, Jessica is always happy to help and answer any question you may have (from something very minor to something more significant).

In the fall, I will be attending a top program with an amazing scholarship, and Jessica definitely played a big part in that. She helped me put my best forward and keep sane throughout this challenging and long process. I cannot recommend Jessica enough. Schedule a call with her today, you will be happy you did so!

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April 22, 2015
Anonymous

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I heard about Jessica Shklar through several friends – all gained acceptance to their top choice schools with her help. I reached out to her early (or so I thought) for the 2015 application cycle only to find out that she was already booked solid for R1. She offered to recommend another mbaMission consultant but the opportunity to work with her, coupled with other factors specific to my situation, made the choice to hold off until R2 an easy one.

After eight years in the military and multiple deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa I had plenty of interesting stories but had no idea how to effectively tie them together into something that the admissions committees could understand and appreciate. The first brainstorming session was possibly the most important 90 minutes of the entire process for me. I started with 20 pages of notes, ideas, and disjointed stories and walked away with solid, coherent themes that I was eventually able to incorporate in every application. I also walked away with a realistic list of schools to target and a clear understanding of every step I needed to take in order to submit a successful application. From the 30-minute free consultation (I’m still amazed at how well she was able to understand my story and offer relevant advice after little more than a glance at an early draft of my resume) to the final interview prep call, Jessica made manageable what would have been an otherwise unbelievably stressful process. Most importantly, I was truly proud of the applications I finally submitted.

I applied to three schools with Jessica’s help – I was accepted to two (including my top choice) and waitlisted at the other. I honestly do not believe that I would have achieved those results if I hadn’t worked with Jessica. The service is definitely a financial commitment but if you have the opportunity to work with Jessica, do so… I promise that you won’t regret it.

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April 19, 2015
Anonymous

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Based on a recommendation from my GMAT instructor at the time, I signed up for my free, 30 minute consultation with Jessica Shklar. I was just beginning to explore the application process, and was starting from square one. During that session, Jessica listened to my background, and provided thoughtful feedback and advice on how best to proceed. From the beginning, I felt as though she genuinely wanted me to succeed in the process - she was engaged and excited. She never attempted to sell or push any services or products – in fact, when I did decide to sign up with her, I had to convince HER to take me on, because she was in such high demand.

As a somewhat nontraditional candidate, I was extremely nervous to go through the application process - and I was also keenly aware of how much of an investment MBA Mission’s services are. However, as I began working with Jessica, the returns on that investment became clear right away.

I was working on an extremely condensed timeline, and was studying for the GMAT at the same time. Jessica worked tirelessly to ensure that the applications I was able to put forth at the end of the process were the best they could be – and that they were a genuine representation of who I am as an applicant. If I had any questions, she was there with a quick response – from beginning to end.

What I appreciate most about Jessica is her honesty. I wanted a consultant that would be tough and tell me the things I didn’t always want to hear, or perhaps wasn’t capable of recognizing in my own work, and I certainly received that feedback from Jessica. If I came up with an essay idea that she knew wasn’t my best, she told me so. She never let me settle for less than my best, and that paid off immensely in the end. I am immensely grateful to Jessica for her encouragement and support during this process – and recommend her highly to anyone considering going through the application process.

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April 08, 2015
Anonymous

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While studying for the GMAT with ManhattanGMAT, I participated in a mbaMission webinar about last minute applications Jessica hosted. After furiously taking notes realizing the wisdom and helpful hints she was providing, I knew instantly I had to work with her. My instinct was confirmed after taking advantage of a 30 minute free consultation with an advisor of your choice mbaMission offers when again I was impressed with Jessica’s knowledge, enthusiasm and encouragement of the application process.

I was applying to executive MBA programs and wanted to go to the best (Wharton). I knew I had the leadership experience and skills they looked for but with a low GMAT score and an average GPA from a tier 3 undergraduate university, it was going to be an uphill battle. Wharton puts such an emphasis on GMAT scores that I estimated there were about 10 spots for those who scored below 650 and the only way I was getting in was to come across as exceptional in every other aspect of my application. This is where Jessica came in. She gave me excellent feedback, ideas and direction. She’s incredibly gifted at helping applicants tell their story and gave great advise for a successful interview. She is also incredibly efficient. I worked with Jessica on an hourly basis and felt she gave me as much attention and care as she does all her clients, regardless of how many applications or hours you're signed up for. She helped me realize my dream (as I just learned of my acceptance) and I will forever be grateful. Thank you Jessica!

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April 04, 2015
mserek

Joined: Mar 25, 2014

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

MBA application process always scared me up until I met Jessica. I first attended online essay-writing webinar she hosted. The key points she highlighted would never come to my mind as important aspects of effective essay writing. Even though she was hosting the webinar to many people, I felt like she was talking to me with her friendly tone and spot-on advices. Then, I immediately arranged 30 minutes free consultation session with her. She asked me great questions and uncovered so many hidden stories in my life that I would have never discovered on my own. We agreed to start one school package and add other schools later on.
As a sales manager in global IT company, I had hard time arranging my timetable: meetings, GMAT studies, essay drafting..etc. But Jessica helped me organize myself by setting certain deadlines for each application step and sending me little reminders that I really needed to go extra mile. Not only she helped me organize but she also motivated me when I felt down and lost at some stages. She reminded me that my story and background had so much to tell to business schools and that I would be great fit to top ones.
Above all, I think Jessica`s most remarkable strength is empathy. At each session we had, she truly put herself in my shoes and dug deeper in my life story. Sometimes I felt that she believed in me more than I believed in myself. That is Incredible!! In the end I applied to 4 top business schools with Jessica`s consultation and I felt absolutely satisfied with every bit of data I submitted. She made me feel that I did my absolute best and presented myself in most unique way.
Finally I have been admitted to one of my dream schools and it would not have been possible without Jessica.
I recommend Jessica to anyone who has big dreams! Because big dreams are achieved with BEST people in business!

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March 30, 2015
austindz

Joined: Mar 30, 2015

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Bottom Line Upfront: when I was applying to MBA programs I just cared about peoples backgrounds, scores, and where they got into, so real quick: Decorated Army Officer (9 years), 3.7 GPA from West Point, 700 GMAT, dinged HBS, wait list Wharton, accepted Duke. Don't think I would have achieved the results (or would have had a much harder time) without Jessica.

I'm an Army Officer who wanted to go to a top tier business school through a program the Army has to send Officers to grad school. I didn't really know anything about business, and even less about business school, so I decided to get a consultant off a recommendation of several friends. One friend pointed me to Jessica, stating that she helped another Army Officer get into HBS. I signed up for the 3 school complete package.

I had already taken the GMAT and got a 700 (low for the schools I was applying to) and in my first meeting with Jessica she said I should work on getting that score up and to email her back in one year because I was starting the process WAY early, which really makes sense because again, I'm an Army Officer and I like to plan long term.

I was unable to work on my GMAT because I was in command and deployed, so a year later I emailed Jessica while deployed. She said she was looking forward to me recontacting her, and gave me a brainstorming document to work on. This brainstorming document covered a lot in your life- accomplishments, stories, awards, etc. We also briefly discussed my strategy for graduate school- that essentially I was competing against other military and I needed to make myself stick out compared to other military.

She helped me out tremendously with my resume. I've done a lot in my career, however, I didn't really know how to put it in terms that non-military people understood. This was actually the most difficult part of the entire application process for me. But we worked it out and put together a great resume that I am very proud of.

Next We had an online "workshop" with other students to talk about essays. We had to read essays before hand and talk about them. I found this really enjoyable and insightful and got to ask a lot of good questions. I was also very intimidated by the other participants- after all, I have no background in business and it seems like the other MBA applicants had a much better background than I did! I brought that up to Jessica and she said not to worry, that I had a strong background, was not at all outclassed, and in fact other applicants would probably be intimated by me. This really helped my attitude going forward. Thanks Jessica!

The essay process was hell. A lot of rewrites and edits. Typically when I gave something to Jessica I'd get it back in a day or two- even when she was on "vacation"! I truly poured my heart out into these essays and put together a very satisfactory product for both HBS and Wharton. I also felt that I was in total control of my product- Jessica suggested routes to explore and go down, and help me tighten up my bad grammar and take out parts that didn't belong, but she by no means dictated what I wrote. I also got to know Jessica and I really appreciated her insight and humor.

Duke was the last school for R1 applications, so naturally I did that essay last. Unfortunately, I didn't leave myself much time because it was right before a deployment. I had to force myself to sit down in front of my computer while staying in Waikiki Beach in Hawaii and write. The first product I sent to Jessica was horrible- and I knew it. However, we quickly talked, recovered, and knocked out what turned out to be my favorite essay.

Interviews were nothing to stress about. We talked a little bit about them, but I felt I was fine. The Wharton mock interview was very helpful, especially since I had to interview while in India.

Overall, I was disappointed in myself that I did not get into HBS and got wait listed for Wharton. I knew some peers that got in with similar scores as me (or lower) and I thought my essays were top notch. However, those schools are very competitive, may have been looking for something else, and plenty of my peers did not get into Duke, which is where I finally ended up getting admitted to. However, I don't think I even would have had a chance without Jessica's help, and more importantly, she gave me confidence and kept me on track when I needed it.

I'm very happy that I ended up at Duke and would pick it over Wharton anyways. For anyone starting the MBA application process, especially if they are military, I recommend a consultant, and I couldn't imagine a better one than Jessica Shklar.

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February 28, 2015
Anonymous

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A former Captain in the U.S. Air Force, I was skeptical (not to mention clueless!) about entering the competitive MBA space. With an undergraduate degree in engineering, a masters, and extensive project engineering experience in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Europe, my stories were endless. But where would I start? Could I be effective in telling my whole story? How could I ensure my trials and tribulations caught the AdCom’s eye?

In walked Jessica Shklar. A distinguished graduate from HBS, Jessica was also accepted into Stanford, Kellogg, and Yale. Her resume spoke for itself but I wondered, “Could she help me”? The moment of truth came during my free 30 minute consultation. Starting at 5 pm, our conversation was an interactive and intense self-analysis. In just 30 minutes Jessica gave me a critical but uplifting review of my candidacy – all for the price of FREE. She didn’t pressure me to pay for her services; she only provided incredible feedback and outlined a plan for my future. Why? Because she cares. That’s her priority. Jessica, first and foremost, wants you to succeed. She will challenge you and she will drive you, all in the name of excellence. The moment you sign her is the moment you start your journey towards business school acceptance.

It should come as no surprise that Jessica is the best at what she does. Jessica has helped potential MBA candidates like you get into their dream schools for seven years. Jessica was an expert at pulling experiences from my past and highlighting my goals. Throughout my essays she helped me articulate key points that kept my stories concise yet relevant. Are you wondering how you’ll ever convey your total life experience in two 500 word essays? Stop wondering – hire Jessica. Are you wondering if your resume can compete in a highly competitive environment? Stop wondering – hire Jessica. Are you wondering if your essays in fact answer the essay question? (many don’t!) Stop wondering – hire Jessica.

Why am I writing this? Because Jessica transformed my voice; she was my consultant and my friend. I used Jessica’s services for three schools but I didn't submit any applications. A less than stellar GMAT score coupled with a few personal issues hindered my application. Who guided me through these troubles? Jessica. Who offered alternatives, advice, and still helped me complete three stellar applications for 2015? Jessica. You’re not just hiring a consultant for getting into business school. You’re hiring a lifetime mentor who just happens to be the best in the business at helping MBA candidates gain acceptance into the school(s) of their dreams.

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