GMAT Club

Susan Kaplan Reviews

Company: mbaMission

Susan Kaplan brings to each of her clients more than a decade of experience as an MBA admissions consultant, combined with 12 years as a marketing strategist. She holds an MBA in marketing and strategy from the Yale School of Management, where she earned distinctions in marketing and negotiation and was a second-year student advisor and an active member of the Women in Management Club. At BSMG Worldwide marketing consulting, Susan advised clients on how to achieve growth in industries such as health care and financial services, and as director of corporate marketing for the National Hockey League, she spearheaded multimillion-dollar marketing programs with such global sponsors as Coca-Cola and Southwest Airlines. Earlier in her career, Susan worked for a time as a policy analyst at the Department of Labor in Washington, DC, and was a brand manager for GMAT and GRE programs at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions.

At Kaplan, Susan found her true passion, which she now pursues as an mbaMission Senior Consultant: advising prospective students on how to strategically market themselves to their target business schools. She leverages her Career Coach Certification and bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan to connect with her clients, helping them identify their strengths and compelling stories and then communicate them to the admissions committees in a way that sets them apart from other applicants and demonstrates fit with the program.


5.0 /5 Average Rating
Based on 39 reviews
March 27, 2020
bpb101

Joined: Oct 28, 2015

Posts: 2

Kudos: 5

Verified score:
730 Q49 V41

Incredibly Insightful Essay and Interview Tips

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I had already written first drafts of my essays, but I wanted some professional help to edit them. I turned to Susan Kaplan, whose advice was incredibly insightful and absolutely instrumental in ultimately achieving success. She worked with me to perfect my writing while maintaining my own voice and ideas. This was what I was most impressed by with Susan - she was able to help me overhaul my essays while preserving my own identity within the writing. I also leaned on Susan for help when prepping for one of my first interviews, and her advice there was equally insightful.

I was ultimately accepted to 3 of the 4 schools Susan assisted me with, including Kellogg, Wharton, and Haas. Without Susan's help, I do not believe I could have possibly achieved these same results. I'd strongly recommend her to anyone looking for help throughout the application process.

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February 04, 2020
Ross2022

Joined: Feb 04, 2020

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Highly Recommend Susan!

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I did the Start-to-Finish Package for two schools with Susan, Tuck and Yale. I also applied to HBS, Ross, and Foster on my own. Coming from a non-traditional background I was daunted by the MBA world and wanted to be sure I was able to tell my story authentically, but in a manner that would resonate with MBA admissions committees. Ultimately, I was admitted to Tuck and waitlisted at Yale. I also receive admission to Ross with a full-tuition scholarship and Foster with a moderate scholarship. While Susan and I only worked together on Tuck and Yale I know without a doubt that my other applications also benefited from our work together. I would 100% recommend working with Susan.

Susan is often characterized as “tough”. I don’t believe this to be a completely accurate characterization. Susan was relentless at making sure I put my best foot forward, while also being a deeply empathetic and supportive colleague. The MBA admissions process is tough and requires you put in the work, Susan makes sure you do it. She helps you to find your story and paint a clear picture of who you are and what you bring to the school. There were times when I got frustrated because I thought I was addressing a comment, but she would say I hadn’t gotten it yet. This can feel tough, but it was absolutely essential in pushing me to be as effective as possible in my essays. She knows what it takes to succeed and was invested in my success.

I deeply appreciated all the time Susan put into to get to know me during the brainstorming process and beyond. During the brainstorming Susan identified themes that I hadn’t thought of based on the information I sent her about my experiences. She was spot on and I was surprised how someone I barely knew could so quickly get at the heart of who I am. Additionally, after writing a few drafts of my first essay I didn’t feel fully comfortable with the direction. We spoke about it at length and finally it clicked for both of us what the thesis of the essay really should be. This extra time she spent to make sure I got my message just right was incredibly helpful and it was also the moment I knew Susan would keep working on a problem as long as it took to get it right.

My applications also required video components, which I was originally terrified of doing. Susan showed me how to master them with ease and after our practice sessions I felt completely calm and prepared.

Finally, Susan was always on time with her responses and provided thoughtful, detailed comments on my numerous draft essay and other materials draft.

I highly recommend Susan! It was so reassuring knowing she was on my team and I could go to her with any question at any time. I’m thrilled about schools I got into and couldn’t have done it without her!

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January 11, 2020
maxLS

Joined: Jan 11, 2020

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
Canceled

Susan is a fantastic admissions consultant. I can't say enough about her contribution to my applications.

She spends a lot of time upfront clearly laying out her process so that working with her is efficient and methodical. We spent a lot of time brainstorming my story and how it will fit with my target programs. I did not have a safe school and she respected that decision - her goal is to make your application the best it can be for each school you choose. Within the framework of my story, she pushed me to adapt each application to the specific schools to increase the likelihood of success. The application has to be genuine and has to align if/when invited to interview, so she is careful not to draft actual text. She NEVER missed a 48hr turnaround deadline and frequently sent through comments earlier. During crunch periods when I needed things turned around more quickly she took the time to explain what my options were and her availability to accommodate. Her guidance is always clear, helpful, and specific when it needs to be. She must have turned my HBS essay 30+ times and the 4 others 15+.

Applied to 5 schools; Accepted to 4 (HBS, Wharton ($$), Tuck, Kellogg ($$$)), wait-listed at 1. White male in finance.

She is not stressful to work with. She can seem 'tough' at times, but in the best way possible: only because she knows if your application does not yet fully reflect your potential in the context of each school's values. She will insist that the essays can get better and will give you the guidance to help you get there.

Finally, she's on your side. She cares about your success and will be anxious with you when decision are released!

I highly recommend choosing Susan as your admission consultant.

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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.
April 01, 2019
Anon0104

Joined: Apr 01, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
710 Q45 V44

100% recommend Susan!

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I first talked to Susan during a free phone consultation, after reading all her positive reviews. These initial 30 minutes convinced me that she would help make my applications stronger, and I decided to work with her for a 3-School package. I had a set list of schools in mind that I wanted to apply to. Although all 3 were reaches, she didn’t encourage me to apply to safety schools. I only had two months to submit my three applications, which was enough given Susan’s punctuality for returning material. She never missed her two-day deadline, and often returned documents ahead of time. She sent back comments on at least 50 versions of my essays and resumes. She was always available for a quick phone meeting when I needed help defining the direction for an essay or understanding a comment. Many reviews describe Susan as being “tough,” and that’s exactly what I needed. I thought at first that I had precise career goals and reasons for getting an MBA, but she challenged my assumptions, thereby making my personal statement clearer. She helped me pinpoint the distinct aspects of my background and personality that I could bring to a business school community. All these elements were extremely helpful for my essays and resume, but she was also great for interview preparation. I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been accepted to my top choice (top-ten program), with a significant scholarship! Susan was instrumental in helping me get there!

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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.
April 01, 2019
mbaapp2019any

Joined: Jan 11, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 5

Verified score:
780 Q50 V48

mbaMission- Susan Kaplan

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I hired Susan Kaplan to help me with my applications for the MBA class of 2021, with excellent results! I applied to 3 business schools and was admitted to 2 (HSW and another top school with $$) and waitlisted at 1 (HSW). I started working on my applications in June with deadlines in September, after I completed my GMAT. We started with a review of my target schools and Susan gave me honest feedback about my chances. She helped me go through my personal and professional history and identified ideas for effective essay topics that I wouldn’t have pinpointed on my own. Although I was largely responsible for my application timeline and keeping myself on track, Susan was always prompt with feedback and never missed her review deadlines. I am currently residing abroad and she did a good job of accommodating the time differences with our calls.
Overall, the biggest value I got out of the consultancy was the essay feedback. I come from an engineering background and Susan helped me phrase my stories and experiences in a way that someone from any field could understand. Of course I did all of the writing, but her comments were invaluable in shaping how I told my stories. She did an excellent job of finding themes that tied experiences from my personal and professional lives together. She pushed me to go much deeper into my motivations and mindset than I would have otherwise. Although I had very strong stats going into the application process, I believe it was my essays that set my application apart. I would highly recommend Susan to any applicants that are looking for open, honest feedback, but are also self-motivated and not looking for someone to “mother” them through the process. At the end of the process I felt like the applications were fully my own, with Susan providing the push and assistance to make them the best work I could produce.

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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.
March 12, 2019
mdm27

Joined: Aug 30, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
760 Q48 V47

Highly recommend

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I had Susan during the initial free phone consultation and hired her for a two school package. With her help, I got into 1 of the top 10 schools she helped with and accepted at 2 other Top 10 programs I applied to on the side, admission successes for which I heavily relied on my essay work and application strategies from my work with Susan. Susan is great at identifying and pulling out stories for your essays. First and foremost, she helps you identify your "story" and makes you stick with this story throughout. In this aspect, her marketing background shines through. She really pushes you to be introspective and think about what stories you want to tell in your personal statements. For essays related to "why this school" she ensures that you do your research and, most importantly, is the reinforcement to make sure your story is cohesive and stays on track. Susan also promptly replies to emails and inquires. My advice for those deciding to hire a consultant is to really think about your post-MBA goals and story (personal/professional). If you believe you need help developing these, then hire Susan! I would also add for the cost-sensitive customers, do some research about your top choice schools - particularly focusing on what their essay questions are and what they look for in their applicants. If you are hiring her for a 2-school + package, I would hire for schools that are unique in their application processes and student qualities . Also keep in mind that this is a school-based package. While Susan will go above and beyond for the schools you hire her for, she will stick with the schools she is hired for.

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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.
March 12, 2019
rforman

Joined: Feb 04, 2019

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
Canceled

Highly Recommend - Experienced and Candid Feedback

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I came to Susan while in the midst of studying for the GMAT, exploring MBA programs, and uncovering my post-MBA goals (all within a very short deadline for round 1). Susan structured the overwhelming process, ensuring I was set up for success. She contributed several key insights that helped my application become significantly more competitive, while providing thoughtful perspective and ideas for how to craft my experiences into a compelling story. She provided a deep understanding of what admissions was hoping to uncover within the essay prompts, and helped me to generate ideas to demonstrate my aptitude/qualifications and my passion. With her help, I was admitted to a top 5 MBA program.

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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.
March 08, 2019
sel2468

Joined: Dec 11, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

110% Recommend Susan Kaplan!

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Susan is truly an invaluable asset in the MBA admissions process. I was very nervous going into the process, as I was coming to the table with a non-traditional educational background (social sciences undergrad degree), a non-quantitative job, and good, but not amazing, test scores. From the beginning, Susan worked tirelessly to get to know me on a personal level and what was unique about me; using her background in marketing, she refers to herself as your “personal brand manager” throughout the process. As we prepared my applications, she consistently questioned and challenged my assumptions about my motivations for getting an MBA and my future career plans to help me narrow down my exact goals, which helped immensely during essay writing, networking with the schools, and interviewing. As other reviewers mentioned, Susan is tough, but in my opinion, in the best way possible. She puts so much time and effort into making your application the absolute best it can be with copious thoughtful comments and revisions to essays and pointed questions during brainstorming and interview prep. At every step of the process, Susan was by my side, simultaneously pushing me forward and cheering me on.

Thanks to Susan’s help, I was accepted to 3 out of the 3 schools I applied to with her, two of which we both agreed were reaches and one where I received a full ride. Every time I found out I got in somewhere, Susan was one of the first people I wanted to tell. If you’re considering getting a consultant to go through this process (which I absolutely believe you should), I would 110% recommend hiring Susan!

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April 06, 2018
megmpm

Joined: Apr 06, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Highly Recommend Susan

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As an applicant with a non-traditional background, I knew that I was going to need all of the guidance I could get on the business school application process. I decided to enlist mbaMission’s services, and the company’s founder highly recommended Susan. Working with Susan was the best decision I could have made. She gave me invaluable advice and asked me all of the right questions that I had no idea I needed to be prepared to answer.
When I started with Susan this past fall, I was very late in the admissions process. I intended to apply to schools for round 2, but was still studying for the GMAT and deciding which schools to apply to at the same time. Right off the bat, Susan helped me set realistic expectations for studying/working full time/applying to schools in a short time period. She helped me cut down my school list to schools that would be a good fit for me and that I could realistically get into. She advised me to stick with previous GRE scores (and helped me realize that these scores would get me into b schools) so that I would not waste any more time studying for the GMAT and actually start focusing on working on my applications.
Susan also made sure that every single minute of my time with her was spent wisely. For example, during our first brainstorming call, Susan realized that I needed to do more research on my short term and long term post- MBA career goals; specifically, how my target school would support me in these goals, before we could proceed any further. She stopped the conversation short so that we would not waste any more time, and gave my guided questions to think about as I did my own research on these topics.
Susan never missed a deadline and usually returned any items I sent to her for feedback early. Susan’s feedback was always thorough and insightful.
Susan provides very blunt criticism (as others have touched upon), but without her help I know I would not have gotten into my top choice school. She makes you work really hard, but it will pay off immensely!! She sincerely wants to make sure that you have the best application possible. I am a better business school candidate because of working with her.

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March 04, 2018
nkinkenon

Joined: Mar 04, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
730 Q48 V42

So lucky to have worked with Susan!

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I worked with Susan for nearly the entirety of the past year, through 2 rounds of bschool admissions (which might sound like a bad thing, but read on to learn why!), and highly recommend that you give her a call if you are in the early stages of applying to business school. Your applications will be better for it.

I initially applied in the last round of admissions for the Class of 2019, and hired Susan after a 30-minute phone call with another mbaMission consultant who was no longer accepting third round candidates but who heavily endorsed Susan. Going into this final round, Susan was super-candid about my odds of getting accepted (spoiler alert: they were not great). This candor and honesty has been a theme of my work with Susan, and I really appreciated it. I decided to proceed with the final round apps, and Susan was with me every step of the way. She held herself accountable to promised turnaround times, and was often open to expedited reviews as I got into crunch time for certain apps. I applied to three schools in this last round, and was waitlisted at two of them (rejected from one) – which, all things considered, was a pretty good outcome.

The brainstorming / career goals exercise, which then flows into outlining first drafts of essays, are such helpful steps that I think set mbaMission and Susan, specifically, apart. Susan pushed me to set realistic and specific goals by tying in my past experiences (personal / professional), identifying knowledge / skills gaps that I needed to fill, and highlighting how specific resources at my target programs are going to help me realize my goals. One of the best parts of working with Susan is how much she pushed me to go one level deeper – always getting to the “how” and the “why” vs. just stating the “what”. Pointing to specific resources and identifying why I want to pursue them and how they fit with my goals made my story much more compelling than just saying which specific resources I was excited about. I would not have gotten to this level without Susan’s guidance.

Susan’s feedback not only helped ensure that each aspect of my applications was individually strong, but also that there was an almost tangible common thread / consistent story running through the entire application.

I applied again in Round 1 for the Class of 2020, and – after kicking around the “is it worth the money”-question – decided to work with Susan again on my second attempt. Her feedback on my essays and other materials, as well as video components and interview prep was invaluable. I am thrilled that I will be attending a top-10 program (my top choice) in the Fall!

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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.

16 Older and Non-Verified Reviews for Susan Kaplan