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Joined: Jan 09, 2019
720 Q48 V41
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Consultant Christine (SBC)
As an applicant, I went to a top-tier liberal arts college, had a 710 when I hired SBC (a 720 by application time), and work for a well-known investing shop, but have two low quant grades from college and am on the younger side. The turnaround from learning about the world business school application consultants to enlisting Stacy Blackman Consulting was really short for me. A handful of friends who graduated the year before me in college were all accepted to business school in Round 1 of the last cycle, and they shared a tool: a great SBC consultant. I did my due diligence on a few other firms, but ended up asking Bill Chionis at SBC to connect me with three Columbia-experienced SBC consultants (I had visited the campuses of five schools, and knew that CBS was my top choice). I “interviewed” the three, and a problem arose: all three were amazing and raring to go. Bill gave me great advice with how to pick: choose the consultant who you’d like to communicate with for 6+ months. I asked to sign a one school contract with Christine for an application to CBS, and am incredibly grateful for her.
Christine went to CBS and knows how to navigate the intricacies of CBS’ application like the back of her hand. But Christine’s biggest impact on me as an applicant was not in the essay editing or in the interview preparation, but rather in how she suggested ways for me to become a better applicant to any competitive business school. She pushed me to retake the GMAT to increase my quant score and take an online Berkeley course to buttress my profile, and helped me to figure out my narrative as a CBS applicant. Christine worked with me from January to July, and I was accepted ED to CBS (one and done!). Looking back, it was so easy to go back and forth with her via email and telephone calls about brainstorming for essays, resume revisions, and the process of preparing my recommenders. She knew how I would be different and interesting to CBS’ AdCom, and recommended aspects to highlight. She gently prodded me to work really hard, but it never seemed like a drag to do any of the tasks — she explained to me why each was important, and I knew that if I gave the SBC “formula” my all, I would produce the best application I could.
Christine answered each of my questions (“how do I answer this question on the CBS application form,” “what shirt should I wear with which suit to the interview,” “what do you think about this email to my recommender to remind him about the deadline,” “should I mention that I met this person at a CBS event,” etc.) earnestly and swiftly. She always asked about how I was doing in the process, and truly rooted for me the whole way. In the end, the process with Christine far exceeded what I thought it would be like to hire a business school consultant, and I will continue to sing her praises (and SBC’s) from the rooftop to friends who are thinking about applying next cycle.
Joined: Jun 09, 2019
Consultant Christina (SBC)
I cannot say enough about Christina and SBC! She was my biggest advocate throughout the whole application process and believed in me from the start, making me feel confident in my ability to succeed in school.
--Before the all in package: I spoke with another consultant, Esther, about my candidacy and to determine who the best consultant to work with would be. Esther was extremely responsive and knowledgeable about the elements of a strong application. She immediately matched me with Christina (it was a perfect match in my opinion!).
--Christina: She has had lots of professional experience in retail and understood the challenges that I faced coming from that industry, which is a less common pre-MBA career. She also completed her MBA at Harvard and understood the rigor of applying to and attending a top program.
--Creating a “brand” and application strategy: Christina quickly helped create a targeted application approach and helped me focus in on the programs that most aligned with my interests and personality. She was so helpful in getting an understanding of the MBA landscape. She also helped create an application that played to my strengths and offset my weaknesses in order to stand out among thousands of competitive applicants.
--Writing essays: Christina’s writing skills are top notch. In fact, I’m pretty sure my grammar and creative writing skills have improved after working with her. She helped me articulate my thoughts, create an outline, and polish my essays so they jumped off the page and reflected my personality.
--Interview prep: We prepped for one interview together and Christina was prepared with a list of questions that school had asked in recent years. After a mock interview, she gave thorough feedback for each question and helped make sure I was as polished and confident as possible going into the interview. She even went the extra mile and sent good luck messages leading up to the interview day!
--Christina truly cares about her clients and it shows. She and I frequently spent long hours on the phone weighing the pros and cons of various schools, discussing post-MBA career paths, editing essays, and prepping for interviews. She quickly became one of the first people I talked to about professional developments because of her positive and constructive feedback. She has been a huge force behind my personal and professional development through the application process - both supporting me and giving helpful feedback.
--Christina is full of positive encouragement, but she will also push you because she wants you to have the strongest application possible. I had a long list of things to do leading up to application submission. While I was stressed at times, Christina was always extremely encouraging and built my confidence.
--When choosing a consultant, I recommend thinking carefully about what it is that you are seeking help with. I was looking for someone to help guide me through the whole process, so I decided to go with SBC’s “All In” package. I also wanted someone who understood my industry and the challenges that came with coming from a less common pre-MBA career. Finally, I wanted someone who I would get along well with and would help me grow throughout the application process. Christina was the perfect match in every single way. Our phone calls often went well beyond the application itself, and into areas of personal development. Christina goes above and beyond her responsibilities, and that is largely because she genuinely cares about her clients. She is exactly the kind of person you want in your corner throughout the application process!!
Joined: Apr 27, 2019
Consultant Kimberly Ge
When searching for a consultant to work with, I was looking for someone who was both knowledgeable about the application process and the schools I was applying to (Booth, primarily). However, most importantly, I was looking for someone who wasn't afraid to be candid with me, but also someone who was responsive and supportive. I found all these characteristics in Kimberly at SBC.
Kimberly was an excellent mentor and coach throughout the business school application process. From the start, I connected with her very easily because she was patient, friendly, understanding, and had experience working with many types of situations. This allowed me to feel at-ease, which helped me open up quickly, and ultimately made the discovery process for outlining my strengths/weaknesses and talking points that much more efficient.
As someone who had never been through the application process, I had tons of questions and often insecurities, which I would often shoot over to Kimberly whenever they popped into my mind. She always responded thoroughly and very quickly, often by the next day, and did a great job of assuaging my anxieties. On the flip side, Kimberly was never afraid to be candid and let me know if I was overthinking something or whether my points were not succinct enough. It was this candor that helped me refine my essays to some of my proudest pieces of writing as well as improve my own confidence in speaking about myself.
Overall, I could not be happier with the partnership between me and Kimberly and would highly recommend her services to anyone going through the business school application process, especially if Booth is in your top choices!
Joined: May 23, 2017
780 Q50 V48
Consultant Chris (SBC)
I worked with Chris Van Nostrand on my Kellogg application. At first I thought he had done a good job challenging me on both broader topics and specific anecdotes in my essays. He was prompt and direct with his comments, which I appreciated. We also did a mock interview over the phone that was enjoyable. When I had my on-campus interview in R1 I felt well-prepared.
Ultimately, however, I was rejected from Kellogg in R1. Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the entire process wasn't that I was rejected from my dream school despite a 780 GMAT score and otherwise competitive profile but that I received zero follow-up from Chris or the SBC team after my rejection. No condolences, no sympathy, nothing. The last thing an applicant needs when juggling rejections and waitlists and figuring out R2 applications as the holidays approach is radio silence from their consultants.
I was accepted at a T10-15 school and will be matriculating there this Fall, but I did that application entirely on my own in R2 and without the help of any consultants. Bill Chionis of SBC actually told me not to apply to the school that I'm going to now and I'm glad I went against his advice, otherwise I would have come up completely empty. Overall I felt ripped off by the entire admissions consulting process and consider it a waste of time and money. It was extremely poor client management to ghost an applicant after they are rejected.
Joined: Jun 19, 2017
I have nothing but great things to say about Erika with Stacy Blackman Consulting. She helped me tell my story in a unique and creative way that brought admissions success. The admissions process is undoubtedly stressful, but Erika is familiar with the process and helped provide internal deadlines that brought clarity and organized the chaos. I ended up getting into all three schools that I worked with Erika on, and the insights she provided also helped with schools outside of my SBC package. She turned things around quickly and provided comments that helped me reflect on the story I wanted to tell. The all in package took me from blank page through the interview (and post interview reflection) and helped reduce stress along the way.
Joined: May 28, 2019
I was very lucky to work with Erika at SBC on my HBS application this year and couldn’t be more pleased with the process.
I’m sure each applicant struggles with information overload when applying to MBA programs – there are many (and often conflicting) opinions available online that can over-complicate the application process.
I found Erika’s approach to be extremely thorough yet efficient, which was particularly valuable given I was applying from a finance job that didn’t leave a lot of time for second guessing my application materials and approach.
Erika has a gift for quickly internalizing your “story” and nuanced qualities of your overall applicant profile and helping you highlight elements that you may otherwise overlook or take for granted. This fresh, focused perspective really helped me to communicate what was most important through the various components of the application and submit with confidence.
Finally, I found SBC’s database of application resources to be extremely helpful in keeping my application process focused and saved me going down “rabbit holes” searching through discussion forums for answers.
Joined: May 14, 2019
I had the pleasure of working with Erika from Stacy Blackman Consulting throughout my business school applications process. Erika is a professional writer and HBS graduate which means she has both the common sense to let you know what the right applications strategy is and knows how to coach you such that your personality shines through in your writing style. She gives meticulous feedback on each of your essays and leverages a decade of past admissions consulting experience to help you understand how to craft your story to match both who you are as well as the school you're applying to. As a bonus, she's also pretty hilarious. MBA applications are stressful and having someone with a sense of humor to coach you through the process can take a lot of that unnecessary stress away which will ultimately help you better communicate who you are in your application. I would highly recommend Erika to any student who comes from a nontraditional employment background (like myself, PM in tech) because she helps you eliminate the subject specific nomenclature and communicate the value you provide so that anyone can understand it. Thanks to Erika, I'll be attending Wharton this fall :)
Joined: Apr 22, 2019
Consultant DC (SBC)
Applying to business schools is a daunting, and frankly, overwhelming task. As a non-traditional applicant, my b-school network was extremely limited (I only knew one person that had even gone to business school). I did not even know where to start. Fortunately, my one contact happened to be an HBS grad, and recommended me to SBC.
From the start, the entire SBC was very genuine about understanding me not only as an applicant, but also a person. Only after completing the application process do I fully understand and appreciate the importance of finding the right fit in both the firm, and the consultant. SBC is very thoughtful about pairing the applicant with the right consultant. After a few informational discussions, I was ultimately paired with DC- and wow did I luck out! DC has been an amazing resource, guide, and ultimately, has truly become a friend. DC was able to ask meaningful, thoughtful, questions that encouraged introspection on who I am and my goals- and pushed me to develop those ideas further.
DC’s methodical approach truly made me more confident in articulating my story- she honed in on aspects of my profile that I initially thought to be inconsequential, but were ultimately areas I highlighted in essays and interviews. Not only did DC provide immediate feedback to any question or thought I had, but also connected me with past clients and other individuals to gain a better understanding of the application process. SBC’s additional resources to help you throughout the application process, including past essays, interview transcripts, and mock interviews, proved to be invaluable.
The “numbers” (test scores, undergraduate institution, etc.) portion of my profile was far from stellar. With the help and guidance of DC and the entire SBC team, I was able to craft my applications in a way that highlighted my strengths. I applied to five schools. Ultimately, I received three acceptances, including full scholarships to two top 10 schools. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would not have had the outcomes I did without the encouragement and support of DC and the entire SBC team. I cannot recommend them enough!
Joined: Apr 22, 2019
Consultant Caryn (SBC)
Caryn was absolutely instrumental in my journey towards getting into Wharton and Kellogg! I decided in late September to apply to round two, and shopped around several consulting firms before deciding on SBC due to the candidness & accessibility of their consultants. I applied to 4 schools with Caryn, and she created a timeline that helped me stay accountable through the application process.
Prior to working with Caryn, I had disconnected ideas of how why I wanted to go to business school, and what I hoped to achieve post-MBA, but no real connections between the thoughts. Caryn helped me link all the different ideas together to develop a cohesive story for my applications and interviews. She provided prompt, constructive, and actionable advice to help me fine-tune my essays and resume. Then during the interview process, she provided key tips on what to expect from admissions officers during interviews, and set me up with other consultants from the SBC team for follow-up practice interviews to help me be better prepared for my HBS and Wharton interviews (which I definitely was!).
Highly recommend Caryn to anyone who's seeking help on their MBA application journey!
Joined: Dec 04, 2017
Consultant Yvette (SBC)
The application process will be long and hard - my first call with Stacy Blackman made me realize just how involved it was going to be (I spoke to other consultants, but SB was the one that was most upfront about how demanding it was going to be). I was paired with Yvette due to my school choices, and I believe because of my nationality/culture.
I think some of the biggest perks of working with Yvette are:
1) No beating around the bush. She is direct with her feedback, without being dismissive, and helps you dig deeper. When you have to write about such personal matters, it's hard/awkward to really think about them and to have someone else read them - I never had this issue with Yvette. Yvette made me think through what I was bringing to the table, and helped me highlight it in my applications. She helped me by asking questions, and by providing a framework to help me think through the application questions in parts.
2) She is responsive, even if you are 1hr away from your deadline. There was never a NO to questions such as "Can you take a look one last time?", "Can you review my resume?", etc. As someone who doesn't speak English as her first language and who might have rushed the workload, it was great to always have a second pair of eyes.
3) She's a real person! (And a cool one too!) You can talk to Yvette about life, beyond the MBA, and this can help put things into perspective (just in case you get sucked into MBA vortex!)