|All Reviews > Stacy Blackman Consulting Reviews|
Joined: Apr 25, 2020
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Consultant Kimberly Ge
I had the pleasure of working with Kim from SBC on my business school application in 2019. I was accepted into my dream school Kellogg, with an amazingly generous scholarship and I could not have done it without Kim and the SBC team.
I decided to go for the all-in package for 4 schools and it was truly worth it. I had initial reservations for investing so much money into this endeavor, but the level of service I received was extraordinary. Months after the process, I still feel comfortable picking up the phone and chatting through decisions with Kim!
Over the course of a few months, my counselor took the time to get to know me, my story, my aspirations and helped me form a narrative to get it across to business schools in an effective manner. She was always easy to get a hold of, responsive, and gave very thoughtful feedback. She created a structure to my application process, gave me a lot of flexibility, and supported me through the rigorous and introspective experience.
I highly recommend SBC - the Test Drive feature was unique, the staff is made up of ex-admissions officers and so they know what they are talking about! My ONLY caveat would be - the marginal utility after paying for 5 schools diminishes. You can do the 6th school by yourself, or purchase an hourly package like I did!
Joined: Feb 21, 2020
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Consultant Beth (SBC)
TLDR; I am attending Harvard Business School this fall, and couldn’t haven’t done it without SBC & Beth! I applied to 6 schools in total, and received acceptances to 5: HBS, Wharton (scholarship), Booth (scholarship), Columbia, NYU Stern and waitlisted at Kellogg.
For some context - after tirelessly studying for the GMAT for 1.5yrs, I couldn’t get my score above 680. I ended up switching to the GRE and got a 319 (164Q, 155V), which is pretty mediocre for the schools I was applying to. I also came from a Tier 2 consulting firm, and am Asian American, so I knew that my story would be super duper important to help me with my below avg stats. Thus, I knew an MBA consultant was important to help me with tell my story – I spoke to 3 firms: 1) SBC, 2) Menlo Coaching and 3) a smaller boutique consulting firm.
First, I spoke to Menlo Coaching and they basically told me in a nicer way that my scores were not good enough to get into the schools that I wanted, and that I should try retaking and apply a year later. I had already taken the GMAT 7 times and GRE 3 times, expressed that I think I hit a ceiling, but I got the sense that they didn’t really believe in me simply because of my scores. On top of that, they didn’t list their prices on their website, which I thought was strange. My friend spoke to them and they quoted her $20k for a package, and I wasn’t comfortable with that price considering that they gave the vibe off that they didn’t even want me as a client because of my scores.
Next, I spoke to a boutique consulting firm, and while they were very nice, I didn’t get the sense that they had the resources or array of experience as a larger consulting firm. They did seem to believe in my story, but since it was only a 2 person shop, I wanted to talk to 1-2 more firms before making a decision.
I then spoke to Sarah Tsai at SBC and raised my concern about my scores. To this day I remember her saying “Don’t underestimate the power of a good story” – telling me that they have gotten people in with all types of scores and that my biggest challenge would be writing a story to differentiate me from fellow management consultants. She gave me two consultant options, and I ended up choosing Beth because her reviews were unique in that people talked about how much she went above and beyond, and also truly cared/believed in her people. This resonated with me and I can 100% attest to these attributes.
Beth from the beginning was AMAZING!! I literally cannot put into words of how great and instrumental of a partner she was throughout this emotional journey. I honestly don’t think I would have gotten into Harvard Business School without Beth’s help, because frankly I was happy to even get into one of the M7. But to get into 5 out of 6 schools is really a testament to SBC/Beth’s help as a partner.
+ Beth goes above and beyond in how meticulous and detail-oriented she is; I believe we went through 10 revisions for some of the school’s essays, and she made sure that every word and detail, whether it was in the essay or app was flawless
+ Beth is very knowledgeable of certain school nuances, and would tell me if there were certain things I should be aware of (for ex, she told me that Columbia really cares about interest in the school and suggested that I connect with students/visit. I immediately took PTO that month and went to visit the school, which was instrumental to talk about during my app/interview)
+Beth was VERY strong at looking at my holistic story across my essays and apps; many times, she would help take a step back and make sure that my essays and apps made sense together, and would suggest edits to places that needed more meat or didn’t tie coherently
+Beth helped instill a confidence in me that I honestly didn’t know existed. There were many times when I almost had an emotional breakdown and I literally said “I can’t apply to this school because I have no idea what to write for this essay” and she would bring up things that I didn’t even think about. She would always encourage me to "toot my own horn" in certain parts of my app and make sure that I presented my true self in my essays. Even throughout interviews and school visits, she was always cheering me on, and I think her support and excitement really helped me gain the confidence while I was interviewing
A very long review – but I just wanted to really give a huge shout out to SBC and Beth for all of their great work. I’m so pumped to be starting school this fall and I couldn’t have done it without them!
Joined: Apr 19, 2020
Consultant Alex - SBC
When you are looking for an MBA consulting firm, you want one that has a reputation which draws on the caliber of its consultants and has the expertise and experience across the schools that you are interested to apply to.
SBC demonstrated that from the beginning for me. Just speaking with Sarah for thirty minutes, she was able to provide insights and bring her expertise to bear on my application. SBC also stood out from other firms in that they cater to candidates coming in from every stage of the application process. In my case, they were willing to partner and go "all-in" with me even though I had only three weeks remaining for the R2 deadlines.
I worked with Alex L as my SBC consultant and I could not have asked for a better MBA consultant. Alex is one of the most professional individuals I have the pleasure of working with over my 12-year career. He was personally invested through the whole process and brought his considerable skills and expertise in each step of the application. His partnership helped to showcase my accomplishments and my personal story to its fullest. Even then, just by working with him, I was able to improve on my personal communication skills and bring that back to how I communicate at work and at a personal level.
Alex was a partner whom I could completely trust and rely on throughout the application process. He was responsive and would usually reply within a few hours. He worked with me on the deadlines and was available whenever I needed him. He added a personal touch as well, checking in on me and my recovery when I fell sick during the application process. Thinking back, I’m just floored by the level of effort and passion he brought in every stage of the application. Based on his dedication, I know it is not just a job to him, but a role where he is personally invested to help you achieve your goals. Alex is someone whom I am honored to partner with and hope to continue a friendship with even after my application process.
I applied to the Stanford GSB MSx program and it was a moonshot for me given how challenging it is to enter the program and how I had only three weeks to prepare the application, obtain letters of recommendations and study for the GRE. Yet, with Alex's help, I was able to overcome all these and obtain an admissions offer from the Stanford GSB. Thank you, Alex!
Joined: Apr 24, 2019
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REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
Consultant Caryn (SBC)
To start with some general context, I predominantly have an engineering background and am currently in consulting. I started the application process with zero background info/tips on b-school apps and felt totally at a loss. I pretty quickly realized I needed help and I spoke with several different consulting firms and actually didn't have a great start with SBC. My intro call was with Bill who I didn't quite connect with so I asked if Caryn had availability because I had read all her raving reviews. And man, am I glad I did. After speaking with Caryn I immediately knew I had found the perfect person. You can tell she is incredibly experienced and was able to immediately put my mind at ease as she took me through her overall process, what B-schools are looking for, what she thought about my candidacy and my profile, etc.
In terms of the general application process of working through brainstorming ideas, essay revisions, etc, Caryn simply could not have been better. She helped me shape my profile to highlight all the strengths I had and paid particular attention to make sure my application as a whole worked well together. One thing in particular I liked was that whenever I had ideas that weren’t the best, she would always provide the rationale for why and she could always tell if I felt comfortable with the decision or if we needed to talk through things a little more so I felt more confident. I quickly learned to trust her which led to offers from Wharton($$), Sloan, Booth, and Kellogg! It’s been incredible and I absolutely would not have gotten into these schools without her help! Also, once my offers came in I was in a bind on where to go because of some personal factors, but she had a long conversation with me and helped me work through where to pick which I’m really grateful for.
Overall, I highly highly recommend working with Caryn. She is the kindest, most down-to-earth person who gets incredible results!
Joined: Aug 05, 2018
Consultant Susan (SBC)
Words will never be enough to describe my experience with SBC, Esther, and Susan.
I decided to be thorough in my approach to finding a consultant, speaking to several companies. I was specifically looking for a company that was established (i.e. high success rates) and structured (i.e. clear process), yet had personalized attention (i.e. are there too many people?). I concluded that there were endless companies that fulfilled only one of the criteria, but only SBC was able to meet both of them.
The next step to my process was having an initial call with Esther, who "matches" you with a consultant given your profile and goals. Esther has this rare gift of being able to assess your profile in mere seconds. What I appreciated most was that Esther gave supportive yet objective advice. Remember, you do not want to spend time and money for nothing! Thanks, Esther!
Having been "matched" with my consultant, I then had the amazing opportunity to work with Susan. As a global citizen, I particularly admired Susan's widespread work experience from the U.S. (i.e. CBS) to European markets (i.e. LBS). From this experience alone, Susan has this "automatic" credential of being able to work with diverse applicants, ranging from traditional and non-traditional career paths, to various personalities, ages, and backgrounds. I know that's what I admired most about Susan!
The biggest insight -- aside from fantastic advice in every step of the process -- was Susan's ability to complement my weaknesses without ever me recognizing or surfacing them. I'm quite organized, yet there were times wherein I didn't realize I was lagging behind in certain aspects of the application process. I also have an infinite number of ideas and thoughts, resulting in sometimes over-complicating or confusing messaging. However, Susan was quick to point out rational solutions and more importantly, the rationale behind them. I was also extremely familiar with participating in school events, yet Susan is brilliant when it comes to knowing insider information into a school's communication method, frequency, and strategies.
Most importantly, Susan can look at things holistically when you're laser focused in the process. Firstly, I was dual pathing my test re-take and application process, resulting in juggling numerous priorities. With application deadlines creeping up, Susan surfaced a modified possible test strategy with me, ultimately allowing me to realize a target score. She was the last person who messaged me before entering the test center and the first person I texted upon seeing those numbers on screen. I was also juggling interview invites in very different locations, yet Susan emphasized an optimal way to ensure I could maximize the entire interview experience.
At the end of the day, this entire MBA application process is no doubt extremely stressful, overwhelming, and complex. It takes a true mentor, someone who has your best interest at heart, someone who's passionate about making a difference in others' lives, and an expert in the process to be with you every step of the way. Susan was all those things and more; she believed in my story and credentials when no one else did. Through her guidance, I received two offers (thus far) with scholarships, which I didn't even apply for or expect. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this was all possible. And, when I get on that graduation stage, I'll be thinking of how forever grateful I'll be because of Susan.
More power to SBC and Susan!
Joined: Oct 03, 2018
Consultant Margaret (SBC)
Working with Stacy Blackman Consulting (SBC) was by far one of the best decisions I have made through the grueling application process. They were incredibly thorough with responding to my questions and concerns and assisting me with finding the best service options. Being a military candidate, I also received a discount.
For months, I struggled through a losing battle against the GMAT. Before I paid a dime, SBC scheduled an hour introduction call, l spoke to me about my background, and even recommended a list of schools that may be a good fit for me. They also recommended that I switch my focus to the GRE (in which the outcome was better than that of the GMAT). I was lucky enough to work with Margaret Strother as my primary consultant.
We held scheduled calls every other week, exchanged emails on a daily basis, and agreed on deliverable deadlines. She was incredibly thorough on her thought process and helped me phrase my story in ways I could not have imagined. She held me to very high standards and was not afraid to tell me my proposed approach within several essays wouldn't cut it. Most of my essays were completed in about 5 to 6 drafts.
I come from a State school, with a 3.2 UG GPA in Psychology, a Master's degree in HR with a 3.6. I am also a military reservist who works full time for a fortune 50 company in project management. My GRE verbal score was far below the school average but quant and writing right on the average. I applied to 6 schools, four of them within the top 15.
I was directly admitted to two programs and wait listed at another three. Margaret helped me navigate the WL process, together we were able to convert two of those WL status into admits!
Will be headed to UVA Darden in the fall! I wouldn't have been able to do it without Margaret and SBC. I would highly recommend, but be prepared to work hard and stay resilient until the end!
Joined: Apr 10, 2020
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REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
Consultant Laura Nelson
When looking for an admissions consulting firm, I wanted to be challenged and to be held accountable. I got that feeling immediately from my consultation. My resume was torn up and critiqued in a very real way. I was not just told, "You have a great GMAT score, you'll do great". It was what I wanted.
I was paired with Laura, and she was absolutely fantastic. She was very reachable, and we met at least every other week throughout the process. Her feedback was very useful and honest, which helped me bring my essays and story to the level needed. She was also willing to hear feedback, as I contradicted her feedback at one point based on a blog post from the Tuck adcomm. In the end, I felt that I was supported in a way that enabled me to show my truest self. The Flight Test, a defining feature of the application, highlighted some weaknesses that we were able to tactically address. I am very thankful for Lisa, who conducted this flight test. I ultimately was accepted to Ross, Tuck, and LBS while being rejected from Sloan. Results with which I am very happy.
I did not make use of other services that SBC provides such as their liaisons and other points of contact, but they appeared very nice from whenever I spoke with them.
Joined: Apr 07, 2020
Consultant Caryn (SBC)
I had the pleasure of working with Caryn throughout this past application cycle. After applying to five of the M7 schools, I was offered interviews at four and chose to interview at three. I ended up receiving significant scholarships from two of the schools and was waitlisted at the remaining program. Coming from an untraditional background, with issues such as gaps in my education history, I was concerned about my chances at a top MBA program.
Caryn was incredibly supportive throughout the entire process, helping me be deeply introspective when refining my career goals and reflecting on my past experiences. By using her expertise as a former admissions officer, she then helped me craft my story in a way that best highlighted these experiences, fully showcasing what I would bring to an MBA class while meeting the nuance required for each unique essay prompt across the various schools. In addition to Caryn, I received great support from the entire SBC staff and was grateful for the database of application resources SBC has available.
Prior to starting my MBA admissions process, I spent a considerable amount of time researching different admissions consultants. Ultimately, I felt that Stacy Blackman’s comprehensive services, proven track record, and robust roster of former adcoms would help me put forth the best applications possible. I could not be happier with my decision, and I would highly recommend Caryn and SBC to anyone considering the services of an admissions consultant during the MBA admissions journey.
Joined: Apr 07, 2020
Consultant Lisa (SBC)
I highly recommend Stacy Blackman Consulting. I worked with Lisa, who is a former MBA admissions officer, and I honestly do not think I would have made it through the long and complicated admissions process without her help. Lisa is amazing – she has a lot of knowledge / insight into the admissions process, having been an admissions officer prior to joining SBC. I enjoyed working with Lisa so much, as she is very friendly, incredibly knowledgeable, and super quick to respond. I had a lot of questions during the process and Lisa was able to answer everything, usually responding to me that same day. With Lisa’s help, I was admitted to my top choice schools (even my reach schools!), almost all with scholarship money (including one full ride).
In addition to Lisa, there is a lot of support from the entire team at SBC. My flight tester, Caryn, who is also a former admissions officer, gave me helpful feedback on my application. Basically, everyone at SCB has some sort of background in MBA admissions, which makes the admissions process as a candidate much easier to navigate. Everyone I worked with at SBC was great, so you cannot go wrong when choosing SBC for such a stressful / important process, like MBA admissions!
Joined: Apr 06, 2020
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Consultant Beth (SBC)
Beth Tidmarsh is a FANTASTIC consultant and I couldn’t have asked for a better one! With her help, I was admitted to 5 of the 6 T10 schools I applied to; moreover, I received SCHOLARSHIP OFFERS FROM EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL ranging from 1/3 tuition to full tuition plus stipend! She also helped me strategically select which schools to apply to with her, so that I could carry over essays and other application materials to other programs on my own. As you will see below, Beth is far more than JUST a consultant, she is someone that truly cares about the people that she works with and truly desires that they be successful.
I decided to use an admissions consultant after applying unsuccessfully on my own a couple of years ago. I interviewed 4 top admissions consultancies (as ranked by P&Q) before ultimately selecting Stacy Blackman Consulting (SBC). I selected SBC because of the open and friendly nature of the people I chatted with as well as the responsiveness of everyone I spoke with (which I didn’t get from all the companies/individuals I connected with). From the opening call, SBC made it clear that they wanted to get to know me and I felt an immediate kinship with Sarah Tsai. From there, she introduced me to Beth Tidmarsh—whom I also connected with very well—and the rest is history.
From the very start, Beth was happy to work with me as much or as little as I wanted. We communicated frequently via email but, whenever I asked if we could have a call instead, she was happy to accommodate, always responding to me promptly and making herself available if something urgent came up. Beth was invaluable as a coach and confidant and I would even go so far as to call her a friend (as we still keep in touch even now that my application/decision process is over). If I missed a self-imposed deadline, Beth would send me a note checking in on me but would do so in a way that was supportive and encouraging. This helped me immeasurably. Applying to MBA programs is hard and applying to six programs is almost overwhelming, but Beth helped keep me on track and take things one day at a time, focusing on individual steps and putting together an achievable timeline which we reviewed regularly. In fact, I liked working with Beth so much that I occasionally found myself staying up late to complete a portion of my application just because I didn’t want to disappoint her. (Who wouldn’t want that kind of encouragement?!) One of Beth’s greatest attributes is her ability to help you weave your story and to feel confident that you belong in the programs you are applying to, giving you the confidence to excel in interviews and other interactions with the schools you apply to.
Beth took a genuine interest in me as an individual and helped me to select schools whose culture truly resonated with me and that met my other criteria including significant scholarship opportunities and strong ties to MBB consulting. Her previous experience as Director of Admissions for Kellogg’s Full Time MBA program was quite apparent as she helped me to (1) understand how schools thought about different facets of my application (2) consider the content of my essays and short answer questions from a holistic perspective (3) craft “my story” and prepare for each school’s unique interview process and (4) negotiate scholarship offers following admission. Beth frequently corresponded with other consultants at SBC and even occasionally asked them to review different components of my application if she felt that I could benefit from an outside opinion, which I also found to be a great asset while crafting my unique applications to each school. In conclusion, I highly recommend both Beth Tidmarsh and SBC!