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Consultant John (SBC)
SB is a tremendous consulting group and I am very pleased with their services. John was there every step of the way and extremely accessible. Whether in the evenings, weekends, early mornings, he was accessible via text, phone calls, voicemail, and email.
There was never a moment where I was wondering where responses were. The responsiveness was extremely key.
Also, they did a fantastic job of leveraging other consultants, tools, and perspectives to help build my story. To me, this is important because it made sure the story was robust and outsides with fresh perspectives could understand it easily.
John & SB made this process as enjoyable as possible. Obviously this is a stressful, LONG, process, and they met all of my expectations. They have a great experience and perspectives from their plethora of consultants, and it definitely helped me on my path.
I would definitely recommend them.
Joined: Aug 02, 2011
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Consultant Erika (SBC)
Initially, I never considered hiring a consultant for the MBA application process. Being from a management consulting background with plenty of alumni contacts and strong senior support from my firm, why would I need one? At the end of this process, however, I was certainly glad I made the investment.
I applied to six schools and enlisted Erika's support for two of them, including Booth where I am pleased to be starting this coming fall.
Erika provided great and timely service to all of requests and helped me stay on track and on-target through the process. She provided great insight into what admissions committees look for and was able to bring a good level of school-specific knowledge as well. Overall, however, I found her greatest value-adds were as follows:
1) Erika was not afraid to tell me that I was wrong; she pushed me to course correct drastically midway through my Booth application, and while that was a difficult pill to swallow at the time, it undoubtedly paid off.
2) Erika did a great job managing my recommenders; she provided them key insights into what admissions committees look for and helped provide feedback I would not have been comfortable giving myself. This is something that benefited all my applications - not just the two I formally enlisted Erika's help with.
Beyond my personal experience with Erika, SBC's online wiki of resources was extremely helpful, and my now fiancee also leveraged a different SBC consultant and had great results (she, too, will be starting at Booth this fall).
Overall, I highly recommend Erika and SBC.
As a professional in the consulting industry, I valued the opportunity to meet with my admissions consultant face-to-face and establish a working relationship with a deeper level of trust. I weighed several admissions consulting services but ultimately chose SBC after speaking with Esther. Esther assessed my profile during the initial consultation and connected me with Melody Jones who was both local to me and had experiences in the industry I wanted to transition to.
Melody had in-depth knowledge of business school applications and interview processes. Her attention to detail and focus on core strengths allowed my essays to present the best possible picture of my candidacy. She did not sugar coat any part of the application and provided hands-on assistance that expanded well beyond essay reviews. She worked tirelessly to ensure my resume and recommendation letters were polished by providing crucial actionable feedback that would address any potential concern from the admissions committee. Melody was extremely flexible in terms of timing and regularly met with me during odd hours on the weekend to discuss feedback. I would highly recommend her to anyone who is seeking to apply to business school.
I have nothing but the highest compliments for Stacy Blackman’s services. I took the 4 college application package and worked with Meredith from July to October 2014. I needed to refine my goals and what I hoped to achieve from an MBA and Meredith helped me think through all these topics with great patience. Doing multiple drafts simultaneously for multiple schools can be taxing for anybody but Meredith handled it with aplomb and was very responsive and encouraging. When I didn’t get into one of my schools (the only one), she even took the time to write me an email telling me not to lose hope. When I was invited to interview at the three other schools, Meredith coached me very well and we clarified the points and stories I should focus on and what the final message should be. My MBA application journey was made infinitely smoother with Meredith’s help and I look forward to matriculating at Wharton in the Fall of 2015.
Consultant Sherry (SBC)
MBA admissions is not an easy process and it requires a lot of hard work. But hard work alone isn't enough. I realized it when I started writing essays and learned that I was not even close to writing a decent essay. Coming from a highly competitive pool made things worse. So I shopped around and after having mock sessions with different consultants, I finally landed up with Sherry Holland from Stacy Blackman Consulting. She impressed me from our first conversation. She was meticulous and prompt. Her turnaround time was really quick. Regardless of our time difference, she was always super timely with returning my essays or queries. Stacy Blackman has an incredible system where they guide you on a introspective path. I discovered things about myself that I had never thought of earlier. Thanks to Sherry Holland and Stacy Blackman Consulting, I will be attending Ross next year.
When I made the decision to apply to top MBA schools, I knew I wanted to maximize my potential and outcome; and after searching for the right consultation service, I chose Stacy Blackman after reading such positive reviews. I am truly glad that the reviews were spot on as I feel fortunate to have worked with SBC and Meredith Shields - especially as I look forward to heading to Tuck.
The SBC process is highly organized and helped mitigate my overall stress with respect to the application process. The 30 minute assessment with Esther Magna was painless as well; it really helped me understand SBC and I believe it was for Esther to match me up with a consultant who would be best for me, which I am grateful for because I had the pleasure of working with Meredith.
Although I was concerned about the overall strength of my application, Meredith immediately put me at ease. She helped me articulate my strengths and helped me understand that what I viewed as weaknesses should not necessarily be viewed as such. She challenged me to really understand what each school was asking for and helped me approach each essay critically. She is also very responsive and highly organized - she would follow-up with me on my timing and communicated with me regularly.
I highly recommend SBC and especially Meredith - she gave me the confidence in the strength of my profile and ensured that I approached each component of my application and to each school in a competitive manner; and I couldn't be happier with the results!
Consultant Carol (SBC)
I had decided to apply for INSEAD MBA but I had very little time for my application as my GMAT was also scheduled around the same time. I did an intense research to choose the right admission consultant and almost everyone recommended Stacy Blackman Consulting (SBC). I signed up for it and thank God I did. The most difficult part of an MBA application is to stay focussed especially when time is a constrain and SBC ensures that you are.
Carol Grayson was my consultant at Stacy Blackman. Her prior experience as a member of admission committee at INSEAD was very helpful for me to understand how a Business School outside the US had a different approach and perspective. She helped me to choose the right words, right stories from my experience and then structure the entire application as a whole. I agree with others that the number of drafts of an essay can easily go to 15 or more, but every single update makes it a lot better. This also shows how patient and committed the SBC consultants are because it is extremely difficult to make little improvements in almost perfect essays to make them absolutely perfect.
SBC uses a very organised approach and the entire application process is divided into intuitive and logical steps. Using this step by step approach allows you to build a strong application in an efficient manner. Perhaps this is the reason why everyone (including me now, yes I got into the only B-School I applied to) recommends Stacy Blackman Consulting.
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Consultant Sarah (SBC)
During the 2010-2011 application season, I applied to four schools (Ross, Anderson, Marshall, and McCombs) in round 3, received an interview at McCombs, and was denied at all four schools. I worked with an admissions consultant from a company that I will not name out of respect. The consultant was nice, personable, and got my essays into top shape, but looking back I feel that the consultant was simply out to make a quick buck. If I was rating my experience with this consultant, I would give it 2 stars.
Anyway, after I was denied I spent the next two and a half years slowly working to improve my candidacy and preparing to give business school one more shot.
I initially decided to go it alone based on my last experience. After about a week of pounding my head against a wall, I realized I needed help and ultimately chose Stacy Blackman Consulting. I think this is really the key for people debating whether to hire a consultant. If you are organized and can push yourself you can probably do it alone, but I tend to procrastinate and needed someone lighting a fire underneath me. I reached out to SBC, did the intro call with a representative from the company, and was given three options for a consultant to work with. I chose Sarah Chandler after reading her bio because I felt her background would be a good match for me.
Sarah was very friendly and more importantly honest. I wanted to do the “all in” aka comprehensive package and thought about a five school deal (Ross, McCombs, Marshall, McDonough, and Kenan-Flagler) that would have cost me over $8500. I asked her straight up whether I had a chance at any them because I had several weaknesses to overcome (low GPA, older applicant, some gaps in my resume, and what I would consider mediocre work experience) and didn’t feel like throwing my money away like I did with my previous consultant. She said that I did with the exception of Ross, which would be a challenge. Ross was my dream school so I had to give it a shot no matter what she said, but her honesty was refreshing. Compare that to my previous consultant who suggested I apply to Booth, Kellogg, and Anderson in addition to Ross, Marshall, and McCombs.
Before I made the hefty investment with SBC, Sarah and I discussed a game plan. Instead of loading me up on five schools, Sarah suggested I pick three schools for round 1 and to use what I learned from her to apply to the other schools in round 2. She could have easily signed me up for all five, but she didn't and I respect that. One of the most helpful things we did was our second phone call that lasted about an hour. She grilled me on a variety of topics: my background, some of my accomplishments, what I wanted to do, stories from each of my jobs/extracurricular, a time where I showed creativity, a time where I learned something, I time where I led, the list goes on and on. She then took all of my responses and came up with five themes known as the “application strategy document”, which became the backbone of my essays. This was a really useful process. It gave my essays a clear message and gave clarity to my career goals. I didn’t do anything like this with the previous consultant.
Once Sarah got a hold of my essays, they changed completely. She pushed me much more so than the previous consultant. It was frustrating and there were times where I just wanted to be done with them, but she kept pushing and pushing and churning out multiple drafts (9 drafts for Ross, less drafts for McCombs and Marshall). Throughout the process, Sarah was very responsive and always had feedback for me within 24-48 hours. She also told me to visit the schools beforehand and to reach out to students to give my essays some uniqueness. This seems obvious but my previous consultant never mentioned it.
I ended up getting interviews at McCombs and Marshall. Sadly, Ross did not show me the love. Sarah worked with me on interview prep (included in the “all in” package) and we did mock interviews for each school. I can't say that my interview at McCombs went well (I'm not the best interviewer). My interview at Marshall went better (but wasn’t great) and I think the end results supported this since I was denied at McCombs and wait listed at Marshall.
Now, you are probably wondering why I am so positive about Sarah. It was upsetting to not get an admit after spending a lot of money, however the waitlist result at Marshall represented progress and without her help there is no way I get waitlisted. Secondly, I ended up applying to McDonough in round 2, interviewed (and had my best interview after incorporating the same techniques I learned from the mock interviews) and got admitted. Although I did not work with Sarah on my McDonough essays, they were essentially the same as my Marshall essays so I have to give her credit for that. And had I taken her advice about Ross, I would have likely applied to McDonough instead and got admitted. In the end, I did manage to get off the wait list at Marshall, so while it took a few months, my goal was achieved. Right now I am deciding on McDonough or Marshall.
Choosing the “all in” package is a big investment if you are doing 3, 4, or even 5 schools. I found some elements of the package to be extremely helpful, (the application strategy document, the mock interviews, the online resource that includes past essays from former clients), and others not so much (the flight test, which sounded good, basically your essays get read by a former admissions representative who then gives you feedback, which in my case wasn’t really different from what I was getting from Sarah and didn’t result in any major changes to my essays). I think you may be able to save some money by going ala carte and picking individual services, but if you are looking for a comprehensive package, I would highly recommend the “all in” package at SBC and I would choose Sarah to work with. I thought I could do it alone, but without her I would have been lost.
Consultant Kevin (SBC)
Due to various reasons, I could only start working on my MBA applications in early December 2013. With most R2 deadlines fast approaching I chose to get the hourly services from SBC. Kevin was the consultant I worked with and he wasted no time in getting an idea of where I was and what would be the smartest way to go about my applications with the time constraints on hand.
A few months later, I am writing this review with offers from McDonough & Olin. I believe Kevin did a brilliant job and helping me in achieving the best possible outcomes in this situation.
He was extremely understanding and helped me a great deal in expressing myself in the best possible manner in my application.
Consultant Caryn (SBC)
There's no question in my mind Caryn Altman @ SBC helped me get into Kellogg and Haas (heading to the Bay area this fall!). With a mediocre GMAT score and no quant in my undergraduate transcript, she engineered a tailored, competitive application strategy that mitigated my weaknesses/accentuated my strengths. She's extremely strategic; she's extremely knowledgeable about the entire application process (Full Time, Part Time, etc.); and last but not least - she's extremely hard working and professional. Specifically, my essays were bullet proof after 6 to 8 rounds with her. She's straight forward and says it the way she sees it (it stung a few times, not going to lie!). But during an extremely stressful and confusing process, you need a trusted partner - someone who can guide you honestly and confidently. Working with Caryn was the best decision I made throughout my application process.