ApplicantLab is an innovative concept with a novel message — that you can be taught admissions strategies that replace the need for expensive one-on-one consulting. Innovative concepts usually lead (understandably!) to thoughtful questions, so some of the most common ones are below.
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While the ApplicantLab provides incredible value for anyone who uses it, I’ve found that it works particularly well for people who are:
- Self-starters: that same take-charge attitude you bring to your career will propel you here too.
- Tech-lovers: you’re an early adopter who loves the way software has positively transformed so many other facets of your life.
- Busy folks: since the online exercises are available on-demand, you can work on your schedule and at your own pace.
It’s an on-demand interactive service that takes the confusing MBA application process and breaks it down into strategic, manageable steps.
It covers everything you need to submit your strongest application possible: strategy, essays, recommendations, resume, and interviews.
The ApplicantLab saves you time in the following key ways: First, by providing you a logical workflow where each step strategically builds upon the last. You can stop going in circles and know exactly how to move forward.
Also, the advice is tailored to you, so you won’t waste time skimming long articles / watching long videos where much of the content might not apply to you.
Finally, since the platform is available on-demand, you can work on it whenever you’d like, and not be bound to a consultant’s schedule / availability.
I love this question because it’s not only a good one, but because it’s so easy to answer. The reason the advice in the Lab is so much better than what you’ll find on ANY other consulting firm’s blog, e-book, etc. is that THEY ARE TRYING TO SELL YOU ON THEIR $10,000+ PACKAGES.
Therefore, their content will NEVER tell you EVERYTHING they know — why would they jeopardize their high-margin, over-priced consulting business?
Since I don’t have an existing high-priced business to protect, I tell you EVERYTHING I know in the Lab. This is why the reviews are so high and this is why, even if you’ve been burned / frustrated by some vague e-book from someone else, I promise you’ll find the advice in the Lab to be far more comprehensive.
Watch this video for a more in-depth explanation:
Absolutely not. First of all, the exercises and advice in the Lab are tailored to your background, and to the schools that you’re applying to. Secondly, and most importantly, everyone has dramatically different stories to tell / ways they will prove leadership in their application. Finally, as we proceed through the writing exercises, you’ll be given multiple options for ideas on how to make each essay uniquely yours.
Our previous users were delighted with how the program walks a fine line between “guidance” and “individuality”.
My background is X – I feel that it’s very unique / very over-represented. Can ApplicantLab still help me?
I’ve been working on developing, creating, and running ApplicantLab for over 8 years now. In that time, I’ve helped people from ALL SORTS OF BACKGROUND. I’ve helped people from over-represented groups such as investment bankers, management consultants, and I.T. professionals – and I’ve also helped people from the non-profit world, medicine / PhD science, and even a professional athlete get accepted.
Part of the beauty of ApplicantLab is that it helps ANYONE figure out the BEST way to make the most of their stories: how to focus the reader’s attention on the “raw ingredients of leadership” (as I call them), regardless of where you’ve proven that you have those ingredients.
Look, I’ll be 100% honest that the Lab isn’t for everybody. I like to joke that I am the “World’s Worst Capitalist” because I routinely turn away prospective clients who seem very needy, since this isn’t going to be the right fit for them. Some people are looking for a “high touch” experience – the ability to get on the phone with a consultant every single time a question occurs to them. If you like having a person to call repeatedly, if you want to be spoon-fed advice vs. watching it via a video, then perhaps a traditional consulting firm is a better fit for you, and you should rightfully compensate them for that time accordingly. They earn it!
The Lab DOES offer the ability to get personal consultations, but this is sold on an hourly basis, not the “all you can eat” unlimited smorgasbord other firms offer.
That having been said, sometimes people who do hire an expensive consultant ALSO buy ApplicantLab. WHY? Because they view it as an “insurance policy”.
Think about it: If you’re spending, say, $10,000 on a high-touch consultant, then why not spend a few hundred bucks more to verify the advice that person is giving you? Just to double-check that you’re getting the strongest guidance? If the advice you’re getting from both sources matches, then there’s a good chance it’s the best possible advice. If the advice differs, and if the advice in the Lab makes sense to you, then why not ask your consultant about it?
My mission is to make world-class admissions advice available to everyone, not only people who can spend thousands of dollars. I struggled with a few years on how to do this… and then it occurred to me that I can “scale myself” via interactive exercises and videos.
Sure – here’s what I COULD have done: I COULD have said to myself: “Here is the best advice I have for Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, etc. I have 1 – 2 hours’ worth of advice for each of those schools. What I will do is I will charge each person $300/hour to relay that information to them, and I’ll make a ton of money, saying the same thing over and over again, but to a different person each time. However, my capacity will eventually run out, due to that whole pesky ‘only 24 hrs in a day’ thing.”
Instead, what I’ve done is create videos and detailed articles around this advice in a way that scales. I need to be frank: repeating myself is one of my pet peeves. I view it as a source of eye-rolling inefficiency.
Sure, I could do what others in this space do: charge you $300/hour to give you the same strategy advice for School X that is being given to everyone else. OR I COULD RECORD A VIDEO with this detailed advice, and as long as I get a certain number of people signing up for the Lab, then in theory that higher volume.
All of this having been said, I routinely have former clients tell me that I am massively under-charging for the Lab, and so I may revisit the price structure in the future to capture more of the tremendous value created.
LOOK, YES, it’s true that a low GMAT score (and, to a lesser extent) a low GPA can prevent you from getting accepted. But a high GMAT score does not mean jack squat if someone does not have the stellar leadership profile a school is going for. Similarly, a lower score will not lead to an instant rejection for someone who been an absolute super-star in their careers. Look, I get it: this is a crazy-stressful process with a lot of uncertainty, so trying to figure out your “chances” feels like a salve. But it’s utterly empty without a ton of context… the very context / stories about yourself that I teach you how to write about in the Lab! (You can get some initial info on this at my blog post about “Resume Twins”)
The only catch is that you need to be the sort of self-sufficient person (future leader!) who rolls up your sleeves and takes charge of your admissions process. If that’s who you are, then the incredible value-for-money offered by ApplicantLab is yours for the taking!
When other consultants provide so-called “Free Consultations” they’re doing so in the hopes that at the end of the call you’ll buy – at a minimum! – a $4,000+ one-school package from them.
They realize they won’t “convert” everyone, but they calculate: “Ok, so if 10% of of the people I speak with buy a 4-school package, and that package costs $10,000, then the Expected Value (E = p(x)*x, where E= Expected Value, p(x) = probability of that value occurring, and x = the value in question) of EACH PHONE CALL is $1,000 !!!!
Since the most I can make from any phone call is NOT $10,000, $12,000, or more — since the most I could possibly make is $299, then even if you don’t have an MBA yet, you can surely see how my cost structure doesn’t support this.
I need to instead focus my time on constantly updating advice in the Lab, building in more interactivity into the modules, update advice to account for new essay questions, new interview questions, and new things I learn about each school from my visits (in the past 3 years, I have visited / attended admissions sessions at 9 out of 10 of the top 10 schools).
All of this having been said, I do hop on to GMATClub a couple of times per week to do profile reviews there — you can find them here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-applicantlab-236703.html
Honestly, the original plan was to ONLY offer self-guided software, and our beta users all did precisely that, with great results.
In fact, currently the vast majority of ApplicantLab users find the software alone to be sufficient (assuming that they go through the modules thoroughly).
One of our recent reviewers recently said that they had originally planned to purchase a mock interview, but then found the Interview Prep module to be so surprisingly comprehensive that they didn’t need it!
However, when we began speaking to users as we emerged from our beta test, we realized that this concept is still so new that some people would feel more comfortable with more personal guidance.
The realization that a “hybrid” model might be the best approach for some people is what led to the launch of strategy reviews and the editing partnership.
You can also, of course, use the Lab for the bulk of your advice and work with some other consultant, OR use the Lab as an “insurance policy” to double-check the advice you might be getting elsewhere. If you’re already spending $10,000 for a 6-school package elsewhere, another $299 is a negligible price to get a “second opinion” from an expert!
If I purchase the additional guidance package, what is the turnaround time for feedback on my essays, resume, etc.?
For strategic consultations, you’ll receive your video review within 24 hours of the time-slot you booked.
For editing documents, we adhere to the industry standard turn-around time of three business days.
Yes. Try the Lab for seven days and if you’re not satisfied, let me know why and I’ll refund your money.
Want to Learn More?
What is ApplicantLab, anyway? Who’s a good fit to be a client? Is additional help available?
What are real users saying about the Lab? Are any of them like me? What has their experience been?