ApplicantLab was the only tool I used when I applied for R2 this year and was instrumental in helping me get accepted to Wharton, Yale and Darden in the end.

Long story short, I decided very late to apply for business school last year and only had 1 month in December to prep both for the GMAT and to write essays. I had no interest in shelling out US$4-5K for traditional consultants and also had no time to meet with them. By some miracle I stumbled upon ApplicantLab and signed up to give it a shot; this was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The ApplicantLab tool was very systematic in outlining the crucial components of a good MBA application and then provided great guidance in helping me flesh each of these components out. The tool was easy to use and well-designed; I mixed and matched ideas across modules and it really helped me to brainstorm and finally to form my “story” in a tight timeframe.

The tool was not just helpful for the brainstorming phase of the process, it also gave very insightful advice on how to tackle each school’s essays specifically. For example, I wrote the essays for an M7 school in 2 days with minimal prior knowledge about the school. I was able to do this because the Lab laid out all of the “unique” aspects of the school (i.e. school motto, reputation, special clubs, interesting leadership ventures, etc.) in one place. Not just that, sometimes the Lab even provided in-depth analysis on changes in essay topics between years to try to really get at AdCom’s psyche.

One more thing, the Lab really is a all-in-one tool. When I received interview invites (or even before them), I read up on the interview tips module. ApplicantLab provided detailed advice on almost every interview question I could imagine and more. What was more impressive was that it also offered school-specific advice for team-based interviews that were only done at a few schools; this really helped with the Wharton interview.

Overall, if you don’t want to spend US$4-5K on a traditional admissions consultant that very well may not get you in, ApplicantLab is your best bet. There was no “fluff” in what it offered.