Let me start by saying Applicantlab is a great product which helps those who dont want to spend 1000s on MBA school admissions. I feel like it removes the “hype and flashiness” from all those expensive consultant programs and gives you whats needed for a great application at a very affordable cost.
Now for the details –
I heard about the lab on a e-gmat webinar. I was still not serious about my applications since there was lots going on at work and in family life. Eventually, I reached a stage where I decided a full-time MBA is not an option and my choices narrowed down to a few schools on West coast.
I joined the Applicantlab just to get some help and more to get some discipline to my otherwise disorderly application process. First thing you will be super-impressed by is how responsive Maria is – I had some issue signing up and I literally heard back from her in minutes! Not only did I get access, she was also inquisitive about my background and what schools I was applying for etc.
Second thing you will realize, the lab structure is actually very neat and innovative. It might seem simple – you are just jotting down your life history (personal and professional) and having a software arrange it for essays, recommendations and what not. But its much more than that. You dont just list your strengths and weaknesses, you decide where to use what, how not to repeat yourself, where which experience makes sense. In a way it is a continuous polishing of your application but one story at a time.
Third thing, if you are new to this application process like I was – you will realize it is very very important to have a set of impartial, professional eyes evaluate every word of your application. MBA application, for good or bad, needs a lot of introspection and sometimes the things you decide to present to the application reviewer about yourself, even though important to you, may not show you as “leadership material” which is what they need to see. Maria brings a wealth of experience in this regard. The way she asked to restructure some of my same stories made them much polished. The difference between my first and final drafts, even though they had same content, was phenomenal and I am sure improved my odds of selection by a lot.
I already mentioned Maria is very responsive, but she also goes above and beyond. When I mentioned I am applying to Berkeley Haas but to the evening, weekend program (the requirements, essays are different), she posted specific, new videos for this program within a couple of days. If you tell her you are working towards a deadline, she will make sure she gets back to you in a very reasonable time, some times even in the middle of the night.
To summarize, I definitely recommend Applicantlab. I never joined any super expensive firm for admission consultation. I used the initial lab and added 1 hour of time for personalized essay review (trust me, the 1 hour allowed me to have like 5 drafts of each essays and Maria worked well over the 60 minutes with me). I had decided to apply to only one school (so it was became my dream school :)) and Applicantlab helped me get into it. Hope it can do the same for others!