I must write and share this story because it will help not only one but everyone in the applicant pool for all the MBA programs out there. A story of ONE for ALL.
I am more than 35 years old – A NO NO for all the consultants (considered too old)
I have 2 undergrad degrees – A NO NO for all the consultants (considered a degree collector)
One GPA is very low, under 2.8 – A NO NO for all the consultants
One GPA is high, above 3.5 – Just OK for all the consultants
High GMAT, above 730 – A plus for all the consultants
Have not worked for a well known company – A NO NO for all the consultants
I just finished my interviews for Columbia, Wharton, and SLOAN.
So how did I do it so far? And how much money I have spent? ApplicantLAB and only $250.
I must thank all the consultants who refused to help me because they considered me as a risky case for their credibility of getting people in to top 10 schools.
I decided to study MBA because I wanted the knowledge and backbone to start my own idea, my own business. I did not know I was considered too old and considered as an outlier! I just knew this is what I want to learn! This is What I want to do with this part of my life!
So I went ahead and studied for GMAT (best resources: Manhattan GMAT and GMAT CLUB – more on GMAT history later and will share with you all my FLASH CARDS) I got a score above 730.
Then I started looking for books on amazon on how to apply for MBA. The first book that came up on Amazon was a book written by one of the famous consultants, who charge more than $350
Per hour. On the first 20 pages, it was written about the consulting company of the author and how it has advantages if I use a consultant for this journey. So after finishing the book, I went to the recommended consultancy website and signed up for a free 30 minutes consultation.
I entered my age, my GPA, and my GMAT score. After one week, when I received no response, I sent another form, still no response! So I called and spoke with the company! I was promised a call back that I never received! I could not understand WHY!
So I bought another book on Amazon from another consultancy company. I contacted them for a 30 minutes free consultation, during which I was told the following:
• You are too old
• Your GPA is too low
• You have not worked for a renowned company like Google or Apple
• You may be only accepted in a part time program or executive MBA and only for schools that are ranked 10-20.
When I told them my dream schools are Sloan, Wharton, and Columbia, I was told, well they are all really stretch schools for you. It will not happen.
So I researched online and went to the most renowned MBA website out there (for privacy reasons I will opt out to name names) and wrote down the top 10 consultants listed on that website. I was so sad and could have not believed what that consultant had told me! Was taking the GMAT and spending all that time a waste? Why am I not a good fit? I am smart, determined, and I know exactly what I want.
The story above repeated itself but even worse. One very famous consultancy company told me that they will make an exception and will take my case only with a freelance consultant who works for them occasionally. They charged me about $400 for the first 2 hours. I called and told my story for 45 minutes during which the consultant was completely quiet and then she/he told me that she/he will contact me after her/his analysis. I already had done so much research that I knew exactly what my weaknesses and strengths are and I had already told all of them during that 45 minutes. After 2 weeks of not hearing from her/him, I contacted the consultant and was told that she/he has been too busy and they will try to send me the analysis in 2-3 business days. 3 weeks of my precious time passed and I received an email that was the duplicate of what I had said in that 45 minutes and at the end saying that I should only target schools that are ranked 10-20 and only the executive programs! When I asked for the rest of my 1 hour and 15 minutes to talk about my resume, I was told that she/he has taken that time to write that analysis and if I want more time I have to buy another 2 hours! :O I was furious because I had lost 3 weeks and had received my own insights as $400 analysis!!!!!! That situation could have not been more like that of being stuck with a horrible lawyer that sends you to the prison at the end! Another consultant told me that he/she will get back to me and never did! He/she refused to even respond to my follow up email.
I had heard about ApplicantLab the year before but I was hesitant because it was only $300! How can it be that all consultants charge $5000 and above for guidance on one school only and this website offers unlimited advice on unlimited schools for $300!
I had no choice but to use ApplicantLab! And I am believer that everything happens for a reason! I am so HAPPY that all the top 10 ranked consultants refused my case because then I would have not used ApplicantLab and I would have not been where I am today! I also realized that I do not need the noise that I am too old, or I am not fancy enough! I wanted only my noise on my applications and that was this is what I want to do and this is where I want to study and I am going to do my best to get it! That is the only noise you need
Before these consultants, I did not even know that you could be considered too old for learning!
ApplicantLab helped me with all the following,
• Helped to realize what schools are truly my dream schools! I have added and deleted schools from my list because of ApplicantLab! Because of ApplicantLab I learned
o How to research schools.
o How to contact students of each school. How to approach them! What is the politest way to contact them! What to expect! what to ask and how to ask!
o How to learn more about the community, culture, and learning experience of each school.
• Helped me realize why I really want an MBA. True Selfawareness
• Maria, the founder of applicantlab, has provided, extremely detailed and thorough research on each school and has provided very detailed instruction videos on each school. There are details from how to contact students, research schools, to how to craft your essays and build your stories and there is even details on how to fill out the forms of each school and you know that each school’s form is different from the other! But she has even those covered in videos and writing!!!!
• Maria has even constant and immediate updates on each school’s academic change from curriculum to application requirements.
• There is a MAY WE HELP YOU form at the bottom of each page, that you can fill out and receive an immediate response from Maria or Carin on ANY QUESTION OR CONCERN YOU MAY HAVE AT NO CHARGE! There is no “it took me 30 minutes to answer this question of yours and you owe me 100 dollars!” in ApplicantLab. Pure and Genuine HELP!!! IF I were Maria I would charge users! Every time I sent a question about my resume or application or story or essay, I got an answer in less than 24 hours!
• There is detailed help on how to do your interviews from the over the internet ones to the one on ones
• There is also Sanity check, resume, essay editing help which I highly recommend to sign up for as they are very much affordable and extremely valuable and I wish I took more advantage of them! The last-minute sanity check that I did, was just completely path changing as Carin saw stories in my essays that I thought are not important but were! And pointed out stories that are not as important and I thought they were.
Do not let the noise of consultants (=lawyers) deter you from the path you want to go and community you want to be part of! Do not spend thousands of dollars and let someone else tell you what schools or programs you should go to.
Sign up with ApplicantLab, and find yourself, find your voice, and better understand the schools that you want to go to and NEVER EVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE OR WHAT GPA YOU HAVE.
I have reached out to more than the 10 top consultants and I have done thorough research and examination on this path. My advice is coming from my journey and my heart!
None of those consultant would have ever dreamed that I would get interview invitations from Columbia, Wharton, and Sloan.
In the movie “pursuit of happiness”, the father tells his son that “don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do something because it only means that they cannot do it”
So don’t let any consultant tell you that you cannot go to a certain program because it only means that they cannot do it!
Best of luck all of you