Admit: NYU Stern with full ride scholarship, UVA Darden, Georgetown
I am not exaggerating when I say that Sam has been transformative in my MBA application journey. Without him, I wouldn’t have even applied to top US schools, never mind being admitted with over $300k total in scholarships. In the end, I’m going to NYU Stern with a full scholarship!
When I first met him at an Access MBA fair in September 2022, I had literally decided under 48 hours prior that I was going to apply to MBAs. I didn’t know anyone with an MBA; I had never heard of the GMAT; and I certainly didn’t know how to write an appropriate CV or admission essays. I decided to look at schools ranked 50-75 on global MBA rankings and my heart sank when Sam began our initial conversation with “I’m going to be brutally honest with you”. I thought he was going to tell me not to bother applying at all, that I had no shot at an MBA. But he actually said, “I LOVE your profile, and you’re aiming too low”. I spoke to 6 other consultants that week and none of them had told me that – they were happy to take my money to “help” me secure a top-75 business school admission, without actually learning about me as a person or challenging my lack of confidence.
That conversation with Sam was the beginning of a WILDLY different journey from what I had planned. He totally changed my perception of myself as an MBA candidate, building my confidence and helping me pull out what was unique and great in my story. He helped me to conceptualize everything I was insecure about as a strength, not a weakness, with the result that my applications felt like ME, rather than who I thought I should be but gave practical advice to fill in the knowledge gaps I had so that I could show the schools what they were asking to see.
In terms of working style, having Sam around felt more like having a lovingly-critical friend who was there when I needed them but kept me in the driving seat, than someone leading me through a cookie-cutter guide on how to be a perfect MBA candidate. After I had used his guide on resumé-writing to overhaul my resumé, we had an initial couple of chats where not only did he convince me to apply to higher-ranked schools, but he got to know me, my goals and background, and could almost magically come up with suggestions of how these might fit into a narrative right on the spot. Then I went away and wrote my essays, shooting him messages to clarify what each prompt at each school meant. I felt like he had a real insight into my schools (all but 1 were in the US) and how to craft an essay that fits with their brief. Once I had a draft, he’d make some comments in the doc but also call me to edit the essays live together. This was ideal because when you’re on a roll and the writing momentum is high, you don’t want to wait several days and then come back to make changes to what now feels like a dead document. He was fantastic at keeping MY voice and ideas in the essays, but giving practical tips like “get rid of this thing, but remember to include something about your professional goals instead”. I especially appreciated that his advice was sometimes “This is risky. If you want to take a safer bet, I would recommend this other thing. But if you want to take this risk, do.”. He also had a way of pep-talking me through the low points in the journey, including two less-than-ideal GMAT attempts and my getting made redundant right around the Round 2 deadlines, so I could always get back on track quickly.
Overall, Sam’s deep knowledge of the MBA world, his creativity, his kindness, and his down-to-earth attitude and communication style were key to me producing five strong applications, four admits with various scholarships (full ride at NYU Stern, half ride at UVA Darden, $25k per year at Georgetown McDonough, €8k at ESMT Berlin) and one waitlist after the interview (Columbia – but hey, there’s still time on that one!). I can’t imagine having a better experience with what was once a terrifying process.
Youtube Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtPi2RggI_4