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Sandy, I'm in!!! You helped me turn a mediocre app into a winning one, and I am really excited. Your insights into the process - essays, recs, and interview - were incredibly valuable.

Thanks again. I look forward to taking you to dinner or something when I'm in Boston!

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Sandy I got in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I only just got out of my meeting that went on for ever, I was in such a state of nerves I thought I was going to pass out! A BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Really couldn't have done it without you!!!!!!!!!!! You really are the BEST!!!!!! I owe you big time, drinks are on me when I come out to Boston! Can't believe it... Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!! And you're infinitely better than Mick Jagger :-))))))))

[great d-day story, this kid was called into a meeting 30 minutes before results were posted,and meeting went on for like
3 hours. Mick Jagger remark refers to photo of me that ran in local newspaper that day, where I 'sorta' looked like Mick Jagger]

She later wrote

Hehe, really was the longest meeting in my life!!! Still can't believe I made it in!!! I feared the worst until the last minute (and that pop up window with the acceptance letter took a hell of a long time to refresh!). I'm totally psyched!! Really couldn't have done it without you so thank you SO SO much again!!!!! I've written my testimonial below, it's a little long so feel free to edit it around and cut it short (or to give me comments back and I will turn it a round, kind of miss that, hehe).

Will get in touch when I am in town, so excited I'm coming to Boston!!

THANKS AGAIN!!!

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Got the call from DB this morning.
Thks for the scolds and helping me fing that inner voice.

You are THE MAN.

Rgds,

[yet another super pain in the butt during the process who becomes reduced to text messaging when in Thank You mode ]

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ok, the check has cleared this morning. looks like they depositied it, just after the R2 decisions have been out the door. i say the deal is closed! what do you say? some lost sleep last couple of weeks for me :)

anyway, man...you are the best! there is some mastercard contest out there for the best "priceless" commercial. here is your entry:

gmat books and fees: $500
application fees: $1,000
hiring sandy to help develop essay strategy: $1,800
calling your mother to say you were admitted to Harvard Business School: priceless

[this person and me actually spent a lot of time AFTER admission working on some Kroll snafu about the prior work history, some really complicated and lawyer- like production, which actually reminded me about how much I disliked being a lawyer.]

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Hi Sandy, I want to thank you for your help in writing my MBA essays. I got into three great schools - Wharton, MIT and Kellogg. This is quite a contrast since last year, I got dinged at all schools I had applied at. Three offers - not bad for a desi tech.

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Dear Sandy:

I am sorry for not having had written to you sooner. I am writing to tell you that I was admitted to HBS on March 29. I know I couldn't have done it without your expert guidance, your candid and thorough feedback and your support throughout the process.
I appreciate your help tremendously.

p.s. I have recommended your service to a few friends. They should be contacting you in the summer.

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I worked with Sandy and I also worked previously (unbeknownst to Sandy) with Stacey Blackman. No contest! Sandy is knowledgeable, experienced, exacting and dedicated to his craft.

I am still waiting to hear from HBS . As Sandy would say, I may get in, I may get dinged. I, however, know that Sandy helped me to drastically improve my application, gave me kicks to the gut when I needed it, and challenged me to develop a more evolved sense of what I wanted to communicate. He is not necessarily easy to work with he can be brief, biting and have frustratingly high expectations. But, above all, he is knowledgeable, professional and a perfectionist. You will not guarantee yourself anything by hiring Sandy other than the best application you can assemble. For me, that was enough. Thanks Sandy,
[this was actually a post on Business Week--and yes, the dude got in.]

Sandy,

Hope this is up to your expectations. If not, send me your edits! haha. I will adjust. lol.

::

Sandy is the best in the business. He was 2 for 2 on my applications. I used him for HBS and Wharton and he got me into both!

Sandy is THE STANDARD in B-school consulting. I work in a non-traditional industry which has its own extensive jargon and unique writing style. Over the years, my writing style conformed to this non-traditional industry standard. What I believed to be effective and strong writing skills were actually far from what the business schools desired. Sandy helped me readjust my strategies. He helped me focus on what was important. He extensively worked with me and reviewed my resume and work history to bring out the best application that I could possibly produce.

I have to admit that I had some doubts about using his services (i.e. price, necessity of his help, etc.). However, Sandy’s services were recommended to me by my closest friends (they ALL got into their top choices with the help of Sandy). My friends recommended Sandy’s service as if it was a secret gold mine! Now that I am IN at my first and second choice schools, I am another FIRM believer of Sandy’s abilities. Sandy IS A GOLD MINE.

If you have any doubts about using Sandy’s services, all I have to say is this: if you have that one dream school that you’ve always wanted to attend AND you want to be sure that you will submit the best application you could possibly create, THEN you need to use Sandy’s services. SANDY IS THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS.

Signed,
One Extremely Happy Customer

Thanks to Sandy I was admitted to HBS this year! Based on his experience, Sandy sees things that you don't and hits the mark every time. He truly knows what the Adcom are looking for and how to paint your story in the most powerful way. Sandy continually gave me precise comments to pull out the essential details in my stories and pushed me to improve my tone and style. The results speak for themselves. Thanks SK!

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Hi Sandy,

I just thought you'd like to know that I was accepted at all three schools to which I applied: H, S and K!!!

I am still deciding between H and S and will visit both campuses for the admit weekends.

Sooo, thanks a million for the great help with H!!!! I think we pulled together a stellar package!

Thanks again, Sandy!

[hmmmmm, had a frosty relationship with this dude, and evaluation shows, I was not actually informed of results until couple of months later, and that happens, file under, 'who gives a s*** about your consultant after they get you in"]

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Sandy has been an incredible resource in the business school application process. He has a knack for commercializing what you have already done, especially
for gray-candidates and "diamond in the rough" individuals. I recommend using him, especially if you are working full-time and your mind is all over the place. He was valuable in helping me focus and being
an equal collaborator in getting the essays done. I used him for Chicago and knew that if I could secure an interview, my odds would be pretty good. Got the interview. Got the acceptance.

Turnaround time is great and he is aware of your deadline. His charm and vice is his brutal honesty--there are some things that may not sit with you well, but the serious applicant will understand he's not being hired for warm fuzzy feelings. Don't
be afraid to also push back and share ideas--he is receptive to your opinions. Also be prepared to learn a few things about yourself.

Thanks Sandy, it was great working with you.

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Sandy somehow works miracles. While you're in the process you have no idea where he's taking you. You keep doing as your told, you get frustrated in the process, at times want to pull out your hair (and his), and then right when you've had it, somehow your essays come together into a polished product. My essays were amazing.

Sandy is a real teacher. His objective is to help you get into where you want to go and will do what it takes to help you get there. While your ego will take a few beatings during the process, you will thank him in the end. When I started out with Sandy Wharton was a long-shot dream. He helped me make this come true. Thanks so much Sandy!

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Sandy is the Dr. Phil of essay editing. He will not coddle your ego or sugarcoat his answers, but he will absolutely make you think, revisit, think more and revisit again to the point where you will have invested 150% into your essays. When you finally turn in your application, your essays are going to be amazing! I only applied to two schools, HBS and Wharton, and received acceptance letters to both. I honestly and wholeheartedly believe that Sandy played a HUGE part in helping me achieve my dreams. Yes, he is tough. Yes, he can be harsh…BUT……if you want to get in, use Sandy, he’s the absolute best. Your money will be well spent, TRUST ME!

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Sandy,

Just got the news. In at HBS and Wharton (you didn’t help me with Wharton per say, but I used my HBS essays and did the application in 16 hours!)

Thank you so much for all of your help. I have recommended you to my little brother

Please keep in touch.

Sandy,

I got in. [HBS] Thanks hugely and I can't say it enough.

[another person who bugged me endlessly and grows silent in the thank you department, "I can't say it enough" was also a problem on the essays, but, alas, saying that does not convince HBS

The best decision I made in 2005 was asking for Sandy’s help with my HBS application. I decided to only apply to HBS, my all-time dream school (like that of many others). Applying to just one school, particularly if it happens to be the best known brand in the world, is always going to be a big gamble and I wanted to make sure that I’d at least done everything possible to give it my best shot.

I’d come across Sandy on the BW forum. I was a big fan of his humour and his no-nonsense and tell-it-like-it-is approach. In my view, paying for feedback is worthless unless it’s honest and to the point, Sandy clearly guaranteed that. It was also evident, regardless of whether other posters liked his style or not, that he is the unquestionable Harvard guru. I had no hesitation in making my choice.

Working with Sandy made me realise that I had been pretty clueless on all fronts: (a) clueless about what actually makes a good essay; (b) clueless about what HBS really looks for in their candidates; and (c) clueless about what aspects of my profile and experiences would make me standout and give me that HBS “stardust” (to use Sandy’s terminology). And all this despite having read a fair few MBA admissions books and discussed the process at length with friends, colleagues and MBA alumni. I thought I was pretty clued up before I hired him…

Sandy’s services were exceptional and exceeded my expectations in every way. I was truly impressed by his professionalism, rapid turn-around times (even in peak times) and responsiveness to all my questions. He helped me immensely in determining my overall strategy and enabling me to focus on the strengths and experiences that would make me to stand-out from the large pool of finance applicants with solid stats. Moreover, by guiding and pushing me at every stage of the writing process my essays underwent an extraordinary metamorphosis from mediocre and non-distinct pieces of writing to works of art (if I may say so myself).

And the help didn’t stop there. When I received an offer to interview Sandy spent a long time on the phone with me and in one call managed to transform my hesitant and rambling approach to a confident and concise one. He continued to answer my multiple questions right until the very last minute. His help gave me the confidence to sail through a pretty tough and challenging interview.

I was accepted to HBS a few days ago, I am absolutely ecstatic and I am eternally grateful to Sandy. He is the best, no question. He is worth his weight in gold. The pool of MBA applicants is truly lucky to have him and I absolutely recommend him to anybody trying to get into a top MBA.

SK really gave me a tangible edge. Applying to b-school is probably one of the most important undertakings of your life, and you want to make sure that you REALLY shine, especially given the extremely competitive nature of the applicant pool. There are a lot of exceptional people out there, and if you don't recognize this, your are already at a loss. Note that Sandy will not write the essays for you. You have to make that happen, duh. But he will give you a totally honest, harsh (no softies here), non-BS review. Sandy becomes your biggest fan and your harshest critic.

You need to get beyond the cold numbers (gmats, gpas, etc.) and present the human being that you are if you want to have a real shot. If you think an 800 GMAT is your ticket, think again. A stellar Gmat does not mean squat. Look at the stats in Admissions 411. Stats are just data points that need to be connected through powerful essays. Also, consider the information asymmetries at play in this market. Sandy is plugged in, he knows the school's secret handshakes and really levels the playing field for you. As someone already mentioned (and don’t boost up your ego Sandy), SK is the McKinsey of this business.

Hope this helps, it certainly did for me.

[this dude got into Stanford, and as you can see, given that above is what the guy sounds like unedited, I had my work cut out for me]

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Hi Sandy,
I can't believe it, but I got into both HBS and Wharton! I couldn't have done it without you. By far, the biggest help was identify the stories I should tell in my essays and making them sound exciting and engaging - a skill that I certainly do not possess. Very much appreciated for the quick turnarounds and words of encouragement. I highly recommend your service to those unfamiliar with what top MBA programs are looking for in a candidate, which I would guess is pretty much everyone.

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Sandy,

I got in to Stanford! I’m ecstatic. And I’m also very grateful. There’s no doubt in mind that your help was what made all the difference. As you know, I applied to HBS first round, slaved over my essays, had tons of people read them and give me comments, including 4 current or graduated HBS students. Result? Waitlist.

I applied to Stanford, my #1 choice, second round. I had exactly 1 other person read my essays: you. Same grades, same jobs, same undergrad school, same recs, same frigging white american dude working in finance. More selective school. Result? Accepted.

I think that says a lot about the difference you made. With your help, my essays went from blah braggadocio to really compelling and unique personal revelation, if I do say so myself.

I’m incredibly excited to be going back to California for grad school – it’s been the light at the end of the tunnel for a long time, and you helped me get there.

Thank you!

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"I worked with Sandy for my Columbia application and was admitted. I must say that when it comes to B-school admissions, Sandy has the best knowledge. If you work with him, be ready for really harsh and straight forward comments but they are right on the money. I used to sweat before reading his comments! His feedback is generally at the macro level but it really helps you prepare an excellent application. I would highly recommend him to anyone who is considering business school applications."

Sandy,

It is my great pleasure to write a testimonial after receiving an ADMIT from HBS. YES!!!!

As an international applicant, I decided to work with you based on your extensive knowledge and insight on HBS. Although we have many admission consultants in my home country I have heard from others that most of them rely on EDITING essays rather than providing a bigger picture of what needs to be emphasized.

Let me list a few things that made my experience working with you worthwhile,

1. Essays/ Resume
: Your harsh but very directive comments were very challenging to accept at first. I had to COMPLETELY rewrite a few essays and I remember myself yelling YES!!! on a weekend after receiving an OKAY sign for the one I had to revise more than 10+ times. The experience helped me to realize that you DO NOT compromise for the quality of work I send you, which resulted in an essay package I wouldn't have dreamed of writing myself. Let's not forget your QUICK turnaround time. (mostly within 24hrs) But for those internationals who expect more, BEWARE, Sandy NEVER writes your essays for you. Instead he motivates you to write better quality, crips essays with style and content.

2. Application
: I had no idea there were so many blanks to fill out in a B-school application. As an international, these blanks felt like very-short essays and I remember asking for your review on every single one of them. If not for your advices, I probably would've BLAH, BLAHed 100+ word descriptions that could be written in less than 30+ words.

3. Interview
: Your extensive list of past HBS interview questions (I printed them out and it was OVER 25 pages!) drilled me to expect the worst. It helped to raise my confidence of what an HBS intereviewer wanted from me. Also as I prepared I rethinked of the fit I have with the school and as a result nailed the interview with confidence.

In conclusion, I truly believe I wouldn't have been able to receive an admit from HBS without your guidance. - you probably know better, it was definitely a long shot. If I had to do it all over again, you'll still be on my top of my list as the person to work with.

I thank you again. Hopefully I can meet you in Cambridge in person for a cup of coffee. (ON ME!)

Sandy.

I am in.

I don't know what to say, and I can't thank you enough in a million words.

I am confident that I am good enough to be part of HBS, but without your support, I wouldn't stand even a 0.1% chance (at least this year).

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Best,

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Sandy,

I am in at HBS and I cannot believe it. It wouldn’t have been possible without you. You believed in me when I stopped believing in myself. The effort we put together was incredible, and I was always surprised by how quickly you were able to turn around my essays (often in less than 24 hours) while still giving extremely sound strategic advice. And after going through all your interview advice and the comprehensive question bank you gave me, the actual interview was a walk in the park. The decision to work with you was the best decision of my life, and what was always a long shot dream is now a reality. I thought you knew HBS like the back of your hand; well you are even better than that!

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I got into HBS! Again, your help was very much appreciated, and I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to do it without you. On top of the help with the application/essays themselves, I wouldn't have started down the application path in the first place without your encouragement early on. Thank you.

Sandy,

I am in! You are the man and are the best at what you do in the whole world (while I don't know what others have to offer, I feel like I can say that with confidence). Honestly, you took some pretty shitty essays and by dint of A LOT of hard work helped me turn them into winners and for that, I am forever indebted. I don't think I could have gotten in this time around without you, ESPECIALLY given the time constraints I was under. You were incredibly responsive DESPITE the fact that I was working with less than 3 weeks to put the application together from scratch. Cheers my man - you are the real deal.

THIS DUDE DECIDES TO SEND ME AN INTERVIEW SUMMARY 12 HOURS BEFORE DECISION IS POSTED.

Call it karma, call it what you will. I left town for 2 weeks immediately after
my interview and thought I should give you my interview wrap today because
who knows what the world is going to look like for me in 12 hours. Had my
interview with Adcom member Sarah Lucas in Boston ? interview lasted for 45
minutes. Didn't look there were any other interviewers (other than Sarah)
working that day.

The interview was surprisingly specific to my own candidacy. She had clearly
read all of my essays well and could quote directly from them.

AND THE ENVELOPE IS:

yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am beside myself. Thanks for the great advice. Let me know if I can do
anything for you besides refer all of my friends.
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Sandy, my hbs interview report:

In San Francisco - California research center with a lady who said she was based out of there, works in the HBS career services, is an alum but interviews a lot for HBS.

Overall I got a good vibe out of it - but it finished really quickly in 20 - 25 minutes (including my questions). She emphasized couple of times afterwards that don't worry about finishing early. So don't know what to make out of the whole thing.

AND THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE:

Sandy, I am IN! don't know what to say and how best to thank you. Its been some journey - and your advice on the boards has certainly helped me change the way I express myslef. And your humor is legendary..it will live for long!

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Sandy,

Just writing to let you know that I was accepted to HBS! I was also
accepted to Wharton, but I am planning on attending HBS in the fall.

Hope all is well and thanks for everything,

[another silent type in Thank You mode, after about 245 essay revisions, how soon they cool off]

I worked with Sandy for around 2 months on my HBS essays. He's definitely one of the hardest mentors I have ever encountered academically and professionally. I have learned to love his bluntness and no-BS-style critiques. Don't take any comments personally and always take it with a sense of humor. One of my favorite comments:

"THIS SOUNDS HARSH MAN, BUT I AM ON YOUR SIDE, GET OFF THE SOAPBOX, STOP BEING SUCH AN INTELLECTUAL, PRECIOUS, CULTURAL, WALLFLOWER, AND JUST BANG OUT WHAT THE HELL YOU DID" (then he worked with me for another 2 drafts on the essays and nailed it in the end)

I was a little shocked in the beginning by his harsh comments, but soon realized that his honest opinions were much more helpful than the diluted and vague suggestions I have been receiving from my friends. He encouraged me to dig deeper into my HBS essays, and clarified my goals with each revision. I think I must have written each essay 3 times. But he never gave up on me and encouraged me to push forward.

Coming from a non-traditional background, I had a lot of trouble choosing relevant stories and clearly expressing leadership take-aways. Sandy really helped to give me feedback on what worked and what didn't, facilitating a quicker turn-around time for essay revisions.

I just got my HBS acceptance letter a few days ago! Thank you so much for all your help Sandy!

I’m a client of Sandy’s and have just been accepted to HBS! At first I was hesitant to use an admissions consultant and contacted a few other consultants I found online. However, they never seemed to have anything interesting to say.

I first discovered Sandy through his businessweek thread and after my first phone conversation with Sandy, I knew I had to hire him – it was obvious that he is the best of the best and REALLY understands HBS. Sandy knew exactly how I needed to present myself, my weaknesses and strengths, and what my game plan should be. He was there to critically analyze my writing but also to encourage me when I needed it. Sandy helped me to make my application really stand out – I recommend him 100%.

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Sandy was a terrific and much needed guide in my application process for HBS. While I was initially skeptical about hiring a consultant, I was convinced by Sandy's candid feedback about my candidacy and his knowledge about the application process. He coached me through every phase in crafting my story: writing
essays, guiding recommenders, and interviewing. Most importantly, my story remained my story and in my words; I attribute this to Sandy's diligence, as he was willing to go through draft after draft of "garbage" waiting for me to pull out a winning essay. I remain amazed at his turn-around times for drafts (not once did it take longer than 24 hours to hear back from him). This diligence also came through after I got my interview. Sandy sent me a voume of potential questions, and ran me through a rigorous mock interview. In sum, Sandy completely understands the application process (especially hbs), is extremely diligent, and was a key factor in my successful application.

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So Sandy...
Booyah! I got into Harvard and Stanford today!!!!!! Don't know where I'll be going just yet, but I wanted to let you know that you are the man!

To anyone thinking about getting an admissions consultant, you are really fooling yourself if you think any other consultant can match Sandy's expertise, commitment, and style. NO ONE. No one is more knowledgable on these schools than this guy (I did a lot of consultant shopping first)...but more importantly he knows how to effectively coach on writing skills (as he should having taught English at Harvard). You probably have the stories you want to tell on your app. He'll make sure they come out the way they sound in your head, and not the way they actually come out when you vomit them onto your laptop.....

Sandy has an amazing eye for complete BS writing and also for lazy writing, which if you are like me, you probably do all the time and don't realize. He has incredibly fast turn around times and apparently doesn't sleep during application season. Sandy will sometimes use words like "exposition" and sometimes he will take his signature tough love approach manifested in responses like "this is boring dogshit." Either way, when I was writing my apps, I knew that he actually cared about the outcome and would NEVER say something was done just to get me off his back. He is there 100% until the second you get your acceptance letter...and even after (I am meeting him for coffee next month).

Sandy's incredible devotion, inspiration, and intelligence from start to finish really built my confidence in my writing, the quality of my application, and my presentation on interviews. This isn't some faceless corporate admissions consultant company. This is one guy who has a real interest the futures of his clients. It has been an amazing experience working with him, and he played a key role in dramatically changing my life. Use him.

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I got the call a couple of hours ago, I'm in to Chicago.

I really appreciate your help, Sandy, I wouldn't have stood a chance without you on my side.

Thanks a lot, and unless you changed your mind about visiting Korea this summer, I'll most definitely look you up when I go to Boston.

All the best to you, and if you ever change H/S/W to H/S/W/Chi, look me up for any kind of info on the school that I can help with.

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Sandy,
thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. Today I found out the I got accepted to HBS. Although I had already been accepted to Wharton and Kellogg (waiting on Stanford) the feeling of getting into the best school is inexplicable. You are a true example that tough love works. To be honest, after a few weeks of working with you I was sure I was the dumbest candidate you coached but that tough attitude and ruthless approach to critiquing my poor drafts is what helped me achieve the results I got. To say I am satisfied is an understatement. I am thrilled and know I couldn't have done it without you.
Thanks for everything, I am sure we will stay in touch.

As a military applicant, I was at a serious disadvantage compared to people from in industries such as Investment Banking and Management Consulting that “feed” people into MBA programs. These people are surrounded by top MBAs, and it’s not hard to find someone who can help you with your applications, or at least tell you if you’re on the right track. Military applicants, like almost all non-traditional applicants, don’t have that. So how do you successfully sell yourself to the admissions committee?

Enter Sandy Kreisberg.

I really wanted to go to Harvard, so I signed up with him for my HBS app. He walked me through five or six versions of the essays, starting with the key ones. We’re not talking about minor grammatical edits, either; we’re talking completely different essays. We worked until I created essays that sparkled both at the big picture and at the detail level. Together, the set of essays I created with his help put my application on the top of the pile and kept it there. My interview at HBS felt pro forma my interviewer’s (a professional adcom) opening comment was “you told the most interesting stories in your essays…” All I had to do was not screw it up. Sandy’s knowledge and help simplified the application process and set me up for success.

Sandy’s manner will strike most military guys as very familiar: perfectly straight, designed to rapidly correct your deficiencies and make you the best you can possibly be. He turns essays around fast, and if you just listen to him, you’ll notice your essays rapidly take shape and improve. He will not hold your hand, but he will give you the strategic advice you will need in order to have your application stand out. If you’re serious about business school, and are willing to work hard to get there, his advice will level the playing field. You can successfully compete with all those IBs and MCs for slots at H/S/W!

I know that’s true because I did it. With Sandy’s help, I got into Harvard.

It wasn’t cheap, but the results speak for themselves. I highly recommend him, especially for ex-military or direct-from-the-military applicants.

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