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Sandy:

We pulled off the biggest caper of all time! Thanks so so much! I couldn't have done it without you!
        tm
see attached (it's true -- I confirmed it with the admissions office!)


-----Original Message-----
 From: Mookini, Marie [SMTP:Mookini_Marie@gsb.Stanford.EDU]
 Subject:      Stanford MBA Program

 I left you a message last night to let you know that you have been  admitted to the Stanford MBA Program.  I inadvertently hit a few stray buttons on the phone, and I'm not sure that the message got delivered to you. Hopefully it did!


 Marie Mookini
 Director of MBA Admissions

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Dear Sanford ,

I have just hung up with my parents in India and I  want to tell you this right away.  I have been accepted to Harvard Business School in the January co-hort.  I would like to thank you for your profound help and support.  You are truly gifted at your task.  You must let me buy you dinner when I arrive in Cambridge . . .   I am just so happy. Thank you. 

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SK, As I told you, MM with the phone call two days ago, HBS by letter today.  I owe you man, you are THE GREATEST!!!!  Leaning towards HBS cause of the family situation. 
Will keep in touch, THANKS!!!!!!

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I'm also an int. student. Got into HBS. 4 years IB, 700 GMAT, worked with Sandy for 15 hours on my HBS app. and as everyone notes on this thread, he really knows how to do it. He made suggestions about tone (!), content, upgrades, spin, and which events in my personal and work life to write about.
I really don't think I could have achieved it without Sandy's intense help. In my opinion, he is the choice for the top schools like HSW...

International applicant reapplied to Wharton this year and got in.
Sandy helped me polish my reapplication essay. I really appreciate his sharp, straight comments and quick response time. These are very important for international applicants who are unfamiliar with U.S. schools' ways of evaluating candidates.

I'd like to recommend Sandy to others, especially international applicants.

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Subject: My success with Sandy

Last year application = Rejected

Last year application + Sandy = Early acceptance at Columbia (just got the news) yes, my drive to get in pushed me to start on my essays in may/june but without Sandy's coaching and critique of my essays i wouldn't have made it.
just acknowledging credit where it is due and

yippee ! go Sandy!

Well, let me tell my story re Sandy.

I am applying to Harvard and Stanford and other schools and am surely his well-wisher. I guess, the reason so many people write good things about him is that because he really adds value. I myself am a consultant in Europe.

Like many others, I find his comments very direct and am happy bec. no one else can tell me the truth about my essays except for him.

So, for me his value added comes from:

1. he sees things in your essays you just don't see. He is very professional in his insights. He really put my complicated story together for Stanford in a very powerful and insightful way.

2. demanding: he pushes you to work on your essay until it looks perfect - with lots of details, fitting in a story, sounding big but not arrogant.

3. He is very sympathetic and cares about your application. Someone said that it must be that someone else writes his answers as Sandy writes a lot on this board and would not have time for both. It can't be so - whenever I call him he recalls at once my last essay's version

Sometimes I got irritated when he cut one of my achievements from my essay. But after thinking for a while I still came to the conclusion that he was right. He is indeed brilliant in that he sees things much deeper/global/critical.

Sign me a very happy customer.

Subject: Sandy's Service
While I'm a good writer (with the 51 Verbal and 6.0 AWA score to prove it), I was pleased and surprised by how much Sandy improved my essays. I've looked at the first drafts I sent him, compared them to the final ones sent to schools, and am amazed at the difference. The final essays are more comvincing, more interesting, more effective-and since I just got my first acceptance call yesterday, I know the ad com was impressed as well.

Sandy won't coddle your ego, and it is difficult to hear that essays you thought were great wouldn't interest an ad com at all. But frankly, I didn't pay Sandy to make me feel good-I paid him to help me with my essays, and he certainly came through. He was extremely responsive, honest, and provided great suggestions. I'd hire him again in a second

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Sandy's the real deal!
I did a tremendous amount of research into several consultants this year after getting several dings last year. Sandy stood apart from the bunch with his direct, forthright style, his enjoyment in what he does, and his knowledge of program specifics. Sandy pointed out several programs he felt my strengths were conducive with and dispelled others in which I would have surely only wasted my app fee. I worked with Sandy for about a month and a half and when I look at my essays from last year and compare them to this years it's amazing.

This years essays contain the persona I wanted to convey last year. Everyone knows the entire process is about packaging. Sandy edited my essays in a way that wove a common theme throughout each essay. Sandy's style allows for maximum creativity as he's there to guide you if you get off the path. The concise theme and package that we developed carried through in my interviews, resume, etc. I was accepted yesterday to my first choice; a school I hadn't really considered because I felt it was out of my league. If that isn't verification of what Sandy can do with someone I don't know what is.

To dispel an ongoing myth about Sandy only taking on 'golden boys' as projects, that is just not true. Without going into my personal information, I am about the farthest thing from a golden boy one would expect. Additionally, I concur with previous posts noting his extremely responsive service.

In short, Sandy likes what he does and that really came through in his work. He has a true feel for how to relate a persons strengths to an individual program and make it 'fit'. After all, this is what it's all about.

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I just wanted to let you know that I got into HBS today. Thank you so much for your help - you definitely improved my application tremendously. What did I have 20-30% odds before I started? [hbs reapp]
I have not yet heard from GSB, but I am not that optimistic given I did not have an interview.
Again, thank you for your efforts and your persistence.

Sandy,

It is my pleasure to write a testimonal for you:
I decided to work with Sandy on my HBS application after visiting the  "yet another MBA blog from Joey" by chance.  I had read the testimonals on Sandy's ownwebsite before, but I was skeptical whether  those were true testimonals.  Of course, I never expected I would be writing one myself several months later.  But I had no doubt that Joey's Feb 2004 review on MBA admission consultants was a voice from a true client, so I was convinced.

Now I am admitted to HBS. And I am happily writing a testimonal myself.  

Sandy knows HBS. He knows what would make a good story for HBS andwhat type of persons HBS are looking for. He gave me great help on
picking up stories for each essay.  Every round of the edits, he  pushed me to a new level. From the edits he returned to me, I could  clearly tell the efforts he himself put to my essays.   When I  prepared for my interview, I received a comprensive list of interview  advices and past questions that Sandy had compiled for his clients. 

He also called me to help me practice. It really helped my interview.Sandy's service is very efficient.  I don't know how he managed it,
but the essay turnaround time was usually only 24 - 48 hours.  He was super fast on answering my questions (usually just a couple of hours).
 This was very important because he made me feel that I could really  depend on him.
When I signed on with Sandy, I truly signed on with a partner, a  coach, who has a genuine interest in my success.  I actually have a
different opinion from other people who think Sandy is blunt and  critical (Maybe I heard this too much and prepared myself very well
for his criticism?).  During my application process, Sandy encouraged  me and kept telling me not to over worry.  I really come to like Sandy the person, not just his service.

Subject: accept
I used Sandy and was accepted at HBS and Stanford. I truly believed he made a huge difference in my essays. Well worth the money.

I talked to a variety of consultants before deciding to use Sandy. I found his help on my essays phenomenal and I truly believe I submitted the best possible essays that I could.

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Here is how I used Sandy: Wharton: 3 hrs on 1 reapp essay (waitlisted in 99). We also went through 3 revisions
Result: In for class of 2002.

Overall impressions of SK: Precise and quick turnaround. I made the mistake of turning everything all together for him to review and in the busiest time of last Christmas, Sandy still managed to respond within a day. I joked with him once that reading his feedback every time made me sweat. But the truth is that he helps polish your stories to hit the point in a precise way -- using his own words: "Cut the crap". For those who might get offended at first by his sense of humor, my advice, hang on to him.

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I have worked with Sandy on the usual suspects: Harvard/Wharton/Columbia. Intend to use him for Stanford application as well.

I have been using the version feature of MSWord and when I look at my first cut to the finished essay on pretty much any of the questions, the following are apparent

1. The essay is crisp and to the point. 2. Feels personal and is personal.

Sandy does not write your essays - you do, but he is a phenomenal coach. Even outside of the bschool focus, you do get drilled on a winning writing style.

Yes, Sandy's sense of humor could be an acquired taste for a few but my s.o. and I have really been hooked on his (in fact sometimes eagerly await !) his sardonic/caustic/pungent remarks. If you are the touchy feely, can't handle criticism variety don't bother with Sandy.

My s.o. is a practicing lawyer (JD/MBA from Chicago) and she was dead on the money when she guessed that Sandy was a lawyer... her claim is that lawyer's are the best editors.

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I was a Kaplan tutor [not essays but GMAT] and I hired Sandy. He is the gold standard, IMHO, esp for HSW.

ExKap and now @ HSW [just one of them].

I, too, worked with Sandy on my Stanford application and found him to be great. I liked the following things about him:
1. Socratic approach, sort of: He has a way of asking a generic question (i.e. what are the three things that you need to learn...), and then probing you to help *you* find out the answers to the questions. Sort of like the socratic method, only a little coarser.

2. High value-added--he has little tolerance for the standard bschool bs that we all tend to default to when we can't come up with real content, and he sniffs this out and cuts it out with laserlike precision. When my GSB essays were done they were way more personal and less generic, and I just don't think that I would have gotten to that place on my own.

3. Great service! I would (typically) send him a draft at COB (like before I went to bed, after an evening of working on the essays) and he would have his comments back to me by noon the next day or earlier. Even during the last couple of weeks, which is "peak season". IMHO, that's pretty damn good-- he must be working nonstop during this crunch time.

And, the other comment about the divergence between his email and phone manners is 100% correct--his emails can be a bit unvarnished, but are always still full of great content and insight. On the phone he is more polite, etc, but frankly, I prefer the unvarnished stuff, as it helps to push you even further in the process of self- introspection as you dregde your personal history for the micro-level personal content and stories that the GSB loves so much...

I'm so pysched! Just got the good news from Wharton and I couldn't have done it without Sandy!

He was genuine in his efforts to help me put my best foot forward, from overall strategy to the smallest details. Even made me rewrite essays that I was originally happy with, over and over till he was satisfied, and could also always be counted on to turn my drafts back within 24 hrs even during the peak times just before deadlines.

Definitely a fan of Sandy's

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Subject: My experience and opinion
I worked with Sandy for about 3 months - I used him for Harvard, Wharton, Chicago, MIT and Columbia - all of the essays. It was a little tough - he is a demanding dude, with an opinion he wants you to follow. I took a "blank slate" approach and followed his tips and ideas very closely. I liked his style and he actuallyhas a great deal of knowledge about what Adcoms look for in essays (don't know how).

But the most important thing for the impatient person like me was his turn-around time - rarely in two days, 99% of the time the next day, at times even on the same day (week-ends). I did work hard, though.

As a result, my apps went out two weeks before all deadlines for the first round.

Today I got my first acceptance letter (e-mail) from Chicago!


Hi Sandy - 
 
Just wanted to drop you a note and let you know that I got into HBS!!!! So
it looks like I'm headed to Cambridge in the fall.
 
Thanks for your help!

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Dear Sanford,

This is Stan M. here, you helped me write the Stanford and Harvard MBA essays.  Well I came to the right guy - because I got into Stanford which was the big one.  I also got into Columbia and an interview from Harvard, and I told them what to do with it, that was fun.   Anyway it worked out great for me and I am greatful for your help.  I think you really know what you are 
doing.  I just wanted to tell you the good news  . . . 

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Subject: Sandy is great! 

I'm Sandy's client as well. Just got accepted at Harvard and thought I should share my experience. 
I'm a reapp. I applied to Stanford last year (ding), but did not apply to Harvard. Sandy helped me sniff out parts of my life experience I had initially dismissed because I thought they were too "ordinary". But it turns out the adcom thinks they're great experiences! 
                     I worked with Sandy since July of last year. He has amazingly fast turnaround time. I usually work on my essays during weekends and send it to him on Sunday nights. He would send it back the next day. Indeed, I'm a very happy customer. 
                     Thanks, Sandy! I'm really overwhelmed by the news. 

I used Sandy's service for my applications to H, S, & Col. I have received acceptances at H & S.
My impressions of Sandy on a variety of topics:

School selection: Because he knows the admissions process so well at a variety of schools, he can help you tailor your essays toward the individual program. Sandy also has a feel for which schools you need to focus on most given your strengths/background.

Macro: I found it helpful to give Sandy a brief (2 or 3 sentence) description of an essay topic before I actually started writing. He was able to steer me away from less meaningful topics before I began writing.

Micro: Sandy greatest strength is his relentless pursuit of the details. He will continually ask you for more details on an achievement, or what you learned from an action, or what the significance of something is. This is what makes the essays.

Responsiveness: Quick turnaround on every essay. I would usually do my writing at night and send him an email first thing in the morning, and he would have it back to me that night or the next morning. He even got things back to me very rapidly if I needed something returned before I left town on business.

Attitude: Sandy's manner over email is certainly to the point, but that is definitely the quickest way to get the message across. I have read posts on this board describing him as condescending, and he certainly tore up the first essay I sent him, but he does have a genuine interest in your success on your essays and the overall admissions process. As I worked with him on draft upon draft, he provided me with much needed encouragement. The bottomline here, however, is that you are hiring an editor to be extremely critical of your work, and if you pay anybody for anything less, you are wasting your money.

Sandy's help with my essays turned a very strong application into an acceptance, and I would highly recommend using him to anyone serious about the application process.

Subject: thanks to Sandy from another international student

Lack of work experience in business settings is my biggest weakness. Sandy gave me great help in selling my stories and strength. He especially has very strong experience and sense to help international students. Without his help, I couldn't imagine I can get into the top-10 b-schools. I would like to recommend him to the applicants who really want to get into the top MBA programs.

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I used Sandy and am a completely satisfied customer. Last year I got dinged at my choice of top four schools and I wasted no time getting in touch with Sandy. I got into Columbia this year and am waiting on the rest of the schools. The biggest difference in the quality of my essays was Sandy. Look, he cannot change your content but can almost work magic with the presentation, tone and style. His style is sharp and it helps to have a thick skin.

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Yeah, HBS was first choice (indeed, I’m a brand
junkie!!). But ultimately, it’s really a blessing,
because after the campus visits, I just felt more
comfortable with the Stanford atmosphere, students, etc.
This just feels awesome, and thanks again for your
help! Keep in touch.
Best,

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Sandy,
Dinged at HBS -- nope. Just got in. Yeah!!!!
Thanks for you help -- feel the money well spent with a good ROI. Would recommend or serve as a reference,
especially your ability to focus essays and help with overall content refinement.
Kind regards, will send more info in a bit.

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Sandy,
...got some good news from HBS yesterday.
Very excited, and the Lord conveniently made my dilemma about where to attend a little easier when Stanford informed me that they did not require any additional redheads.
So...thanks again for your help. We'll be up Feb 20-21 for admit weekend and would love to grab dinner or drinks

I want to share my experience with Sandy. I've been working with him for the past few months on several applications and have probably spent at least 10 hours with him. Here's the deal:
He is very knowledgible about the different schools and what they are looking for. When you talk with him you will be able to tell instantly that he is intimately familiar with the applications and what good essays should look like.

If you want constructive advice that will truly make your essays better, Sandy is your guy. It is true that he has a blunt style and can be critical, but in my view, that's what I'm paying him for. I want to know what's wrong with my essays and how to fix them; I'm not looking for someone to praise my grades or accomplishments or to sugarcoat the message. The bottom line is that he knows what works and what doesn't and conveys that to you.

Judging by what some others have written on this board, sometimes it can be harsh to hear that something you have written really does suck and needs to be fixed up in ways X,Y and Z. Then again, I'd rather hear it from Sandy so I have a chance to fix it than to get the message in the form of a rejection letter, which is what happened the last time I applied to business school

When I compared my essays from the last time I applied to the essays that Sandy helped me with, there is simply no comparison. I believe that my chances at getting in are much better because of his help and that he has certainly been worth the expense.

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