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hey there

so the reality still hasnt set in, i'm so excited! i am actually interviewing with Sloan tomorrow and it will be hard to put my game face on. as for other schools... wharton, columbia, etc... do i just not even bother interviewing? would i really chose them over harvard? any thoughts on this?

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i worked with sandy for my harvard application and find him to be very knowledgeable about the admissions process in general, harvard business school specifically, and how to put together a "winner" essay. he also had very quick turnaround, and i got comments back on my essays within 24 hours - an important factor to consider when choosing an admissions consultant. the biggest impact he had to my application was helping me "pack the punch," replacing fluff with key detail that would catch the eyes of the admissions committee. that it did, which led to an hbs interview and eventually admission! thanks for your help, sandy!

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Dear Sandy,

Just wanted to give you the update on my Wharton application we slaved over
for those few months......I GOT IN! I can safely say that your tutelage of
my essays was the key. Thank you so much for your help. Now all I have to
do is decide between Wharton and UCLA, or maybe I'll try for Harvard next
year (OK, so maybe I shouldn't push my luck). Thanks again.

...................................................................

I'm IN! [CHICAGO] Thanks for going out of your way to help me and look at my
supplementary information. I couldn't have done this without you, you're
the best. I know other people would have been counting minutes and the time
spent on me (especially after the waitlist), but your main focus was on
helping me.. and i can't thank you more for that. I'm in europe right now
on some sales presentations and just got word through the website and a
message on my machine.. man i'm excited!

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Hi Sanford,

I got into HBS and waitlisted at Stanford... so I'm heading to HBS this fall. Thanks for all your help!

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[ANOTHER DUDE WHO GOT INTO STANFORD AND WAS DINGED AT HBS]

I GOT IN TO STANFORD!!!

(Incidentally, I got into Yale, still waiting for Kellogg)

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Sandy, I write this with some awareness that this might become a testimonial, which I think is important to know, otherwise what I say sounds too cheesy and contrived to be real. So it IS contrived, just by me, not you... funny that sounding contrived has always been my problem in this process.

Up front, I could not even remotely have done it without you! Even though HBS was my first choice, we both knew that I was less well matched with them and you even told me that up front. But during the process of applying to HBS, I learned so much about HOW to write a business school application essays in general. . . . .
If you ever want a recommendation for your service, you can have people write or call me because I truly benefited from your help!!!

Thank you so much. The service was more than worth it! I know I was probably the most annoying client so I doubly thank you.

Sandy!!!!!!

I AM IN HBS!!!! I can't believe this! I made it, Sandy!! WE MADE IT!!

Thank you soooooo much for your help. I'm so excited :-)))))))))) This is definitely the most significant thing in my life ever!

[well, when this kid calmed down, about a week later, I was sent a testimonial]

I’m one of Sandy’s very happy clients. I’m an international applicant and I didnt have solid GPA and GMAT score. I’m not a good writer either and the whole US business school application was new to me. I worked with Sandy on all my three applications (HBS, Wharton, and Columbia) since July, and I got admitted to all of them!

Sandy helped me extract the best parts of my ideas and helped me find the perfect ways to express myself really effectively. I worked with him on many drafts for each essay. He would give clear and concise instructions and also made suggestions for me to think deeper about on specific issues. He would suggest cutting off the parts that he didnt think were impressive enough (while I thought they were!) and recommend expanding on other parts that I thought were quite ordinary. Or if I insisted on the same content, he would suggest spinning it the other ways to make it sound more powerful. Since I needed more time to write than others, quick turnaround time was important to me. Sandy’s turnaround time is amazing. He would return essay drafts within 12-48 hours (and short questions almost instantly).

Also, I found Sandy’s working style extremely effective. Although I was a bit concern at first same as everyone else, I really liked and appreciated his direct but real smart comments and great sense of humor. I actually think his style is very inspirational and it was what kept me motivated through the whole stressful application process! Sandy is smart and fun and he has all the inside knowledge of each of the top schools and he knows just what will get you in! His writing style is simple but powerful (fits me well as I am no sophisticated writer).

Sandy is really gifted at what he does and is also very dedicative. Sandy hates to fail and I know he really does. I tried to work with other consultants before Sandy and I didn’t feel that their services added much value to my essays. Sandy really looks at your essays inside out the way others don’t (and unlike some others, he doesn’t make things complicated either). And no other consultant helps edit the essays to the smallest details in terms of content and tone the way he does.

I love all my work with Sandy so much that after finishing my first application with Sandy, I couldnt bare not having him look at my other applications although Sandy told me not to hire him for those as the essays topics are similar. I told him it made me sleep better at night knowing that I am in a safe hand. No doubt, I was indeed in a safe hand!

Working with Sandy was the best investment I could do for myself! I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Thanks again Sandy for your wonderful help and support along the way. I really couldn’t have made it without you.

Dear Sandy,

In HBS J )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

In case you have any doubts – I was admitted to HBS only thanks to the edge that your strategic consulting provided me with.

I’ll write you later on when I recuperate J

[a lot of these 'write you later' folks never do, how soon they forget!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh the pains of being an admissions consultant, they love you in July, they need you in October, they drop a note in January, and ................you never hear fr. them again]

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Sandy,

I've been accepted at HBS. Thanks for your help, a couple of grand is a
small price to pay for this result. If your interested, I applied to 5
schools. In each app I wordsmithed what you helped me on (to various
degrees) with results as follows:

1. HBS In
2. Stanford No interview - I assume rejected
3. Wharton Waitlist
4. Kellogg In
5. Insead In

FYI - I did one HBS question without asking for your feedback (I was a
little sick of you by that point - no offense), as follows:

Question 7: What do you wish the MBA Admissions Board had asked you? I wish
the Admissions Board had asked me what I liked most about living abroad for
the past 5 years.

[he then sent me his answer to this, it was sorta ok, and could have been made a lot better, but at some point, you are either in or not, and dif. between A and B on last essay is not going to make a difference. This dude was a pain in the butt, but hey, that's business.]

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Hi Sandy,

It has been five days since I heard from HBS and life just starts to return to normal. Between all friends, family, and co-workers treating me like a rock-star, I barely had time to sit down and think about Boston
winters. It is unbelievable! 4.5 months, 40 drafts, countless ideas being discarded as "crap" and "drivel"
- it is all worth it.

I would never think I would thank someone for calling me ineffectual sycophant and telling me to "start thinking" after seven complete rewrites of a single
essay. Sandy - Thank You!!!

I could have chosen any consultant out there. But when I saw your background in communications and law, the
choice was clear. I could see how both skill sets (and natural gift for reading between the lines) converged
perfectly. I only wish I could have you in my HBS section!!! I could learn and learn from you.

Thanks for your patience; I know it was close to running out a few times.

...................................................................


WAOOOOO I'M IN AT HBS!!!!!!! Thanks so much for your help, not only did you give me great insights on how to best present myself but above all, you supported me throughout the process, you were there every step of the way and that really made a difference for me. THANKS AGAIN AND AGAIN!!!!

[amazingly, English is not native language of this dude]

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Sandy,

I just heard from Stanford that I was admitted to the Sloan program. They said I was a "slam dunk". Thanks for your help.

Cheers!

[this was guy applying to Sloan mid-career program at Stanford]

BACK-AND-FORTH POST MORTEM WITH GREAT BUT STUBBORN CLIENT --THIS MAY ALSO GIVE YOU SOME IDEA OF HOW I WORK.
GUY GOT IN TO STANFORD AND WAS DINGED AT HBS. MOST PEOPLE TO WHOM THAT HAPPENS ARE HAPPY ON THE OUTSIDE BUT STILL WONDERING ON THE INSIDE, 'WHAT HAPPENED?' THIS WAS COUPLA YEARS AGO (~2002), WHEN STANFORD WAS MORE OPEN TO BANKER/HIPPIES AND OFF-THE-GRID ESSAYS THAN THEY ARE NOW, ALTHO YOU CAN STILL GET ONE UNDER THE RADAR OVER THERE.

BELOW IS E-MAIL FROM ME TO CLIENT, AFTER LOOKING OVER HIS FINAL HBS ESSAYS, AFTER HE WAS DINGED : WE HAD SOME DISAGREEMENTS ABOUT TO DO THESE, AND HE WENT 'HIS' WAY.

Lemme say a couple of things, man, and I'd be happy to follow up w. a phone call. You are a super great guy, generous, smart, focused, diverse, and funny. It was a lot of fun working w. you, perhaps too much, actually. see below.

ok, let's get down to cases:

The ding was no surprise.
A lot of these are still mildly confusing: [FOR INSTANCE .....] (not enuf solid examples, bad attitude still).
. . . .
So,
Bad Essay One and Two, with some ambiant bad attitude in others, which might have been ok otherwise, but given confusion, turns reader against you, well, that was it.

You are a super great guy, and totally in line for HBS.

What you needed on these essays was Sandy Kreisberg, the Sandy Kreisberg who usually is 1000 percent certain he knows what HBS wants, and kicks his clients silly til he gets it. That did not happen here, and the reason is a mild mystery, maybe I actually respected you too much to really kick your ass, and call you a jerk,and just say, LOOK MAN, MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY, or mabye I said that [AHEM, I MOST CERTAINLY DID], and you just had to be you. Maybe you dont respond well to suggestions, esp. cases where I tried to lay down tracks, and strongly hinted to follow. We never seemed to finish these either, not sure if we ran out of time, or you just got tired of me, or they turned out half me/half you in a bad way.

What happened w Stanford was a repeat of this but we got lucky; you did it your way, after some prodding, and examples, and out popped a great story, the story that was always there. You kept doing that at HBS but the stories were not as good, or confused, or we ran into word count issues, and they turned out confusing, or underformed. That is proof of your approach to life, and sometimes you win, sometimes you do not. It is also proof in part of Stanford's faith in their blank slate process, vs. HBS' 8 snapshot method. It is also proof to me that I do know what HBS wants, and must be certain to kinda grab people by the neck, even great hippies like you, in the future, to be sure we lay it down.

hey, glad it had a happy ending, and valuable for me, as challenging clients always are.

HIS REPLY:

Thanks Sandy. I think you are really good at what you do and I respected your ideas and suggestions. You certainly helped me pull together two very honest and representative applications.

Maybe my HBS essays could have been better but... there is an element of me that I couldn't and wouldn't strip out of those essays. I'm not a loose cannon but I certainly have an edge to me and I think it can be misinterpreted on paper. I'm ok with that though.

First, it reinforces my feeling that Stanford is absolutely the right place for me. They read two very open and honest essays about me and they still want me. Second, it makes me very comfortable with the work I submitted and the process you coached me through. Honestly, I was hesitant to use any essay consultant because I wanted to submit my own work and I wanted it to be 100% truthful. I know that a lot of applicants make things up in their essays and that consultants are often responsible for a lot of the prose. I didn't think I needed that and I would really rather be rejected then compromise my integrity. I liked working with you because you didn't ask me to include things that weren't true and you let me use my conclusion, my examples -- even when yours sounded better. You let me go with Essay 4 (Define Success) even though you thought it was risky. But that's me. I like to take risks, I like who I am and moreover... I'm a stubborn little bastard. I thought I was submitting a strong app and even you couldn't convince me otherwise -- and I really think you know HBS cold.

At the end of the day (lame banker phrase that I detest) I really enjoyed the application process. I learned a lot about myself. I spent a lot of time thinking about my strengths, weaknesses, hopes, desires, dreams -- whatever. When people ask me "why I want to go to business school?" or "what I want to do with my life?" -- I have answers. This process and these essays helped me draft a map to guide me through the journey of life and personal growth as I said in my Stanford essays.

So... I'm all set. I'm heading to a great institution -- my first choice by far -- and I think I know what I want out of life. You helped me get there and only charged me $3,600. I think that's a bargain. Thank you very much.

Hi Sandy,

Wanted to give you a heads up regarding the decisions today. As expected after my mediocre interview, I didn't get the green light from HBS (waitlist). However, I did at Stanford! I couldn't be happier about heading to Palo Alto next year!

Hopefully you're hearing lots of good news today!

[fr. same kid]

Sandy, below is my (much delayed) testimonial. Thanks again for everything!

I worked with Sandy this year on applications to the top two, and somehow we convinced the admissions committee at one of them to let me in! I have many positive things to say about his service (too many to fit on one page). Here are the things that stick out:

Sandy is a treasure trove of detailed and actionable insight into the business school application process. I relied on his expertise not only to help guide my essays, but to focus my efforts a year in advance, understand how to link my background and my future, and prepare for my interviews.

I can't emphasize enough just how daunting the application process is. At many points in my process, I felt that I wouldn't do it or couldn't do it. Throughout, Sandy was my biggest cheerleader, and helped me keep these thoughts in check (despite many bumps in the road). Also, I had a tendency to over-engineer my applications, re-write my essays over and over, complete numerous mock interviews, etc. Sandy was invaluable in helping me find the right balance, determine when an essay was complete, and regain my piece of mind.

Overall, Sandy's service is fantastic. He has a track record of tremendous success (unlike much of his competition), and really knows what works! Trust me, if I can do it, so can you (with Sandy's help, of course). I highly recommend him to anyone who is dedicated to being accepted to HSW.

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I’M IN AT HARVARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for your help.

[another client who bugged me with about 350 emails during the process, and then goes near silent when time to say Thanks]

Hi sandy

I've been delirious with joy and excitement at the prospect of studying at HBS starting Fall this year...my admission into HBS would have been impossible without your help and support during the entire process.

It was great working with you through the entire apping process, but what I really appreciated was

1. Your extensive and indepth knowledge of Harvard - no one knows that school and what they're looking for in an applicant like you do - cant stress the importance of that factor for any applicant enough!
2. Your insightful comments on the essays - I specifically respected that you focussed on the direction and strategy of the essay. I read my essay iterations now and I can see the beautiful shape the essays took with each revision basis your feedback
3. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY! Your honest and brutal comments ensured that I realised the huge task I had at hand and to keep at it with focus. I can imagine myself getting all soft on myself if the same comments you'd given me had been sugar-coated!

And this comment is for anyone really serious about getting into one of the best b-schools:
IF YOU'RE REALLY REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT WHERE YOU WANT TO DO YOUR MBA AND IF ITS ONE OF THE BEST B-SCHOOLS, DONT THINK, JUST BLINDLY GET SANDY TO HELP! HE'S MAKES MAGIC WITH EVERY COMPONENT OF YOUR APPLICATION...WARNING: BE PREPARED TO WORK REAL HARD ON YOUR APP., AND TO LUMP ALL HIS COMMENTS WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE - TRUST ME, IT PAYS OFF!!!

Thanks once again! I owe you dinner when I get to Boston...SEE YOU THERE!!!!!

Cheers

(Gosh!! I'm still sooo kicked!! thanks thanks thanks!)

[ahem, ok, this kid liked me, and was one of those super generous types who will succeed anyplace, and we did have a lot of fun taking the excellent material presented and making it super great.]

Hi Sandy,

My business school application process is finally over. I got the all-important call from Derrick Bolton last night and am now 99.9% sure I am going to Stanford next year! Overall, here’s how I made out, for your “database.” J

Kellogg (heard on March 10th) – Accepted
Wharton – Accepted
Stanford – Accepted
HBS – Rejected (didn’t bat an eyelash over this one)

THANK YOU for your help with everything. I will definitely recommend your help to future applicants. I don’t think my Stanford essays would have gotten to the final stage without your guidance, thanks for being truthful with me. Please let me know if I can help you out with anything in the future!

Take care,

[this kid was typical H and S candidate, w. very strong credentials, Ivy edu, MC experience, etc. and really focused on Stanford, I think he really blew off the H app., almost intentionally, I never saw it. ]

 


Sorry for the delay. Here's my blurb. Hope it helps.. BTW, i have recommended several of my friends to you (one of them is working with you now..) and will continue to do so in the future. If it wasn't for you, i'd still be stuck at office space eating Ralph's grocery cake on special occasions.

Thank you.. SO much.

BTW, looked great on the vid clip.. nice job! Can't believe the fiasco tho.. and lucky that this "hack" wasn't avail last year.. as i would've undoubtedly used it if i had the chance!

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Last year I was dinged straight to all schools applied to without any interviews. I worked with Sandy on my Chicago essays this year, and was admitted this time around.

I gained a lot more than just a spot at a top B-School, however. His guidance allowed me to see what issues are coveted as "valuable" to the business world. The improvements in my presentation (both verbal and written) have helped me in my internship pursuits and countless other opportunities at school.

Sandy was never watered down. He was direct, and had an amazing turnaround.. and most of all.. he actually cared. Time and effort on his part was never an issue when it came down to my application, and he gave me 110% .. I couldn't have asked for more.

The $$ investment was a concern for me in the beginning, but rest assured that the NPV will be positive on this one!

Sandy, you're f'n awesome.

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Hi Sandy!!!!!!

I got into HBS!!! I am SOOO excited. I want to thank you again once again for all your wonderful help. If there's anything I can do to help you out in the future, please let me know. I hope all is well.

Thank you again!! :-)

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Sandy,

I made the HBS deadline, and wanted to thank you for your great guidance, insight, and live-saving turnaround speed over the past 6 months. You truly deserve your reputation as being the best in the field.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated as to the progress of my application.

Many, many thanks.

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Sandy is a great helper to the TOP MBA applicants.
First time Sandy told me that I had 30~50% chance at Columbia, but we made it together.
I really don't think I could have achieved it without Sandy's great help.
Sandy wasn't a nice and easy person but a person who knows how to get into Top MBA programs.
I was helpless to be accepted to Columbia. It was possible only according to Sandy's way.
I would like to recommend Sandy to other people applying to MBA.

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Hi Sandy,

I just got my admit from HBS!!! Thanks a lot for the help and support during this grueling process.

Now I have some serious thinking to do b/w Wharton and HBS. Your thoughts on the 2 schools?

...................................................................

JUST FOUND OUT I GOT INTO HBS!!

There are not enough positive words that I can use to describe Sandy. I was waitlisted to HBS, Wharton and Columbia last year. This year, Sandy worked with me on my HBS ap from July all the way through to September. It was painful and sometimes I would cringe when I saw his name pop up on my outlook. But he would consistently push me to explore more ideas, thoughts, revelations until essays that I didn’t think were even in me came out. The finished product was precise, clear and presented a comprehensive story of not only a determined individual, but one who was able to break down barriers, take on risk and most importantly, motivate and lead others. On the night before the interview, Sandy also took the time out to give me a call and grill me (literally break me down) with potential questions. Ironically, the next day, the interviewer asked me almost the same ones and I was more than prepared!

So I thank him for being a critic, mentor, coach and more importantly, one of my biggest supporters - you really can't put a price on that. I would recommend him to anyone and everyone who has the passion to go all the way. SANDY IS SERIOUSLY THE BEST!!

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Sandy –

Got to give it to you man – you really helped me out with those essays! I was feeling the pinch to shell out $1,800, but, it was well worth it – my interviewer even said that he really liked my essays! Indian, IT, male and 30 years old – go figure!!

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Got in! [HBS] Still owe you feedback on experience as well as Wharton interview feedback. Will send both to you soon! Thanks again for all your help.

[this guy did follow up w. a testimonial]

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Hey Sandy

Got into MIT. That makes it 3/3 and in retrospect, I am glad I didn’t kill myself over Stanford. Thanks much!

Am probably HBS bound but will be attending the Wharton welcome weekend.

Thanks

Testimonial…….
***************************
Don’t let all the other posts fool you. Sandy will tear your essays apart and make you feel like a schmuck if he thinks you have not put enough effort into a draft. However, he keeps pushing you in the direction he thinks is right. And, as is obvious from the opinions of his many ardent fans including myself, Sandy definitely knows!

I have to admit that I tried to second guess him a few times in taking advice from my friends but, finally decided to go with his experience and judgment. Sometimes, it is a change of thinking that he wants, sometimes a change of style or tone; it may take a while to “get” his mantras into your essays. However, he is amazingly patient in a weird sort of way. Although, his emails will make you feel that he may quit on you any minute and give you a refund, he forces you to focus and think.

And oh yes, the guy can work at a manic pace. My guess is that he has seen’em all and edited’em all so many times, nothing surprises him anymore.

Btw, a word of advice, Sandy does expect you to clean up grammar etc. on your own. So don’t expect any hand holding in that area. Get your stories straight and don’t expect him to ply and coax your life story out of you. He will tell if you a story doesn’t work which will force you to think of something else.
Also, he is not the most endearing phone conversationalist especially if he is busy or if he decides that he can’t talk to you over the phone. However, you will find that you will look forward to reading his scathing, yet comical, replies to your essays over email. Just follow his instructions and you will be fine!

Enjoy the bullying- He will bring out the best in you and….getting in is what matters!

A very happy customer!

[well, I dont agree with all of the above, I will coax a life story out of you, but that is what he wrote, so take it for what it is worth]

I highly recommend Sandy to anyone seeking a spot in the top business schools. He is honest, concise and extremely insightful. If all you want is an essay editor, then look elsewhere; however, if you are seeking a personal coach who will push you to perform at a level you've never thought possible, then Sandy is your man. His mastery of the admissions process at the top schools, especially Harvard, is uncanny. He is expensive, but well worth the money!

Client attending Harvard

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Believe it or not, Sandy knows the admission "blackbox" of H/S/W better than the admission committee themselves.

I worked with Sandy with my application to Stanford. He kept challeging the stuffs in my "what matters most" essay till it was in a good shape. I am in at Stanford.

Even Sandy's thread in BW forum contains lots of valuable information. Actually, his thread helped me get admitted to Wharton (I did W's application by myself). For example, I followed his suggestion to use the words such as "work/life balance", "cooking" and "travelling" in my application. During the interview, I found the interviewer really likes these words. :-))))

I would recommend Sandy to every applicant who wish to attend h/s/w hard.

[well, this kid is as odd as he sounds, not sure I ever gave out advice to use words like "cooking" etc. but he did have ONE powerful Stanford story, and we were able to locate it and present it]

...................................................................

Sandy,

Thank you so much for everything. Thanks for constantly drilling me to clarify my essays. I was so disappointed after my [HBS] interview, but I guess I did better than I thought. In the acceptance letter, they require me to complete the analytics program and recommend me to take additional finance coursework before next fall.

So do you have any suggestions on the time and method to accept the offer, what I should look out for, and when I should notify Stanford (round 3 application) about my acceptance to HBS?

Again, thank you so much. This is truly my dream school.

All the best!

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