… and am certain that Sandy’s advice is what steered my application in all the right directions.
Our initial conversation was spent going over my background/story; Sandy pinpointed common themes and suggested the general outline for what I could write about in my essay. Since my initial thoughts on what to write about matched Sandy’s assessment, I was comfortable going ahead with that. We went back and forth on about 6-7 drafts of the essay over the next few weeks. I will say this – if you can’t handle brutal, honest criticism, you will find it hard to take in Sandy’s feedback. I used to dread opening up his responses and seeing the all-caps, red font ripping apart my work. It’s worth it though – he is dedicated to helping you write the clearest and most effective essay you can, without micromanaging it to the point where you lose your own voice. He is also not afraid to metaphorically smack you around the head if you need it, which is tough to take but necessary during this process. My essay was vastly improved by the time we were done, which was important given the minimal amount of real estate HBS offered to applicants this year. Sandy also helped me polish up my resume, and worked with me on how to prep my recommenders to produce the most effective letters.
Once I got the interview invite, Sandy sent through a ton of past questions to help me prepare. Our mock interview was helpful in showing me how to think about my responses; he’d encourage me to ‘just answer the question – give me your HONEST answer to this question’ and avoid saying what I thought the interviewer wanted to hear. My real interview covered about 60% of what Sandy’s had covered, and I was prepared for the majority of it because of his other sample questions.
Sandy has a wealth of knowledge about this process, especially where HBS is concerned. He was very willing to send me additional info when needed (but also has no patience with you when he feels like he is babysitting your efforts), and sent me a lot of practice questions for another school’s interview, free of charge. I think his real value is in how much he truly seems to know what these schools are looking for; if you are willing to take on his feedback style, the end results are likely to be completely worth it.