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…