Kelly, Northwestern Kellogg MBA

August 18, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Kelly, Northwestern Kellogg MBA I’m so glad I found Hillary! She was an extremely valuable resource and so supportive throughout my business school application process. Hillary will invest in your success and push you hard to craft and refine your applications in order to tell the most compelling stories. With Hillary’s feedback and guidance, I ended up at the perfect program for me. - Kelly (Denver, CO)

Nicole, MIT Sloan MBA

August 15, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Nicole, MIT Sloan MBA I applied to a whopping 7 schools and worked with Shine on 2 of them. Because the MBA application process is demanding and unpredictable, I sought a trusted partner to think through application strategy, test prep, essays, etc. with me. Although the financial investment is significant, I knew that I only wanted to go through this process once and do it right – without any regrets or what-ifs. I interviewed several MBA consultants and chose to work with Hillary, who a friend recommended, because of her willingness to put in meaningful time with me and her unrelenting commitment to my success. Even beyond her amazing guidance on my applicants, I found that she gave me an unexpected gift: confidence. I applied to schools that I thought were beyond my reach and will ultimately attend one! Despite a just-ok test score, I was invited to interview at 6 of the 7 schools and was accepted to 4 of them (with a scholarship). The foundation she set for me on 2 school applications helped me create strong applications for the other 5 schools. I am absolutely overjoyed with the results. Thank you, Hillary! - Nicole (San Francisco, CA)

Dan, Berkeley Haas MBA

August 07, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Dan, Berkeley Haas MBA Hillary took me from a candidate skeptical of MBA programs in general, to one who couldn’t be more excited about his next step at Haas, or his career plans thereafter. Working with Hillary did more for me than just help me get into a great program, it also helped me crystalize what it is I want to do with my career, and how best to achieve my goals. - Dan (San Francisco, CA)

Sara, Northwestern Kellogg MBA

August 02, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Sara, Northwestern Kellogg MBA My dreams of attending Kellogg would not have been possible without the help of Hillary and Shine. Throughout the course of the application process, I really felt like Hillary truly got to know me and helped guide me to submit the strongest applications possible. Hillary also acted as a wonderful sounding board and cheerleader. I am so thankful I chose to work with Shine and so grateful for their support! -Sara (San Francisco, CA)

Lisa, Yale SOM MBA

May 19, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Lisa, Yale SOM MBA I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started applying for business school! Thankfully a co-worker told me about Shine. Hillary guided me in tailoring my “why I want to go to business school” into a clear and focused message before I put one word on an application. She was honest and realistic when my first GMAT score didn’t come in where I was hoping, and provided solutions for how I could improve my score to be a realistic contender for the schools I was considering. Despite having a very busy client schedule, she always made time for either her or Sonia to proofread my essays or answer any questions I had throughout the process. They were instrumental in making sure my essays conveyed the message I wanted to get across that would also reflect my best self (without overtly bragging!). They also provided school-specific resources that helped me prepare for interviews at each program. As a result, I got in to my first choice, top 10 business school with a full tuition scholarship! I’m confident this result was due to my work with Shine. I could not be happier with the outcome! - Lisa (Bentonville, AR)

Leveraging MBA Tours To Your Benefit

April 29, 2017  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Leveraging MBA Tours To Your Benefit It’s MBA fair season: a great opportunity for prospective MBAs to attend admissions panels and get tips on the admissions process, pick up GMAT/GRE advice, talk face-to-face with admissions directors, and figure out which schools are right for you. It also gives adcomm a chance to hear questions directly from applicants and make connections with future MBAs who may be a fit for programs. Here are 5 tips to ensure you make the most of these MBA events: Every touch point with a school reflects upon you as a candidate, be it with the Director of Admissions or the receptionist.  Smile, offer a confident hand shake, show your enthusiasm, and be professional with whomever you speak. Do your homework.  Nothing shows your interest in a particular program more than asking thoughtful questions beyond what can be found online.  Ask about an intriguing topic, campus initiatives, or an aspect of the curriculum reflecting your interests. Show genuine curiosity, rather than simply a desire for face time.  Book one-on-one sessions whenever possible.  Some programs offer a chance to reserve a time slot to meet with adcomm privately or in a small group.  Don’t miss this opportunity to make a positive impression and build a ...

Andre, Wharton MBA

April 04, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Andre, Wharton MBA The best investment I made for my business school application process success was hiring Shine to help me get into Wharton, my dream school. The experience and attention to detail throughout the resume and essay reviews definitely made my application stand out. Also, specific guidance I received on my Wharton group interview pitch really shows the breadth and depth of the company’s knowledge of the process. - Andre (Los Angeles, CA)

Sonya, UCLA Anderson MBA

March 29, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Sonya, UCLA Anderson MBA I absolutely could not have gotten through the admissions process without Hillary. She gave me incredibly thoughtful, meaningful feedback every step of the way; her guidance gave me the confidence to apply to reach schools I wouldn't have considered on my own. The personal attention you get with someone at her level of expertise really sets her apart from other agencies, and I would recommend her with great confidence to anyone starting the daunting journey of applying for MBA programs. - Sonya (Los Angeles, CA)

Daniel, Chicago Booth MBA

March 29, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Daniel, Chicago Booth MBA Working with Shine was a stellar decision. I came from a STEM background rather than a business one. Hillary enhanced my chances of getting into school by getting to know me and by helping me build a story that led me to seek an MBA. While I would have been the same person with our without Shine, I certainly would not have produced the high-quality, concise application that gave me an opportunity at a top school. She gave me critical feedback and challenged me to show the best version of me that I could. I could not have asked for more out of an MBA consultant. -Daniel (Denver, CO)

Nick, Penn Wharton MBA / Harvard Kennedy School MPP

March 29, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Nick, Penn Wharton MBA / Harvard Kennedy School MPP Shine is hands-down the most helpful, in-depth, caring, and strategic service I can imagine to guide an applicant through the process. Hillary takes above-and-beyond steps to get to know every client so she can most effectively advise their goals and approach to each school. Additionally, her perspective for every application is smart and strategic, revealing nuances and ideas that applicants certainly haven’t thought of. Plus, Hillary also is so committed to each client and their happiness and success that she takes the additional steps of ensuring they can make the right decision if they are fortunate to be accepted to a school. For any friends or colleagues applying, I would say that using Shine is a must and should be considered as early on in the process as possible. - Nick (New York, NY)

Griffin, UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA

March 29, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Griffin, UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Hillary makes you think more about yourself than any other application process you’ve been through. Her organization and client materials were instrumental in helping me get into my number one choice b-school. Thank you Hillary for all of your help! - Griffin (San Francisco, CA)

MBA Applicant Survey: Win $500

March 22, 2017  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

MBA Applicant Survey: Win $500 If you've just finished applying to business school, please spare <10 minutes and take AIGAC’s annual MBA Applicant Survey. First, you could win $500!  Second, your views will be tallied anonymously and shared at our June conference, then used directly by business schools, admissions consultants and key stakeholders to shape the admissions process for years to come. We know you’ve got a lot to say - let your voices be heard! Click here to take the survey. Responses are due by April 30 to be eligible for the $500 prize. We truly appreciate your time in helping us continue to improve the MBA application process. Thanks, Your friends at Shine

April, Vanderbilt Owen MBA

March 08, 2017  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

April, Vanderbilt Owen MBA For me, the application process was stressful and incredibly defeating. I have a non-traditional background compounded with a less-than-stellar GMAT. However, Hillary encouraged me to press forward with her unrelenting positivity and unwavering support. At my breaking point, she believed in me unconditionally. She gave me the courage to try again, and in those kind phone calls may have changed my life forever. Hillary, you turned out to be exactly what I never knew I needed! Thank you so much for being there. Your support has meant so much to me over the course of this long year. – April (Casper, WY)

November Flash Sale – This Week Only!

November 01, 2016  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

November Flash Sale – This Week Only! Introducing our new Accelerated Applications offer at 15% off.  Complete your MBA applications in 6 weeks! Your winter holidays have never looked so good.  Book our services by this Friday Nov. 4th and we’ll lead you to complete up to 3 applications in 6 weeks – all for 15% off our standard pricing. You’re a great fit for this opportunity if… You’ve completed your test prep You have a good sense of your career goals and target schools You’ve researched your target schools You have sufficient bandwidth to dedicate to your applications, now Ready to gain some serious momentum?  Email us today at to set up a consultation and learn more.  Consultation times will be available on Wed. and Thurs. throughout the day and evening. Let's get it done! [Click here to learn more about our services and rates.  For additional questions, please contact us at] © Shine/ MBA Admissions Consulting, November 1, 2016, 10:22am PST  

YM, Stanford MBA

July 11, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

YM, Stanford MBA Shine came highly recommended from a dear MBA friend who had gotten into both HBS and Stanford. Hillary was particularly helpful during the early stages of my applications as I struggled to imagine how the different pieces of my application would coalesce to paint the picture of a well-rounded, living and breathing human-being with authentic dreams and aspirations, rather than one of a generic applicant. I am grateful to have come across her in my life. - YM (London, England)

Advice From Past MBA Applicants (To Those About To Apply)

June 30, 2016  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Advice From Past MBA Applicants (To Those About To Apply) For the last few years, we've asked our clients who just completed the MBA application process to answer the following question: What is one piece of advice you’d offer to future applicants?  Here is what they wanted to say to you. (Notice some common themes?) Take some time to dig deep and really reflect on your career experience and why you want to go back school.  This will better prepare you for both the essay questions and the interviews. Talk to recent applicants. As many as possible. Talk to current students as much as you can before, during and after the application process. Create a business school plan well in advance and target Round 1 if at all possible. Try to visit each school’s campus before applying and speak to as many current students/alumni as you can. Start earlier than you think is early. Things take longer than you think. Plan ahead of time. Work hard at getting to know each program you are applying to. Really get to know students who are attending these programs because they are the ones who will be able to speak the most candidly and honestly about what the school has ...

Jenelle, Michigan Ross EMBA

April 26, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Jenelle, Michigan Ross EMBA Shine was instrumental in really helping me understand the MBA application process and what schools are looking for.  I wouldn’t have gotten into a top school without their amazing insights, guidance and support. - Jenelle (Denver, CO)

Felipe, MIT Sloan MBA

June 09, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Felipe, MIT Sloan MBA Working with Hillary has been a real pleasure. She was incredibly helpful in keeping track of deliverables and deadlines, she knew my history and profile upside down, and she always made sure that I delivered the right message with the right content, highlighting the most relevant factors of my application from a b-school admission’s perspective. Hillary’s intimate knowledge of the business school application process was the key to my success – she truly is a top-tier consultant! - Felipe (Mexico City, Mexico)

Jack, Cornell Johnson EMBA

June 09, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Jack, Cornell Johnson EMBA Hillary and her team were incredibly helpful during the application process. From the very beginning, Hillary spent the time to really get to know me and understand my story and future goals. Her energetic, positive attitude gave me the confidence to apply to top schools. Hillary added value at every turn including strengthening my resume, helping me think through essay topics, correcting grammatical errors, and holding mock interviews. I am confident that my final applications were infinitely stronger than they would have been without Hillary’s guidance and support. I highly recommend Shine for anyone applying to business school. - Jack (New York, NY)

David, Columbia Law

May 14, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

David, Columbia Law Hillary and the Shine team were one of the best bets I made in this admissions cycle. Hillary was honest and appropriately forceful at the start, in helping me nail down a career plan that felt genuine to who I am, and compelling to MBA programs. She then meticulously went through my essays and data forms with the eyes of a hawk. Hillary was kind, considerate, and compassionate throughout. She also pushed me to consider schools and programs that were not initially on my radar and that ended up feeling like great fits! I’d enthusiastically recommend Hillary and Shine to anyone considering applying! - David (Washington, DC)

Brian, Wharton MBA

May 11, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Brian, Wharton MBA Hillary was exceptional. She was passionate, professional, and truly supportive throughout the application process. I would highly recommend Hillary and the Shine team to any applicant looking to put his/her best foot forward. - Brian (New York, NY)

Sofia, UCLA Anderson MBA

May 11, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Sofia, UCLA Anderson MBA Hillary was so helpful to me throughout the process. She kept me on track and moving my resume and applications along. Without her, I never would have gotten my applications in in the first round. Additionally, her guidance and constructive edits on the essays were the reason that I got into the schools I did. She pushed me to really dig deep and tell the best story I could. Thank you so much, Hillary. - Sofia (Los Angeles, CA)

Shijia, UC Irvine Merage PhD

May 11, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Shijia, UC Irvine Merage PhD Without Hillary’s help, my PhD dream could not come true! Thanks, Hillary! Before started working with Shine, I totally had no clue how should I set up my timeline and proceed with my applications, especially for my resume and SOPs (Statements of Purpose). My previous resume was a mess. It is Hillary who encouraged me to think about my relevant life experience that will benefit my application. She also used her excellent marketing strategy to help me sell my strengths. The same thing for my SOPs; she could always come up with constructive advice/comments from the outline to every draft. The feedback and suggestions she gave me were from the perspective of an admission officer, which is significantly important and something I definitely couldn’t get on my own. She also helped me a lot on my language (since I’m a foreign student, she spent a lot time on my grammar, writing style, tone and other writing issues, and still made sure it’s in my voice). Another thing is Hillary is a really well-organized person. She keeps everything organized and clear, which makes it easy and efficient to work with her. She’s also a super enthusiastic person. She loves to hear my stories and know my ...

Luca, Yale SOM MBA

May 11, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Luca, Yale SOM MBA Working with Shine was phenomenal. Hillary is incredibly talented and committed to get you into the school you want. Even after my applications were sent in and her job was technically over with me, she never refused to help me navigate through the rest of my decision process. - Luca (Houston, TX)

Simon, MIT Sloan MBA

May 11, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Simon, MIT Sloan MBA Working with Shine is like taking one of those B-School Personal Development classes combined with a Sales & Marketing course. Hillary really helped me 1) understand who I am as an individual, 2) portray the best aspects of that individuality.  Thanks for going above and beyond! - Simon (San Francisco, CA)

How Are the GMAT and GRE Relevant to Business School Success?

November 11, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

How Are the GMAT and GRE Relevant to Business School Success? The following guest blog post was written by Brian Prestia of Reason GMAT: For many prospective business school applicants, their first encounter with the GMAT or GRE comes as a bit of a shock.  The predominant reaction is:  What the heck does this stuff have to do with business school anyway?  Geometry, rate questions, correcting grammatical errors…how can this be the measure of potential success in business school? The Real Nature of the GMAT and GRE What most people don’t realize is that the GMAT and GRE are really reasoning tests -– they give business schools a view into applicants logical reasoning, problem solving, and analytical abilities. Sure, a firm grasp of the quantitative and verbal foundation of these questions helps, but that’s not all it takes. And a less-than-perfect grasp of the foundation can often be overcome by good, old-fashioned reasoning and smart problem solving. Business schools know that incoming students are going to be inundated with lots and lots of new information. They are not looking for students who can memorize and regurgitate that information; they are looking for people who can think critically and solve problems creatively. The GMAT and GRE are designed to reward those kinds of skills and punish ...

Resources for MBA Applicants: 2015

November 02, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Resources for MBA Applicants: 2015 In addition to sharing our own advice with you, each year, we like to share our past clients' recommendations of the resources they found most helpful in applying to business school. Whether you're gathering information about your target b-schools, preparing for the GMAT, or looking for the best approaches to a particular essay question, our most recent client alumni recommended the following resources: GMAT/GRE Prep To help increase their test scores by those precious points, our clients reported that they took advantage of the following publications, websites, practice tests, private tutors, and prep classes: Veritas Prep Manhattan Prep Kaplan Princeton Review Dominate the GMAT Advantage Testing Beat The GMAT GMAT Club   GMAT Hacks Khan Academy The Official Guide to GMAT Review by GMAC   Game Plan for the GMAT by Brandon Royal School & Admissions ...

What To Do After Submitting Round 1 Applications

October 06, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

What To Do After Submitting Round 1 Applications If you are one of the business school candidates who was driven enough to apply in Round 1, then it's time to give yourself a pat on the back. Though you might be wondering what you're supposed to do now. Here are a few ways to keep yourself productively occupied: Move on to Round 2 Keep moving forward and begin working on the next round of applications. Taking advantage of this extra time will allow you to really think through each question, work slowly, and avoid the last minute scramble. Worst case, you are accepted into your first round schools and don't ever have to submit them.  Yet if there’s one thing we learned in business school, it’s the benefit of preserving option value. And you will not have enough time to wait for first round results and then develop a polished set of second round applications. Keep your options open, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. Learn From the Past Year after year, applicants pull the plug last minute on submitting their applications in Round 1 because they hadn't "nailed it" quite yet--either because they were struggling with a particularly tough question, or because they were overly-optimistic in the time involved to develop a strong, polished application. Use those lessons to get a jump start ...

Sean, UCLA Anderson MBA

January 20, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Sean, UCLA Anderson MBA Hillary has a unique ability to truly ensure her clients shine amongst an increasingly competitive business school applicant pool. Moreover, her responsiveness given quick deadlines is very impressive. I am very happy I enlisted her support throughout this process - Sean (Detroit, MI)

Researching MBA Programs: How To Find Your Perfect B-School Match

August 18, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Researching MBA Programs: How To Find Your Perfect B-School Match  The following guest blog post was written by Mansoor Iqbal of QS' An MBA is likely to be the last substantial formal education you undertake in your lifetime. It will be expensive. It will be difficult. And you’re going to be a little bit older when you’re done. (You’ll probably feel a little bit older just after applying!) Suffice it to say, you’re going to need to do your due diligence. So, how should you go about this? Here’s a rough guide to researching business schools. Establish your needs It’s hard to find something if you don’t know what you’re even looking for. So try to establish as much as possible about what you want and need from an MBA before getting started. Naturally, points you hadn’t considered will come up as you get further along. To begin though, think about career outcomes, how you like to learn, where you want to be based.  Then, realistically gauge how strong a candidate you are. Sure, it sounds dreamy to study at Stanford, but don’t waste your time if you know you won’t be able to compete. Besides, maybe you wouldn’t even be happy there; it’s all about finding the right fit. ...

Personal Branding for Your MBA Applications

August 03, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Personal Branding for Your MBA Applications We believe that the MBA admissions process is inherently a marketing exercise, plain and simple.  To be clear, this does NOT mean “spinning your story” to impress the admissions committee or telling them what you think they want to hear.  It means, presenting your authentic self in the best light possible.  It means taking a premium product (YOU) and wrapping it in beautiful packaging, showing off your true colors inside, then adding a well-written label that lets your personality shine through, so that you stand out from all of the others. And as any good marketer knows, the key to marketing success is a solid brand foundation. It’s impossible to market a brand effectively if you don’t know what it stands for.  Similarly, before jumping into the application process, it’s important that you understand your own personal brand and have the same sense of clarity about yourself. You may have heard the marketing terms “brand identity” or “brand positioning statement.”  Branding a human is a very similar exercise.  While there are a number of relevant elements that can comprise one's personal brand, if you focus on these five, you’ll be off to a running start: Vision ...

International Applicants: Meet PrepAdviser

July 13, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

International Applicants: Meet PrepAdviser We just wanted to extend an introduction to our friends at PrepAdviser, an interactive online platform which assists international applicants in their preparation for MBA and masters programs worldwide. PrepAdviser is a free online community where you can connect with admissions directors and test preparation experts, fellow applicants, current students and alumni from all over the world (43,000 registered users and counting).  You can also find news, helpful articles, tips, videos, MOOCs, test prep advice, live chats and a forum for discussions and Q&A. We hope you'll enjoy this resource, set up a profile, and/or share with any others who may be interested.   [For help in applying to MBA programs, overseas or in the US, please contact us at] © Shine/ MBA Admissions Consulting, July 13, 2015, 7:08am PST

Shining Brighter: We’ve Moved to Los Angeles!

July 01, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Shining Brighter: We’ve Moved to Los Angeles! Greetings from Santa Monica, California!  Why are we writing to you from the Los Angeles oceanfront, you ask--surrounded by gorgeous Malibu, edgy Venice, and posh Brentwood?  For starters, this sure isn’t a bad place to be. Outside the window are palm trees, chirping birds, a fresh ocean breeze, and beautiful sun.  And after spending quite a bit of time out here over the years, we decided to make Southern California our home. (What could be more fitting for our Shine, after all?!) So please join us in celebrating Shine’s new locale out west—where we’ll continue to advise top MBA applicants coast-to-coast and overseas, just as easily as we did from Colorado.  Our contact info even will remain unchanged; we’ll just be one time zone to the left :) Fondly, Hillary Schubach Founder & President Emma, first beach frolic   © Shine/ MBA Admissions Consulting, July 1 2015, 11:05am PST  

Crafting an MBA-Caliber Resume

June 29, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Crafting an MBA-Caliber Resume What exactly are the top MBA programs looking for in a resume? Can it be two pages? Should I include an executive summary? How should it be formatted? Relax. These details won’t be the determining factor of whether you are accepted. However, a compelling, polished resume makes a positive first impression and sets the stage for the rest of your application. The following tips will get you off on the right foot: Format There are no requirements on style, so just use your best judgment. The key is to make it neat, professional well-organized, consistent, and easy to navigate. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with Times New Roman font. Traditional as it is, it’s gold standard for a resume. 10-point is the smallest you should go. Leave some white space around your margins, entries, and section breaks. It gives your content breathing room and avoids a cluttered appearance. The rule of thumb, among admissions officers and corporate recruiters alike, is one resume page per 10 years of work experience. That means, if you’re a typical full-time MBA candidate, your resume should be no more than one page. Enough said. Layout Don’t waste valuable real estate on an executive summary. ...

Jennifer, Penn Wharton JD/MBA

May 16, 2016  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Jennifer, Penn Wharton JD/MBA I researched and interviewed 15 MBA admissions consultants.  After extensive evaluation, I decided Shine would be the most diligent, dedicated and informed consultancy.  I was right. Hillary had a well-thought-out process, organized action plan, and targeted tools to drill down into why I was a top candidate for both JD and MBA programs, and how to convey these messages to admissions committees.  Where multiple other consultants told me I should lower my expectations and did not have a chance at top schools, Hillary took the time to get to know me, hear my story, and genuinely believed I deserved a spot at top schools.  She gave me the vote of confidence I needed to aim high.  Hillary stays close to graduate schools, and has a very nuanced and up-to-date understanding of the admissions process.  Her insights are invaluable.  She works on the entire application process and not just the essays. She also gave me as much time as I needed on the phone with her, in person, and via email.  I highly recommend Shine for anyone applying to top 10 schools or with a non-traditional background. - Jennifer (Beijing, China)

Pablo, Northwestern Kellogg MBA

June 01, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Pablo, Northwestern Kellogg MBA Hillary Schubach from Shine was extremely helpful in my application process. We developed a strategy for each school I applied to, we worked on my resume and we put together a great set of essays. I was accepted in all the schools I applied to and it was thanks to Hillary’s help and guidance. - Pablo (Monterrey, Mexico)  

Chris, Berkeley Haas MBA

June 01, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Chris, Berkeley Haas MBA I chose to work with Shine knowing that personal attention would be crucial to my success in the application process. From day one, Hillary went out of her way to really get to know my story, goals and aspirations. Her persistence in pushing me one step further on each resume and essay revision undoubtedly helped me achieve a cohesive and stellar application. Today, long after the application process has been completed, Hillary remains in close touch, a testament to her personal commitment to each and every person that she works with. -Chris (Denver, CO)

Boris, INSEAD Executive MBA

May 18, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Boris, INSEAD Executive MBA Hillary’s ability to guide me through my strengths was of tremendous help. This not only allowed me to present the brightest side of myself to INSEAD’s admission committee, but helped me a lot to dig into myself during the whole process. I believe that since we have done this work together I have a much clearer idea of what I want to do and where I want to go. - Boris (Moscow, Russia / Paris, France)

Advice for Future MBA Applicants (From Our Clients Who Just Survived the Process)

May 13, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Advice for Future MBA Applicants (From Our Clients Who Just Survived the Process) We recently asked our latest group of clients: What is one piece of advice you’d offer to future MBAs? Here are the responses we received.  (Notice some common themes...?) Prepare early and plan ahead with the application timeline Work hard at getting to know each program you are applying to. Really get to know students who are attending these programs because they are the ones who will be able to speak the most candidly and honestly about what the school has to offer. Begin studying for the GMAT at least 10-12 months before you want to begin your applications (which should be started 3 months before the deadline). I would also recommend polishing/finishing your resume during this time period. With a decent score knocked out of the way along with a completed resume, the applicant can truly concentrate on putting together a coherent and tailored application to each school. Start early and talk to as many people as possible (colleagues, friends, alumni, current students). That really helped me to shape my story. Start early, drafting takes longer than you think. (And don’t get married during R1.) Research each school thoroughly. Visit the schools before applying if you can. It’s easier ...

Jon, Emory Goizueta MBA

May 06, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Jon, Emory Goizueta MBA I really was extremely satisfied with everything that Shine helped me to achieve. Hillary's genuine interest in how I could accomplish my admission goals were present in everything that we did.  Even with a low GMAT score, with her help, I am going to an excellent program, geographically central to family and a job market where I would like to find a position. There is no way I could have done it without Shine's assistance.  Keep up the amazing work. - Jon (Colorado Springs, CO)

Rebecca, UCLA Anderson MBA

May 04, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Rebecca, UCLA Anderson MBA Hillary and the team at Shine were invaluable to my application process. As someone who was incredibly overwhelmed during the application season, Hillary was a guiding light through multiple iterations of essays and short answers. I know the resume prep we completed was not only instrumental to my overall application, but will also help me during fall recruiting. Overall, Hillary kept me calm, collected, and focused on the task at hand. I would highly recommend her to any future applicant, and know undoubtedly that my admissions decisions would have been different without her help. - Rebecca (San Francisco, CA)

Samantha, Stanford MBA

June 01, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Samantha, Stanford MBA It was such a blast working with Hillary. She was extremely organized throughout the process, which helped to guide me to stay on top of each step during the application process, despite my crazy work schedule. Her openness and constructive feedback also allowed me to put together an application that’s true to myself, yet constantly be challenged and pushed to reach the next level. - Samantha (San Mateo, CA)

Megan, Kellogg MBA

July 09, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Megan, Kellogg MBA I couldn’t have been more pleased with my experience working with Shine. As someone looking to change career paths, she was immensely helpful in getting me to think about my past experiences and pulling out the most critical pieces to create a complete story about why I was a perfect MBA candidate for my list of schools. After getting engaged over Thanksgiving and putting off my essay drafts longer than I had planned, Hillary was nothing but understanding and put her all into editing my essays and turning them around in time for my deadlines, while doing the same for her many other students. When I was accepted to Kellogg, she was the first person I contacted, as she had been such a part of my application experience and was just as excited for me as I was. I have already referred her to my friends and will continue to do so! Thank you so much, Hillary! - Megan (Chicago, IL)

Eugenio, Columbia MBA

May 01, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Eugenio, Columbia MBA Excellent decision to hire Shine! Definitely made the difference! Eugenio (Monterrey, Mexico)

The GMAT: To Retake or Not to Retake

May 01, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

The GMAT: To Retake or Not to Retake Virtually all business school applicants worry about whether their GMAT (or GRE) score is good enough for their target schools. If you’re deliberating whether it’s worth retaking the exam, the following might help you make your decision. How Prepared Were You, Really? How many weeks/months did you study? Did you use the best materials available, whether through a prep course or independent study? Did you take several full-length practice tests in test-like conditions (e.g. timed, no distractions, without stopping)? If you didn’t truly give preparation your all, you will likely be surprised to see how much you can improve with a head-down, intensive study effort. For a personal anecdote, I came into my prep course scoring a 590. 6 weeks later, after a hardcore study effort, I earned a 740 on test day. GMAT tutors regularly score 800s when they sit for the exam – are they all prodigies, or freaks of nature? No. They’ve just dedicated themselves to mastering the material. And you can too. It’s entirely learnable. Did You Face Extenuating Circumstances on Test Day? Were you completely prepared only to find yourself sick the morning of the exam? Or distracted by a major ...

Applying to the Right Business Schools

April 16, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Applying to the Right Business Schools You know you want to apply to business school, but there are so many schools to choose from, and you need to use your time wisely. Here are some tips in finding the right MBA programs for you. Fit, Not Rankings Ranking can be a helpful starting point, but they should NOT be your primary factor in school selection. Instead, determine the strongest programs in your areas of interest, taking into account the opportunities you can gain both inside and outside of the classroom. Does the school's curriculum and electives meet your academic needs? Do the companies you want to work for recruit on campus (and does that matter to you)? Are there extracurricular activities that will enable you to connect with like-minded students or attend relevant events? Also consider the school's location, culture, learning environment, and whether you can make connections through an active alumni network. Attend MBA Fairs MBA fairs are a great opportunity to attend admissions panels in your city. It's also a great time to pick up tips on the GMAT and speak directly with admissions officers from your target schools. Book one-on-one sessions when you can, which offer a great chance to ...

Advice for the AWA and IR Sections of the GMAT

April 01, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Advice for the AWA and IR Sections of the GMAT The following guest blog post was written by Rich Carriero of NextStep Test Prep: Analytical Writing Assessment As you likely know, The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) essay is the first section of the GMAT. The task is for you to read and analyze a short argument and then critique it on the basis of its use of logic and data. One of the most important things to remember is that you must not take sides. Rather, consider your position like that of a professor grading a term paper: you are not so much concerned with the inherent truth or falsehood of the writer’s position as you are with how well constructed, supported and reasoned you find the argument to be. Planning the essay begins with dissecting the stimulus. You must determine what is the author’s conclusion, what evidence does the author use to support this conclusion and what are the gaps are between the evidence and conclusion--the assumptions. There are many types of assumptions but they can generally be divided into unproven premises the author is taking for granted and potential outside factors the author is ignoring. Dealing with your assumptions will be the meat of your essay. For example, your stimulus ...

Chuck, Berkeley Haas MBA

February 25, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Chuck, Berkeley Haas MBA All five of my applications were due within a couple of short weeks of my wedding day. Hillary was a godsend in not only helping me to develop each school-specific story, but also in keeping me sane through our many essay and short answer iterations. From the onset it was clear that Hillary’s expertise extended well beyond her understanding of what each school is looking for, and really lied in her ability to draw out and sculpt the perfect story from my background and experiences.  I have no doubt that my results would have been different had I not worked with Shine. - Chuck (San Francisco, CA)

Ian, Chicago Booth MBA

February 25, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Ian, Chicago Booth MBA A Google search, and lucky happenstance that Hillary and I were both in Denver, were the reasons for our initial interaction. A warm and inviting personality, a heartfelt belief in my ability to be successful when applying to top schools, and an incredible application of a diligent strategy are the reasons why I worked with and recommend Shine to others. Having Hillary involved in the application process from the beginning helped me effectively plan for the long process, think through the most appropriate schools to which to apply, and ensure consistent application of my personal story. By working directly with Hillary, being willing to listen to her suggestions, and relying on her many years of experience, I was able to gain admission to the school that is perfectly aligned with my career goals. - Ian (Denver, CO)

MBA Application Planning Timeline: 2015-2016

March 02, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

MBA Application Planning Timeline: 2015-2016 Planning to apply to business school this fall? Though it’ll still be a few months before applications are released, there's plenty you can do now to get ahead of the curve and reduce your stress when crunch time approaches. 6 Months Before the Deadline If you still need to take (or retake) the GMAT or GRE, now is a great time. Not only can you give it your undivided attention but you also give yourself wiggle room should you need to take the exam again. If you’re lacking in certain aspects of your undergraduate profile (limited quantitative experience, poor grades in business courses), you could also use this time to ace a local or online course in finance, statistics, or accounting. It’s never to late to show the admissions committee that you can handle the academic rigors of the program. Additionally, this is a good time to reflect upon your leadership experience. If you fall short, find or create ways to take on more responsibility. Propose improving an area of your organization that is in need. Step up to be the captain of your recrational soccer team. If your personal passions have been pushed by the wayside, reconnect with them. Volunteer at the animal shelter. ...

MBA Waitlist Strategy

March 18, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   1 Comment

MBA Waitlist Strategy You've turned in an excellent MBA application.  Unfortunately, the news was disappointing: you've been waitlisted. Being on the waitlist can feel like a rejection, but don't be discouraged. All hope is not lost. A spot on the waitlist means the admissions committee liked something they saw in you; this is positive feedback!  And every year, business schools admit people from their waitlists.  Here's how you can best position yourself for a spot in the class. Follow The Instructions Take a close look at the waitlist correspondence you received. First and foremost, respond in a timely manner to accept or decline your waitlist spot.  Second, know what the admissions committee's policy is on additional communications or submissions.  Some admissions committees are very open to hearing from you and/or receiving additional materials throughout the waitlist period, while others explicitly say not to contact them. Always follow their instructions. If They Will Accept Additional Submissions... Begin by writing a brief, enthusiastic letter confirming your interest in attending the program.  Passion goes a long way in standing out from other waitlist candidates.  Second, provide any updates since you applied that add value to your profile. Did you receive a promotion at work? Have you just passed your CFA ...

Which Test to Take: GMAT vs GRE

February 23, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Which Test to Take: GMAT vs GRE Many MBA programs are now willing to accept GRE scores in lieu of the GMAT. The question is, which test should you take? Do Your Target Schools Accept the GRE? Before you get too excited about closing your GMAT books forever, research what your target business schools have to say about the GRE. Some schools feel that the GMAT is still the best exam for their needs, and while they accept the GRE, they may state a clear preference for the GMAT. Others deny the GRE outright. Know the requirements for each school before committing to an exam. Which One Plays to Your Strengths? Both the GMAT and GRE assess your verbal and quantitative reasoning, writing, and critical thinking, though each tests these concepts in different way. If English is your second language, you may have an easier time with the GMAT since it does not directly test vocabulary. If you are a non-traditional candidate with a limited quantitative background, you may prefer the GRE which is considered less quantitatively rigorous. (Conversely, quant jocks and financiers who shy away from the GMAT may raise a few eyebrows.) What is Your Past Exam History? Did you already take the GRE ...

Courtney, Columbia MBA

February 19, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Courtney, Columbia MBA Hillary was an invaluable partner along my b-school journey. She helped me figure out how to talk about my career goals and how they connect to my past experiences in a way that’s logical and compelling. Whenever I thought I wasn’t cut out for b-school or couldn’t make a certain deadline, she was my biggest champion and encouraged me to believe in myself and reach for my dreams. And it worked! - Courtney (New York, NY)

Christine, Wharton MBA

February 09, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Christine, Wharton MBA Working with Hillary helped me articulate and refine my personal brand so that I could use every component of the application to convey not only my experience and accomplishments, but also my personality. Hillary gave me candid and thoughtful feedback and encouraged me to be self-reflective and authentic in putting together my applications. I cannot recommend her enough! - Christine (Washington, DC)

MBA Applicant Survey: you could win $500!

February 05, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

MBA Applicant Survey: you could win $500! If you have just participated in the MBA admissions process, we hope you will take AIGAC’s annual MBA Applicant Survey.  First, you could win $500!  Second, your anonymous views will be shared at our upcoming conferences and will be used directly by business schools, admissions consultants and key stakeholders to shape the admissions process for years to come.  We know you’ve got a lot to say - let your voices be heard! Thanks, Your friends at Shine    

MBA Interview Recap

February 02, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

MBA Interview Recap By now, you should have heard from most of the business schools you applied to in Round 2 to find out if you’ve been invited to interview. If you’re lucky enough to be interviewing over the next few weeks, you won’t want to miss our recent blog posts covering MBA interviews, including whether you should interview on campus, what to ask your interviewers, and MBA interviews 101. To begin wrapping your head around the Dos and Don’ts, here are a few items to keep in mind as you prepare: Remember the basics of interviewing: dress to impress, make eye contact, speak slowly and concisely, and smile. Bring hard copies of your resume. Business cards are not necessary. Be friendly, positive, and courteous to EVERYONE you meet: student ambassadors, interviewers, and the receptionist. Be prepared to interview with someone other than who you were expecting. Know your own story inside and out. It should be consistent with what you wrote in your application. Listen to the question. Answer exactly as it was asked. A good framework to set up your examples is: situation, actions, results, takeaways. Demonstrate your passion for the school. If you’re not accepted anywhere else, it may quickly become your top choice. Avoid asking ...

Bernardo, Harvard MBA

January 28, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Bernardo, Harvard MBA I researched long and hard for the best admissions consultants and finally decided to go with Shine given Hillary’s trajectory as a marketer, her success in applying to B-schools and the fact I was going to consult directly with her—a key factor for me given that other companies assign you to recent grads who work part-time and do not attend all relevant admission conferences. Since English is my second language (I’m from Mexico), Hillary’s help was crucial. She pushed me to deliver the absolute best essays (and beyond) and in the end it paid off—I was accepted at HBS. I owe much of my success in my applications to her diligent work. - Bernardo (Monterrey, Mexico)

What To Do After Submitting Your Round 2 Applications

January 15, 2015  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

What To Do After Submitting Your Round 2 Applications If you have just finished polishing and submitting your business school applications for Round 2, then congratulate yourself. What a way to kick off 2015! Now you may wonder, what are you supposed to do next? Here are a few ideas to keep you occupied: Prepare for Interviews Think it’s too early? Once you find out if you've been invited to interview, you won’t have much time to prepare. Get a head start now by researching commonly-asked questions and mapping out your responses. Spend time on interview report wikis where applicants have posted the questions they were asked, often just a few weeks ago in Round 1! Remind yourself of the details of several meaningful stories that could apply to a variety of interview question scenarios. Practice reciting them in the mirror or on video. Even better, hold mock interviews with friends or a Shine MBA admissions consultant. Thank Your Recommenders If you haven’t already done so, now is an ideal time to show your appreciation for the recommenders who have worked so hard for you over these last several weeks. Whether your budget allows for gift cards to a new restaurant, a nice bottle of wine, homemade treats, or a thoughtful card, your ...

Ryan, Duke Fuqua MBA

January 06, 2015  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Ryan, Duke Fuqua MBA I had the privilege of working with Shine after three years of unsuccessful applications and re-applications to top programs. I had two significant obstacles to overcome with my applications: a sub-3.0 GPA and eclectic work experience. I made the job more challenging by applying exclusively to top-tier programs despite the shortcomings in my profile. Hillary rose to the challenge, took my case and coached me through the process. Her intimate knowledge of the business school application process combined with her ability to find the highlights of my profile were instrumental in my eventual success. If you have an atypical background or other challenges in your profile, you need to give Shine a call. Thank you, Hillary! - Ryan (Denver, CO)

Respect the Data Form

November 24, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Respect the Data Form When beginning an MBA application, many candidates jump right into the essay portion, without much consideration of the part one of the application (what we like to call the “data form”). What they often find out the hard way is that the data form takes a substantial amount of time, and they are left scrambling at the last minute to finish it. The data form is more than simply filling out your basic information. There are often challenging short answers buried within it, such as “What was your most significant accomplishment?” or “What are your immediate post-MBA goals?” These are questions are to be taken as seriously as the full length essays. For this reason, we recommend tackling the data form (or at least reviewing it thoroughly) before diving headfirst into essay-writing. It will ensure you’re being strategic about your content for the entire application package, and that you don’t waste precious essay real estate on topics that you’ll already be telling them in your short answers. (Note: pay attention to whether the short answers have character limits vs. word limits. You’d be surprised how many people miss this in their initial drafts.) Thus, give the data form your full attention and a few days to complete. ...

Deciding Whether to Interview on Campus

November 17, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Deciding Whether to Interview on Campus If you're one of the lucky MBA applicants who have been invited to an interview, congratulations! Most business schools offer you the choice of going to campus for your interview or meeting with an alumnus in your city. The question is, which should you choose? Should I Stay or Should I Go? Know that the schools truly will not hold it against you if you live far from campus and can't make the trip. Furthermore, if you're concerned about traveling due to finances, family needs, or taking the time off work, there’s no need to add further stress to the process. That said, if you are being offered an interview at Columbia and you live in Philadelphia, it would behoove you to hop on Amtrak and make the trip to campus. You’re still very much in the courtship phase at this point, and your effort will be noted and appreciated. Why Interview on Campus? There are lots of upsides to interviewing on campus. Making the effort to travel there certainly indicates a high level of commitment and enthusiasm for the school. Most of all, it offers an ideal opportunity for you to make a day out of it and immerse yourself in the b-school experience: have ...

Walter, Duke Fuqua MBA

November 05, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Walter, Duke Fuqua MBA I had the privilege of working with Shine over the past two years. Hillary provided valuable insight and helped me polish each aspect of my application, from refining my resume to practicing mock interviews. Hillary went above and beyond to help me realize my goals. She believed in my story and my ability, and with her guidance, I was able to articulate these strengths to the admissions committee. Throughout the process we conquered each setback in order to present a stronger application.  If you are serious about an MBA education, then you should consider a top-tier consultant. Shine provides you with a great partner throughout the journey to becoming a MBA student. - Walter (New York, NY)

What To Ask Your Interviewer

November 06, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   1 Comment

What To Ask Your Interviewer Pop Quiz:  When your MBA interview wraps up, and your interviewer asks, “Now, do you have any questions for me?” the correct answer is_______? Hopefully your response was, without any hesitancy, “YES.” The best way to demonstrate your interest in an MBA program is to ask thoughtful questions when given the chance at the end.  (Everyone likes to feel that someone’s interested in them, right?).  So how do you navigate this point of the interview and make a good impression? Think Positive Frame your questions in a positive light. Regardless of where this program falls on your wish list, at this point, you're still marketing yourself. (And this program may turn out to be your only option!)  So don’t put the interviewer on the defensive or express any hesitations you may have.  Questions like, “I am very excited by the tech concentration; can you tell me more about XX aspects of it?” will go farther than implying that you're still sizing up whether the tech program works for you. Think Passion Admissions officers want to feel that, if they extend an offer to you, you will be eager to accept.  Show them how much ...

MBA Interviews 101

October 29, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

MBA Interviews 101 Congrats, you've been invited to interview by one of your target business schools!  This is your first glimpse of positive feedback on your applications and should certainly make you feel good.  Though it's important to keep your head in the game.  The application process is not over, and an interview is definitely not a done deal. Most of you are already familiar with the basics of interviewing: dressing to impress, making eye contact, bringing hard copies of your resume, and showing interest in the organization. But are you familiar with what MBA admissions officers specifically are looking for?  Here are four tips to help you seal the deal: Show Your Likability When a business school interviews you, above all, they’re looking to assess your fit.  Beyond your impressive application, are you socially functional?  Can you play nicely in the sandbox with others?  Will you thrive there and make friends?  (One top business school’s directive to its interviewers: “No jerks or weenies.”)   So, smile warmly.  Build a connection.  Give examples that showcase your positive interactions with others.  And show them that you know the difference between confidence and arrogance. Do Your ...

Anuj, Northwestern Kellogg MBA

October 13, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Anuj, Northwestern Kellogg MBA The biggest challenge while working on my business school applications was managing it along with a grueling work schedule. Hillary not only helped me build a strong case by highlighting aspects in my career most relevant to a particular school/essay but also helped me stay focused through the long and tedious process.  She is also more than willing to go the extra mile to make sure the essays are as perfect as possible and is was very accessible though phone or email.  I would highly recommend Shine/ MBA Admissions Consulting if you are looking for help writing polished B-School essays. - Anuj (Chicago, IL)

Why Should Your Reader Care?

October 20, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Why Should Your Reader Care? As we review our clients' business school essays, we often find ourselves responding back to them with this simple question:  So what? That’s great that you’ve told us that interesting story. However, why should we care about what you just said? That sounds harsh. Think of it from the admissions committee's perspective though. How has your story just conveyed your potential as a valued addition to our incoming MBA class?  How has it shown us that you’re primed to have an impact in the world?  In your future organization? At our business school? What value will you be adding to our MBA community? This short and sweet blog post is a reminder to always ask yourself the question, “So what?” as you’re going about your business school applications. To use my favorite tennis analogy: “Follow through.”  Even a solid hit will lose its momentum if you don't follow through on your swing.  In essay-writing terms: you’ve just told them a great story, now finish your thought.  Why are you sharing this with them?  The reason, hopefully, is something to the effect of:  because it conveys what I’m capable of, and what I’ll assuredly accomplish in ...

Which Business School is Right for Me?

October 09, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Which Business School is Right for Me? Plenty of you out there are targeting Round 2 for your applications and are still deliberating your final list of target schools. We’d like to offer a little advice. Take rankings with a grain of salt Business school rankings can be a great starting point for determining your "long list” of schools, but you must not (under any circumstances) make them the only factor. Did you know that there are numerous well-respected rankings, none more meaningful than the other? (We track several ourselves.) And each measures different criteria, from student satisfaction to admissions selectivity to ROI. So while rankings can certainly be a helpful way to get started, it’s critical to do your own research about each school from there.  Just because a school is highly ranked doesn't mean it's going to be the best fit for you. How will it set you up for success? Core classes and electives that fit your goals are extremely important. Do your needs align with the academic strengths of the school?  Are you looking for a general management program, or one where you can select a concentration in your target field? Are there campus resources, student organizations, and activities that ...

Ruchir, Northwestern MSA

September 17, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Ruchir, Northwestern MSA Shine was a great help during my application to the Masters in Sports Management program at Northwestern. Hillary's insight and extensive knowledge of the admissions process were invaluable. As a career change candidate, Hillary did a fabulous job of helping me highlight all the relevant skills and past experiences in my resume and essays. She forced me to dig deep in order to truly convey my passion for a career in sports. Her genuine interest in my application along with the quick turnaround times and excellent attention to detail made the entire process a breeze! Thanks Hillary! - Ruchir (Chicago, IL)

MBA First Round Deadlines: Final Checklist

September 24, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

MBA First Round Deadlines: Final Checklist Just about ready to turn in your MBA applications? Maybe you're still putting the finishing touches on your essays, or waiting for your recommenders to upload their writeups. Use this last-minute checklist to help you finish–and finesse–the best round one business school applications possible: Check in With Your Recommenders It has already happened to us again this year: one of our clients didn’t take our advice to give his recommenders a “fake deadline” several days before the real deadline. Minutes before the application was due, the recommender was still having trouble uploading the file, out of the country, and not returning calls. Fortunately, HBS was kind enough to offer a 24-hour grace period, but that is not the situation you want to find yourself in amist your other deadline stresses. Don't be shy about checking in with your recommenders. While you want to give them ample time and show them tremendous gratitude, it is ultimately your project to manage and your deliverable in the end. Fill out the Data Form Often, MBA applicants will wait until the last possible moment to fill out the data form (a.k.a. part one) and then find out the hard way ...

Resources for MBA Applicants: 2014

October 01, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Resources for MBA Applicants: 2014 In addition to providing our own advice through the Shine blog, presentations, and private MBA admissions consulting services, each year we like to share the outside resources that our past clients found helpful on their journeys to business school. Whether you’re looking to supplement your GMAT prep, learn more about your target schools, or find new ideas on tackling a tough essay question, the Shine MBA Class of 2016 recommended that you check out the following: GMAT/GRE Prep To increase their test scores, our clients this past year took advantage of private tutors in their area, as well as the following prep courses: Manhattan Prep Veritas Prep Kaplan Princeton Review Dominate the GMAT Advantage Testing For practice exams, The Official Guide to GMAT Review by GMAC has actual GMAT questions from previous tests with answers and detailed explanations. Additionally, they recommended Beat The GMAT and GMAT Club for online forums, links and tools. School/Admissions Insights As always, they recommended the school's own websites, blogs and social media pages as your first resource. Use these pages to learn about the characteristics of ...

Resume FAQs for MBA Applications–Part II

September 16, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Resume FAQs for MBA Applications–Part II Here is our second installment of resume FAQs, straight from our clients’ mouths. In the era of the incredible shrinking essay section, the resume has become increasingly important in the business school application process. Take the time to make sure yours is as polished a reflection of you as the rest of your application is. I’ve seen job entries written several different ways. Which one is right? While there’s no rule, we feel that the strongest job entries begin with a few lines describing your general roles and responsibilities. What were you hired to do every day? This paragraph can also include big picture details about the business, such as annual revenue and growth trends. Then below that, list three to five bullet points highlight your ownable achievements, notable projects or awards. This approach shows the reader not only what your job was, but exactly how you added value in that role. Be very specific about your accomplishments, quantify everything possible, and take credit where credit is due. If you created a system to save the company $125K in operating costs, say so. Even better, don’t just say that you did it; explain why you did it and how. Use vibrant details to describe the impact you ...

Resume FAQs for MBA Applications

August 20, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Resume FAQs for MBA Applications Applying for business school means crafting an outstanding resume that exhibits your talent, clarifies your work experience, and shows off your leadership roles, all while convincing them that you can handle the rigors of a top MBA program. Whew! While schools are not going to reject you for minor details, like whether you list your work experience before your education, there are some legitimate dos and don’ts. Here are some responses to some of our commonly asked questions:   How much time must I spend finessing this? It’s just the resume. Your resume makes the first impression in your application. In that moment, admissions officers develop a crucial first sense of who you are, what you do, what you've done, and how much value you added along the way. They get a glimpse into your organization skills (does it have a logical flow?), your attention to detail (is your punctuation consistent?), and your ability to communicate with someone outside your industry (is it written in Greek?)—all of which goes into their assessment of whether you’d fit in well to the business school environment. How long should my resume be? The rule is: one resume page for every 10 years of work experience. For the typical MBA applicant, this means your ...

Nelson, NYU Stern MBA

August 14, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Nelson, NYU Stern MBA Shine is a valuable resource for any applicant interested in attending a top MBA program.  Hillary has a great working knowledge of each school’s admissions process and was instrumental in helping me think through how to best position my applications.  If you’re looking for a leg up in the process, I highly recommend hiring her consultancy from the very beginning.  My only regret was not working with her sooner. - Nelson (New York, NY)

Making the Most of School Visits

August 13, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Making the Most of School Visits As summer begins its wind-down and business school starts up another year, you're hopefully planning a campus visit to your target schools so you can be as informed as possible when applying. How To Prepare Before you visit, do your homework. Be well-versed in what the school has to offer and why that program is a good fit for you. You’ll want to feel confident in having conversations with both students and admissions representatives about your goals, reasons for pursuing your MBA, and why you want to be a part of their program. Reach out to the admissions office well in advance to schedule time to sit in on a class, attend info sessions, take a campus tour, and/or meet with current students. Are you interested in any specific clubs or affinity groups? See if you can meet their leaders for coffee. Perhaps you’ll have success scheduling time with a professor who interests you (not always possible, so do be understanding.) If you have friends at the school, plan to take them out for a meal and listen to every story they’re willing to share. Some MBA programs provide summer reading lists online. If you have ...

Getting the Best MBA Recommendations

August 06, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Getting the Best MBA Recommendations An important component of the MBA application is the recommendations. While it seems that this piece may be out of your control, you can do plenty to ensure that your recommendations shine as brightly as the rest of your application. Who are the Right People to Ask? I’m often approached for advice on who candidates should ask to write their recommendations. You have to choose the right people—that is, those to whom you have reported in some way, formally or informally.  People who were in a position to judge you.  And, most importantly, people who have worked with you directly and can speak about you from their firsthand experience. An ideal set of recommenders can talk about you from varying perspectives (rather than two people from the same project team). They also think extremely highly of you, and they are willing to spend the time writing about it to help you achieve your dreams. Should you make an effort to ask an alum of the school to which you’re applying? If all things are equal, then sure, why not. If you’re choosing between two great options, it can't hurt for the admissions committee to see an endorsement from someone personally invested in the school.  ...

Taking the GMAT vs. the GRE

July 29, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Taking the GMAT vs. the GRE Did you know that many MBA programs now accept GRE scores in place of the GMAT? The question is: which test will play best to your strengths and demonstrate that you're the most capable candidate? Make Sure Your Target Business Schools Accept the GRE Before you get too excited about the prospect of throwing away your GMAT books, make sure your dream schools accept the GRE. Some MBA programs still only accept the GMAT, citing that it more directly tests the analytical and quantitative concepts you'll need to utilize in business school. Others do accept the GRE, yet they state a clear preference for the GMAT. Know what the admissions requirements are at each school you’re targeting before you commit to an exam. GMAT vs GRE Structure While both tests assess verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and writing, the way in which these tests ask you questions varies. It's similar material being presented in different ways, which means that for some people, the GMAT makes perfect sense, but for others, the GRE approach is more intuitive. Only the GRE tests vocabulary, which could be a challenge for those for whom English is a second language. However, the GRE is a bit shorter in time ...

Retaking the GMAT: 3 Ways to Know It’s Time

July 24, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Retaking the GMAT: 3 Ways to Know It’s Time Are you wondering whether your GMAT is “good enough?” Did you nail a 740 total score but bomb one section? Did you fall just short of a threshold you were aiming for? Not long ago, one top-five school examined the profiles of students who struggled in their MBA program, and they had one thing in common: low GMAT scores. This is NOT to say that a low GMAT score is a predictor of failure in business school; rather, a high GMAT score is generally a predictor of success. It gives the admissions committee confidence that you can handle the academic aspects of the program. Your GMAT score is therefore a very important component of your MBA application, though it’s not the only factor. Here are three ways to know whether you should consider retaking the exam. 1. Is Your Score in the Mid-80% of Accepted Students? Most schools publish the range in which the middle 80% of their students’ GMAT scores have fallen. For example, Wharton's GMAT range of accepted students last year was 630-790, but the middle 80% of students fell between 690-760. That means if you’ve scored in the mid-to-upper 700s, you have a very competitive score for Wharton. Conversely, if ...

Max, Emory Goizueta MBA

March 23, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Max, Emory Goizueta MBA I would recommend Shine to anyone, especially any former military officers looking to transition to business school.  Hillary was crucial in helping me quantify my military service in way that admissions committees would understand.  Her resume help was outstanding, and her help with essay writing and interview prep were essential to my application process.  She always made time when I needed her, and was a great sounding board for me during some of the more anxious times of the process.  Shine admissions is absolutely worth the investment.   - Max (Colorado Springs, CO)

Spotlight on UCLA Anderson School of Management

July 15, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Spotlight on UCLA Anderson School of Management   Recently, I got to spend some quality time at UCLA Anderson School of Management with Associate Director of Admissions Jessica Chung. On a sunny day in Los Angeles (is there any other?), I got to take a closer look at what makes UCLA’s MBA program so fantastic.   Did You Know? Anderson offers lots of flexibility after revising their curriculum several years ago. They now offer more tracks and specializations to provide more structure for students who wish to gain depth and expertise in particular industries/functions. Given its close proximity to Hollywood, UCLA is an obviously excellent choice for those interested in entertainment and media, and it is well known for that strength. However, it’s an equally great school for those interested in finance, entrepreneurship and technology. The career paths that students pursue most are technology, finance, and consulting, and recruiters from major firms in New York and the east coast come to UCLA for all-star talent. Much like its counterparts to the east, the city of Los Angeles is home every industry imaginable—including world-class finance and asset management firms, as well as biotechnology, alternative energy and emerging tech. Just 10 minutes away from campus is ...

Planning Timeline for MBA Applicants

July 08, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Planning Timeline for MBA Applicants Are you ready to apply to business school this year? Maybe you’ve been prepping for the GMAT or staring at your resume, unsure of what to say. Think you can’t do much right now? Think again! It’s time to start thinking ahead to when you will be applying and how you can make the most of these early months. You’ll be a stronger candidate that’s not only ahead of the curve, but also (hopefully) a little less stressed about the process! 5-6 Months Out Use this time to assess and evaluate. Do you still need to take the GMAT or GRE? Now is the perfect time, considering how time-consuming preparation will be. Are you dissatisfied with your GMAT score? Sign up for new prep classes. Or if you feel like your undergraduate coursework wasn’t top notch, then take--and ace!--a local or online course in accounting, finance or statistics. At this point, you should definitely be scouring school websites to identify the best MBA programs for you. Ask yourself the tough questions: beyond ranking and reputation, does the school offer what you truly need? Does it offer coursework that will help you achieve your career goals? ...

Evan, MIT Sloan MBA

September 17, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Evan, MIT Sloan MBA I am absolutely convinced Hillary was the best person to help me with my applications.  She gave me the guidance, support, and confidence I needed to be successful in the process.  I couldn't have done it without her.  Thanks, Hillary! - Evan (Washington, DC)

EJ, Chicago Booth MBA

June 04, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

EJ, Chicago Booth MBA I very much enjoyed working together with Shine during my MBA applications, which resulted in five interviews and four acceptances (out of six applications) including a successful re-application to Chicago Booth. Throughout the application process I was constantly amazed by the speed of delivery, the structured approach and the level of attention to details from Hillary. I was based in Europe and Hillary was always prepared to work around the time difference, even if it means she will have to work outside of her office hours. Hillary showed a genuine interest in my application, and her passion as well as her sense of humour made our teamwork most pleasant. I strongly recommend Hillary's assistance. - EJ (London, United Kingdom)

Matt, Wharton MBA

April 23, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Matt, Wharton MBA Hillary was extremely helpful during my MBA application process, which ended in my enrollment at Wharton. Her materials spurred my idea-generation for essays, and her clear checklists gave me structure during the sometimes messy application process. Her personal touch during calls/over email made her a pleasure to work with and helped me keep my sanity before interviews/decision days! I highly recommend Shine to anyone getting ready to dive into the application process. - Matt (New York, NY)  

Kevin, Harvard MBA

April 09, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Kevin, Harvard MBA I am extremely happy to have worked with Shine. I am a re-applicant candidate and (after not getting a single interview in my prior attempt) I got into two of the schools I re-applied to and was interviewed/waitlisted at the third. Hillary has immense experience with the admissions process and was able to clearly point out the weaknesses in my previous applications.  I also feel very privileged to have worked closely with her personally; she is very intelligent, creative and challenging in her approach. She makes you work hard but the final product is truly worth it. Additionally, the deep thinking she challenges you to do will help you learn a lot about yourself and how to present yourself to the world. Finally, as an African applicant, I was truly pleasantly surprised at the level at which she understood me individually, my background and the things I care about. I would enthusiastically encourage any international applicants to strongly consider working with her. Overall, I greatly enjoyed working with Hillary and I know that the investment paid off! - Kevin (Johannesburg, South Africa)  

Katrina, Purdue Krannert MBA

April 09, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Katrina, Purdue Krannert MBA Coming into the application process, I felt like I was drowning—I was unsure of what to do and how to go about doing it since I was starting late. I knew I was a challenging applicant coming from a non-traditional work background with less than two years work experience. After reaching out to Shine, Hillary became my lifesaver. She helped me understand how the process worked, what to do, and navigated me every step of the way. She knew exactly how to showcase my strengths while turning my weaknesses into great discussion points.  She was always reachable and willing to work around my short timetable. Beyond that though, she is very personable and works hard to understand who you are and what your desires are. She knew exactly what business schools are looking for in resumes, essays, and interviews and how to present my points in a direct, concise manner. Without her guidance, I honestly do not think I could have gotten as great of a turnout. Hillary’s support helped me garner interviews with all five schools I applied to and admission to three of them! - Katrina (San Jose, CA)

Andrew, Columbia MBA

April 04, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Andrew, Columbia MBA Hillary was my chief editor and partner for my entire MBA application process. She was always extremely happy to help throughout my year-long journey. From deciding where to apply, how to go about visiting schools and speaking to admissions, to the big-ticket items like writing my essays and prepping for interviews, she was there every step of the way. She differentiated herself from peers and mentors by knowing how the admissions teams think, and getting into the weeds working with my essays, and thinking about how to best craft my story. The thing Hillary really does best is not change an applicant's resume, life story, etc. (these things would be impossible), but highlight the best possible version of the applicant for admissions to see. There are auxiliary benefits to working with her as well; I believe my writing improved markedly after working with her on my MBA essays. Looking back to how much my application strategy changed after seeking her advice, I honestly don’t think I would’ve been admitted without her. - Andrew (New York, NY)

Amy, Dartmouth Tuck MBA

April 04, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Amy, Dartmouth Tuck MBA Hillary was exactly what I was looking for in a consultant. As someone who was feeling discouraged by a previous GMAT attempt and unsure of my overall odds of getting into a top school, I cherished the honest yet positive input that Hillary brought into the mix. She was the one person who I felt was with me throughout the entire application process, from revamping my resume to editing essays and interview prep. She had an extremely effective way of pinpointing my relevant strengths and advising me on the best way to showcase them within my essays and applications overall. I truly feel that Hillary allowed me to put my best foot forward at every step along the way and I cannot imagine what it would have been like to try to apply to business schools without her help. Through the ups and downs of this crazy process, Hillary was my voice of reason and the first person I wanted to call with good news! - Amy (San Francisco, CA)

Katie, Northwestern Kellogg MBA

April 02, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Katie, Northwestern Kellogg MBA The team at Shine was integral to my admission offer to my dream program at Kellogg. I came to Shine after retaking the GMAT, but still feeling insecure about my competitive position. Coming from an non-traditional background with 10+ years of work experience I wasn’t sure how schools would consider my application. Hillary helped me to organize my application as a package that brought out my strengths in areas I considered weaknesses. She also encouraged me to look to schools that I had considered out of my reach, such as Kellogg. Tactically, the resume review and editing services were extremely helpful and the essay brainstorming and editing process was critical to my success. When I got off the phone from the Admissions Officer at Kellogg after receiving my offer of admission, the first and only thing I could think to do was text Hillary to say “Holy s*$^! I got in to Kellogg!!!” - Katie (Denver, CO)

Rufaro, Harvard MBA

April 02, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Rufaro, Harvard MBA Hillary was so helpful in my essay writing process. She made sure she really got to know me so she could ensure “my voice” and passions came through in my essays. She was always available for last minute calls and brainstorming sessions, and would help me think through my muddled ideas to make sense of it all. I can’t thank her enough for all of her help!!!! - Rufaro (New York, NY)

Emily, Harvard MBA

March 06, 2014  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Emily, Harvard MBA I highly recommend Shine to anyone who is applying to business school. At Shine, you’ll work exclusively with the company’s founder, Hillary Schubach, whose insight into MBA admissions process is unparalleled. Hillary not only improved my resume immeasurably, but also provided thoughtful, school-specific feedback on each of my essays. Hillary’s guidance throughout the process made me a much stronger applicant than I otherwise would have been, and I’m incredibly appreciative for all her help! - Emily (New York, NY)

MBA applicant survey (win $500!)

March 06, 2014  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

MBA applicant survey (win $500!) Calling all recent business school applicants (2013/2014): As a member of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC), we hope you will participate in an industry-wide survey to hear your feedback on the MBA application process.  AIGAC will be sharing the anonymous results with admissions officers of the top schools  to help them better meet the needs of today’s applicants—and to help the admissions consulting community better serve our clients. To thank you, you'll be eligible to win a $500 cash prize--and you will provide invaluable perspectives that will help shape the future of MBA admissions. Make your voices heard! The survey should take 10 minutes to complete and can be accessed by clicking this link: Responses are due by March 31. (If you are interested in reading the results of last year’s survey, click here.) On behalf of AIGAC, we truly appreciate you taking this time to help us improve the MBA admissions process.

Mike, NYU Stern MBA

November 27, 2013  |   Testimonials   |     |   0 Comment

Mike, NYU Stern MBA Hillary was a tremendous help throughout the application process. She does a great job helping think through strengths and accomplishments, and makes sure these are reflected in each part of the application. Hillary knows what business schools are looking for and really assists in framing each individuals message in the most attractive way possible. With her by my side I felt much more confident throughout the process knowing I had someone to help me think through ideas, organize my thoughts, answer my questions, correct my grammar and put me in the best possible situation for success. I would highly recommend Shine for anyone applying to a top 20 business school. -  Mike (New York, NY)