Who We Are: mbaMission Reviews

Reviews for Katharine Lewis

I never would have been accepted to business school without mbaMission consultant Katharine’s support! I only applied to two schools (HBS and Stanford) in the 3rd admissions round, and I was accepted by both!

Katharine is incredibly strategic — she helped me to step back and put together an application that told a compelling story. She was always very responsive and very helpful with all the tactical steps. Each time I had a question or new version of an essay, she was there to give me timely and practical feedback.

For anyone who’s applying to schools on either coast, I strongly recommend Katharine. She knows the East Coast and the West Coast business schools. She gets how to translate experiences between different industries and sectors. I can’t recommend her highly enough!

Harvard Business School and Stanford GSB Admit

I worked with Katharine Lewis from mbaMission, and she was AMAZING. Katy went above and beyond for me — she not only was a fabulous admissions counselor, but really a life counselor. She got to know me well super quickly, and at every step in the process, had incredible insights both about me and about the process that I found invaluable. She was also exceedingly patient with me when the stress started to pile up (as it does in this process!) and pushed me to keep delivering my best. I can’t recommend her highly enough — I’ve been walking around telling everyone that if they don’t use her, they’re missing out. She’s phenomenal!

Harvard Business School Admit (via Admissions 411)

I’ve spoken to a few consultants throughout this process, all of whom came highly recommended to me and all of whom I felt were very, very good, but comparing Katy to them would be like comparing a Rolls Royce to a Honda Civic — they’ll both probably get you where you want to go but they are far from the same thing. Katy was so good, I’d probably pay for her to counsel me on all my life decisions, not just business school!

B-School Admit

As a prospective MBA student 10 years removed from writing essays for applications, I knew applying to Wharton’s Executive and Berkeley’s EW program would be a challenge. What I didn’t realize was that the application process was so much more than simply writing essays. Thankfully I met Katy, and she helped lay out a plan for tackling the applications.

Specifically, these are reasons why I would recommend Katy and MBA consultants in general.

  • She facilitated a discussion to help draw out themes that would be highlighted in my application. Spend the $ on the brainstorming session, it’s worth it.
  • She explained the differences between MBA programs from a perspective I hadn’t thought of.
  • She introduced me to current students in the program.
  • She was very good at helping create a clean narrative from my own prospective and with my own style.
  • She could answer the one-off odd questions that invariably arise during the application process (the ones you can’t really ask the adCom).
  • A word to the wise, if you plan to use hourly service do some research first and have an idea of what you are looking for as far as assistance goes, otherwise the per school cost makes more sense.
Thank KL!

B-School Admit (via GMAT Club)

I worked with Katy Lewis from mbaMission for my Round 3 2+2 application the Harvard Business School and was ultimately admitted. As a non-STEM student, I knew it would be an uphill battle to convince the Admissions Committee that they should accept me to the program. Right away, Katy made me feel comfortable going forward. No matter how many questions or concerns I brought to her attention, she was always enthusiastically helpful, aiding me in portraying my best self to the Admissions Committee, from the application portion all the way through the interview. Katy was crucial in helping me craft my story. Before we spoke, I was unsure and unclear with my vision for what I wanted to put in my application and how best to present myself. Through our essential brainstorming session, Katy got to know me better than I knew myself, helped me refine and carefully choose which parts of my experiences were appropriate, and ultimately made me feel more than confident in my ability to put together a stellar application. Any time, any place – Katy was there to read through a draft (or several!) and suggest creative and unique ways to answer those tough application questions. In fact, after looking at my profile, Katy understood the career path that was best suited for me at this time, and that would shed my past experiences in the best light. She is more than an admissions consultant; she is like a career and life coach! And, I am glad to call her not only my trusted advisor, but also my friend! If you want to ensure the best chances of acceptance at your dream school, do not miss out on working with Katy!

Harvard Business School Admit (via GMAT Club)

The business school application process, which is rightfully assumed to be a very stressful experience, was made not only seamless but extremely enjoyable by working with Katharine. I absolutely LOVED working with her, for a myriad of reasons…

Most importantly, Katharine helped me to dive deep and discover aspects of my personality and details of my work history that took my application essays and interview responses to the next level. Before writing essays, I would chat with Katharine to discuss the essay prompt. She would help me to decipher what exactly the schools were asking for, and when I was stumped in being able to answer the prompt, she would ask me varying questions in different forms until we could come up with a story that worked. Katharine was always amazing at helping me to brain storm and was extremely thought provoking – she would never give me an answer to write about, but would help me to gain the necessary insight to move forward. Without Katharine, there is no way I could have written the essays I did. And the result – an acceptance to both Booth and Kellogg, my top two schools!

On a more personal note, Katharine is simply a lovely, enjoyable and positive person. I often joked with her that she was acting as a psychiatrist in addition to a consultant for me, given her ability to help me gain insight and to coax me through the entire process, stress free.

Katharine was beyond generous with her time. I was an extremely demanding client – constantly emailing, calling, and asking questions – and never once did she disappoint. Katharine was always prompt and responsive – I truly felt like I was her only client.

I have already recommended Katharine to five of my closest friends – so you can trust me when I say working with Katharine was a true joy, and that she made the greatest difference in my application results. I hope you are lucky enough to work with her in the future!

Chicago Booth and Kellogg Admit (via GMAT Club)

Through her expert, customized and prompt advice and her warm, welcoming demeanor, Katy Lewis helped me put the finishing touches on my HBS application.

In a short time, Katy developed a deep understanding of my personality and story. She also enhanced my understanding of the cultures of the top MBA programs, which cemented HBS as my top choice (I didn’t even apply to GSB). Through our conversations, Katy helped me refine my essay in a way that much better represented my story and themes.

Also, Katy’s mock HBS interview was essential! During our mock interview, Katy asked many of the questions that my HBS interviewer ultimately asked. Katy helped channel my nervousness into excitement, which made me feel much more at ease during my actual interview.

Also worth noting: MBA Mission’s preparatory materials are impressive and comprehensive. They gather all sorts of extremely helpful info — including school marketing materials, applicant testimonials, past questions, and MBA Mission’s own 10-15 page school summary — all in a digestible packet. I reviewed this packet many times as I finalized my application and prepared for my interview.

Harvard Business School Admit (via GMAT Club)

I wanted to briefly share my experience working with Katy on the forum. As a male applicant from an overrepresented career demographic, I first got in touch with Katy so I could better craft my story. I had heard good things about mbaMission, however my expectations were low. I primarily was looking for a consultant to sanity check my work and ease my anxiety as I entered the application process. What I received was far more than I ever could have anticipated. Katy immediately immersed herself in my experience to date and on our first brainstorming call already seemed to possess a crystal clear vision for my story. Her genuine care for me as an applicant was apparent in her frequent, thoughtful feedback. By the time I pressed submit, I was totally confident in all facets of my application, a true testament to Katy's expertise and attention to detail.

In the end, I was accepted to my top choice school, Columbia, early decision. I would highly recommend Katy to anyone considering applying to business school. Her advice was invaluable and her experience in the elite business school admissions space is definitely a differentiator.

Columbia Business School Admit (via GMAT Club)

In dealing with my low GPA, she suggested an unapologetic approach that ended up turning a weakness into an opportunity. I don’t know how many clients Katherine was helping at the time but she certainly made me feel at ease by being consistently available to address questions and concerns. She got to know me quickly, understood my strengths and weaknesses, and helped my leverage the former over the latter in both the big picture and small details of my essays. Katy helped me see the application as a holistic process and crafted it accordingly with essays, recommendations, and a resume that worked together to really bring out my story to the admission committee. I feel like this was especially helpful given my background. Katy helped me tell a great story about myself, sometimes in under 500 words. She was great at showing me what was important, what was not, and what I shouldn’t say at all.

There wasn’t much information on the real estate programs available, but Katy researched what others within mbaMission had done and provided greater insight than what I could have found on my own.

At first I was hesitant to hire an admission consultant after already paying for Manhattan GMAT prep. Those hours were well worth it, not only for the results but also because I felt less stressed throughout the process. I was admitted to all of the programs except London and will be attending Harvard in the fall. I would absolutely recommend Katy for anyone pursuing a graduate degree at a top tier school.

Harvard Business School Admit (via GMAT Club)

Katy Lewis is a total rock star in my book. I started the MBA application process with no intent of hiring a consultant, as I felt that I had a good grasp on my career goals and was afraid that an advisor would take the authenticity out of my application. I just plainly didn’t think an advisor would be worth the cost.

My mind was opened when a close friend, who is now a first year at HBS, told me about what a fantastic experience she had had working with Katy. Looking back now, I am so glad that my mind was changed - Katy truly made all the difference in my application process. She is undeniably brilliant and has incredible emotional intelligence. As such, she made very tangible contributions in several areas which I still feel that, no matter how much time and effort I exerted, I would not have been able to do nearly as well on my own:

Story development:
This is where she really amazed me. She is an incredibly good listener, and was really good at connecting the dots between various parts of my childhood/background and personal characteristics/values/goals, in ways that were often amusingly and surprisingly insightful. She was also incredibly helpful in determining which details to keep (of course, they all seemed relevant to me), not only to stay within word counts but also to make my story more clear and impactful. At the same time, I really appreciated that Katy was very aware of not over-editing, ensuring my essays were still (despite her many edits) completely “in my own voice”.

Big picture guidance:
Personally, a big value add from Katy was the comfort I took her level of experience. I had not ever read a “successful” (or any) MBA application, and it put me very much at ease to know that she really knew what an “ok” versus “good” versus “stellar” application looked like.

Insightful knowledge of MBA programs:
I relied heavily on Katy’s deep knowledge of the programs I was considering (Harvard, Stanford, UVA Darden). She not only attended two of these schools herself but has clearly made it a priority to stay well informed of the pros/cons/changes/course offerings/etc at each –from the perspective of “what it takes to get in” as well as what students are a best fit for each program. When ultimately choosing a school to attend in the end, I really valued her nuanced thoughts and guidance, particularly given how well I felt she knew me.

A few other points that I wanted to quickly make are:

Efficiency / value:
I hate to bring up money so blatantly, but can’t help but comment on the cost side of things. Clearly working with an MBA advisor is not an inexpensive decision, however I can very honestly say that Katy never once made me feel as though she was doing something to bill more hours. In fact, I felt much the opposite – on many occasions, I was shocked by the relatively little time she recorded spending on some incredibly helpful feedback (I still don’t think she could has possibly have done several of these that quickly…).

Katy is undeniably dedicated to her clients and its clear she does it out of a deep and authentic desire for each of them to succeed. This was evident from certain things such as her quick response time and late nights (in the week leading up to a submission deadline, she was pulling hours that would intimidate a young i-banker!), but I was most impressed by the extent to which she was clearly working this hard because she really cared. She was always very focused on providing the above-and-beyond emotional support that most determined applicants are bound to need in what is, at many times, a taxing and stressful process. For me she went above and beyond by hopping on the phone last minute and providing un-prompted updates on interesting from-the-grapevine intel. She even made a point to meet me in San Francisco on her own time when I was in the area one weekend.

Above and beyond these things, Katy was also just incredibly enjoyable to work with. She very quickly became more of a mentor and friend than an MBA advisor. She has an extremely compassionate and giving spirit which comes through in how much she cares about each of her clients. The MBA application process was overall a great personal reflection opportunity, and Katy definitely made it all the more rewarding and enjoyable.

B-School Admit (via GMAT Club)

I worked with Katy off of the rave reviews of a family friend (I contacted her as soon as I decided to apply, because she books up quickly!) and I couldn’t have made a better decision. I worked on a 3 school package with her (Wharton, HBS, MIT Sloan) and I received interview invitations from all 3, accepted at Wharton, waitlist at Sloan and did not get into HBS. From the start, Katy was encouraging, knowledgable, and most importantly, honest and straightforward. We began by going through every aspect of my profile in detail and discussing target schools, as well as actionable steps I could take to strengthen my chances (recommending different volunteering opportunities to get involved in, advice for the GMAT, etc).

We extensively brainstormed and discussed a plan of action before starting any applications, and it saved me so much time. Katy is incredibly talented at “weaving” the story together- connecting examples in such a way that gets straight to the point in a powerful way. I felt so confident anytime I spoke with Katy- she really spent the time to get to know me as a person and make sure that was coming through in my application.

Editing each essay was the most time intensive part of the process. Katy made it clear that no essay was done until I was 100% confident and satisfied- we went through dozens of revisions for each essay. Every revision was returned to me extremely quickly- 1 or 2 days, impressive especially considering I was turning them around very quickly as well, often sending a revision the day back the day I received it.

When it came time for interviews, Katy coached me and prepared me for each interview individually, doing mock interviews and sending me a plethora of materials. For HBS, she prepared an entire mock interview tailored to my profile exactly like the real interview was. For Wharton, the group interview, she set me up with a practice group interview with other MBA Mission students, including feedback post-interview.

Anytime I reached out to Katy, I received a response right away. The admissions process is long and exhausting, and can be incredibly stressful at times. Knowing she was there for advice and guidance anytime I needed is what got me through this process. I never would have received the interviews I did, let alone acceptance at Wharton, without Katy. I can’t recommend her highly enough!

Wharton Admit (via GMAT Club)

One week after my brainstorming session, Katy said ‘I’ll be surprised if you don’t get into at least one of your preferred schools, and I am quite sure you’ll have options in that too’. I was surprised too — to hear that I would ‘have options’. But six months down the line I realized that I was wrong. From a seven out of seven dings a year ago, to getting accepted at three programs (including one M7 school) and four waitlists (including two M7 schools) — this is the step change that Katy brought about in six months.

I am the overrepresented South Asian Engineer with very high GMAT, average GPA, and with little work experience or global exposure.

Katy is a S.T.A.R consultant, and I mean every letter of it.

S – Succinct – Slashing a 1000 word essay down to 500 words would be extremely difficult if we also expect to preserve the gist of the story along with its details. But Katy knew amazing ways just to do that and also to teach it. What’s more, after 5 schools, I learnt the trick myself, very unusual among such consultants who ensure that they keep the core skills and abilities to themselves for repeat business. One of the best examples of editing was how Katy managed to bring down my 60+ line resume to 50 lines without leaving out a single detail. She did that by restructuring and combining lines. But even when editing my essays or my recommendations, she always made sure that the writing style was original intact. I read in many places that consultants usually suggested non-traditional recommenders to adapt to the US style of writing, but Katy said ‘no’ because it would add all the more color to my application, if they preserved their style.

T – Terrific passion and commitment – I would consider myself more disciplined and organized than the usual applicant, but Katy always motivated me to ‘do more’. On days I was bogged down with other commitments, I would see ‘Checking in’ mails from Katy, and then I’d squeeze in one more draft of an essay. Then again, during the peak application season, when Katy’s workload would be highest, Katy always was flexible enough to answer my phone calls or emails (or at least give an appointment if she were in a meeting). This remained true even during her vacations. Sometimes I accidentally called her when she was on vacation, and she always replied, ‘I am on vacation but I can make time for you’. (FYI, most of the times I chose to wait until she returned to work, but there was once or twice where I HAD to get her help, and she didn’t hesitate.)

A – Attention to detail, in an uncommon way – My expectation from an MBA consultant was to find my story and word application materials appropriately. Katy probed into unusual aspects of the application making sure that I didn’t have any loose ends at all. In my Skype – mock interviews, I remember Katy suggesting minor improvements in the lighting angle, my posture, and even the height of my webcam. Most of these were ‘easily overlooked small differences, big impact’ suggestions.

R – Right stories – I vividly remember the many instances when Katy would suggest that I choose one story, which clearly I had underestimated, over the other. I understood Katy’s extent of involvement and understanding about myself (via the ‘Brainstorm doc’), her thoroughness with each school’s values and finally her ability to integrate these to best reflect ‘myself’. I was clearly able to show why the admissions committee should choose me over hundreds of other South Asian engineers, and why my future classmates would love to share the classrooms (or dorms) with me. For a person, myself, with little exposure to the US education system and culture, choosing the right story meant a lot.

Now, after almost a year after I had signed up with Katy, I don’t feel that it was a business deal. Katy has become the combination of a good mentor and a close friend who still makes time for me after I have enrolled. When I was pressed for time to get my U.S. visa to attend 2 of my interviews, Katy even offered to become my sponsor, so that the process would be easier.

B-School Admit (via GMAT Club)

Back to Katharine Lewis’s profile

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