“I know an MBA is the best move for my career,
but I have no idea how to navigate the process.”

Navigating MBA admissions can be an overwhelming task.

It’s not that the that basic requirements for top programs are such a mystery…

You need good test scores, a polished resume, proven career achievement, and a well-defined post-MBA goal.

But it’s not enough to meet these basic requirements for entry.

You also have to understand what matters to the admissions committee, what they really look for in an applicant (not what they say they look for), and what they expect to find when they go through your application.

This doesn’t mean that, to win admission, you should misrepresent your accomplishments or write only what you think admissions officers want to hear.

Rather, you have to learn how to frame your personal and professional stories in a way that makes you memorable and appealing—and you have to do this in slightly different ways, depending on the program you are applying to. 

The good news is, no one is born knowing what MBA admissions committees are looking for—it’s something that is learned.

And that means you can learn it too.

The MBA admissions learning curve—a steep, uphill battle. 

Now, the bad news.

Reliable, up-to-date information on MBA admissions—information you can stake your acceptance on—is hard to come by. The learning curve is steep, and the sheer volume of data to sort through is overwhelming. 

When you first start out, you’ll likely be reviewing free resources, trying to get a feeling for what’s out there and who you can trust. 

  • Maybe you’ll visit business school websites…

Where you’ll find mostly generic, surface-level stuff: admissions officers aren’t giving away any secrets here.

  • Or you’ll read popular MBA sites and forums…

And you’re going to be drowning in thousands of posts, articles, and blogs—some of which are genuinely helpful, and most of which are thinly disguised sales pitches.

  • You can speak to others in your network…

That is, assuming you have a network with MBA experience, and that you know enough people who can recall details that are actually relevant to your situation.

Finally, you could rely on some combination of the free resources out there, digging through bad information to find the good, separating the actual advice from the gimmicks and nonsense.

But by the time you have collected all the freely available advice that pertains to your situation (and trust us, there’s always going to be some info you just won’t find on Google), you’ll have spent hundreds of hours becoming an armchair authority on MBA admissions without having started a single application.

As a busy professional, we know that hundreds of hours of research for research’s sake is not going to work for your schedule. And frankly, even if you could fit it in, there’s too much on the line to rely on your own analysis—your ambitions, the immediate trajectory of your career, and your potential earnings in the future.

No, your best bet is going to come in enlisting outside help from the experts.

“I’m worried about competing against other candidates who are taking advantage of consulting services.”

If you’ve visited the same websites and forums that host free resources on the admissions process, you’ll have read countless posts and reviews about MBA admissions consultants.

Sometimes it feels like everyone admitted to business school used a consultant to get there, and while it’s impossible to know for sure, the percentage of applicants using external help is probably very, very high.

This is logical: considering the value of an MBA degree and the money at stake, hiring someone who possesses the specialized knowledge you need for success starts to seem like the only option.

Especially when you consider the fact that if you don’t use a consultant, you’ll be competing at an automatic disadvantage.

So you start to research MBA admissions firms and solo practitioners, and you find that most consultants offer free consultation calls. 

This is great, because it means you don’t have to make any commitments until you’ve found a good fit—someone who knows what they are doing and who seems to have a genuine interest in you.

You sit through a number of consult calls. Maybe they’re helpful, or maybe not so much. But they inevitably lead to the underlying question on every applicant’s mind: how much is outside help going to cost?

“I want to maximize my chances of admission…without going broke.”

There’s no doubt that MBA consultants are experts in their field.

But unless you have the resources to make a substantial financial commitment to your MBA application, consulting fees can be yet another obstacle to finding success in your MBA journey.

You know you will need help to get into an MBA. And you know with a consultant, it’s going to cost some serious money to get it.

Does it really end there?

Isn’t there some middle ground, some way where you can drive most of the work yourself with a little guidance and structure? Some way to get helpful advice at a fraction of the cost?

The Menlo Coaching Applications Platform

A DIY Approach to MBA Admissions:
Forge Your Own Path to Success

The Menlo Coaching Applications Platform developed out of a very simple fact: in an industry where every client needs to overcome the MBA admissions learning curve to write successful applications, consultants tend to spend a lot of time repeating information. 

At Menlo Coaching, where we limit the number of clients per consultant to allow for the highest possible service, the work to bring clients past the learning curve is counterproductive. 

We realized that it would be better for our clients and our consultants if we created high-quality educational content for the client to consume on their own. 

Our hypothesis was simple: if clients could absorb the “MBA application best practices” independently, time spent on live calls could be devoted to the much more valuable coaching aspect that comes with the relationship. 

So we got our consultants in front of a camera and started recording.

As the positive feedback from clients came pouring in—and as we saw their applications began to improve rapidly — we knew we were on to something. 

So we hired a professional videographer and got to work.  

We walked away with an entire library of video content covering every stage of the MBA application process, professionally produced and edited, and constantly updated to account for new developments in the admissions game. 

Then, we broke down the videos into 15 modules, paced and planned for efficient working sessions in manageable increments, or to accommodate the realities of applying to an MBA while working a demanding, full-time job. And we rounded out every module with handouts and detailed instructions on application to-do items, converting our full video library into an actionable MBA curriculum.

Overview, Complete 15 Modules
Our Course
Module 1: Welcome!
What’s Covered
  • The MBA Application Timeline
  • How to use the platform
Module 2: School Selection
  • Safe, target, and reach schools
  • Handicapping: Hard factors & Soft factors
  • Your odds at HBS/ Stanford
Module 3: School Networking
  • Why Network?
  • Networking Methods
  • Finding the right program (campus fit)
Module 4: GMAT
  • GMAT Study Methods
Module 5: Admissions Basics
  • What the Adcom really Wants
  • MBA Brands & Rankings
  • The Cohort System
  • MBA Application Misinformation
  • The Personal side / Your profile
Module 6: Your Application Package
  • Application Package Overview
  • Writing Your Best MBA resume
  • Navigating the Application Form
Module 7: Recommenders
  • How to Select your recommenders
  • Briefing your recommenders
  • Finding Influencers
Module 8: Writing & Writing Style
  • Writing Style for MBA Applications
  • Develop a Writing Routine
Module 9: Career Goals
  • Understanding Career Goal Basics with Case studies & Mistakes to Avoid
  • On-camus and Off-campus recruiting
  • Researching MBA Program offerings
  • Writing Your Career Goal Essays
Module 10: Personal Essays
  • Personal Essays: Overview & Common Mistakes
  • Turning HBS into Stanford A
  • The Importance of Story
Module 11: Behavioral Essays
  • Writing your Behavioral essays
  • Contributing to the school community
Module 12: Communications Training
  • Reframing the interview 
  • Courageous storytelling
  • Vocal Warm Ups
Module 13: Video Essays
  • Impromptu vs. Prepared video essays
  • Example before and after videos from successful applicants
Module 14: Interviews
  • Interview basics: How to Prepare 
  • Your Interview Toolkit
  • The HBS interview
  • How to answer “Walk me through your resume”
Module 15: After You Submit
  • Offer and Scholarship Negotiation

We felt good about this—it was going to save our clients so much time and help them feel confident in their progress.

But we needed a way to package all this great content—we didn’t want to send out a plain playlist link, and we weren’t interested in producing one of those massive documents that other firms use to “organize” the application process. 

This is when it all came together: we took an industry-leading project management platform—Basecamp—and plugged in our curriculum. We added action items as to-dos and got deadline and version tracking functionality; we synced our database of MBA programs and got up-to-date feeds for essay prompts and deadlines; we added resource folders and lists of modules, and we linked them to a customized progress tracking dashboard that we built in-house to organize the entire MBA workflow.

In short, we created the Menlo Coaching Applications Platform: a portal and organized repository for the entire application process.

So what does the Platform mean on a practical basis?

It means you’ll have 24/7 access to vital MBA knowledge, whenever and wherever you need it. 

It means you won’t have to second guess your work on a single application item, or wonder whether you’re framing yourself correctly for the admissions committees—you’ll know how something needs to be done and you’ll know exactly how to do it. 

And it means the process of writing your applications will be more streamlined and efficient than it could ever be on your own: watch the videos, read the handouts, follow the instructions, and check-off your to-dos knowing that you’ve made real progress every time.

But how can an online tool deliver the same results as a traditional admissions consultant?

It’s a reasonable question, and to address it, let’s make one thing clear: the Platform does not replace the value that one of our dedicated MBA admissions consultants can give you. 

As an admissions consulting firm, we know as well as you do that it would be disingenuous to claim our Platform “eliminates the need for consulting.” 

It’s no secret that we believe our full-service, unlimited approach is the most effective way to maximize your chances of admission.

Yet we also recognize that full-service consulting is not for everyone: some applicants might not prioritize the kind of dedicated attention you receive with a full-time consultant, or they might not be willing to spend so much money on external help.

Nonetheless, we believe that all applicants should have access to high-quality guidance in preparing their applications, even if it’s not coming with a traditional consulting package.

That’s why, for the right kind of applicant, the Menlo Coaching Applications Platform provides an alternative path.

If you’re already a driven, motivated applicant, there is no need to spend thousands.

For self-motivated applicants, the Platform strikes a perfect balance between guided support and the freedom to work at your own pace, on your own terms, and in your own words.

The Platform is ideal if:

  • You are an independent thinker who likes to dictate your own approach
  • You don’t have the budget or interest in consulting services
  • You have a demanding job and need admissions help that operates on your schedule 
  • You want practical advice, not hand-holding
  • You’re ready to dive right in—no consult calls, no evaluations, no delays
  • You work hard and you can motivate yourself
  • You need help organizing your thoughts but want to set your own pace

The Platform works so well for applicants like you because it reproduces the content knowledge our admissions consultants possess but leaves you in charge to act on that knowledge.  

We’ll give you the foundation you need to build your application, the tools to streamline the process, and the confidence of knowing that, ultimately, you are in control of your MBA journey.

A one-stop-shop for understanding, planning, organizing, and tracking your MBA applications.

After signing up to use the Platform, we’ll start the onboarding process with a series of email tutorials designed to get you started on the work as soon as possible.

Once you’re up to speed, you can dive right into the curriculum—start at the beginning if you want to follow the order we’ve established, or jump ahead to any one of the 15 modules if you want to learn more about a particular topic right away. 

In every module and on every resource page, you’ll find top-quality admissions guidance from the best in the business.

Most often, you’ll be hearing from Menlo Coaching co-founders David White and Dr. Alice van Harten.

As you work through the curriculum, David and Alice, along with other members of the Menlo Coaching team, will impart their hard-won wisdom on how to approach your application. Through the process, they will:

  • Give you the framework required to develop career goals that are both realistic and inspirational
  • Train you to conduct school research with an eye toward finding your fit, and point you towards curated resources that will help you pick the right MBA programs for your background
  • Teach you how to write a resume that a lay reader can understand and that showcases your results (even if you don’t think you have exciting results to show)
  • Help you select the right recommenders for your profile and choose suitable content for them to write about

And much more. In short, the curriculum will walk you through the entire MBA admissions process from start to finish.

Beyond its core educational content, the Platform will benefit you in other ways.


One of the biggest logistical challenges when applying to an MBA is fitting all the work that needs to be done into your schedule. Between work and family obligations, most applicants are already short on free time, and the application writing itself becomes yet another burden. 

The Applications Platform clears up any questions about where you stand or what’s coming next. All application modules are planned in a sequence, allowing you to rely on the default, suggested workflow. But you can always work ahead, and you can always go backwards as needed.

Customizable due dates for every action item keep you accountable, but give you the flexibility to shift gears if needed. 

And an overall progress dashboard gives you an at-a-glance check on your status, allowing you to plan working sessions based on low-hanging fruit. 

The Menlo Coaching Applications Platform project dashboard gives you a complete overview of your MBA application progress. Click the image to open a demo!


The MBA process is usually a stressful affair. 

Test-day anxiety for the GMAT. Nagging self-doubt when writing your application essays. Panic that you’ve forgotten an important detail right after submission.

And while we can’t promise that you’ll never have a moment of worry, you should take some comfort in knowing that every step of the process has been carefully planned and plotted within the Platform.


MCAP comes with all the conveniences you would expect of a digital service.

  • 24/7 access
  • Unlimited replayability on all course content
  • Support for desktop and mobile (via web and app) 

Whether you are sitting down for a three-hour grind on the weekend or a 15-minute brainstorming session during your lunch break, the Platform is accessible when you need it.


The Platform goes beyond academic discussions of MBA application items—we’ve also included concrete information that is normally scattered across school pages, third-party sites, and forum posts, eliminating the need to track down basic information.

For example, you’ll find links to detailed MBA program guides and school-specific articles on essay writing and interview preparation included in the Platform. 


One of the standard problems that comes with self-guided application work, or even application work alongside a consultant, is the confusing tangle of email threads, spreadsheet tabs, file folders, and endless text documents that make up research and application work. 

The Platform addresses this head on with award-winning project management software, powered by Basecamp.

You’ll store all your work via one unified portal, with individual threads for major items, making version tracking and general organization a breeze.

Then, once you’ve made your school selections, use the progress dashboard interface to add schools to your portal, allowing you to track progress on essays, meet deadlines, and tick off your major to-dos school-by-school.


It’s not always easy to go alone, and while you should feel confident in your work through the Platform, there are always add-on services if you need them.

GMAT Preparation

For those booking the Platform early in their MBA journey, we offer GMAT preparation in the form of 1:1 private tutoring and live GMAT prep courses. In the spirit of DIY, we also offer our GMAT prep course via an on-demand option for self-guided study.

Live GMAT Prep Course

Expert instruction in live classroom environment


1:1 GMAT Tutoring

Private instruction with
a dedicated tutor

Prices vary

GMAT Prep Course: On-Demand

Full access to recorded
GMAT Prep Course


Admissions Services

Those who want to understand how their profile stacks up against the competition can book an hour-long What are My Chances call with one of Menlo Coaching’s consultants. We recommend preparing a baseline of work on the application before booking a call, in order to give the consultant enough information to work with.

Hourly Coaching services are available for general advice and feedback, intended to supplement your work within the MBA curriculum. 

What Are My Chances?

One-Hour Consultation with Menlo Coaching


Hourly Coaching

On-going consulting with Menlo Coaching referral partners

Prices vary

Interview Preparation

Finally, for applicants in the interview stage of the process, we offer a range of interview prep services, including a one- or two-school mock, professional communications training, or the recommended one-mock + professional communications training bundle.

General Mock Interviews

Interview preparation
for all business schools


Professional Communications Training

“Unlock Your Voice” with
Fearless Communicators


HBS Interview Prep

Specialized prep for the
HBS admissions interviews


Life-changing admissions advice at a price you can afford.

  • If you’re ready for end-to-end support throughout the entire MBA process…
  • For a complete MBA admissions toolkit built with the self-starter in mind…
  • If you want first-class admissions advice from industry experts…
  • And if you want it all for a price that won’t break the bank…

For the price of a single hour of live consulting, you’ll receive:

Guided instruction from expert consultants, spread over 15 modules

Complete coverage for every stage of the admissions process

High-quality videos with endless replayability

Curated guides and resources on top MBA programs

Candid student interviews from current MBA candidates

On-demand admissions insights, available 24/7

Database of MBA program deadlines and MBA essays, fully integrated in the platform

Customized UI for progress tracking

Support for an unlimited number of applications

Add-on services always available

Have Questions?

If you have questions about the Menlo Coaching Applications Platform, don’t hesitate to get in touch.