Ryota- Northwestern Kellogg

I chose Sam after talking to almost every counselor known in Japan. There are three main reasons.
1. He pours plenty of time into each person.
Because he works with a small number of clients, he has the ability to spend a longer time with each client compared to counselors with bigger rosters, and his email responses are always quick.
2. High empathy
Since Sam himself has been through the MBA application process at competitive schools, he gives great advice for managing the overall process, more than just the documents we produced. He enabled me to build on my thoughts through effective brainstorming and showed me how to best express those ideas in appealing context for the Admissions Teams while providing opinions and alternatives for me to choose which ideas would fit my feelings best..
3. Spirit of “Let’s grow together”
From our first conversation, the strength of Sam’s personality has been conveyed. Sam himself has the spirit to grow with the students, so we were both working for the same result. I think it was a big thing for me that I felt that I wanted to respond to that feeling during the difficult period of the examination period. I could clearly see that my success would clearly help Sam’s success, so we were both incentivized to give a maximum effort.
Now that I have decided to enroll at Kellogg, I would like to look back on three points regarding the service based on my actual experience.
(1) Unlimited time plan based on the number of schools applying
I signed up for an unlimited time counseling plan by the number of school applications, instead of by the hour. It is a contract that you can consult as many times as you like for business schools that you have agreed on in advance. In my case, after signing a contract for 3 schools in R1, I signed a contract for 2 additional schools in R2. I’m very happy with this choice, as I’ll explain later. When I actually calculated it, it was much cheaper than if I had chosen the hourly system.
(2) Application preparation
Because of the unlimited time, I was able to interact with Sam until I was satisfied with all the consultations, essay writing, and video shooting, including organizing my core story such as Why MBA?.
In every session he tries to understand you deeply, so which provides impactful advice that only someone who truly knows your stories can do. The Unlimited Time system was also really beneficial, because some schools required additional essays after getting an interview invitation (MIT, Booth). I think the reason I received interview invitations from all the applicant schools was that I was able to clearly show my core story and my values through Sam’s advice.
(3) Interview measures and aftercare
Of course, there is no limit to the amount of time you can spend on interview practice. Sam himself prepared irregular questions based on the information collected over time, and it was very helpful in the actual production without any trouble in answering. Even after the interview, he was always concerned about me and contacted me, and even when I entered the waitlist at some schools, he kindly consulted me until the very end.
I can tell you more, but in summary, it’s clear that no one chooses Sam and regrets it!

Kana- London Business School

No Sam, No my LBS for me!
This is exactly sums up my MBA applications. I started preparations in June 2020, but didn’t sign a contract with Sam until December 2020, just one month before the deadline for the 2nd application in January 2021. It was a very difficult situation with my GMAT 640 at that time. In fact, while other counselors sometimes refused me on the timeline and low score, Sam turned to my background and strengths to overcome these hurdles. Without meeting Sam, I couldn’t have passed LBS.
I ended up only applying to two schools, but it was really good to have the Unlimited time plan. From starting to work together, we exchanged more than 100 emails per month, and a total of more than 360 emails! In addition to the essay, I asked for all the interview preparation and even email editing to Admissions Committee members, I received about 50 hours of consulting time in total, so I think it was cheap. (I think I was very particular about LBS and spent more than 30 hours at just that one school. I especially recommended that system for those with high aspirations to make every element as strong as possible!)
I think Sam’s notable points are the speed of response, honesty, logicalness, and the friendliness for working through the MBA application process together. In addition, since the number of students he takes is quite small, I felt that he gives customized advice based on each person’s character and background. In addition, even after the interview, he gave me detailed support when I needed further negotiation with the school representatives to prepare for the start of my program.
I had never thought about big things like “what I want to achieve in my life”, but after Sam’s counseling, I’ve considered how I feel about my life and my path forward. I feel that I have grown as a person and gotten a clearer understanding of how I want to live. The entire process from studying for tests took 9 months but I completed high quality essays within just one month, so I think I would have given up on my applications without a counselor like Sam. In the end, I got an offer from LBS despite a low GMAT (640), and also got an offer with scholarship from HEC, undoubtedly thanks to Sam.
If you’re thinking of applying to competitive MBA programs, I encourage you to sign up for Sam’s free initial consultation!
If you have any problems through the applications process or are interested in LBS I will be happy to help you too, as I was helped by the MBA community in my own journey. You can contact me through Sam.
I’m cheering for you!

Shuta- Chicago Booth

I was originally working with another counselor, but when I started to worry about my essays’ effectiveness, I asked Sam for a second opinion.
In his consultation, I immediately saw how to make big improvements to my core story.
Even though it was mid-December, just a few weeks before R2 deadlines, I took the plunge and switched counselors. 
This was a fantastic decision! My essay strategy became clear and his quick responses, when I couldn’t organize my thoughts well, were so helpful.
Sam’s devoted support and brainstorming ideas really stood out.
I was able to finish the applications in time with a high quality.

YH- Columbia Business School

I wrote essays with Sam’s guidance, prepared for interviews, and got an offer from Columbia Business School, my first choice. My test scores and GPA were not high, but with the support of Sam, I was able to complete high-quality essays with an admission perspective in a short period of time and apply in the Early Round, which led to my passing.
I feel that Sam has the following three good points in proceeding with the work.
1. Accurate advice for creating high-impact essays.
Sam’s background as a student in a top MBA program gives him a good understanding of the factors that admissions hope to see in applicants and the MBA culture (= points that applicants should appeal in their essays). Based on my background and career goals, he gave me good advice on how to create a compelling essay for admissions. Also, since it was clear from the beginning what to appeal in the essay, the essay writing went more smoothly than I had imagined. I didn’t waste time rewriting my essay or not knowing what to do. In my case, I was studying for GMAT and essay writing in parallel, so it was very helpful to be able to work efficiently in this way.
2. Quick response time
Sam basically gives you a solid answer within a day or two after asking a question, so you won’t get stuck or feel stressed as others sometimes report about working with their counselors. I think that the speed of response is an important factor in choosing a counselor, as there is a lot of work to be done in the MBA application process and time tends to be insufficient. In that respect, working with Sam you can rest assured that everything will be completed on time.

3. He does not screen students by scores

Ken- Michigan Ross

I worked with Sam to improve my resume, essays and prepare for my interviews. Thanks to his insightful advice I received interview invitations from all 8 schools that I applied to and ended up with 6 admission offers including two of my dream schools. I couldn’t be more grateful for his enthusiastic support. Future applicants should reserve a spot with him ASAP before he becomes fully-booked.
<Resume / Essay> I had already been working with a famous essay counselor who had read my resume and essays, so my original intention was to use Sam’s opinion to make only slight changes to my application. However, after hearing Sam’s advice, I realized that I need some major changes to the content, expressions and document organization. By working with Sam I saw a dramatic improvement in my essay and resume and was very satisfied with the results.
Sam was very kind and friendly from the beginning which helped me relax, and he was very flexible to accommodate my schedule. We met in person for some sessions and by skype for others. When I consulted with him, I felt like I was receiving advice from a friendly alumnus but then he was able to ask insightful questions and give lively advice as an MBA holder.
Before our initial meeting, I thought my resume and essay were pretty good, but after hearing his advice, I realized that I needed to make some major changes to stand out from the other applicants at these super-competitive schools.
<Interview Prep> After getting an interview invitation from UCLA, I restarted working with Sam to prepare and I could see clearly the value in his service. Since Sam is a graduate of a top MBA program, he knows exactly what it’s like to be in the applicant’s position. Through our mock interviews and feedback, I was able to build my confidence and succeeded at UCLA and several other schools’ interviews.

Hiroto- Texas McCombs

I really liked Sam’s customized and client-focused service. My GMAT score was 50-100 points below the average for all the schools I wanted to apply to (GMAT 630), so I needed really strong essays to overcome that weakness. Sam’s support helped me deliver my ideas and experience in a very effective way.
Our interview practice continued until we were both confident that I could have a strong performance and greatly enhanced my candidacy. I believe the quality and flexibility provided by Sam was excellent and I highly recommend his service.

Hiroki- Dartmouth Tuck

Having low GPA and GMAT score, I couldn’t win acceptance from my dream schools without Sam.
Since I first met Sam in May, he kindly supported me through e-mail even before we had an official agreement. His guidance really motivated me during score-making process for TOEFL and GMAT. Whenever I had a question about any application process, he gave me a quick response to solve my problem. I’ve heard that many popular counselors have a slow response time in the busy season when applicants need help the most, so I was relieved to see Sam’s quick responses. This was a big reason why I decided to work heavily with Sam in the Unlimited Package.
I really enjoyed working with Sam during all of the application process. Because Sam himself is a recent MBA graduate, he always gave me great advice to make my resume and essays more logical, powerful and convincing in the style that is currently preferred by top business schools. When we finished each document, every word and expression was very polished and I was able to submit those with full of confidence.
For the interview training, Sam and I did over 12 hours of mock-interviews. We practiced both in-person and Skype so that I could prepare for any interview style, and I was able to make strong interviews for all schools. I truly recommend his high-quality service because without Sam, I couldn’t get accepted from the top business schools in U.S.

Takuma- UCLA Anderson

I asked Sam to help me with my resume, essays and interview preparation. We started early to prepare the resume and during this stage he got to know a lot about my background which helped us when we got to the brainstorming for essay topics. He asked a lot of detailed questions to help dig out useful stories for several essays. I really valued that face-to-face time with him to develop my application.
A big advantage to Sam’s service compared with other consultants is that he is a recent graduate of a top MBA school, which gives him fresh insight into the life of an MBA student at those top schools. I could see a difference between when I heard Sam’s perspective and other consultants or even school representatives that were not alumni. Through our talks, I got a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities that will have a big impact on my life starting very soon.
Sam also invited me to a UCLA Anderson event in December where I had the chance to meet the Dean of the school during my application phase! Although I only spoke to the Dean briefly I could meet a lot of other alumni which gave me a deeper understanding of the school.
I’m very grateful to Sam and would recommend his high-quality service to all applicants. I’m proud to say that I will join the UCLA Anderson School of Management this year.

Tomo- Cambridge Judge

The main counselor I asked was Sam Haldeman, a younger counselor who graduated from UCLA Anderson. We brought out each other’s strengths together as if we were teammates in the same project and fought the MBA application project as if in a three-legged race. I felt a strong fit with Sam in terms of working style.
It hadn’t been long since Sam succeeded in his own MBA application, so he has a raw sense of what it takes to succeed, the emotional elements in applying, as well as the dynamism in the MBA program. In addition, Sam works as a trainer at companies and schools in his previous and current positions, so he is good at teaching which was helpful in our work together.
Above all, I was able to rely on Sam in an emergency. Since I took the GMAT test just before the 1st round application, I only had lead time of about 5 days including the weekend in preparing the essay and application documents, and when I realized that the draft I had previously made needed to be fundamentally changed I almost gave up my application. However, I was able to get dedicated support from Sam to make quick decisions on the direction of the core story, divide our tasks, and finish it in almost a day and a half from scratch in an intensive and efficient system!

Kazu- HEC (Paris)

I started working with Sam to develop a strong resume which was a great first step to thinking about my work experiences which would become the bases for my essay stories. After choosing which schools I would apply to I continued working with Sam for specific school essays and finally the interviews that followed. Sam was always very friendly and easy to work with. I’m very happy with the results because I was able to get offers from several schools through his support.
Powerful Resume
In the entire application process, thinking deeply about your past experiences is very important. Sam and I spent several hours discussing the contents of my resume which led to stories that were very helpful in shaping my post-MBA goals and other essays. I saw how helpful deep discussion of past experiences is so helpful in the early stages of the application process. One big difference between Sam and other counselors is that he graduated from a top MBA program, so he has been trained in the style used by top business schools for recruiting. I could see how he used this approach when helping me with my resume to take it from a low-impact passive style, to a powerful action and accomplishment focused resume that clearly showed my unique story
When I struggled to come up with good topics for my essays, I came to Sam for brainstorming ideas. Because Sam and I had spent so much time discussing the resume, he had a deep understanding of my story and over a few sessions we were able to collaborate to make some great ideas for my goals and other essays that would be the foundation of my application. Sam agrees to work with a limited number of students per year, which enables him to learn more deeply about each of his students than other consultants who have a higher volume. His deep understanding of my history greatly benefited this brainstorming phase and led to fantastic essays. During my application process I also worked with another consultant who has many students, while he was also skillful in writing, he wasn’t able to help with the brainstorming ideas
I also trained with Sam for my interviews, we practiced for a total of 8 hours split into four 2-hour sessions. Sam used questions from a wide variety of real questions used by top schools so that I would be prepared even for unusual questions. During each interview practice session, he took lots of notes and we discussed each answer in detail afterwards. This was very valuable and we were able to brainstorm how to improve each answer. A few times Sam identified “red flags” in my answers that would be dangerous in the interview. Knowing about these red flags was very helpful to avoid answers that could ruin my entire application.
I could not have accomplished my success without Sam’s support and I’m very happy to be heading to one of my top choices of MBA programs this year. It will truly be a life-changing experience.

Toshi- Northwestern Kellogg

With Sam, I worked on creating a resume, elaborating essays, and practicing interviews from the early stages of my applications. We spent a lot of time with brainstorming while digging into specific episodes from the early days after joining my company to the present. I had no overseas experience and was wondering how to make an appeal stand out to the admission teams of top US MBA programs, which I think is Sam’s strength. His own MBA experience has a depth that other counselors can not get. I think that I got a big advantage by working with Sam to create a concrete story that stood out from other applicants in a limited number of words.
When working on the resume, Sam helped brush up my phrases to make them concise yet powerful, and other smaller things such as final checks before submission. I received a great deal of hands-on support (compared to another counselor), which was very beneficial. There are many counselors in Japan, but I think Sam is the only counselor who has actually had an MBA experience at Top School (and is familiar with recent MBA culture and dynamics). MBA applications are often black-boxed and daunting, but I think Sam’s experience and friendly counseling are the shortcuts to getting the best results.

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