GRADUATE SCHOOL/MBA SUCCESS
Following is a partial list of recent graduate school/MBA acceptances.
Below, clients share testimonials of their admissions "journey."
Carnegie Mellon University of California - Berkeley, Los Angeles, Davis
Columbia University of Chicago
Cornell University of Michigan
Dartmouth University of Pennsylvania
Duke University of Southern California
Harvard University of Texas at Austin
MIT University of Virginia
"Dione was incredibly helpful to me on my MBA journey for three key reasons. First, Dione was incredibly knowledgeable about all of the schools I was thinking of applying to. Not in a generic, 'I have read the website' way, but in the more subtle, application-driven way. For example: Which schools valued humility vs. confidence in their essays and tone of writing? Which schools had strong programs in the career fields I was interested in? What schools valued community service vs. career leadership experience? The small things that set your application apart, and help you tailor an application to the MBA program.
"Second, Dione is a great editor. She does not change your writing, but rather guides the thought process, and helps refine your thinking and message. I learned to better explain why I was applying to business school through working with Dione. This helped me in my applications, interviews, and also in rationalizing this career decision to myself and to my employer.
"Finally, Dione, as with any consultant, was an impartial “judge.” A third party who I could run decisions by, who did not have context or history to sway them. She was my rational sounding board. As you move through the emotional chaos of applying to business school, it is important to have that type of resource. I loved working with Dione and highly recommend her as a resource to anyone thinking of pursuing an MBA."
- Abby, Stanford MBA
"From initial self-reflection to final application submittal to interview prep to evaluating different offers, Dione was extremely helpful in the MBA application process. I worked with her to apply to several top programs, including HBS, and was admitted to all of them with sizable merit scholarships from several. Dione’s feedback for my essays and resume was invaluable. It’s clear that Dione’s background in journalism makes her a thorough and insightful admissions consultant. There were times when I chose to write about certain aspects from my background, sent the essays to her for review, and she offered feedback to write about a different, more unique or impactful story instead. After rewriting the essays with Dione’s feedback in mind, I was always thankful that I had followed her advice, rather than going with my initial drafts. I went through several drafts (30+) of essays with Dione. She was always prompt to respond and insightful in her feedback. In the end, I thought my essays and resume were incredibly strong and Dione’s support was essential to achieving a final product I was extremely proud of.
"In addition to her insightful essay/resume feedback, Dione was also extremely helpful in the interview prep. In fact, Dione was willing to meet with me in person for a mock interview. Her feedback and advice from the mock interview definitely helped me realize I needed to tone down certain mannerisms and phrase my responses in different ways. Additionally, we worked together to generate different ideas for the Wharton team based discussion (the idea we came up with ended up getting chosen in the real interview). In the end, I felt extremely prepared for all of my interviews and I have Dione to thank for that.
The MBA application process is incredibly reflective, stressful, and daunting. Dione is truly invested in getting to know your story and helping you put together the best application possible. I am thrilled with my results and wholeheartedly recommend working with Dione."
- Connie, Harvard MBA
"Looking back on my experience with Dione, I can say that it was tremendously helpful in guiding me through the preparation and application process. I came from an uncommon background for MBA recruiting and was quite unsure of how to best present myself as a candidate to top tier business schools. Dione and I spent a large percentage of our time discussing what aspects of my background to focus on and how to present my uncommon background in a way that would lead admission committees to be excited about my candidacy rather than skeptical about it. Without Dione's help, I would have attempted to compete head to head with more traditional applicants in a way that would have been detrimental. The perspective and guidance of Dione allowed me to craft an application that highlighted the unique things that I brought to an incoming class and why I was prepared to add value to the top business schools I was ultimately admitted to.
"Dione was also valuable in helping me craft my candidacy well in advance of starting an application. Her Plan Ahead program provided a frank and honest assessment of my strengths and weaknesses as an applicant. This gave me time to attempt to shore up some of those gaps through targeted work experience and extra-organizational volunteering. The other large advantage of the Plan Ahead program is that it allows you to transition seamlessly into more intensive consulting come application time. I am confident that I would not have been able to craft nearly as strong of an application for the business schools I was interested in without Dione's guidance. The cost for personal consulting is significant, it pales in comparison to the doors that I believe it helped unlock for my future."
- J. B., MBA (Yale)
"Dione was extremely generous with her time, with speedy turnaround for all emails and essay edits/ I appreciate that Dione spent substantial time getting to know my life story, which helped considerably in ensuring my essays portray my best self. Dione sets very high expectations, which worked very well for me since I demanded the highest quality applications."
- K.L., MBA (Yale)
"It was a pleasure working with you - I appreciate the prompt responses and the helpful insight for the essays. In addition, I appreciate your help in considering which PhD program to accept as I received multiple offers."
- Michael, PhD (UC Davis)
"A big reason for the reason I received as many interviews and acceptances as I did from the top 20 MBA schools was because of Dione. Her ability to highlight and exemplify key skills from work experience and undergraduate experience is what makes her unique. She asks the right questions to ensure you are able to express yourself in the best way possible to the admissions team. Another thing that makes Dione unique is that she doesn't want to change who you are in your essays, but helps you develop a great story and application. She is quick to respond, and never hesitates to answer more questions. She has gone above and beyond for my application, and I was lucky to have her"
- N. S. , MBA (UCLA)
"I had an absolutely fantastic experience working with you, it was worth every penny and I truly believe without a doubt I would not have gotten the scholarships/acceptances that I did without your help....If you have the opportunity to work with Dione, take it and don't look back! In just a few short months she helped me take my hundreds of different ideas and edit and package them into polished applications to present to 7 top business schools. Applying to MBA programs is stressful and working with a consultant is expensive, but each step of the way, Dione gave me peace of mind as she guided me towards success. She was always quick to respond with essay edits (even during holidays), gave honest feedback, and was an expert literary editor. She also has the professional business and MBA background to give you short and long term career ideas that make sense for your personal goal statements. If you have hopes of getting into a top b school, but don't know how to present yourself to admissions committees, work with Dione. She will work hard day by day to get you there…. I got into one of my target schools with a full tuition scholarship (valued at over $135K). I am sure I would not have gotten here without Dione's constant guidance, editing, and advice."
- Alison, MBA (Duke)
"Dione's coaching and support was invaluable during the application process. She consistently added value to my application – from our first call where she helped accelerate my introspection to developing my essays/stories where she helped me reframe my inelegant language to be more admissions appropriate to interviews where she helped me practice beforehand and reflect/refine afterward to the waitlist process where she pushed me to craft genuine and original updates. Would wholeheartedly recommend her to anyone who is looking for an admissions consultant!"
- Neil, MBA (London Business School)
"Dione was an absolute pleasure to work with. When I started doing research on various consultancies, I imagined working with someone who would simply take a few looks at my essays and give me brief feedback via email. Dione went above and beyond. She took a clear interest in me and my narrative and worked closely with me to make sure that my story was not only coherent (tying together my disparate professional and personal experiences), but also that it would ring true to my aspirations and simultaneously align with what each school was looking for. Additionally, Dione was refreshingly critical and gave me a 'real' outlook on how my application would be viewed given my career to date and my background as a South Asian American male. She was also incredibly responsive - I honestly don't know how she could provide so much depth in her feedback on such quick turnarounds.
"I'm so lucky to have been paired up with Dione and could not have imagined a better experience. If you have a chance to work with her, there really shouldn't be any hesitation. Totally worth it. Thank you Dione for all of your guidance and for helping me get into Wharton (and interviews at HBS and GSB)!"
- R.P., MBA/M. Ed (University of Pennsylvania)
"Working with Dione was extremely helpful. I found her to be very focused and always pulling me back to the root cause or 'why' of why I was applying to business school. It sounds simple, but this allowed me to not only hone my story but also reflect personally on my motivations for applying so that when interviews came around, I was able to present my best possible self and story. Dione was very flexible, working with me mostly through pushing my thinking on essay edits, and providing helpful interview prep and tips. She was never pushy and great at explaining her logic and how the adcomm might view a certain element in my application."
- Angela, MBA/MPP (Harvard)
"I highly recommend working with Dione. As I reflect on the past 6 months of my MBA application journey, what I appreciate about Dione the most was her patience to understand who I was. There was no rush for me to start churning out applications, drafting essays, or pushing out recommendations. Instead, Dione and I spent hours speaking about past experiences, stories, and my friends and family. More importantly, she asked me questions that no one else had ever asked me. Questions that made me dig into my goals, dreams, and aspirations to define where I wanted to go professionally. And once I figured that out, Dione and I explored the experiences I needed to have and the skillset I needed to build to get me to where I wanted to go professionally. Through this patient and introspective process, I was able to prepare applications that effectively demonstrated to schools the important role that I wanted them to play in my journey. After it was all said and done, I was offered admission to my dream school. Six months ago, I wouldn't have believed that the excitement of an acceptance call would be matched by the clarity and empowerment that I received from defining my dreams - and game plan to get there - with Dione.
- Joey, MBA (Stanford)
"Dione was an incredible and professional consultant throughout the entire application process. First, she walked through my life story and got a feel for what really made me ‘tick’. Next, she helped me develop a strategic plan for my application and we began the arduous process of developing applications for six elite MBA programs. When I sent Dione my drafts, she would always be quick and thorough with reviews. In fact, I found myself hoping (to no avail) that she might take a bit longer so that I could procrastinate. She has a wealth of experience in marketing and communications, so she understood how to focus my messaging. She helped highlight elements of my personal narrative that I had overlooked but that others would find interesting. In addition, she is very kind and is always helpful even with tight deadlines. My applications would have been far more time-consuming and much less focused without her guidance. Prior my first interview, Dione gave me a mock interview. She shared some honest feedback that I really needed to hear; she is always polite but will never withhold feedback that might help an applicant.
"In the end – of my six elite target schools – I was admitted to four and am currently waitlisted at one. I received 2 full tuition scholarships and a sizeable scholarship from another program. I have decided to go to MIT Sloan School of Management, and I couldn’t be happier! Thanks Dione!"
- Alec, MBA (MIT)
"When I made the decision to apply to business school, I knew I would be hiring an admissions consultant. Stacy Blackman Consulting quickly became my first choice because they were thorough and honest and I knew I could trust them too handicap my odds and not sell me a pipe dream. You have to put in 100% of the work with your consultant to truly get the results you want, remember that. I have a journalism background and then worked in software sales for a number of years....Dione understood me, challenged me, provided clarity for me, helped me unearth my narrative, and became my confidant and trusted advisor throughout the whole process. Without her I know I wouldn't have received the number of interview invites as I did. With her leadership and friendship I committed to my dream school."
- Natasha, EMBA (USC)
"Dione helped me to prepare for my interview with the GSB. She gave me a LOT of very honest feedback. She pointed out my strengths and weaknesses and managed to give me a clear overview of what was expected of my answers. She helped both polishing my stories and presentation and I really appreciated her supporting words trying to bring my nerves down. I cannot believe we covered so much in the short time we had together. As I got my acceptance call I couldn't wait to share the news with Dione as I feel she really had a big impact on the result."
- Pablo, MBA (Stanford)
"I worked with Dione for over 2 months revising my resume, brainstorming essays, and crafting a compelling narrative across my application. Dione was an incredible resource that not only provided me with strategic advice but also moral support throughout the stressful process. When I hit a road bump with laying out my career path, Dione checked in on me frequently and provided solid guidance for me to get past the bottleneck. Every step of the way, Dione prepares thoughtful documents detailing an actionable plan, from constructing an overall application strategy in the beginning to picking and requesting recommendations to preparing for interviews. Dione is efficient in reviewing essays and other written materials. She usually responds to emails within hours. When problems and unforeseen circumstances popped up during my application, she utilized resources…consulted her colleagues, and gave me valuable advice…. It was a great experience working with Dione and…made the whole application process a lot more manageable and less stressful.
- N.D., MBA (Sloan)
When I approached Dione for help, I had only 10 days until deadline. I knew that it was an uphill task that needed an advisor who was well versed with Stanford GSB's admission process and who would provide concrete guidance on how to improve my application. I can confidently say that Dione far exceeded these expectations and her guidance played a vital role in my admission. During the entire process Dione was extremely understanding and considerate. In order to help me with my expedited application timeline she was extremely flexible in terms of reviewing any material sent and in arranging a call at a short notice. She was also very efficient in terms of time utilisation. In total I purchased three hours of service, but was able to get my entire application including CV, additional optional answers reviewed twice, along with getting numerous other questions answered and was even able to get some best practices tips to share with my recommenders. As part of her feedback, Dione provided clear guidance on which sections to prioritize, how to craft the answers to make them more coherent to the reader, and how to structure my thought process so that I could communicate my career goals in a credible and compelling manner. Overall, I would say that Dione is a true professional and it was an absolute pleasure to work with her on my application and I would recommend her to everyone applying to Stanford GSB.
- P.C. MSx (Stanford)
I highly recommend Dione for MBA applications if you are looking for a resourceful, timely, and professional consultant who will push you to think and give you the best shot in your application. I quickly discovered Dione was the right consultant for my situation, and she became my dedicated MBA consultant for strategy, positioning, and career visioning. I had a very tight timeframe for R1 applications, and Dione was very responsive and effective at the same time. She first helped me narrow down to a list of few schools that best meet my needs and background and then drew up a game plan in terms of the sequence and how to tackle each school. Through various questions, personality tests, conversations, and reflections, Dione helped me figure out a short-term and long-term goal that fits my interests and makes sense for the schools. Within a couple of weeks of intense back-and-forth with many e-mails, we were able to draft a compelling story for the essay questions that are true to me and unique to each school. Given the tight timeline, Dione worked extremely hard and responded to my questions and essay drafts tireless with turnaround time, often less than an hour, and responded late into the evenings. Throughout the application, Dione pointed out the areas I need to prioritize and encouraged me to push forward....With Dione’s support, I’m lucky to be admitted by Dartmouth Tuck and Cornell Johnson. I will recommend Dione to anybody with a traditional background or a diverse interest and interest in a top MBA program.
- Ed, MBA (Dartmouth Tuck)
Dione helped me translate engineering accomplishments for a general audience, overcome a low undergrad GPA, and clearly define my story and goals. Throughout the process, Dione was very responsive and as invested in my application as I was. She spent time getting to know me and personalized her approach to best fit me much beyond my expectations. I undoubtedly put together the best application I could working alongside Dione.
Dione's attention to detail was the first thing I noticed about her. This is especially important because admissions teams notice everything in (or missing from) an application. She extracted heaps of information from me early, and then helped me organize and concisely communicate it….Each school looks for something different through their respective essay prompts. Dione helped me decipher the prompts and taught me how to make every word count to meet length restrictions without omitting any information….She has invaluable insight in everything from school selection to interview prep. Her support helped me receive the offers that I did and I am so excited to be starting at Sloan, a potentially life changing opportunity.
I truly believe working with Dione was the best decision I made during the application process and fully expect to use what I have learned during and after my MBA.
- A. A., MBA (MIT)
Dione and I began working together seven months before application deadlines. Having never worked with a consultant before, I was unsure what to expect—but was immediately impressed by Dione from the moment we met all the way through interview prep eight months later. Well before I started actually writing essays or contacting recommenders, Dione and I spent many hours discussing my overall strategy and positioning. Her guidance and input during this early phase proved critical to developing a cohesive story/framework for my application. And when I moved from big-picture planning to the nuts-and-bolts of the application (e.g., writing the essays), Dione proved just as helpful.
A few of Dione's differentiating strengths that I would like to highlight:
- Dione is extremely responsive. I continued to be amazed by how quickly she would email or call with input every time I sent her draft materials for review.
- Dione is a very strong writer. Given her background in marketing/communications, I believe Dione is perhaps better-qualified than many other consultants to support with essay edits.
- Dione deeply cared about my success. I feel that Dione came to know me very well—not just as an applicant, but as a person—and this helped to make me feel very genuinely supported throughout the process.
- C.C., MBA (Harvard)
Big thanks to Dione for helping me through the MBA admissions process! Dione came recommended to me through a friend. Dione is very knowledgeable about the admissions process and was helpful in giving suggestions on how I could take my different experiences and tie them together to create a more complete picture of myself as an applicant. I appreciate Dione’s attention to detail and commitment to helping me put my best foot forward. I knew very little about the MBA application process before applying, and Dione was very proactive in making sure that I didn’t miss out on any opportunities to add more dimension to my application. With Dione’s help, I was able to get into my top choice school. Thank you, Dione!
- T.R., MBA (Harvard)
I approached Dione with one target program in mind at my dream school in the USA – however as an international applying to a US advanced degree program, I knew it would be a tough and competitive process at an already highly selective school. I was also applying in one of the last rounds so I knew it was not going to be easy.
First off, Dione is very knowledgeable when it comes to the application process and the evaluation of candidates thanks to her background. She gave me candid feedback throughout the entire process and was my sounding board in drafting and articulating my story. She also asks very thoughtful questions to guide you in the right direction; for example, her feedback on my essays contained some of the most comprehensive comments I’ve ever received, down to even the smallest detail about my past work experience – however, this is exactly what you need to produce a high caliber application. She would also send me notes after our sessions so I knew what to focus on immediately after our calls.
Most importantly and what I think was the real key to my successful application is that Dione tells you the honest truth. I understand that the truth is not always what people want to hear but this is exactly why you need an admissions consultant like Dione as this was essential to avoid potential pitfalls in the application process. As you can imagine, each session was extremely efficient, productive, and filled with value-adding advice.
Dione provides very quick feedback and worked really hard to help me put my best application forward. She is extremely committed and I felt like she went over and above her remit. I am happy to say my application was successful and I am beyond grateful to Dione for all her help as it would not have been possible without her. I would absolutely recommend Dione to anyone and especially international applicants who really do need someone with her level of knowledge and expertise when it comes to US business schools and admissions.
- C.M. (Stanford MSx)
When I approached Dione for help, I had only 10 days until deadline. I knew that it was an uphill task that needed an advisor who was well versed with Stanford GSB's admission process and who would provide concrete guidance on how to improve my application. I can confidently say that Dione far exceeded these expectations and her guidance played a vital role in my admission.
During the entire process Dione was extremely understanding and considerate. In order to help me with my expedited application timeline she was extremely flexible in terms of reviewing any material sent and in arranging a call at a short notice. She was also very efficient in terms of time utilisation….As part of her feedback, Dione provided clear guidance on which sections to prioritise, how to craft the answers to make them more coherent to the reader, and how to structure my thought process so that I could communicate my career goals in a credible and compelling manner. Overall, I would say that Dione is a true professional and it was an absolute pleasure to work with her on my application and I would recommend her to everyone applying to Stanford GSB.
- P.C. (Stanford MSx)