*10 years coaching experience* | 6 master's admissions w/ $1mm in funding!
Studied at Harvard University
Works at JPMorgan
Admissions Committee Experience
Karla's Coaching Offerings
Turbocharge Your Grad School App: 5-Hour Package
$8755h of coaching
Navigating Waitlists & Ding Analysis
$3001h–2h of coaching
End-to-End Harvard Kennedy School Package
$6,00030h–40h of coaching
Custom hourly coaching · $215/hour
Get help with School Selection, Application Strategy, and .
Karla's Master's Programs Qualifications
10+ people coached for Master's Programs
Open to working with clients outside the U.S.
Top-rated graduate-school admissions coach with experience at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Admissions Office, elite Ivy Advisors consultancy, and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) Career program. I am a good fit for dual / concurrent degree, underrepresented / BIPOC, and international applicants. In my 10 years of coaching, some big wins include helping an individual from Malaysia secure admission to HKS and assisting another candidate with a 3.2 GPA and 145 (Quant) / 158 (Verbal) secure admission to a top 5 MBA with 60% funding. My coaching approach is guided by extensive admissions committee work and the fact that I went through this process myself. I was personally accepted to 5 top MBA programs and the Harvard Kennedy School with over $1 million in scholarship offers. During my time at HKS, I collaborated extensively with the head of the Admissions Office on revamping the AdCom process. I also hosted a 3-part admissions series attended by over 500 applicants on topics such as "The Classroom Experience in a Tri-Sector (private, public, and nonprofit) Environment" and "Navigating HKS as an Underrepresented Minority." Perhaps my biggest achievement in the Admissions Office is founding the Essay Buddy Review Program, pairing 100 current students with prospective applicants and *doubling* the number of Black and Latinx admits after 10 yrs. of stagnation. I am especially helpful to: ◉ candidates who are overwhelmed by the sheer number of essays in applications and want to strategically use each one to showcase a different strength ◉ international applicants looking for guidance on the U.S. program nuances ◉ joint / concurrent degree applicants ◉ candidates seeking scholarship funding ◉ applicants from the private sector who want to demonstrate seriousness for a public policy degree ◉ waitlisted or rejected applicants who want to make a compelling case for their candidacy through informal channels
Karla can help with:
Karla also coaches for MBA, Investment Banking, and Management Consulting
Karla (she/ella) has 10 years of formal admissions and career coaching experience through top-rated admissions firm Ivy Advisors, the Harvard Kennedy School Admissions Office, and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) Career program. Karla is a good fit for deferred, dual / concurrent degree, underrepresented / BIPOC, investment banking-focused, and traditional profile candidates (e.g., consulting, banking) looking to differentiate themselves in a crowded field. Karla has assisted all kinds of applicants in landing their desired programs or career professions at places such as Stanford GSB and Morgan Stanley. In her ten years of coaching, some big wins include helping an individual with a 3.2 GPA and 145 (Quant GRE) / 158 (Verbal GRE) secure admission to a top 5 MBA with 60% tuition scholarship and negotiating another candidate's M7 waitlist offer to admission with 100% tuition funding. Karla's successes are fueled by her formal admissions training at the Kennedy School and proofreading expertise. Outside of coaching, Karla is a finance professional focused on covering the technology sector. After completing a concurrent MBA/MPP at UChicago and Harvard, respectively, Karla joined J.P. Morgan’s Technology coverage group in the Investment Banking division in San Francisco, CA. Karla was personally accepted to 5 M7 MBA programs with over $1 million in scholarship offers and secured her investment banking offer before even starting graduate school through the J.P. Morgan Early Advantage Program ($90,000 scholarship). Karla is also an alumna of the following programs and fellowships: Forte Foundation MBA Fellowship, MLT MBA Prep, Toigo MBA Fellowship, LunaCap MBA Scholarship, SEO Career, AmeriCorps, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and Upward Bound. For her contributions to underrepresented communities and promising career trajectory, Karla has been identified as a Rising Star through the Most Powerful Latinas Summit hosted by the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).
Why do I coach?
As an admissions and career coach, I am driven by a steadfast belief that individuals have the potential to achieve their goals with the right skills and guidance. My own background as an immigrant from a resource-constrained but determined family has given me perspective on the barriers that many people face in achieving their goals. Despite my humble beginnings, I was able to earn admission to five top MBA programs and the Harvard Kennedy School, receiving over $1 million in scholarship offers along the way. I am passionate about helping others overcome obstacles and achieve success without having to rely on luck to lead meaningful lives of consequence. My belief in the potential of every person has shaped my coaching journey in a number of ways. I have worked with clients like Sarah, an Australian with all the "right" credentials who was finding it difficult to make herself stand out in a crowded field. Leveraging her distinct training as a scientist, I was able to help Sarah craft a compelling narrative that set her apart from the scores of other business consultants applying to graduate school. Or Rozalyn, a first-generation student who worried that her rural Oregon farm background and lack of an Ivy League pedigree would hold her back. Working together, I was able to help her turn her unique background into an opportunity for differentiation. Through my personalized approach, I help clients capture the essence of what makes them unique, understanding that test scores and GPA alone are not enough to get into top programs. Just like metrics alone aren’t enough to gain admission, I understand that this also applies to the management consulting and banking recruiting processes. I have worked with clients like James, who had an impressive investor relations background but was told time and time again that he wasn’t the “right” fit for investment banking. James and I were able to reshape his resume and narrative to make a compelling argument for why he would make a great addition to a technology coverage investment banking group. This helped James break into a field that had previously seemed out of reach. In addition to my coaching experience, I have also worked closely with the HKS admissions committee to expand opportunities for prospective applicants to interact with the school. This included developing new programs and initiatives to help students from diverse backgrounds learn about the school and its programs and better position themselves for success. My belief in the potential of every person has allowed me to guide my clients toward success. By helping them to see the value in their experiences and backgrounds, I have been able to help them differentiate themselves and achieve their goals. This belief has been a driving force in my coaching journey and continues to inspire me to help others reach their full potential.
Investment Banking Associate
June 2021 - Present
• Former UChicago and Harvard school Captain for on-campus investment banking recruiting • Participate in interviewing and onboarding new Analyst and Associate classes
MBA Admissions Coach
June 2019 - Present
• Top-rated coach specializing in deferred, dual degree, underrepresented, and traditional profile (e.g., consulting) candidates • 7 admissions rounds helping candidates with end-to-end application strategy
Career & Leadership Coach
Sponsors for Educational Opportunity
August 2013 - Present
• Coach hundreds of BIPOC applicants through consulting, investment banking, and MBA admissions processes
Racial Equity Analysis Research Assistant
Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative
November 2020 - June 2021
• Conducted racial equity audit to provide 30+ recommendations to foster equity and inclusion
May 2020 - May 2021
• Harvard master's thesis for LinkedIn client, *High Pass*: “Closing the Network Gap for Black Women and Latinas”
May 2015 - August 2018
Karla was also given offers to work at
Master in Public Policy, Government
2019 - 2021
• Collaborated extensively with the head of the Admissions Office on revamping the AdCom process • Hosted a 3-part admissions series attended by over 500 applicants: 1) The Classroom Experience in a Tri-Sector (private, public, and nonprofit) Environment 2) Navigating HKS as an Underrepresented Minority 3) Latinxs and Public Policy • Founded the Essay Buddy Review Program, pairing 100 current students with prospective applicants and *doubling* the number of Black and Latinx admits after 10 yrs. of stagnation
2018 - 2021
• Concentrations in Finance and Accounting • Selected Honors: J.P. Morgan Early Advantage Fellow ($90,000 scholarship), Forte Foundation MBA Fellowship, MLT MBA Prep, Toigo MBA Fellowship, LunaCap MBA Scholarship • Selected Involvement: Graduate Business Council Representative, Hispanic American Business Students Association (HABSA) Co-Chair and Admissions Liaison, Investment Banking Group Member
Karla was also personally admitted to
Tuck School of Business
Darden School of Business (UVA)
Yale School of Management
Duke's Fuqua School of Business
How to Get Off the MBA Waitlist: Insider Tips for Admissions
Apr 13, 2023
This expert guide offers tips and strategies to help you stand out and increase your chances of acceptance. We'll show you how to make the most of your waitlist status and increase your chances of getting admitted.
Why I Coach–Karla Magana Figueroa
Dec 15, 2022
Karla F., an expert Leland MBA, Consulting, and Investment Banking coach, outlines why she chooses to coach and what it means to her.