Who We Are

Mariesa Ricks

Mariesa Ricks


Relevant Academic Credentials

Harvard Business School, MBA
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, SM
Harvard College, AB

MBA Admissions/Coaching Experience

8 years

Coaching Style

Collaborative, caring but tough when needed, strategic

Exceptional Skills

  • Story crafting, a skill that stems from Mariesa’s dual Korean and African American heritage and these cultures’ historical celebration of storytelling
  • Drawing on her own experience as a career switcher to guide candidates who want to use the MBA to make a bold career change

Areas of Expertise

Start-ups, brand management and strategy, health care, finance, non-US applicants

Of Interest

Mariesa’s penchant for branding and marketing—a penchant much appreciated by Mariesa’s clients—was largely developed when she orchestrated her own career pivot from public health to consumer-centric retail in fashion and beauty. To succeed, she learned how to position herself in a way that resonated with recruiters. As a result, Mariesa is remarkably talented at determining how to help her clients stand out and be noticed by the admissions committee, no matter the competition.

Second fun fact: Mariesa has a passion for nurturing and rooting for underdogs, and not just when they are MBA candidates—she is an avid and devoted foster dog mom.

More about Mariesa

Mariesa knows a lot about Harvard, having earned three Harvard diplomas. In addition to an MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS), Mariesa holds a master of science from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and a bachelor of science from Harvard College. While at HBS, she served as an Admissions Ambassador and developed a profound understanding of what HBS looks for in candidates. Today, she supports the HBS Admissions Office via its alumni chat program and volunteers for the HBS Club of New York as part of its Strategy and Innovation for Programming team.

As an admissions coach, Mariesa regularly supports candidates applying to not only HBS but also other ultracompetitive programs such as Wharton and the Stanford GSB. Her clients appreciate her ability to identify strengths that they overlooked in themselves and capitalize on them throughout the application process. In fact, Mariesa particularly enjoys working with clients who underestimate their potential and sharing in their joy when the schools ultimately recognize it as she has.

  In Mariesa’s Words

Applicants to top-tier schools often have a cookie-cutter mind-set regarding what ingredients should go into a successful application. While credentials, promotions, and achievements are certainly key ingredients, the storytelling and confidence to dig deep authentically is often where many fall short in the recipe. Really understanding the crucible moments, both personally and professionally, and conveying the key aspects of the application holistically are critical in crafting a uniquely strong and memorable application.

What Clients Say about Working with Mariesa

Working with Mariesa was an awesome experience! I concentrated on a small set of schools and will be attending Harvard Business School next fall thanks to her help.

I met with several consultants, and she clearly stood apart in my mind. She leverages her own professional marketing expertise and knows exactly how to help craft a story. Even in our intro conversation, she found and tied together key threads from my work and life experiences. After spending more time with her, she helped me discover my key differentiators, particularly given that I come from from a traditional IB/PE background. In addition to the overall story, she really focused on the details. There were a number of times that she would remind me of something in my own life that I referenced in the intake form and would suggest adding it to the end of a sentence to tie everything together. It was those small details that allowed me to share so much more than I ever could’ve imagined with the admissions committee in the short application essays.

Another aspect I really value is her honesty. When something wasn’t the best it could be, she took the time to explain it and let me know. Especially as a Harvard Business School grad herself, she took her insights to the next level at every step of the process, pulling from her own experiences. I found this super helpful during the interview process. She conducted general and school-specific mock-conversations to help prepare me

  HBS Admit

Throughout the grueling application process, Mariesa was incredibly efficient, honest, and straight to the point; I was impressed by how much we would be able to accomplish within a 30-minute meeting together. Early on in the application process, Mariesa identified gaps in my application and worked with me to craft a clear course of action to address any weaknesses. Additionally, she created a personalized timeline to give me goalposts to work towards, with regular check-ins to keep me on track. For instance, although I had a solid undergrad GPA (3.8 from an Ivy), Mariesa encouraged me to improve my GRE score, baking in time for retakes (which I ended up needing), and with her careful planning and support, helped me land a 332 which certainly helped bolster my application.

Mariesa is also a clear communicator and quick to identify opportunities to stand out in a competitive applicant pool. I was originally matched with Mariesa because of her marketing background; with my own experience in Consumer/Retail, Mariesa was able to quickly understand my backstory and help me weave a cohesive story while identifying key moments that still felt true to who I am. With her support, I was fortunate to receive admission to both Harvard and Wharton for the Class of 2025. Mariesa’s support was invaluable and I would highly recommend her (+ the whole Gatehouse team) to anyone undergoing the MBA admissions process!

  HBS and Wharton Admit

To speak with Mariesa, request a free consultation with Gatehouse Admissions today.