Critical Square Admissions Consulting Reviews
    Number of reviews [29]      Average Rating:       (5.0/5)
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Critical Square is a firm founded on one simple principle: each candidate is unique. In an increasingly competitive environment, the way we go about helping clients hasn’t changed one bit and that’s because our process delivers results. We’re more than just admissions consultants. We’re mentors and friends as well and that’s at the heart of everything we do. Your goals and passions are what make you unique and we work with you to put together the perfect application that conveys that. We don’t write your essays for you or give you materials to leverage, because that isn’t fair and that isn’t you. But we stand by you every step of the way to make sure you’re prepared to navigate a complex and important process.

Great value for money! May 01 | 2015
1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
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     By PTK 1426 709
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

Some, but not all

This review is for: Critical Square Tactical Package

I would like to share with GMAT club members my experience with Critical Square (CS) and my consultant.
In short - I really enjoyed my experience and would strongly recommend CS!

I have read lots of positive reviews here on GC and decided to try CS's services for a R3 application (INSEAD asks for 5 essays and they are not easy).
My background: European and no-native speaker, 30+ years old, WE: big4 audit->big4 advisory, then a specific kind of PE fund. Post-MBA goal to advance in my current industry.
This was my third application season and therefore I was pretty aware of who am I, what are my career goals, why MBA, why school X, etc. Therefore I picked their Tactical Package (1 review of resume and 2 rounds of essay review) and it proved to be excellent decision both in terms of value for money and pick of right package. Admissions consultant will not write essay for you, he/she will help you fill the gaps between your thoughts(in essays), compress your thoughts, cut the fluff, and provide really helpfull insight.
Please, if you feel uncertain regarding which package to choose, consult with them am I sure that they will help you and advice to choose the package, which will best fit your needs.

In my review I will follow the following structure:
Did you enjoy the process? - Yes, my consultant was very nice and friendly during the whole process. I even asked him some questions less/ or even not relevant to my application and he was very helpful in this regard too. I would say I do regret that I had not much time to work/talk with my consultant. He is very smart, easy going and funny person.
Was it stressful? - No, it was least stressful MBA application for me, because I was not alone, and I had someone who advised, helped and supported me during this challenging process. Moreover, when the person is positive and nice. The most stressful/challenging part was that I decided to use CS's service just 2 weeks before the deadline (please do not commit my mistake). Since the turnaround time was for about 3 days I was very stressed about the deadline (I did not want o submit my application in last hour). To alleviate my stress (I think he realized how important is to get things done in time). My consultant was really nice and replied within 2 days. This made my application experience even less stressful
Did they meet your expectations? - CS even exceeded my initial expectations. From the very beginning I though that "the cheapest package will give you less attention and value for money". However after first review of essays I realized how deep my consultant dug inside my essays and how relevant and helpful were his comments and/or questions.
What was their greatest strength? Quality of essay review. Experience. Commitment. Fast turnaround of essays. Compressing of my thoughts in essays (as a non-native speaker sometimes I use a lot of words to describe/explain something). My consultant is a word-wizard. He cut the fluff and compressed some of my sentences without losing intended meaning. Moreover he helped me to address some points in essays I missed to cover or misinterpreted.
What was their weakest part? - Ok, any feedback without things to improve would look suspicious or less credible. So I will post some points here. At the very beginning you will receive a self-assessment form to complete. I have spent 3-4 days to complete it, some questions are very detailed or seemed to me less relevant. I dont know whether it is the same form CS use for all packages or it is tailored to each package, but i did not feel we (me and my consultant) used much of information from it during the process. So if you are choosing Tactical package and know you story very well please dont spend much time on it, or ask your consultant which pages/para you may skip or not provide lot of details.
What was the outcome? - I was invited to interview and lately was not admitted to INSEAD, but I barely think it was due to my essays. They were really strong and shine brightly. I think the reason of my denial was a very specific/strange interview experience I had with my second interviewer, but that's another story. I reworked my INSEAD essays for other schools and was accepted to UNC Kenan-Flagler (my interview was OK), which proves that I and my consultant worked hard to submit a very strong application essays.

Dear consultant, thank you very much for your hard work and commitment!

Guys, good luck with your applications to your dream schools!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
     By ElCorazon 33 10
This review is for: Critical Square Hourly Services | Consultant: Bhavik Trivedi

I would like to share my positive experience working with Critical Square, whose support just helped me get an offer at a top-10 programme for the MBA class of 2018.

I applied to business school as a consultant looking to move into a higher-tier firm. I decided to use Critical Square based on positive online reviews and my experiences from a free consultation. When first considering an MBA I had reached out to a few admissions companies for free consultations, to get an honest view on my chances and an idea of shortfalls in my profile.

In some cases I felt the consultants told me what I wanted to hear but the Critical Square rep were positive about my chances whilst being honest about how competitive the process would be, and they gave me practical suggestions on areas to work on. They were also extremely helpful with my numerous follow-up questions in the months following our consultation.

I initially decided to go it alone with my application as I have had a pretty strong story from the start about why an MBA is the right path for me at this point. I got into a fairly strong position with my essays, but eventually decided I wanted a second pair of eyes, given how big an application this was to me. I therefore bought a couple of hours of review time with Critical Square and I can honestly say it was a fantastic investment that far exceeded my expectations, for three key reasons:

1. Critical feedback. This is obviously the main thing you'd hope for and I couldn't have asked for more. I received excellent advice on my essay content, including suggestions on where I could be more specific, comments on phrases that came across badly, and suggestions for additional points to consider. Some comments pointed out weaknesses I hadn't noticed, such as the fact I would introduce a paragraph but then talk about something else. Some called out weaknesses I knew were there but had been too lazy to address. The feedback gave me the motivation to go a further level deeper in terms of quality and detail.

2. Value for money. Fantastic - for a relatively small outlay I received great, comprehensive advice. I got feedback comments very promptly, despite this being around Round 1 deadline time. As with my experience during the free consultant, they carried on answering my questions after my time was up, which is one of the main reasons I am writing this feedback.

3. Style. One of the reasons I didn't initially use a consultant was that I was very keen to preserve my own voice and tell an authentic story. Critical Square allowed me to do this. Comments forced me to tighten up my goals, challenge weak points and do additional research on specific areas, but did not simply spoon-feed me phrases. At no point did I feel my essays had stopped becoming my own. If you want to present the best version of yourself, rather than a fictitious version of yourself that may or may not collapse at interview, then I would recommend Critical Square.

For those less clear on their story, and less confident of producing strong first drafts, I am sure a comprehensive package with Critical Square would be a great investment. I can personally vouch for their hourly service, which I found a fantastic way to get a sense-check and final review of my content whilst preserving my sense of integrity and voice. Without re-writing my essays the suggested tweaks significantly improved my essays in terms of overall flow, internal logic, and impact.

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     By Anonymous 0 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

Yes - school of my dreams

This review is for: Critical Square Strategic Package

I was referred to Critical Square by a friend of mine at another bank. I’d been thinking about hiring an MBA consultant for a while but after speaking to a few different firms, I didn’t feel confident that they could help me. I wanted the help and expertise but I wanted to feel comfortable with the company I chose and feel like they really got me. Well, after speaking with Bhavik during the free consultation, I was impressed! He not only understood where I was coming from, but also where I wanted to go and he could articulate it better than I could! He got me. He took the time to ask the right questions and his insights were spot on.

After we spoke, he put me in touch with the consultant that would be the best fit for me. My consultant and I hit it off right from the start. He was honest – brutally so at times – but he was my partner through the process and I knew he had my back.

I worked with my consultant on four schools: Kellogg, Booth, Columbia, and Stern. I got interviews at three and acceptances from two! I’m glad my friend recommended CS to me – I honestly wouldn’t have been able to do this on my own. The best part wasn’t just that I got into my top choices. It was that the entire process was FUN! I enjoyed talking to my consultant and working with him through the applications. He was always right there when I needed him! I’ve stayed in touch with him and he’s been awesome with giving me little tips and tricks about business school too.

I'm heading off to Kellogg this fall and I’ve recommended Critical Square to a lot of my friends. That’s the strongest testimonial I can give!

Thanks you guys!!

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     By darkknight4686 9 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

Some, but not all

This review is for: Critical Square Hourly Services

I had the absolute pleasure of working with Critical Square when applying to several top-10 MBA programs. From the beginning, my consultant took time to critically analyze and understand my unique candidacy in a holistic way. My consultant had tremendous knowledge and insights into the admissions process and knew the unique strengths and attributes of the top MBA programs. He helped to refine my goals and develop a coherent story for my application and then worked diligently to provide clarity and feedback to take my applications to the next level.

The best part of working with Critical Square was that, unlike other consulting firms, he continued having phone conversations after the initial assessment call, which helped answer my questions without ambiguity throughout the process. Overall, I was accepted by a top-10 MBA school of my dreams and I have to thank the team at Critical Square for helping elevate my application to the next level!

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They got it done! March 24 | 2014
     By Anonymous 0 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

Yes - school of my dreams

This review is for: Critical Square Strategic Package

Critical Square delivered. I came to them two weeks before most R2 deadlines with the holidays right around the corner. I hadn’t done anything except take my GMATs and skim a couple of forums late at night. I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I was assigned to a consultant and he laid out an aggressive plan. Even though we were racing against the clock it never showed once. I sent my consultant more emails than I probably should have but he responded to each one quickly and thoroughly regardless of the fact it was Christmas. Two weeks and four applications was really hard but, with my consultant’s help, we knocked it out. He made it so easy – he really helped me think through things. I’m starting at Booth this fall and, looking back at my applications, I know I wouldn’t be here without Critical Square. You guys rock!

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Awesome experience! April 08 | 2014
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     By Anonymous 1865 289
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

Yes - got into all

This review is for: Critical Square Strategic Package

Hire these guys. Seriously – do it. You won’t regret it. I came to Critical Square because my friends at the firm I worked for had used them and were heading off to some amazing programs. I signed up for a free consultation and Bhavik took it from there. Given my background, he assigned me to my Client Manager and made sure he and I spoke before I signed up anything.
It was really transparent and I can’t say the other firms I spoke to were that forthcoming. I could see why Bhavik had partnered me with my consultant – he understood my background and work experience better than I did. He also wasn’t afraid to call BS when he saw it. The entire process was professional and thorough and even my recommenders noticed. I’m excited to be starting at Wharton this fall and I wanted to thank the team for helping me get there!

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     By Anonymous 0 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

Yes - got into all

This review is for: Critical Square Strategic Package

I found the support I received from Critical Square to be invaluable in my MBA applications. When I first spoke to Bhavik and the team I was feeling daunted, if not overwhelmed, by the process. I knew that I wanted to study an MBA and had the right credentials but didn't really know how to go about deciding where to apply much less what it would actually involve. The plethora of sites giving advice online only made my confusion and anxiety worse.

It was a great relief to speak to someone who had been through the process many times before and was able to give direct and candid advice as well as reassurance when I needed it. We discussed my options and the criteria that are important when considering which business schools to apply to and came up with a list that would help me with my post-MBA goals. We chose a mix of programs and I didn’t feel like I was being advised to apply to safer programs. We made sure we included stretch programs – as they put it, “You only do this once. If you don’t apply, you’ll never know!” This pattern of helpful and practical support continued throughout the application process from how to choose the right recommenders to knowing what to expect from my interviews and stood me in good stead throughout.

Things have worked out even better than I had hoped! I was accepted into all the schools to which I applied and I am currently deciding whether to attend Berkeley Haas (my top choice) or Michigan Ross where I have been offered a full scholarship. To say I am delighted by this outcome is an understatement!

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     By Anonymous 0 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

N/A

This review is for: Critical Square Discovery Package

Given my plans to apply to MBA programs in 2016 / 17 I used Critical Square for their Discovery Package to assess my profile and develop a game plan for the next couple of years. I found the service to be of exceptional quality. The initial phone consultation gave me a chance to introduce myself and ask whatever questions I had pertaining to admissions, the GMAT exam, and the MBA process in general. I instantly developed a good relationship with the consultant as he covered more than areas for discussion than what other consultants of equal firms offered. The consultant was able to provide me with a balance of detail and advice for questions or concerns I had to help me move forward.
The second phone consultation was an even more in-depth conservation which we had a little while later. This allowed me to provide enough background about myself with regards to work experience, leadership roles, academics, etc. The consultant asked specific questions regarding my goals and why I wanted to do an MBA. More than the consultant, this was of a very helpful service as it allowed me to measure my existing profile from various angles, determine where I stood relative to other applicants, and how I faired with regards to admissions at potential schools of my interest. The report prepared by the consultant after the phone call was given me within a couple of days and it provided a very detailed analysis of my profile as well as how to carve a path ahead so I can better position myself when the time for applications is near.
Overall, I had a great experience with Critical Square. The consultants are readily available to answer any questions and also the quality of service provided so far has been up-to mark and superior. No matter the stage one is at with regards to MBA pre-planning process, I definitely recommend working with Critical Square!

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Critical Square July 01 | 2014
reviewer identity verified by post count
     By Anonymous 311 28
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

Yes - school of my dreams

I discovered Critical Square on GMAT Club when Bhavik responded (in detail) to a question I posted. I started on the process early in the summer so I was working through essays. The feedback on the forum was incredibly helpful but after a few back and forths with Bhavik, I decided to sign up for a free consultation. A thorough (like, 2.5 hours thorough!) consultation call later, I decided I wanted to work with these guys. The conversation was super useful and we talked about everything from my experiences to my goals to my personal preferences and styles to schools. I was assigned to my consultant but Bhavik stayed in the picture at beginning given how much we had already chatted. Together, we decided on a set of 4 schools that were better aligned to my goals and profile. In fact, I was only paying for 2 of them, but they still gave me a detailed report of all 4, and the pros and cons of each.

I worked with my consultant on Tepper and Goizueta. He did a great job of helping me candidly address my weaknesses and accentuating my strengths. He would constantly push me to dig deeper and think of examples. The support didn't end when I hit submit and he also did a great job of preparing me for a business school style interview. After the first couple of sessions, my consultant knew I need a little extra practice so they set up a couple of extra sessions. They never made me feel like there was a limit - they said Comprehensive and they definitely meant it. In the end, I ended up getting into my #1 choice and that's all I could ask for. Not to mention, they're just all really nice people that are always available for questions!

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Great and enjoyable experience November 18 | 2014
     By jhy42002 25 9
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

N/A

This review is for: Critical Square Launch Critical

Working with Critical Square, my consultant in particular, has been a great experience. I used their last minute review services. My consultant has pointed out a lot of the major mistakes I was making on my application, so I can correct them before it was too late. My consultant is a very fun person to work with. He knows how to highlight the experiences I had to the adcom. The turnaround time was amazingly fast, especially considering how busy he must have been during such time(two days before deadline of several schools). In a nutshell, it has been an awesome experience working with them. You are in good hands if you choose them.

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