|All Reviews > Kathryn Lucas > Kathryn Lucas Reviews|
Joined: Jan 20, 2020
I was referred to Kathryn and the Square One Prep team by my cousins who had worked with Kathryn directly, so I had the benefit of some prior knowledge of how the process works, but I can definitely say that the work and help lived up to and surpassed the hype!
I was a bit nervous about applying to business school, and HBS in particular, due to me perceiving that my “traditional” career path in finance was uninspiring, combined with what I was told was a low GPA for HBS. However, after an introductory call with Kathryn, I quickly decided to not only apply, but also work with Square One and Kathryn directly. What impressed me so much on that call, and continued to be the case throughout the entire process, was Kathryn’s thoughtful questions, encouraging yet honest feedback, and ability to uncover the “why” and help me realize things about my past career/academic/extracurricular experiences that I didn’t even appreciate at initial reflection. Most importantly though, Kathryn always told me what I needed to hear even if at times it didn’t line up with what I wanted to hear. While it was frustrating at times, looking back on it, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This tough love was all geared towards creating a compelling, genuine, and strong candidacy.
The Square One process as a whole is extremely well-crafted and ensures that everything builds upon itself to really create a wholesome application. From the initial assessment to the school selection to the resume building to the recommender selection/recommendation package preparation to the career narrative crafting and finally the essay brainstorming/iterating, everything was so thoughtfully done and allowed me to deeply reflect on myself, my past experiences, my business school ambitions, and my ultimate career goals. Kudos to Kathryn, Bailey and the rest of the team for creating such an effective process!
Kathryn was also always available to chat and help on short notice and most hours of the day (sometimes I would wonder when Kathryn sleeps!). I had my initial intro call with Kathryn about 6/7 months before the Round 1 deadlines while I was preparing for the GRE. She was supportive and provided sound advice during that process, checking in as well to make sure that substantial progress was being made since without the GRE/GMAT there’s no application to be done at all. She was then available to chat almost weekly – at times twice a week – once we started officially working on the applications and essays themselves about 3 months ahead of the deadlines (in addition to the dialogue over the phone, we were always in constant communication via email and Kathryn was very responsive). She was always there to help me if I got stuck in my thoughts; her extensive and broad experience consulting in these applications processes was evident by how quickly she was able to absorb information and then ask the right questions to help me find clarity and/or advise on the correct path forward.
Once I received interview invitations, Kathryn’s help and guidance was invaluable. The interview prep guide helped me get ready to articulate my thoughts and experiences in a concise manner, which I can struggle to do as evidenced by the above. The mock interview debriefs were also super helpful – after each mock (we did one general behavioral one and one for HBS), Kathryn would go question by question and in a very detailed manner break down the strengths and weaknesses of each answer and provide the thoughtful and necessary feedback (again, sometimes conflicting with what I wanted to hear, but ultimately it was for my own good!) in order for me to succeed. These mocks helped me get the kinks out of my system and perform my best – and importantly be myself – on the actual interview days and eventually secure the admission offers.
I never thought HBS would be an attainable option for me, but thanks to Kathryn’s help that dream has now become a reality! I could not be more thankful for all of her guidance, and yes, the tough love too!
Joined: Jan 02, 2020
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I can't thank Kathryn and the team at Square One Prep enough for all their help and support. From finding which were the best schools for me, to crafting a plan on how to get the most out of school visits to ultimately brainstorming and creating a full MBA package, Kathryn was there every step of the way and I can't imagine going through the process without her help. The candid and thorough feedback I received throughout the process allowed me to create the best application possible. Kathryn worked tirelessly and was incredibly hands on as we created essays and letter of recommendation packages. Her commitment to helping me was boundless as she knew how much it meant to me to get into the right MBA program. She knew how to get the best out of me and highlight my strengths throughout the application. I owe so much to Kathryn and the Square One team!
Joined: Dec 20, 2019
I had worked with several different consultants who told me that my GRE score was too low to even apply to my desired schools. Kathryn and her team not only helped to build up my confidence to consider applying and improve my GRE score, they coached me through a highly organized action plan to set me up for success. Kathryn made herself available to me 24/7 to walk through any questions or concerns, and continued to fill me with positivity helping me realize my goals were within reach. They helped me feel confident throughout a rigorous process. I would recommend her a million times over.
Joined: Sep 22, 2019
I began the bulk of my MBA applications just months from Round 2 deadlines, along with a lower than average GRE for the programs I was aiming for. Luckily, a friend referred me to Kathryn. I had spoken to several consultants in the past, but Kathryn was unique: she encouraged me to aim high and was convinced I could succeed with a thoughtful application strategy.
Once we kicked off the process, Kathryn wouldn’t hesitate to reinforce a timeline, provide difficult feedback on an essay, or let me know when an aspect of my narrative wasn’t making sense. She was probably tougher than some of my most demanding bosses :) Her honest, yet encouraging approach pushed me to submit materials that reflected my best possible work.
With her guidance I was also able to weave a career narrative that truly excited me. At the end of the process, I knew that even in the event I wasn’t accepted to an MBA program, I would still have an invaluable outcome: a clearer vision for my life and a stronger understanding of my values, interests and goals.
Ultimately, I received invitations to interview with HBS and Wharton, and was accepted to Wharton with a scholarship. I’m excited for my next step and glad I chose to work with Kathryn!
Joined: Nov 01, 2018
710 Q47 V40
I enjoyed working with Kathryn throughout the entire application process. Her experience dealing with both students and admissions committees was invaluable and definitely gave me the edge I was looking for.
Kathryn and her team have an ability to compartmentalize the administrative part of the application process, while also supporting in the creation of the applicant's story for the writing sections.
While the fees are high, I believe that working with Kathryn was a worthy investment - especially when considering the entire tuition and non-tuition fees of a program. I truly believe I would not have gotten accepted into my program without her help.
Joined: Jun 07, 2017
580 Q42 V28
It was an incredible experience working with Kathryn , Bailey, Wendy and my adviser Krasina. They are not just admission consultants, but are counsellors too.
I was introduced to them by one of my friends from Alaska who worked with them last year and got amazing results. I was unsure and hesitant initially because all the other consultants I’d talked with were blunt, telling me that it was unrealistic to apply to US schools with such a low GMAT score (580).However, after my first call with Kathryn I was able to regain some hope and was optimistic about my journey to apply to MBA schools. Brainstorming sessions with them was very helpful and worth it. The team pushed me to get deep into my research on why I want an MBA and how it’s is going to help me. That positioned me to answer such questions with great ease in my essays and during interviews. As the days went by, I gained more confidence in my journey and this happened solely because of their organised, focused, optimistic attitude towards me every step of the way.
Every day counts , which is what I have learnt from them .My adviser Krasina who is a great soul advised me to enjoy this journey instead of anxious – to trust her and the rest of the team. She worked with me on my resume, LORs, and essays. She also helped me with sites and links if I was stuck with my research during the career narrative work. I remember an incident where I pinged her on whatsapp to talk to me right away if free, and in no time she was on call with me. I truly am overwhelmed with all the efforts my adviser Krasina along with Kathryn, Wendy, and Bailey made to help me succeed with my applications.. Thank you so much everyone from the core of my heart for being there for me and help me to make my dream, which seemed to be irrational initially, come true.
Joined: Oct 23, 2017
Kathryn was highly recommended to me by my brother and his network. I did a free consultation call with Kathryn and there itself I had made up my mind that I would work with her to prepare my applications as she showed an amazing ability to understand me, my background and my motivation in that short call. She showed high confidence in my candidacy and that was very important to me, given the track record of Square One Prep's clients' acceptance rate.
Through the applications process, Kathryn was prompt, extremely thoughtful and helped me put my best foot forward. I broadly knew what I wanted to put in my applications and what were my motivations to apply to B-Schools, but Kathryn helped me getting the essence out so beautifully, coherently and honestly that there were moments in the otherwise anxiety-inducing process of applications that I ended up cherishing. Later, having mock-interview with her helped me in boosting my confidence for the real interviews.
Additionally, Kathryn had asked me to give GMAT and get it out of my way as soon as possible. I heard her, but due to various reasons and some faults of my own, I did not give my GMAT for a very long time. In hindsight, I realize that that was the most valuable piece of advice, and she had given it to me for no cost during my free consultation call. Had I had worked on the advice, it would have saved me a lot of energy and would have prevented me from putting myself in tight timelines while also hopping through jobs during the gruelling process of applications. Kathryn was patient and put up with my short timelines cordially. To be respectful of her time and providing her a good window period to help you out, I would suggest candidates try their best to work ahead of the deadlines.
I had started working with Kathryn on a very low budget and had asked her for focussed help to be able to afford her support. Eventually, I applied to more schools than I had thought of (purely my decision, with no coaxing/pressure from Kathryn), and ended up asking for more of Kathryn's time. It did inflate my budget, but since I could see the value she was bringing in, I believed in my instincts and went ahead. In retrospect, that was the best decision ever as it helped me fetch a HUGE scholarship, in addition to getting me into my dream school, Stanford GSB! There was no way this could have been a possibility without Kathryn's support, cheering and confidence in my candidacy.
Joined: Apr 05, 2019
When I first began the business school process, I truly didn’t know where to begin. I only knew I had an ambitious goal for myself: get into a top 5 MBA program. The application process itself is extremely overwhelming, and adding 5 schools into the mix becomes an even more daunting task. Thankfully, I had Kathryn to take me through every step of the way. I can honestly say I would not have been able to do this without her.
From the very beginning, Kathryn pushed me to think critically about my desire to receive an MBA. In our introductory call, we mapped out my career goals in a way that aligned with my interests. It felt like a real conversation, and I will use her advice to me when thinking about my career even beyond the MBA/application process.
While I consider myself a qualified applicant, like many who go through the MBA process I began to doubt that I had characteristics unique enough about me to be accepted into a top program. Coupled with my below average GMAT score (680) for all the schools I was applying to, I nearly considered giving up on the whole idea of applying a few times. I’m so thankful Kathryn was there to push me out of my own head, help me realize my value, and portray it in a meaningful and powerful way to the admissions committees.
In addition, Kathryn’s robust schedule for working together kept me on task and productive as I made my way through 5 applications. She has a truly brilliant system that allows you to craft the best possible story while maintaining true to yourself. By the end of working together, in addition to now having a whole portfolio of essays and a new resume completed, I also felt like I had a practical career journey that I was interested in pursuing long term.
Above all else, Kathryn always made herself available to me as I needed. Her email replies usually took less than 60 seconds, and her reviews of my material had a quick turnaround but were extremely thorough.
Thanks to Kathryn, I can proudly say I received interviews at 4 out of the top 5 programs I applied to, and was formally admitted to 3. Thanks so much to Square one for everything - you really helped my dreams come true!
Joined: Mar 11, 2019
720 Q49 V40
Kathryn helped me prep for the interview stage of my MIT Sloan application by running a mock interview with me and providing detailed feedback.
While preparing for my interview, I was uncertain how my stories would come across to the admissions committee. Through the mock interview, Kathryn was able to pick out which stories worked well, which didn’t add as much value, and which I absolutely had to mention. She also gave me suggestions for improving my narrative by considering the sequence of how I told these stories and the points that I should emphasize. She even provided some insightful observations about my experiences which I hadn’t previously thought of.
Given that I was extremely nervous and panicked about potentially messing up my chances of getting into my top choice school, the most valuable thing Kathryn did was reassure me that I was completely on the right track and, to my surprise, ready for the interview. Of course I was still nervous about the interview, but Kathryn’s guidance went a long way in calming my sheer panic and enabling me to approach the interview with some more confidence. I believe that the right mindset is key to performing your best during an interview.
In the end, the real interview went very well and I am super excited to announce that I received an offer!! A very big thank you to SOP for their hand in this.
Joined: Dec 13, 2016
700 Q51 V32
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It was a wonderful experience working with Kathryn. I had my mock interview 4 days before my final one. Kathryn asked me relevant questions and guided me how to answer them effectively. What was remarkable was the fact that Kathryn understood my profile well and made sure my answers were customized accordingly.
This was my fourth collaboration with Kathryn and amongst the various other important reasons for me to keep going back to her, one key reason was that Kathryn immensely cared about me. She went beyond the professional requirements to help me and understand my profile. She was dedicated to my success all throughout. She consistently spent more time with me than what I had paid for to ensure my success.
The experience was very helpful as it prepared me well for the interview and boosted my confidence. I would any day recommend Square One for your MBA prep.