|All Reviews > Kathryn Lucas > Kathryn Lucas Reviews|
Joined: Apr 12, 2018
680 Q45 V38
When I first decided to apply to business school, I immediately felt overwhelmed with the thought of the application process - the essays, interviews and all the work that goes behind it.On top of that, I knew I came from an overly represented demographic – Indian females. If it weren’t for Square One Prep, I wouldn’t have known where to even start the process.
Kathryn does a brilliant job at making this long arduous process easy and manageable for you. She will make sure you keep to the deadlines she’ll create for you and will ensure you put your best foot forward. What I was most impressed about Kathryn was her attention and interest in your career goals and why you want to pursue an MBA. She not only helped me craft a beautiful story for my essays but also helped me develop a career narrative. Kathryn went out of her way connecting me to other applicants/ personal network so I could work on my goals effectively.
Kathryn is honest when giving feedback which at sometimes can feel harsh going through this difficult process. But you need to trust she’s doing this to make you look the best in your application and interviews. She has an ability to push you - outside of what you think you are capable of. I was amazed at how I and my essay story grew working alongside with Kathryn.
Kathryn was always available for any questions/ concerns I had during the process and to review my work. There were times when I fell through on the milestone deadlines that S1P created for me but Kathryn would quickly notice and help me get me on track. Even though Kathryn supports multiple applicants, it never feels so! She’s always genuinely interested in you getting into your top school of choice.
Getting into HBS has been a childhood dream and I don’t think it would have been possible without Kathryn’s continuous support and encouragement. I honestly can’t believe the success I’ve had with my applications and I don’t think that would have been possible without Kathryn!
Thank you for all your help!!
Did you work with a consultant as well or just Kathryn?
Joined: May 21, 2017
770 Q49 V47
I had strong test scores (GMAT 770), some interesting experience, top 5 undergrad school, but also average grades (3.2 GPA) and had bounced around in my career a lot. I was pretty much clueless about where I had a chance of getting into. Ultimately, I would described my results as mixed, but Kathryn gave me tons of confidence and working with her was a joy.
I called 10-15 consultants for free consultations since I knew I would need a lot of help presenting a clear, succinct narrative about my varied experiences. Almost all of them told me I had no chance at HSW (and maybe they were right) and discouraged me from applying. One even told me I should wait a year and then maybe I'd have a chance at a top 15 school. My feeling was that most consultants are highly motivated by their acceptance rates, so they're incentivized to take fewer risks with their clients.
The thing that really struck me about Kathryn was that she actually encouraged me to shoot above my expectations, and she conveyed a real conviction that she could help me get there. The fact that she was willing to risk hurting S1P's acceptance rates by having me apply to HSW convinced me that I could trust her 100% and that she really thought we could accomplish those goals together. This was in stark contrast to many of the other consultants I spoke with, and convinced me she was the advisor I should work with.
Kathryn is extremely diligent and accessible. She helped me at crazy hours day and night, and she was immediately responsive if/when I wanted to make last-minute changes on due dates.
She makes you feel challenged throughout a tough, extensive, honest reflection process, but you come out with lots of confidence and a better understanding of yourself. It's a surprisingly introspective process. She asks questions you might not have thought of, and uncovers experiences from your past you forgot about or didn't realize were relevant. She does a remarkable job of helping you discover what's important to you and what will be important to present about yourself.
Kathryn was helping me craft a narrative about my experience in the human capital space, which I suspected might be challenging at some places but unique/compelling at others. I was disappointed to be rejected without interview at H/S/W + Sloan -- I thought S1P and I had done a great job putting my best foot forward, but of course I knew all of these might be reach schools for me. The good news is that I was accepted with a $25K fellowship at another M7 school, which I was thrilled about. Again, my career background was non-traditional and I got a huge range of feedback from different consultants, so it really was difficult for me to gauge how strong a chance I had at each of these schools. That said, Kathryn helped me build strong applications I was confident in, and even though I was rejected from 4 of my 5 schools, I think the unique case she helped me build really stood out and paid off with a big win at one of my top choice schools.
The fellowship more than paid for the cost of S1P's services, and I suspect without them I would have been either rejected or accepted without fellowship. So I think the investment in S1P actually saved me money in addition to helping me get in.
Joined: Jul 08, 2016
720 Q47 V42
I was initially hesitant to apply to MBA programs and was nervous about my chance of acceptance by a top 10 program. I spoke to a number of consultants before deciding on Kathryn and S1P. Not only did she demonstrate the same or higher level of insight into the application process as the other highly recommended consultants, she also displayed incredible emotional empathy and positivity that sealed the deal for me.
Despite having a traditional finance background professionally (banking to private equity), I had a very different background personally. Without her support, I doubt I would have been able to write my essays at all, nevermind effectively communicate a cohesive story to the adcoms. With her help, I applied to four top 5 programs and received offers to two of them!
Some key highlights of my experience:
- Very knowledgeable – Kathryn has great insight into the adcoms and their evaluation process (more random than I thought!). That insight was invaluable in helping me select essay topics that would allow me to tell my story in the effective way – acknowledging my challenges whilst highlighting my achievements. Her expertise permeated the process, helping me through online forms, short answers, interview prep, and more
- Very supportive (but firm!) – This was one of the most important and valuable parts of my own experience with Kathryn. I was a mess of insecurity and self-doubt throughout the process but Kathryn was always there to pull me up, including talking me through my first rejection. She has a lot of positive energy that makes her a joy to speak and work with. She was supportive but realistic and firm with me. For example, if I slipped behind on a deadline, she would definitely let me know!
- Depth of resources – One benefit of working with an established firm such as S1P is their deep bench of knowledge and resources. For example, I could bounce essay ideas / tone / style on Kathryn and she was able to draw on all of S1P’s resources to give me feedback based on other essays and applications that were successful in the past
I am thankful to have worked with Kathryn during my application process and have recommended her and S1P to my close friends. Think about how important the MBA is to your career – you do yourself a disservice if you don’t at least consider working with S1P
Joined: Nov 13, 2016
690 Q47 V37
Deciding on Square One Prep was without a doubt the best decision I made during my long and challenging MBA application journey and the easiest one, I knew I wanted to work with Kathryn long before my 30 minute free consultation ended even though I had a couple of other free consultations scheduled with other top MBA consultants.
Kathryn and Eva not only made this mentally grueling and exhausting process feel seamless by creating a structured plan for me to apply to 6 programs while still pursuing my GMAT target score in less than three months, a feat I though impossible but also insightful as I came out knowing myself much better than when I started though out all the thorough and challenging questioning they both had during the whole process.
Having said that the two things I most valued of having worked with Kathryn and Eva are their immense knowledge of business school application process and their critical honesty.
Their immense knowledge not only allowed me to avoid the horrible mistake of wanting to postpone my application because I felt unsecure about my GMAT but also made me feel secure going into the interviews.
Their critical honesty was essential throughout the whole process not only because it avoided wasting time, a luxury I did not have, but also because it allowed me develop the best application I could present.
Finally I would like to say every penny spent working with them was well worth the investment and that getting into Wharton would not have been possible without both of them (Kathryn and Eva) and for that I will be forever grateful to them.
Joined: Nov 28, 2016
730 Q49 V40
As a school that I had considered a far reach, I honestly believe S1P was the make or break difference for my Stanford offer. The essays that I was able to craft with John and Kathryn were realistically in a different league from what I may have done on my own. Not to say that they weren’t authentic, quite the contrary, they were probably some of the most authentic pieces that I’ve ever written, even helping me gain clarity on aspects of my personality and career goals.
Essays aside, S1P was able to help me present my profile with the best foot forward, be that through my CV or during the interview process. As a fairly accomplished young professional I had thought I was already adept at doing this, but you’d be amazed what you don’t know. Kathryn would take a ruthlessly critical approach to all aspects of your application, which is EXACTLY what you’d want when signing up for an admissions consultant.
Honestly, if you’re serious about getting into a top business school, throw down the money for S1P, you’ll be surprised what a difference it will make to the end product of your application.
Joined: Jan 03, 2018
650 Q45 V35
The MBA application process started off as one of the most intimidating experiences I had ever come across. I was overwhelmed by the amount of work that laid in front of me. After a strong recommendation, I was introduced to Square One Prep. The process quickly became manageable, and I felt like I had a support system that wouldn't let me fail. Not only did I achieve peace of mind in having Square One Prep support me every step of the way, but I learned a great ordeal about myself throughout the process. Kathryn pushed me past my comfort zone and forced me to think deeper and more critically, always keeping in mind the admission team's perspective. When I got into my top schools, I received feedback from an admissions rep. that I nailed every piece of my application, from the essays to the interviews. I would not have achieved that accomplishment without Kathryn and Square One Prep.I am beyond grateful for what they have done for me!!
Joined: Jan 22, 2018
720 Q46 V42
For anyone considering an application advisor ahead of a daunting business school application process, allow me to provide my full and unwavering support for Kathryn and everyone at Square One Prep. Kathryn and the team completely reconfigured my approach towards business school applications, and made what otherwise seemed like an insurmountable, fruitless venture into one that was filled with self-reflection, creativity, structure and excitement!
Square One is expertly methodical in their approach, ensuring that each and every application is well crafted, on schedule, and most importantly, a thought provoking, unique representation of your candidacy.
From reconfiguring my resume (wildly different from the traditional industry-specific CV that we’ve all come to know), to refining my career narrative time and time again, Square One was an invaluable resource throughout every step of my process. Most importantly, Square One helped me to truly believe that I could one day make the dream of attending a top-tier business school a reality. I’m confident that Square One was an integral advisor throughout my business school application process, and I’m not sure I would be heading to school in the fall without their expert support and consultation.
Joined: Jan 09, 2018
730 Q48 V42
I was a client with SquareOne over two years after being referred from a former classmate and ultimately was accepted to one school out of the three where I applied. Given where I was in my career, I figured that I only wanted to attend b-school if I got into one of my three “dream” schools and three rejections would not be the end of the world. Since I was far from a shoe-in at any school I applied to, SquareOne was clearly a huge benefit to my candidacy, and there’s a good chance I would not be attending b-school this fall without their support.
I had an initial call with Kathryn where she walked me through the process and served up a well-needed dose of reality regarding my odds. This motivation was critical to me putting forth my best effort in my essays and application later on down the road. Subsequently, I was paired with an advisor (Joey) who I clicked with immediately given his similar background and great sense of humor. Combined with Kathryn’s regular check-ins, I always felt like I had a team supporting me and pushing me forward.
Given I had somewhat of a conventional background (top 25 school -> investment banking -> middle market private equity), I knew my biggest application hurdle would be crafting my story. Joey was absolutely instrumental in helping me create a story and essays that would resonate with the reader. Frankly, I was not sure where to even begin, but through hours of brainstorming and outlining on the phone together, my story became possibly my biggest application strength. Personally, SquareOne’s greatest value-add lies in this iterative process which focuses on your unique strengths, humanizes the voice behind your essay, and ties everything together in a way that admissions officers will get excited about.
When it came down to the wire in the month before the Round 1 application deadline, Kathryn and Joey were with me every step of the way (which is critical given the amount of stress during that time), and I’m still amazed at how much progress I made. In addition, Joey went above and beyond with me during my interview preparation which I truly appreciated. As a comparison, I had several colleagues who were also applying but had hired different consultants, and I am confident that I received the best level of service and value from my consultant out of the group.
All in all I would highly recommend SquareOne to aspiring b-school applicants. Given the level of competition for top b-schools today, hiring a consultant is essential, and SquareOne more than exceeded my expectations.
Joined: Jan 06, 2018
660 Q47 V34
I started the business school process truly interested in one school, Harvard, but realizing the competitive nature of the applicant pool I decided to hire a consultant. I interviewed several firms to understand which would work best for me, and from my initial contact with Kathryn, I immediately knew that Square One was the perfect fit. I contacted Kathryn for a free consultation, within minutes she responded, and we set up a time to speak. During that conversation Kathryn emphasized her company’s unique approach to the business application process explaining how each client would work directly with her and another advisor to develop your application. I selected Amalia to be my advisor and had a fantastic experience working with her and Kathryn. Although I applied to other schools, both Amalia and Kathryn knew that I was interested HBS and helped me present the best application I could.
Amalia and I kicked things off with several multi-hour calls where she learned more about my personal / professional interests along with my career goals. Next over the subsequent months we worked on every component of my application. I found Amalia to be incredibly responsive and particularly enjoyed crafting my essays with her. She did a great job of editing my ideas to make sure that my unique voice remained intact. Even though we spent several months working on this part of the application, it never seemed like a chore. Across every other component of my application, Amalia provided great insight and Kathryn was there to check in and also provide her brutally honest feedback. I found her comments on my essays, resume, and recommendation strategy to be very helpful.
Overall, what stood out to me the most about Square One is that they really seemed to take a genuine interest in making sure I got into the school of my choice. They listened to my concerns and provided answers to all of my questions. I remember receiving “good luck” emails from both Kathryn and Amalia the day before my HBS interview and the day before decisions were released. It was these and other small gestures throughout my time working with them that made the difference and ultimately allowed me to gain acceptance to Harvard Business School. I would fully recommend Square One to anyone!
Joined: Dec 29, 2017
740 Q47 V44
During the last few months while applying to business school, my best friend has been Kathryn Lucas. Kathryn goes above and beyond the role of a typical business school consultant. She becomes your editor-in-chief, confidant (who you can cry to), therapist, and best friend. I can say with full confidence that she was an integral part of why I was accepted into HBS, the GSB, and Wharton.
If you are looking for sugar coated feedback, do not work with Kathryn. She is honest and will only tell you the truth, not what you want to hear. Her critiques pushed me to write many versions of each essay until it truly told my story. She reviewed draft after draft responding to emails and phone calls any time of the day or night.
Arguably, the most valuable part of working with Square One Prep is their immense knowledge of the business school application process. Kathryn prevented me from making many mistakes that typical applicants would. She encouraged me to submit an application that demonstrated who I was rather than who I thought the business schools wanted me to be. Her wisdom and coaching were invaluable.
I wholeheartedly recommend working with Square One Prep. I cannot imagine going through the process without Kathryn!
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