Mary Huffmann

    
Number of reviews [7]


Company: Square One Prep
Packages: Square One Prep Premium Service   Square One Prep Hourly Service  
Mary Huffmann's Reviews
Stanford GSB - here I come!
August 02 | 2016
reviewer identity verified by school email address
     By StanfordGSBAdmit 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

This review is for: Square One Prep Hourly Service
Consultant: Mary Huffmann

I worked with Mary and Kathryn from Square One Prep on my application to MBA Class of 2018 at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. As an international applicant, I felt like I could need some professional advice on the whole application process. By the time I reached out to Kathryn from Square One Prep, I had already worked with other admissions consultants on my applications to Harvard, London Business School, and INSEAD. However, I was not completely satisfied with my experience, so I wanted to try Square One Prep for my last application - which was probably also the most critical one (and the one with the least chances of getting in).

Before officially starting to work with Square One Prep, I had several initial conversations with Kathryn, the founder herself, about my profile. Kathryn's perspective was extremely valuable and her approach was very different to other admissions consultants, many of whom had quickly given me their sales pitch and were lacking a personal note. It's hard to describe in words, but I felt like Kathryn actually cared about my success - and that made me want to work with her firm.

Based on my profile, I was given a choice of three consultants and chose to work with Mary and this has probably been the best decision I made in the whole application process. Mary is a great consultant and with her help, I was able to craft two extremely personal essays. If you're thinking of working with someone, I would definitely give Mary my highest recommendations, because she is genuinely interested in your story and really pushes you to show your personality in your essays.

Since I have worked with a total of 3 consultants from different firms, I can say with certainty that my experience with Square One Prep was by far the best. And even though I ended up getting into the other programs I applied to, I chose Stanford in the end. Thank you Kathryn and Mary for helping me along the way - and for genuinely believing in me throughout the process.

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Phenomenally Helpful
March 13 | 2016
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     By bm8923e 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Mary Huffmann

After an unsuccessful attempt at applying to schools on my own, a family friend that utilized Square One Prep with great results, recommended Kathryn and her team of advisors. My advisor, Mary, was just fantastic and helped me put down on paper what I had previously struggled to convey to admissions committees. I consider myself a good writer and have been in surgical sales for over 7 years, yet I had no idea how to sell myself successfully. What I had previously considered to be very thoughtful and thorough essays were not at all what academic admissions committee members were looking for from applicants. Mary helped me to specifically explain who I am, why I want an MBA from a school and how I fit in within their ideal pool of offered applicants. Mary and Kathryn even worked around my schedule, when I was out of the country and off the grid for over 2 weeks, and we were still able to meet all application deadlines. Mary took my calls and e-mails throughout her work day and even on many weekends, she was phenomenal. Be prepared to prepare. It is a lot of work, but knowing that there is an advisor reviewing and working just as hard as you, is very reassuring. They have the same goal as you, getting you into business school. Thank you for all of your guidance and help!

I couldn't be happier because I am not only heading to my top choice school; I also got a full scholarship!

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Money Well Spent!
January 24 | 2016
reviewer identity verified by school email address
     By Anonymous 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

This review is for: Square One Prep Hourly Service
Consultant: Mary Huffmann

I could not be happier with my decision to work with Square One Prep – both based on the process and based on the outcome.
I will admit that I was highly skeptical of using a consultant when I first started the application process. My scores and background were all in line with averages from the top business schools, and I had a compelling story in place. I thought that a consultant might not be useful since I didn’t have a problem to address in my application.
I spoke with a few firms just in case, and had mostly sales-y conversations. But when I spoke with Kathryn – Square One’s owner - for my Square One free consultation, I knew this conversation was different. Instead of a praise laden sales call, Kathryn dug right into the nitty-gritty of my resume – pointing out concerns that I hadn’t even thought of. She spent over an hour on the phone with me, giving away valuable application advice – all for free. Kathryn’s frank and honest approach, and her clear depth of knowledge on the process, convinced me that Square One would be an invaluable asset to my application process. Plus, Square One was one of the most reasonably priced firms that I spoke with.
When I was handed over to my actual consultant, I paused. Could she possibly be as good as Kathryn was, I wondered? Well as it turns out, she was. I worked with Mary throughout the application process, from resume creation to essay editing to interview prep. Mary could not have been more fantastic! Though I had a few friends and family read drafts of essays, none of their advice compared to the advice Mary gave. And let’s be honest – it just can’t. Your friends and family didn’t have the experience, nor the endless patience, that Mary does. And on top of that, it was clear that I was more than just a paycheck to her. She truly cared about helping me reach my goals.
Oh, and if you’re worried about never seeing Kathryn’s amazing-ness again – fear not! Kathryn did a final review of all of my work, so I got to benefit from both Mary and Kathryn’s great insights.
The care Mary and Kathryn have for their clients was especially clear over Labor Day weekend. My most importantly application was due in a few days, and I had a moment of crisis over the essay. Not only did both Mary and Kathryn work with me over the holiday, but Kathryn spent an hour on the phone with me for free, talking me through all the needed changes.
In the end, I was accepted to my dream school! I’ll be starting at HBS in the fall.
I’ll answer a question a few of you might be asking. Could I have gotten in without using a consultant? Maybe. But working with Square One allowed me to go through the application process as a much more confident, calm, and happy candidate. I have no idea how I would have gotten through it without Kathryn and Mary.

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

This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Mary Huffmann

At least for me the search for an admissions consultant company was not easy. It’s not only a large financial commitment but also finding the right company can make a world of difference. I spoke to more than 10 firms and from the first time I talked with Kathryn from Square One Prep I felt they were completely different from the rest. I was looking for a personalized service that could cater to my specific needs and not a service that made me feel like I'm only one more. The individual attention I got from Square One Prep was exactly what I was looking for. My consultant, Mary, was always available even on odd hours and she also replied to all my e-mails quickly. I couldn't believe she never took more than 24 hours to correct something. This kind of treatment made a world of difference and allowed me to apply to 6 schools in only 2 months.

The entire application process with Square One Prep was simple and painless. You work closely with a consultant that is always there for you and then all your work is reviewed by Kathryn to get that high level, fresh perspective. This system generated positive results for me.

Another thing that I think is worth mentioning is the invaluable knowledge that having an American consultant brings. I’m from Brazil and I was in doubt if I should take a local consultant or an American one. Every interaction that I had with Square One Prep was seamless (probably even more productive than an in person meeting (you lose time with traffic, strict appointment times, etc…), Also, the knowledge that you get by having someone on the ground in America in direct contact with admissions, that knows the culture and what they want, is really precious.

In large part thanks to Square One Prep I got accepted in Columbia Business School, my first school choice. Thank you all!!!

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

This review is for: Square One Prep Hourly Service
Consultant: Mary Huffmann

I was skeptical coming into the MBA application process about hiring an application consultant. Applying to business school itself is expensive (test prep for GMAT/GRE, application fees, flights and hotels for visits to schools and maybe again for interviews). As an employee of a nonprofit organization, I didn't have $12,000 and oodles of Starwood points to throw at the process (a verbatim quote/estimate I received from another application consulting firm).

I also had smart, thoughtful friends who had volunteered to read draft, after draft, after draft, of essays.

So why did I choose Square One? After interviewing six of the top application consultants, Square One stood out from the pack for the following reasons:

1) My consultation phone call with Kathryn was nearly two hours long. Everywhere else, I talked to a salesperson who gave me exactly my 30 minutes, and no more. Kathryn had clear and specific advice for my application, answered all of my questions, and effectively challenged my strongly held notion that it wasn't worth working with a consultant who had not previously been an admissions officer.

2) Their pricing is very reasonable compared to all of the other companies. Kathryn worked with me to create an a la carte package that met my needs and my budget. I never felt upsold or the pressure to go "all in" on a single (or more) schools.

3) As someone who prides myself on my own expertise, it became clear that although there were not always "right" answers, some answers were more right than others. Only experts who had read hundreds of essays, built relationships with the adcoms, and/or had some experience on the inside could tell me how to put my best foot forward. Friends and family did also read my essays for authenticity, but my application strategy was developed by my consultant and me.

So what was my experience like? Again, focusing on the parts that were of particular value to me:

1) The resume re-write was extremely helpful. We captured the most important data and presented it in the most compelling way. A small but pertinent example: rather than list my titles as XXX Associate, YYY Manager, and ZZZ Director, Mary reformatted it to list the "level" first (Associate, XXX / Manager, YYY / Director, ZZZ). Like magic, my two promotions and increasing level of responsibility was suddenly immediately clear from a quick glance at the left hand column of my resume.

2) Mary stayed on top of me. I started the R1 process very early (in June), but struggled in the beginning to build momentum and get into my essay writing groove. But I knew that if I missed a deadline, I would have a polite email in my inbox from Mary checking in to see when she might get the next draft. Nothing like guilt/shame to motivate you to get those essay drafts in.

3) Mary and Kathryn helped connect the dots in my application. I had the GPA and GMAT score to be a contender for top ten programs, but as a nontraditional candidate with nontraditional reasons for wanting an MBA, presenting an application that allowed a reviewer to check as many boxes as possible was key. The two-step review process was helpful for winnowing out interesting but irrelevant information and making sure my application was intelligible to a reader who hadn't been in the trenches with me.

4) The mock interview was a lifesaver. Just getting a list of the 30 most common interview questions helped relieve my anxiety about being thrown a curve ball. Getting the feedback from Mary about what was thumbs up, thumbs middle, and thumbs down for my answers was also crucial.

So how did I do?

I suppose you could say I buried the lead here, but I was admitted to my top choice program - the 60 person dual degree MMM program at Kellogg - with a full tuition, $130,000 scholarship. In other words, a game changer that makes an MBA possible for a candidate like me.

And I couldn't have done it without Mary or Kathryn. So thank you to Square One Prep for seeing me through the first step of my MBA journey!

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Great Experience
January 06 | 2016
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     By Anonymous 4 5
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

This review is for: Square One Prep Hourly Service
Consultant: Mary Huffmann

I engaged Square One Prep for hourly services and could not be more thrilled with this decision! Kathryn and Mary were crucial to my acceptance into Chicago Booth and phenomenal to work with throughout the application process. There are a few key items that made my experience with Square One Prep truly fantastic.

Availability & Response Timing: Mary responded to my questions and provided advice 24/7. For example, within three days of my initial outreach to Kathryn for a consultation, Mary helped me revise my resume nearly 10 times. Her discipline and energy with these edits gave me a great sense of momentum and trust as I began to tackle my essays. Overall, I never waited for more than a day for her response or feedback, which is not the case with all MBA consulting firms.

Brainstorming Process: Mary was focused in her approach to fully getting to know me, helping me brainstorm my essay outlines, and eloquently crafting my narrative. The time we spent up front discussing my application holistically and the points I wanted to convey in my essays helped me work efficiently and get on the right track from the get-go. Furthermore, she was extremely knowledgeable about brand management, the industry I hope to transition into post-MBA. The insights she eagerly shared with me during the brainstorming process were valuable to my essays and in-person interview.

Editing: It was very impressive that Mary was able to provide two types of feedback depending on the task. There were times she provided me with very granular and hands-on editing, and other times when she provided me high-level guidance or advice to let me shift my focus in my own words. Throughout it all, her advice was extremely detailed and honest. She never hesitated to critique my work and had an awesome personality in the way she approached this. When I hit submit, I was confident that I had submitted the best application possible, thanks to Mary's advice and editing.

As a side note, Kathryn's hourly proposal was transparent and extremely accurate. I appreciated her honesty during my consultation and the additional perspectives she provided throughout the process. It was a great value add to have more than one expert's opinion and advice. I also really appreciated Mary's proactive approach reaching out to me on Booth's decision day to check in. It shows she genuinely cared about the outcome of my application and was my partner throughout.

I could not have asked for better consultants than Kathryn and Mary, and sincerely thank them for everything. They are the absolute best!

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1 Older and Non-Verified Review for Mary Huffmann