|All Reviews > Piersten Gaines > Piersten Gaines Reviews|
Joined: Dec 30, 2020
730 Q47 V44
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
I can safely say that I wouldn’t have gotten into my top choice (Wharton), especially given all the uncertainty COVID-19 introduced to the application cycle, without the support & thoughtfulness of the Square One team.
From the initial consultations with Kathryn, Square One set itself apart by demonstrating a clear focus on helping my applications reflect who I was rather than a template of a business school applicant. The feedback from the initial consultation with Kathryn onward was always much more specific and actionable than the generic “you seem like a fine candidate, and I’m sure we could tell you more with another session” feedback I received from larger admissions consulting firms.
Kathryn, Bailey, Wendy, and Piersten all took the time to really understand my career trajectory and MBA goals. Moreover, the whole team was always willing to interrogate my assumptions and push me to think more deeply about the process. Square One ensured that my final applications were all well-crafted and holistic (and mostly in early!).
Everyone was incredibly responsive and provided all the hand-holding I needed (which was a lot of hand-holding) throughout the process. I want to particularly shout-out how smoothly the letter of recommendation process was handled, as it was something I was very nervous about heading into the application process. Piersten really worked to make the entire experience seamless.
Square One allowed me to maintain my sanity during a usually stressful process in an unusually stressful year, and for that, I cannot thank them enough!
Joined: Jul 31, 2020
Applying to business schools was a challenging marathon- especially for a lazy amateur like myself – and I am grateful to have had Square One Prep as my strict running coach.
I had had preliminary conversations with three prominent US consultants, before having my first conversation with Kathryn. In all three conversations, the consultants highlighted the importance of applying to ‘safe schools’, covertly implying my M7 ambition was a tad bit delusional. Kathryn- after patiently hearing my previous academic and professional credentials- gave me the much needed assurance that I should ‘reach for the stars’. In that same conversation, Kathryn was also quick to list down my weaknesses- some of which we really needed to improve, some of which we just have to live with. That conversation was the beginning of my business school journey with SOP and also my last interaction with any other prospective consultant.
Piersten- my co-runner on the marathon- was just amazing! She helped me think, she pushed me to work harder (after my 13 hour work days), she gave me the confidence to share certain vulnerable aspects of my life and she ensured I don’t get lost in brainstorming. Piersten would also very quickly switch from the role of a patient coach to that of a stern elder sister. And I would not have been able to successfully submit my application or sit for the interviews without that.
The process at SOP mandates every piece of work- the career narrative, goals, short answer essays, long answer essays- goes through two layers of supervision. Kathryn would always ensure the quality of work never gets compromised or diluted- even if the deadline sometimes is in 24 hours. The process pushes you out of your comfort zone, and really makes you think. I was very happy with the final essays and applications submitted to business school.
I have enjoyed the run- and I recommend SOP to you and to all my friends/ acquaintances applying for business schools. Thank you Kathryn, Piersten, Luis, Ashley, Bailey and the entire team at SOP.
Joined: Mar 13, 2018
750 Q50 V41
Right from the start of my experience with Square One, I loved having the ability to talk with multiple different day-to-day advisors on the phone and then choose which one I felt most comfortable moving forward with. It made me feel in control of the whole process. But I was also surprised (in a good way!) of just how hands-on the leadership team is from the first day all the way through application submissions. I was nervous at first about using an application consultant because I knew that I would be traveling and moving across many different time zones during this application process. However, the team was amazing at creating a detailed schedule that worked around my constraints and allowed plenty of time for feedback and many iterations on all of my application components.
Coming from a non-traditional background, the team at Square One first went above and beyond to help me wrap my head around my own career goals (both long-term and short-term). They did not let me get away with being vague, acting as a forcing function for me to reach out to people and do real research about roles and industries that I would actually enjoy being involved with. From here, also with their help, we were able to craft a detailed and compelling narrative that would be the driving force for both my application essays and my interviews. As my recommender choices were also slightly non-traditional, I was able to use Square One (and their resources) to provide these recommenders with all the information they needed to write clear, interesting, and honest recommendation letters for my schools. This was especially useful given the fact that every school I applied to had different requirements for these letters
After I got into multiple of my desired schools, Kathryn even took the time to help talk through this decision with me on the phone so in order to get an additional perspective beyond talking to current students! Overall, I think Square One did a phenomenal job of challenging me on things that needed to be challenged while also being accepting of my individuality and respecting the things that I felt passionately about. Instead of them using a template to tell me what to say or write, we were partners throughout my experience
Joined: Oct 12, 2018
710 Q49 V37
I just want to thank the entire team for helping me get into Tuck with a big scholarship!
Kathryn, Piersten, Wendy, and Bailey — I would not get the same results without your help, guidance, and support.
The expertise that SOP provides is unparalleled. It started with an initial call with Kathryn, who didn’t waste a second trying to sell the service or talking about different schools (I talked to 10+ consultants and half of them did that). Instead, our time was spent on my profile and my story. When I talked to Piersten, my personal consultant, I knew right away that she was the real deal — she read my previous essays before our initial call, she replied back fast to set up calls, and she could relate to me. Wendy was instrumental to bring out ambitious goals while keeping me grounded to things that I must achieve short-term. And Bailey was great at making sure I was on track. How could I not get into a top school with such amazing team? All I had to do is to put in as much work as they did.
Overall, my experience with the team has been very positive. I am happy with my decision to use SOP’s services (look at that ROI) and I can’t wait to start my MBA journey. Thank you!