|All Reviews > Square One Prep Reviews|
Joined: Jan 22, 2020
I approached Kathryn after I was rejected in the earlier application cycle. My GRE was low, and many consultants refused to even speak with me until I raised my score. This was NOT the case with SOP! Since our first call, Kathryn was very supportive, and told me I was not delusional about applying to some of the top schools in the world. Within minutes, she pointed out where I went wrong in my past written applications, highlighted my professional accomplishments, strengths, and community involvement. She knew I was working hard to improve my GRE, and she explained how she typically does not take clients with my score, but knew she could help me craft a strong, compelling story.
I signed up for a 4-school package, and my first application deadline was due in one month. Kathryn warned me that it would be very intensive, but if I was up for it, SOP was ready to go. She sent me a few day-to-day advisor profiles that she felt would be ideal with my career goals and personality. I hopped on a call with two of them, and it was an incredibly hard decision to choose between both – but I continued with Ram.
The first month was incredibly intensive, but within 2 weeks, I felt more confident about my career goals than I felt before. The key is in the details, and I experienced a lot of clarity after I completed this process with Wendy, my Career Narrative advisor, Ram and Kathryn.
During the school selection process, make sure you consider Kathryn’s advice, especially when she tells you to apply to other top schools that are also aligned with your personal goals and overall applicant profile. She encouraged me to apply to Fuqua as it was closely tied with my career goals, and was a great fit with my personality.
I was accepted to Fuqua (with scholarship) – which would not be possible without the constant support and advice from the SOP team!!! I was also waitlisted at Tuck and was told by admissions to try improving my GRE scores, which I am, while SOP is helping me craft a compelling waitlist letter. I’m now waiting to hear back from the other two schools I applied to in R2. I know for a fact that SOP has helped me craft the best narrative to highlight my strengths.
My day-to-day advisor was Ram, who worked with me every step of the way and spent countless hours on the phone and over email to learn about my background and experiences, while providing insights for individual schools/essays. He’s honest, compassionate, and 100% committed to your success (not only for the applications, but in life)! He makes himself available at any time, gives prompt responses, and his way with words is unlike others. He has consistently encouraged me to be more reflective and introspective, and when coupled with his phenomenal writing skills, has helped me craft an authentic story.
Ram will encourage you to explore different perspectives and continue to dig deep until you arrive at something that can differentiate your candidacy. His interview preparation is excellent! His advice made me feel confident every step of the way, and know it will help me in the future as well.
Overall, working with the SOP team has been a wonderful experience, and every member of the team is accessible and genuinely invested in your success! Bailey and Jenny will make sure you are on track for your applications, while your career advisor, day-to-day advisor and Kathryn will help create the best application for you! You won’t regret working with SOP, especially if you want individualized attention from an intelligent and empathetic team.
Joined: May 01, 2021
Before I talked to Kathryn I had already started a bunch of applications for an MBA, however I didn’t even know if I really wanted to pursue a business degree at that point of my career and life. It took one phone call with Kathryn to define and legitimate my goals and their alignment with the pursuit of an MBA and to feel empowered beyond what I thought was my actual capabilities.
From that point on, I started building my own career narrative and thought of my past achievements from a different perspective, finding new values in my experience and knowledge, and validating my desire to make significant and everlasting change.
I worked on a brand new resume and then constantly challenged myself to dream bigger, even though my chances of success were really low given a low GRE score and a bit different background than most, as an international MD working in clinical research. I was able to focus on only a few, prestigious school and built a strong application, which was the result of a deep understanding of my own self and perspective. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of work! But my advisor and all the SOP staff I interacted with made it a smooth and motivating experience. At the end of it all, I did tell my interviewers who asked about the application process that it was almost like “therapy” because it really was!
I was admitted to Booth, Kellogg and UNC and all of the qualities that I believe they all appreciated were all part of me already, but they would not have been able to be surface without the help of SOP.
Joined: Apr 25, 2021
I first found Square One Prep after being blown away by the students SOP has worked with and the impressive success rates they've had over the years. As a re-applicant, I initially did not plan on using an admissions consultant, but I knew I needed to ensure that my future applications were as bulletproof as possible and that I was not risking the opportunity of pursuing an MBA. Almost immediately after submitting an inquiry to SOP, I heard back from Kathryn, and she instantly reassured me on the overall process and instilled confidence regarding my profile and targeted schools. I can't emphasize how important this was - after receiving several rejections, being able to connect with someone almost immediately (and on a weekend!), hearing that we could turn things around was very encouraging. SOP was clearly the right partnership from the beginning to finally help push me over the finish line.
After connecting with SOP's very impressive and extensive list of advisors, I went on to work with Horatiu, who has been one of the most thoughtful, detailed, and patient advisors I could have asked for. He clearly has deep knowledge and experience after working with various students. He was able to work with me from day one to mold and shape my overall story into something compelling and persuasive, and one that has provided me with a more well-defined career vision as I move forward with my MBA. The focus, dedication, and input he has been able to provide throughout the entire process has been invaluable.
I'm extremely happy to report that, with SOP's help, I have been admitted to Booth, and I'm confident I would not have been able to achieve this admission without them. For anyone who is on the fence about using an admissions consultant or is unsure if one is even needed, I strongly recommend one as someone who was in that place myself. An MBA is one of the most important life investments you'll make and you need to make sure that you're not selling yourself short. SOP's structure, support, and experience will make the entire process much easier than facing on your own.
I more than wholeheartedly recommend SOP to any and all upcoming and prospective students, and I can't thank Horatiu, Kathryn, and the entire SOP team more for helping me to achieve this truly life changing admission.
Joined: Mar 06, 2020
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My experience with Square One Prep has been more than I can ask for. I was initially torn between doing a less comprehensive service (hourly or piecewise) and going with Square One, but I am very glad that I went the route I did! My sessions have been invaluable, from the deep dive in my career narrative to the long essay calls I've had with my advisor. I have always felt that they were trying to get the best out of me instead of saying "good enough". They were able to intuit when I was leaving something or when the dots weren't connecting. Because of their diligence, I had a very successful cycle -- ended up with a difficult decision between HBS and a full ride + stipend at another top 5 school. Thank you all!!
Joined: Apr 14, 2021
My experience working with SOP was so wonderful, and I highly recommend their services to anyone applying to bschool. Firstly, their process is incredibly stream-lined and well thought through. I felt very supported and informed every step of the way. Having access to a portal that tracks each step of the application along with receiving an email every Monday morning with the week's plan really helped me stay organized. Second, I loved that I got the chance to speak with a few different advisors before choosing my day-to-day advisor. I ultimately ended up working with Piersten, who is absolutely phenomenal! She is so easy to talk to and really took the time to get to know me. She gave me such insightful and helpful feedback throughout the process and was so generous with her support and encouragement. I always looked forward to my check-ins with Piersten as its such a great time talking to her. Another great thing about SOP is the career work they do with you. Working with Wendy, the career coach, was transformative. Wendy is so kind and encouraging, and beyond business school, she really helped me figure out what exactly it is that I want to do with my career and how I can get there. She gave me a long term vision to aspire to and a methodology to go back and effectively research new paths if I ever feel like pivoting later on, and for that, I am so grateful. Finally, Kathryn, the founder, is 100% someone you'll want to have on your team when applying to school. She is one of the most honest, kind, and knowledgeable people I've ever met. She's always available to help you and replies to any questions or requests you may have with a truly unmatched promptness. She is so generous with her time and there is no limit to the support and care she provides to help you craft the best application. She reviewed each of my essays several times to make sure they were perfect and gave me multiple interview prep sessions to ensure that I was as prepared as I possibly could be. Thanks to SOP, when I hit submit on my applications I felt such a sense of peace knowing that they were the best they possibly could be and that there was nothing more that I could do. Looking back at the first draft of each of my essays versus what I submitted, it's truly magic what the SOP team helped me do. They allowed me to keep my unique voice while strategically bringing out so many more components of my story that I would have overlooked or dismissed if I was working alone. Ultimately I was admitted to a top choice school and could not be happier! For anyone looking for an MBA admissions consultant to partner with, you cannot go wrong with SOP. Simply put, they're the very best!
Joined: Apr 11, 2021
Heading into the MBA application process I knew I had some gaps in my profile and could use all the help I could get. I spoke with all the top admissions consulting firms and ultimately settled on Square One Prep. I had an initial consultation with Kathryn to discuss my interest in pursuing an MBA. She was inquisitive, provided feedback on my candidacy, and addressed my concerns - employment gap, no professional managerial experience, and slightly below average GMAT. She walked me through their services and process. At no point did she pressure, make it feel like a sales pitch, or make me feel like I had no shot. Following the call, Bailey followed up with detailed information on their process as well as a sample application task timeline. What sold me was their structured team of experts and flexibility to add additional schools later in the process.
When I decided to partner with SOP, they connected me with two advisors, and both were great. It was a tough decision, but Kathryn helped me think through and narrow down my choice. I ultimately decided to work with Matteo Rattighieri. We held a kick off call where I comprehensively discussed my background and he educated me on the application journey and SOP process. Additionally, I had a call with Kathryn to go through school selection and my risk tolerance. I purchased the multi-school package and had SOP work with me on what I considered my "super reaches".
The first two items were the resume and career narrative. Matteo was very prompt with his responses and feedback. He provided numerous revisions and helped me better articulate my experiences. For the career narrative, Wendy drove this process, but Kathryn and Matteo were also involved, providing a dynamic balance. I was initially scattered and didn't have a defined goal, but the team helped me narrow it down and tie my interests with my background. The team asked the hard questions to make sure my story made sense and teased out details that connected the dots from start to finish. Afterwards they prepared me to confidently recite my goals. It was a lot of work, but at the end of the day it solidified my ability to articulate my story. The career narrative served as the base for short-term and long-term goals essays and interviews.
Next was recommendation preparation. SOP has a process that guided my recommenders to save time and filled in the pieces to my application puzzle.
After the LOR we got started on essays. SOP provided a collection of essays to familiarize me with the structure of essays that worked. Matteo was very quick to turn my drafts and provided additive edits and suggestions. He pushed me to connect the dots while retaining key elements and trimming the fat, which made my essays concise but compelling. After many iterations, leadership reviewed and provided comments to wrap it up.
I felt very confident in how my application came together. I was quick to turn drafts and Matteo was equally as quick to turn comments even when he was traveling. Throughout the process Bailey checked in to make sure I was satisfied and sent weekly schedules to make sure we remained on track.
Once the applications were submitted I was provided resources to start thinking about interviews. I waited until I heard back from schools before preparing. Matteo walked me through the interview process and core interview questions to prepare for as well as some curveball questions. During one mock interview, I wasn't in the zone, which Matteo noticed and duly suggested we reschedule. After our last mock I felt well prepared and agreed with Matteo that it was best to not overprepare and come off sounding recited.
Although my interviews went well I unfortunately didn't convert and had to push for R2. I added another super reach and we got to work on preparing materials in a fairly condensed timeline but we were able to utilize R1 materials as a framework. SOP kept rooting for my success along the way.
I was ultimately admitted into a school I considered a super reach. I don’t think I would have been able to tailor my application as strongly without their guidance. SOP kept me focused with their process and their service was well worth the value. I considered pursuing a top-level MBA a real stretch goal, but SOP helped me make it a reality. The entire application process was daunting but I’m glad to have had SOP by my side.
Joined: Apr 07, 2021
I would like to thank the entire SOP team for their support and accompany during my entire EMBA application process. I started my search for an MBA consultant around Christmas and filled in the initial free consultation request at 1am one night. Kathryn, surprisingly, reached out in just 10min and confirmed my appointment with her for the next day! The initial 30min talking with Kathryn went for an hour, where she genuinely listened to my stories and needs for an MBA consultant. I'm a bit concerned with my experience being on the "junior" side for top schools like Wharton, and need someone with EMBA application experience to help me polish my application package. Also, I need someone that's hands-on and cares for my success.
Indeed, everyone at SOP team is very approachable and dedicated to me and my goals. They also try their best to work around my schedule. Unlike other big consulting firms, my requests are always taken care of by someone within hours if not minutes. Kathryn got me hooked up with Jennice and another team member right away on Christmas eve so I can kick off asap. Jenny would check in often to make sure I'm on schedule. They also take the EMBA application process as serious as full time MBA. Wendy and Kathryn challenged me on my career plan write-ups a lot even though I thought I had a pretty clear career path in mind beforehand. Thanks to their push, my career goal essay became a lot more sounding. I also have to mention Jeannice, who's also my main point of contact during the process, is incredible. She never rushed me, and took time listening and intaking my stories, and then helped me craft essays that represent my true me. I felt comfortable talking with her on anything.
I would recommend SOP if you are looking for someone that cares about you, willing to spend time on you, and if you are willing to be challenged to get into your dream school(s)!
Joined: Apr 05, 2021
I can safely say that I would have not been able to get accepted to Anderson without the help of the
Square One Prep team.
I had the pleasure to work Amalia and the team for about 5 months and was impressed by the amount
of time and resources that was invested in order to make sure that my application was as strong as
The team took the time to get to know me on a personal level and guided me through the process with
patience, a strict schedule, and extremely helpful feedback, while always listening to my ideas.
The career narrative exercise allowed me to narrow down my short- and long-term goals, which in turn
greatly helped me craft stronger essays and applications.
Additionally, I would have not been able to ace my interview without Amalia’s help, and the interview
resources at my disposal.
I would work with the Square One Prep many times over and will continue recommending them to
colleagues and friends in the future.
Joined: May 24, 2020
Square One helped me got accepted into my top choice business schools. When I started my MBA application journey I initially had low expectations due to my subpar GPA. During our initial call, Kathryn assured me that Square One will be able to help me craft a solid application. Square One covered all aspects of my application, including how to approach my recommenders and make sure that I have well-written LORs. They provided a whole team of experts to work with me on different elements of my application instead of relying on individual consultants to do all the work. Special shoutout to Giovanni my day-to-day advisor who helped me a lot on my brainstorming process and Luis who helped me build a solid career narrative.
Joined: Jun 01, 2019
My journey with SquareOne started with an introductory call with Kathryn, who is the founder of the firm. Before the call, I've talked to many firms including the most famous ones. and they seemed to try to fit me and an application prep procedure into their formulated method. As a non-traditional background person, I thought it would not work for me. On the other hand, Kathryn and her firm's approach were tailored to my needs and on point all the time.
I talked to 2-3 potential advisors to work with (make sure to ask all questions and share your expectation on the call. I had to change mine due to an unaligned expectation. Even the changing process was smooth as Kathryn and her team listened to my concerns and solved the problem in a day). After I landed on one, we as a team dissected my strength and weaknesses over many lengthy phone calls and emails (very responsive) and built my resume first and then essay by school.
Even with my below-average GMAT score and a non-traditional background, I've been admitted to one of the top 25 MBA programs.
I highly recommend Square One Prep and Annie, my advisor (she is the best!!)