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Square One Prep Admissions Consulting Reviews
    Number of reviews [228]
    Average Rating:       (4.9/5)
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Square One Prep Reviews
We have been where you are now - square one with the application process for business school. We know this juncture is critical to you and can help you just as we've helped hundreds of other MBA applicants since 2009. Our approach is immersive, methodical and proven

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10 out of 11 people found the following review helpful
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     By Gioak88 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service

I am still reeling from the second denial notification I received from NYU Stern (which follows the rejection from Columbia just few weeks before) two weeks ago and as such, my dream of attending an MBA in NYC has been wiped out (at least for this year). Now, if I told you that I applied with a 650 GMAT score , you may say that I should have expected such an outcome. Fair enough. But what you may not know is that I hired the consultants of SOP Advisory service to help me through the application process. I fell for their wonderful website where they brag about their incredible, high admission success-rate for their clients as prospective MBA candidates. Unfortunately, I experienced that their service was not wonderful at all: I can't know whether my poor GMAT score was the deal breaker in my application, but I can definitely say that the SOP ambition, to make your application as strong as possible and make up for other weaknesses in your profile, (among others a low GMAT score, it is one of first mentioned...take a look at their website under the most common application challenges list) has totally failed.

On top of this, every time I sounded the consultants out on any advice, I was treated with haughtiness and talked down to, both in the emails sent to me and during our Skype conversations. For example, I sent an email to my consultant last week saying that I has also been rejected from NYU and I am still waiting for his reply!!
On the other hand, the monthly payment reminders were sent like clockwork.

All in all my personal experience with SOP has been disastrous, not only for the very questionable service standard but also because of the poor customer care .
The service was very expensive and not value for money at all (LORs, essay and resume advisory for two business schools totaled 5,700 USD). Furthermore, the service should have included interview training as well. In the end I was rejected and did not benefit from the service. On top of this, I have never received even a partial refund from them.
I discourage future applicants to resort to this service: in hindsight I would never ever hire them!

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1 Commented by Squareoneprep on October 29, 2017
Gio, I am sorry that you failed to succeed with the process. You applied to only two programs. When we did your free consult on 6/22/2016, you explicitly said to me that you know you are taking a risk by applying to only two programs.

Your dream school was Stern, and before we started our work with you, we shared that Stern in particular is tightening up their GMAT requirements for international applicants based on what we could see empirically. Your verbal score on the GMAT was 32.; your quant score was 48. We did what we could to open your eyes to the fact that a 650 could be problematic; we also said we would do all we could with you to highlight all of your other strengths with the goal to mitigate the GMAT issue. We did do all we could. We worked heartily with you. Your advisor was extremely accessible to you, as was I. I got on several calls with you on my own. Additionally, I did calls with you and your advisor to ensure things were progressing and that we weren't making missteps. I also got on calls because we at times found it tough to compel you to take our advice. We appreciated that you had strong opinions about how you wanted to present yourself; we also were confused about why you would resist advice you were paying for. I saw that resistance when I reviewed the essays, which I reviewed 2-3 times, even getting involved with helping you re-select the topic for Columbia essay 3 because I simply did not find the topics you wanted to cover surprising or additive to your application. Your advisor cared deeply about your success and grew to care a great deal about you as a person, as did I. You were in fact one of our more memorable clients because of your effervescent personality. We did all we could to not only highlight that, but all of your other great metrics. With Stern, I have no doubt they liked you as a person - how could they not based on the video you crafted for your personal description essay? It was great, albeit long which we shared with you. That aside, the school has to believe that you are capable of excelling with the coursework and your verbal score gave them pause; it’s possible your quant did as well – in combination that is tough when you are applying at this level.

In terms of saying we were not accessible or that your advisor didn't have contact with you after Stern's rejection, that is factually untrue. Below is my email to you on 12/16/2016:

"How are you? I just reached out to James to get an update on your news from Stern and he shared that you were rejected from Stern as well. I am really sorry to learn that, especially after that powerful video you crafted for your personal description that, while long, was very effective. XXX said that you are now going to refocus on your GMAT to raise that to a 700+. We are here for you if you have other questions as you focus on GMAT prep. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us - XXX or me."

Your advisor knew what your next steps were because he was in touch with you. Further, in an earlier email to your advisor you explicitly said that you are sure the only reason you didn’t get the offer from Stern was due to your GMAT score – not our work with you.

We again are sorry that you failed with the process, and that you feel we failed you. We guided you with care and we there for you every step of the way - our phone logs, emails. and body of work with you illustrate that. We hope that with time, you will see that was the case. We understand that in the moment it can be very painful to get a rejection and that we are an easy target. We accept that. But we do not accept being factually misrepresented when we did for you what we do for all our clients. You were in the 13%, and in your case, we actually know what went wrong – as did you – that is expressly why you told your advisor that you would be focusing on your GMAT to get your score up. To be frank, in most cases you don’t know why a client doesn’t get offers because that is how subjective the process is. We hope you got your GMAT score up and are now in business school.
9 out of 10 people found the following review helpful
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     By Anonymous 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Erik Yazdani

I hired Square One comprehensive consulting service last year and it was a horrible experience.

the Consultant back then was Erik Yazdani. I never found a smooth cooperation with him. Sometimes he got pissed at me reaching out to him at some thing i need him to answer quickly. I got an interview from wharton and wanted his advice on choosing the time slot. He was pissed that i reached out him without advanced notice and refuse to return my call.

I got into none last year with Square One and interestingly, I heard no words from either Kathryn or Erik after that.

This year, i hired Stacy Blackman and my consultant was Caryn. I got into both schools i applied - University of Chicago and Kellogg with 100k Scholarship. the process of application was super sweet and smooth. Caryn offered very insightful and professional advice. I trusted her on all her advice.

If anyone is considering hiring a consultant, please stay away from Square One. I had horrible experience and they were not responsible. Lack of structure.

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Comments [1]
1 Commented by Squareoneprep on January 15, 2016   Edited on January 15, 2016
I just read your post on GMAT Club. I am really sorry you feel the way you do about your experience with us. I am confused by what you wrote because it is factually inaccurate from beginning to end - as supported by emails, phone logs with notes, and your files. You did have structure (per a customized day-by-day schedule I crafted and sent to you on 8/13/2014) and I did stay in touch with you and Erik throughout your process. Your goal was to apply to Stanford, HBS, Wharton, and Columbia R1, despite my urging that you diversify your list to mitigate risk. If you recall, at first you only wanted to apply to HBS and Stanford. You got started with us on 8/16/2014 with a 1-school package - Stanford. Both your timeline and schools were aggressive. I was personally very clear with you about those facts before you signed on with us. I made sure your eyes were open. You said they were, that you were very motivated and felt the worst case would be that you'd have to re-apply. You said that you loved your job and would be ok with that, though of course it wasn't desirable. We felt comfortable working with you because I had spent 5+ hours talking with you on calls (all started after midnight to accommodate your schedule) to ensure you were in fact motivated, aware of the risk you were taking on, and the right client for us. We only work with folks we believe we can lead to success. We are right 86% of the time.


Due to the demands of your work, you applied only to Stanford R1. You asked to add a second school, HBS, and then a third, Columbia. On 12/14/2014, when you reached out via email to add a fourth school, I expressly asked you if you wanted it to be Kellogg instead of Wharton. I wanted you to take a little less risk. You said you wanted the fourth school to be Wharton.


You got an interview with Wharton. The fact that you got an interview there showed that your written application was strong. When you did not get an offer, Erik suggested debriefing on a call, which you two did. We were there for you.


As it regards Erik's availability to you, he was never upset when you reached out to him. Perhaps you are referring to when you requested to have a 1030pm est slot in his calendar every weeknight for a call. He would not do that, which I supported him on, as no client should need to talk with us nightly. That can create co-dependence; that does not yield productivity.

Last year you applied to the toughest programs in the world to get into: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, and Columbia. This year you applied to Booth and Kellogg - the hurdle to get in there is lower. We in no way say that to slight your work with Stacy Blackman Consulting, as we have great respect for that team. We are extremely happy that you had the success that you did. You deserve it. Just please be aware that we would have liked you to apply to Booth and Kellogg last year, but you would not. You have misrepresented your experience with us.


This business is my life. I put my soul into it, and the success of our clients. I sincerely care, as do my advisors. I had no idea that you at any point were unsatisfied with your experience with us. Had you been why did you add three more schools, one at a time? As you know, at any point in time you could have reached out to me to talk about things, and I would have availed myself to you----as I did on many occasions after midnight when you called me on my cell, unscheduled. I answered 100% of the time and was happy to talk with you. On each of those calls, the topic revolved around you needing encouragement - to know we believed in you; not once in all of those hours of calls did you say that you were unhappy with our level of service. You in fact emphatically and repeatedly stated just the opposite.


Again, this review is disheartening, due to both its factual inaccuracy and your emotional perception of your experience with us. That said, we are thrilled that you will be heading to b-school later this year.
Square one prep review
February 13 | 2018
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     By dmercado2096 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Kathryn Lucas

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.

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Definitely worth it
February 12 | 2018
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     By gregschmit 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Kathryn Lucas

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.

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AWESOME EXPERIENCE
January 28 | 2018
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     By Sami1313 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Wonita Williams

It has been amazing working with Wonita Williams from SquareOne! The quality of the service I received went above and beyond my expectations. I was very tentative about working with a consultant initially for two main reasons - cost of the service, and I was concerned that the application would get heavily influenced by the consultant's writing style and personality. But these concerns were put to rest from the time I started working with Kathryn Lucas and Wonita Williams. The first big breakthrough happened in the Brainstorming session. Wonita made me talk about my story starting from early childhood, patiently listening for the most part, but every now and then asking me questions to make me think about why I reacted the way I did, and highlighting important values that I had clearly failed to see. Through my career narrative conversations, Kathryn was able to point out my leadership style and also guide me to pick my best experiences to share in my applications, as well as to come up with sound career goals based on these experiences. Kathryn is just very professional. Following the brainstorming session, my resume and essay writing became much more simple. I was also happy that my essays were my own, and Wonita's contribution was to pick out the meat from my essays by cutting out extraneous information, so as to help me hit my word limit. Wonita also brought her school expertise, and shared with me valuable information on labs, clubs, and activities. Because of her help and guidance, I was able to put forward a strong application, and in the end, received an acceptance from my dream schools! I'm extremely pleased with my work with Kathryn and Wonita, and would recommend SquareOne to anybody wanting to put forward a strong MBA application.

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Worth every penny
January 23 | 2018
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     By Springsteen146 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Kathryn Lucas

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!!

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Square One Prep is EXCELLENT!
January 22 | 2018
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     By JPG310 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Kathryn Lucas

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.

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Square One Prep Review
January 22 | 2018
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     By anon0987 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Julia Kurnik

Square One Prep made the long and stressful business school application process much more manageable and less overwhelming. It would have taken an immense amount of research to put together an application without their help – I didn’t know what a business school resume should look like, how I should interpret vague essay prompts, what to expect in an interview, etc. Square One Prep provided all of that information to me so that I could focus on putting together my application.

I worked with Julia and she was extremely helpful – from helping me brainstorm essay topics to editing my resume and prepping me for interviews, she always had valuable input and feedback. She made herself available to answer any questions, big or small. It was great to have her as a resource throughout the entire process to look at the application holistically and make sure there were no gaps.

Overall, I felt like the Square One Prep team was invested in my success and I am very happy with the outcome.

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     By ap4707 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Crystal Nwokorie

I was referred to Square One Prep after being on multiple waitlists but no offers from any of my dream schools in a previous application year. The Square One team was instrumental in identifying weaknesses in my previous application and ensuring I wouldn't make them again. My consultant spent hours helping me dig deep to understand the nuances of why I wanted an MBA and helped me convey my personality and career goals in a succinct narrative in my application and interviews. I will be attending one of the schools that did not accept me in a previous application cycle and I could not be more excited. I believe Square One Prep's guidance was the difference. Thank you for all your help!

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     By ceshaw07 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Brynna Davis

I had long prepared to go through the MBA application process unassisted, but relocating to another country a few months before the first Round 1 due dates threw a wrench into my carefully laid plans. The looming deadlines, coupled with some creeping insecurity about my candidacy (non-investment banker/consultant without a knockout GMAT score), prompted me to reconsider seeking outside help.

A former coworker (and current Wharton student) referred me to Square One Prep; she suggested that working with them could not only help me meet my deadlines but also significantly boost my chances of getting into a high caliber program. Despite the constraints of a condensed timeline and time zones 13+ hours apart, the Square One Prep team spent hours on the phone with me, hacking my resume to pieces and helping me assemble a portfolio that was both competitive and authentic. My consultant, Brynna, was instrumental in helping me assess my application blindspots, both in terms of weaknesses I needed to address as well as assets I had neglected to highlight.

While I was impressed with Square One Prep from start to finish, what most stood out to me was how much care Kathryn and Brynna took to truly get to know me. My second call with Brynna clocked in at almost 5 hours! It’s a very high-touch process and well worth the investment. I strongly recommend Square One Prep to anyone who feels like they could use some help negotiating a grueling and stressful process. I’m confident I could not have gotten into Tuck without them.

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