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Goal: Applying to EMBA programs at: Wharton, Kellogg and Booth
Before Square One - My background as I perceived: Non-native speaker, from the most competitive demographic, male, No unique work experience, No big name companies on resume; Pretty doubtful about how I could differentiate myself.
I filled an online evaluation form for Square One prep one month from deadline.
Square One was the 7th firm I talked to about supporting my application journey.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the founder of the firm, Kathryn on the phone who took 45 minutes genuinely listening to my background and goals.
She said she would be willing to take me as a client. I am an experienced professional and I could immediately tell that her evaluation is fair as she outlined the opportunities and challenges ahead in the evaluation call (free!)
The review and feedback I received on my application artifacts from Kathryn and Mary Winograd were the most valuable inputs.
They challenged me to think outside my comfort zone (on literally every idea I was presenting in my goals or resume) and this helped in presenting myself in the right light to adcoms.
But for Kathryn’s and Mary’s dedicated support (via numerous phone calls and emails), I could have never been able to elevate my story from the competition.
My application packages spoke for themselves (resume, my essays and all supporting docs were each serving a role in delivering my story)
After Square One - My background as I perceived: Unique values learned, achievements that went beyond my peers, Innovative work delivered, Conscious career paths chosen; Clear about the value I bring.
The fees I paid paled before the personal transformation I realized during the application process. I feel every business school wants its applicants to go through such experience in preparing them for the program.
Such outcome was possible ONLY due to Kathryn’s belief in my potential and Mary’s utmost dedication to my success. NO ONE could have been able to do this for me other than Square one.
After a few weeks wait, I had a different problem on my hands: Choosing among the 3 best MBA programs that accepted me - Wharton, Kellogg and Booth. ( With Kathryn’s guidance, I converted a waitlist at Wharton to admit)
Oh did I mention about the scholarship I received for my EMBA….
Thank You Kathryn, Mary. Thank You Square One.
P.S: With individual effort and support from Square One anyone (yes ANYONE!) can make it happen.
Was this review helpful to you? 1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
After two failed attempts (12 submissions over 2 years) at getting into a top-10 business school working with another admissions consulting firm, I almost gave up on my business school aspirations. Every time I spoke with an admissions consultant about my candidacy, I was given the same diagnosis… Your story is compelling! Your scores are incredible! Any business school would be lucky to have you! But, no one could give me a concrete reason I was rejected without interview at every single school I applied to - only that the top schools are all extremely competitive and it is sometimes just luck. When I came to Square One for their thoughts on my previous applications, I expected the same response. And then I spoke to Kathryn.
My initial 30-minute consultation turned into an almost 2-hour long conversation about every part of my application. She gave me 3 specific areas where my previous applications went wrong, and unlike the other consultants, Kathryn said she could see why I was rejected. She was direct and didn’t sugar-coat any of her thoughts. Everything she said was spot-on and I appreciated her candor about how I needed to improve my applications. I was sold. Kathryn paired me with one of her consultants, Julia, to rush out round 2 schools after my round 1 rejections. Julia was supportive, creative, and pushed me to dig deeper on every aspect of my applications. She helped me finish 5 school applications in less than a month (even through the holidays), and I received 4 interview invitations out of the 5 top-10 schools I applied to in round 2.
This September, I will be starting at Michigan Ross with a full-tuition merit scholarship! After 17 applications over 3 attempts, I almost lost hope, and certainly never expected to have the life-changing opportunity to go to an amazing business school debt-free. If you are looking for an admissions consultant, I highly suggest you work with Square One. I cannot recommend them highly enough!
I started working with Square One Prep this summer in order to apply for part time MBA programs at both Kellogg and Booth. I have recently been accepted into both programs, and I would highly recommend Square One Prep to both full-time and part-time applicants who are looking for ample one-on-one attention and a personalized approach to the admission consultation process.
I chose Square One Prep specifically as I could tell from my initial phone call with them that I would not be overlooked or lost in the shuffle, which was my hesitation with choosing a large scale company. My cousin also used Square One Prep last year and was accepted full-time into Booth, so I knew they had a successful methodology.
My application had its own set of unique challenges. I was a re-applicant, had a low quant GMAT score, and recently made a significant industry change in my career. Within the week of choosing Square One Prep, I was paired with a consultant that specifically focused on my application. While she was my primary point of contact, I also had access and was helped daily by the owner of the company, an essay specialist, a career narrative specialist, among others who have all been actively involved in the admission committees at top tier business schools.
Together with this team, we took a deep dive into my prior experiences, spanning from my professional to personal life. They helped me identify my strengths and develop essays that would truly make me stand out as a candidate. Most importantly, the team at Square One Prep was never afraid to challenge my pre-conceived notions in the application process. For example, many of the topics I thought I would write about in my applications were ultimately not used, as we found better and more unique experiences that crafted a much stronger narrative.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend Square One Prep to anyone looking for a highly personalized approach to the admissions process.
As I had heard many positive reviews of Square One Prep from my friends long before I started applying for my MBA, the decision to work with SOP came instinctively to me. I worked with Kathryn and Lara from the scratch - from assessing my profile and drafting my narrative to writing and proofreading the components of the application. The entire process was run by SOP in an enthusiastic, methodical and disciplined manner. Kathryn's optimistic approach with school selection instills confidence in the applicant. She has an impeccable knack of crafting tightly-knit narratives and ensuring that they are neatly reflected in the essays - She knows what the schools want. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Lara as well. She was creative, efficient, and patient throughout (we did numerous iterations!). Most of all, she is a very compassionate person because of which I could comfortably share my stories with her. During my first call with Kathryn when I asked her about my chances of making to a good business school, she told me, "You should come out of the process very happy". I most certainly have! I am grateful to Kathryn and Lara for their assistance in the process, and would strongly recommend Square One Prep to all MBA aspirants.
It was an amazing experience to work with Kathryn and Vanessa for my business school admission process. I received some great admission offers with big scholarships. My profile was very complicated because of my age and a lay-off at work, but Kathryn handled it very tactfully and ensured that the positive aspects of my profile were showcased vividly.
I could confidently talk during my interviews because Kathryn and Vanessa helped me understand my own life experiences and craft a genuine, coherent story around them. Kathryn was always accessible and passionate to help pretty much 24x7; I cannot remember a time when I needed Kathryn’s input and I had to wait more than a couple hours (usually she responded within a few minutes). I had some great discussions with Kathryn and Vanessa to understand how to write business school essays. Once I wrote the first draft, they thoroughly checked it and provided input on how I could further enhance it.
Kathryn’s honest and straight-forward personality was a major factor in my successful business school admission process. She provided honest input on my weaknesses (no sugar coating!) and limitations. I could craft a realistic and practical strategy to target the right schools because of Kathryn’s invaluable input.
I would highly recommend working with SquareOne prep if you are looking for a great success in your business school application process!
Kathryn and her team were extremely helpful through the application process including pre-prep, essays, and interview prep. They were very focused on you as a candidate and making sure your application is exactly where it needs to be, something that was clear from the intro call. They will push you to get there through honest, candid feedback on your work product (resume, essays, etc.), even if it means more time spent on their end. I spent a lot of time vetting different consultant options and after speaking with many of them would highly recommend SquareOne to anyone looking for application consultants.
In my first application to INSEAD I was rejected without an interview. I decided I wanted to apply again but needed to improve the application in all aspects. After getting more 70 points in my GMAT, it was time to get professional help for the application itself. I’ve contacted more than 6 different admission coaches, but no one was more enthusiastic, realistic, detailed and concerned with my application than Katheryn. I remember that even before hiring Katheryn and SquareOne Prep, we already exchanged several emails to decide which schools I should apply to. You hardly find someone as dedicated as Katheryn! When in partnership with SquareOne Prep, I always worked with Wonita, as my personal coach, and Katheryn. During a certain phase of the process, when we were developing my career narrative, Alana joined us, and this mix of opinions and contributions made my story, and the background for my essays, bulletproof. Working with Wonita was fantastic! With a lot of experience and a fantastic career, Wonita made the process seem very easy but at the same time very rigorous and complete. She was always very supportive and quick to answer all my questions and emails. When we worked all our way in one essay, the final test was passing it through Katheryn. Katheryn would review constantly our progresses to give an outsider’s perspective, which is something very very close to what happens with the admission council when they read applications. At the beginning I was afraid of having 2 pair of eyes looking at my application because I thought we could disperse and lose the core of my story and application. I couldn’t be more wrong! In the end having Katheryn’s analysis over my work with Wonita was something that assured me that my essays were at their best level.
With SquareOne Prep I felt a full support in all phases of the admissions , starting on LORs, Essays, Application Form completion, Interview preparation (this was a HUGE help for me to excel in my interviews) and even negotiating Scholarships! I couldn’t ask more from SquareOne, even though I’ be only assigned for a 1 school package, I still got a lot of good advices and recommendations for other schools that I’ve applied to.
In the end, and at my second try, I’ve got accepted into INSEAD with a scholarship (!), and also to the other school I’ve applied to, something that I could hardly achieve without SquareOne’s help! If you want a truly professional and complete service for your admission process, you can fully relay on Katheryn and Square One to do the job!
I had a pleasure to work directly with Kathryn on four applications to HBS, Wharton, Columbia, and Booth. An international student, I knew that despite an appropriate work background and good test scores, I had to deliver comprehensive and well-rounded written applications. That said, I had no concerns about interview stage. My goal was to come up with tight and neat essays, properly marketing my profile and story.
Those applying to HBS know that the school is quite random when it comes down to international students (particularly, HBS is notoriously known for admitting people from consulting from CEE, not IB/PE, for example), so I knew beforehand that there was no one to blame if I were dinged. However, I was positive that Kathryn and I could give the best shot to three other schools.
As a result, I was admitted to one of those three schools in R2 with 70k fellowship.
Due diligence: I reached to over 22 top consultants, finally choosing to work with Kathryn because of her experience with PE applicants, and because she identified key improvement areas with my profile during our initial consultation call (which made perfect sense to me – which was not the case with most other consultants)
Applications: due to time constraints (GMAT passed in early Dec), we had to work very fast given R2 deadlines. Kathryn was very accommodating of any requests and concerns I had, while she kept all work streams under her control to make sure I submitted applications on time. On average, turnaround time of files was less than 24 hours (1-2 days for first heavy edits), even as we moved closer to January. One of the things that I appreciate in Kathryn is her ability to push you out of the comfort zone (I didn’t want to do that extra work, but it was necessary for future success) while being very delicate and open to suggestions.
Interview: Kathryn supported me from Day 1, after interview invitations started arriving, offering two full-scale mock interviews and tons of interview tips. For Wharton team-based discussion task, Kathryn was very much involved in challenging my ideas to make sure that I came to the discussion well-prepared.
I believe that the quality of work and support that Kathryn offered was one of the best on the market. The actual experience was very smooth, and I’m glad I had Kathryn on board during my MBA journey.
When I first reached out to Kathryn, I was ready to submit my applications for Round 1. I was working with another consultant in Brazil and thought I had everything ready, but wanted just to "double check" with that 30 minutes free consultation. Kathryn was extremely honest, literally saying I would not get anywhere with what I had, and I loved it! I knew I could do a lot better. I realized I needed someone that truly pushed me to the limits and was absolutely honest about my work. I decided to postpone the submission of my application for Round 2 and worked with Kathryn and Lara on my complete application. I got exactly what I wanted as both of them really made me get the best out of me! Trust me, you will not rest until you can do your best. This is what makes a difference. My written applications were outstanding. I got an interview for the 6 programs I applied to (Booth, Kellogg, Wharton, Yale, Berkeley and Stanford), and I am sure that my essays were great because Lara and Kathryn worked tirelessly with me to make them great. They would both write down things such as "this makes no sense", "sorry but I do not buy it for a second". You read first, get sort of angry, and then totally agree and change it, until it is a piece of art! I got admitted in 5/6 and with large scholarships in 3 of them.
Besides their professionalism, I must say that Kathryn and Lara's availability and quick response time is outstanding! They really do care about helping you out and answering your questions as soon as possible. Round 2 can be pretty stressful because deadlines are right after Christmas holidays. Having both of them answering my e-mails and reviewing my essays through this time is just an example of how committed they are!
I recommend square one prep with my eyes closed and will be forever grateful to Lara and Kathryn for the work they put together with me to get to my dream school.
I felt lucky that I talked with Kathryn in the darkest time when I had least confidence for myself and hesitated for
the MBA application. When Kathryn told me in that late night call that I could be successful, I saw a light shining
in the darkness. Her sharpness and intelligence are also quite impressive. I knew from the moment she is the
right consultant to work with.
They best part I like Squareone is that I basically have two professional consultants working for me. Both
Kathryn and Jeannice knew where to spend time and how to focus on the most important things. They kept
polishing my idea till it makes sense. It is a rewarding process far beyond putting together application package.
I learned a lot about myself and sharpened my focus in life through the process.
Thank you Squareone. Best MBA consultant ever!