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Square One Prep Admissions Consulting Reviews

You're at square one with the application process. Partner with us to ensure your next destination is business school. We’ve helped 1,200 clients since 2009. 90% succeeded and 35% secured unsolicited scholarships. Our focus isn’t client volume or revenue; it’s you. We hope you can sense that when you read reviews.

Top business schools teach that diverse teams create the most impactful solutions. Our diverse team ensures our clients craft the most impactful applications. In addition to being the most diverse among admissions firms, our team is the most rigorous and hands-on.
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Square One Prep Admissions Consulting Reviews

Square One Prep Premium Service
 $4950  $5050
Reviews
453
Average Rating
4.9
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Square One Prep Premium Service
 $6900  $6900
Reviews
453
Average Rating
4.9
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Most Reviewed Square One Prep Consultants

Kathryn Lucas
Reviews
171
Average Rating
4.9
Lara Avsar
Reviews
17
Average Rating
5.0
Matteo Rattighieri
Reviews
17
Average Rating
5.0
Kathleen Danoher
Reviews
15
Average Rating
5.0
Mary Winograd
Reviews
15
Average Rating
5.0

Reviews:

498 Reviews
4.9 Average
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February 05, 2022
lmartinez105

Joined: Jan 28, 2020

Posts: 3

Kudos: 0

Self-reported Score:
660 Q44 V37

Completely Worth It – Be Ready to Work Hard

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I am really happy with the process and results SOP offered. Now that I am already admitted into CBS, I can assure you that every service SOP offers is exactly the way they describe it and the execution is very methodical. I strongly recommend going into their webpage and checking the “process” chart since it is very accurate.

At the very beginning of the process, what attracted me to SOP was that they gave me the chance to have three free consultations (two with Kathryn and one with my future advisor Allison), something other firms didn’t agree to do. I already knew that I wanted to apply to HBS, GSB and CBS, and Kathryn gave me a thorough explanation of my strengths and weaknesses and described the areas I could improve to be able to get into those schools. During the first consultation, I told Kathryn I had a weak GMAT score and she honestly told me she couldn’t work with me if I only wanted to apply to those three schools. This surprised me and told me A LOT about the firm since she could have easily said yes knowing I didn’t have too many chances of success. So, after I retook the exam and got a better score, we agreed to start working together on my MBA application.

During the process I worked most of the time with my advisor Allison Nelson. What I liked about her was that she was completely to the point – no bs, no false expectations, always honest and succinct in her answers. She pushed me to write some of the best essays I ever wrote, prompting me to think about my past experiences and helping me build a strong story. She always reminded me to send the drafts back to her and kept me on track every time I was falling behind schedule. Something that caught me off guard during the process was the work I did with Luis Bellon. Luis is a master storyteller and made me think the most how I wanted to present and pitch my story. I struggled during this process because it pushed my confidence boundaries and I ended up taking more time that I was comfortable with taking.

Overall, I have to thank the three of them for giving me advice and emotional support in every single step. I recommend SOP to anyone who wants to apply to business school.

PD: I selected the three-school premium package

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May 11, 2022
MBAtotherescue

Joined: May 09, 2022

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

High quality advisors and experience - Definitely recommend!!

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The SOP Team (Kathryn, Anna and the career-narrative expert) did a fantastic job in helping with my applications. I got into multiple schools and my top choice T15 school. Kathryn is an extremely dedicated, honest, empathetic and a resourceful person who has decades of experience in helping students reach their potential. I realised, it makes a huge difference to work with advisors who love their job and are truly working to help you put your best foot forward.

Kathryn is one of the best advisors - especially with her knowledge on B-Schools and what ticks in an application. You cannot go wrong working with Kathryn. Check out the other testimonials on how amazing Kathryn and her team is on advisory work, crafting the application, the thorough and structured process, the quick turn-arounds, the career-narrative process and the top-class service overall. While this is exactly what all of us, as applicants, need, I also want to highlight how SOP genuinely supported me and in the process, changed my perspective of the whole application ordeal.

I still vividly remember making the choice to reach out to SOP with exactly 4.5 weeks to go for school deadlines. As is the amazing process at SOP, after my conversation with Kathryn, I spoke to 3 advisors to choose one that I would work with for the next few weeks. The process enabled me to work with Anna, a truly amazing human being, a fellow international applicant who was in my footsteps a few years ago. She has since become a great friend for life. The next 4-5 weeks of crafting applications to 5 schools went through like the best breeze there could be, because mentally I never felt it was just ‘my’ B-school application. Anna spent countless hours – mornings and nights, and at times while she was on treks or in flights – helping me throughout the journey. I can write many pages about Anna’s work but the two things that stood out were how she equipped me with the tools and created agency, and how she was empathetic and had a strong grasp of my values. Many times, Anna would mention a couple of points below an essay prompt alluding to things she believed I could mention about my career/ life/ extracurriculars - have you ever seen an advisor like this?!

With SOP, I had an entire team to help me brainstorm, vet my drafts, my ideas, ask deeper questions in each essay draft and bring out the best side of me in my applications. Truly, to me, the application never felt like work. I’ve heard many applicants say that crafting the applications was a tougher task for them than taking up the standardized tests, but for me (with SOP by my side) it was the total opposite. I had taken the standardized tests multiple times, but after working on my applications with SOP and having conversed with Kathryn and Anna, every single day, I realised my perspective on the application and my test journey had changed - I had immense confidence in what I had to offer. I felt mentally stronger and calmer. I retook the test after submitting my application, and fared way better than the previous few times. A huge relief! I asked for strategies on sharing updated scores and waitlist updates with schools - each time Kathryn and Anna were always by my side, helping me more than I could imagine. I am truly grateful to the SOP team for their work and their presence in my life. I could not have asked for better advisors. I have a lot of respect for the amazing work Kathryn does, the company she has built and the team she has hired - Having seen first hand her commitment to her work, I’m almost certain she never sleeps :)

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May 11, 2022
vnsy35

Joined: May 10, 2022

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Amazing experience with Square One Prep

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I was late into the application process and was anxious if I could prepare a strong application in time. On the recommendation of some of my seniors who had great experiences with SOP, I decided to choose the same. Right now, with admits from both Tuck and Haas with good scholarships, I'm confident I made the right choice with SOP. I worked with Matt Hartford, who has been a great listener and advisor. He helped me peel back the layers on my many experiences and connect them to create an impactful story and a well-rounded application. I recommend SOP to anyone getting into the B-School application process. There is so much to the process than just listing out your achievements and SOP will help you realize it! My partner also worked with them, applying to only one school, Tuck. Despite the riskiness of a 1-school application strategy, I’m thrilled to say she and I BOTH celebrated offers!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
May 07, 2022
ParnikaGoyal

Joined: Dec 27, 2020

Posts: 1

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
740 Q48 V44 (Online)

Great experience working with SOP team

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]

Square One Prep has played such a massive role in my entire application process. At the start of my application journey, I was overwhelmed trying to juggle my current job, GMAT prep, and multiple applications. Kathryn and I had an hour-long initial consultation where she took the time to understand me, my story, and my goals and I instantly liked her straight-forward and structured approach to work. The SOP has set up a truly comprehensive process and put a great deal of attention to every aspect of the application- I especially found the career narrative to be a complete eye-opener. Luis had me dig deep to discover my ultimate "why" and my dream career, and whilst this was very challenging, it was hugely rewarding to see the result later. I also worked with Wilson as my consultant, and I cannot recommend him enough. He was super responsive, thoughtful and completely dedicated to setting me up for success. I enjoyed having brainstorming sessions with him and he truly invested a lot to make sure we communicate the story in an interesting and authentic manner. I couldn't have asked for a better experience for my MBA applications, and there is no doubt in my mind that SOP is the reason I am going to my dream school!

If you are considering using an MBA admissions consultant, I would implore you to definitely consider working with SOP.

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May 04, 2022
linnaeus

Joined: May 04, 2022

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Positive Experience w/ Square One Prep

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When I started my MBA application journey I was a mess. I questioned my strength as an applicant and created a list of schools I’d apply to based on what I considered “safe”. This list didn’t include the schools I dreamed of attending. Then I took the free consultation with Square One Prep (SOP).

On that pivotal phone call, Kathryn convinced me to slow down. While I fixated on my weaknesses (GPA, Test Scores, etc), Kathryn instead took stock of my entire background and identified strengths I’d overlooked. With her encouragement we agreed to team up, but only if I agreed not to settle for anything less than my dream list of schools. Kathryn didn’t allow me to sell myself short.

I’d like to specifically recognize the Career Narrative that SOP helps applicants develop. When I was first instructed by Kathryn to commit time towards researching my dream job, company, sector, and calling I was confused. None of my MBA applications asked explicitly for detailed Career Narratives- this was an “extra” assignment. Was this the best use of my time?

I couldn’t have been more mistaken. The Career Narrative SOP helped me develop has paid countless dividends. Not only did it fuel my essays, but the knowledge I gained researching my Career Narrative also armed me for interviews, and further it has helped me secure a Pre-MBA internship. This “extra” assignment has given me a confident vision of what my future can be.

I implore anyone like me, who might be stuck thinking about weaknesses, to take the SOP consultation. See what it’s like to have someone take a genuine interest in your story holistically and encourage you to push further. Craft your own Career Narrative and step into your future with a thoughtful plan. I hope others sign up with SOP, create their own list of dream schools, and get accepted to each one as I have.

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May 04, 2022
incomingmba2022

Joined: Aug 13, 2020

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

SOP - Best Services!

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I connected with SOP the first time in 2017 but decided at the time to put off my MBA plans for a couple of more years.  Four years later, I reached out to Kathryn and I was yet again impressed with how Kathryn invests so much of her time from the very beginning to make sure we start the MBA application journey on the right foot.  The call was scheduled for 30 minutes but we ended up discussing matters for more than an hour!

SOP was the clear choice for me given its very honest and structured approach in dealing with clients.  While I had a relatively strong profile, I had certain weaknesses and SOP made it very clear that I needed to work very hard on 1, 2, 3 to ground in my candidacy.  SOP goes the extra mile in highlighting all the strengths and weaknesses from the onset and from my interactions with other agencies, I didn’t feel the same level of honesty and clarity.

I spent the majority of my time with my advisor who was absolutely amazing! SOP was very hands on, extremely punctual with times and deadlines and always easily reachable even regarding matters not related to applications or schools.

SOP team made the process of applying to top MBA programs that seemed very daunting (and quite frankly scary to me) run so smoothly.  I never thought I’d actually enjoy going through such a consuming process.  And for all of that, I cannot thank them enough for guiding me with getting into all 3 schools that I had applied to!  I wouldn't think twice about recommending SOP to anyone who is applying to business schools. 

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May 03, 2022
hmckenzie92

Joined: May 03, 2022

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
650 Q41 V38

Square One Prep Premium Service

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Square One Prep was a lifesaver for me throughout the application process. At the start of my application journey, I was overwhelmed trying to juggle my current job, GMAT prep, and multiple applications. Kathryn and I had an hour-long initial consultation where she took the time to understand me, my story, and my goals. Afterwards, Kathryn created an actionable path forward which I cannot emphasize enough the value in having this structure throughout the process. The SOP comprehensive process was really elucidating for me - especially when we were crafting my career narrative. Kathryn and Wendy had me dig deep to discover my ultimate "why" and my dream career, and this alone made my money spent worthwhile. I also worked with Eden as my consultant, and I cannot recommend her enough. Eden easily matched the effort I put into my resume, essays, and interview prep with her feedback, hyper-focused attention to detail, and brainstorming sessions. I couldn't have asked for a better experience for my MBA applications, and there is no doubt in my mind that SOP is the reason I am going to my top school with a partial scholarship!

If you are considering using an MBA admissions consultant, invest in yourself and your future by partnering with SOP.

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May 02, 2022
AnotherGMATtaker

Joined: Jan 01, 2021

Posts: 6

Kudos: 6

Verified score:
760 Q50 V42

A Square One Prep Strategy Fan (and Benefactor)!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]

It will be an understatement to say that Square One Prep was extremely pivotal in my application journey.

I made up my mind to apply to a select number of schools and was looking for the right partner to help me through this arduous and nerve-wracking process. I spoke with 20+ consultants across the world, but my first conversation with Kathryn was good enough to convince me that SOP would be the ideal organization to help me see through this period - Kathryn spoke with me for an hour when the original slot was for 30 minutes, giving me golden advice on how to navigate the application process even though I had not signed up with SOP. I signed up within a day, and in hindsight that was one of the best decisions I made regarding my overall application strategy.

I must tell you that working on your B-school applications is a hard process (especially when you have to balance taking your GMAT/GRE, doing your full time jobs, and managing other life commitments). SOP was super comprehensive throughout the process - choosing the right schools (in my case, it was helpful to cross-check if my choices were suitable/apt), crafting a career vision, creating a robust resume, writing endless essays, and finally preparing for the interview stage! The orderliness with which SOP manages these distinct parts of your application helps you feel at ease - they truly acted as equal partners in the process and were fully invested in my success. And in the whole process, Kathryn was very actively involved in making sure that we collectively put the best applications forward, responding to even the silliest of queries I had in my mind.

I had the privilege of working with Amalia as my SOP advisor, and I couldn't have asked for a better guide. Amalia spent COUNTLESS hours with me on all of my application material - hearing my story, building a resume that would reflect my journey effectively, brainstorming essay ideas, helping me craft and express my story in the most impactful manner, preparing me for my interviews (in a manner where I could show my best self and be fully authentic) and so much more. Not only is Amalia one of the most intelligent guides I've ever met, but she also acts as your true cheerleader in the WHOLE process. She was available 24*7 over the many months we worked together, answered my endless list of questions with utmost detail and patience, and matched my ambition/aspirations with her unbounded wisdom! Amalia is a rockstar - You will be lucky if you get a chance to work with her.

SOP even understood my ambition to apply to different programs (including dual degrees). Not even once did I feel that my spirit/aspirations were inhibited by the process. Kathryn and Amalia showed extreme patience and generosity throughout the whole process. Infact, they balanced my optimism and fears with top grade pragmatism and professionalism. I felt safe and confident following their advice (after all, B-school experiences can be life altering experiences). One part of the process that people don't speak about is rejection - when I did not get an interview invite from one of the schools I applied to, Kathryn and Amalia gave me the courage to march on in that phase and work with full force on the other schools on my list. For some of the schools we worked together on, I changed the format of our engagement from comprehensive to hourly - but it did not change the seriousness or depth with which both of them helped me prepare the best applications possible!

Out of the schools I applied to, I got interview invites from Wharton Lauder and INSEAD, and got an admit from INSEAD (where I'm headed off to in coming months). These invites and my INSEAD admit would not have happened without SOP! Thank you, Amalia and Kathryn, for helping me realize my B-School dream :)

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May 02, 2022
member0

Joined: May 02, 2022

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Great team!!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]

I’ve been in touch with Kathryn Lucas, the founder of Square One Prep (SOP) for years and she’s always been supportive and served as a soundboard to me even prior to my application year.

The SOP group became my dream team of trusted advisors and highly experienced mentors in my journey to B School.

Following a structured approach that helped manage timelines effectively, they went the extra mile to ensure that every component of my applications is crafted to perfection. The ideation and brainstorming sessions helped lay a solid foundation for my overall career narrative and essays. The team helped me craft compelling stories and really differentiate myself.

Throughout the process, they were super responsive and always available to address any concerns. With their support, I felt the utmost confidence submitting applications and performing in interviews.

I couldn’t be happier with my results! I’m extremely grateful for this partnership and would highly recommend their services!

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May 02, 2022
Tinker

Joined: Aug 28, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
710 Q49 V36

Well rounded

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]

Square one helped me with a application strategy that was ambitious for my profile and score. I wanted to be aggressive and that meant it would be a tough journey. The team was very honest with feedback and expectations that helped me realistically optimise my chances coming from an overrepresented pool with a not too amazing gmat score. My favourite part of the service was the essay edits and career narrative crafting which helped in multiple aspects of the application process for the essays as well as the interview. Additionally, my advisor was very responsive and an email away for any queries or questions that I had!

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