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720 Q48 V41
Square One Prep was far and away the best decision I made during my business school application process. I first reached out to Kathryn at the strong recommendation of two friends who had both been admitted to top schools. This, however, was before I was sure I even wanted to attend business school. The fact that I wasn't sure about applying did not stop her from spending a great deal of time with me walking through my background, the potential strengths and weaknesses of my application, and how we could potentially craft my story. Once we agreed to work together a few months later, nothing changed. The entire process was one in which she was always available (almost immediate e-mail response was typical) and willing to offer her blunt, yet much needed feedback. She knew when to really push you to dig deeper in crafting your essays and her help with interview preparation was invaluable. I was extremely impressed with how easy she made a difficult process feel due to her organization and encouragement. You could tell that she truly cared about helping you achieve your goals and that she would not let you rest until you put forth the best application possible. I am happy to say that I received admission to both Wharton and Columbia! The support and guidance she offered were critical in making that happen.
1. Committing to $5,000 investment through e-mail
Yes, we live in this high-tech modern e-commerce era but bank-wire $5,000 to someone you've never met? Really? I guess this is where everyone, including me, is hesitant and there are reviews - I've read like 500 reviews of different companies on gmat club - that says some consulting firms didn't live up to what was expected. When buying something as expensive as $100 on Amazon, people usually read the reviews to see if the product delivers and even then, the reviews are subjective by nature; from glass half-full and glass half-empty to glass no drinkable water. Unfortunately, based in Korea, I didn't know anyone who had used an US consulting service and I had to rely on reviews. Reviews on Square One prep really seemed to come from heart of applicants and after initiation calls with 5+ consulting services, I felt Square One prep really cared - I mean really - about the applicants and that they really enjoy doing this.
2. Structured guide from experience
I've gotten my GMAT and TOEFL score by July and realized there were tens of thousands of other applicants with similar scores. Applying to 6 b-schools for round 1 just seemed overwhelming and I wasn't sure if I could do it all. I leaned towards another firm because of web-based schedule and documents upload/download management system but e-mails proved to be a more efficient way with instant access through smartphones. I was worried if I was going to get enough "air-time" or structured guidance but Square One had set up their system from experience and delivered manageable packages at right timing to keep me focused and assured.
3. Hop on a call from e-mail exchanges
Sometimes, dialogue is the most efficient way to communicate and that's exactly what we did. The whole process is based on e-mail to keep track of where we were but Skype calls were always welcome; Square One prep asked that we talk on Skype for a few minutes when we had 3-4 e-mail exchanges in a short period of time, to remove any ambiguity. I don't remember how many times we had talked but I'm sure it was more than like 20. It was up to me if I wanted more calls.
4. Essay qualities depends on consultants not firms.
There isn't one super-consultant or super-firm that is the best in the world. It really depends on the chemistry between the applicant and the consultant. No one can say that their essay could not have been better if they had worked with another consultant/firm. I think my results speak for the quality of work with Square One prep.
5. Highest recommendation
I am most happy with my application results and I don't think I would be here without Square One prep. I would recommend Square One prep to my friends and family.
Joined: Mar 14, 2013
710 Q49 V38
I must say that investing in a partnership with Square One Prep was without any doubt one of the best decisions I ever made. My main objective on this partnership with SOP, and with Kathryn Lucas specifically, was to have someone keeping my focused as I was starting a new project and had recently moved to a new country. I didn't know I needed as much strategic and editorial help until I began to see Kathryn's edits to my work, starting with my CV and going all the way through to my final essay! I never thought that the quality of my profile and applications would reach such a high level as they did. The commitment to our goals, the rhythm of work imposed, the discipline and the constant challenges that Kathryn "surgically” created during the process were impressive and can only illustrated what an enormous expert she is in this kind of process.
We, I mean I, ended up getting offers from 2 of the 3 business schools we applied to, INSEAD and IMD. I say we because it was such a team effort. With the third application, LBS, considering my profile as a civil engineer and the fact that we applied in the final round, I must say that reaching the waiting list was in fact a achievement by itself. Therefore, the experience of working with SOP can be resumed to one word: priceless.
Thank you so much.
750 Q51 V40
Product Square One Prep Premium Service
As a younger Chinese applicant with a low undergraduate GPA, few extracurricular activities and a post MBA goal to switch my career, I know I never would have gotten this far without the help of Square One Prep. After I finished my GMAT, I did some research online and connected with Square One Prep. On my first free consultation, I spoke with Kathryn, the firm's owner. She spent longer than expected time listening to my story and assured me that, despite my challenging metrics, admission to a top business school was still feasible. She said she felt that way because of my story. No other firm I talked to took the time to learn my story. She actually did two calls with me to ensure she understood me and my needs.
Square One Prep helped me with my application strategy and differentiate myself from other candidates whose educational and occupational backgrounds are similar to mine. My counselor was very responsible and insightful. When we worked together, we sometimes edited my essay to a single question back and forth for as many as six times until he believed the essay had no more room for improvement. Throughout the application process, with the help of Square One Prep, I not only got admitted to two top schools - Stern and Johnson - but also discovered the true goals I’d like to pursue in life.
I will recommend Square One Prep to my friends when any of them decide to pursue a top MBA program.
As a reapplicant to H/S/W, I knew I HAD TO get it right the second time around (GMAT: 720 GPA:3.81 Industry: Consulting). I had worked with Stratus Prep the previous year and was disappointingly not admitted into any program. Even though Stratus offered to work with me again at no extra charge, I felt that if their standard cookie-cutter, factory produced applications didn't work for me the first time, it probably wouldn't work again. After shopping around, I chose Square One Prep because I was keen on their sharp-tongued founder, Kathryn. She was just my style - to the point, personal, and demanding. Kathryn was the most expensive counselor from Square One but I decided to make the investment because the last thing I wanted was to become a 3rd time applicant. The journey was as personally rewarding as the destination. In working with Kathryn I learned that bschool apps are not just a "process" but a creative exercise that is meant to be reflective and growing. Kathryn encouraged me to dig deeply and take risks, helping me tease out stories that highlighted my personality and unique experiences - what makes me, me. She was just as invested in my final product as I was - even providing feedback on Christimas! When I was invited to interview, Kathryn upped the game and challenged my answers with excruciating detail, sometimes even making me a bit frustrated. Ultimately, I'm glad she did because I was admitted to Wharton! I definitely recommend going with Square One Prep. The boutique style is much more conducive for personal, memorable applications than bschool factory shops, which wear an all-too-familiar style that are turning bschool schools off more and more.
740 Q47 V45
I spoke with many MBA consultants before deciding on Square One Prep. After my initial call with the owner (Kathryn), who would eventually become my personal consultant as well, I knew I had found the right partner and signed on shortly thereafter. Starting from the initial call, I could tell that she really cared about her clients’ success and went above and beyond in order to ensure it. Once I officially signed on, she took the time to really get to know me – my background, personal experiences, and future goals. When it was time to tackle essays, she pushed me on our topic calls to really get me to open up and create the best possible narrative to put forth in my application. Kathryn was also firm when it was necessary and kept me on a strict and rigorous schedule in order to make sure I would be able to get everything done by the deadlines. As I came from a unique background, Kathryn and I knew it was crucial to tell my story in a compelling way that aligned with my overall narrative; she did not disappoint in helping do that. I can say with confidence that my applications would not have been nearly as effective without the help and guidance of Square One Prep.
I have already recommended Square One Prep to several of my close friends and will continue to recommend them to anyone who asks me about hiring an MBA consultant. Take the initial call with Square One Prep and you will see what makes them different and why the decision to work with them is an easy one.
The first thing that struck me about Square One Prep was their personable nature yet efficient, no-nonsense approach! Throughout the application process, my consultant never minced words or hesitated to challenge me, be it by identifying weaknesses that I needed to address, tearing apart my
resume to showcase more impact, or going through 10+ iterations on my essays to convey the right ideas and emotions. She was always committed to helping me perfect my applications regardless of how long they took to craft!
My consultant was also a great fit for me given my working style and professional commitments I had a grueling and unpredictable work schedule, travelled 80% of the time, and was in a time zone 10.5 hours ahead of her. Despite all this, her turnaround time for essay reviews was amazing, and I often felt like I was her ONLY client! Finally, the nuanced feedback I received during mock interviews proved invaluable when I went through the real thing!
–client from: India
–admitted to: Chicago Booth
Joined: Jan 16, 2015
On paper, getting into a top 30 MBA program was….a longshot, to say the least. I had a below average GPA (3.1) and a way below average GMAT score (under 600). Nonetheless, I still thought I could have a shot at top 30 schools. I really believe that the story that I was able to tell in my essays, thanks to Square One Prep’s revisions, was a critical factor in getting interviews and being admitted.
From the beginning, I knew I needed help. I shopped around for an MBA consultant for a few days but Square One quickly became the apparent choice. Kathryn immediately set up a phone call with me to discuss my process, what I had done so far, and what still needed to be done. She was extremely knowledgeable and knew all the due dates, essay questions, and specs from all the schools I was interested in. I told her from the start what my budget was (not very much) and she was able to work with me and prepare me (by sending me previous examples of successful applications) so that I gave her my very best draft before she started to edit. This essentially reduced costs and resulted in a better product since she wasn’t starting with a very rough draft.
And, of course, her essay revisions made my words come to life. I am extremely satisfied with her services and have since recommended Square One to a number of fellow applicants.
For being so intelligent, efficient, and available, I also found Kathryn to be extremely human and feel like she genuinely cared about me being successful. She kept checking in with me long after her services had ended, and offered gratuitous advice simply because she cared. The investment in Square One Prep has been hands down the best I have made throughout the application process.
Kathryn has been instrumental in assisting me to get into two amazing schools - Chicago Booth and London Business School. I chose to go to London Business School at the end which has been fantastic and life changing experience.
With a demanding job at the big four accounting firm, I had only five days during the holidays to prepare for my mba application essays, where Kathryn helped me with the edits, now I look back her advice was great and increased my chance of being accepted.
She also helped with preparing for interviews, which help to calm me down and structure my responses nicely. Her advice was invaluable.
I am really happy i have gone with Kathryn as my MBA application coach and my MBA experiences have been memorable.
-an MBA 2012 from London Business School
Joined: Mar 23, 2011
Being an international applicant, I was seeking guidance from a professional who could help me through the challenging application process and get an offer from a top MBA program in the US. Fortunately for me I chose to work with Square One Prep. They helped me with every aspect of my application - from choosing the right schools and developing a strong resume to shaping my essays and working over mock interviews. My consultant was available every day, every hour of the day. The 10-hour time difference between us never played a role. When I was developing my resume and writing essays my consultant suggested which strengths I should emphasize and why - they changed depending on the school. She then helped me refine my ideas until my essays were as compelling as possible. When I started to get interview invitations, she gave me a very thorough 3-hour mock interview. As a result, my actual interviews with admission officers were not stressful at all.
As a result of Square One Prep's assistance I got three offers, two of which included $40K scholarships. Here too my consultant helped me choose the school that would best fit me and my goals. This summer I start my studies at Ross, and I can't thank Square One Prep enough.