|All Reviews > Square One Prep Reviews|
Joined: Mar 26, 2018
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While I dreamed about pursuing an MBA in a US university, I was aware that, with only 16 months of work experience at the time of the applications and 22 months upon enrollment, my chances of landing a place on a top-tier business school were low.
Although aware of my problem, I was still extremely skeptic about paying to admissions consultants to help me prepare my MBA applications – thinking I could easily do everything by myself -, until one friend told me to visit www.squareoneprep.com and have a 30-min call with Kathryn.
After my call with Kathryn (who gladly gave me 1 free hour instead of the classic 30 minutes), I immediately decided I was going to hire SquareOne Prep: extremely high-achiever, pragmatic and results-oriented consultants made my choice easy.
As I sit writing this testimonial and think about the journey I embarked on with Lara Avsar (in the end having been accepted by Stern and Darden), I can now gladly tell myself that going with SquareOne Prep was the best choice I made. Lara (and the rest of the team) besides intelligent and creative, was what you need in a consultant: extremely available. I always felt that Lara (and the team) was always there for me. I knew I could email Lara with every dilemma I had (regardless of its relevance) and I would get a reply from her with great advice. (in fact, I just wrote an email to Lara yesterday about a topic other than MBA applications and I got an awesome reply!).
If you, like me at the beginning, still think that hiring consultants is not worth it or that Square One is too pricey, I challenge you to hop in a call with Kathryn and, as you talk to her, see with your own eyes how good these guys are. Their work does wonders, and I recommend them to anyone who wants to pursue an MBA: SquareOne Prep is an advantage you want to have when competing with the thousands of MBA applicants every year.
(side note: I got a scholarship at Darden that itself paid for the services I hired SquareOne Prep for).
Joined: Apr 01, 2019
Yes, it’s expensive.
Yes, it’s worth it.
From the onset of my application process, I knew I wanted guidance to ensure I was putting my best foot forward. Compared to other services, Square One immediately stood out because of their unique process. From my consultant, Jason, who was always available to answer every and any question, to Kathryn, whose oversight is truly invaluable, to the other team members - at Square One you get an entire group of people who provide their experience-based input.
My entire team at Square One really challenged me to dive into my narrative, my goals, and my ability to convey them. They also provided a myriad of resources and tools along the way. There were times when the process was not fun, but it’s absolutely what I needed to ensure I was putting in the effort needed to build a strong application. By the time I hit submit, I knew the applications were the strongest and most authentic they could be. However, even after hitting ‘submit’, Square One stayed in touch and even helped me navigate the waitlist process at a school (which did convert to an offer!). This prep has not only gotten me into my dream schools (with $$), but it has also given me a strong base for confidently presenting myself going forward.
The outcome and level of attention I received far exceeded expectations and I absolutely recommend using Square One Prep!
Joined: Mar 31, 2019
I am so grateful to the Square One team for supporting me through my MBA process. I cannot recommend Kathryn and the Square One team more highly.
I began the process on my own but my narrative and application was really transformed when a good friend introduced me to Kathryn at Square One. From the very first conversation I had with Kathryn, I felt supported and confident in their process. Kathryn and my individual Square One advisor helped me craft a narrative that remained so authentic to who I am, while also highlighting specific areas of my background, my work and my goals that would be attractive to the admissions departments. I particularly appreciated my conversations with the Square One Career Coach, who helped me think through my short and long term goals and how an MBA would help me achieve them. This was an invaluable exercise for me as I clarified my own thoughts, and the work we put into our career narrative sessions really shone through in my applications.
Even though I came to Square One just three weeks before the deadlines, the time that we spent working together was so well organized and efficient and I felt very confident in meeting all of the application deadlines. The team were responsive at all hours and got me on the right track immediately. I was accepted to one of my top three choices with a full scholarship, and I am so grateful to Square One for helping me achieve this.
Joined: Mar 22, 2018
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Reflecting back on the MBA application process, I could not have done it without Kathryn & Kathleen of Square One Prep. I’m thrilled to have been admitted to my dream school, Stanford, with their support every step of the way.
I reached out to a number of MBA admissions consultants in January, and spoke to at least a half dozen that came highly recommended from friends or had great reviews online. I found it difficult to distinguish between them all, but what stood out to me about Kathryn was her impeccable organization (that Excel application development schedule!) and willingness to drop everything to speak to me on short notice. I also liked that Square One doesn’t waste its time giving free advice via webinars and articles on Poets & Quants - that’s not what I’m paying for! I was then given a number of profiles and arranged a call with Kathleen, who turned out to be a perfect match for my professional background and career interests.
While I consider myself a rather organized person, working with Square One ensured that I did everything possible to get the application basics out of the way in the spring before essay season started in earnest. We went through school selection, recommender selection, my business school resume, and a life-changing career narrative session before most other applicants had even taken the GMAT or selected an admissions consultant. If you don’t believe in the value of MBA admissions consultants, the best money you’ll ever spend is on your career narrative and figuring out your story. Even if I hadn’t gotten into a single business school, it was a transformational experience to get that kind of coaching to formalize a career vision and figure out what would help me achieve my goals.
When essay season came around, I was also the kind of applicant who came in with preconceived notions of what I wanted to write. Kathryn & Kathleen gave me brutal feedback on my first draft, and over 90% of it had to go. We went through something like 10 drafts for some of the more difficult essays, but in the end... they were always right. Whenever there was a moment of doubt (and there are many during this stressful application process), it was infinitely valuable to be able to go to sleep at night, and trusting the professionals to guide you on your MBA journey. For a difficult essay prompt like Stanford’s or Harvard’s... I don’t know how anyone does it without help, and anecdotally I think the truth is that most of them don’t.
A last word... I was put in Stanford’s waitpool after Round 1, and I was distraught. Kathryn & Kathleen told me that it would be a battle to convert it to an offer, but they had great statistics on their side - last year they had over 50% success rate converting a waitlist decision to an offer. They never once complained that it was more work to help me with a letter of continued interest. With a number of successful letters to work off of, I had a good idea of what I needed to do and executed on those points over the course of the next few months. While there are general resources out there on what to do if you are on a waitlist, the truth is that it depends on each school’s process so seeing past examples of what worked for Stanford made a tremendous difference for me. I received an offer with Round 2, and can’t wait to attend in the fall!!
Joined: Jan 17, 2011
Kathryn and her team were exceptional to work with.
What would otherwise have surely been an overwhelming experience, became quite manageable and easy to navigate with SOP’s guidance and support. In the early stages of the application process, I found their involvement to be incredibly valuable as Kathryn and her team reviewed every aspect of my application to ensure consistent, deliberate and focused messaging. I also found the mock interview process to be extremely helpful, as it gave me a chance to refine and tailor my responses to the audience, which is obviously different than that of a job interview.
As someone who was applying with a relatively average academic track record, I can honestly say that my success in the application process was largely a function of Kathryn and her team’s involvement. I highly recommend SOP to anyone applying to business school, and can’t imagine trying to go through the process without them.
Joined: Mar 11, 2019
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Kathryn helped me prep for the interview stage of my MIT Sloan application by running a mock interview with me and providing detailed feedback.
While preparing for my interview, I was uncertain how my stories would come across to the admissions committee. Through the mock interview, Kathryn was able to pick out which stories worked well, which didn’t add as much value, and which I absolutely had to mention. She also gave me suggestions for improving my narrative by considering the sequence of how I told these stories and the points that I should emphasize. She even provided some insightful observations about my experiences which I hadn’t previously thought of.
Given that I was extremely nervous and panicked about potentially messing up my chances of getting into my top choice school, the most valuable thing Kathryn did was reassure me that I was completely on the right track and, to my surprise, ready for the interview. Of course I was still nervous about the interview, but Kathryn’s guidance went a long way in calming my sheer panic and enabling me to approach the interview with some more confidence. I believe that the right mindset is key to performing your best during an interview.
In the end, the real interview went very well and I am super excited to announce that I received an offer!! A very big thank you to SOP for their hand in this.
Joined: Mar 06, 2019
Jeannice was an amazing consultant and the rest of the team, Kathryn and Bailey were extremely helpful. They helped me figure out my competitive advantage/story, stay on schedule, and maintain high quality output. They also set communication expectation from the beginning and went above and beyond to make sure everything went smoothly. The premium service was particularly helpful since I was not coming from a traditional MBA background and had average GPA/GRE scores. There were few other consulting services I scouted out and in the end went with SOP. I felt a real sense of ownership and confidence in them that I did not quite find in other firms. The high price was definitely of a concern but in the end, it was so worth it. I got accepted into 1 out of 3 MBAs (all top 10).
They helped me find my best narrative and stay focused on emphasizing my strengths. The school packages they provide in the beginning were insightful but countless calls are what made the difference. For instance, to narrow down my career aspirations, we had 4 phone call sessions dedicated to figuring out what path I wanted to follow and why. They were extremely patient with me and asked me thoughtful questions that acted as a great guide. It did not feel like I was creating this figure that was not myself. They brought out the best in me and helped me pitch my unique story.
They have a very reasonable schedule that I felt productive and never rushed. This helped me make sure that I gave recommenders enough material and time, while giving myself enough time to think through the prompt and my ideas for the essays. Jeannice was flexible enough to work around my schedule and Bailey checked in on me on a weekly basis ensuring that I stay on track.
One of the best part of working with Jeannice and Kathryn was that I knew the end product would be superb. They were both very honest with their comments and gave detailed feedback for me to improve upon. I knew that they both would not let me settle on an essay that was not good enough or simply mediocre. That kind of confidence is what I really appreciated from them.
Joined: Apr 11, 2017
Square One prep has been instrumental in my efforts to help me land an admission offer into a top business school program. Kathryn has amazing knowledge about all the programs and has a very quick judgment on your candidature. She's able to use the two to give critical advice on school choice, career narratives, advisor selection etc which set the tone of the process. Lara Avsar was my advisor who I worked with on a weekly basis. She is a miracle worker when it comes to telling a story. She's uncompromising and relentless in making sure your story is told in an authentic manner. I felt we had very compelling applications given my profile. Despite not landing the offer into my top choice programs, Lara and Kathryn were instrumental in picking me up and showing me my options in an objective manner. I wouldn't have gone through with the rest of my applications without their support. I was able to finally land a spot at a program that was best suited for me and am glad I had Lara and Kathryn along the way.
Joined: Dec 28, 2015
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Knowing I had to overcome several concerning areas (low GPA/GMAT, job gaps), I started researching consultants to help strengthen my application. After my initial call with Kathryn at Square One Prep, I could tell that their personalized approach was exactly what I needed to get into my top choice Columbia. Before committing to SOP, the team even sent through a clear working schedule in order to hit my ED deadline.
Once I started the process, I immediately knew I made the right decision. Within the first week, my consultant Gary spent hours getting to know my background and ways to better showcase my story. His guidance, along with Kathryn’s, were crucial in pushing me to create a unique and authentic application. I felt most challenged throughout the career narrative process, which felt discouraging at that time, but in hindsight, was the most rewarding part of the entire program. Through Kathryn’s feedback, I was able to showcase my strengths and clearly articulate my goals in an organized, logical manner that made the essay and interview portion much easier. She made sure that my application highlighted the best parts of me, my experiences, and my aspirations. Throughout the process, everyone on the SOP team answered any and every question I had, all within a moment’s notice. My consultant Gary was very responsive and constantly worked to keep me on track with my schedule, even when I fell a bit behind at certain points. Wendy, the career narrative expert, was also instrumental throughout my time working with Square One Prep. I felt extremely prepared from the resume, to the LORs, to the essays and was very proud of what I submitted in my application.
Overall, I would highly recommend Square One Prep to anyone looking for a comprehensive, strategic approach to the admissions process and don’t believe I could have done this without SOR’s expertise. They not only helped me achieve my goal of getting into the Columbia EMBA program but also helped me prepare for success in business school.
Joined: Feb 15, 2019
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I would not have been able to be admitted to Columbia -- let alone have received a full tuition fellowship -- without Square One's help and guidance, and for that I'm eternally grateful.
Square One added incredible value at every step of the process, from helping me realize that Columbia was best suited to my goal of receiving a substantive scholarship at an elite school with a strong media & entertainment program, to working with me to rewrite my resume to better fit the business school admissions committee rather than a prospective employer, to making my essays much more compelling, and much much more.
I received the Square One recommendation from a close family member, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to family or friends in a heartbeat