|All Reviews > Square One Prep > Premium Service Reviews|
Joined: Jul 04, 2018
I had calls with over 5 different companies and 15 consultants, but Square One Prep seemed the most thorough and detail-oriented company and they did not disappoint! With a below-average GMAT I got admitted into Stanford GSB, MIT Sloan and Wharton!
What surprised me the most about Square One Prep is the detailed methodology developed by Kathryn over many years - bringing in several experts like Wendy, the career expert, Bailey, who sets the pace of the work, Ram Iyer, my consultant and, of course, Kathryn herself, to get to know me and craft a strong and genuine story, focusing on what is relevant for business schools and leaving out the rest. The result was an application which I loved.
I mainly worked with Ram Iyer, for over 4 months, we had long phone calls and email exchanges during that period almost on a daily basis. Ram Iyer's quick-witted mentality and empathy allowed him to get to know me much better than anyone else has ever done in such a short time span. Those initial conversations for the Square One Prep assessment proved extremely valuable later in the process.
Over these 4 months, Ram Iyer helped me define my story and refine relevant content for each application to put together a compelling application. On some essays we made over 20 revisions and collaborated to refine my ideas and maintain my voice in the essays. He also conducted mock interviews over the phone and gave me tips that made me more confident with a business mindset that interviewers are looking for. He prepped me before the Wharton and Sloan interviews giving me tips from his extensive business experience. I walked into the interviews confidently and obviously did well.
His writing skills are superb; he is very eloquent and is able to express complex ideas in simple language. He is a tireless worker, expeditious and efficient, even when working with tight schedules. Ram Iyer does not need to prepare to do something; due to his broad experience, he can quickly understand any situation, and give the best advice on how strengthen a weakness or put an idea into words.
Ram Iyer and the Square One Prep process and team were the key to my success. Thank you!
Joined: May 17, 2019
The services that Square One Prep provide are the best in the business. After reading glowing reviews online and hearing testimonials from friends about the company, I chose to have a free consultation with Kathryn. She was open and honest about the difficulty of the process yet reassured that I could get into my dream schools with the right commitment. Ultimately I chose to work with Square One and used their comprehensive service to guide me through essay prep, letter of recommendation help, resume crafting, career narrative strategy, and much more. Throughout the entire process, I was kept on track to meet my admission deadline and to submit a well thought out application. Square One went above and beyond my expectations and I would recommend them to anyone seeking an MBA. I ended up getting into the Kellogg Part Time Program with a below average GPA and GMAT due to the strength of my application as a whole and the guidance that Square One provided.
Joined: Mar 02, 2020
I cannot thank them enough for everything they have done for me. One of my colleagues referred me to SOP and I reach out at 11pm for a free consult. I heard back from Kathryn almost immediately (hers and the rest of the team's responsiveness stayed at this level throughout the entire process) and we did a 1 hour consult a couple of days later.
This is not an easy process, however my team made it incredibly smooth. Their level of experience, responsiveness and dedication to my goals made them amazing partners.
Kathryn stayed engaged the whole time. She had the brilliant idea of making me switch to GRE after my failed attempts at GMAT in August (my GMAT tutor said it would be a mistake). I took the GRE in a week and crushed it. Mary spent so much time with me that she almost knew me better than I knew myself. She never accepted anything less than flawless, pushed me way out of my comfort zone, forced me to think harder, dig deeper and put in nothing less than my absolute best. She thoughtfully reviewed all my work and gave me insightful comments, I sometimes thought she spent more time reviewing my essays than I did editing them (we even started some essays from scratch). She went above and beyond to the level of texting me 10 mins before my interview to see if I wanted to run my pitch with her for the 5th time. She is the absolute best! Bailey kept us in check on a daily basis and made sure we are on track. Wendy forced me to think in a way I never thought about my future and gave me a new career vision.
This team will support you the entire time but they will expect you to do the work in return. They supported me 100%, close to 24/7. They also kept it very realistic. They never painted a rosy picture and told me frankly when things are not possible.
Having the dream team of Kathryn, Mary, Wendy and Bailey made all the difference. I applied to 5 schools (all in top 10) in R1, got interview invites from 2 and got accepted to both. They even helped me choose between the two schools (I ultimately picked Wharton). I highly recommend them to everyone.
Joined: Feb 25, 2020
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My cousin referred me to Kathryn for a free 30 minute consultation- I had a few general questions regarding the graduate application process. That thirty minute call turned into a two hour conversation about my professional background, future goals, and application strategy. By the end of it, I had two realizations. First, I had a lot to gain from the wealth of knowledge that Kathryn and her team brought to the table; and second, the small investment of hiring SOP to increase my acceptance success was simply a prerequisite for the big investment that graduate school would be for my future.
The SOP team was dedicated to my success from day one. Bailey kept me in check and on schedule, which was beyond helpful and enabled me to balance application work with my demanding day-to-day schedule. Wendy was the point person on my career narrative- a task that challenged me to consider the details of my future. She was in stride with me every step of the way and her kindness was a calming motivator that pushed me to develop my best possible work. My adviser, John, was supportive and challenging in the most perfect proportions! His guidance and feedback instilled confidence in myself and the process. I am so grateful to him and to the entire SOP leadership team!
Joined: Oct 12, 2018
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I just want to thank the entire team for helping me get into Tuck with a big scholarship!
Kathryn, Piersten, Wendy, and Bailey — I would not get the same results without your help, guidance, and support.
The expertise that SOP provides is unparalleled. It started with an initial call with Kathryn, who didn’t waste a second trying to sell the service or talking about different schools (I talked to 10+ consultants and half of them did that). Instead, our time was spent on my profile and my story. When I talked to Piersten, my personal consultant, I knew right away that she was the real deal — she read my previous essays before our initial call, she replied back fast to set up calls, and she could relate to me. Wendy was instrumental to bring out ambitious goals while keeping me grounded to things that I must achieve short-term. And Bailey was great at making sure I was on track. How could I not get into a top school with such amazing team? All I had to do is to put in as much work as they did.
Overall, my experience with the team has been very positive. I am happy with my decision to use SOP’s services (look at that ROI) and I can’t wait to start my MBA journey. Thank you!
Joined: Jul 27, 2017
I worked with the SOP team for two admission cycles. After facing rejections and waitlist dings from multiple schools, I was heartbroken and but then I spoke to Kathryn which really boosted my confidence and to give another shot. I worked comprehensively with her to identify the shortcomings in my profile and career narrative. Wendy (career narrative expert) and Kathryn spent time helping me update my career narrative, which was crucial to the entire process. They played the role of a devil’s advocate and asked me questions that even I never thought about. I must say that answering their questions is “Not Easy!” but it helped create a logical and cohesive narrative.
I loved working with Gary and Krasina in my respective admission cycles. Both could relate to my experience and pushed me to hard to get the best out of me. They were relentless in providing feedback and asking for clarifications. At the same time, they provided me immense support. I loved this application journey and SOP helped me learn about myself in ways that I never thought about.
I applied to two schools (in my second attempt) out of which I received interview calls for one and was finally admitted. I want to thank Krasina, Gary, Wendy and Kathryn for helping me get into my dream school! I would highly recommend SOP for your admission process.
Joined: Jul 10, 2015
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When someone first referred SOP to me, I hadn’t even considered working with an international consultant (outside my home country) as I had my own reservations - would I be able to connect well with them? would they even get my story? “I just need a mentor to guide me with the applications, and not get caught dealing with some admissions firm”, I said to myself.
TRANSPARENCY! My first free consultation call with Kathryn, the founder herself, put my doubts to rest. Kathryn patiently walked me through the whole process, understood my background and my (unclear) MBA motivations, but most importantly expressed confidence with the schools I was targeting! “Would I even be able to make it to these ambitious schools with this low GPA and work ex?”, I sheepishly asked Kathryn. To which she replied in an instant, “If we knew that you can’t make it, it would be a torture for us spending 40+hrs working with you on your applications''. I then knew that SOP isn’t some black box company wanting to make money, but one really focussed on their clients’ results/aspirations.
For the rest of the (stressful) journey, I knew I was in safe hands with the structured school/admissions specific knowledge and strategy that SOP team had all along - be it essays, resume, the career narrative, and eventually the interviews! The other differentiating factor, I believe, is how SOP makes a dedicated effort to get to know you, before kicking off work on applications - a shout-out to my advisor, Mike, here for being a great person to talk to and understanding my story. He was always a ping away incase of any queries, and didn’t take more than a day to revert with valuable suggestions/reviews on the seemingly never ending essay iterations. Also, the dual set of eyes (from both Mike and SOP leadership) on every application material is a real winner to get the best of perspectives and feedback!
Ultimately, the time spent initially on refining my career goals and MBA motivations helped me cross the line during the interviews as I made it to Columbia, Kellogg and Ross!!
Joined: Jan 20, 2020
I was referred to Kathryn and the Square One Prep team by my cousins who had worked with Kathryn directly, so I had the benefit of some prior knowledge of how the process works, but I can definitely say that the work and help lived up to and surpassed the hype!
I was a bit nervous about applying to business school, and HBS in particular, due to me perceiving that my “traditional” career path in finance was uninspiring, combined with what I was told was a low GPA for HBS. However, after an introductory call with Kathryn, I quickly decided to not only apply, but also work with Square One and Kathryn directly. What impressed me so much on that call, and continued to be the case throughout the entire process, was Kathryn’s thoughtful questions, encouraging yet honest feedback, and ability to uncover the “why” and help me realize things about my past career/academic/extracurricular experiences that I didn’t even appreciate at initial reflection. Most importantly though, Kathryn always told me what I needed to hear even if at times it didn’t line up with what I wanted to hear. While it was frustrating at times, looking back on it, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This tough love was all geared towards creating a compelling, genuine, and strong candidacy.
The Square One process as a whole is extremely well-crafted and ensures that everything builds upon itself to really create a wholesome application. From the initial assessment to the school selection to the resume building to the recommender selection/recommendation package preparation to the career narrative crafting and finally the essay brainstorming/iterating, everything was so thoughtfully done and allowed me to deeply reflect on myself, my past experiences, my business school ambitions, and my ultimate career goals. Kudos to Kathryn, Bailey and the rest of the team for creating such an effective process!
Kathryn was also always available to chat and help on short notice and most hours of the day (sometimes I would wonder when Kathryn sleeps!). I had my initial intro call with Kathryn about 6/7 months before the Round 1 deadlines while I was preparing for the GRE. She was supportive and provided sound advice during that process, checking in as well to make sure that substantial progress was being made since without the GRE/GMAT there’s no application to be done at all. She was then available to chat almost weekly – at times twice a week – once we started officially working on the applications and essays themselves about 3 months ahead of the deadlines (in addition to the dialogue over the phone, we were always in constant communication via email and Kathryn was very responsive). She was always there to help me if I got stuck in my thoughts; her extensive and broad experience consulting in these applications processes was evident by how quickly she was able to absorb information and then ask the right questions to help me find clarity and/or advise on the correct path forward.
Once I received interview invitations, Kathryn’s help and guidance was invaluable. The interview prep guide helped me get ready to articulate my thoughts and experiences in a concise manner, which I can struggle to do as evidenced by the above. The mock interview debriefs were also super helpful – after each mock (we did one general behavioral one and one for HBS), Kathryn would go question by question and in a very detailed manner break down the strengths and weaknesses of each answer and provide the thoughtful and necessary feedback (again, sometimes conflicting with what I wanted to hear, but ultimately it was for my own good!) in order for me to succeed. These mocks helped me get the kinks out of my system and perform my best – and importantly be myself – on the actual interview days and eventually secure the admission offers.
I never thought HBS would be an attainable option for me, but thanks to Kathryn’s help that dream has now become a reality! I could not be more thankful for all of her guidance, and yes, the tough love too!
Joined: Jun 12, 2017
Square One Prep was my secret weapon. Before working with them, I knew I wanted to aim high with a few reach MBA programs and Kathryn was brutally honest about what it would take to get there. 5 months later, I have received offers from all three programs I applied to, including my dream school and biggest stretch - LBS.
The entire Square One Prep team has been my rock throughout this process. Studying for the GRE, working full time and navigating the application process is not easy to do all at once, but they were there for me every step of the way and kept me on track. I cannot imagine embarking on this complex process without their guidance and expertise.
Additionally, their diverse list of advisors allowed me to find one that had a very similar background to me. She understood all the nuances of my non-traditional background and most importantly, how to leverage this to my advantage in all of my essays.
Thank you Square One Prep - LBS here I come!
Joined: Jan 15, 2020
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I cannot say enough about the Square One Prep team and the guidance they provided during what was a stressful application process. I was initially wary of working with a consultant on my application and thought I could do it on my own, however, after a recommendation from a friend, I decided to check SOP out. Kathryn was able to get on a call the same night the intro was made and spoke at length with me about my background and aspirations. It was clear from this first call she was trying to get to know me and honestly advise me on what made sense over just selling their services. From there, I had the option to choose to speak to any of the available consultants to see who I connected with most, which I found very helpful. I was also provided with an incredibly detailed 2-month plan for applying to the 4 schools I had in mind (all this over 3 days and before any payment was made).
Throughout the actual process, the team's level of engagement took me by surprise as they ensured I didn't miss a beat on any of the application work, despite my best efforts at procrastinating every step of the way. Most important to me was how invested the team was in helping craft a story and career narrative that was true to me. When they felt I was not fully engaged in the initial story I was building, they took extra time to take a step back and really help me self-reflect and get to the core of what I really wanted out of the MBA experience and in the years that followed.
I also want to give a special shout to Garry, my consultant, who was a pleasure to work with - from the multiple essay revisions to my countless questions to the interview guidance, I felt he was truly invested in my success as both a friend and mentor, and I really appreciate all the work and effort he put in for me during the process.
In the end, I got accepted to my top schools in HBS & Sloan, but can truly never imagine having been able to do so without the help of Kathryn, Garry and the SOP team. I'm thankful I chose to work with Square One and highly recommend it for anyone who is considering applying for an MBA.