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Square One Prep Reviews
If you partner with us comprehensively, you have an advisor 24 hours a day/7 days a week to help you navigate the application process. You also have the Square One Prep Owner as a resource. Using a unique, methodical, and immersive process, we help you every step of the way - from selecting your schools and defining your career narrative to crafting your resume, essays, LORs, and online application content and doing interview preparation. We are here for you.

6 out of 6 people found the following review helpful
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     By Anonymous 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Erik Yazdani

I hired Square One comprehensive consulting service last year and it was a horrible experience.

the Consultant back then was Erik Yazdani. I never found a smooth cooperation with him. Sometimes he got pissed at me reaching out to him at some thing i need him to answer quickly. I got an interview from wharton and wanted his advice on choosing the time slot. He was pissed that i reached out him without advanced notice and refuse to return my call.

I got into none last year with Square One and interestingly, I heard no words from either Kathryn or Erik after that.

This year, i hired Stacy Blackman and my consultant was Caryn. I got into both schools i applied - University of Chicago and Kellogg with 100k Scholarship. the process of application was super sweet and smooth. Caryn offered very insightful and professional advice. I trusted her on all her advice.

If anyone is considering hiring a consultant, please stay away from Square One. I had horrible experience and they were not responsible. Lack of structure.

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1 Commented by Squareoneprep on January 15, 2016   Edited on January 15, 2016
I just read your post on GMAT Club. I am really sorry you feel the way you do about your experience with us. I am confused by what you wrote because it is factually inaccurate from beginning to end - as supported by emails, phone logs with notes, and your files. You did have structure (per a customized day-by-day schedule I crafted and sent to you on 8/13/2014) and I did stay in touch with you and Erik throughout your process. Your goal was to apply to Stanford, HBS, Wharton, and Columbia R1, despite my urging that you diversify your list to mitigate risk. If you recall, at first you only wanted to apply to HBS and Stanford. You got started with us on 8/16/2014 with a 1-school package - Stanford. Both your timeline and schools were aggressive. I was personally very clear with you about those facts before you signed on with us. I made sure your eyes were open. You said they were, that you were very motivated and felt the worst case would be that you'd have to re-apply. You said that you loved your job and would be ok with that, though of course it wasn't desirable. We felt comfortable working with you because I had spent 5+ hours talking with you on calls (all started after midnight to accommodate your schedule) to ensure you were in fact motivated, aware of the risk you were taking on, and the right client for us. We only work with folks we believe we can lead to success. We are right 86% of the time.


Due to the demands of your work, you applied only to Stanford R1. You asked to add a second school, HBS, and then a third, Columbia. On 12/14/2014, when you reached out via email to add a fourth school, I expressly asked you if you wanted it to be Kellogg instead of Wharton. I wanted you to take a little less risk. You said you wanted the fourth school to be Wharton.


You got an interview with Wharton. The fact that you got an interview there showed that your written application was strong. When you did not get an offer, Erik suggested debriefing on a call, which you two did. We were there for you.


As it regards Erik's availability to you, he was never upset when you reached out to him. Perhaps you are referring to when you requested to have a 1030pm est slot in his calendar every weeknight for a call. He would not do that, which I supported him on, as no client should need to talk with us nightly. That can create co-dependence; that does not yield productivity.

Last year you applied to the toughest programs in the world to get into: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, and Columbia. This year you applied to Booth and Kellogg - the hurdle to get in there is lower. We in no way say that to slight your work with Stacy Blackman Consulting, as we have great respect for that team. We are extremely happy that you had the success that you did. You deserve it. Just please be aware that we would have liked you to apply to Booth and Kellogg last year, but you would not. You have misrepresented your experience with us.


This business is my life. I put my soul into it, and the success of our clients. I sincerely care, as do my advisors. I had no idea that you at any point were unsatisfied with your experience with us. Had you been why did you add three more schools, one at a time? As you know, at any point in time you could have reached out to me to talk about things, and I would have availed myself to you----as I did on many occasions after midnight when you called me on my cell, unscheduled. I answered 100% of the time and was happy to talk with you. On each of those calls, the topic revolved around you needing encouragement - to know we believed in you; not once in all of those hours of calls did you say that you were unhappy with our level of service. You in fact emphatically and repeatedly stated just the opposite.


Again, this review is disheartening, due to both its factual inaccuracy and your emotional perception of your experience with us. That said, we are thrilled that you will be heading to b-school later this year.
6 out of 6 people found the following review helpful
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     By Gioak88 1 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service

I am still reeling from the second denial notification I received from NYU Stern (which follows the rejection from Columbia just few weeks before) two weeks ago and as such, my dream of attending an MBA in NYC has been wiped out (at least for this year). Now, if I told you that I applied with a 650 GMAT score , you may say that I should have expected such an outcome. Fair enough. But what you may not know is that I hired the consultants of SOP Advisory service to help me through the application process. I fell for their wonderful website where they brag about their incredible, high admission success-rate for their clients as prospective MBA candidates. Unfortunately, I experienced that their service was not wonderful at all: I can't know whether my poor GMAT score was the deal breaker in my application, but I can definitely say that the SOP ambition, to make your application as strong as possible and make up for other weaknesses in your profile, (among others a low GMAT score, it is one of first mentioned...take a look at their website under the most common application challenges list) has totally failed.

On top of this, every time I sounded the consultants out on any advice, I was treated with haughtiness and talked down to, both in the emails sent to me and during our Skype conversations. For example, I sent an email to my consultant last week saying that I has also been rejected from NYU and I am still waiting for his reply!!
On the other hand, the monthly payment reminders were sent like clockwork.

All in all my personal experience with SOP has been disastrous, not only for the very questionable service standard but also because of the poor customer care .
The service was very expensive and not value for money at all (LORs, essay and resume advisory for two business schools totaled 5,700 USD). Furthermore, the service should have included interview training as well. In the end I was rejected and did not benefit from the service. On top of this, I have never received even a partial refund from them.
I discourage future applicants to resort to this service: in hindsight I would never ever hire them!

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     By MNKellogg 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Kathryn Lucas

Prior to working with Square One Prep I interviewed numerous other consultancies and went with SOP as it was clear that it was the best place to get the most individualized advice to get into my dream schools. I cannot reaffirm strongly enough that my initial rationale was validated after working with the SOP team. I worked numerous hours hand-in-hand with both my consultant and Kathryn herself. This includes spending hours on the phone with Kathryn from my hotel in Evanston the night prior to my interview with Kellogg. I can unequivocally say that working with Kathryn helped me open the doors to getting into my dream school. I received such tailored advice to highlight the uniqueness of my qualities despite coming from an overrepresented demographic. I was pushed to soul search and write truly genuine essays that actually helped me progress personally, in addition to getting into Kellogg.

Key takeaways:

I had subpar performance on my GMAT and was able to get into Kellogg despite the unflattering score. Kathryn helped me articulate my unique story in such a way that adcoms were able to look past my GMAT score to see the valuable addition that I would be to their class and their alumni base.

I was waitlisted originally yet, once again, Kathryn gave me the insight to navigate the process from everything to writing follow-up correspondence with the admissions department to getting additional and follow-up recommendations. Had it not been for her guidance, I am confident that I would have made missteps that could have resulted in me not getting off of the waitlist.

I cannot recommend a partner to help you navigate the entire process from resume construction through waitlist follow-ups more strongly than Square One Prep.

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Highly Recommend!
July 13 | 2017
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     By kravi19 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Kunal Moudgil

I shopped around quite a bit before choosing SOP and working with Kathryn and Kunal, and I am 100% sure I made the right choice. Thanks to them, I got interviews at all 5 schools I applied to (HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Haas), and I got into 3 of them (Wharton, Booth, Haas)!

Some highlights about my experience:
- Going in, I did not really have a clue about why I wanted to pursue an MBA, or what I wanted to do longterm. Kunal and Kathryn took an incredible amount of time to get to know my story - personally and professionally - and helped me brainstorm in order to get to fundamental truths about myself and what I was passionate about. This then led to a much more compelling story I could tell in my application, with pride and authenticity.

- Kathryn planned a thorough schedule and really helped me stay on track so that I would not be scrambling last minute to submit applications. As someone who is a compulsive procrastinator, I was particularly impressed by how they were able to push me to meet their deadlines and make sure I wouldn't be overly stressed as the school deadlines approached.

- Kathryn and Kunal provided honest feedback on my essays throughout the process, and only signed off on something when they thought it was truly ready. In one case, I had to go through 7+ essay revisions before they were happy with the product, and that made me feel very confident in what I was submitting.

I highly recommend working with SOP - they helped transform my candidacy into one that was competitive for the top schools, and they helped me learn valuable insights about myself in the process!

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     By forrestwaierduo 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Kathryn Lucas

Yale SOM!! I still can’t believe my dream has just come true!!

When I started thinking about my business school application, I knew the process was not going to easy. Fighting the battle yourself could be very intimating; therefore I decided to work with a consultant. I did weeks of research and due-diligence, calling more than 10 admissions consultant firms. I finally decided to work with Square One Prep! Starting from the first call, Kathryn is the only person that showed genuine care about my application. I felt confident like never before going into my application. Just by speaking with me for 30-40 minutes, she spotted highlights in my life/career and came up with a great theme for my application story.

Here are a few instances that show Kathryn and her team is unbelievably amazing:

1. Coming in with a fairly strong academic background, I thought I was not going to have any problems with the GMAT. Turns out that was not the case. I took the GMAT several times and the highest score that I could achieve was still about 40 points below the average at the schools that I wanted to apply to. While other firm consultants may advise you to go for a less competitive school, Kathryn encouraged me to still apply to my interested schools! Both Kathryn and Faryn worked with me to strengthen all other components of my application and minimize my weaknesses. At those extremely competitive schools, there is usually no room for errors. Kathryn reviewed everything Faryn and I created and definitely made sure that my applications were as perfect as they could be!

2. Waitlist Experience – Another wonderful experience with Square One Prep! Kathryn and her team never, never give up on you!! Kathryn, Faryn and I immediately jumped into action! There were hours spent with me during the 4 months of waitlist period for additional interest letters, and waitlist advice! Not once did I feel like they were giving up on me. I had submitted several various updates to the school and every single one was right on time, before the school conducts another waitlist reductions. Kathryn’s guidance on timing was just incredible! And the additional materials that I submitted were all high-quality (my admission confirms it). They really meant it when they said they are there to guide me to success. Their sole purpose is to help clients reach success, not to beat around the bush and try to earn more profit.

For business school applications absolutely go with Square One Prep!
In the years to come you will realize that it is one of the best decisions you have made for yourself!

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Excellent Partners
June 12 | 2017
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     By SBabvani 3 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Collin Brady

I was introduced to Kathryn via a common friend that recommended her to me as I was searching for support in pulling my application together.
A little background - I am a non standard emba aspirant - having taken 20 years to complete my undergrad due to life happening. Kathryn understood this and was very honest with my chances and laid out a feasible approach to getting me to my goals of obtaining a top rated MBA.

The one thing that stood out for me working with both Kathryn and Collin was their commitment and determination to ensure that I was successful. They worked extremely hard to make sure that I was on track working on the various items for the application process. Both Collin and Kathryn were prompt in providing feedback and following up to make sure that I had completed my items in order to submit by the deadlines.
They spent umpteen hours and effort in ensuring that my story was succinct and came through on my essays and I landed interviews.
Collin's insights into the interview process and his prep session really prepared me to ace the interview.
for me I am in the program I wanted to be in because of Square One Prep and their doggedness in ensuring that I followed through on my end! I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone else.
As a side note - be prepared for some tough love - they want you to be successful - and they want you to focus on your goal and will call you out if you don't prioritize your tasks as you promised to.

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     By nyctobostonyay 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Julia Kurnik

I made a last minute decision to apply to business school in September of last year – and given how much I knew I’d have to hustle in a short time frame to get solid Round 2 applications in (I hadn’t at that point even taken or studied for the GMAT/GRE, and I ALSO knew that I only wanted to apply to my top two schools, HBS and MIT Sloan), I knew I wanted to work with a consultant to make sure that my application was as strong as it could be! I did a few free consults with a couple of other MBA admissions consultancies, but found myself very disheartened by the response I was getting; most encouraged me to spend several months studying for the GMAT/GRE and applying in the following year and seemed eager to get off of the phone and move on to their next free consult that they had lined up.

One of my good friends had used SOP the year before and encouraged me to try out a free call with Kathryn, and it was honestly the best decision I could have made for myself. During our free call (which went well over the 30 minute time limit) she asked probing questions about my background, motivations and goals, and I felt she really tried to get to know me on a personal level. We left the call with her encouraging me to start studying for the GRE, and she even recommended various study resources for me, which I found so helpful. A few days later, she sent me over a detailed timeline and schedule that I could expect if I were to work with SOP. That was the first, of many, instances in which SOP went above and beyond to put me on a track to success.

I ultimately chose to work with Julia who has a similar social entrepreneurship background to myself, and who from our first intro call I felt could help me leverage my application to be its strongest (plus I immediately liked her a lot!). She provided constructive, detailed feedback and edits on every aspect of the application, whether it was my resume, letters of recommendation, essays (for all of these, we had at least 5-6 drafts of edits before sending it along to Kathryn for final review!) not to mention nonstop encouragement along the way anytime I doubted myself. Even when I was simultaneously juggling studying 4+ hours a day for the GRE with writing essays and getting my recommendation letters sent in, Julia provided the motivation to keep on going and answered any questions I had with a super quick turnaround (and I definitely had a lot of questions throughout the process!). I was incredibly excited to get interviews at both schools – and Julia prepared me extremely well. She ensured that I researched the different aspects of each school’s program thoroughly, and helped me strike a balance between preparing for commonly asked questions, but ensuring that my responses were candid and authentic.

I hit a snag when I was waitlisted at both schools, and immediately began regretting my decision to only apply to my top two. Julia and Kathryn immediately dispelled this thought, and reminded me how impressive it is to have two top schools to be seriously considering me given the sheer number of applicants. They both immediately set up a call to discuss my waitlist strategy, including who I can have write me reference letters, and brainstorming content for waitlist reply essays. This two-month process was the most grueling in terms of the waiting game – but Julia was there to support me every step of the way, from the emotional support to really having me focus on why I wanted to attend each school and provide thoughtful responses in my essays. I am thrilled to say that I just found out that I have been accepted to Sloan, and it’s a dream come true!!

I am so grateful to SOP for their incredible help over the last 9+ months of the application process. I feel that Kathryn and Julia not only set me up to be the most successful I could be, but also pushed me to learn more about myself, my motivations, and what I really want to get out of business school. I am incredibly excited to start school in the fall and could not recommend SOP more to anyone else who wants to take this next step on his or her professional journey!

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     By fedesucre 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Kathryn Lucas

I applied to 9 top MBA programs in Round 2. My numbers were below average for M7 schools, so I applied to a wide spread of schools (#1-20). Kathryn and my Square One Prep advisor helped me with 1 comprehensive application, but the service was useful in crafting all others. I got 4 acceptances and 2 waitlists. One of my waitlists was my dream school (a top 2 program) and I was recently admitted!!

Here are some highlights from my experience with Square One Prep:

- My SOP advisor was a great match. He was an alum from my desired program and had lots of experience coaching MBA candidates. He really understood my values, passions, and goals, and helped me identify the best stories to put together compelling essays.
- My resume was significantly improved. I had a very good initial draft, but SOP helped me make it solid. I was able to say so much on one carefully crafted page. And I was able to use the same resume for all applications.
- On all documents for my desired program, it was great to have the constant reviews of my SOP advisor and Kathryn’s additional feedback. Both of them were super honest and thorough throughout the process.
- I had to explain extenuating circumstances that affected my academic performance. SOP gave me the confidence and support to deal with this successfully.
- I had interviews with 6 MBA programs. I spent 2 hours on Skype with Kathryn preparing for one of them: 30 mins of mock interview and 90 mins of feedback. This was SUPER helpful!
- I was waitlisted at two of my top 3 programs, including my desired one. Kathryn helped me put together a strategy and I was admitted in Round 3. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful SOP was during the wait list process. The last two months made all the investment and previous work worth it.

If I had to do it all over again, I would hire Square One Prep earlier in the process and I would apply in Round 1!

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     By bk11249 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Joey Siesholtz

I had the pleasure of working with Kathryn and Joey at Square One Prep on my EMBA application process. Square One Prep’s method was not only extremely well organized and thorough but their approach was a journey unto itself that had great value. Their guidance through self-exploration gave me insights about myself to better craft my own story through the essay process. Every step of the way, they were challenging and supportive allowing me to truly showcase my ability to succeed in a business school environment and beyond.

The investment in Square One Prep’s program gives you the opportunity to elevate yourself through the application process with a partner/advisor whose feedback is priceless. They not only helped me reach my goal of getting into the MIT Sloan EMBA program but also made me more self-aware and equipped for this next chapter in my life.

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     By justgetitdone 0 0
This review is for: Square One Prep Premium Service
Consultant: Kathryn Lucas

I’m 2 for 2 with Square One Prep! With Kathryn’s help I got into Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. Kathryn helps you clarify your message so you can get into the best schools in the world. Kathryn gives you her time. This is very valuable. I spent over 14 hours on the phone with her. This helped me because she simplified my big ideas into a one page essay that the Harvard admission’s committee loved.

You should hire Kathryn if you want to work with the best. You should hire Kathryn if you want her to (virtually) kick you in the butt to make sure you craft the best application possible. Tough love isn’t for everyone. It works perfect me, and that’s why I go to Kathryn when I need results. I highly recommend Kathryn to anyone who has big ideas and needs the best graduate program so they can accelerate to their goals.

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