Pre-MBA industry: Strategy Consulting/Social Entrepreneurship
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 4
GMAT/GRE score: 590
Admitted to: Booth, Fuqua, Tuck
Where to start? I applied to five schools last year and didn’t succeed. I took the GMAT exam four times before applying and had to apply with a 580, my best score. Aside from that, I actually thought I was a strong candidate. I came from consulting, performed well at a known university (liberal arts degree though), and had a slew of extracurricular activities, both past and present, to highlight. But I didn’t get an interview anywhere.
So this year I reached out to consultants to help me. The instant I told them my GMAT score, all except Square One Prep – Kathryn – told me that I didn’t have a shot at schools I planned to reapply to: Booth, Tuck, Fuqua, and Wharton. I wanted to go to a school that had a strong presence in healthcare. All the consultancies I talked to except Square One also told me when my 30 minutes were up, probably because they didn’t want to work with me. And I got it. I know that score is terrible. But I didn’t want that to defeat me. Kathryn was certainly candid with me about how weak my GMAT score was, but she saw so many other strong points to my candidacy as well as ways in which I could strengthen myself this year in my applications, whether through my essays, resume, or LORs, because she took the time to look at last year’s applications. The other places I called didn’t care about seeing my previous applications. Kathryn asked me to send them to her and did a second free consult with me to discuss them. Choosing to work with her was a no brainer. Two other firms of the 7 I talked to were also willing to work with me, but they didn’t make the effort that Square One did to see me for more than my 580 GMAT score. They also told me to reconsider my list of schools. So again, choosing to work with Square One was a no brainer.
I worked directly with Kathryn. And she worked miracles. She gave a lot to our partnership and expected an awful lot from me in return. So if you work with Square One and with Kathryn, be ready to work hard. To her credit, there were times when she was more invested in my success than I was. I had my doubts along the way. For example, when I took the GMAT exam one more time and got a 580 again, I really worried. Kathryn didn’t. She cheered me on. She listened to me and was a shoulder for me to cry on. She let me have a day or two to regroup, but then rallied me to stay the course. By the time our work was done, all of my materials were overhauled. I felt so confident about myself, not arrogant, just confident. A long way from where I was 9 months prior when all I got was rejections and questioned myself. This year, I knew I was going to get interviews; I just felt it. And I did. I got interviews at 3 schools. And I got offers from 3 schools (including a scholarship at Booth so that’s where I’m heading)!