Status: First-time applicant
Pre-MBA industry: Higher Education Advisory/Think Tanks
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 4
GMAT/GRE score: 680
Undergraduate GPA: 3.6/4.0
Admitted to: Anderson, Fuqua, McDonough, Stanford, Yale
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!!
When I started considering applying to MBA programs, I was full of questions. Do I take the GMAT or GRE? Which schools should I apply to? Will I be competitive as a non-traditional candidate? Should I hire an MBA admissions consultant? In April 2016, I reached out to a few MBA admissions consultants through the “free consultation” option. Most of them were only 30 minutes. Kathryn spent about an hour on the phone with me. She was very direct and assertive.
A few months earlier I had taken the GRE and got a 314. Kathryn said that given my ambitious target schools, Square One Prep wouldn’t work with me unless I got a higher score. I liked her honesty and used it as motivation to do better. She encouraged me to try the GMAT and I took her advice. I studied for about 3.5 months and got a 680. During this time, I did not keep in touch with SOP or any other consultants. I was planning to move forward on my own.
Out of nowhere, I got an email from Kathryn in early October. She was just checking in to see how my process was going and wondering if I had raised my test scores. She also mentioned a few specific things from our April conversation. I was vey surprised and decided to schedule another phone call. While I was worried about the cost, I remember thinking to myself: “I can put together a good application, but my application will be much stronger if I work with Kathryn and SOP”. That’s when I decided to make the investment, and I’m so glad I did!
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!