Pre-MBA industry: Publishing in Education/Marketing
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 8
GMAT/GRE score: 700
Admitted to: Stern
I got into NYU Stern and got a full scholarship – about $150,000. It just feels unreal: looking back, I’m so glad I decided to contact Kathryn and Square One Prep. I wouldn’t have gotten in without their help (see below for more details).
Before getting in touch with Square One Prep, I had already tried doing a couple of applications on my own and gotten rejected. Over several months, I had put in dozens of hours into my applications, looked through different MBA-related message boards for tips, etc. It was rough when I got rejected from both schools, so I decided to get help.
I didn’t get started with Square One Prep until the end of November—and I was aiming to submit my application by the start of January. Adding to these challenges: I was already busy with a full and part time job, and prepping to get married the following month. It was probably the most stressful time in my life, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to finish my application materials in time.
But despite the crazy schedule, Kathryn and my advisor rose to the challenge: They helped me get everything done on time, but more importantly, while putting together an awesome application. (That said, I encourage anyone thinking about Square One to contact them earlier and just see what you think. If you’re already deeper into the process like I was, it’s not the end of the world—but I know for myself, having extra time would have let me put more time into the application and made the process a lot less stressful!).
Square One was great in helping plan out work (I’m pretty disorganized in general). But for me it was the resume and essays – the two parts of my previous applications where I thought I had done pretty well – that really drove home how much stronger my new application had become with their help. Job-wise, I felt like I didn’t really have many “accomplishments” to speak of, but my advisor helped me draw out details and points I hadn’t thought of and put them together in one comprehensive and coherent document.
I have a pretty odd employment background too (switched from academia to freelance to marketing), so figuring out how to weave that into a coherent narrative and hit on the right themes within my essays was invaluable. On a micro level in my essays, Square One’s feedback – from the flow of ideas, to grammar, to cadence – was great too. Having worked as an editor, I’ve seen lots of good and bad writing over the years… but when it comes to improving your own work it really helps to get feedback from others who truly know their stuff.
Both Kathryn and my advisor were very generous with their time, and helped me clarify a lot of questions and fuzzy areas outside the application itself: looking at why/if NYU Stern program was the best fit for me, weighing alternate schools I hadn’t considered, etc. They were great with answering my many miscellaneous questions too. Even though I had done a lot of research online over the previous year, there’s just so much vague and contradictory advice out there about schools, GMAT prep, essays, and so on. (If you’re doing that research now, I feel your pain). The peace of mind I got from being able to ask my advisor questions point blank and get clear, thoughtful answers was just invaluable.
If it’s not clear by now, working with Square One was absolutely the right choice for me. I’m also glad I did the comprehensive services package. I’m not what the “average” applicant looks like, but I’m not rich… I have assume that for many other people too, it’s not easy to come up with thousands of dollars for a service like this. But the level of support, guidance and expertise I got made it 100% worth it. Square One helped make my application so much stronger, and it made all the difference in the world.