Status: First-time applicant
Pre-MBA industry: Consulting & Program Management in Technology
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 5
GMAT/GRE score: 740
Undergraduate GPA: 3.4/4.0
Admitted to: Wharton-Lauder
I hired Square One after doing due diligence on 6 different admissions consultants (Scott at Personal MBA Coach, Debbie at MBAMission, Judith at Fortuna were the other top contenders for me). I needed help telling my story in a concise way (public ivy, 5 years in consulting and tech, 3.4 GPA, 740 GMAT).
I’m happy to report that, with Square One’s support, I was accepted into Wharton’s Lauder program (MBA/MA International Studies joint degree). This is a program I’ve been dreaming about for the last 5 years, and they made it happen.
Before Square One, I actually started working with Stacey Blackman, who set me up with Paul, one of their veterans. The guy was totally unprepared for our first call – he was late, did not set an agenda, and was reading my resume for the first time as he rambled. I bailed after he completely missed our second call. Unforgivable at $300+ per hour.
Thankfully, Square One was another level of professionalism. I was set up with Josh, who was really patient and spent hours with me to refine my business school story.
Key areas that he excelled in, in order of importance – helped set up my recommenders so that their letters could thoughtfully add more to my story, completely reformatted my resume, and shared essays from a ton of previously successful admits to my top choice schools (inspired my own writing).
Key areas that he needed to improve – Josh wasn’t a huge value add for my essays. Writing these is more of a personal journey anyway, but it would have been better to have his frequent input. Josh became less and less available as time went on, often taking days / up to a week to respond (when we started, we were in touch over text and he would have updates for me within literally seconds. When Kathryn got this feedback, she let Josh go. I then worked directly with Kathryn, the founder. She helped me get through the finish line, and she is by far the best admissions consultant I have worked with. Her insight on what’s important to the schools really showed. If you have the chance, work with Kathryn.
One area that I went to someone else for – Judith at Fortuna ran an incredible mock interview for Wharton’s Team-Based Discussion. Judith previously worked at the Wharton adcom, and it showed. A group of us jumped on a conference call, and walked through a real-life TBD facilitated by Judith. She gave us really solid individualized feedback after the fact. If I had not done this, I would not have had nearly the same confidence in the real TBD. Kathryn at Square One did not offer this service – I wish she did!
Final takeaways – I think the polish on my rec letter requests, resume, and interview prep all contributed to getting my acceptance letter. My advice is to spend a lot of time finding the right consultant who is backed with the right resources. I found that with Square One, and am pretty thankful for it.