Status: First-time applicant
Pre-MBA industry: Financial Services
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 6
GMAT/GRE score: 770
Undergraduate GPA: 3.8/4.0
Admitted to: INSEAD, LBS, Stanford, Wharton
Reflecting back on the MBA application process, I could not have done it without Kathryn & Kathleen of Square One Prep. I’m thrilled to have been admitted to my dream school, Stanford, with their support every step of the way.
I reached out to a number of MBA admissions consultants in January, and spoke to at least a half dozen that came highly recommended from friends or had great reviews online. I found it difficult to distinguish between them all, but what stood out to me about Kathryn was her impeccable organization (that Excel application development schedule!) and willingness to drop everything to speak to me on short notice. I also liked that Square One doesn’t waste its time giving free advice via webinars and articles on Poets & Quants – that’s not what I’m paying for! I was then given a number of profiles and arranged a call with Kathleen, who turned out to be a perfect match for my professional background and career interests.
While I consider myself a rather organized person, working with Square One ensured that I did everything possible to get the application basics out of the way in the spring before essay season started in earnest. We went through school selection, recommender selection, my business school resume, and a life-changing career narrative session before most other applicants had even taken the GMAT or selected an admissions consultant. If you don’t believe in the value of MBA admissions consultants, the best money you’ll ever spend is on your career narrative and figuring out your story. Even if I hadn’t gotten into a single business school, it was a transformational experience to get that kind of coaching to formalize a career vision and figure out what would help me achieve my goals.
When essay season came around, I was also the kind of applicant who came in with preconceived notions of what I wanted to write. Kathryn & Kathleen gave me brutal feedback on my first draft, and over 90% of it had to go. We went through something like 10 drafts for some of the more difficult essays, but in the end… they were always right. Whenever there was a moment of doubt (and there are many during this stressful application process), it was infinitely valuable to be able to go to sleep at night, and trusting the professionals to guide you on your MBA journey. For a difficult essay prompt like Stanford’s or Harvard’s… I don’t know how anyone does it without help, and anecdotally I think the truth is that most of them don’t.
A last word… I was put in Stanford’s waitpool after Round 1, and I was distraught. Kathryn & Kathleen told me that it would be a battle to convert it to an offer, but they had great statistics on their side – last year they had over 50% success rate converting a waitlist decision to an offer. They never once complained that it was more work to help me with a letter of continued interest. With a number of successful letters to work off of, I had a good idea of what I needed to do and executed on those points over the course of the next few months. While there are general resources out there on what to do if you are on a waitlist, the truth is that it depends on each school’s process so seeing past examples of what worked for Stanford made a tremendous difference for me. I received an offer with Round 2, and can’t wait to attend in the fall!!