Status: First-time applicant
Pre-MBA industry: Financial Services
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 4
GMAT/GRE score: 720 (V: 38 Q: 48)
Undergraduate GPA: 3.42/4.00
Admitted to: Stern
I started engaging with a number of admissions consultants a year before applying. After completing numerous 30min consultations it became evident that Kathryn and her team were the way to go. As others have mentioned, there was a degree of honesty from the get-go but what really set SOP apart for me was their willingness to leverage their expertise and impart advice before any payments were made. My initial call with Kathryn was scheduled for 30min but lasted over an hour, during which she engaged with me as if I was a client already – providing feedback and suggestions for improving my profile in the year I had before applying. When asking other consultants what I could do to better my profile, they all pitched me on some early bird package or mentioned they would be happy to provide such advise once I signed up/ paid the fee. This demonstrated the values with which SOP operated with.
Fast forward to R1: I took a four school package and was admitted to a T10; rejected after interviewing at an M7 and outright rejected at two other M7’s. The quality of my application; the resume, essays, recommendations and overall narrative/ story (not to be discounted as this was crucial in the interviews) was well above what I could have crafted on my own. At the outset I definitely had my doubts given the price point of these services but in hindsight it was definitely worth it. Everyone is in a unique situation and should reflect on where they stand and what resources they have at their disposable;. For me I was an ORM coming from Finance with a 720 and a okay undergrad record, I had no close friends or family members who went through the process/ whom I could rely upon heavily. A few friends/ colleagues were attending my target schools and were great resources for learning about the programs/ culture but their time was limited for reviewing and revising materials. I knew I was also an absolutely horrible writer. As such – I believed I could greatly benefit from these services and I did.
What I liked most about working with SOP was 1. The structure 2. The Team. Starting with the structure – SOP has a well defined process that starts with a series of conversations to learn about you as a person i.e. goals, interests, career, background etc. This then evolves into a spreadsheet/ evaluation of your candidacy, with strengths and weaknesses laid out from the get–go. This is followed by career narrative development (again all written and revised numerous times by you, Kathryn, your consultant and the career narrative coach/ expert). Then comes the resume and the recommendations and THEN each school’s application/ essays. All the written materials that were actually submitted were revised 10-15 times. Second is the Team – it’s not just you and your individual consultant going through the whole process. The leadership team reviews all final materials and will also make multiple revisions. This is valuable because your work doesn’t just reflect the opinion/ thoughts of one person but a group of experienced individuals.
The guidance and support they provided throughout the process was also invaluable – outside of the main process Kathryn and her team were always available to talk. For me this included discussing a potential job change and how that might impact my application, dealing with rejections, strategizing about a potential R2 effort.