Status: First-time applicant
Pre-MBA industry: Consulting
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 5
GMAT/GRE score: 730 (V: 41 Q: 49)
Undergraduate GPA: 9.54/10.00
Graduate GPA: 3.69/4.00
Admitted to: Columbia-MPA, Harvard Kennedy School, Wharton
Most of the reviews that you will read about Square One Prep will rave about the free consultation with Kathryn. There’s a reason for it. Kathryn is special. She is passionate about what she does and that reflects in the interest she takes in getting to actually “know” each applicant. When I began my application process, I believed I had decent stats and a good shot at the Top 10 B-schools. However, my consultations with the more well-known firms destroyed my confidence when each one of them asked me to lower my expectations. Kathryn was the only one who cared to look beyond my stats and spent 1.5 hours trying to fully appreciate my profile and my story. However, as admissions consulting is a significant investment, I spoke with 11 admissions consulting firms, watched several P&Q videos, and read hundreds of testimonials on GMAT Club, before confidently signing up for SOP.
Quite frankly, SOP has a no-nonsense business model. They will not lure you with attractive discounts and last-minute offers, will not compel you to sign up for a multi-school package right away at a special price, or charge you hidden fees. They have a transparent pricing policy and are slightly expensive than larger players who play of economies of scale to drive down prices (and perhaps the quality of advice). It was all worth it.
SOP gave me multiple options to choose an advisor (someone who will directly work with you on your applications). I chose to work with Kathleen who is undoubtedly one of the nicest persons you’ll ever meet. She gave me great advice on how to think about my stories and was super quick to respond to my queries over email or on the phone. She’ll never let you feel that you are alone in this journey and will give you the much-needed moral support at each stage of the process. She has a hands-off approach to consulting and will not spoon feed ideas. Instead, she will urge you to be original and reflect on your life stories. I preferred this approach as I had done significant research on the admissions process before signing up and I wanted my essays to be authentic – just fine-tuned with some expert guidance. However, if you require more hands-on guidance, I’m sure you’ll get that too. Also, the leadership team will review your essays and resume too before finalization, which helps to get additional perspective on your ideas/stories.
No matter which school(s) you choose to work on with SOP, getting your career narrative right is going to be critical. Here, Wendy provided valuable advice which helped me on ALL my applications (every B-school wants to know about your career goals either through an essay or during the interview). Another important aspect of developing your applications alongside a full-time job is to stay disciplined and adequately informed, Here, Bailey ensured that all my applications stayed on track and I had access to all the resources I needed to craft a solid application.
Overall, I had a great time working with Square One Prep and would highly recommend them to all prospective applicants. Thank you Kathryn, Kathleen, Wendy, and Bailey. I couldn’t have done this without you.
I am sure you would have read several reviews like I did and will most likely forget the specifics. So, if there is one thing that I want you to take away from my experience, it is this: in admissions consulting, like in life, it helps to work with those who believe in you and the power of your dreams.
All the best!