Status: First-time applicant
Pre-MBA industry: Non-profit/military
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 5
GMAT/GRE score: 640 (V: 42 Q: 36)
Undergraduate GPA: 69/100
Admitted to: INSEAD
My primary advisor was Eden and I cannot speak more highly of her. From the get-go, I knew I wanted to target EU schools only, so I wanted someone with experience working with successful EU admits. I applied to three schools; Judge (Cambridge), Oxford (Said) and INSEAD.
I first heard of SOP through a referral from a peer; a Forte Fellow who got an admit from Booth. I’d spoken to 3-4 other consulting companies by this time, so I thought I have nothing to lose by setting up a 30 minute video call with Kathryn, which turned into a 60 minute call. I wanted a partner who wouldn’t just help me develop my application, but was going to be 100% honest and give sincere constructive feedback throughout the process. I asked her the hard questions; “A 93% success rate for interviews overall, what about the SPECIFIC schools I’m applying to?”, “How many clients have you worked with, with non-traditional backgrounds?”, “These are my worry points, what would be your suggestion if we worked together?”…. She answered each one perfectly, personally, and with the utmost confidence in me.
I think that was the differentiating factor throughout my four month engagement with them – Confidence.
1. Kathryn, Eden, Wendy, Bailey and Jenny had an unwavering confidence in my candidacy (even at times when I had little confidence in myself!). This rubbed off on me.
2. Confidence in their work – and they should – they know what they are doing! I’d specifically like to highlight the below;
*ESSAYS*, essays, essays.
After trawling my files, this is what Eden and I have come to… 3 schools/ 19 essays/ 188 revisions (~9.89 revisions per essay). I’m sure this number fluctuates more or less with each client based on their personal needs until the application is as close to perfect for them as possible. Eden was extremely professional. Despite the time difference (US and EU), she would make sure she had each revision back to me within 24 hours (but most of the time <12hrs). Toward the completion of the essays, we would often send three versions within a 24 hour period. The hours she would have put into the essays easily would have amounted to over 100 hours++. Her attention to detail, her passion to keep my 'voice'/authenticity, her professionalism was more than I expected. Eden was with me every step of the way (school selection, background analysis, essays, LORs, interview prep.. the list goes on). Honestly, she wouldn't be doing it if she wasn't passionate about who she was working with. By the end of our engagement, Eden was more of a friend and mentor than an admissions consultant and I give her credit for my success (and the many others she's helped get into top MBAs).
On top of that, each of my 19 essays were reviewed by the Leadership Team twice. I truely believe that everyone at SOP, whether an advisor or the CEO, was committed to making sure I put my best foot forward.
Career Narrative/Career Vision
I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but Wendy, Eden and Kathryn made me realise how many gaps I had in my plan. By guiding me to think deeply into who I want to be, what I want to do, and what I want to stand for, I was able to craft a strong, compelling career narrative which is 100% me. This required hours of introspection (and psychological grit from all parties) but ultimately I was able to explore, research and decide on career prospects, geographical moves and timelines, the skills I’ll need, and the impact I’ll have.
Lastly, I wanted to give credit to the strong systems that SOP has established for clients, like you and I, to utilise. This includes the personalised Schedule which visualises (in a calendar graph format) the stages of each component of the application (each essay, LORs, Career Narrative, etc), who is currently working on it, and their deadlines. They also provide sample essays only from past successful admits (anonymously) specific to the school. Both these tools kept me accountable, while expanding my thinking and truely appreciating that not one essay/application is the same, just like not one person is the same.
I’m happy to report that I’m off to INSEAD starting in September. I am still waiting to hear scholarship decisions (I will update my review once I find out). I recommend Square One Prep and Eden wholeheartedly for any aspiring MBA candidate.