Status: First-Time applicant
Pre-MBA industry: Corporate Development
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 7
GMAT/GRE score: 710 (V: 40 Q: 47)
Undergraduate GPA: 3.71/4.00
Admitted to: Kellogg, Johnson
Heading into the MBA application process I knew I had some gaps in my profile and could use all the help I could get. I spoke with all the top admissions consulting firms and ultimately settled on Square One Prep. I had an initial consultation with Kathryn to discuss my interest in pursuing an MBA. She was inquisitive, provided feedback on my candidacy, and addressed my concerns – employment gap, no professional managerial experience, and slightly below average GMAT. She walked me through their services and process. At no point did she pressure, make it feel like a sales pitch, or make me feel like I had no shot. Following the call, Bailey followed up with detailed information on their process as well as a sample application task timeline. What sold me was their structured team of experts and flexibility to add additional schools later in the process.
When I decided to partner with SOP, they connected me with two advisors, and both were great. It was a tough decision, but Kathryn helped me think through and narrow down my choice. I ultimately decided to work with Matteo. We held a kick off call where I comprehensively discussed my background and he educated me on the application journey and SOP process. Additionally, I had a call with Kathryn to go through school selection and my risk tolerance. I purchased the multi-school package and had SOP work with me on what I considered my “super reaches”.
The first two items were the resume and career narrative. Matteo was very prompt with his responses and feedback. He provided numerous revisions and helped me better articulate my experiences. For the career narrative, Wendy drove this process, but Kathryn and Matteo were also involved, providing a dynamic balance. I was initially scattered and didn’t have a defined goal, but the team helped me narrow it down and tie my interests with my background. The team asked the hard questions to make sure my story made sense and teased out details that connected the dots from start to finish. Afterwards they prepared me to confidently recite my goals. It was a lot of work, but at the end of the day it solidified my ability to articulate my story. The career narrative served as the base for short-term and long-term goals essays and interviews.
Next was recommendation preparation. SOP has a process that guided my recommenders to save time and filled in the pieces to my application puzzle.
After the LOR we got started on essays. SOP provided a collection of essays to familiarize me with the structure of essays that worked. Matteo was very quick to turn my drafts and provided additive edits and suggestions. He pushed me to connect the dots while retaining key elements and trimming the fat, which made my essays concise but compelling. After many iterations, leadership reviewed and provided comments to wrap it up.
I felt very confident in how my application came together. I was quick to turn drafts and Matteo was equally as quick to turn comments even when he was traveling. Throughout the process Bailey checked in to make sure I was satisfied and sent weekly schedules to make sure we remained on track.
Once the applications were submitted I was provided resources to start thinking about interviews. I waited until I heard back from schools before preparing. Matteo walked me through the interview process and core interview questions to prepare for as well as some curveball questions. During one mock interview, I wasn’t in the zone, which Matteo noticed and duly suggested we reschedule. After our last mock I felt well prepared and agreed with Matteo that it was best to not overprepare and come off sounding recited.
Although my interviews went well I unfortunately didn’t convert and had to push for R2. I added another super reach and we got to work on preparing materials in a fairly condensed timeline but we were able to utilize R1 materials as a framework. SOP kept rooting for my success along the way.
I was ultimately admitted into a school I considered a super reach. I don’t think I would have been able to tailor my application as strongly without their guidance. SOP kept me focused with their process and their service was well worth the value. I considered pursuing a top-level MBA a real stretch goal, but SOP helped me make it a reality. The entire application process was daunting but I’m glad to have had SOP by my side.