Status: First-time applicant
Pre-MBA industry: Energy-Supply Chain and Planning
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 7
GMAT/GRE score: 710 (V:35 Q:50)
Undergraduate GPA: 3.28/4.00
Admitted to: Foster, INSEAD, Marshall
Service Type: Premium Need-based
I first started my MBA application journey in October 2023 and decided to use admission consulting services. The hardest decision was to choose what company’s services I would use. Of course, my instinct told me to look at the most reviewed companies in GMAT Club. After trying free consultation services from the top 5 most reviewed admission consulting services, one company stood out: Square One Prep (S1P).
When you book a free 30-minute consultation, your expectation should be low: you could probably meet with a client rep, with an engagement manager, or, if you’re lucky, with the company’s founder, but you will feel rushed since it’s only 30 minutes. But with Square One Prep, you meet Kathryn. Yes, she is the founder of S1P, but to only say you meet the founder is not the best way to put it. You meet Kathryn, period. After that, you will feel that your time with Kathryn should not be free.
When you meet Kathryn, you should not worry about the 30 minutes. If she believes she can help you, she will invest her time in you by delving deep into your stories to find your genuine aspiration in seeking MBA. Then, she will recommend you the best of her squad of advisors to work with you and let you meet with each of her recommended advisors for a 20-minute intro call. In my experience with S1P, I talked with Kathryn for more than one hour and did three 20-minute intro calls with three different advisors before choosing Wilson. These all proceeded before I made a single penny of transactions—you see, they invest in you before they even begin.
Your advisor—mine is Wilson—will then assess your MBA candidacy, and Kathryn will provide you with her recommendation of business schools that suit your profile. But, as you might already read in other reviews, Kathryn will not talk you out of the school of your choice. She will give you a well-informed risk level for each school you plan to apply to. I chose INSEAD and Haas, and, given my profile, Kathryn gave these schools “Super Reach” risk level, just one level below “Out of Reach”. Such a risk level means that I will have a tough time and might need some luck to get into these schools. But even after that assessment, Kathryn and Wilson continued to help me to get to the school of my choice when I decided to take the risk.
After you decide on the schools of your choice, you begin to work on the school’s application with S1P and therefore start a deep, soul-searching experience. Wilson tirelessly helped me dig deep into my course of life and career to help me find meaningful stories for the essays. Horatiu helped me build upon my work experience a narrative of my future career that was convincingly impactful. And finally, Kathryn gave her final touch and approval while she oversaw all the other S1P clients’ essays, ensuring that my application was unique among others and would catch Adcom’s attention.
From where I come from, the cost of admission consulting services is very expensive. But If I were to repeat my MBA application, I would—again and again—choose S1P to help me. The cost seems to set me back just a little, given S1P’s excellent guidance and the usefulness of the content material they build for me. Other than applying to INSEAD and Haas, I use the S1P-built essay content to apply to not only four other schools but also several scholarship programs—of course, with few modifications.
It feels almost irrelevant to discuss which schools you want to apply to or get into with the S1P’s help because I believe S1P will work hard to help you as if all the schools you apply to were top, hard-to-get-into schools. Frankly, though, I never expected to get admitted to the schools I worked with S1P since Kathryn labeled these schools “Super Reach” for me. But in the end, I got admitted to INSEAD from the waitlist, an unthinkable reality for me had I not worked with S1P.
After the MBA application journey, I realized that what is special about S1P is that Kathryn runs the company with her heart and soul. Sometimes I wonder how this world would be if every business were run with Kathryn’s principles. Please look at her replies here on the GMAT Club admission consulting review page, her bio on the S1P website, and her profile on LinkedIn. When reading those, you might only see words. But when working with S1P, you’ll see that Kathryn did not just write words.
Overall, if I’m allowed to give you an analogy, the entire MBA application journey with S1P is akin to creating a movie where Kathryn is the executive producer, Horatiu is the screenplay writer, Wilson is the director, and you, the applicant, are the starring, debuting actor. S1P will shoot a movie for each school of your choice and will work as hard as they can to make you–the actor–look great. Kathryn says, “Our focus isn’t client volume or revenue; it’s you,” Indeed, she means it: it’s you, the actor, that matters.