Status: First-time applicant
Pre-MBA industry: Auditing
Years of experience at time of matriculation: 6
GMAT/GRE score: 730
Undergraduate GPA: 3.51/4.00
Admitted to: Anderson, Columbia, Fuqua
It’s been a few months since my acceptance, but I still can’t believe that I’m going to my dream school (Columbia) and I owe countless thanks to the team at Square One Prep for their amazing support. When I began thinking about applying to business school, I thought the process would be a smooth ride after taking the GMAT. However, once I started talking to people who have been through the admissions cycle, I knew that the truly hard part was ahead – presenting a compelling coherent story to AdComs through the essays, resume, and letters of recommendations.
A co-worker referred me to SOP and at first, I’ll admit that I was leery of SOP’s prices, so I decided to work with another firm. However, after 2 stressful weeks of no progress with that firm, I reached out to Kathryn again, who assured me success with my stats and background. I decided to initially sign up for a two school package (and as a testament to my satisfaction with SOP, this later turned into 5 schools).
Kathryn and her team were simply extraordinary. They took the time (approximately 5 hours) to discuss my background, my goals and were very honest about my strengths and weaknesses in regards to admissions. When I was asked about which schools I’d like to apply to, I briefly mentioned that Columbia was my dream school, but that I didn’t believe I had the right background to be accepted into such an elite program. The team at SOP said that with the right story, I would be a competitive candidate for the program and gave me the self-confidence to apply (and more importantly, be accepted). Working together, we decided on a mix of 5 schools that would be a good fit for me (2 reach and 3 realistic – all amazing programs in the top 15).
Immediately after the 5 hour call, we started revamping my resume. SOP and I reworked my entire resume’s content and format. I immediately recognized and appreciated SOPs attention to detail and tireless effort to make all aspects of my applications as perfect as possible. The process for each school entailed a brainstorming session over the phone to discuss the school’s essays and ideas that I should present in those essays. I’d like to emphasize that SOP will NOT write your essays for you (which is important as it mitigates the risk of plagiarism), but they do an incredible job of editing and offering suggestions to really tighten up the stories and ensure they resonate with schools. In my email inbox, there are hundreds of emails back and forth with my consultant discussing my essays and improvements that could made literally line by line.
One aspect that set SOP apart from other firms were the Letters of Recommendations packages that SOP helped me create. My recommenders loved the packages as it assisted them with remembering projects that I worked with them on and it truly improved the quality of my letters of recommendations. Once the interview invites started rolling in (I interviewed at all 5 schools), SOP spent a couple of hours preparing me with a “mock interview.” For the first 45 minutes, the consultant asked me questions that I was to expect in an admissions interview and then took the next 45 minutes to provide feedback. The feedback provided made a considerable difference in how my interviews went (particularly with my love-hate question of “greatest weakness”).
One of my favorite aspects of SOP is that Kathryn and her team are truly your partners in the process. I spoke with SOP practically every day and they worked with my schedule to ensure the applications would be submitted on time. They were also very upfront (in a constructive manner) about ideas that I suggested which they didn’t think would work. It was support that I didn’t receive from the other firm and I am certain that this is a quality unique to SOP which results in their high success rate. In the end, I was accepted to 3 top programs (with considerable scholarships as well). I have already recommended SOP to a few friends and co-workers who are considering applying to business school in the future. SOP is an investment that has already paid off immensely in my life and I can never thank the Kathryn and her team enough for their support.