Stratus Prep Admissions Consulting Reviews
    Number of reviews [100]
    Average Rating:       (4.6/5)
Stratus Prep MBA Admissions Counseling Packages [91]
Stratus Prep Hourly Services [9]
Headquartered in New York City, Stratus Prep has served clients from across the country and around the globe. Stratus Prep was founded in 2006. Stratus Prep’s team of experts has served thousands of clients and has had numerous applicants admitted to numerous top-rated B-Schools


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Overall, a great experience
November 18 | 2015
1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
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     By Anonymous 5 9

Overall, I was really happy with my experience working with Stratus Prep. They were extremely helpful in brainstorming and formulating my "story," which is an essential 'make-it-or-break-it' component of the MBA admissions process. Sometimes I felt they were a little slow in getting back to me (the main office), and sometimes my counselor wouldn't answer my emails right away (which, to be honest, when you are paying this kind of money for a service I DO expect a quick response rate). Otherwise, I would recommend using them if you have the money to spend and if getting into business school is worth it to you; I ended up getting into my school of choice (Columbia) with a below-average GMAT score for the school, so I'm obviously super thrilled. My counselor was incredibly smart and really helped bring my application to the next level; I'm honestly not sure if I would have gotten in otherwise. Thanks, guys!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
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     By Anonymous 0 0

I thoroughly enjoyed working with Stratus Prep. I'll admit that I did not know that using an admissions counseling service was so popular when I first decided to pursue my MBA. After attending fairs and doing some online research, it became clear to me that I only had one shot at this and I should be sure I'm putting the strongest application forward. I currently work in media/advertising, and not many of my colleagues have their MBA or were considering pursuing one. It was clear to me that I needed the advice and expertise of a seasoned counselor to help me make my application shine.

Beyond being professional, responsive, and pleasant to work with, the most valuable part about working with Stratus Prep was that they encouraged me to broaden my target school list, and made me think critically about what was most important to me in an MBA program. I was initially set on staying in my home state of California, and did not want to move. My counselor told me that I should seriously consider a program on the east coast, and recommended why I would be such a great fit given my strong interest in the culture and community of a school. She ended up being right in the end, and I am so glad I followed her advice as I will be attending a top ranked program next fall.

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     By hbarns 0 0

I used Stratus Prep's 4 school package, and my very helpful consultants were Santosh and Mariya. In spite of marginal GRE scores I was able to secure a spot in my preferred school, due in large part to the diligent work from the Stratus team in reviewing and refining my essays and short answer responses.

As a former Navy submarine officer, the Stratus team provided tremendous help translating my operational leadership experiences into relevant stories that are applicable to the business world. Santosh worked closely with me to create a solid narrative arc using stories from my early education all the way to recent military achievements to demonstrate how and why I would be an excellent fit for the most prestigious MBA programs.

I am incredibly satisfied with my results and grateful to the Stratus team!!

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Stratus Prep Review
January 05 | 2017
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     By jennahaleyk 0 0

I was first introduced to Stratus Prep through the MBA Tour in 2012. It wasn't until nearly three years later that I decided I wanted to apply to business school. Although I was applying in Fall 2016, I began working with Stratus Prep in early 2015 which I highly recommend. As a female living in NYC with 4+ years of work experience and a decent GRE score (I did not use GMAT scores) I felt as though I was a good business school applicant but definitely wanted help in shaping my story and putting together the best possible application - this is where Stratus Prep came in!
From the very beginning, even before I came up with a list of schools or even looked at the application, I was given work to help me fully understand why I wanted to go to business school and what my goals were. At Stratus Prep you work most closely with one advisor but every piece of work you put together - introspection, outlines, application - goes through multiple views and proofreads. From a comprehensive timeline of when each piece was due to my advisor to interview prep and every little question in between, having a team there to answer my questions and give me peace of mind was invaluable.
Although I do not yet know where exactly I will be attending school next fall, I have already been accepted to a top ranked program and I know I could not have done it without the entire Stratus Prep team, particularly my advisor Susan Cera.
The business school application process is draining and a lot of work but working with Susan and all of Stratus prep made the experience much more enjoyable and ultimately successful!

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Awesome experience!
December 19 | 2016
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     By npra 1 0

I applied for my MBA after only 2 years of work experience so I knew I would need help developing my story. I did initial consultations with a lot of programs but Stratus was one of the few who believed I could do my MBA despite having only a few years of work experience and a biology background.

Donna and the Stratus team helped me overcome my low work experience to not only get admitted to 3 of the 4 schools I applied to but also receive scholarships to all of them.

Donna was easily accessible via email or phone and responded to my inquiries within a few hours. With her help, I was less stressed and was able to finish applications well before the deadline. Donna went above and beyond to help me not only with applications and school choices but also with interviews. She even took the time to meet me in person before an on-campus interview and coached me in person.

I had a fantastic experience with Donna and the rest of the Stratus team. They pushed me to dig deeper and present a story I was proud of. Donna was really invested in my applications and I am so grateful for her help. Overall, Stratus Prep exceeded my expectations and I would definitely recommend them, especially Donna to anyone who is applying for business school. I’m not sure I would have gotten in without her help.

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     By aknauer 0 0

I worked with Richard Cheng and Stratus Prep in preparing for business school applications, targeting a range of different schools, with Yale SOM as my number one. I applied in R1 and was accepted, thanks in great part to Richard’s guidance.

Richard’s own non-traditional background was extremely helpful in working with me. My background was a combination of strict academic research and social impact/nonprofit, but I was looking to transition to the private sector. My unique background made it so that communicating my story, and articulating why an MBA, was crucial. Richard created a supportive, constructive environment that allowed my true voice and narrative to shine through in the application. My desire was to go into consulting, a popular field, and Richard helped me connect the dots from my previous work into my future career aspirations. Although the consulting path is common, I believe my well-articulated background and narrative helped me get accepted. Throughout the application process, Richard constantly pushed me on the why, always making me refine my thinking and the details in the essays. Overall, he helped me cut the chaff and keep the quality.

Richard’s edits and feedback were extremely constructive, and his direct style saved us a ton of time in the long run. We pushed as fast as we could but never spared quality. His most sage piece of advice was for me to do a complete rewrite of one of my essays only a few days before the deadline. This new essay was much more personal, and more reflective of me, than the one I had previously written.

Additionally, Richard’s interview preparation was amazing. In multiple mock interviews, I went from a mumbling monologue to being able to clearly express my background and passion for the schools. His feedback was extremely insightful, and led to rapid improvement in just a few days.

I spent a lot of time going back and forth trying to decide if the investment in a consultant was worth it. And from my perspective now, it 100% was. With little knowledge of MBA applications, I was able to increase both the speed and quality of my application with Richard’s help. I spoke with about five different consultants, and ultimately chose Stratus Prep based on Richard’s nuanced understanding of my background, and insightfulness on our first 30-minute consult. His ability to help me craft my narrative, provide extensive feedback and suggestions, and conduct multiple mock interviews, helped me land an acceptance from my number one school.

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     By ewchoo 0 0

I worked with Richard at Stratus Prep on my Early Decision re-application to Columbia Business School, and I'm very excited to say that I was accepted to my first choice school! His enthusiasm for my candidacy, thorough attention to detail and exemplary communications skills were invaluable. Most importantly, I know I carry and present myself with greater confidence and eloquence, both in person and on paper - I'm thankful to Richard for helping me deepen these qualities as I know they'll serve me well in the long term, at business school and beyond.

As a re-applicant with a dramatic career switch (marketing and BD at a startup to social ventures and education), Richard helped me present my professional aspirations in a concise and compelling way. He asked challenging questions not to be difficult but to push me to craft a crisper and more deliberate narrative. Throughout our back and forth, he was always patient and encouraging. From the resume to the essay to the interview, Richard's feedback helped me refine my voice and message. As any b-school applicant will tell you, *especially* re-applicants, being able to clearly demonstrate your strengths, growth, and future plans is imperative.

The results speak for themselves and I can strongly recommend Richard to anyone applying to business school.

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Excellent board of directors
November 13 | 2016
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     By Dhanya412 1 10

I spent my time working on both the MBA apps and my GMAT exam aside from my fulltime job for 2 months. It was the most stressful time, but I am glad to say that I am going to be attending Columbia's MBA program from coming fall !

The biggest resource I gifted myself in this journey was Stratus Prep and particularly Santosh. I had a pretty clear vision of where and why I wanted to attend school, however I was crunched for time in devising my own application strategy. So I formed a board of directors which was chaired by Santosh.

The 2 months of work we did around crafting my story in the most appealing and honest way was amazing. Santosh's biggest positive aspect was his turnaround time. I felt like he was on my case a 100% and that was one of the biggest morale boosters during a rather emotional ride of revisiting life and asking the big 'WHY' questions.

The Stratus materials were ofcourse super useful - though I wasnt mush in contact with anyone else from the team, I know there were others who put their expertise into my feedback. I recommend Stratus and Santosh to anyone looking for a trusted application consultant!

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Great Experience
November 09 | 2016
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     By anonymous1anonymous2 0 0

I made the choice to use Stratus Prep and it was the best decision I ever made. When I made the choice to hire a consultant, it was because I knew I could make it at Business School, but my undergrad GPA might limit me. I was very happy to have gotten over my undergrad hurdle of low academic performance and end up at the University of Chicago Booth MBA. This showed the level of dedication I received from Richard Cheng, who helped turn my essay writing into presentable pieces for the adcom, proving that low GPAs or past mistakes can truly be overcome with a solid personal story. I was also impressed with how Richard Cheng took discrete pieces of my story and sequenced them together into a coherent narrative. Taking a look at my original outlines and first drafts I am amazed at how much different my finished product ended up. The ability Richard had to make sure I told what was necessary, eliminating what’s not, and finding the right level of depth for my themes and supporting evidence was incredible. In this regard, I was able to develop some very strong and unique themes about my goals.

I would highly recommend using Richard and Stratus Prep. To begin the process they are very thorough and deep, making sure multiple stories are crafted. This brings out who you are as a candidate. Through out the process Richard was very responsive and had a wonderful problem solving ability. This makes sure you are ready for the class visits as well as the interview. He was always easy to talk to and made me feel comfortable. I have no regrets and would make the same decision again.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
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     By arjuns247 39 11

Stratus Prep was the best investment I made during my MBA application process. After being rejected from 7 programs during my initial MBA application experience, I truthfully thought that business school wasn’t in the cards for me….that is, until Stratus stepped in. With their help, I was able to re-apply and gain admission into Columbia Business School, a program which turned me down just 8 months earlier.

While I can understand why applicants chose to apply independently, I think that Stratus Prep offers a uniquely thorough and structured process that puts applicants in the best position to succeed by surrounding them with experienced, high-caliber MBA admissions consultants. Without the help of my Stratus Counselor, Traci Thibodeaux, and my Stratus Senior Strategist, Salma Qarnain , I would not be on my way to getting an m7 MBA degree. They are incredible at what they do and very encouraging in the way they do it (thank you so much for all your help Traci & Salma!!).

To provide a little more detail, there are 3 areas where Stratus really made the difference for me:

1. Application Strategy
In regards to my profile, I felt that I had a strong set of professional (Technology Consultant with 2 promotions) and personal experiences (strong leadership in Extra-Curricular involvement) with solid statistics. However, I am an over-represented applicant (Indian Male in Technology / Consulting with an Engineering Undergraduate Background), which made it that much more important for me to articulate a unique and interesting “Why MBA” / post-MBA story. I also had to do this in the context of a re-applicant story where I needed to show growth and progress.

This is where Stratus made all the difference – they drilled down into every relevant professional, academic, and personal experience I had and helped me map it all out to find a sensible, specific, and unique reason as to why I needed an MBA, how I was going to use the degree, and how my past experiences tied it all together. This was an incredibly iterative and time-consuming process, but it ultimately yielded a very clear and concise MBA re-application strategy that made me stand-out not only within my application, but during my interview with Columbia Business School.

From personal experience, I’ve seen many other applicants take this portion of the application lightly which ends up burning them in the end because they come off as generic to admissions committees. Stratus brings unique perspective here as they understand how admissions committees view applicants relative to other similar applicants who they are competing it. Accordingly, they are able to provide tailored advice to their counselees that allow them to differentiate themselves during the application process.

2. Essay Writing
Stratus’ essay review process helps you iterate constantly between outlines and essays to ensure you are able to reach a solid end product. While the writing was driven by me, I was able to have comments and suggestions tossed my way by over 4 different reviewers – the level of detail with each review was impressive. In the end, I felt that my essays were as well written as they could be while showing my best possible qualities in the context of well-articulated career goals.

In addition to helping you craft my essays, Stratus would also make strategic suggestions about the stories I should tell along with stylistic considerations that I didn’t think of. The Stratus process was almost a boot camp for essay writing. So, on a broader level, I felt that Stratus allowed me to become a better writer and story teller, which are useful skills outside the MBA application process.

3. High-Touch Counseling
As a re-applicant, I came into the application season feeling a little down and out given my experience from the previous year. However, Stratus ensured that I stayed positive – Traci, my Stratus Counselor, was my point of contact and was always accessible to talk about any questions / concerns I had. She was prompt to every email, phone call, etc. and was very encouraging and positive during our conversations. Tactically, she helped me setup an overall re-application plan and schedule to ensure I was working at a good pace and had appropriate contingency in case rejections came my way. Additionally, she oversaw and reviewed every portion of my application process from application strategy development to essay writing and even interviews. She held my hand through each step of the process, and gave me a sense of confidence despite the many rejections that came just a few months prior.

Additionally, Salma, my Senior Strategist, who brought the same level of positivity and encouragement as Traci, helped set aside a thorough discussion to walk through my key themes, my post-MBA goals, my school selection, my recommender selection, and my overall view of “Why MBA?” to offer specific feedback in each area. This set the tone for the rest of my application process, and laid the groundwork for my acceptance into Columbia.

Once I got into school, I was personally congratulated by not only Traci and Salma, but also folks I worked with administratively to sign up with Stratus (shout out to Josh Gonzalez and Zach Klein – really appreciate your help!). It was a really nice gesture that I sincerely appreciated, especially considering what I had gone through the previous application year. Stratus’ level of high-touch service made me feel like I succeeded with a team, which is always a great feeling.

From soup to nuts, Stratus Prep provided me an admissions consulting service that turned 7 rejections into a Columbia Business School acceptance within less than a year. I said it before and I’ll say it again – Stratus Prep is the best investment I made during the MBA application process.

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