Stratus Prep Admissions Consulting Reviews
    Number of reviews [87]
    Average Rating:       (4.6/5)
Packages
Stratus Prep MBA Admissions Counseling Packages [79]
    
Stratus Prep Hourly Services [8]
    
Headquartered in New York City, Stratus Prep has served clients from across the country and around the globe. Stratus Prep was founded in 2006 by Shawn O’Connor, an honors graduate of Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School who has worked at McKinsey & Company, Lehman Brothers, and Mercer Management Consulting. Stratus Prep’s team of experts has served thousands of clients and has had numerous applicants admitted to numerous top-rated B-Schools
AVOID. TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE.
March 24 | 2015
9 out of 10 people found the following review helpful
     By Anonymous 0 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

No

1) 0 Value add. They were useless on my essays (I had to correct the proof reading that they did). They even lost one of my reviewed essays. No urgency, timetable, guidance, or anything helpful. Their answer to any questions was "do what you are comfortable with"

2) Sales pitch - they are good at selling - but the reality is that their head honcho - who probably is good spends 90% of his time selling. He was completely not involved in the process. He made it sound like with my stats I had a great chance everywhere...

2) Lies: They claim 80% Wharton Acceptance. I highly doubt that. I had +750GMAT, +3.7GPA from top 25 school, Investment Banking -> Venture Capital / PE (4 years); strong extra curricular and still got reject from all M7 Schools.

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Comments [10]
1 Commented by saugagmatter on May 27, 2015   Edited on May 27, 2015
I 100% agree with this, I had a very similar horrible experience with them last year and didn't end up applying at all.
2 Commented by JD55 on June 06, 2015   Edited on December 20, 2015
Ok
3 Commented by gnod on June 28, 2015
JD55, do you mind sharing your experience? I was pretty close to speaking with them
4 Commented by noni1 on July 30, 2015
@JD55 and saugagmatter, do you mind sharing your own experiences?
5 Commented by bankybanker on February 24, 2016
I totally agree with this - I had a very bad experience as well. Most of the positive reviews on here for them are fake.
6 Commented by UTWrestler on March 06, 2016
I am a first year MBA student at a M7 MBA program and I used Stratus prep to help me get in. I posted a very positive review of stratus prep because I had a very positive experience with them. In my review I stated that I do not think I would have gotten into an elite program without them and I still believe that. If you doubt my review then please send me a private message and I will email you proof of my student status. Good luck to everyone applying to business school, it is an amazing experience that is absolutely worth the hard work it takes to get in.
7 Commented by StratusPrep on March 07, 2016
We are sorry that you were not happy with your experience working with Stratus Prep. Just like any other company, these experiences do happen but are rare. We’re constantly working to improve the quality of our services to ensure our clients’ success. We would love to make things right. Please email our Client Relationship Manager Josh.Gonzalez@Stratusprep.com to continue the conversation.

GMAT Club independently verifies everyone who posts a review on the site to ensure authenticity. Please feel free to reach out to GMAT Club directly to learn more about their policies. Most candidates choose to remain anonymous when writing reviews on open forums to protect their privacy and not impact their candidacy or employment status. Many of our clients who have posted reviews are more than happy to have a reference call. If you would like to speak with one of them, we are more than happy to make the introduction.
8 Commented by bb on March 07, 2016
@bankybanker - please share your experience as well.

Also, on the review verification side, please PM me if you have concerns about specific reviews. I don't think your argument is quite sound. If all positive reviews were fake, then there would be a lot more negative ones here... which again reminds me that you should submit a review. When you do that, you will see that we have a verification process to ensure the reviews that are submitted are by real customers and neither customers nor prep companies fake their reviews. You will see that most reviews have a verification tag. The reason some don't is that we have allowed all reviews in the past to be published but 6-12 months ago, stringent verification has become mandatory. Learn more here: http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-club-review-verification-are-they-fake-209438.html

Thank you.
9 Commented by cumulonimbus on April 09, 2016
I 100% agree with what the commentator had to say. I had horrible experience with Stratus Prep too...

1) 0 Value add. They were useless on my essays (I had to correct the proof reading that they did). They even lost one of my reviewed essays. No urgency, timetable, guidance, or anything helpful. Their answer to any questions was "do what you are comfortable with"

2) Sales pitch - they are good at selling - but the reality is that their head honcho - who probably is good spends 90% of his time selling. He was completely not involved in the process. He made it sound like with my stats I had a great chance everywhere...

2) Lies: They claimed I had a good at top 10.
10 Commented by merkenyon on April 19, 2016
I completely disagree with this review and had a totally opposite experience. I was a stratus customer and they provided tremendous value. I would not have gotten my fellowship at a top program without them. I felt like they were truly involved and cared about my success.

Stratus puts a lot of work onto the student, because the student is the only one who can answer those questions. It is a process of self discovery. But if you don't put in the effort, then you aren't going to get as much out of it.
4 out of 4 people found the following review helpful
     By Anonymous 0 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

Some, but not all

I had a very mixed experience with Stratus Prep, completely based on my counselor. I was not accepted into any of the four schools to which I applied R1, and was accepted at both of the R2 schools I applied to, one of which was ranked higher than two of my R1 schools.

My counselor for R1 was Vanessa Gil, and I am shocked that she's received favorable reviews on this forum. She was incredibly insensitive in the way she communicated with me, and would go MIA for weeks at a time despite repeated emails asking for feedback on the work I sent her (including the two weeks leading up to R1 deadlines, I had to scramble and have another consultant assigned to me for the few days leading up to the deadline).

Her feedback was also incredibly inconsistent, and she would suggest changing things she had thought were "great" from previous iterations of my essays. I also felt like she never put in the effort to get to know my story, as she would consistently ask for clarifications on things that we had discussed several times before.

Reading my R1 essays (which she said were some of the best she had seen for R1) and my R2 essays, they are completely night and day, which I attribute to the difference in the consultant I worked with.

Thus, I was far from surprised to learn that Vanessa had "resigned" just after the R1 deadline.

Now, contrast that with my experience with Salma Qarnain for R2. Salma was absolutely awesome. She was incredibly timely with her feedback (I like to work fast, iterating several times), and I feel like she really took the time to know who I was as an applicant and the story I was attempting to tell with my essays. It showed, my R2 essays were much more focused, descriptive, and truly highlighted the specific traits I was trying to bring out in each essay compared to the work I had done with Vanessa.

Overall, I'm happy with my experience and the school I'll be attending in the fall, but be honest with yourself about how you feel about your consultant. I knew fairly early on the the process that I didn't like working with Vanessa, but was determined to stick with it because "I had paid for it, right?" Don't do that, had I been working with Salma all along I'm certain I would have gotten into at least one, if not all of the first batch of schools I applied to.

So, I'd recommend Stratus only if you feel comfortable and good about who you're working with, but my experience was remarkably inconsistent.

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     By user1092 0 0

I highly recommend working with Santosh Prasad from Stratus Prep. Santosh helped me improve my resume structure & content, my application essays, and my interview responses. Santosh gave me helpful feedback, specifically pushing me to expand on topics that would answer the questions MBA admissions teams wanted to hear about. Santosh was very responsive and flexible to set up phone calls. Overall, he was a helpful advisor, supporter, and experienced guide.

I was on a bit of a time crunch and the Stratus Prep office was very quick to respond and help me sign up for a MBA Admissions Counseling Package.

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     By kathleeng 0 0

John and the Stratus team took what objectively was a weak candidate (low undergrad GPA with a film degree from two decades ago) and helped me craft my story to be both compelling and impressive.

John was always patient, quick to respond to emails and always answered any questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.

I am convinced I would have been accepted into higher ranking schools in my area, but chose Pepperdine for it's philosophy, flexibility, and yes, generous scholarship.

The admissions counseling package was well worth the money spent, and I highly recommend Stratus if you feel you could use a leg up.

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     By kluneburg 0 0

John was great to work with. He was easily accessible and was available by phone, text, and email whenever I needed him. He had a clearly outlined plan that we followed to ensure we met each deadline stayed organized. When i went into this process, Grad School was extremely overwhelming and a different process from applying to undergrad. John walked me through the process and made each step manageable. As part of his program, he passed along my essays to colleagues for additional opinions. By doing this, it ensured that my essays were the best version they could be. I couldn't speak highly enough of him, and I'm so glad I used his services!

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     By andyraina 0 0

I initially started trying to tackle MBA applications on my own. Right before Round 1 deadlines I realized my applications were not nearly the caliber they should be to get into one of my ambitious schools. I was initially very shocked at how expensive an admissions consultant could be but settled on Stratus Prep quickly after talking with some of their staff and appreciating how easy they were to talk to.

I worked with Harold Simansky and immediately we began crafting my story. His push to make me dig deeper was a tough experience, but ultimately so rewarding as we were able to create a solid framework for my strengths, story, and where I'm looking to go. The experience itself really helped me understand why I wanted an MBA and what some realistic goals were.

Harold was able to help me write and shape essays that were lightyears ahead of the essays I wrote by myself. He helped me shape each essay for what the school and prompt were looking for, and cut out any material that really didn't provide a purpose or differentiating factor. I was nervous about how quickly I would receive feedback, but always impressed by the speed and quality I received, even as I was finishing applications around Christmas time.

In the end, I got into a great program I really didn't think I had much of a chance with. I'm so grateful for the help that Harold and all the Stratus Prep team was able to provide.

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     By TweetiePie 0 0
This review is for: Stratus Prep Hourly Services
Consultant: Josh Gonzalez

All I can say about Stratus Prep is that they want you to win as much as you want you to win. The staff is fantastic and they are committed to ensuring you get what you want out of this experience.

I had been self studying for the GMAT for months and I had gotten stuck between 590 and 600 on all of my practice tests. I was devastated. Each GMAT test that I took led to a new emotional breakdown despite my studying 3-4 hours a day. I did not work this hard to go to an average b-school. I needed a top 12 school. I needed to call in the big guns.

I figured scoring 600 meant I needed to focus on my problem areas or essentially ALL of Quant in my case. Stratus Prep has a ton of tutors from Ivy League schools who have high scores which they boast. What I learned from my experience is that not all tutors are going to be able to understand your learning style and needs. You need to find one that does if you are going to conquer the GMAT. I had to switch my tutor and it was the best decision I could have made.

I saw the difference immediately. Once I finally found the right tutor, everything began to click. I literally met with him for two weeks before my test. During the first two hour session, he taught me a timing tactic that brought my practice score up 30 points in ONE DAY! I had him for 10 hours total and it made all the difference. I went from scoring in the range for Top 50 schools to scoring in the range for Top 10.

Also, the Stratus Prep team made sure to call me and check in on me throughout my process. The first e-mail that I received after taking my GMAT was from Josh Gonzalez asking how my test went. Their support made me feel as though I wasn't in this GMAT journey by myself.

When I finally took my test and got my high score and got interviews from the top schools that I wanted. I eventually accepted an offer from the University of Michigan-Ross School of Business

One flaw that I could not ignore was their poor proprietary GMAT testing software that barely let me finish a test and did not save my scores. I believe they are moving away from this to another system but that was a huge frustration that I had. If I were you I would use Manhattan GMAT practice tests. They are most like the real tests anyway. Other than that I am really happy with my experience. Its an investment but if you don't invest in yourself, then who will?

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You Get What You Put In
April 30 | 2016
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     By Gator2011 0 0

Coming into the business school admissions process as a non-traditional candidate (healthcare professional), I know I wanted counseling services that would help me structure my story in a way that would be appealing to the b school adcoms. After speaking with John Buckingham who had come from a sciences background as well in addition to his HBS pedigree, I immediately felt comfortable with his perspectives on the process. I appreciated the holistic process that SP encourages that forces you get to your deepest truth about why you want to go to business school and what makes you unique from every other student. John was always available and willing to bounce any and all ideas around with me. I would highly recommend working with him as it gives this somewhat nebulous process a bit more structure. With his help, I settled on the right narrative for me which appealed to a lot of the M7 schools from the number of interviews and admits I received. I was ultimately happy that I chose to go with SP and John. I equate hiring an admissions counselor to hiring a personal trainer: you will definitely get out what you put into it. I ended up with admission to a top 5 school with an amazing scholarship and can thank John and the rest of the staff at SP for helping me get there. While admissions counseling may not be necessary, if you can afford the cost it will definitely help facilitate and elucidate this somewhat daunting and exhaustive process.

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     By svik88 0 0

I worked with Stratus Prep for my MBA apps (R2 for MBA'15 and R1 for MBA'16). The former was not successful and the latter was successful- my experience with Stratus also mirrored the same.

R2 for MBA'15 was a last minute decision to apply and I put together my application in about 30 days. Mid way through that though, my stratus consultant disappeared. Quite literally, he stopped replying to mails, calls went unanswered and the other consultants were buried with other applications. Working out of Asia with him in US - this led to a lot of panic and felt extremely unprofessional. I still did get a couple of interview calls but never made it to any school. I did sign up for their school guarantee, so they worked with me again for no further charges.

I prepared much more in advance for R1 MBA'16 and Stratus was very helpful this time around. We drew out a strategy more clearly and started the process over. I worked with Santosh and he walked me through the entire process. He started by drawing out a fine grained plan (I was largely always behind it) and kept me motivated throughout those couple of months. His responses were very quick through the various stages of the application - all the way up to preparing me for the interviews.Sam really got to know me and my applications -- and as a result I think my applications were much stronger because I worked with Stratus.

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     By NY12 0 0
This review is for: Stratus Prep Hourly Services
Consultant: Santosh (Sam) Prasad

I took my GMAT on December 31st, and then decided to apply to 5 schools by January 7th. Without much of an idea where my test score would end up, I had barely started my applications.

I am a white male with a 700 GMAT (with an incredibly low quant score), so I knew I had my work cut out for me. I decided I could use some help, so I did a 30 minute consultation with Stratus Prep. I talked with Zach Klein, who was really open to working with me the way I felt would be best, rather than pushing me into a package.

I was paired with Santosh Prasad, who was an incredibly helpful editor and advisor during my mad dash of basically doing an application a day. His line edits were specific and clear. He had been on the admissions committee at the MBA program he attended, so he was able to give me insight on what would be helpful, what would stand out, and what would be looked down on. Moreover, Santosh was really responsive and would go through multiple drafts a day, sometimes sending me last minute edits or answering application questions at 11 PM. The response time and communication was above and beyond what I expected.

I received interviews from 4 of the 5 schools for which both Zach and Santosh helped me prepare. Santosh took time out on a Saturday to help me prepare for an interview on Monday. When I had last minute questions, I was able to turn to Zach and Santosh and get speedy, decisive answers.

After interviewing on campus at four schools, I was admitted to 3 and waitlisted at one. I was thrilled to be accepted into my first choice school.

I don’t recommend anyone try and prepare 5 applications in 7 days. It was a stressful week, but ultimately was successful in large part thanks to Stratus Prep's help.

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