Stratus Prep Admissions Consulting Reviews
    Number of reviews [92]
    Average Rating:       (4.6/5)
Stratus Prep MBA Admissions Counseling Packages [83]
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
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:


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
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 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:

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 gawker36 0 0
This review is for: Stratus Prep Hourly Services
Consultant: Santosh (Sam) Prasad

I had a positive experience with Stratus Prep after being recommended to the company by a friend who’d used it successfully to gain admission to my single target school.

My situation was somewhat unique because I was applying only to Kellogg’s Part-Time program. I’d already applied and been rejected by another top-tier program after submitting what I thought was a pretty solid application so I wanted someone to take a critical look at my Kellogg application and help me refine it.

Thanks to my previous application I’d already assembled most of my application and had taken the GMAT, collected letters of recommendation, tweaked my resume, and written essays. I bought Stratus’ Five-Hour Consulting package, with the goal of having them review the materials I had the most control over—my essays—and help me develop an effective mix of professional and personal experience to share with the admissions committee.

I have to say that I thought my essays were pretty compelling even before I talked to Stratus because I could write about unique, genuine experiences and because I’d worked as a journalist for many years and had the skills to tell an intriguing story. That said Santosh really helped me tighten the essays up. He helped identify the most compelling experiences, put a finer point on some of the arguments I was making, and making sure I included the unspoken, but mandatory elements (familiarity with the program and goals for after graduation, for example).

He also took a look at one of my letters of recommendation and my resume. On the letter of recommendation there was relatively little feedback, which was lucky since it had already been submitted, but it did give me confidence that the letter was effective. On the resume, he provided great feedback on what an MBA resume should look like. I’ve worked in creative fields for a long time, so crafting a more formal, standardized resume wasn’t all that natural to me.

Overall, I had a good experience and accomplished what I wanted, which was getting in to Kellogg. I perhaps could have done it without Stratus, but they definitely helped refine my application and, more importantly, gave me the confidence that I was presenting a compelling application.

A few things that could probably have been better: 1) I bought an hourly package and wasn’t sure how much time I had used or had left. When I asked an account manager I learned I was down to my last hour, which was somewhat annoying. 2) Santosh was very responsive for the most part, but was sometimes obviously busy with his full-time job or other activities. 3) Santosh didn’t always keep a clear picture of who I was in mind. I think sometimes he forgot that I was an older applicant (36) to Kellogg’s part-time program. Luckily, I’m not sure this really matters too much … a solid application is a solid application, which Santosh can help you develop.

If you’re looking for someone to take a close, strategic look at your application materials, I’d definitely recommend Santosh and Stratus prep.

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Stay on schedule
July 18 | 2016
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     By off2school 0 0

I worked with two different consultants at Stratus, one was okay but the one I ended up with was much better (Santosh). Santosh was organized and helped keep me organized during the process. He answered all e-mails within 24 hours, regardless of what day it was send. I would recommend that if you’re going to hire a consultant to guide you through this process that you start as early as possible and utilize them to the fullest. Ultimately you’re going to get out of it as much as you put in, meaning that if you wait until the last minute and expect them to bail you out it’s not going to work. Do your research and hire a good consultant, with good reviews (like Santosh).

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     By PDisclosure 6 1

This is a real review I promise - I actually had such a bad experience with Stratus Prep that I kept it in my to-do list to write a review on my experience. Fortunately I can say that I'm writing this review after having just graduated from the Booth School of Business, two years later. I'll be working in a marketing role for L'Oreal in NYC after having come to Booth with five years of engineering experience from ExxonMobil.

Keep in mind that my experience deals mostly with Dileepan Siva, my consultant, as I worked directly with him. I also worked a little with Shawn the founder, but his involvement was pretty limited – just one or two consulting sessions with him.

I spent a little over $6000 on a 3 school package - MIT, Stanford, and HBS (round 1). While I was deferred for HBS and MIT to round 2, I ultimately was dinged by all 3. I then decided to apply for Kellogg, Booth, and Wharton in Round 2 and got into Booth off the waiting list.

I initially did some research before picking Stratus Prep – they seemed reputable and there were positive reviews out there. Once I signed up with them, I went through an initial consultation with Shawn and then was paired with Dileepan. Up to that point, everything seemed great and I was excited to work on my application. From that point on you start to work on your application, essays, recommendations, and resume. They make you complete some pre-work exercises to come up with your strengths, weaknesses, goals, etc. Sure, this is helpful, but my biggest gripe is that is it worth $6000? No. In fact, I ended up getting into Booth not even having used Stratus Prep. That was a result of me working my tail off after being on the waitlist (in which they make you submit another application) and then making a trip out there to visit the school which I think is something everything applicant should do BEFORE they even apply. You’ll find out a lot about a school and whether you’ll like just by visiting it.
Having now gone through business school and knowing what schools value in applicants and students, I can tell you that you’re much better off talking to a current business school student or recent alum and getting their input for free. Even buying a book or reading blogs will be much, much less than $6000. Trust me, b-school is not cheap by any means and that $6000 is going to come in very handy.
Those reading this review might think I’m biased because I didn’t get into any of the schools I applied to using Stratus Prep and also because the schools are top business schools and so getting in is sometimes a crap shoot. I agree with the fact that the application process can be a black box, but I feel justified in saying that my experience with Stratus Prep and Dileepan was not personal at all. Sure, he provided feedback on my essays, but honestly that was about it. There wasn’t a real desire to find out about what career opportunities were the best fit for my personal strengths and interests. They do this once you get to business school, but I think it’s even more important to know this during the application process. The saddest part was that at the end after I had gotten dinged by all my R1 schools, I never heard from Dileepan again. I didn’t even bother to tell him that I eventually got into Booth.
Anyway, save the $6000 and instead spend time prior really understanding why you want to go to business school and talk to as many people as you can to understand their perspectives. Then enlist the help of friends and family to read through your essays and resume and that should be good enough.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
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     By deye07 5 4

To start off, I'd like to mention that I got into only one of the four schools I applied to.

However, my experience with Stratus was extremely positive. I come from a technical background and I don't really know a lot of people who went/go to business school. I was looking for "guidance" as I went through the MBA admission cycle.

Salma was great. She took the time to really get to know who I am as a person and then helped tailor my essays/applications to reflect who I am. By the end of all the apps, I felt she knew me all too well! I also felt she was genuinely interested in my success. Stratus and Salma helped me shape my "story". Also practicing interviews with Salma (several times) made me confident going into my actual interview.

While I wish I got into more than one school, I feel that with Stratus I made the best possible effort with the time I invested into the process.

Also to answer few of the FAQs questions:
- Did you enjoy the process?
Yes but it was a long hard journey.

- Was it stressful?
The entire cycle from researching schools to getting accepted is pretty stressful for most people. Salma was always optimistic.

- Were they helpful?
Yes, but again I wish I got into at least two schools.

- Did they meet your expectations? Why or why not?
Yes...Reasons highlighted above.

- Would you recommend them? Why or why not?
Yes... Reasons highlighted above.

- What was their greatest strength?
Personable and supportive

- What was their weakest skill?
Their services was on the expensive side.

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

I first heard of Stratus Prep in 2012, when my mother was sifting online for a company that could help me apply to law school. I had a meeting with Shawn O’Connor and thereafter contracted them to advise me on my MBA applications, which I intended to submit years later. I ultimately decided to hire them to advise me on my law school applications as well. It pleases me to say that now that I got into the business school of my choice, I have no regrets about any of these decisions.

Stratus Prep’s process was invaluable in helping me refine my business school and law school stories. Their “Introspection Process” in particular was instrumental in helping illicit experiences in my life that would contribute to an overall compelling story. Each of my advisers, Santosh Prasad and Helen Pfitzner, was always professional and incredibly responsive. The comments on my essays were very insightful, whether it came from the counsellors or the school specific directors.

In addition to the content of my applications, Stratus Prep was also key in keeping my application process on track, as they ensured that I kept to the important application deadlines amidst my work schedule. Furthermore, the company reviewed my final application before submission and provided sufficient interview practice with junior and senior counsellors, which ultimately prepared me for the interview.

I wholeheartedly recommend Stratus Prep because they have so far helped me get into the business school of my first choice.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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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Comments [1]
1 Commented by StratusMBACounselor on June 01, 2016
Glad to see this review about Santosh and his value add in the counseling process.
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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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Most Reviewed Stratus Prep consultants
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