Stratus Prep Admissions Consulting Reviews
    Number of reviews [14]      Average Rating:       (4.9/5)
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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
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Thanks, StratusPrep!
December 25 | 2013

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
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       By Anonymous joined: January 29, 2013 | 18 | 7 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages  
This year in March, my girlfriend and I decided to ask admission consultants for help in our applications. By that moment, we still were uncertain which schools to choose at all and had absolutely no knowledge about how to write essays.

As for our background, we are average-aged for MBA students and are based in emerging market country. We worked in country-scale finance company and then parallely started our own project in the same field. We both scored 710 on GMAT and have 3.82 and 3.94 GPAs in universities that are almost unknown in the world (one of them is in top10 in our country).

We were seeking for the consulting firm for a while - read some reviews and searched their websites. Even though there were only few positive reviews and only one negative of StratusPrep, we booked initial call with Shawn, CEO of StratusPrep. What we liked was their collaborative consulting approach - both Shawn and an assigned consultant work together on your admission. Shawn constructs overall strategy of applications and controls the whole process, and an assigned consultant works with you very actively on every single part of your applications. We decided to apply to HBS, MIT, Kellogg and Duke.

We started working with Vinod, who was amazingly supportive on every part of our applications. Very soon we realized that we would have had much less chances to be admitted if we had had no consultants.

First, I had only few ideas WHAT to write in my essays (why MBA), and my girlfriend had totally NO idea what to write in her ones. In the very beginning, Shawn constructed overall strategies of applications for each school, and during our work, they both (with Vinod) were making us brainstorming to come up with good examples.

Second, we found out that we absolutely had no idea of how to write an essay - how to start, how to conduct thoughts, how to connect them, what sounded good and what sounded risky. Vinod helped us immensely in all that stuff.

Third, our english was (and unfortunately is :)) so poor that our "try essays" sounded as they had been written by children. Active and collaborative work with Vinod ended up in absolutely perfect essays (they actually looked like those in the books such as "65 Successfull Harvard Essays"band sounded at least as strong).

Forth, being non-native speakers, we had problems even with fulfilling our resumes and online applications. And here, Vinod explained many questionable moments to us and helped to formulate many points.

Finally, even though we found out much information about interviews ourselves, Vinod's mock interviews and following advices were totally priceless (I am almost certain that some of them were determinant in my success on, for instance, the MIT interview).
As for results, we were accepted in MIT, Kellogg and Duke, but denied without the interview in HBS, although I am certain that our HBS essays were totally perfect. The reason of deny was, I bet, in our relatively weak background (as one of current HBS students told us, they don't like those guys from our country who don't work in world-known companies). So, I think HBS just considered us risky applicants.

To sum up, we both think that applying with a help of StratusPrep was our best investment. Without consultants we could barely count on admission to any school in top20. I suppose that european and american people are much more skilled in writing essays, than we are (our country's universities do not demand that applicants write essays), so I don't know whether they need help from admission consultants in the writing itself. But still I'm certain that the approach of StratusPrep to admission consulting and its experience is a killer combination that would help anybody to come up with good thoughts, to formulate them and to apply to business school successfully.

Special thanks to Vinod and Shawn!

P.S.: We are totally happy!!!
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Kellogg acceptance with Stratus Prep help!
August 08 | 2012

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       By Anonymous joined: February 6, 2012 | 0 | 5 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Samantha Merton
Stratus Prep was an outstanding consulting company to work with, and while realistic, my consultant never made me feel I had to give up on my goal of going to a top b-school.

My background is in education and teaching and I want to transition into charter school management. I went to an ivy league undergrad and was a student-athlete...I also did Teach for America post college.

I can't tell you how glad I am that I worked with Stratus Prep. I knew people who worked with bschool consultants before, and I was skeptical and uncertain about the costs like most people...it ended up being the best decision I could have made and definitely a huge part of the reason I got
into Kellogg.

The consultant I worked with, Samantha, was very meticulous, incredibly knowledgeable, and always accessible. I started working with Stratus Prep in November (for January due dates); Samantha was really great about responding quickly especially with the time crunch. I really liked the collaboration between my consultant and Shawn (the founder) who was very involved in every step of the application process. Shawn is really smart and knew how to leverage my TFA experience as well as stuff I would never have known or thought to write about (such as:
my thesis for my masters in education, an independent study project I did in undergrad, working through an eating disorder, traveling to India for a summer etc.). Because I was so preoccupied with studying for the GMAT, I assumed that since I was a pretty good writer, the essays would be no big
deal. If I had done it on my own, I don't think I would have made myself very well-rounded because I would have probably written a lot more about teaching, which Shawn heavily advised me not to do. I also didn't realize how valuable some of the other stuff I had done was.

Before you begin your essays, Stratus Prep makes you do these outline exercises where you brainstorm all your leadership positions, character traits, learning experiences etc. which I found very worthwhile.

In the end, I was invited to interview at every school I applied to (Duke, Michigan, Columbia, and Kellogg- interviews everyone) with the exception of Yale, which I found surprising. I got into both Kellogg and Duke. I am absolutely humbled, honored, and excited to go to Kellogg this fall .This has been said before and it is necessary to say again, the GMAT does not mean everything and a huge amount of focus must be on your essays. If you want to go to a top MBA program, regardless of your profile, I cannot emphasize enough how valuable I think you will find working with Stratus Prep on every part of your apps (essays, resumes, recs, and interviews).
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Completely worth the investment
September 11 | 2012

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       By mjacobson1986 joined: May 23, 2012 | 5 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Shawn OConnor
I couldn't possoibly have better things to say about Shawn O'Connor and the Stratus Prep team.

To give you my profile, I'm a white male with four years of finance experience (banking and PE). I had a 3.65 from a liberal arts (non Ivy) college and a GMAT in the high 600s. Given that my profile was not that unique from my peers in finance (which I heard was one of the hardest demographics for HBS), I considered Harvard a huge stretch. Based on a recommendation, I decided to splurge and worked with Shawn directly on 4 schools.

It was quite pricey, but worth every penny (what I learned in finance was that you have to spend money to make money - that definitely paid off in this case). I was admitted to all of my target schools (like Columbia) and to HBS. While I obviously did all of my own work on the essays, it was Shawn's insightful, strategic perspectives and thoughtful comments that separated me from the pack. I have since recommended many friends to Stratus Prep (some who have worked directly with Shawn, others with his colleagues. If you can afford it, you should work with Shawn. If not, work with one of his colleagues, because he will still be really involved in looking over your essays and strategy, even though he isn't your direct contact.

There is a huge difference out there when it comes to MBA Admissions consultants. Having checked out just about all of them (and hearing some of my work colleagues tell me about other programs) I would say either work with these guys or just go at it on your own.
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Thank you Stratus!
December 01 | 2012

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       By Anonymous joined: December 1, 2012 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Vanessa Gil
I couldn't be happier with the services I received from Stratus Prep. After studying for 3-months in a Kaplan prep course, and performing well below what I had expected on the actual GMAT, I decided to try again with a private tutor. I had consultations with a variety of companies and decided to work with Jim at Stratus Prep.

Jim provided me with support specific to my strengths and weaknesses. Rather than having me continually take practice tests, Jim taught me the content so that I would know how to approach each problem presented. I was able to increase my score almost 150 points working with Jim with a 10-hour package. Jim assigned me work to get done before each session, and I was ready to take the GMAT within 7 weeks.

I also used Stratus Prep for the admission counseling services. Shawn and Vanessa helped me to craft my application through multiple rounds of edits, and helped me prepare for my interviews. Shawn, the CEO, was incredibly involved throughout my entire application process, offering essay advice, application suggestions and moral support.

I was recently accepted into my top-choice school, Columbia. I have recommended Stratus’s services to multiple friends and family. Thank you Stratus for all your help.
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Exceptional Experience with Stratus Prep
December 30 | 2012

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       By Anonymous joined: December 30, 2012 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Shawn OConnor
I recently worked with Stratus Prep (Shawn + Vanessa). My experience was exceptional and resulted with my successful application to Harvard Business School. For context, I am a white male, slightly sub-700 GMAT, older than the mean, and work in finance (a tough demographic).

Shawn + Vanessa had a very thoughtful approach to applications but customized it to my schedule and goals. Highlights include:

1) Stratus’ Introspection process required me to outline and dive into deep details of my past – professionally, academically and personally. It was an incredibly valuable use of time. The end result was a map of my story that became the backbone of the material that I used for my essays, applications and interviews

2) School Selection and Strategy: I had a targeted list of schools. Shawn and Vanessa did a great job of setting expectations, focusing on the schools that were important to me, developing the right application strategy, picking the best person to write a recommendation, etc

3) Essay Outlining + Writing: Shawn + Vanessa helped me outline content before writing the actual essays. A few times I embarked down the wrong path, but they were there every step of the way to get me back on track. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful they were here – unlimited editing / review, tactical advice, constructive feedback, etc.

I give Stratus Prep my highest recommendation. They instilled the confidence and focus that were absolutely critical to my success at HBS. They both clearly have deep insight and rich experience, which showed in how they handled all of my questions throughout the process. They were always available for questions - whether in person, email or phone. I would recommend Stratus Prep to any one.
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Very thankful
March 21 | 2013

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       By Anonymous joined: December 11, 2012 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - school of my dreams
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Shawn OConnor
Stratus Prep did a great job with me - I was incredibly grateful to have gone to them to begin with and thought that they were worth every penny. I went into the process feeling very overwhelmed but they helped me through every step.

I opted for the hourly consulting package as opposed to the total, all-in variety; I found that the hourly package was sufficient for me. I found them extremely responsive and supportive and they helped me with the content of my essays as we went through many iterations until we found the exact right mix of topics. They also have school-specific knowledge and helped me tailor my applications; I wouldn't have known how to do this otherwise. I was nervous, because I am a white male, but ended up being accepted to HBS and Wharton (and waitlisted at Stanford). I would not want to go through this process without them.
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Fantastic Service
March 25 | 2013

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       By Anonymous joined: March 25, 2013 | 1 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Vanessa Gil
Got my acceptance letter today! Amazing, my mind is racing...

Thank you so much for all of the help! Vanessa did a great job at keeping me on schedule and guiding me along the way. And I really feel that the tag team strategy with Shawn is what makes these guys a great consulting firm. It was always great to get a second opinion as we moved along.

The team helped me map out my application process and plan my time accordingly. I put together a personal profile of myself, and worked with Vanessa to decide on what stories I wanted to tell and convey via my essays. The multiple drafts of each essay was extremely helpful and made sure I submitted my top quality work.

Thanks again!
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Got into MIT!!
April 08 | 2013

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       By Anonymous joined: April 7, 2013 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Samantha Merton
I only used Stratus Prep to get into MIT and I am happy to share that I was able to get in with their help!

I worked with Shawn and Samantha from Status Prep. They would say that they are very professional people. At any point they didn’t let me feel that I am taking too much of their time. We worked on our goal together.

Initially, I felt like their process is too long and too much information is required, but later I realized it was really worth it. It helped me in putting my application in the right direction and making sure that I didn’t leave any important point to mention in my application.

Shawn’s input at each and every step of the application was very helpful. Samantha’s turnaround time was very quick. In fact, she had to wait many times for information from me. She made sure each and every line in my application is presented in a right way.

I am really grateful to them for their help and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to get into top business school!!
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Incredible experience
May 08 | 2013

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       By Anonymous joined: August 23, 2012 | 6 | 5 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Samantha Merton
I'm going to be honest here. I was really wary of using admissions consultants at the beginning of the process. I had a pretty strong profile, for top 5-10 schools, but knew I would be a bit of a stretch at top 3. (Female, 3 years consulting experience at a reputable firm, 680 GMAT, 3.7 GPA).

Once I decided that it was a worthwhile investment, I was the girl who did my fair share of due diligence. I'm pretty sure I interviewed every major firm out there, and came armed with a thousand questions. I decided to work with Stratus Prep because I really liked their super indepth process. My initial meeting was with Shawn, their ceo who made me feel really confident about my chances at Stanford, which was my dream school. With their help, I was able to get into Stanford, Kellogg, and Booth.

I would definitely recommend working Samantha, my counselor. She was an excellent guide, and also a great friend when I got really stressed out a couple of times throughout the process. Her responsiveness to emails, thoughtful ideas, attentiveness to details in my many essay reviews, and confidence in me as an applicant made a huge difference, and I am really thankful for my experience with her, and the whole team.
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B-School Consulting and GMAT Test Prep
June 28 | 2013

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       By peter08music joined: June 28, 2013 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Shawn OConnor
I really can't say enough good things.

I wanted a full service support through the application process and felt they really lived up to it. They are a top notch team and worth every penny. This process and decision is too important not to get the best advice possible, especially for me given my candidacy wasn't a slam dunk. (state school, lowish GMAT scores, etc.)

They catered to my finance schedule often meeting or taking phone calls at weird hours and on weekends.

I can think of several times when Shawn gave me critical, and honest advice on my candidacy, essay themes, interview prep, recommenders, etc. that made a tangible improvement in my applications.

I real felt like they took the time to get to know me personally and shaped the strongest possible application I could have vs applying a more cookie cutter or less customized approach

Harvard was my top choice and they helped me get in. Thanks!
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