Stratus Prep Admissions Consulting Reviews
    Number of reviews [30]      Average Rating:       (4.7/5)
Packages
    
    
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
  Reviews
Sort by:   date of publication  most helpful
Strong Consultants -
April 15 | 2015

  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: April 15, 2015 | 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:  Shaifali Aggarwal
Overall, Stratus is a very strong MBA consultancy with very experienced consultants; however, as with most everything in life, you only get out of Stratus as much as you put in.

Shawn's guidance was absolutely invaluable throughout the entire process. I highly recommend getting him involved in the process as much as possible, even if it means paying a little extra for his services and essay editing.

In addition to consulting, I found their MBA tutoring to be extremely helpful. I jumped from a 600 -> 690 -> 750, which ultimately helped me get off the waitlist at Columbia with a very sizeable scholarship.

The introspection exercises are lengthy and are very intense at first, but they really help make the process a lot smoother down the line. Don't get too bogged up on filling out everything, but it did help get my strategy straight so I can dive into writing my essays.

Once I wrote my outline for my essays and reviewed them with Shawn and Shaifali, the essay writing process was very smooth. They provide clear feedback, direction, and pitfalls to avoid. That was one area I could've really failed throughout the process - Shawn and Shaifali helped me avoid major pitfalls.

My only feedback to Stratus would be for them to develop a deeper, personal relationship with their clients. Or that might've just been my experience with Shaifali. I was more often than not the one reaching out to ask questions and move the process along. She also was pretty unsympathetic when I told her I was waitlisted at my top choice program. Shaifali was almost too professional - I would've like to have developed a closer relationship with my consultant.

Overall though, Stratus helped me develop a clear strategy in applying to school and made my essays really sing and dance. They helped me stand out as an exceptional individual in a VERY competitive pool of applicants. For some background, I had a 3.5 from a "public ivy," a 690, background in finance and healthcare, and was accepted to Haas and waitlisted at CBS early decision. I was ultimately accepted to Columbia once I got a 750 - they told me I was conditionally accepted as long as I raised my GMAT score. I was rejected at HBS and LBS, but those were not my top choices.

I highly would recommend Stratus for MBA consulting.
Was this review helpful to you?
   

Be the first person to comment
on this review.
Underwhelming Experience
March 31 | 2015

  [ What's this? ]
       By jbrennan09 joined: September 26, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  No
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Vanessa Gil
Overall, I'd say I was pretty unhappy with how Stratus Prep handled my applications, though Vanessa was very nice and seemed to be helpful with essay writing (but not much beyond that).

I applied to 6 schools, 4 of which were through Stratus Prep. The 4 through Stratus, HBS, GSB, Wharton & Kellogg, I was rejected from (with the exception of WL at Kellogg), while the 2 I did on my own, Booth and London Business School, I was accepted (I'm going to Booth and VERY happy with that!)

Understanding it's a numbers game, the above results are absolutely not why I wouldn't recommend Stratus Prep (though the way it shook out is interesting). Vanessa was nice, but not always responsive, sometimes taking multiple emails to get an email back. I understand she is busy, but to me that's not an excuse and it could be frustrating. She also had me really focus on a my experience with Habitat for Humanity, which I've heard elsewhere has been super devalued (again not that end of the world, but I could have focused my attentions elsewhere).

The biggest problem I have is that after getting put on the WL at Kellogg, I received a generic email from Vanessa saying that she was leaving the company and to contact Shawn with any questions. I sent multiple emails to ask about how to pursue and never heard back, which is pretty baffling to me. I ended up cutting bait, and pursued Kellogg through my own means, and then applied to Booth last minute for R2 (I asked for thoughts on this in my follow up emails and obviously never heard back). Given how things worked out, I am happy with where I ended up, but would absolutely not recommend Stratus over any other brand, given that there are so many options.

I get the impression that there is a lot going on there, and at least in my case, I was not the priority.

The only emails I've received from Shawn are automated fundraising emails for his campaign for Congress, which was a funny nail on the coffin of my relationship with Stratus.
Was this review helpful to you?
   

Be the first person to comment
on this review.
Get a Special Discount on Stratus Prep
Learn more
Exclusively provided for the GMAT Club Community
Definitely worth the money!
March 31 | 2015

  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: March 31, 2015 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Some, but not all
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Philip Gilman
Stratus Prep not only helped me through the admissions process, but also helped me gain close to 100 points on my GMAT score! They were very accommodating; after not being happy with my first tutor they quickly set me up with another tutor within the same day! After such a good experience with the exam I knew I had to use them for application counseling. They answered all of my questions prior to signing the contract, including providing me with references to speak to and setting up a call with my potential admissions counselor! I would point out the following as strengths of Stratus Prep throughout the admissions process.

1. Brainstorming. They really have a great template / process designed to get you to brainstorm ideas for your essays long before you start drafting them. I realize how crucial it is now, after having gone through the process. Not only does the counselor provide you with feedback on your brainstorming but so does Shawn! And they go through and tell which schools are within your limits (although I would make sure you do your own homework here too).

2. The actual essay process was very well structured. They have you run through several drafts with your counselor and then they have an outsider look at each essay as well to make sure the story flows, and then a proofreader for grammar. I found it to be extremely helpful to hear each of their viewpoints

3. Interview prep. They really take the time to make sure you are prepped for your interviews, as well as video questions. I recall my counselor suggesting I do a mock interview with Shawn himself before one of my interviews (something I did not even suggest).

At the end of it all, I got interviews for two out of six schools and was accepted to one (still waiting to here from the other). It was a good experience and I definitely recommend Stratus Prep!
Was this review helpful to you?
   

Be the first person to comment
on this review.
AVOID. TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE.
March 24 | 2015

  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: November 25, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  No
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages  
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.
Was this review helpful to you?
   

Be the first person to comment
on this review.
Get a Special Discount on Stratus Prep
Learn more
Exclusively provided for the GMAT Club Community
Hourly services with Samantha Merton - Definitely recommend
March 17 | 2015

  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: October 22, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Yes - got into all
This review is for:  Hourly Services   Consultant:  Samantha Merton
I initially called several consulting companies and the reason I chose Stratus Prep over the other companies was because of my phone call with Shawn. Shawn was very pleasant to speak with, did not try to get me to aim lower for any of my schools, and overall made me a lot more optimistic about my chances.

After deciding on Stratus Prep I was paired up with Samantha Merton. I worked with Samantha on an hourly basis for two of my schools (Wharton & Fuqua). I was primarily concerned with essay analysis and review.

Samantha originally scheduled some time to get to know me as well as my story. For the essays she was very open to my suggestions (sending her a high overview of what I wanted to talk about vs drafts) and steered my essays into the right direction. I can't say if I would have gotten into both schools without her assistance but I can say with 100% confidence that the quality of my essays were much better thanks to her. Samantha also found areas in my essays that did not seem to make sense to an outsider and made sure that I elaborated and clarified where needed. In the end I was accepted into both Wharton with $ and Fuqua with $$$.

Samantha made the entire process much more relaxing and her turnaround time for every single email was less than 24 hours (I would say less than 1 hour to be honest...) so I knew that I was always in good hands.

I highly recommend working with Samantha!
Was this review helpful to you?
   

Be the first person to comment
on this review.
Stratus Prep helped me realize my dreams
February 24 | 2015

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By UTWrestler joined: July 10, 2014 | 72 | 36 |
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:  Salma Qarnain
Going into the MBA application process, I had high hopes. I had my heart set on a couple schools in the M7. With that said, I could clearly look at my background and see that it would be a stretch to get into one of the M7's. I went to a state college, majored in business with a 3.6 GPA , and had a 700 GMAT (In other words I am your average Joe!!!). In addition, I had a completely different career objective for my MBA then what my background/experience was in. I researched many consulting services before being blown away with Stratus Prep. I remember talking on the phone with Shawn, the founder, and feeling absolutely convinced that this was the right place to help focus my application and give me the best chance to succeed.....And thankfully I was right.

Shawn set me up with one of their top consultants, Salma, who i simply can't say enough good things about. Salma is brilliant in many things and very passionate about her job. She was there at every step from building the foundation of my story to crossing her fingers with me while we waited by the phone to hear my dream schools decision.

The end result was me getting into of of the top programs in the world with a very big and unexpected scholarship. I can honestly say that Stratus Prep was a big part of making my B-School application journey a success. If they can help me get into my dream school then they can help anybody.
Was this review helpful to you?
   

Be the first person to comment
on this review.
Get a Special Discount on Stratus Prep
Learn more
Exclusively provided for the GMAT Club Community
Stratus Prep Exceeds all Expectations!
February 24 | 2015

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: March 20, 2014 | 0 | 0 |
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:  Some, but not all
This review is for:  MBA Admissions Counseling Packages   Consultant:  Salma Qarnain
I could not have made it to top tier MBA programs without Salma Qarnain from Stratus Prep.

I got to know of Stratus through a college senior who used them last year and highly recommended them. I unlike some others on this forum did not speak with any other firm and based on a conversation with Salma and Shawn- felt a level of comfort and decided to sign up with Stratus. So I will not be able to make any comparisons here.

The great part about Salma and Stratus to me extends beyond the essay reviews and mock interviews. Salma was a constant source of support and encouragement to me through a process that can prove to be stressful. Through my anxious wait for interview invites and freak outs over punctuation in my essays, Salma provided a much required sense of calm and confidence to me. As an international student I did not have many MBA alums or students from top tier US programs in my network, and Salma provided very insightful advice as an alum of Stanford, MIT and HBS.

The counselling process is designed in a detailed step-by-step manner and provides a great framework to build your application upon. I applied in Round 1 of 2014 and signed up with Stratus in May (even before I took my GMAT) and I recommend an early start with Stratus to all, especially if you have a demanding full time job.

I have admission offers from Duke, Darden, Tuck, Yale and Kellogg (with a scholarship I could have never imagined) and I have Salma and Stratus to thank for that. I highly recommend Stratus to everyone who wants to put their best foot forward.

PS: If you reach out to Shawn and ask for the person who wrote this review, I'm sure he'll connect you. Happy to chat in further detail. Sorry this is anonymous.
Was this review helpful to you?
   

Be the first person to comment
on this review.
Vanessa Gil - Simply the Best
January 23 | 2015

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: October 9, 2014 | 2 | 6 |
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
Vanessa Gil is the best admissions counselor anyone can ask for!

Here is how I came to work with her. After interviewing Stacey Blackman, Clear Admit and Stratus Prep for MBA admissions counseling, Shawn O’Connor, the founder of Stratus Prep, convinced me to use his firm.

I had obtained a 720 on my GMAT which was good, but below average for the 2 schools I had targeted: Stanford GSB and Harvard Business School.

Knowing those were the schools I wanted to apply to, Shawn placed me with a counselor who was an alum from both schools (NOT VANESSA).

And here I was… getting into the annoying process of business school applications. The first deadline was HBS in early September (Round 1). The counselor and I spent 3 months working on positioning, outlines and essays for Harvard. However, she and I didn’t have the same perspectives at times. Every time I came up with a creative idea for my essays, I got turned down. I felt my application was going to be pretty standardized. Another thing she would do was coming back to me with edits within 10 minutes of me sending my drafts. This annoyed me as I had paid a pretty big amount to get her advice, and I felt I wasn’t getting the level of attention I deserved. I was disappointed and thought I would ask Shawn for another counselor. However, I had less than 2 weeks left before submitting HBS and I thought I wouldn’t that risk so close to the deadline so I decided to stick with her and apply to HBS.

The day after I submitted HBS, however, I asked Shawn to reassign me with a different counselor for my Stanford app which was due 3 weeks later (early October, Round 1). By doing so, I also thought I would diversify and increase my odds of getting into at least one of the two.

Shawn understood my concerns and paired me with Vanessa Gil. And here comes Vanessa. I didn’t know it at the time, but working with Vanessa was the best thing that could have happened to me. Vanessa and I got along immediately. I told her about my concerns with my former counselor and she gave me the ability to be my true self in my applications. She and I spent hours on the phone discussing the most detailed items of my application from positioning, wording, approach, what works and what doesn’t to what Stanford specifically likes in candidates. Literally everything. She was so accessible, nice, competent and open-minded. It was night and day.

Vanessa and I worked hard in those 3 weeks I worked on my GSB application. I found out later on that she had a lot more clients than I thought. Yet I felt like I was the only one she was working with. The level of attention she gave me was unparalleled. She understood who I was as a person, what I stood for, and what I wanted to convey in my applications like no one else. Her perspective was invaluable.

Vanessa and I finally submitted Stanford early October.

Mid-October, I found out I got declined from HBS, without an interview.

Early November, I got notice that I got an interview with the GSB. Vanessa and I prepped for it in a rigorous manner with 3 mock interviews and detailed question by question feedback. I went into the interview feeling confident, and aced it.

Mid-December: I found out I got into my dream school, the Stanford GSB :)

The bottom line is that none of this would have been possible without Vanessa. Her trusted advice, intelligence and amazing personality made this stressful process an enjoyable experience. When you think about it, Vanessa only helped me with one business school, and it turns out that the school is actually the hardest one to get into. With Vanessa, my hit rate was 100%. I know, “impressive” you would say. However, the minute you meet her, you will realize it’s not all that surprising. Vanessa is an unbelievable person who simply gets it. If you’re driven, focused and dedicated, she will get you into your dream school. That’s what she does, and she does it better than anyone else in the industry.
Was this review helpful to you?
   

Be the first person to comment
on this review.
Get a Special Discount on Stratus Prep
Learn more
Exclusively provided for the GMAT Club Community
Highly Recommend Stratus
November 08 | 2014

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: November 8, 2014 | 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  
I highly recommend Stratus Prep for admissions consulting. I was lucky enough to have Jeff Mroz as my counselor and it was a joy from beginning to end. To me, Stratus Prep's biggest asset is their proven process. They spend a lot of time helping you think through your application and decide what is important and what can be left out. They assign you work to do on your own which really makes you think about what it is that you want to include in your application. After each assignment was done I'd schedule a call with Jeff and Shawn to discuss. I didn't get a sense they had cookie cutter suggestions, they both really put the time in to think about my story and how to bring out the best in me. And it showed.

Another thing I'll say is that Jeff and Shawn were totally honest with me. They didn't pull any punches. I had a few points that I thought were very strong. I had thought about using them for months and after explaining to both of them why I thought they'd be useful they told me why they thought otherwise. After more thought, they were right.

Before I signed on with Stratus I asked them for 2 references. I made calls to both of them and they had great things to say about their experiences. But then I thought, of course they'd give me references who got into their dreams schools. How about someone who didn't?

I had applied to my target school before and was rejected but I told Jeff before I heard back this time around that I'd recommend him and Stratus if I got rejected again. My experience was that good. I would have been the reference who didn't get in and still recommended Stratus. Fortunately though, I was accepted to my target school and I could not be happier.
Was this review helpful to you?
   

Be the first person to comment
on this review.
Invaluable Admissions Help
June 18 | 2014

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: June 4, 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
With the invaluable help of the admissions advisors at Stratus Prep, I was admitted to the school of my choice, the Stanford GSB. Given the extremely competitive business school admissions environment and my generic profile, as a white male working at a large investment bank, I quickly realized the importance of having the strong and capable admissions consultants in place to provide counseling and support with the crafting and framing of my story to the various schools. The advice I received from Shawn and other counselors was what I believe to be critical in distinguishing me from other candidates applying to b-school. Working with the team at Stratus Prep gave me a variety of perspectives, which were crucial in navigating the application process. Without their help my chances of getting into Stanford would have been significantly decreased. I certainly believe I had the raw goods critical for admissions (grades, test scores, etc.) but many applicants applying to the top schools (S/W/H) have similar credentials, so differentiation is very important and Stratus was monumental in assisting me with that.
Was this review helpful to you?
   

Be the first person to comment
on this review.
Get a Special Discount on Stratus Prep
Learn more
Exclusively provided for the GMAT Club Community


Get a Special Discount on Stratus Prep
Exclusively provided for the GMAT Club Community
Learn more