|All Reviews > Susan Cera > Susan Cera Reviews|
Joined: Jan 18, 2021
730 Q49 V40
I used an hourly package to apply to 3 schools. Susan worked with me to effectively craft my unique story into a compelling desire to pursue an MBA (I am a musician by night and a strategy consultant by day — my post-MBA goals lie in bridging that gap). I had the story in my head, but Susan took my essays from ok to great. She brought out passion, specifics (that I had long forgotten), and detailed knowledge about the nuances of each school to help me tailor each application. She was also incredibly efficient with the limited time we had, turning each iteration of my essays around quickly -- sometimes within hours.
End result: 3 for 3 on acceptances (one M7 and two T15’s), plus a substantial merit fellowship option. She has also continued to coach me on negotiation strategies post-acceptances. 10/10 recommend!
Stats: GMAT 730, GPA 3.85, STEM undergrad
Joined: Dec 10, 2019
740 Q49 V42
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Susan is an excellent consultant!! I highly recommend her for anyone who is applying to MBA programs. I started working with her in the spring of 2020 with the plan to apply that fall. First, before applications, we worked on short- and long-term goals and took a deep dive into my strengths in order to begin to shape my story. We brainstormed schools that would be the best fit for me and she introduced me to students and/or alums that I could talk to about their experience. She then guided me through the entire application process, including essays, videos, recommendations, interviews (with mock interviews), etc. I found her to be extremely relatable, professional, knowledgeable, and engaging. Susan always has a positive attitude which is very refreshing as the application process can be very daunting. I cannot thank Susan enough for helping me get into my dream school and first choice, Wharton, in addition to my other top choice, MIT Sloan. There is no doubt in my mind that hiring Susan was the right decision and I have already strongly recommended her to family and friends.
Joined: Jan 08, 2021
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It was always a goal of mine to go back and get my MBA and at first, thought I could go the cheap route and do it on my own. Big mistake. I ended up getting rejected from my top schools but I was determined, and decided to go for it the next year. I was introduced to Susan through multiple friends who had used her in the past and raved about their experience. Truthfully, the cost was a bit daunting at first but after our first meeting I could tell that Susan new exactly what she was doing. From her own experience of applying and getting into business school, coupled with her immense knowledge from working in admissions at Fuqua for over a decade, she brought insight that I could have gotten from few other sources. She was incredibly thoughtful but pushed me to think about what I really wanted and how to craft my story from my past and where I wanted to end up. I had a terrible GPA and decent GRE scores, so it was an uphill battle from the start, but I ended up being accepted to all the schools that had rejected me the previous year. Can’t thank Susan enough for all her hard work and dedication throughout the process – it sure paid dividends in the long run.
Joined: May 25, 2020
Susan helped me get into my top choice M7. The first thing that stood out to me is that she's really fun, but also no-nonsense! She knows her stuff... you can tell she comes from the admissions world and has the expertise to steer you toward the key fundamentals that really make a difference.
I spoke with several consultants before going with Susan... they all seemed to try to sell me on their magnificent writing or deep expertise on a school... but what was compelling to me is that Susan gives you what most consultants can't: the experience of having worked in admissions. She knows how adcom ticks and can help you craft a compelling story that adcom will understand.
I used an hourly package with Susan and found it to be a great value... she was transparent and efficient, very responsive, and impressively available. She'll be your #1 fan throughout the process, and will give you the confidence that you're turning in the strongest possible application.
Joined: Jun 17, 2020
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My experience with stratus has been nothing short of amazing. I applied to schools last application cycle and did not feel like the firm I hired to help made my application personalized enough - I felt like i was treated like a number. Obviously I was not accepted last cycle which is why I turned somewhere else. After a few consultations with Susan - I knew she would be the right fit for me moving forward. She really spent time to get to know me and my story and why I wanted to apply for business school. She also helped me understand more about the business world as well- which was a great help since I am coming from a STEM background. I feel like Susan was very thorough and really got to know me on a personal level. She gave me advice on what to do to make my application stand out and extra things or classes I can do. She helped me revise my resume from an overcrowded page that was hard to read to a beautiful, simplified page that was easy on the eyes. She helped me with both my essays and help me craft a story to explain why I need an MBA and what has happened to me in my life this past year and why I needed the MBA more. Before writing the essay she made us do a few reflection/ intersection exercises to get to know myself better and determine the qualities I want to write all my essays around. After that we used those qualities to shape my draft which then turned into my essay. This writing process was a great way to make sure everything I wanted to include in my story was there. She also looked over my application before I submitted it to make sure everything looked good. After I submitted my application, I reached back out to her when I had a interview invitation. Susan helped me prepare for the interview and then connected me with a school specific counselor to have a mock interview. A few days after my interview, I got accepted to my dream school. I could not have done this without Susan. I felt like she truly cares about me and my mission and am so grateful we were able to work together. I am so blessed that I had the opportunity to work with her. When in doubt go with Susan!!
Joined: Sep 25, 2020
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I worked with Stratus for over a year on my b school applications. They provided excellent service while being easy and enjoyable to work with.
I was pretty unfamiliar with the application process and really didn't know what schools looked for in applications. I have an unusual work experience- 3 completely different industries in multiple geographies. They helped me wrangle my personal and professional experiences and craft them into a compelling narrative. They were prompt in responding to all my questions and providing feedback on my essays. With their help, I was able to secure a 30% scholarship to a top 20 MBA program.
Apart from receiving excellent service from Stratus, they were extremely friendly and easy to work with. I always looked forward to my weekly or bi-weekly call with Susan. And in the emotional peaks and valleys of the process, I always felt like I could be open with Stratus and rely on their guidance.
Joined: Sep 14, 2020
Susan played a critical role in helping me make my dream of getting into Stanford MBA program a reality. She supported me all the way through the application process, from deciding which Round to apply, to crafting essays and preparing for the interviews, and helped me with every single question I had - even the most stupid questions that were on my mind.
It was important to have Susan's shoulder early on, as she helped me work out a powerful strategy and point my efforts in the right direction. In the brainstorming process, she came up with novel ideas that I somehow did not come up with on my own. Those ideas turned out to be key to my application strategy. Strategy is important, but so is implementation.
Susan was surprisingly fast to reply to my emails, especially given the amount of value her emails contained. I feel it's important to reemphasize this - every single piece of correspondence from Susan contained HUGE value for me! Her feedback on the essays helped me focus on the most impactful points, leaving non-value adding details aside, thus making the most out of the limited word space I was allowed in the essays.
I cannot overestimate the importance of Susan's help on the so-called stupid questions. Honestly, I did not expect that I would have so many of those. Turned out, the application file itself was so lengthy and contained so many little questions that seemed to be tricky. I felt that, when combined, answers to these little questions could make a difference between being admitted and being rejected. Luckily, Susan had the kind of empathy I needed to feel comfortable asking her these stupid questions.
When it came to the interview stage, Susan once again helped me focus on the most impactful parts of my story so that I felt confident sharing my story with the interviewer. It was important that I was prepared for the interview in advance, since this preparation translated into my confidence during the actual interview. I definitely would not have this courage if I was not sure I was telling the right stories to the interviewer. Susan made me believe I was.
Simply put, I would have never gotten into the Stanford MBA program without Susan's help. And I am forever grateful to her for helping me make my dream a reality.
Joined: Oct 30, 2017
I worked with Susan for two schools package. I finally ended up receiving only one offer with half of the scholarship. At first, I really depressed about going to apply for b-school because I have low GMAT score and low GPA. However, Susan did really well to guide me through an application process to highlight my robust work experience in an investment banking field, making my essay content matching smoothly with my career goal. I am a CFA charterholder, and she did really know how to play this card right in the table. ฺฺBuilding up on Susan's guidance, I eventually received an offer from various schools in my list. With her solid guideline and interview preparation, it did push me to reach my top choice from Tepper-CMU.
I worked with Susan completely online and I have found no trouble at all working with her. Our timezone is 12 hours apart. I think Susan knows what she does and trust me, she is really good with her work. I would like to add my comment on Donna as well. As she came on board and gave me another perspective that was independence from your views and Susan. It was really something you need to know after you finish your application, and you need to make it better. Choosing Stratus as my admission counsultant was worth every dollar I paid for the service.
Joined: May 24, 2016
At the beginning of my MBA journey I reached out to 3-5 consultants for the free consultations. My GMAT/GPA are slightly lower than the averages at the programs that I was targeting so finding someone that understood my story was crucial for me. Within the first 5 minutes of talking to Susan I knew she was the person I wanted to use. She took the time to understand my background and asked thoughtful questions to learn more – this was vastly different than my experience with other consultants who were just trying to put me into a pre-defined framework to craft my story. Susan felt more like a mentor who genuinely wanted me to succeed rather than a consultant who was focused on getting my business.
I ended up purchasing the one school package and using the ad-hoc/hourly service for essays on the other programs that I was applying to.
We first started on the “introspection” exercise which ends up serving as the basis to answer the most common questions: Why MBA, Why Now and Post-MBA Goals. Based on this information Susan helped me craft a strategy specific to each program that I was applying to. This not only helped with my essays but also with my informational chats with students and alumni. I come from a non-business background (engineering) and I felt very polished during my phone calls with students.
In addition to the introspection exercise, Susan helped me rework my resume, gave me multiple rounds of feedback on my essays, and helped me prepare for my interview. I even got positive feedback from the admissions committee regarding my interview and overall application. I was waitlisted at my top choice due to my GMAT score, but Susan helped me with my updates to the admissions committee (about 5-6 in total).
I used Susan for help on my essays on an hourly basis for two other programs. She was incredibly generous and upfront about what can be accomplished in the hours I purchased. We managed to do 2-3 drafts of my essays for each program within the 2 hours that I purchased.
I could not be happier with my experience with Susan, I would highly recommend her to anyone looking at applying to MBA programs in the future. I am headed to a Top 15 program this fall with a sub 3.2 GPA and sub 700 GMAT.
Joined: Jul 13, 2020
Like many people applying for an MBA, I was concerned that there was nothing special about my profile and I wouldn’t be able to stand out to the universities. Thanks to Susan and the Stratus team, I not only received multiple acceptances from top 20 schools, but scholarships as well. It was more than I could have ever hoped for, especially as a Round 3+ candidate.
Susan changed my entire perspective on the MBA process. From her I learned that the events in my life weren’t as important the lessons I had gleaned from them. I started to look at even supposedly insignificant events in a different light. This coupled with Susan’s insightful questions helped me create a strong narrative around my drivers for pursuing an MBA and my post-MBA goals.
Susan’s grasp of my personality combined with her deep knowledge of the different MBA programs made her an excellent advisor at every stage. Her feedback was instrumental in ensuring my essays communicated my qualities and plans effectively. She iterated on the drafts with me until I felt good about what I turned in. If I was having trouble finding any information on universities, she was able to suggest programs or activities I might have missed in my research.
I really appreciated Susan's thoroughness and promptness during the review process. I had been talking to her on and off for sometime, but when I decided to apply, I only had one month to turn around 5 applications. Susan gave me the confidence to meet those deadlines and hustled with me through the entire process.
She did a mock session with me before each interview and gave me feedback to better articulate my responses and boost my confidence. Once I received offers, she was quick to jump on a call and help me weigh the pros and cons. Having been on the admissions side herself, she was also able to help me communicate with the different schools during this time.
I’m now thrilled to be attending Berkeley-Haas.
I couldn’t have asked for a better counselor than Susan. She is kind and empathetic but not afraid to give you the tough love you need to reach your potential. She went above and beyond and was truly with me till the end, cheering me on. I’m so grateful and I couldn't have done it without her. I highly recommend her and the Stratus team!