Susan Cera

    
Number of reviews [6]


Company: Stratus Admissions Counseling
Packages: Stratus Admissions Counseling MBA Admissions Counseling Packages  
Susan Cera's Reviews
2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By aspiry16 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

I will be joining Columbia Business School for FT MBA in Jan’18. Susan, Director MBA Admissions at Stratus, was my MBA admission consultant and my go-to person throughout my application journey. I owe my success to her and team Stratus. I can confidently say with no iota of doubt that I would not have got this admit without her support and guidance.

My GMAT is 720(Q50 V37) and I have ~10-year work experience in oil and gas industry. I used to work for one of the leading oilfield services providers and I have worked worldwide offshore in various setups (read remote environments with limited connectivity). Susan supported me through my unpredictable work travel plans and serious network issues and remained as an immense source of encouragement and positivity. She was always an email or a call away, which helped me keep my application process on track. This particularly was more relevant in my case as I come from a non-traditional background and not many of my peers/friends have done/applied for MBA. Susan helped me craft my story in such a way that I was able to present my candidacy in the best possible manner. Having said this, I would not shy away from mentioning that “crafting” part is not a one-day or a week job at Stratus. When I started working with Susan, I had a very detailed introspection, which was formally documented. This was the most challenging part for me. The constant struggle to decide or judge which achievement is good or not good enough for MBA applications was challenging. Fortunately, I had Susan by my side. She NEVER decided anything for me. She NEVER wrote for me. Instead, she made me THINK. This was not very obvious to me sometimes but as I progressed through the other steps of the application process (writing essays, admission interviews), I realized the importance of introspection. Having done all the thinking and brainstorming upfront, I became very adept at crafting my story and presenting my thoughts in a concise and effective manner in essays and later during mock and real admission interviews.

My introspection document became my reference to pick my stories/themes. The strategists at Stratus help you revisit your life experiences and accomplishments and discover yourself, albeit from the MBA-application-angle. With a very detailed introspection by my side, I had a joint meeting with Susan and Salma (former senior consultant at Stratus). Salma brought in her expertise and along with Susan, helped me distill my thoughts and pick the best themes from my personal and professional journey to be presented and highlighted in application essays.

Stratus follows a very structured approach to writing application essays. After Introspection and later school-selection, the second step is to write the outlines for the essays. In my case, these outlines were always first reviewed by Susan followed by the reviews by other consultants (school specific). What truly impressed me was Susan’s ability to convert my raw and very rudimentary thoughts to very powerful essay content. Harold who is another senior consultant at Stratus was my second reviewer and he always brought his unique expertise to the game. I was immensely benefitted by his dissection of my outlines and essays. Once the outlines were approved, writing essays became much simpler. What appeared to be a daunting task in beginning, became a second nature to me over a couple of months. Later during the interview preparation stage, I had access to all the knowledge and expertise at Stratus. After getting mock-interviewed by school-specific consultants and receiving a detailed feedback and great suggestions to improve, I never felt the need to look outside to fetch any information. The entire application process in itself is so taxing that diverting energy in different directions can prove to be counterproductive. Thankfully, it was not the case for me at Stratus.

The team Stratus genuinely wanted me to succeed. This was very evident in every interaction and engagement I had with the team. Susan always ensured that I have the best resources to craft and present my application material. In addition to the access to other school-specific consultants at Stratus, Susan also brought in her latest knowledge about various other schools that I was targeting. This knowledge came in from attending various MBA conferences, sharing experiences of other successful Stratus clients and from her experience of being a former Adcom at Fuqua. But most importantly, Susan's positive and upbeat attitude helped me withstand the demanding journey.

Now, as I prepare to start my new journey at CBS, I can't stop thanking Susan. This is a dream come true for me. I always thought Columbia would be a long shot for me but Susan encouraged me to dream, prepare and apply to CBS. A dream that is a REALITY now!

Was this review helpful to you?
   
2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By kxz 0 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

I owe Stratus Prep, and specifically Susan Cera, a lot when it comes to knowing how to shape my application and convey my story into the right words for each school I applied to. I ended up getting into a dream program, even with so-so GMAT scores, an average undergraduate GPA, and under 4 years of working experience. I signed up for the 4-school package and am proud to say I'm attending a top 10-15 program this Fall!

Susan was always available to talk through email, phone, or Skype even though we had a 3 hour coastal difference (California to NC). She had a good, upbeat attitude and always had something constructive to say from the initial application process to the mock interviewing. I was even waitlisted and she gave me sound advice throughout the lengthy waitlist process. I would definitely recommend StratusPrep!

Was this review helpful to you?
   
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By gmatgmatgmat889 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

Traci Thibodeaux and the Stratus team are amazing, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made and it is well worth it. They are well engaged and strive to help you succeed, at many times more engaged than you are yourself, they are seasoned professionals who have gone through the process. I learnt so much about myself and although it may sound cliche, self-reflection is truly needed during the application process. The coaching is so valuable that it reassured me and gave me the confidence I needed in proceeding further. Choosing to apply to bschool is a huge decision and a big investment and I would take countless hours consuming all the free webinars available (which was still great help) but it did not get me to where I needed and I am glad I took the dive and worked with Stratus. I'm writing this review because I feel so blessed to be accepted that this is the only way I know how to say thank you and pass on the greatness I experienced.

Was this review helpful to you?
   
Stratus Prep Review
January 05 | 2017
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By jennahaleyk 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

I was first introduced to Stratus Prep through the MBA Tour in 2012. It wasn't until nearly three years later that I decided I wanted to apply to business school. Although I was applying in Fall 2016, I began working with Stratus Prep in early 2015 which I highly recommend. As a female living in NYC with 4+ years of work experience and a decent GRE score (I did not use GMAT scores) I felt as though I was a good business school applicant but definitely wanted help in shaping my story and putting together the best possible application - this is where Stratus Prep came in!
From the very beginning, even before I came up with a list of schools or even looked at the application, I was given work to help me fully understand why I wanted to go to business school and what my goals were. At Stratus Prep you work most closely with one advisor but every piece of work you put together - introspection, outlines, application - goes through multiple views and proofreads. From a comprehensive timeline of when each piece was due to my advisor to interview prep and every little question in between, having a team there to answer my questions and give me peace of mind was invaluable.
Although I do not yet know where exactly I will be attending school next fall, I have already been accepted to a top ranked program and I know I could not have done it without the entire Stratus Prep team, particularly my advisor Susan Cera.
The business school application process is draining and a lot of work but working with Susan and all of Stratus prep made the experience much more enjoyable and ultimately successful!

Was this review helpful to you?
   
Money Well Spent!
April 08 | 2016
0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By merkenyon 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

I had an amazing experience with Stratus Prep. Although I experienced serious sticker shock at how much admissions consultants cost, I ended up with a full ride to my perfect school so that investment paid off 20 fold!

I worked with Susan Cera who I cannot say enough good things about. I was initially matched with her because she understood my athletic background and I was considering programs like Fuqua (where she went and worked as an AdCom). She responded to emails almost always within 24 hours, even when I gave her a ton of items to review. I got emails back on nights and weekends very regularly and she worked with my schedule as needed.

I knew vaguely what I wanted to do with my career but was so lost about how to craft my story. We jumped through dozen of possible career paths and she helped me not only write my story, but also discover what I am really passionate about and how I can apply that to my career. By walking through it SO MANY times with Susan, I had my elevator speech down to a science when asked why am MBA and why now!

The introspective period is very intense and at times I ended up writing some stories for Susan to review that I thought were dumb but she ended up showing me how we could show my personality traits with little tidbits from my past woven through my essays and application. Probably the most value came from various Stratus coaches telling me when my essays were off the mark, rambling, or just nonsensical. I wrote several essays that I thought were good but Stratus pushed me to go deeper. I can say without a doubt that I would not have turned in essays that were anywhere close to as good without Stratus.

Overall, I had an amazing experience and would hire them again in a heartbeat. You only get one chance to go to business school, give yourself all the tools to go to the absolutely best program for you.

Was this review helpful to you?
   
1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By Anonymous 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

I thoroughly enjoyed working with Stratus Prep. I'll admit that I did not know that using an admissions counseling service was so popular when I first decided to pursue my MBA. After attending fairs and doing some online research, it became clear to me that I only had one shot at this and I should be sure I'm putting the strongest application forward. I currently work in media/advertising, and not many of my colleagues have their MBA or were considering pursuing one. It was clear to me that I needed the advice and expertise of a seasoned counselor to help me make my application shine.

Beyond being professional, responsive, and pleasant to work with, the most valuable part about working with Stratus Prep was that they encouraged me to broaden my target school list, and made me think critically about what was most important to me in an MBA program. I was initially set on staying in my home state of California, and did not want to move. My counselor told me that I should seriously consider a program on the east coast, and recommended why I would be such a great fit given my strong interest in the culture and community of a school. She ended up being right in the end, and I am so glad I followed her advice as I will be attending a top ranked program next fall.

Was this review helpful to you?