Stratus Admissions Counseling Admissions Consulting Reviews
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    Average Rating:       (4.7/5)
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Stratus Admissions Counseling
With Stratus Admissions Counseling, you don’t just work closely with one experienced MBA admissions counselor to optimize every part of your application. You work with an entire team of specialists who provide extensive feedback throughout the application process.

From reflecting on your past experiences and identifying programs that will move you towards your goals to crafting your essays and conducting mock interviews, Stratus’ team-based approach ensures you stand out and get accepted into your dream business school. We guarantee it.*

We have clients who have been admitted to every top MBA program year after year since 2006.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review helpful
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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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2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
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     By andyraina 1 0

I initially started trying to tackle MBA applications on my own. Right before Round 1 deadlines I realized my applications were not nearly the caliber they should be to get into one of my ambitious schools. I was initially very shocked at how expensive an admissions consultant could be but settled on Stratus Prep quickly after talking with some of their staff and appreciating how easy they were to talk to.

I worked with Harold Simansky and immediately we began crafting my story. His push to make me dig deeper was a tough experience, but ultimately so rewarding as we were able to create a solid framework for my strengths, story, and where I'm looking to go. The experience itself really helped me understand why I wanted an MBA and what some realistic goals were.

Harold was able to help me write and shape essays that were lightyears ahead of the essays I wrote by myself. He helped me shape each essay for what the school and prompt were looking for, and cut out any material that really didn't provide a purpose or differentiating factor. I was nervous about how quickly I would receive feedback, but always impressed by the speed and quality I received, even as I was finishing applications around Christmas time.

In the end, I got into a great program I really didn't think I had much of a chance with. I'm so grateful for the help that Harold and all the Stratus Prep team was able to provide.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
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     By aspiry16 0 0

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!

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Good guidance
July 23 | 2017
2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
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     By phoenixgirl 2 0

I was very skeptical about working with Stratus initially because of some warnings that someone gave me, but I was glad that I still chose to go with them. I signed up with them right before the Thanksgiving weekend and started working with them in December. Given that I had only about a month to apply to 6+ schools, anxiety kicked in and I was frustrated at Stratus for not having that sense of urgency that I was facing. But it was a learning process for me to place my trust and faith in them and their timeline. Everything went smoothly since I obviously made this my top priority and tried to do a quick turnaround. I worked with Santosh and he was sensitive to all my concerns and responded promptly to all my questions. Definitely worth it for the guidance and knowing you're not going at it alone!

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     By bglackey 0 0

Stratus Admissions went above and beyond all of my expectations. One of the most important things that they did was to help me understand the different MBA programs better and to find the specific program that matched my core values and goals in life after graduation.

I was matched with Cartha Siddiqui, we both have a background in energy, which meant that she understood a lot about my professional experiences before we even met. This was very helpful and I appreciated the fact that Stratus Admissions strategically selects the right counselor for you based on your background and needs.

Cartha was very good at helping me brainstorm ideas for my essays as well as helping me understand what qualities the admission teams were looking for. To be clear, Stratus will not write your essays for you, but they will give you lots of introspection homework to help you to understand yourself better, which puts you in a better position to write you own essays.

The only thing that I would do different if I had to do it again is to hire Stratus Admissions sooner in the application process.

I can not say enough good things about Cartha and the Stratus Admissions Team, and I would recommend them to anyone that is interested in making their application as professional as possible, understand what the different MBA programs strengths and weaknesses are, and understand who you are better through the homework and introspection that you will be doing throughout Stratus's program.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
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     By kxz 0 0

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!

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MBA Application
June 18 | 2017
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     By sandymo 0 0

I had held off on re-apply for an MBA program for a few years but Josh was extremely proactive and followed up with me. Eventually, I decided I was ready to re-apply again. I explained to Josh my availability and he paired me with Santosh. Santosh was an absolute pleasure to work with! He was very patient with me, prompt with answering my emails, and made me feel very comfortable about the whole process. He also helped me figure out which program would best fit what I was looking for an helped me edit my essays until I was 100% content with them. Additionally, Santosh pushed me to re-take my GMAT exam. Although I really didn't want to, I took the exam again and got a higher school - this definitely helped my admissions decision.

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MBA consulting
May 25 | 2017
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     By Luizarocha 0 0

I wanted to study in either of the two renowned business schools in Chicago, and I didn't have a very competitive gmat score. So a friend suggested I get consulting with Stratus Prep, more precisely with Santosh. He helped me a lot with the essays and the whole application process, which can be very exhaustive, so I definitely recommend consulting! Santosh was extremely supportive and he was available to help me out any time. It was clear to me that he did everything he could so I could get admitted. I am very grateful for all his help because alone I wouldn't get this far. I have been admitted in the school that I was dreaming of and Santosh is definitely a part of my success!

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excellent service
May 22 | 2017
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     By shilpaeV 0 0

Stratus admission counseling was great at assigning me a counselor who graduated from Chicago Booth, Santosh Prasad who helped me through the application process and answered all my school specific questions honestly. He was very insightful and knowledgeable. I learnt more about the admission process and life at Booth through the process. As I had a short timeline in completing my application, I was very grateful for the timely and valuable feedback I received from Santosh. I would strongly recommend for anyone interested in top-tier MBA school to use Stratus and ask for Santosh Prasad especially if applying to Chicago Booth.

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     By turtlesnakemount 0 0

I worked with StratusPrep (now Stratus Admissions) and got into a M7 school, as well admissions with half scholarships from two other top 20 programs.

I am a bit of less traditional candidate with a background in academia and an artistic field; my past professional experience was all over the place and hard to package in the context of MBA admissions. I also didn’t have time to take GMAT so I used an earlier GRE score for my application. For all these reasons, I felt a bit uneasy as I began my application, and I decided to involve an up admission consultant.

I had initial assessments with three companies, and StratusPrep stood out immediately for the depth and honesty of my first phone call with case manager Josh. My strength and weakness were candidly analyzed, and the beginning of a strategy started to form as early as that call.
I asked for Santosh to be my case consultant. I read many great things about him in others’ review, and my later experience confirmed just how sharp and attentive he was. Santosh also responded to all my messages and calls within the hour even in late December and early January when I am sure he was swamped with requests from multiple clients (I applied for R2). My senior consultant Harold played a key role in helping me coming up with the list of schools and creating an effective core narrative.

I enjoyed working with Josh, Santosh and Harold, and thank them for helping me getting into a great school. For those who are like me and are coming from a non-business background and unfamiliar with the MBA ecosystem, I highly recommend StratusPrep for nailing an effective core strategy that stands out.

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36 Older and Non-Verified Reviews for Stratus Admissions Counseling
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Santosh (Sam) Prasad [18]
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