Stratus Admissions Counseling Admissions Consulting Reviews
    Number of reviews [134]
    Average Rating:       (4.7/5)
Stratus Admissions Counseling MBA Admissions Counseling Packages [120]
Stratus Admissions Counseling Hourly Services [14]
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.

Your OWN review

Submit a Verified Review and get up to a $10 Amazon gift card



We read, verify and individually confirm each review

How we verify reviews

Step 1

Purchase Verification

We verify that the reviewer was a client by comparing the email address they provide with the company's database.

Step 2

Identity Verification

We verify the reviewer's identity through one of the following:

Official GMAT Score Report

GMAT Club Membership Term

School E-mail Address

Step 3

We manually process all reviews, and if a review does not meet any of the prior criteria, the review will not be posted.

Step 4

We pay $10 for each GMAT Course and Admission Consultant review only if we are certain it is a real review. If we cannot verify it, we won't issue a giftcard for it and we won't publish it.

GMAT Club requires that users verify their identity before posting a review.

Highly recommend!
March 28 | 2016
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By stierney 0 0

I had a wonderful experience working with my advisor at Stratus prep, Harold Simansky. Harold not only helped me pick the best schools to fit my background and career goals, but also showed me how to tell my “story”. I got into two great schools Owen and Olin and I can honestly say that I don’t think I could have done it without his guidance. Harold always responded in a timely manner and provided the support and encouragement I needed to get through this process. Harold helped me change the course of my life and I am forever grateful.

Was this review helpful to you?
Comments [0]
Great Experience!
March 23 | 2016
reviewer identity verified by school email address
     By adr1987 0 5

I used Stratus Prep both for my MBA applications, and for my Harvard Kennedy MPA application one year later. Overall the help they provided was invaluable as I am now attending both MIT Sloan and Harvard Kennedy.

Specifically for my Harvard Kennedy application, my consultant was Richard Cheng. Richard did an excellent job from beginning to end. At first we had a call where he started out by telling me about his own experience at Harvard Kennedy and what the culture at the school was like. He also suggested that given that I was at MIT, I should try to audit at class at HKS and try to meet as many students as possible. This was an invaluable piece of advice as this would later allow me to take my essays to the next level and speak about the HKS culture from an insider's perspective - in other words, I already fit in before I was in.

During the essay writing process, Richard's help was again excellent. Not only was he able to review my essays multiple times and provide me very detailed feedback, he was also kind enough to work around the busy schedule of a first year MBA student, something for which I am very grateful.

Overall my experience with Stratus and with Richard specifically was excellent and their help definitely helped me take my overall application package to the next level.

Was this review helpful to you?
Comments [0]
reviewer identity verified by school email address
     By Anonymous 0 0

During my senior year of college, I heard about the HBS 2+2 program, but had not given it any prior thought. I started looking into admissions consulting, but was off to a late start. After having heard fantastic things about Stratus Prep, I had an initial free 30 minute consultation with Shawn, who, as an aside, is very impressive--everyone should take advantage of the free consultation. Shawn talked me through their admissions consulting offers specifically for HBS, and placed me with Salma Qarnain.

Salma was fantastic. Coming into the process, I was nervous and wasn't sure if I would be able to catch up from a late start. From my experience, there is a much larger emphasis on qualitative factors in the MBA admissions process relative to other graduate or professional (law or medicine) programs. Having someone as thoughtful as Salma to (1) help me understand my professional goals, (2) know what I wanted to get out of the MBA and (3) portray myself in the best way possible, were crucial to my acceptance. Salma helps walk you through every step, from an initial process understanding defining qualities of you as a person and your professional goals (which was possibly even more helpful than being accepted itself), to having an outline and ultimately a final essay that is a crucial piece of your application. For interview preparation, Salma was able to strike a delicate balance, asking me tough questions that would prepare me for the interview, while having a positive attitude that gave me confidence.

While I came in thinking I started the process too late, by the time of the interview, I felt confident in telling my own story about myself as a person and why I wanted to go to HBS. The process was a lot of work--Salma puts in a lot of time and attention to each step of the process, and expects you do the same. However, she could not be more kind and supportive along the way, and the outcomes of her students speak for themselves.

Was this review helpful to you?
Comments [0]
reviewer identity verified by school email address
     By Anonymous 0 0

I had a good experience overall with Stratus Prep and especially with my counselor, David. I worked with them on six schools and got accepted to two of them! GMAT Club provides a list of suggested questions to answer, so I will use that as the structure of my review:

- Did you enjoy the process?
Yes, especially the months leading up to my deadlines, I genuinely did enjoy the process. My counselor, David, was very responsive and got back to me with essay feedback quickly so I did not feel stressed or rushed. I sincerely feel that without his help, my applications would not have been as strong as they were. He was also there the entire way, including a phone mock interview, which really helped.

- Was it stressful?
There is always a certain amount of stress that comes with applying to schools, but David really helped pace my deadlines with a clear timeline that helped me stay on track. In fact, right in between my application timeline, I had a 2-week vacation. David accommodated this into the schedule so that I came back and was able to still have enough iterations before submitting.

- Were they helpful?
Yes, overall they were helpful. Initially, I went through a couple counselors that were unresponsive so I wish I was able to have the same counselor throughout the entire time, but Stratus did help in re-assigning me to a counselor that I worked well with.

- Did they meet your expectations? Why or why not?
When I did decide to apply, they did meet and exceed my expectations in terms of how much guidance and support I got with all the schools I applied to.
I signed up for their services 2 years in advance of applying because that was one of Stratus Prep's benefits: you can join well before you decide to apply and they would guide you the whole way. Since I had unresponsive counselors initially, this part of the service did not meet my expectations. However, I believe they have improved in this aspect since the time I joined.

- Would you recommend them? Why or why not?
Yes, I specifically recommend David because he was a phenomenal counselor. I really felt like he was invested in my applications.

- What was their greatest strength?
I believe each counselor has a limited number of clients, so that helps in getting timely feedback. Furthermore, David works with a set of counselors who help in providing additional feedback after the initial iterations of outlines/essays. That really helps since multiple people look through each of your applications.

- What was their weakest skill?
Mainly based on my experience, I think one of their weak points is in preparing applicants early (1-2 years prior to applying). Counselors (somewhat understandably) focus more on clients who are applying in that year, but hopefully they have improved in providing consistent support to early clients too.

Was this review helpful to you?
Comments [0]
Sam is awesome!
February 16 | 2016
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By Anonymous 0 0

I was paired with Sam from Stratus Prep and am so excited to work with him on my application. While it is still early in the application process, Sam helped me with my application for the Forte Foundation MBALaunch Program. Our first "get to know you" phone call was invaluable. I told him about my background and he immediately noted what would be perceived as a weakness or strength and we set out a plan to start working on beefing up my quantitative skills.

I filled out the lengthy introspection exercises and worked with Sam to make sure my answers were clear and concise. He was very responsive, often responding within a few hours of me sending the draft. The exercises helped framed my background and experiences to what I wanted to get out of an MBA program.

When I found out about the Forte Foundation MBALaunch program, I emailed Sam to ask him for his opinion on the program. He immediately responded and noted that it was a great opportunity to network with other female prospective students and that I should sign up for the program. We worked on putting together my essays. We worked on the essays over several weeks and refined each essay. I was admitted to the MBALaunch program!

I'm looking forward to working with Sam on the rest of the MBA application!

Was this review helpful to you?
Comments [0]
Stratus Prep/ Michael review
February 16 | 2016
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By Anonymous 0 0

I highly enjoyed my experience with Stratus Prep – they were professional, delivered on the commitments of their 4-school consulting package as promised, and helped me ultimately get into school.
Given that I was applying to only 4 schools, and they are the 4 most competitive schools in the nation, I knew I was in for a stressful process. My biggest concern going in was that I would “second-guess” myself constantly throughout the application process – I would be left wondering if I had written about the right stories in my essays, if I had shown my true personality in the interviews, and the list goes on. This is the main reason I researched and ultimately signed up with an MBA admissions counselor – so that I would have someone walk me through the business school application process, hand-in-hand. I looked into about 4 different admissions consulting firms before landing on Stratus Prep. I ultimately chose them for a few key reasons: 1) They’re the right size – not so big that a client gets a standard/bare-bones approach, but also not so small that they are overwhelmed and can’t provide the time and resources to each client. 2) I had received a personal recommendation from a trusted friend, who had used SP and ultimately was accepted to HBS. 3) I felt comfortable and in good hands during the 30-minute consultation call with Shawn, who is the founder/CEO of Stratus Prep. 4) Stratus Prep offers a guarantee if you sign up for their 4-school end-to-end consulting package – if you don’t get into one of the 4 schools, they will help you again the next year for free. Unfortunately, the other companies I spoke to didn’t offer the benefits listed above, and in some cases, were actually rude/pushy during the 30-minute free consultation.
Once I signed up, Stratus, and specifically my counselor Michael, were excellent. Michael was a good balance of forthright and supportive. For example – he would push me to improve when he knew I could do better on my essays, but would also give me positive and uplifting feedback when he felt that I had gotten my essay to an excellent final stage. This way, I always knew where I stood on my applications, and didn’t feel like I was being babied. Additionally, there was a time where Michael was out for a bit on a pre-scheduled vacation – Shaifali, another SP consultant, was extremely gracious to step in and have an additional call with me to answer some of my questions while Michael was out.
Overall, SP definitely met my expectations, and I would recommend them to anyone seeking school admissions counseling. My biggest piece of advice would be to go with the consulting package, rather than ad-hoc time, if possible. I imagine it would be difficult to put together your best MBA application without having their input throughout the process – for me personally, I can’t imagine doing otherwise. Additionally, don’t be afraid to speak to a few different counselors before you settle on the right one for you. You will be working with this person very closely over several months, so make sure you look at their background and even speak to them to get a feel for their personality/approach. If you don’t fit well with a certain counselor, it’s no problem – Stratus was great about letting me vet a few counselors until I found the perfect one for me.

Thank you again to Stratus Prep and to Michael for all of your help – you are the best!

Was this review helpful to you?
Comments [0]
MBA Application Strategy
February 14 | 2016
reviewer identity verified by membership
     By Anonymous 0 0

I was an applicant with a competitive GMAT score and an overall solid international career profile. However I soon realized that my chances of getting into a top MBA program would be lower coming from an over represented Indian male engineering background. In doing my research for the admissions consultant, I came across several companies and individuals. I talked either on phone or in person with multiple consultants. I soon realized that while there are a lot of successful people consulting, not all of them had the capability to assist me and make my application stand apart.

I gravitated towards Stratus Prep after attending Shawn’s presentation at the MBA tour. The part that I found special about this company was that all the consultants are passionate about teaching/ mentoring rather than just displaying their successful business school credentials. I knew it usually took a solid team to review all the aspects of the application. That is where I felt Stratus Prep had an advantage over others. Their team is very professional and committed to the entire application process from soul searching to negotiating admission offers.

I worked with John Buckingham, who was amazing in creating and supporting my overall application strategy. John took a holistic, structured approach in analyzing all aspects of my application- essays, application short answer questions, resume etc. He helped me stay positive during the entire admissions cycle and was always available at short notice to compliment my demanding work schedule. My essays were also reviewed by at least half a dozen other Stratus Prep consultants for content, relevance, and grammar. As a result, I felt confident that I submitted my best application for the business school.

Stratus Prep also provided a quality post admissions mentoring experience. They helped me through deciding and negotiating offers from top business schools. I will be joining UCLA Anderson with a scholarship for their full time MBA program.

Looking back, I believe I picked the best team to help me through the challenging business school application process. It was money well spent in the end.

Was this review helpful to you?
Comments [0]
Review for Richard
February 12 | 2016
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By Anonymous 0 0

While awaiting the results from a few schools and continuing my applications for the rest of the schools, I was reflecting on my journey so far and the single most significant thing that I realized was how much I have learned by virtue of consulting with Richard from stratus prep. I have learned to add specific details to an overarching statement to make it realistic. I have learned to question every sentence and double-check its significance in the essay. I have a long way to go but am learning how to convey my thoughts in a concise manner and I have learned how to tell a story by focusing on the why and my learning while sharing experiences.

I have had the opportunity to learn so much thanks to Richard's guidance and mentorship. When I was not able to get his point the first time, he did not give up on me. He asked more questions until he was satisfied, irrespective of the additional rounds of reviews required. He worked with me to ensure the essays could be submitted on time and guided me not only with his ideas but also used his writing proficiency to help me convey my story within the word count limits. I like my essays for this year so much more than my essays for last year's applications mainly because when I read any of the essays I can see a peek of me in them. And I like the peek of me that I see. I see a strong, free spirited, driven woman; who wants to take charge and pursue her goals. Thank you Richard for enabling my personality to shine through my essays. And I mean it when I say; it would not have been possible without Richard.

The most important lesson Richard taught me was how to tell my story - be it during an interview or a conversation. The interview prep feedback he provided was invaluable and I will take those lessons with me irrespective of whether I get into an MBA or not.

EDIT: I have been accepted at Berkeley Haas and Chicago Booth :)

Was this review helpful to you?
Comments [0]
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By Anonymous 0 5

John Buckingham of Stratus Prep guided me through the last stages of my MBA applications, tailoring his advice for my personal background and passions. The result? I submitted 4 applications to the top US schools and a top international school, and received 3 interview invites!

I approached Stratus seeking hourly consulting to help me finalize my school essays. John was extremely accessible and very prompt. John helped me flesh out my personal story, weaving career milestones and personal interests in one cohesive presentation.

Throughout our conversations, John provided invaluable input on the idiosyncrasies of the top MBA schools. And this information even helped sway me away from applying to one school and towards applying to another. In other words, John helped focus me on schools that were a good fit for me.

I give John and Stratus Prep the highest possible recommendation.

Was this review helpful to you?
Comments [0]
Life Changing
February 10 | 2016
reviewer identity verified by score report
     By Anonymous 0 0

Dramatic title, but it is the truth so bare with me.

From the very start, Stratus was responsive, helpful, and provided a guiding hand without being interfering. Once my priorities and profile was determined, I was matched with a consultant and started work right away.

The value the consultant offered extended far past the limits of my applications and touched my professional life as well as personal. Through working with someone with so much experience, you gain a better understand of your strengths, your weaknesses and how to present yourself in all situations.

My consultant was more than just a consultant and paid service, they were a mentor and guide. We worked extensively together to pick the details in my life which framed my accomplishments in the best light and which set me apart from the rest. No matter how many drafts I sent for review or how many chat we had over the phone, my consultant was ever-present, every-helpful, and always provided the enthusiasm and motivation needed for the both of us!

Working with Stratus really pushed my applications to a level I would not have achieved alone and all my school applications benefited from our work, even those not included in the package. They do not (and should not) do the work for you, and while it is still a monumental amount of work, you can rest assured you are working in the right direction, with the right tools

Is it an investment? Yes but it will pay off in the clarity of your application, the confidence in your accomplishments, and in your understanding of yourself.

If I would go through the process again, I would definitely sign up with Stratus and keep my fingers crossed to land on John Buckingham again

Was this review helpful to you?
Comments [0]

36 Older and Non-Verified Reviews for Stratus Admissions Counseling
Most Reviewed Stratus Admissions Counseling consultants
Santosh (Sam) Prasad [19]
Salma Qarnain [13]
Harold Simansky [10]
Susan Cera [7]
Samantha Merton [6]
Get a Special Discount on Stratus Admissions Counseling
Exclusively provided for the GMAT Club Community
Learn more