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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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July 18 | 2016
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     By off2school 0 0

I worked with two different consultants at Stratus, one was okay but the one I ended up with was much better (Santosh). Santosh was organized and helped keep me organized during the process. He answered all e-mails within 24 hours, regardless of what day it was send. I would recommend that if you’re going to hire a consultant to guide you through this process that you start as early as possible and utilize them to the fullest. Ultimately you’re going to get out of it as much as you put in, meaning that if you wait until the last minute and expect them to bail you out it’s not going to work. Do your research and hire a good consultant, with good reviews (like Santosh).

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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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     By deye07 5 4

To start off, I'd like to mention that I got into only one of the four schools I applied to.

However, my experience with Stratus was extremely positive. I come from a technical background and I don't really know a lot of people who went/go to business school. I was looking for "guidance" as I went through the MBA admission cycle.

Salma was great. She took the time to really get to know who I am as a person and then helped tailor my essays/applications to reflect who I am. By the end of all the apps, I felt she knew me all too well! I also felt she was genuinely interested in my success. Stratus and Salma helped me shape my "story". Also practicing interviews with Salma (several times) made me confident going into my actual interview.

While I wish I got into more than one school, I feel that with Stratus I made the best possible effort with the time I invested into the process.

Also to answer few of the FAQs questions:
- Did you enjoy the process?
Yes but it was a long hard journey.

- Was it stressful?
The entire cycle from researching schools to getting accepted is pretty stressful for most people. Salma was always optimistic.

- Were they helpful?
Yes, but again I wish I got into at least two schools.

- Did they meet your expectations? Why or why not?
Yes...Reasons highlighted above.

- Would you recommend them? Why or why not?
Yes... Reasons highlighted above.

- What was their greatest strength?
Personable and supportive

- What was their weakest skill?
Their services was on the expensive side.

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     By shubbyaluk 0 0

I first heard of Stratus Prep in 2012, when my mother was sifting online for a company that could help me apply to law school. I had a meeting with Shawn O’Connor and thereafter contracted them to advise me on my MBA applications, which I intended to submit years later. I ultimately decided to hire them to advise me on my law school applications as well. It pleases me to say that now that I got into the business school of my choice, I have no regrets about any of these decisions.

Stratus Prep’s process was invaluable in helping me refine my business school and law school stories. Their “Introspection Process” in particular was instrumental in helping illicit experiences in my life that would contribute to an overall compelling story. Each of my advisers, Santosh Prasad and Helen Pfitzner, was always professional and incredibly responsive. The comments on my essays were very insightful, whether it came from the counsellors or the school specific directors.

In addition to the content of my applications, Stratus Prep was also key in keeping my application process on track, as they ensured that I kept to the important application deadlines amidst my work schedule. Furthermore, the company reviewed my final application before submission and provided sufficient interview practice with junior and senior counsellors, which ultimately prepared me for the interview.

I wholeheartedly recommend Stratus Prep because they have so far helped me get into the business school of my first choice.

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     By user1092 0 0

I highly recommend working with Santosh Prasad from Stratus Prep. Santosh helped me improve my resume structure & content, my application essays, and my interview responses. Santosh gave me helpful feedback, specifically pushing me to expand on topics that would answer the questions MBA admissions teams wanted to hear about. Santosh was very responsive and flexible to set up phone calls. Overall, he was a helpful advisor, supporter, and experienced guide.

I was on a bit of a time crunch and the Stratus Prep office was very quick to respond and help me sign up for a MBA Admissions Counseling Package.

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1 Commented by StratusMBACounselor on June 01, 2016
Glad to see this review about Santosh and his value add in the counseling process.
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     By kathleeng 0 0

John and the Stratus team took what objectively was a weak candidate (low undergrad GPA with a film degree from two decades ago) and helped me craft my story to be both compelling and impressive.

John was always patient, quick to respond to emails and always answered any questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.

I am convinced I would have been accepted into higher ranking schools in my area, but chose Pepperdine for it's philosophy, flexibility, and yes, generous scholarship.

The admissions counseling package was well worth the money spent, and I highly recommend Stratus if you feel you could use a leg up.

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     By kluneburg 0 0

John was great to work with. He was easily accessible and was available by phone, text, and email whenever I needed him. He had a clearly outlined plan that we followed to ensure we met each deadline stayed organized. When i went into this process, Grad School was extremely overwhelming and a different process from applying to undergrad. John walked me through the process and made each step manageable. As part of his program, he passed along my essays to colleagues for additional opinions. By doing this, it ensured that my essays were the best version they could be. I couldn't speak highly enough of him, and I'm so glad I used his services!

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     By TweetiePie 0 0

All I can say about Stratus Prep is that they want you to win as much as you want you to win. The staff is fantastic and they are committed to ensuring you get what you want out of this experience.

I had been self studying for the GMAT for months and I had gotten stuck between 590 and 600 on all of my practice tests. I was devastated. Each GMAT test that I took led to a new emotional breakdown despite my studying 3-4 hours a day. I did not work this hard to go to an average b-school. I needed a top 12 school. I needed to call in the big guns.

I figured scoring 600 meant I needed to focus on my problem areas or essentially ALL of Quant in my case. Stratus Prep has a ton of tutors from Ivy League schools who have high scores which they boast. What I learned from my experience is that not all tutors are going to be able to understand your learning style and needs. You need to find one that does if you are going to conquer the GMAT. I had to switch my tutor and it was the best decision I could have made.

I saw the difference immediately. Once I finally found the right tutor, everything began to click. I literally met with him for two weeks before my test. During the first two hour session, he taught me a timing tactic that brought my practice score up 30 points in ONE DAY! I had him for 10 hours total and it made all the difference. I went from scoring in the range for Top 50 schools to scoring in the range for Top 10.

Also, the Stratus Prep team made sure to call me and check in on me throughout my process. The first e-mail that I received after taking my GMAT was from Josh Gonzalez asking how my test went. Their support made me feel as though I wasn't in this GMAT journey by myself.

When I finally took my test and got my high score and got interviews from the top schools that I wanted. I eventually accepted an offer from the University of Michigan-Ross School of Business

One flaw that I could not ignore was their poor proprietary GMAT testing software that barely let me finish a test and did not save my scores. I believe they are moving away from this to another system but that was a huge frustration that I had. If I were you I would use Manhattan GMAT practice tests. They are most like the real tests anyway. Other than that I am really happy with my experience. Its an investment but if you don't invest in yourself, then who will?

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You Get What You Put In
April 30 | 2016
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     By Gator2011 0 0

Coming into the business school admissions process as a non-traditional candidate (healthcare professional), I know I wanted counseling services that would help me structure my story in a way that would be appealing to the b school adcoms. After speaking with John Buckingham who had come from a sciences background as well in addition to his HBS pedigree, I immediately felt comfortable with his perspectives on the process. I appreciated the holistic process that SP encourages that forces you get to your deepest truth about why you want to go to business school and what makes you unique from every other student. John was always available and willing to bounce any and all ideas around with me. I would highly recommend working with him as it gives this somewhat nebulous process a bit more structure. With his help, I settled on the right narrative for me which appealed to a lot of the M7 schools from the number of interviews and admits I received. I was ultimately happy that I chose to go with SP and John. I equate hiring an admissions counselor to hiring a personal trainer: you will definitely get out what you put into it. I ended up with admission to a top 5 school with an amazing scholarship and can thank John and the rest of the staff at SP for helping me get there. While admissions counseling may not be necessary, if you can afford the cost it will definitely help facilitate and elucidate this somewhat daunting and exhaustive process.

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     By svik88 0 0

I worked with Stratus Prep for my MBA apps (R2 for MBA'15 and R1 for MBA'16). The former was not successful and the latter was successful- my experience with Stratus also mirrored the same.

R2 for MBA'15 was a last minute decision to apply and I put together my application in about 30 days. Mid way through that though, my stratus consultant disappeared. Quite literally, he stopped replying to mails, calls went unanswered and the other consultants were buried with other applications. Working out of Asia with him in US - this led to a lot of panic and felt extremely unprofessional. I still did get a couple of interview calls but never made it to any school. I did sign up for their school guarantee, so they worked with me again for no further charges.

I prepared much more in advance for R1 MBA'16 and Stratus was very helpful this time around. We drew out a strategy more clearly and started the process over. I worked with Santosh and he walked me through the entire process. He started by drawing out a fine grained plan (I was largely always behind it) and kept me motivated throughout those couple of months. His responses were very quick through the various stages of the application - all the way up to preparing me for the interviews.Sam really got to know me and my applications -- and as a result I think my applications were much stronger because I worked with Stratus.

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