Stratus Admissions Counseling Admissions Consulting Reviews
    Number of reviews [129]
    Average Rating:       (4.7/5)
Stratus Admissions Counseling MBA Admissions Counseling Packages [116]
Stratus Admissions Counseling Hourly Services [13]
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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     By AK043 0 0

I am an Indian software developer with 3.5 years of work experience and my target industry is finance. I had tried my hand at b-school applications last year with no luck so I decided to work with Stratus Prep as I was impressed by their professional outlook and success stories at one of their information sessions in Mumbai. I signed-up for the package of 5 schools and applied to CBS, Haas, Fuqua, Yale and Stern.

The Process
1. After I enrolled, I was assigned a primary counselor who would be my main point of contact throughout the process.
2. I was asked to fill out a workbook, which is an introspection exercise containing several questions related to my experience and achievements in personal, academic and professional life.
3. My counselor and I went to through several iterations to review this workbook and to flesh out and polish the stories that would form the backbone of my application.
4. Meanwhile, I was also sent a 3 month-plan clearly demarcating the action points and deliverables so that I was able to meet school deadlines.
5. Once all my stories and achievements were ready, the next step was to identify my core personality traits and link those to my career aspirations using the previous exercise as building blocks to strengthen my case and form a coherent and achievable story.
6. At this point my career goals started taking shape and had a strong foundation in my past experiences. So the next stage was to filter these even further and boil it down to a PowerPoint slide. Here we created one slide each for goals, why MBA/ why now, key essay themes and finally school specific snapshots. This was a wonderful way to analyze and succinctly portray my personality, career goals and address how a particular school would help me achieve the same.
7. At each of these steps my counselor would review my ideas and provide inputs as to which themes/achievements I should develop further so that we are able to tie them back to my story. After the PowerPoint was ready, we had a final review with a senior consultant who had experience in my preferred industry and also had success with candidates with similar interests.
8. Next was the outline stage where we tackled one school at a time and tried to list down bullet points against each of the essay questions. Since we had most of the material ready from the previous stage, it was just a matter putting the pieces in the right order while ensuring that all my key themes were highlighted in one form or the other. I also had to do a lot of school-specific research about activities/clubs that I would be a part of to work towards my goals.
9. Each of the final outlines were sent to a dedicated reviewer who specializes in placing candidates to that particular school.
10. At this point I was encourage to reach out to current students at each of the schools to get a flavor of the culture and also the details of curriculum/organizations of my interest.
11. Finally we got down to writing essays, which at this point was much easier given that we had our core story ready. We again went through several iterations and finally had review of the essays with the school specialist.
12. Once the entire application was ready, it was sent for proof-reading to identify any spelling or grammar issues that we may have overlooked.
13. I was fortunate to get interview calls from Fuqua, Yale and Haas. Before every interview, my counselor sent me a list of typical questions that I had to prepare for using all the information that I already had in the essays. We also had a mock Skype interview where he analyzed my answers as well my interview presence and helped me identify areas of improvement.

My Opinion
First, I would like to point out that b-school applications is not a cakewalk, I learnt it the hard way getting rejected at 10+ school last year. It is really helpful to involve other people especially experts like those at Stratus Prep who can take your application to the next level. Here’s my take on the services I received from them:

1. The counselor assigned to me (Santosh Prasad) had graduated from Booth and had experience in finance domain which aligned very well with my goals. He was able to give me a clear direction as to which would be an ideal and achievable target given my current expertise and interests.
2. They say that you will get a response to your mails within 2 business days, but my counselor was very quick with his analysis and most of the times sent feedback on my essays the very next day.
3. Counselors never write your essay for you, but they get you thinking in the right direction and ensure that everything connects to the bigger picture.
4. Deleting parts of your essay to meet word limits is a very painful process, but I benefited from their ruthless editing skills that helped me retain just the relevant bits.
5. Overall, I was very impressed by their responsiveness as well as their genuine concern for my applications.
6. A well-qualified team with graduates from most of the top b-schools.

1. Even though my counselor sent me a list of expected questions for Yale’s video essays, I feel that I could have done better if we had a mock session just like we did for interviews.
2. Since I was applying to several schools apart from the ones already mentioned, I found it difficult to research relevant clubs/activities for each school. I hoped that once my goals etc. were finalized, I would receive a list of such activities that I could just plug in to my essays… maybe I am getting too demanding here.
TL; DR – Even though admissions counseling seems expensive, compare it to the money you will be spending on your MBA. If you invest a small fraction of that amount in getting professional guidance, you give yourself a better chance of cracking into your dream school. There are several good services out there, go out and set up a free consultation and decide whichever suits you best. As for me, I recommend Stratus Prep and thank them for all their efforts throughout this year and helping me crack Fuqua!

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Outstanding Service
December 18 | 2015
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     By Anonymous 0 0

My overall experience with Stratus Prep was very positive. I will say though - the reason I had a great experience was because the consultant that was assigned to me (Claudio) was absolutely outstanding. If it wasn't for Claudio, I probably would have given Stratus an overall 3/5 stars, but I'll get into those reasons later.

Claudio's assistance was instrumental in me having a real chance to be competitive for business schools. It wasn't until I hit submit on all my applications that I realized my application materials (resume, essays, overall narrative) would have been far inferior if I had done everything by myself. Claudio and I spent many hours via phone calls/Google Hangout/emails going over my personal story and honing it down to convey the best version of myself. He asked me the tough questions and pushed me to be specific in my story, helping me narrow down to the things that I'm passionate about and having all of that communicate clearly in my applications. Also, having an expert on call to answer every one of my questions throughout the process was incredibly reassuring and helpful.

Claudio was completely dedicated to my success. He was knowledgeable, encouraging, and forthright in his feedback. I was most impressed by his commitment to excellence - if he didn't know the answer to a question, I could trust that he would conduct full and honest due diligence before getting back to me. He absolutely made my Stratus Prep experience.

With all that said, my opinions about Stratus Prep as an overall company... I occasionally got vibes that made me feel like they weren't being fully transparent. Examples: before Claudio, I was assigned to another consultant. One day, I received a surprising email from her saying that she would no longer be working at Stratus Prep effective the next week. When I reached out to Shawn O'Connor (founder of Stratus Prep), he said that her departure was unexpected to him as well and that I would be assigned another stellar consultant. It took them several months to assign me someone new (granted, I had signed up for Stratus Prep about half a year before even beginning the application process), but it would have been nice to have been matched earlier so that I could get a head start. Overall, it was a blessing in disguise because my new consultant turned out to be Claudio. One more example: midway through my application prep, Claudio informed me that Shawn would be taking a less active role in Stratus Prep due to health issues. I saw on Twitter later though that he is running for public office. Perhaps his health issues/political campaign occurred at the same time, but it just made me think that Stratus was trying to be sneaky about it. I just would have appreciated it if they told me everything. But one reason I even went with Stratus Prep was because of Shawn's expertise on HBS, and it was a little disappointing that I couldn't receive more consultation from him personally.

All in all, your Stratus Prep experience will completely depend on the consultant personally assigned to you. A close colleague of mine also hired Stratus, and she was not satisfied with the consultant she was originally assigned. I told her to request that she be switched to Claudio, a request that Stratus happily honored. She was also incredibly impressed and satisfied with Claudio's service.

I used Stratus for my applications to HBS (rejected with no interview), Sloan (invited to interview), and Tuck (self-scheduled interview). I also applied what I learned in working with Stratus to complete the following applications on my own: Wharton (invited to interview), Haas (invited to interview), and Stanford (rejected with no interview). I find out all admissions results next week, and I think I have a great chance getting into all the schools at which I interviewed (Claudio and I did at least five mock interview calls, which definitely helped me feel confident for all my interviews).

I would not have gotten this far in the process without Claudio's help. I highly recommend Stratus if you can get Claudio!

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Overall, a great experience
November 18 | 2015
1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
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     By Anonymous 5 9

Overall, I was really happy with my experience working with Stratus Prep. They were extremely helpful in brainstorming and formulating my "story," which is an essential 'make-it-or-break-it' component of the MBA admissions process. Sometimes I felt they were a little slow in getting back to me (the main office), and sometimes my counselor wouldn't answer my emails right away (which, to be honest, when you are paying this kind of money for a service I DO expect a quick response rate). Otherwise, I would recommend using them if you have the money to spend and if getting into business school is worth it to you; I ended up getting into my school of choice (Columbia) with a below-average GMAT score for the school, so I'm obviously super thrilled. My counselor was incredibly smart and really helped bring my application to the next level; I'm honestly not sure if I would have gotten in otherwise. Thanks, guys!

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Highly recommend
October 28 | 2015
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     By ehiggin2 1 0

I promised to write this review 2 years ago, and because they did such an amazing job and I got into business school, I am just now finding the time to do so (fellow grad schoolers will understand)! I literally would not have gotten into any of my chosen schools without Stratus Prep. GMAT coaching with Jim helped me raise my score by 100 points, and Shawn and Samantha were enormous aids, helping me focus and articulate my goals and providing an actionable roadmap to reach them. They are very knowledgeable about the particulars of the application process as well as the unique personalities of each school, and are both supportive and honest, which is important during what can be an emotional process. While in retrospect I probably did not need to purchase a multi-school package, as I am a strong essay writer, the peace of mind of knowing I had someone to answer all of my questions at any time was invaluable (none of the attendant guilt of constantly bothering friends), and I do not regret spending the money. Thanks, Stratus Prep team!

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Great choice!
August 14 | 2015
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     By Anonymous 0 0

I did my research before signing up with Stratus and what really differentiates this company is the team support that I received. I worked one-on-one with Shaifali and also had the support of a school-specific reader, the company's CEO, Shawn, a proof reader, among others. Their approach was strategic, holistic and helped me put my best self forward for my application. A lot of time was spent on introspection, understanding my goals and what stories I could use to support my application. I couldn't have made it to a top school without them. The service met my expectations and I highly recommend them to any one considering hiring an admissions consultant.

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Stratus Prep Review
July 24 | 2015
0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
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     By chocks5 3 7

As a JD/MBA candidate, I worked with Stratus for both law and business school admissions. On the business side, I applied to six schools in R1 and enlisted Stratus' services for help with three of them (H/S/W); law prep is a flat fee for any number of law schools. While I got dinged (without interview) from H/S/W, I attribute that to the inherent difficulties of getting into these top schools. I applied what I learned from this process to my remaining applications (Kellogg, Fuqua, and UT McCombs) and was accepted to all three, with scholarship offers from Kellogg (matriculating) and McCombs. I worked with Asha for MBA prep and Michelle for law prep and--while I wasn't admitted to any of the b-schools for which Stratus helped me prepare applications--I attribute my admissions successes to my interactions with with Asha and Michelle. Both were professional, responded to my emails in a timely manner, and strictly adhered to timelines during the essay drafting process. I found working with both Asha and Michelle on the introspection exercises and essay drafting to be extremely helpful.

In addition to the admissions package, I did a couple hours of 1-on-1 LSAT tutoring. If you are self-motivated and can learn from reading a book, then there's nothing earth-shattering about this (or any) LSAT prep experience. I would recommend the PowerScore LSAT Bible series, which I found to be incredibly useful and much better than Kaplan.

For what it's worth, no matter who you work with--Stratus or otherwise--don't be surprised if you get a ding from the top schools. Stratus will, however, put you in as good a position as any to put your best foot forward and make you a competitive candidate.

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MBA Admissions
July 16 | 2015
0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
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     By Anonymous 2 0

It was a pleasure of working with Shawn O'Connor and Jeff Mroz. From start to finish both Shawn and Jeff provided me with both support and advice. Although their process is rigorous, at the end if you want to get into a good business school it is definitely worth it. Through multiple iterations my initial drafts were changed considerably in order to put together the best application possible. Jeff was also very helpful with the interview process, as well as making a final decision on what school to go. I would highly recommend Stratus Prep to anyone who wants to get into a great school.

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     By kaoruchan20 0 0

Working with Stratus Prep was the best decision that I made. I'm really pleased with the results and ecstatic to be attending my dream school.

To give a sense of my background, I worked for 5 years in tech/consulting, 720 GMAT, and 3.85 GPA from a well-ranked public university. I worked for good but not elite firms, so I decided to hire an admissions consultant to give me my best chance at getting into a top school. I chose Stratus, because I liked that they're not a huge operation (where you may not get as much individual attention and there are more hourly consultants), and I liked Stratus' approach in getting both your consultant's and Shawn's feedback.

I was first assigned to Vanessa Gil, and she helped me through the initial introspection exercises and the first draft of my essays. She gave me advice to not rush and apply for R1 and that allowed me to prepare much stronger applications for R2. At some point, she stopped communicating, and I was not surprised to find out that she had resigned.

The weeks after Vanessa's resignation were extremely stressful, because it took time to get assigned to my new consultant, Sara, and I had to wait 2 weeks to hear feedback from Shawn. I'm not sure why, but it was not Sara who picked up where Vanessa left off in reviewing my essays but Shawn with Sara mostly answering some of my questions along the way. Once I received feedback from Shawn, I had to move really quickly to get my essays in decent shape and worked nonstop throughout the holiday season.

The feedback that I did receive was what made all the difference in my essays. I felt okay about a few but one or two were pretty mediocre. Shawn's feedback helped me to really turn my essays around. And I like that he will continue to give you feedback until you are completely comfortable with the essays that you wrote. When I finally submitted my applications, I was confident that I had the very best essays that I could have possible written, and I owe it to Stratus who helped me to get there.

I ended up interviewing with Kellogg, Booth, Columbia, and Wharton with acceptances at Kellogg, Booth, and Columbia. I truly believe that I wouldn't have had as much success if I hadn't worked with Stratus. It's still a ton of work and you have to be disciplined in following the process and giving it your absolute best, but I'm glad that I chose to partner with Stratus.

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     By mich1216 0 0

My profile is Asian American, Female, Consulting, top 20 US undergrad with ok GPA, and 740 GMAT. I knew I needed to differentiate myself for admissions purposes and I wanted to hear it from the professionals who won't sugarcoat it for me. I worked with Jeff who is a Wharton alum and Shawn who is a HBS alum for my 2 applications. I was admitted to Wharton and will be attending in the fall.

I got the service also because I had some extenuating circumstances that I wanted to explain from my transcript and I wanted someone who can guide me through it. Overall, highly recommend getting this service if you're coming from a background where there aren't a lot of people in your network who have gone to these schools. I think if you know enough alums, having them read your essays and bounce ideas off of them will suffice but not everyone has that kind of resources at their disposal at that specific time of year. If you're aiming for a top 3 school, better safe than sorry!

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     By Anonymous 0 0
The reviewer was admit to the schools that they applied to:

Only my safety schools

I got into NYU Stern with the help of Stratus prep. I contacted them almost 10 months prior to the R1 deadline and chose them after a conversation with Shawn O'Connor. I picked them because: 1) They limit the number of clients per counselor to a smaller number giving more time to each client and 2) Their process seemed the most personalized and adaptable than what's available out there.
After going through my profile, Shawn assigned Dan Carroll as my counselor based on his experience working with other clients. I am grateful to Dan for helping me get an admit into NYU. Coming from a very generic demographic, I required a lot of assistance to make sure that my story was told in the right way and the adcom connected with my story. I could not have done this myself. Dan's experience and knowledge about the admissions process came in very handy in making sure that the most important aspects of my profile were highlighted appropriately. I had several conversations with Dan before every application to get feedback on my essays; Dan connected me with school specific counselors and finally with proof readers in a timely manner. Following the Stratus prep guide to MBA applications proved very helpful in that it served as a structured and organized guide to everything that needs to be done to complete a decent application. I thank them for all the help they have provided in helping me get into Stern !

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