|All Reviews > Stratus Admissions Counseling > Hourly Services Reviews|
Joined: May 02, 2022
As a non-traditional candidate coming from an arts background, I needed someone to help me translate my wide-ranging real-life experience into something business schools could understand. We worked on my resume, messaging, and essays, as I already felt confident in my interview abilities. After just a few hours consulting with Susan as part of an hourly package, I felt very confident with my applications. In the end, I received $120k merit to CBS and over $300k from NYU Stern, Berkeley Haas, and Georgetown combined. If you're looking to pay for school with merit money, there's absolutely no smarter investment than working with Susan.
Joined: Jun 28, 2022
As a Deferred Programs applicant, I was unsure of whether it would be worth the effort / money to engage with a consultant. After chatting with a lot of other consultants, I find myself immediately gravitating toward Susan’s radiating passion for her work and her students. I was also affirmed by her candid feedback on my profile and her realistic assessment of my chances. These characteristics - passion, candidness, and optimism - remain constant throughout my interactions with her after I purchased an hourly service.
I am so grateful that I did decide to hire a consultant. We first worked together to come up with my key themes and a strategic plan, which Susan played a significant in helping me articulate. During the essay editing process, Susan was responsive and provided thoughtful feedback for every draft. There were moments when I grew frustrated with my writing, but Susan was persistent and encouraging in helping me craft a compelling narrative that accurately portrays myself. When it came time for interviews, Susan was my biggest cheerleader. Beyond helping me with mock interviews, she would send me a note before my every interview. To note, throughout my engagement with Susan, she has always been efficient with the hours I purchased.
Eventually, I got into 3/5 schools I applied to and I could not have asked for a more professional, helpful, and compassionate advocate by my side than Susan.
Joined: Sep 21, 2013
I still keep pinching myself, y'know. To ensure I am not stuck in an 'inception-esque' trance.
But I know it's real. My destiny was sealed the day the admission letter read 'Congratulations' with a celebratory confetti background wallpaper.
Mins later, I sent an email to Susan telling her that we had done it. We had converted our first US business school. The journey hadn't been easy, especially for an ORM (over-represented minority). So, let's dive right in.
In September 2021, I decided to finally shake off the dust of procrastination regarding my MBA plans. But, still reeling under the 'let-me down' eyes of self-doubt, I knew I needed guidance on the admissions process. After some secondary research online, I came across the website of Stratus Consulting and its senior director - Susan Cera.
Susan and I spoke for the first time end of September. It was a 30 mins consultation call wherein we discussed my profile. The discussion was highly directive. It was humbling to hear about my strengths and my blind spots. Susan did not mince her words, which helped me steer clear of any delusions I was carrying.
We decided to work together for the next 1-2 months, building my personalized MBA blueprint. This had three critical parts, each feeding into the other:-
a) Part 1: Gather data points by reflecting on past experiences across professional and personal settings
b) Part 2: Identify Attributes by leveraging the data points gathered
c) Part 3: Build Story by identifying stories that allude to those specific attributes
Post this exercise. We built out the second part of the strategy:-
a) Why MBA? And Why Now?
b) Post MBA goals? Short-term and Long-term
Further to this exercise, we refined my resume, driving specificity through the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) framework.
Finally, we bucketed my target schools across three areas, i.e., Likely/Reach/Stretch. At this point, it is essential to mention that given my debilitating test anxiety, we decided to only look at schools with a GMAT waiver.
As part of the following steps, we worked selectively on a few essays, wherein Susan reviewed my story, constantly pushing me to direct my thoughts using the STAR format. Her #1 guidance to me was that 'specificity drives credibility,' and those golden words have been etched into my brain since then.
Our journey led us to convert to a top 20 B-School and get waitlisted at a top 15. I honestly did not expect to cut, but Susan – as my guardian angel – was there to reassure me in every way. She was more than a consultant, a sounding board that allowed me to vent my frustrations and insecurities without turning a page of judgment. I am forever indebted to her contribution, allowing this ORM a fighting chance at the top 20 MBA programs in the US.
Joined: May 06, 2022
I used Donna's services for a mock interview to help me with my interview for Kellogg. Not only did she provide me with the insight on how to tell my story in a concise manner for the interview, she also helped me by doing a mock interview and providing feedback on my answers, mannerisms, what I did well, and what I could improve on. She also left time for me to ask the questions that I would ask the potential committee and helped me cater those questions to the individual I would be interviewing with.
Through recording the mock interview, it was also extremely helpful to watch back my own mannerisms in that staged-professional environment with the pressure on.
She is extremely sweet and kind and was so encouraging to help me gain confidence through this process.
Overall, I used her for one school interview, it went extremely well (waiting on the decision) and have been able to use her advice in another interview as well! Highly recommend her services.
Joined: Mar 04, 2022
Jennifer at Stratus was so helpful during my process. I found Stratus when looking for an admissions consultant to help me with my essays. Jennifer made sure to listen to my unique experiences and strengths and helped me articulate my goals. Stratus has a number of exploratory exercises which helped me dive deep in to my long-term goals and key development areas. The investment into the hourly package more than paid off! I was fortunate enough to be accepted to a number of top programs with merit scholarships. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Jennifer and cannot recommend her enough.
Joined: Feb 23, 2022
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For those looking for MBA admissions consulting services, look no further than Lisa Cummings of Stratus Admissions Counseling. I cannot overstate how immensely helpful Lisa was in helping me apply to business schools this fall.
When it came to writing the essays, Lisa continuously pushed me to uncover my personal story for WHY I wanted to get my MBA and WHAT my career goals were. She was always candid yet constructive in her feedback, something I greatly appreciated. She also returned her insightful feedback incredibly quickly; there was not a single time I felt that I could not move forward on my essays because I was waiting for a response from her.
Moreover, before I began working with Lisa, my resume was outdated and in no shape to be submitted to MBA admissions committees. Lisa's expert insight here allowed me to expand and clarify my resume where needed, while removing all of the content that was unnecessary. Similarly, when I found out that I was fortunate enough to receive interviews at several schools, Lisa went to great lengths to ensure I was prepared. Not only did she send me detailed, school-specific interview guides, but she also set aside time to conduct multiple mock interviews with me.
In summary, from essay writing, to resume updating, to interview preparation, Lisa proved an invaluable asset during my MBA application process this fall. However, what impressed me most about Lisa is that I can tell that she truly CARES about her clients. Once my interviews were done, it would have been easy for Lisa to merely wish me the best of luck and move on. Instead, she took time to talk me through the decision I was making between two MBA programs, offering very helpful advice. Overall, for those looking into MBA admissions consulting services, look no further than Lisa Cummings. I promise you will not regret this decision.
Joined: Jan 26, 2022
Donna was truly instrumental throughout my MBA application process and connecting with her was a fantastic investment for me. I interviewed 7 consultants and was ultimately drawn to Donna - she asked thoughtful questions, listened and was very transparent and honest about what she thought I needed out of a consultant. Once engaged, Donna assisted with every aspect of the application process. Most importantly, she challenged me to take the necessary time to think through my experiences and to hone in on specific examples that best fit the overall narrative of my application. After the initial introspection work, she helped me craft a cohesive story that highlighted my career aspirations in a way that also allowed my personality and voice to come through on paper. We went through countless iterations of my resume and essays, ultimately leading to a final product that I was proud of. She was always accessible, responsive, insightful, quick to make time to talk and even helped ease the anxiety of application process. Without Donna’s help, I wouldn’t have been accepted to my top choice program!
Joined: Jun 29, 2020
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Working with Melisa was the best decision I made. I had chatted with a few other consultants, but felt the most at ease with Melisa after our intro call. She seemed genuinely excited about working with me, and I really appreciated her energy and encouragement. Since I was only planning to apply to two programs, Melisa was very flexible with pricing and we worked on an hourly basis for my top school's application. I was able to leverage the same essays and resume for my backup program. Her detailed feedback and thoughtful suggestions helped me to highlight the most important parts of my story in the essays. Melisa is extremely knowledgeable about the process and working with her made me feel very confident about my applications when the time came to hit submit. We also worked together on interview prep, which was huge because I had not been thinking about that part of the process at all. I was admitted to both programs I applied to with significant scholarship money. After our allotted hours were used, Melisa was more than willing to respond to my calls and emails as I worked to make my final decision. She is an absolute rockstar, and it was a pleasure working with her.
Joined: Jul 25, 2019
As a first-generation college graduate, the MBA admissions process was daunting, and I was skeptical about working with a consultant. I talked to several consultants who tried to push me to apply to “safety” schools that I wasn’t interested in or tried to push me to pay for their all-inclusive packages. Melisa was the only person who not only gave me critical feedback and opinions, but also, trusted my vision.
I worked with Melisa on an hourly basis on essay reviews and interview prep. She was efficient and always provided clear and thoughtful feedback. My application included many personal experiences, and I always felt that she cared for the story I was trying to tell. The MBA admissions process requires deep reflection, and it was important to me that the people reading my stories honored them.
Now, I’m so excited to attend a top, full time MBA program with a scholarship (especially after a highly competitive application cycle) and can’t thank Melisa enough for her support. I highly recommend her, especially if you come from a similar background.
Joined: Feb 28, 2021
I would highly recommend working with Melisa and Stratus. Melisa helped me get into four of my top-choice schools, with substantial fellowships at three of them. She supported me from the beginning of my application process to the end. Melisa was always very responsive, and was available to answer any questions I had about schools and applications, no matter how trivial they seemed. She helped me shape my story and goals so well that I had a clear idea of how to approach each essay question. Her detailed advice and feedback on my resume and essays was instrumental in my admissions.
Melisa also helped me prep for interviews. I really benefited from Melisa’s experience in this area, and she helped me present my story in a way that was well-defined, but still genuine. I was admitted to every school I interviewed with, which I could not have done without Melisa’s help.
Something I really liked about Melisa was her positivity throughout the process, as it can be daunting at times. I had a non-traditional professional background, and Melisa helped me present it in the best possible way. Her encouragement, positivity, and support is what set her (and Stratus) apart from other MBA admissions consultants I’d considered, and I’m so glad I was able to work with her. Highly recommend!