GMAT Club

Hourly Services Reviews

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.
5.0 /5 Average Rating
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Based on 19 reviews
January 18, 2021
schelbjh

Joined: Jan 18, 2021

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
730 Q49 V40

Awesome!!

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I used an hourly package to apply to 3 schools. Susan worked with me to effectively craft my unique story into a compelling desire to pursue an MBA (I am a musician by night and a strategy consultant by day — my post-MBA goals lie in bridging that gap). I had the story in my head, but Susan took my essays from ok to great. She brought out passion, specifics (that I had long forgotten), and detailed knowledge about the nuances of each school to help me tailor each application. She was also incredibly efficient with the limited time we had, turning each iteration of my essays around quickly -- sometimes within hours.

End result: 3 for 3 on acceptances (one M7 and two T15’s), plus a substantial merit fellowship option. She has also continued to coach me on negotiation strategies post-acceptances. 10/10 recommend!

Stats: GMAT 730, GPA 3.85, STEM undergrad

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
February 28, 2021
MRB20

Joined: Feb 28, 2021

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Highly Recommend Melisa!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

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!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
January 24, 2021
jessicahhh

Joined: Jan 24, 2021

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

The Only One You Need

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I worked with Melisa on an hourly basis and she was worth every dollar. I chose her because she was so genuine and encouraging during our initial consultation. Since I was on a budget, she worked with me efficiently and was quick to respond to any questions I sent her way. I was a bit lost in the application process but she worked with me every step of the way and helped guide me to ensure I submit quality essays. She also prepped me for the interviews and gave me valuable feedback! No need to interview other consultants...she's all you need and more.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
January 22, 2021
brocro

Joined: Jan 22, 2021

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
710 Q46 V42 (Online)

Melisa is the Best of the Best

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I interviewed 4 different consultants from 4 different companies, and Melisa was the obvious choice for my MBA journey. I worked with Melisa via an hourly package, and she was more than generous with her time, recommendations, and resourcefulness. I chose Melisa because she was honest and thoughtful about the maturity of my story and profile, and helped focus my energy where it counted the most. She honored my voice while ensuring all my bases are covered. I appreciated how she kept me in mind, and would send me resources that she thought I would benefit from. Other consultants would try and push a story on me, but Melisa knew my super-power was owning my own story - I would highly recommend Melisa again and again.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
January 08, 2021
TXLonestar

Joined: Jan 08, 2021

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Incredible! Susan Cera - Director of MBA Admissions

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It was always a goal of mine to go back and get my MBA and at first, thought I could go the cheap route and do it on my own. Big mistake. I ended up getting rejected from my top schools but I was determined, and decided to go for it the next year. I was introduced to Susan through multiple friends who had used her in the past and raved about their experience. Truthfully, the cost was a bit daunting at first but after our first meeting I could tell that Susan new exactly what she was doing. From her own experience of applying and getting into business school, coupled with her immense knowledge from working in admissions at Fuqua for over a decade, she brought insight that I could have gotten from few other sources. She was incredibly thoughtful but pushed me to think about what I really wanted and how to craft my story from my past and where I wanted to end up. I had a terrible GPA and decent GRE scores, so it was an uphill battle from the start, but I ended up being accepted to all the schools that had rejected me the previous year. Can’t thank Susan enough for all her hard work and dedication throughout the process – it sure paid dividends in the long run.

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October 09, 2020
vidald71

Joined: May 25, 2020

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Susan is wonderful!

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Susan helped me get into my top choice M7. The first thing that stood out to me is that she's really fun, but also no-nonsense! She knows her stuff... you can tell she comes from the admissions world and has the expertise to steer you toward the key fundamentals that really make a difference.

I spoke with several consultants before going with Susan... they all seemed to try to sell me on their magnificent writing or deep expertise on a school... but what was compelling to me is that Susan gives you what most consultants can't: the experience of having worked in admissions. She knows how adcom ticks and can help you craft a compelling story that adcom will understand.

I used an hourly package with Susan and found it to be a great value... she was transparent and efficient, very responsive, and impressively available. She'll be your #1 fan throughout the process, and will give you the confidence that you're turning in the strongest possible application.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
October 01, 2020
cestreicher

Joined: Jun 17, 2020

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Amazing experience with Senior Counselor Susan Cera

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My experience with stratus has been nothing short of amazing. I applied to schools last application cycle and did not feel like the firm I hired to help made my application personalized enough - I felt like i was treated like a number. Obviously I was not accepted last cycle which is why I turned somewhere else. After a few consultations with Susan - I knew she would be the right fit for me moving forward. She really spent time to get to know me and my story and why I wanted to apply for business school. She also helped me understand more about the business world as well- which was a great help since I am coming from a STEM background. I feel like Susan was very thorough and really got to know me on a personal level. She gave me advice on what to do to make my application stand out and extra things or classes I can do. She helped me revise my resume from an overcrowded page that was hard to read to a beautiful, simplified page that was easy on the eyes. She helped me with both my essays and help me craft a story to explain why I need an MBA and what has happened to me in my life this past year and why I needed the MBA more. Before writing the essay she made us do a few reflection/ intersection exercises to get to know myself better and determine the qualities I want to write all my essays around. After that we used those qualities to shape my draft which then turned into my essay. This writing process was a great way to make sure everything I wanted to include in my story was there. She also looked over my application before I submitted it to make sure everything looked good. After I submitted my application, I reached back out to her when I had a interview invitation. Susan helped me prepare for the interview and then connected me with a school specific counselor to have a mock interview. A few days after my interview, I got accepted to my dream school. I could not have done this without Susan. I felt like she truly cares about me and my mission and am so grateful we were able to work together. I am so blessed that I had the opportunity to work with her. When in doubt go with Susan!!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
August 13, 2020
ldavis620

Joined: Apr 12, 2020

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Best Investment!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

Working with Donna Bauman was an excellent decision and helped me get into my dream school, Kellogg! From our initial consultation I knew she was going to give me the push I needed to get my application ready. I came to her less than 1 month before my application was due and she kept me on track, motivated, and calm through a normally very stressful process! She provided amazing advice on crafting my resume and essays – really challenging me to dig deep. Her experience as a Kellogg alum allowed her to provide spot-on information about the program and what they seek in applicants. She was extremely quick, providing feedback within hours, even on weekends. I can honestly say I would not have been successful without Donna’s help. Although the packages may seem a little expensive, I cannot speak highly enough of her and the support she provided during my MBA application process. 10/10 recommend!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
July 12, 2020
manu95

Joined: Aug 17, 2015

Posts: 1

Kudos: 2

5/5 Star Susan Cera (From Stratus Consulting)!!!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I had reached out to Susan for a free consultation regarding my MBA application in April 2020. I wanted to aim for 3-4 school applications for the extended round 3 applications for a Fall of 2020 entry timeframe, however after some unexpected changes in my professional life, I expanded the number of applications to 9 schools with a determination to matriculate in 2020. I had only ~2 months to turnaround all these applications so I needed someone with great experience, empathy, and focus.
Within just 3 hours of working with Susan, I had a solid MBA goals and introspection strategy with a revised resume and a 1st draft of one essay done. Her introspection strategy extracted valuable insights from even the most miniscule experiences/interactions with colleagues and friends and was the basis of many of my essays. Susan also knew where my application weak points were and effectively helped me use the optional essay to address those points. Susan was prompt and EXTREMELY thorough in her feedback which comes from her experience in sitting on the admissions panel of a top business school. She greatly improved my technical writing while challenging me to go deeper into individual school offerings and how they would aid my career development. In the end, I ended up taking 15 hours of hourly consulting and I can confidently say, each and every hour was well worth the investment.
In addition to essays, Susan also reviewed my recommendation strategy and gave great feedback to my recommenders on how to be more specific to highlight my profile. I felt confident going into the interview, but Susan elevated my interview structure and responses to the next level.
In the end, with applications to 4 T-10 schools, 3 -T15 schools, and 2-T-20 schools, I am glad to say I got acceptances Fuqua, Tepper, Anderson, and Marshall and I will be matriculating at Fuqua (with merit scholarship) this fall!

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July 02, 2020
MusiKCityK

Joined: May 01, 2012

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

GO with Donna!!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I was accepted into Kellogg Round 3 and without Donna, it would not have happened. I chose the hourly package, as I was in a few MBA prep programs, but without Donna, I would not have been accepted. Donna truly cared about me as an individual and not just a number. She was very candid, but warm at the same time. Her adcom experience is invaluable and she will give you the insights you need to improve your application. I felt very prepared for the video essay and my interview because of my time with her. She was so positive and encouraging it really helped to calm my nerves. I am forever thankful I chose to work with Donna. Well worth the investment.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.