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Anyone use admission consultants?

This topic has 1 expert reply and 96 member replies
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arjuns247 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
15 Sep 2016
1 messages
Post Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:02 am
Stratus Prep was the best investment I made during my MBA application process. After being rejected from 7 programs during my initial MBA application experience, I truthfully thought that business school wasn’t in the cards for me….that is, until Stratus stepped in. With their help, I was able to re-apply and gain admission into Columbia Business School, a program which turned me down just 8 months earlier.

While I can understand why applicants chose to apply independently, I think that Stratus Prep offers a uniquely thorough and structured process that puts applicants in the best position to succeed by surrounding them with experienced, high-caliber MBA admissions consultants. Without the help of my Stratus Counselor, Traci Thibodeaux, and my Stratus Senior Strategist, Salma Qarnain , I would not be on my way to getting an m7 MBA degree. They are incredible at what they do and very encouraging in the way they do it (thank you so much for all your help Traci & Salma!!).

To provide a little more detail, there are 3 areas where Stratus really made the difference for me:

1. Application Strategy
In regards to my profile, I felt that I had a strong set of professional (Technology Consultant with 2 promotions) and personal experiences (strong leadership in Extra-Curricular involvement) with solid statistics. However, I am an overrepresented applicant (Indian Male in Technology / Consulting with an Engineering Undergraduate Background), which made it that much more important for me to articulate a unique and interesting “Why MBA” / post-MBA story. I also had to do this in the context of a re-applicant story where I needed to show growth and progress.

This is where Stratus made all the difference - they drilled down into every relevant professional, academic, and personal experience I had and helped me map it all out to find a sensible, specific, and unique reason as to why I needed an MBA, how I was going to use the degree, and how my past experiences tied it all together. This was an incredibly iterative and time-consuming process, but it ultimately yielded a very clear and concise MBA re-application strategy that made me stand-out not only within my application, but during my interview with Columbia Business School.

From personal experience, I’ve seen many other applicants take this portion of the application lightly which ends up burning them in the end because they come off as generic to admissions committees. Stratus brings unique perspective here as they understand how admissions committees view applicants relative to other similar applicants who they are competing it. Accordingly, they are able to provide tailored advice to their counselees that allow them to differentiate themselves during the application process.

2. Essay Writing
Stratus’ essay review process helps you iterate constantly between outlines and essays to ensure you are able to reach a solid end product. While the writing was driven by me, I was able to have comments and suggestions tossed my way by over 4 different reviewers - the level of detail with each review was impressive. In the end, I felt that my essays were as well written as they could be while showing my best possible qualities in the context of well-articulated career goals.

In addition to helping you craft my essays, Stratus would also make strategic suggestions about the stories I should tell along with stylistic considerations that I didn’t think of. The Stratus process was almost a boot camp for essay writing. So, on a broader level, I felt that Stratus allowed me to become a better writer and story teller, which are useful skills outside the MBA application process.

3. High-Touch Counseling
As a re-applicant, I came into the application season feeling a little down and out given my experience from the previous year. However, Stratus ensured that I stayed positive - Traci, my Stratus Counselor, was my point of contact and was always accessible to talk about any questions / concerns I had. She was prompt to every email, phone call, etc. and was very encouraging and positive during our conversations. Tactically, she helped me setup an overall re-application plan and schedule to ensure I was working at a good pace and had appropriate contingency in case rejections came my way. Additionally, she oversaw and reviewed every portion of my application process from application strategy development to essay writing and even interviews. She held my hand through each step of the process, and gave me a sense of confidence despite the many rejections that came just a few months prior.

Additionally, Salma, my Senior Strategist, who brought the same level of positivity and encouragement as Traci, helped set aside a thorough discussion to walk through my key themes, my post-MBA goals, my school selection, my recommender selection, and my overall view of “Why MBA?” to offer specific feedback in each area. This set the tone for the rest of my application process, and laid the groundwork for my acceptance into Columbia.

Once I got into school, I was personally congratulated by not only Traci and Salma, but also folks I worked with administratively to sign up with Stratus (shout out to Josh Gonzalez and Zach Klein - really appreciate your help!). It was a really nice gesture that I sincerely appreciated, especially considering what I had gone through the previous application year. Stratus’ level of high-touch service made me feel like I succeeded with a team, which is always a great feeling.

From soup to nuts, Stratus Prep provided me an admissions consulting service that turned 7 rejections into a Columbia Business School acceptance within less than a year. I said it before and I’ll say it again - Stratus Prep is the best investment I made during the MBA application process.

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CBSAdmit Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
04 Dec 2016
1 messages
Post Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:34 pm
I would highly recommend Scott at Personal MBA Coach. Apart from his vast knowledge of MBA programs he has a wealth of knowledge about various industries which really helps to craft compelling stories. I had a non-traditional background and Scott spent a lot of time helping me to develop a story that both made logical sense and aligned with my target career path.

Scott really pushes you to make your essays the best that they can be; he’s tough in his critiques but at the same time encouraging. Sometimes I would get his essay reviews back and think to myself “I can’t do that” but he would keep pushing until I got there - even if it was 5 or 6 revisions.

Scott was always accessible; Personal MBA Coach promises a reply within 48 hours, but I never waited more than 24 hours for a response to any question or essay analysis. One morning I emailed Scott that I hit a roadblock in my essays and he immediately setup a phone call for a few hours later.

Unlike other consulting firms where you could be assigned to a junior consultant, working with Scott you know exactly what you are getting - the best!

Scott gets to know you well early on in the process and it’s clear that he shares in your success. I was accepted to my first choice school, Columbia, and he was (almost) as thrilled as I was!

Ashe Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
20 Dec 2016
2 messages
1 times
Post Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:28 am
I used Scott Edinburgh (Personal MBA Coach) to help me navigate the admissions process and could not be happier. From our initial discussion, Scott listened to my story (quite non-traditional) and guided me to focus on the unique aspects of my profile. From that point forward, he fine-tuned my essays, even recommending that I entirely redo one of them. I found him to be quite blunt and honest throughout the process, motivating me to work harder and to make every word count- be it be for my resume, essays, or bullet points for recommenders. After sending Scott a document for review, I usually received his feedback within 24-48 hours (sometimes even faster). I was ultimately accepted to my school of choice (and invited for an interview at my second option)! I would highly recommend Scott to anyone looking for personalized MBA admissions assistance.

Thanked by: Personal MBA Coach
rhg213 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
21 Dec 2016
3 messages
Post Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:32 am
Applying to MBA programs can be a daunting task. Between writing the essays, preparing for interviews, and finally deciding on a school that fits, the entire experience is rigorous. Scott prepared me for every single step of the process. He guided me on targeting the programs I was interested in, helped me brainstorm and compose the essays, and trained me for the interviews. I am happy to say I was accepted to every single school I applied to; UCLA Anderson, NYU Stern, Georgetown McDonough, and USC Marshall. I would not have been able to accomplish this without Scott's guidance. His experience helped me complete entire applications in a matter of days with minimal stress. I highly recommend Scott if you are serious about being accepted to the best MBA programs available to you.

MBA Ivy Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
28 Feb 2014
43 messages
Followed by:
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5 times
Post Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:15 am
This year I have gotten people in to HBS, Wharton, MIT Sloan, Booth, Stanford, Columbia, Duke and Berkeley. My firm is MBA Ivy League and I'm a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate myself. You can check out my services and MBA blog here, and I also specialize in the EMBA: www.MBAIvyLeague.com

Looking for help on this year's MBA applications? I'm a former Harvard admissions interviewer and Harvard graduate. Check out my blog for great MBA advice and tips, or contact me for a free consultation today! www.MBAIvyLeague.com

pg12345 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
21 Dec 2016
2 messages
Post Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:27 pm
I used www.Afriendabroad.com

Basically what they did was put me in contact with a mentor in the college i was applying to and I could address all my queries directly to the mentor.
While this service was free I also used them for my SOP review and that also was pretty good and i could walk away with many tips to improve my application
Overall i would say it was a pretty helpful and definitely worth it[/url]

SantiD Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
20 Oct 2011
1 messages
Post Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:58 pm
I used Stratus Prep to help me throughout the application process.

I initially learned from them thanks to a friend that got admitted to CBS, and decided to hire their services.

I would like to say that their help exceeded my expectations: not only is the staff friendly, but the individuals that will help you through the process are very knowledgeable, and will help you craft your own story in a very efficient way.

Often times, individuals will be pushed, and several reviews of your materials will take place to make sure that you are on track with your 'personal story,' and that you reflect the qualities that are important to the programs you are applying to.

However, their help is not limited to essay crafting. They will also offer to review your online application and will take the time to do mock interviews, once you reach that part of the admissions process.

Overall, it was a very pleasant but demanding experience, and I strongly recommend it to anyone that might consider consultants in their application process.

Yes, it will be a significant investment. However, your potential returns are phenomenal (admission to business school, which might lead to your dream career/role).

Thanks to Stratus Prep, I will be going to Cornell for 2 years in the Fall of 2017 - for all of you Cornellians out there, see you in Sage Hall, and do not hesitate to reach out before/during/after DJ).


PS - Go Big Red!

hbarns Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
08 Jan 2017
1 messages
Post Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:32 am
I used Stratus Prep's 4 school package, and my very helpful consultants were Santosh and Mariya. In spite of marginal GRE scores I was able to secure a spot in my preferred school, due in large part to the diligent work from the Stratus team in reviewing and refining my essays and short answer responses.

As a former Navy submarine officer, the Stratus team provided tremendous help translating my operational leadership experiences into relevant stories that are applicable to the business world. Santosh worked closely with me to create a solid narrative arc using stories from my early education all the way to recent military achievements to demonstrate how and why I would be an excellent fit for the most prestigious MBA programs.

I am incredibly satisfied with my results and grateful to the Stratus team!!

Junaid Saleem Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
23 Nov 2016
11 messages
2 times
GMAT Score:
Post Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:57 am
zueswoods wrote:

I'm thinking about using some sort of admission consultants and so far its among Stratus Prep, mbamission and Stacy Blackman.

Shawn from SP gave me a free 30 (45 actually) minute consultation about 2 weeks ago and I was wondering if anyone else is or has used them in the past? He seemed very helpful and confident, I just wanted other people (and hopefully real people) to comment about their experiences.

I have not had any free consultation from th othes but will probably do so this coming week.

Any insight would be helpful, as the consulting fees are extremely high, I want to make sure I don't regret the decision.


We have expert and experienced top B-School alumni who will be happy to take care of our applicants with their complete application process and we work very closely by evaluating the strengths and weakness of their profiles.

Contact us for free profile evaluation from our expert top B-School alumni.

PM if any further assistance required.


General Education - India's premier Application Consulting company.

Get Advice: +91- 96205 55680 |

For your chances of getting to a particular school, visit - http://www.genedmba.com/chances-bschool/?key=IRs08YFjS0

To look at some of the Testimonials for our awesome work - http://www.genedmba.com/testimonials/

bk47 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
28 Jan 2017
1 messages
Post Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:14 pm
I heard good things about Stratus Prep from a friend and decided to work with Stratus. Santosh (Sam) Prasad was my admissions consultant and he was fabulous. He is very knowledgeable about the application process, having attended Booth himself. He suggested many new angles to approach my application, angles I had never considered before. And he was always available. Literally. I'd send him emails late at night or early in the morning and without fail, Sam would respond within a few hours (usually within minutes). His dedication to me and knowledge of the process helped me get into a few of my reach schools! I'm very glad I got to work with Sam and Stratus Prep and would recommend them to anyone.

Post Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:23 am
Traci Thibodeaux and the Stratus team are amazing, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made and it is well worth it. They are well engaged and strive to help you succeed, at many times more engaged than you are yourself, they are seasoned professionals who have gone through the process. I learnt so much about myself and although it may sound cliche, self-reflection is truly needed during the application process. The coaching is so valuable that it reassured me and gave me the confidence I needed in proceeding further. Choosing to apply to bschool is a huge decision and a big investment and I would take countless hours consuming all the free webinars available (which was still great help) but it did not get me to where I needed and I am glad I took the dive and worked with Stratus. I'm writing this review because I feel so blessed to be accepted that this is the only way I know how to say thank you and pass on the greatness I experienced.

anotherapplicant Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
04 Mar 2017
1 messages
Post Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:46 pm
As I began my MBA application journey almost 12 months ago, I was referred to Stratus Admissions Counselling by two of my very close friends who got into Top 10 schools with Stratus's help.

Going into the process, I had only one constraint - I wanted to go into a Top 15 school this year (2017) and was not willing to wait an extra year or two. However, I had a lot of things going against me - belonging to an over-represented demographic, sub 680 GMAT score, 3 - 3.3 GPA and 10 months of full-time experience (2yrs at matriculation). Therefore, I signed up for the 4 school package and based on my friends seamless experience with Salma, I requested to be paired with her.

Overall, I had an incredible experience working with Salma. She was very responsive (sometimes even working through weekends and holidays), acted more like a mentor than a consultant throughout the process, and really helped me dig deep to put together my life story. Apart from helping me with my story, essays, resume etc., she also kept pushing me to improve my GMAT (and eventually I did by over 70 points), suggested ways to overcome my low GPA and less than average number of years of work experience. Another thing I loved about Salma was the interview prep that I received from her - countless number of insightful mock sessions before each of my interviews.

I ended up applying to 4 top 10 schools in R1 but unfortunately was not accepted to any. Again, Salma and Josh proved to be saviors, helped me pick myself up, and as promised (the 4 school guarantee), they offered to help me with another set of 4 schools in R2 without any charge. This time around, I applied to a mix of 4 Top 10-20 schools, and have been very fortunate to be accepted into a Top 15 program - one of my top choices.

Given the things that were going against me, I am very grateful to have been accepted into a top program this year, and without a doubt, it would not have been possible without Salma and the whole stratus team - they are simply awesome. I truly believe in their process and skills to help a candidate put forward one's best foot, and hence I referred two of my other close friends to utilize their help. So, no matter which stage of the process you are in, if you are thinking about hiring a consultant, Stratus is the only way to go.

Parzival Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
05 Mar 2017
1 messages
Post Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:51 am
I worked with Scott at Personal MBA Coach and cannot recommend him highly enough.

I tried applying to schools on my own first. Despite an extremely high GMAT score and good work experience I only got two interviews, and I struck out at all 6 places I applied. I didn't even get waitlisted anywhere.

For my second year of applications, I decided to get help. After talking to multiple consultants and feeling less than thrilled about their pitches (most were obviously just after my money) I talked to Scott. He was more engaged than anyone else, and most importantly he seemed to genuinely want to help me.

Long story short, I ended up getting interviews at 4 of 5 places Scott helped me apply to. I was accepted at two schools (one with a decent scholarship), and waitlisted at one. I also tried applying to one additional school on my own and did not even get an interview. This means that out of 12 schools, I was only admitted to those Scott helped me apply to, and Scott was involved in getting 4 of 6 interviews. Note that since he only helped me apply to 5 places I got interviews 80% of the time with him and 28% of the time on my own.

My last comment is about what you should and should not expect from Scott. He is not a magic genie who will instantly grant acceptance to your top school. He will not write anything for you. He will not tell you what you want to do in the future. What Scott will do is relentlessly critique your essays. He will push you HARD to fully distill what you are trying to say, and he will pull no punches while doing it. If you are six drafts into your essay and it just isn't there, he will tell you that you need to start over. At times it will suck, but as long as you continue to push yourself Scott will help unearth the best version of yourself in your final applications. I am extremely glad that I worked with Scott, and I cannot recommend him highly enough.

UnivAdmitHelp Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
22 Jan 2017
2 messages
Post Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:10 pm
Read this article about how to choose your admission counselor. This might help you!


mishyneha84 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
13 Apr 2010
2 messages
Post Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:16 am
Overall, i am highly satisfied with the counselling services of stratus prep. Although the prices are on higher range but you need to compromise on few things to achieve others. They provided great support at each step to review, improve and validate your MBA story. I personally recommend working with Santosh since he is highly committed towards his work and was available almost anytime you would ask. His turn around time was so quick that it was difficult for me to match but in a way it helped me wrapping up all the applications on time. Initially, when i signed up with stratus prep i was very nervous on taking up the applications and completing them on time but Santosh kept me motivated and suggested me to take one step at a time. We worked very closely in writing and reviewing each essay which kept me motivated to finish applications in piece-meal fashion.
I am full time working mom of a 3.55 year old and it became really challenging for me to proceed with MBA applications along with managing work, family, kid and social life. I have also attempted GMAT and MBA applications in the past 2 years but was never able to succeed because of other responsibilities. But this time, i decided to take counselling services from Stratus prep which kept me disciplined throughout to complete my applications. Before working with Santosh, it became so difficult for me to write an essay and send it for review to one of my friend and re-work on his reviews because every body is busy in their own life and no one really cares to respond on time. If you have time, energy and people around you to review your essays then, that's great you should avail those services. But otherwise, be bold to spend and avail counselling services if you are really serious about MBA.

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