27 W 24th St Ste 10-B, New York, NY | Directions 1001040.742884 -73.990561
Mon-Fri 9am-7pm; Plus Occasional Nights & Weekends
Neighborhoods: Midtown, Midtown South Central
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Free Half Hour Consultation with a Stratus Prep tutor or counselor!
Non-Under-Represented Male in Finance
GMAT: Around 720
GPA: Under 3.0
Undergrad: Top Ivy League School
Work Exp: 5 years Investment Banking (including 1.5 years abroad)
Choosing an admissions consultant was a stressful process. I did free consultations with the founders of two different firms, and I loved both. Ultimately, I chose Stratus Prep because Shawn O'Connor is the smartest consultant I have ever encountered. He is a genius in his understanding of admissions offices and how they think about candidates.
I knew that I would work extremely hard to apply to my dream school (Wharton), but hard work is not enough in the admissions process. I needed the help of Stratus Prep to choose appropriate stories for essays, improve my resume, prepare for interviews, and help me to edit my application. I worked with Jeff Mroz (Wharton alum) and Shawn O'Connor on my application for 2-3 months before it was complete. I was amazed at the personalized attention that Jeff and Shawn provided, in addition to their encouragement and accessibility.
There were two particular situations in which Jeff and Shawn saved my candidacy.
First, I chose an interesting story to tell in one of my essays. The story is fascinating to tell in front of an audience, and I thought it was appropriate for the application. But Jeff and Shawn helped me to realize that the story did not relate to business, what I could learn at Wharton, or how I might perform in the workplace after earning my MBA. If I had ignored Jeff and Shawn's advice and chosen my first story, I don't think I would have gotten into Wharton.
Second, I rehearsed for my behavioral interview like it was the World Cup Final. Jeff and Shawn both conducted mock interviews. Although I thought my responses were solid, Shawn told me that two of my responses were awful. And they were! If I had given those responses in the actual interview, I don't think I would have gotten into Wharton. Shawn taught me how to give more effective responses that showed how I could apply lessons learned in my career to the classroom at Wharton and to my future employment.
I was particularly impressed with the attention to detail that both Jeff and Shawn showed to my application. Jeff and Shawn helped me to edit my essays, short responses, and resume, and they provided around-the-clock (late night) service as the deadline approached. They provided suggestions for word choices, phrasing, and grammar that helped to polish my application. They made me feel like we had done everything possible to put forward a great application to my dream school.
I have recommended Jeff and Shawn to many friends and colleagues over the past few years. I could not be happier with their service. They helped me to achieve one of my most treasured goals. I wanted to go to Wharton for three years, and Jeff and Shawn helped me to get there. If you are thinking about spending several hundreds/thousands of dollars on an admissions consultant, you owe it to yourself to pick the very best one. Stratus Prep is absolutely the best one.
I availed the assistance of Stratus Prep with Sheila on my b-school applications this year, and I am very thankful for her kind assistance as it is due in part to her that I was accepted to all three schools I worked with her, including Stanford GSB, Harvard Business School as well as Wharton. As an Indian engineer with a 680 GMAT, despite having attended an IIT, I knew the outlook was bleak as my profile is quite common to b-schools. My deepest gratitude goes to Sheila in addition to Shawn O'Connor who also was very helpful in the process.
I had a fabulous experience with Stratus Prep. Working with Shawn and Shaifali on my applications, I was accepted to both Harvard and Wharton (as well as the healthcare management program at Wharton), which is ideal given my background and career aspiration in the healthcare industry.
I'm really thankful for Stratus Prep since these were both definitely stretch schools for me. I had a 3.5 from a state school and a 690 GMAT.
Shawn and Shaifali were both so incredibly helpful throughout the process, very attentive, knowledgable of nuances of each school, and creative to the bet application strategy given my somewhat complicated work history.
I had a really poor experience with Stratus Prep. I was impressed by all the claims and stats on website and during sales process but in truth the company felt very new, a bit disorganized and had nothing to offer beyond proof reading. Although I was bombarded with emails and attention prior to signing up, once I did purchase the service I really felt like the love dried up. As it happened I did not gel with my consultant at all and found him to be disinterested, not engaged and really full of himself. The response times were not good, and when I tried to engage and turn things around, I hit a wall. After a really disappointing run with them first round, including receiving an email addressed to another client, I submitted two more applications round 2, and was admitted to one of them (but none with Stratus Prep). For these last two apps, I did my own research and asked friends for input. I got much better, critical feedback than I received at Stratus Prep. I clearly do not recommend and in reference to the recent Beat the GMAT posts online, there is no way they are as big as they are now claiming to be. Shawn is not running a huge company here and while I am not sure, I am guessing only been in the MBA world for a few years.
I previously worked with Stratus Prep and unfortunately will be a re-applicant this year. I applied to four schools and was not admitted to any.
Do I blame everything on Stratus Prep? No. Do I think that I wasted my money? Yes.
The truth is that my consultant was a very recent MBA grad. He was right out of Wharton when we worked together. So all he had going for him was that he had applied successfully himself. And he was a nice guy. I felt that my consultant was nice and happy go lucky - very supportive but not remotely creative or critical. I have a few friends who are grads of top schools and they could have easily given me the same level of advice - or likely better. There were many times when edits came back with typos, took longer than expected, and just did not scratch the surface of what I needed. I found that Shawn's input muddled the process and overall with the two inputs things felt confusing and disorganized. I really felt let down several times throughout the process. Yet I did not feel I had a real outlet to voice my concerns because I was up against deadlines and relying heavily on these guys.
I used Stratus for a consulting MBA app package. They basically helped me plan, prepare and proofread my application for HBS.
I got in, so that's a plus! ?
I thought they did a great job at keeping me on schedule and guiding me along the way. And I really feel that the tag team strategy they had (Shawn & consultant) is what makes these guys a great consulting firm. It was always great to get a second opinion as we moved along. The team helped me map out my application process and plan my time accordingly. I put together a personal profile of myself, and worked with a consultant to decide on what stories I wanted to tell and convey via my essays. The multiple drafts of each essay was extremely helpful and made sure I submitted my top quality work.
If you're looking for someone to keep you on track, give you solid advice, and that knows some of the tricks of the trade, I'd highly recommend them.
My thought process was: If I'm going to apply to a top school, I'm going to give it my absolute all, and take all the help I can get.
Stratus Prep did a great job with me - I was incredibly grateful to have gone to them to begin with and thought that they were worth every penny. I went into the process feeling very overwhelmed but they helped me through every step. I opted for the hourly consulting package as opposed to the total, all-in variety; I found that the hourly package was sufficient for me. I found them extremely responsive and supportive and they helped me with the content of my essays as we went through many iterations until we found the exact right mix of topics. They also have school-specific knowledge and helped me tailor my applications; I wouldn't have known how to do this otherwise. I was nervous, because I am a white male, but ended up being accepted to HBS and Wharton (and waitlisted at Stanford). I would not want to go through this process without them.
I used Stratus Prep for admissions consulting for business school. I am going to HBS next fall and it's thanks to Stratus Prep (Shawn + Vanessa).
My experience was exceptional. For context, I am a white male who works in finance (a tough demographic).
Shawn + Vanessa had a very thoughtful approach to applications but customized it to my schedule and goals. Highlights include:
1) Stratus’ Introspection process helped me map of my story (professionally, personally, academically), which became the backbone of the material that I used for my essays, applications and interviews
2) School Selection and Strategy: I had a targeted list of schools. Shawn and Vanessa did a great job of setting expectations, focusing on the schools that were important to me, developing the right application strategy, picking the best person to write a recommendation, etc
3) Essay Outlining + Writing: I can’t emphasize enough how helpful they were here - unlimited editing / review, tactical advice, constructive feedback, etc.
Shawn and Vanessa instilled the confidence and focus that were absolutely critical to my success at HBS. They were always available and were simply just nice people to work with. I trusted them and it certainly paid off.
They both clearly have deep insight and rich experience, which showed in how they handled all of my questions throughout the process. They were always available for questions - whether in person, email or phone. I give them my strongest recommendation - it was time well spent and a well worthwhile investment
Going to Kellogg with the incredible help of Stratus Prep. Shawn and my consultant Samantha never made me feel I had to give up on my goal of going to a top b-school (even though I had a lower gmat score). My background is in education and teaching and I want to transition into charter school management. I knew people who worked with bschool consultants before, and I was skeptical and uncertain about the costs like most people...it ended up being the smartest decision I could have made and definitely a huge part of the reason I got into Kellogg. Samantha, was very meticulous, incredibly knowledgeable, and always accessible. I started working with Stratus Prep in November (for January due dates) which was a little late; but Samantha was really great about responding quickly especially with the time crunch. I really liked the collaboration between my consultant and Shawn (the founder) who was very involved in every step of the application process. Shawn is really smart and knew how to leverage my TFA experience as well as stuff I would not have though to write about on my own (such as: my thesis for my masters in education, an independent study project I did in undergrad). Because I was so preoccupied with studying for the GMAT, I assumed that since I was a pretty good writer, the essays would be no big deal. If I had done it on my own, I don't think I would have made myself as well-rounded because I would have probably written a lot about my teaching experience, which Shawn heavily advised me not to do. I also didn't realize how valuable some of the other stuff I had done was. Before you begin your essays, Stratus Prep makes you do these outlining exercises where you brainstorm all your leadership positions, character traits, learning
experiences etc. which I found very worthwhile.
In the end, I was invited to interview at every school I applied to (Duke, Michigan, Columbia, and Kellogg- interviews everyone) with the exception
of Yale, which was surprising. I got into both Kellogg and Duke. I am very excited to go to Kellogg this fall .This has been said before and it is necessary to say again, the GMAT does not mean everything and a huge amount of focus must be on your essays. If you want to go to a top MBA program, regardless of your profile, I believe you will find it incredibly valuable working with Stratus Prep, not only on your essays, but every part of your application including resume, recs, and interviews.
Going to INSEAD.. I had on paper what I thought was the base for a good application - 6 years of work experience at a leading financial services firm, significant international exposure both professionally and personally, as well as a decent academic record. However, I decided to leverage an admissions counseling service because I wanted to discover ways I could differentiate myself, since a great academic record and great work experience is the common standard for most applicants. I considered admissions counseling to be the difference between a good application and my best possible application.
I chose Stratus Prep after meeting with Shawn for the free half hour consultation he offers. You quickly figure out that Shawn is an incredibly smart guy, and I knew immediately there would be true value add to my application. As an Indian, I was particularly interested that they have a lot of experience working with candidates abroad. For example, I know they were working with someone in New Delhi through phone and online meetings.
On a side note, a few months after I signed up I had my next meeting with Shawn, and he was able to recall every detail I had mentioned during our consultation, and what I had omitted. Yes, he takes notes, but it showed me that he was thinking strategically about my application more than I thought he would.
My admissions counselor Jeff is a Wharton graduate so he has been through the process himself, but he also previously worked as an admissions reader for Wharton. Jeff was a great counselor to work with because of his solid understanding of the process, and his incredible turnaround time on your essay drafts or in case of questions.
Both Shawn and Jeff make it their business to understand in detail the requirements of every school you can think of, and they are clearly experts on what each individual school looks for in a candidate. My initial impression was that Shawn played more the proprietor's role, but he actually gets quite involved in your application. Combined, Jeff and Shawn helped me understand and organize my approach to the process. In the end, I was confident that I was submitting my best possible applications.
Clearly it all paid off because I was admitted to INSEAD, which was one of my top choice schools. I am incredibly excited to be starting there this fall!
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