Financial Times: Starting an MBA next term? Begin preparing now

by Jonathan Moules

Helping impoverished Kurds to start businesses in the Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah might not be everybody’s idea of a relaxing, pre-degree getaway.

Excerpt with Stratus Admissions Counseling expert insight:

Susan Cera, a director at Stratus Admissions, advises her clients to brush up on quantitative skills with an online course such as
She also pushes them to attend events on campus for new students and to join LinkedIn and Facebook pages set up for new classes.

“These will give you an opportunity to engage with future classmates and possibly second-year students so there are familiar names and faces when you arrive at school,” Ms Cera says.

Updating your LinkedIn profile before starting at business school will alert others in your network to your changed status, because it will trigger a message to your contacts, Ms Cera adds.

“Much of an MBA programme is about building relationships with your classmates and others associated with the programme,” she says. “So start now.”

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The MBA Tour US: MBA & Business Master’s Conferences

Meet Columbia, MIT Sloan, UCLA, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, Stanford, and more top business programs!
Join us in a city near you:

Seattle: Thursday, July 12

Los Angeles: Saturday, July 14

San Francisco: Sunday, July 15

Houston: Tuesday, July 17

Atlanta: Thursday, July 19

NYC: Saturday, July 21

Chicago: Monday, July 23

DC: Wednesday, July 25

Boston: Thursday, July 26



Why should I attend The MBA Tour?

The world’s top business schools, all in one place.

Stand out from the competition and meet with Admissions Directors from top domestic and international business schools. Connect in-person to ask your MBA questions, learn about program offerings, and discover how a graduate business degree can help you boost your career.


·       Small group meetings

·       Admissions panels

·       GMAT strategy sessions

·       School presentations

·       Networking fair

·       & much more!


Who will I meet?

Connect with admissions decision makers.

·       You’ll have the unique opportunity to meet with admissions decision makers to increase your chances of acceptance.

·       Learn in-depth program information and ask your MBA questions during MeetUp discussions (invite only, small group meetings).

·       Discover admissions tips from industry leaders.

·       Network with the people that matter when it comes to getting accepted to your dream school.

How should I prepare?

Complete your online profile to be matched with top schools.

·       Provide helpful information during registration to let schools learn about you and your goals and have them invite you to meet with them during MeetUps or School Presentations.

·       Use The MBA Tour’s Research Schools platform to learn more about program offerings and options.

·       Log into The MBA Tour’s online portal to easily confirm MeetUps and build your schedule to make the most of your event.

Business Schools Attending

*Schools vary by city; check event pages for individual listings. More schools to come.

American University

Arizona State University

Auburn University

Babson College

Boston College

Boston University

Carnegie Mellon

Chicago Booth

CKGSB  China

College of William & Mary

Columbia University

Copenhagen B. School – DK

Emory University

ESSEC  France

Fordham University

George Washington University


Georgia Tech

HEC Montréal – Canada

Hofstra University

Hult Int. Business School – Global

IE – Spain

IESE  Spain

Indiana University

John Hopkins University

London B. School – UK

Loyola Marymount

Loyola University Chicago

MIT Sloan

McGill University – Canada

National U. of Singapore

North Carolina State University

Northwestern Kellogg

NYU Stern

Ohio State University

Oregon State University

Penn. State University

Pepperdine University

Purdue University

Rotterdam School of Mgmt. Santa Clara University


Stanford University

Suffolk University

Syracuse University

TCU Neeley


Toronto Rotman

Tulane University

University at Buffalo, SUNY

UC Davis

UC Irvine


UC San Diego

U. of Cambridge – UK

U. of Florida

U. of Georgia

U. of Illinois at Chicago

U. of IL at Urbana-Champaign

U. of Maryland

UMass Amherst

U. of New Hampshire

U. of Oregon

U. of Pittsburgh

U. of Rochester

U. of San Diego

U.of San Francisco

U. of Southern California

U. of South Carolina

U. of Texas at Austin

U. of Wisconsin-Madison

U. of Wyoming

Vanderbilt University

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Poets & Quants: MBA Interest in Entrepreneurship Hits Low

by Gregory Yang

Entrepreneurship has reached its lowest level of interest among MBAs in eight years.

Financial Times reports that up only 16% of students surveyed had started a business within three years of graduating. In 2015, 22% of surveyed students had started a business.

Among schools surveyed by Financial Times, the Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College reported the highest proportion, 52%, of graduates starting a business.

Excerpt with Stratus Admissions Counseling expert insight:

Susan Cera is the director of MBA admissions at admissions consultancy Stratus Admissions Counseling. Cera tells Poets & Quants that EQ is more than just management skills.

“Part of EQ is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions,” Cera says. “And the other is to understand and recognize and influence the emotions of others.”


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Financial Times: Stanford Regains the Top MBA Ranking Spot

by Jonathan Moules

The business school’s all-round success is closely linked with that of Silicon Valley

Excerpt with Stratus Admissions Counseling expert insight:

The battle for places at Stanford means the school can exercise a degree of selectivity its peers can only aspire to match, according to Susan Cera, a director at Stratus Admissions Counseling.

“Stanford can hand-pick their class,” Ms Cera says, adding that it is easier to get a senior role at Google than a place at Stanford.

Top academic results are not enough to guarantee an approval from the admissions team. Those who succeed demonstrate an inquiring mind and prove that they can work in teams, which helps explain why the alumni network works effectively, according to Ms Cera. “Stanford selects students who focus on the ‘we’ over the ‘I’,” she says.

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Poets & Quants: Why EQ Matters In Your B-School Application

by Nathan Allen
Stratus Admissions Counseling is as an expert source in this article. 

It was 1990 when researchers from the University of New Hampshire and Yale coined the term “emotional intelligence.” About a decade later, Daniel Goleman, a Rutgers University psychologist, wrote about the importance of emotional intelligence (popularly known as EQ, which stands for emotional quotient) in business leadership in the Harvard Business Review, officially cementing the concept’s legitimacy and importance. And now, another two decades later, elite business schools are using the idea more and more to make admissions decisions.

“Research is showing that leadership is more than just management. It’s the ability to work with others and motivate others towards a shared set of goals,” says Susan Cera, director of MBA admissions at admissions consultancy Stratus Admission Counseling. “And EQ is instrumental to being successful in working with and through others.”

Read More


Poets & Quants: Top MBA Schools Are On Sale

by Gregory Yang

Business Schools Battle Ghostwriters

Excerpt with Stratus Admissions Counseling is an expert source.

She tells Financial Times that admissions committees tend to cross-check written essays with GMAT verbal subscores. If a well-written essay does not match a GMAT verbal score, it raises a red flag.

“Admissions committees reach out to applicants with quick and easy questions via email and look at the writing in the email response to see if it matches what is in the essays,” Cera says.

Overall, it seems admissions committees have a zero tolerance for ghostwritten applications.

“We recently heard of a top MBA program rescinding an offer the month before the program was going to start,” Cera tells Financial Times.*

Read More

*Clarification. The rescinded offer was in conjunction with admissions committees using Re Vera to do background verification of admitted applicants, not due a ghostwritten essay or letter of reference.  


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Financial Times: Business Schools Clamp Down On Ghostwritten Applications

by Jonathan Moules

New strategies seek to root out suspect references and admissions essays

Excerpt with Stratus Admissions Counseling expert insight:

“Admissions committees reach out to applicants with quick and easy questions via email and look at the writing in the email response to see if it matches what is in the essays,” Ms Cera says. She adds that the only effective policy is zero tolerance. “We recently heard of a top MBA programme rescinding an offer the month before the programme was going to start,” she says.*

*Clarification. The rescinded offer was in conjunction with admissions committees using Re Vera to do background verification of admitted applicants, not due a ghostwritten essay or letter of reference.  

Read More

BusinessBecause: Why Emotional Intelligence Is Key to MBA Admissions Success

by Jonathan Pfeffer

A concept born in the 90s, b-school admissions teams are now reinforcing the importance of a high EQ among MBA candidates

Excerpt with Stratus Admissions Counseling expert insight

“Within the classroom, MBA programs are offering more courses on soft leadership that help students better understand the importance of EQ and the self-awareness required to improve it,” says Jeff Thomas, CEO of Stratus Admissions Counseling.

Another way schools cultivate graduates with high EQs is to intentionally mix up the teams, so students are forced to understand and implement ideas from a variety of perspectives.

“In some instances, these teams of 5-6 first-year students work together for all their core curricula, and must develop EQ skills to navigate assignments across multiple classes and functions,” explains Jeff.

Read More

Chicago Business Journal: 5 Kellogg MBA application tips

by Jeff Thomas, Stratus Admissions Counseling CEO

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (Kellogg) experience is dedicated to transforming students into growth-oriented leaders who inspire growth in people, organizations and markets.

Located in the “urban suburb” of Evanston, Illinois, Kellogg’s Global Hub offers stunning views of Chicago’s skyline and Lake Michigan.

Familiarizing yourself with Kellogg is crucial to creating a standout application. Here are five key considerations when preparing your MBA application.

  1. Select the right program for you.

Kellogg features several distinct programs, each highlighted below.

  • Two-Year MBA: an immersive, full-time MBA
  • One-Year MBA: an accelerated program for those with an undergraduate business background
  • MMM: Earn a Kellogg MBA and an M.S. in Design Innovation from the Segal Design Institute at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Read More

Noodle Pros: How To Maximize Your Chances Of Being Admitted To A Top Business School

by Jeff Thomas, Stratus Admissions Counseling

Originally published as an expert guest post on Noodle Pros

Multiple studies show that MBA holders earn significantly more than their non-MBA counterparts. There is also evidence showing that the newly-minted MBAs see their annual compensation increase immediately after they graduate and start their first job.


Gaining admission to one of the top business schools in the United States is no small feat. The “survival rate” – or admissions rate, as it is more commonly known – for applicants to top schools like HBS, Wharton and Stanford stubbornly hovers around a measly 10%. And this survival rate does not consider how broadly and deeply talented the applicant pool is.

Every applicant that we see seems to stand out in multiple areas, such as stellar GMAT scores, killer work experience and/or a fantastic undergraduate track record. In addition, they all seem to have great instincts when it comes to presenting themselves to admissions committees. Still, the AdComs must find a way to eliminate 90 percent of the applicant pool and admit a group of all-star future MBA’s.

At this point, as a business school applicant, you might ask yourself if all of this is really worth it.

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” For instance, multiple studies show that MBA holders earn significantly more than their non-MBA counterparts. There is also evidence showing that the newly-minted MBAs see their annual compensation increase immediately after they graduate and start their first job.

In addition, MBA holders report feeling better prepared and equipped to tackle their jobs, as well as increased job satisfaction.

So, if you want make more money and feel better while doing it, then go get that MBA!

Once on that road, there are several tried-and-true approaches, strategies and tips that can help get you there, including:

Start Early

We have seen a direct correlation with our clients between when they seriously engage in the application process and whether or not they are admitted to their top choice schools. B-school applications challenge candidates to offer deep insights into themselves within a very tight word limit. This is not easy – and it takes time to even decide what to reveal about yourself, and then figure out how you are going to say that in 250 words.

Go Deep

On the surface, many applicants look alike to the admissions committees – high GMAT scores, great work experience, and engaged community service. The best way to differentiate yourself is to really explore your passions, motivations and goals. Figure out who you are as a person, then convey that in a powerful, effective manner.

Recruit Recommenders

Your recommendations can tip the scales in these tight admissions decisions. Find recommenders who are appropriately connected to you, willing to take the time to construct a strong recommendation, and help the AdCom see how you stand apart from your peers.

Get Help

The application process should not be traveled alone. Navigating a first-time process solo where most people fail is not the best decision. Find a trusted adviser who can help you efficiently, effectively and successfully. You might already have someone in your life who has the time, experience and trusted relationship that you need to navigate.  However, if not, you can have a professional admissions advisor on your side throughout the process.