Susan Cera, Senior Admissions Counselor

Susan Cera

Academic Background

Dartmouth College, AB
Fuqua School of Business, MBA

Area of Expertise

Admissions process, software development process, consulting, and product/project management.

Work Experience

Prior to joining Stratus, Susan worked on the Admissions Committee at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business for nearly a decade reviewing thousands of applications. She was responsible for identifying top candidates out of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and thirty-plus Asian nations. Susan also served the read team for the Indian candidates for over five years and evaluated applications for Duke’s part-time MBA programs (GEMBA, WEMBA and CCMBA).

Susan has deep experience in technology product management having worked for several software and eCommerce companies. After completing her MBA, Susan learned the ropes of product management at Lotus Development prior to its acquisition by IBM in 1996. Susan joined Open Market, a VC-funded eCommerce startup highlighted in HBS case Open Market Inc.: E-Commerce Wars, as a product manager working closely with customers to understand user needs related to selling their products and services on the Internet. In 1998, post-IPO, she served as director of consulting services developing customized solutions for B2C and B2B companies integrating their back-end infrastructure with internet-based sales platforms. She was one of the first ten employees at UPromise, a start-up about which there are several HBS cases, where she identified customer needs and worked hand-in-hand with the development team to craft the initial direction for the service that has helped thousands of families save for college.

Susan earned her AB in economics modified with computer science. During her time at Dartmouth, she participated in varsity soccer as well as Varsity Track and Field. For three years out of Dartmouth, Susan worked at Charles River Associates, an economics consulting firm focusing on anti-trust litigation work.

While earning her MBA, Susan founded Marketing Week in Boston, was captain of the MBA Soccer Club, chaired corporate fundraising for the MBA Games for Special Olympics, and served as an Alumni Liaison.

A little more in-depth

What I like most about being a Stratus MBA Admissions Counselor:

Gaining the trust of my clients, so that I can tailor my coaching/mentoring style to meet their individual needs and helping them identify the MBA program that will set them up to successfully meet their goals.

One piece of advice I would share with someone who is applying to business school:

I encourage clients to look beyond the rankings for a program that offers the culture, curriculum, and clubs that will help them build the knowledge, skills, and relationships to get them from where they are today to where they want to be post-MBA.

Highlight or greatest accomplishment while working with Stratus:

I was thrilled to learn that one of my clients, who came to me with a list of about fifteen programs, pared the list down and applied to four schools and was admitted to her top choice school with a Dean’s Fellowship covering full tuition.

3 Random Facts:

  • After watching Charlie’s Angels and Agent 99 on Get Smart and visiting the FBI building in 8th grade, I wanted to be an FBI agent. I actually interviewed with the CIA out of undergrad before withdrawing my application when I accepted another job (at CRA). Just one letter off.
  • I watched the US Women’s soccer team win the gold medal in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
  • Before starting business school, I drove around the US for three weeks visiting twenty-eight states and taking cooking classes in New Orleans and Santa Fe. Chicken Creole anyone?

Blogs by Susan

CPA to MBA: Conduct a Pre-Business School Audit

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9 Tips for International Candidates Applying to Top US MBA Programs

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October Tips to Get Ready for MBA Round 2 Submissions

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2.7 GPA – Show Stopper for an MBA?

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5 Tips for Indian MBA Applicants to Build a Leadership Profile

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Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things: Do’s and Don’ts

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MBA Preparation Spring Clean Up – Seven Tips for April

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Am I Too Old for an MBA? Four Reasons to Consider Alternative MBAs

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Six Things to do in March to Prepare for MBA Applications

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Build Your MBA Leadership Profile Through Community Involvement

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Top Six Things to Do While on an MBA Wait List

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How the Admissions Committee Builds a MBA Class

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