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Donna Bauman

MBA Admissions Consultant

Stratus Admissions Counseling

North Carolina

United States

Net Promoter Score: 9

Consultant Bio

I have a competitive, sports-driven mindset that I use to help my clients win on the MBA admissions field. The tools I leverage are my admissions knowledge (15 years in MBA admissions at UNC Kenan-Flagler), compelling storytelling/brand positioning experience (from account management roles working on the national advertising campaigns for brands including Maxwell House Coffee, CorningWare, Pyrex, Corelle and Hanes), and empathy (my clients need to know I care before they care what I know). I use all this knowledge to help my clients leave no stone unturned in presenting their most compelling narrative. My clients have been named Forte and Consortium Fellows and have been offered scholarships totaling over $1.2 million in the past 2 years. Additional experience working for two start-up food ventures has given me insight into the challenges entrepreneurs face and new ideas about building strong partnerships with my clients. I graduated from Kellogg for my MBA so I believe in the importance of collaboration and growth at every life stage. I received my undergraduate degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and I am a big Tar Heel sports fan. I look forward to coaching you to great results.

Company Information

stratus admissions counselling

With Stratus Admissions Counseling, you don’t just work closely with an experienced MBA admissions consultant to optimize every part of your application.

You work with an entire team of specialists who provide extensive feedback throughout the process.

From crafting your essays to conducting mock interviews, this team-based approach ensures you stand out and get accepted into your dream business school.

We’ve successfully worked with applicants on Harvard Business School admissions, Stanford MBA admissions, and Wharton MBA admissions, among others.

Menu of Services and Associated Costs

Comprehensive MBA admissions consulting services with a team of dedicated MBA consultants, primarily from top schools with a minimum of two years admissions experience. The team is made up of a Primary MBA Consultant, Senior Strategist, Secondary Reviewer, Qualified Proofreader, and Account Manager. Comprehensive guidance is offered per school to maximize chances of admission.
Consulting Includes:

School selection

Strategy Building

Profile & Resume Evaluation/Suggestions

Recommender Selection/Coaching

Essay Outlining

Essay Drafting

Essay Feedback

Essay Proofreading


Interview Prep

Scholarship Negotiation and Waitlist Strategy (if needed)

Senior Package

1 School: $6,050

2 Schools: $7,950

3 Schools: $9,750

Feature 4+ School Guarantee*

4 Schools: $11,450

5 Schools: $13,050

6 Schools: $14,550

7 Schools: $15,950

School Add-On: $2,100

Location: North Carolina, United States



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P&Q Consultant Reviews

  • Amazing Experience With Donna!
    1 week ago
    Working with Donna has been an amazing experience from beginning to end. Right from the start, she helped me identify my story and my goals and we worked closely together along the entire process. Donna is super responsive and always ready to help. Her insights are extremely valuable and she has a very personalized approach. Applying for Round 2, Donna made herself available during the holiday break to support me in my application. The results speak of themselves: 2 acceptances (Anderson with Scholarship! & Tuck) and 4 waitlisted (LBS, Haas, Stern, Fuqua). I highly recommend Donna as a consultant and it was a pleasure working with her!
    Class of 2023 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Admitted With scholarship!
    3 weeks ago
    I had a somewhat unconventional application being an international student with an average-ish undergraduate GPA, a decent GRE score, and 4 jobs in 5 years due to traveling around the world. Donna motivated me to get a higher GRE score and guided me from the ground up in terms of my career direction and school alignment. The discovery exercises were very beneficial to help you explore what you want to do and how that matches up to each school. In a competitive COVID year I managed to get three round 2 responses; including a scholarship. I am very excited and thankful for Donna's help which definitely lifted my applications. The essay team was amazing!!
    Class of 2023 Admit
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  • Donna Is Simply AMAZING To Work With
    4 weeks ago
    TLDR version: Donna and Stratus are just incredible to work with and I could not be happier with my outcome of being admitted to Yale SOM. Now the longer version: I have to admit, mostly due to the high price of a typical multi-school package, I was seriously considering not using a consultant at all (in hindsight, that would have been devastating!!). Once I talked myself into hiring a consultant, I spent more time than I would like to admit reading these very reviews and obsessing over ’top consultant lists.’ I finally came up with a shortlist of ~5 consultants to have intro meetings with and quite frankly was underwhelmed with most as they were much less personal and much more transactional than I had ...
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    Class of 2023 Admit
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  • Donna Is One Of A Kind
    3 months ago
    Donna and the rest of the Stratus team were a joy to work with. Donna's assistance was crucial in making sure that I submitted the best possible application and helped me find tutors to increase my quantitative GMAT score. Her honesty, organizational prowess, and experience within the field were what helped me get into my target schools and set clear goals for myself. I will not hesitate to recommend their services to anybody that is going through the MBA application process as I know she is the best available consultant on the market.
    Hamilton Connors
    MBA Class of 2023 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • A True Partner Making You Shine
    3 months ago
    First, I worked with Donna for two schools and got 1 admitted (Darden) and 1 invited to the interview (Wharton) all thanks to her help (given my low test score, you could tell how she was great to make my application shine) When it comes to my decision making, I wasn't sure whether I really needed to get some help from a consultant (specifically when it has a high price tag per hour). But now I can 100% assure that working with Donna is absolutely worth the investment. She's super responsive all the time during the process and you will see how this is important given a tight timeline with the MBA application process. Also, she made herself available whenever I need her help so ...
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    Class of 2023 Admit
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  • Awesome Experience With Donna!
    4 months ago
    Donna is an excellent consultant and I would highly recommend her to anyone thinking about getting their MBA! She was an incredible resource and added significant value to my applications. I bought the comprehensive package and would absolutely say it was the right move. Donna helped guide me through the full process, from my introspection exercises to thoughtfully creating a story around my MBA journey and finally helping me prepare for interviews. She was extremely responsive and went above and beyond to make sure she got back to me quickly when we were bumping up against application deadlines. Most importantly, I could tell that she was genuinely excited for me when I finally got the call that I had been accepted at Columbia!
    Class of 2023 Admit
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  • Best Investment!
    9 months ago
    Working with Donna 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 ...
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    Class of 2022 Admit
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  • Best Decision I Ever Made
    11 months ago
    When I decided I was ready to apply to business school, I knew I was going to need some help navigating the process. From our initial call, I knew I had made the right decision. She was incredibly thoughtful, sharp, and eager to get started. She carefully listened to my ideas and brought her professional perspective that gave us a great road map. Alone, the insight she brought to the table was worth the cost. Throughout the process, I felt her commitment to my success, and genuinely knew she was rooting for me. I was confident that I put my best applications forward. Although I remain waitlisted, I have been pleasantly surprised by how willing she is to respond to emails with quick questions. Even ...
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    Class of 2022 Waitlist
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  • Amazing Experience
    11 months ago
    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.
    Class of 2021 Admit
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  • 10x'd My Application
    12 months ago
    Donna sincerely _cared_ about me and my application for B-school. From the first 30-minute free "introductory" call, I started learning more than I had in hours of online research. She was very knowledgable of all the schools I was looking at and had suggestions for others that matched my interests. Yes, she is expensive (the package deal worked out to about $380/hour) which is quite the sticker shock. But when I considered that my application improved so much that I increased my chances at merit scholarships, this service will pay for itself. She is incredibly efficient and fair with her time tracking. In the five hour package I bought, we covered every aspect of my application and interview preparation so that I went from still drafting ...
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    Class of 2022 Applicant
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  • Donna Is Supportive & Cares. Worth the investment!
    1 year ago
    I was able to get accepted to McCombs with Donna's help! She talked me through my goals and really cared about my story. She was willing to answer any questions and was very prompt in all her responses. She gave succinct edits to my application essays. She provided recorded mock interviews and her feedback was extremely helpful. I was able to ace all my interviews. She prepared me with the exact questions the schools asked me! Most importantly, I felt supported and she calmed my worries. Donna truly cares about her client’s outcome and that is what sets her apart from most.
    Ashley Brooks
    MBA Class of 2022 Admit
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Don’t Think Twice - Donna is Truly The Best!
    1 year ago
    When Donna and I started working together, I expected this to be a typical consultant-client relationship where I am provided with guidance and feedback on my applications. What I didn't expect was for me to learn so much about myself and gain significant clarity through our conversations. Overall experience: It was evident to me that Donna has a breadth of knowledge on MBA schools and programs, and that she is committed to keeping herself up-to-date with school-specific information. I particularly appreciated her nuanced inputs and notes on outlines and essays, and the support I received at least very stage of the process, including brainstorming, mock video essay and interview sessions. Donna not only encouraged and helped me reflect deeply and think critically about my strengths and goals ...
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    Class of 2022 Admit
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  • Donna helped me put my best self forward
    1 year ago
    Donna was exactly what I needed during the grueling application process. She really challenged me to dive deep into introspection while taking me through the right exercises and questions that helped me create my MBA story. Not only was this incredibly helpful for crafting strong applications, but it's also helped me hone in on areas I actually want to pursue in my career post-MBA. I had a general idea when I met Donna, but her guidance helped me gain clarity on my story and the path I want to take. Background: Donna is a former MBA admissions officer at UNC Keenan-Flagler and MBA grad of Kellogg. Those two pieces of experience combined helps her give an invaluable insight into the MBA experience and a unique perspective ...
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    Class of 2022 Admit
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  • Going with Donna is a No-Brainer!
    1 year ago
    Before deciding to go with Donna, I spoke with 10 different admissions consultants. Through these conversations I realized that I needed to work with someone who really believed in my story and who could help me overcome some of the weaker parts of my application. After my initial chat with Donna, I could tell that she really cared about all her clients and I could trust her to guide me through my application process. Here are some of my takeaways from working with Donna: Experience: Donna was able to leverage her admissions knowledge (from her time working as an MBA admissions officer) as she gave me feedback and comments on my essay. It helped me understand who my audience was and what their expectations are for ...
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    Class of 2021 Admit
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  • Donna + Stratus = Admitted to M7
    2 years ago
    The admission process is complex, long, and has lots of hidden, unevident aspects - getting some help from professionals would be a wise move for many prospective applicants. I would strongly recommend Stratus to anyone who needs help in applying to top-tier business schools. When it comes to succeeding in getting accepted to M7 there is simply no other company that would go above and beyond in supporting you as much as would Stratus. Before choosing this company I have done quite a selection process of different admission consultants - Stratus stood out among all due to their sharp focus on helping me as their client and their extensive expertise. During the whole process, I have never second-guessed my decision to go with them as Donna Bauman ...
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    Oleg Galperin
    MBA Class of 2021 Admit
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  • Thank you, Donna & Stratus
    2 years ago
    Before writing about Donna, I’ll say it’s important to know what you’re looking to get out of an MBA consultant. I began the process with Donna with only 40 days until round 2 submission, so not only was I looking for guidance on school selection, application strategy, resume and essay review, and interview prep, I also needed a project manager of sorts to clearly lay out deadlines and allow me to use the little non-working time I had most efficiently. I had talked to several consultants and it was clear that Stratus had the full package. When I first talked to Donna I knew we would work well together (while the Stratus process is great, your relationship and ability to work with your individual consultant ...
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    Class of 2021 Admit
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  • Highly Recommend
    2 years ago
    As a non-traditional candidate, I was really nervous about making my experience seem relevant to b school admissions committees. After searching around for several different consultancy services, I decided to go with Stratus, both for their competitive price and their clearly structured plan to help candidates achieve their business school goals. I was lucky enough to be placed with Donna, who really made my experience applying to business school eye-opening and interesting. We began with an introductory call where Donna really looked beyond my CV to see what was at the heart of my decision to apply, and made multiple suggestions on schools I previously hadn’t considered. After that, the path was very clear: we had regular deadlines, lots of e-mail communication and several calls ...
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    Class of 2021 Admit
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  • Best investment and truly cares about your success
    2 years ago
    I worked with Donna on a 4-school package and couldn't be happier with the results. Donna knows the ins and outs of the process and so much more. We worked on my key themes (that become building blocks of the application), school selection, a resume revamp, and created a winning strategy. Everything was methodical yet never did I feel that the relationship was "transactional". Donna truly puts herself in your shoes and becomes a mentor. The perk is that you also get a team behind Donna, including other senior consultants and school-specific consultants, to provide a comprehensive impression of your application. Amazing experience with Donna and the Stratus team. Super fast response time and always on top of things. I got into several dream schools ...
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    Nancy Zhong
    MBA Admit
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  • A pleasure working with Donna
    3 years ago
    I worked with Donna on my US MBA applications. Donna exemplified the most essential quality needed in a consultant – being invested in the client’s success. She worked beyond the time limits to give my application the best chance I could possibly get. I worked with Donna on my school selection, essays and resume. Compared to many other consultants that I have met, she showed intimate knowledge of most schools (gained through school visits) and advised me on possibilities of cracking a given school keeping in mind my post-MBA career ambitions. On essays, she helped shape a compelling story in a manner, which only an experienced consultant could have done. But most of all, the killer-punch was the resume. She helped me completely reshape my ...
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    Class of 2020 Applicant
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  • One Of The Best Decision I Have Ever Made!!!
    3 years ago
    I had the unique experience of working with Donna and Stratus for two application seasons. In 2016, Donna helped me get accepted by three elite MBA programs. However, unforeseeable circumstances forced me to postpone my plans to pursue an MBA. Because I had such a great experience in the past, when I was ready to reapply, I contacted Donna immediately to ask her if she was willing to help me again. This had proven to be one of the best decisions that I have ever made, as I was accepted by five elite MBA programs this year with scholarships from four of them. During this journey, Donna was always super responsive, even during weekends and holiday seasons; the average turnaround time was around 12 hours. She ...
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    Class of 2020 Admit
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  • Highly Recommended!
    3 years ago
    I had a really great experience working with Donna Bauman. She was exceptionally encouraging and supportive throughout my application journey. She was always willing to provide helpful, honest, and timely feedback (within 24 hours) and was able to be flexible to accommodate with our time zone differences for interview preparations. Most importantly, she really took the time to understand my unique background and aspirations and was a true advocate to ensure that I conveyed my unique story across my applications. I would highly recommend Donna and Stratus to anyone looking for an admissions consultant!
    All reviews are independently verified by Poets&Quants staff.
  • Great Experience, Top Notch Advice, Personal Touch
    3 years ago
    I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical about using an MBA admissions consultant. I went back and forth about the idea for at least six months while I did research and after talking with several consultants I finally went with Stratus. I couldn’t have been happier with my choice. Donna Bauman was the best thing that happened to me along the way to applying to business school. Donna took the time to not only help me with the application process but also to help me make some difficult personal decisions about where to apply, decisions that were greatly assisted by her own personal anecdotes and experiences. Through a clear and concise pipeline we worked together every step of the way, with ...
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    - Zack Hodgin
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  • Top 5 Program Admit
    3 years ago
    I recommend working with Stratus Admissions to anyone who is serious about applying to top MBA programs. I began working with my consultant, Donna, through the MBA Early Edge Package about 18 months before I applied to schools. Through the Early Edge Package, we identified opportunities to strengthen my application profile with enough time to make important improvements. Many of the improvements became core pieces of my essays and interview answers. Since Donna and I had already been working together for a year through the Early Edge Package, we were in a great position to hit the ground running when essays and applications were released. Donna was very responsive, genuinely interested in my success and provided excellent, school-specific feedback. Her experience as as a full-time ...
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    - Andrew Foster
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