Sia Admissions Admissions Consulting Reviews

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Susan (Sia)
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13 Reviews
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October 25, 2022

Joined: Oct 25, 2022

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
730 Q49 V41 (Online)

Susan is more than an MBA consultant. She's a coach.


I could not speak more highly of Susan Berishaj and her MBA admission consulting services. Coming from a non-traditional background with a blip in my professional experience, I was worried about the prospects of getting into business school. With Susan's help, I was able to interview with Stanford GSB and was accepted to 6 of my 7 target schools (Wharton, Yale, Kellogg, Booth, Berkeley-Haas, and NYU), with full-ride scholarship from NYU, significant scholarships from Yale, Kellogg, Booth, and Berkeley.

After interviewing a dozen MBA consultants, I narrowed it down to Susan and another seasoned consultant who had worked in the industry for 10+ years. Within 2 weeks, I decided to switch to Susan because she took the time to call and understand what she could do better next time to win my business. I got the sense that Susan held herself to a standard of excellence that no other consultant carried for themselves. Because she works on a very personal level, she sees each client as a person, not as an upsell opportunity.

On an intangible level, Susan lives and breathes the term "mission-driven." She actively listens to every detail of your story, helps you shape your short and long-term career goals post-MBA, gives honest feedback that you may not always want to hear, and sticks with you every step of the way. During moments of vulnerability, such as a terrible essay, bad professional experience or weak test score, she supports you with an optimistic mindset and constructive feedback. Her ultimate goal is to elevate your story to the best version it can be.

On a tactical level, Susan is incredibly methodical in her approach. She takes the time to set up a strategy call, reviewed my resume as many times as necessary to get it to her level of perfection, and edited every draft of my essays with careful thought and care. She consistently made herself available for Brainstorm calls, weekly check-ins to ensure I had the right support and accountability. When it came time for the interview preparation process, we went through 3-5 rounds of interview preparation for each school. I felt so prepared by the end of the process, that my confidence naturally showed through.

I could not recommend Susan enough. As you consider investing in an MBA coach, remember that Susan will actually invest in you to be the best version of yourself in your applications. She is a lifelong friend and mentor now.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
April 27, 2022

Joined: Apr 27, 2022

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
770 Q47 V51

Susan is an exceptional MBA admissions consultant!


I cannot recommend Susan enough as an MBA admissions consultant. With Susan’s help, I got in to all five schools that I applied to (Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Haas, and LBS) with several scholarships including my top choice school. Susan led me through a thorough and structured process from start to finish, including personal story and goal development, school selection, application development, recommender support, interview practice, and even acceptance decisions and early recruitment strategizing. Susan was truly talented in her ability to identify a rich and thoughtful application story that was true to myself and my passions – a task that seemed daunting at first. Her feedback is succinct and effective, and she was willing to dedicate whatever time necessary to ensure my best application.

I chose to use an MBA consultant because I entered the application process slightly late and was overwhelmed by the amount of work in front of me. Susan’s role in distilling this work into actionable steps and helping to guide me through the decisions and priorities was invaluable.

Susan provided extensive, detailed knowledge specific to each of my 5 schools to help tailor to unique preferences, notable offerings/professors, and school culture. This encyclopedic knowledge of each school was invaluable in customizing each application and resonating with the schools’ interests.

I strongly recommend Susan as an MBA consultant to anyone applying. She offers specialized skills at each step in the process as well as an amazing ability to maintain the bigger picture and guide you through the process from start to finish (and even further than that).

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
April 09, 2022

Joined: Feb 10, 2020

Posts: 0

Kudos: 5

Verified score:
680 Q50 V31 (Online)

Extremely personalized experience


I was a re-applicant, applying to the same M7 schools that had rejected me in the previous year. I did manage to get some interviews during my first application cycle but fell short.

After the rejections, I wasn’t too sure on what I had to do differently the second time around. So, I decided to research for consultants and found Susan from Sia Admissions.
With Susan’s help, I obtained an acceptance letter to an M7 school.

It was a lot of work. We went through roughly 10 drafts before each essay and resume submission, and numerous practice interview sessions. But I am glad I worked with Susan because she possesses all the technical tools of a great admissions consultant, in addition to her strong ability in empathizing with applicants.

What surprised me the most about Susan was the huge amount of effort she put into understanding my full story from my perspective. We spent much time on self-reflection and this allowed us to go deeper into the stories from my first applications and even utilize stories that I dismissed as ‘useless’ in the past.

After celebrating my acceptance, she keeps in touch with me to help prepare for the upcoming school year and is there to help whenever I have questions.

I highly recommend her if you are looking for a personalized experience in the MBA application process.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
August 18, 2021

Joined: Jul 31, 2021

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

I got accepted on my top choice!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I had a great experience working with Susan. Not only was I accepted in my first choice, but I enjoyed the entire application process.
In February 2020, I decided to apply to 3 of the top MPP programs (Oxford, LSE and Cambridge). I was overwhelmed by the number of requirements for each school and confused about the entire process, so I started looking for help. I interviewed over 10 consultants and when I spoke with Susan, I knew I wanted to work with her. She is passionate about helping people achieve their goals, listens to them and understands them. This was very important as she was able to help me reflect my goals throughout my application. Even though I knew what I wanted, I didn’t know how to put that on paper, and she helped me to do it. She has a methodology in which I learned what the universities were looking for and how would that fit my purpose, increasing the chances of acceptance. We did a lot of work before we even started drafting the essays. This included creating a strategy for each of the applications and a timeline. While working on the essays, we had many iterations. All of Susan’s comments were very valuable to improve the content of my essays and to be able to include all the important things in a limited number of words. Although my programs didn’t require an interview, she recommended scheduling calls with relevant professors and alumni and helped me prepare for those calls. She also helped me select my recommenders based on what they needed to reflect on the recommendation letters. At the end of the process, she thoroughly reviewed each application before submitting them. I was accepted into two of the three programs I applied to. After the application process she continued following up on the results and after I got accepted, she has been helping me a lot to prepare to start the program.
In addition to the amazing experience I had working with her and the perfect results, I really enjoyed sharing this process with her. She knows how to listen and motivate you and if she agrees to work with you it is because she truly believes in your dreams and does everything possible to help you achieve them.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
June 11, 2021

Joined: Aug 31, 2020

Posts: 1

Kudos: 0

Professional. Knowledgeable. Personal


I purchased the partner (comprehensive) package for the Wharton, Harvard and Stanford deferred programs.
Despite engaging Susan only the week before the Wharton deadline, she managed to craft a solid working plan for us. She worked with me even throughout the weekend and we managed to complete 7 essay drafts, a CV, including optional essays within the time constraint. Prior to this engagement, I spoke to several consultants who decided that either it was too much effort, or too little time. Susan made it work.
When it came to interviews, her preparation was thorough and assiduous. She practiced several mock interviews with me and we practiced contingency scenarios for Wharton's unique TBD.
For Harvard and Stanford, she similarly spared no expense and effort; starting the next application swiftly after completing the other.
On the personal side of things, Susan is dedicated to her craft and is a great story teller. She is able to suss, and flesh out salient points from experiences I dismissed as 'boring' or 'useless'. She is also a great listener and has a cheery disposition that makes working with her a relaxed affair.
I would unequivocally recommend Susan to anyone who is seeking a competent and personable consultant. I wish her continued success and definitely rate her highly.

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February 02, 2021

Joined: Mar 25, 2020

Posts: 0

Kudos: 2

Would Recommend!


Coming from a non-business background, I was looking for a consultant to help me with all aspects of my MBA applications. I spoke with four companies before choosing Sia Admissions. Susan’s personalized approach sold me.

On our first call, Susan promised to be there every step of the way, and she meant it! From the initial stages of getting to know me and crafting my school list in the early summer to celebrating my acceptance in December, she was always on my side.

As a consultant, Susan is very meticulous. She goes through several drafts of all of your documents until they are perfect. She will constantly push you to do your best work and make sure you are telling your unique story. For example, we did eight drafts of my resume alone. I definitely got frustrated at times with how much she pushed me (re-writing the same paragraph over and over is not fun!), but I knew she was just doing it to make my applications as strong as possible. For interviews, she offers multiple mock practice sessions for each school to ensure you are fully prepared. Her all-inclusive package is truly all-inclusive.

Long story short, I am very glad I worked with Susan. An MBA consultant is an enormous investment, but with Susan’s help, I gained acceptance to my top-choice program with a partial scholarship.

Helping applicants showcase their strengths and tell their story is Susan’s genuine passion. If you are looking for both a coach and cheerleader on this crazy journey, I highly recommend her!

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January 24, 2021

Joined: Jan 24, 2021

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
750 Q50 V42

Very worth it


Having Susan by my side proved valuable throughout my application process. She helped me overcome an absolutely terrible GPA (<2.7) to gain admittance at my dream M7 school.

When I initially reached out to several MBA consultants, Susan was one of the very few who was willing to work with me despite my glaring academic weakness. During our first conversation, she took the time to closely evaluate my profile and was honest about both my strengths and weaknesses. From the start, I already had a feeling I would be comfortable working with Susan. She gave me very thoughtful advice even before I officially signed up for her service.

Once I signed up, Susan made me go through a very comprehensive self-reflection process. I learned so much about myself – my personal journey, motivations, achievements. This set the foundation for crafting extremely deep and personal stories that would later pique the interest of 3 top MBA programs.

Susan constantly challenged me throughout the essay drafting process. I would usually write what I would assume were very compelling initial drafts, but Susan would leave comments such as “Why does this matter?” or “Explain what you mean” on certain sections. I would sometimes get frustrated, but I knew why she would do it – these are the same questions adcoms would ask while reading my work, so I have to make sure my essays are as clear as possible for them to understand. The final versions were all clearly stronger and more compelling than the initial versions, and I attribute that to Susan’s guidance.

Susan also helped me practice my interviews by making sure I’d be ready with responses that were true to myself and at the same time, speak to the school’s culture. I felt I gave a strong interview with my top school, and again, this is because of multiple practice sessions with Susan.

Overall, I had an amazing experience with Susan. I couldn’t have done it without her support.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
April 03, 2020

Joined: Apr 20, 2019

Posts: 4

Kudos: 10

I highly recommend Susan from Sia Admissions. She helped me overcome mediocre academic stats to get into my #1 school. It has been a fantastic experience.

As a result: I have received offers of admission to Wharton, Stern, Darden, McCombs.

I could not imagine going through this process without Susan's help.

I decided to work with her because I knew I was taking a significant risk in changing careers. I wanted to maximize my opportunity and limit my risk of failure.

I interviewed a couple of other larger MBA consulting companies and found that they were competent, but they had more on an assembly line approach. I would go from station to station (each with a different person) depending on what part of the process I was conducting.

I wanted someone that I could connect with and would understand my situation. I am transitioning careers and didn't know what I wanted to do after business school. I didn't have a clear narrative of who I was and why I would be an asset to a business school.

I went with Susan because I got the impression she was going to be with me through the whole process and help me develop who I would be after leaving the military.

Susan did just that and then some. She has been available every step of the way.

School Selection: We spoke for hours on the phone. She got to know me and what my goals were. She recommended a variety of schools: reach, target, and safety schools. With these schools, she gave the reasons why, why not, and how it would fit my personality.

Application Development: She spent time helping me put together a narrative on how I would contribute to the school, what I wanted to do short term, and what my long-term goals were. As I would write the essays and resumes, she would take the time to help me get it right. It was important to me to make sure that I was representing myself honestly while communicating in a manner that would connect with the admissions committee. I think every document I submitted was the result of 8 or more drafts. She took the time to make sure I was submitting the best application possible.

Interview Prep: Every time I would get selected to interview, she would send me a series of interview questions that I could expect for each interview. We would then do a call where she would explain to me what was unique about that school's interview process and how I should prepare. Afterward, we would do an unlimited number of mock interviews. For each actual interview, we spent several hours on skype running through mock interviews.

Decision: She has been available through this whole process, always giving me advice on the advantages and disadvantages of each school and things to consider before making my final decision. Additionally, she is helping me apply for other scholarships and preparing myself to enter business school this fall.

I chose to have her help me with all my applications. It was expensive, but it made sense to me because I didn't have any other resources that I trusted, guiding me through this process. My career change is one of the most significant risks I've taken. As a result, I saw any avoidable mistake as unacceptable, so I wanted someone to help me ensure I was doing each little thing right.

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March 26, 2019

Joined: Sep 24, 2011

Posts: 86

Kudos: 79

Self-reported Score:
380 Q28 V15

Why you should go with Susan & SIA Admissions


I have tried to make this review informative, clear and most of all authentic because no one has time to read BS. Please PM me if I can be of any help. I recommend Susan and SIA because:

1. Susan went above and beyond to help me. She accommodated me in ways no other consultant will. She understood my life circumstances at the time and was lenient with her service fee and terms.

2. Susan helped me with the entire applications. Such as essay, post-MBA goals, resume, short answer questions, data questions, optional essay, extracurricular activities, awards, relevant coursework, etc. The edits and iterations will go on until each of the application components meet Susan's standard, and her standards are high. After all sections of the application are complete; she will review the whole application and make corrections. Trust me. It takes a lot of iterations, emails, and phone calls before the application is finally complete. Tip: Make sure to either ask a family member or hire a proofreader to double check spellings, grammar, and meaning because sometimes with so much back and forth things can get overlooked.

3. Susan also helped me in my communication such as emails, phone calls and in-person interactions with my target school’s admissions team, professors, and current students as well as alums. She also helped me navigate my way through attending events at my target school.

4. Susan will not write for you, but she will unfold your deepest layers to dig out what matters to you and why are you writing what you are writing. She will force you to add depth in anything you write. Yes at times it will be annoying, but when it's all said and done. You will be thankful and happy that glad Susan asked those questions. Tip: Tell her your complete story as is. All in one go with no fabrication. She will help you project your story in a way that’s beneficial to you.

5. Look there is a sea of consultants out there, and some of them have hundreds of reviews on GMAT club, have glamorous websites of their own, and have ex-admissions officers working for them. If that’s what you are looking for, then SIA is not for you. You might have heard this quote “ Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” Susan will not treat you like just another number in her client list; you will be a priority. At least that’s what I felt.

6. Frankly, when you call one of these big companies, none of these companies will let you speak to the person who you will actually be working with. Additionally, Some of these well-known consultants won't even work with you if you have low Gmat score, have not worked for a well-known firm and have below average GPA and then they tute about their high admission success rate. I mean, to begin with, they buy gold, and then say that anything we touch turns into gold. I am not trying to undermine the credibility of well-known consultants or companies. They must have their systems and criteria, and for some of the MBA applicants, it might be a better choice to work with a famous admission consultant. Anyways, In the case of SIA Admissions, I directly spoke with Susan, and she is a listener. Look, At the end of the day, it's your application, and you will have the final say. I can tell you all the great things about Susan, but it's you who has to see if Susan can help you prepare an incredible application, prepare you for an interview and give you the time and attention that you need. She did it for me so I think she would do it for you as well. My advice: Give Susan a call. At most, it will be 15mins of your life, and in this long journey of GMAT, Application prep and an MBA degree we can spare 15mins. Just don’t go by reviews and other flashy things these admission consultants show you. See how you feel once you communicate with them.

7. This MBA journey for some of us could be long, tedious and demanding. So try to find someone who can listen to you, pick you up when you are down and guide you on what to write when you are clueless. Keep your head up because one fine day when this GMAT, MBA applications and interviews are over you will step into the doors of your dream school as an MBA Candidate!! Yeah!! Do I see a hopeful smile on your face? Now, stop dreaming and get on with your search and let's get to work!

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February 17, 2019

Joined: Jan 11, 2018

Posts: 6

Kudos: 6

Verified score:
750 Q48 V47

Excellent experience and very personalized. Highly recommend!


I highly recommend Sia Admissions and Susan. It was a great experience from the very start to finish. After working with Susan, I was admitted to one of my target schools with a large scholarship.

To start off, let me explain that this was my second year of applications. In my first year, I applied to eight schools and received zero interviews. With my non-standard background and weak undergrad GPA, I was left questioning if an MBA was feasible for me. During conversations with other admissions consulting companies, I was either told to apply for lower-ranked schools or had a generally negative review of my previous application materials. Susan was different. She was immediately talking about ways I could improve my essays and displayed personal interest in helping me succeed in this application cycle.

She helped me articulate my values and strengths early in the process and, perhaps most importantly for me, she helped identify key stories that demonstrated these values. These were pulled from experiences that I had not included in my previous applications and provided excellent insight into who I am. When I struggled with certain prompts, she went above and beyond. This included reaching out to learn about me from my spouse to find stories that I would not have identified myself. I really cannot emphasize enough how much Susan takes a personal interest in your success.

I was never uncomfortable during the process and truly felt that Susan helped me put my best foot forward while making certain it was my voice and words in the essays. If you are hoping for an incredibly responsive, personalized, and insightful admissions consultant, I highly recommend Sia Admissions and Susan. This was a great experience with great results!

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