From Metropolis Magazine

Q & A


Where are you from?

I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, though I feel at home in many places. After graduating from Stanford, I went to New Orleans to run an educational non-profit and teach middle and high school history. After five years, I decided to pursue my own education at New York University, where I earned an MA in Digital Media Design for Learning (formerly Educational Communication and Technology). 

What brought you to Japan? 

My best friend at NYU was a Japanese-Colombian, who was there on a Fulbright Fellowship. After graduation, he returned to Tokyo to become the production manager for a major broadband contents company. About a year later, he called me to come over for a consulting project.

Tell us a bit about what you do. 

In my admissions counseling work, I provide cross-cultural coaching, writing and interview training to a select handful of clients as they apply to top US, UK and European business and law school programs. I have also helped many clients secure Fulbright Awards.
In my off-season, I serve as a part-time lecturer at the University of Tokyo. I also provide pro bono resume and interview training to graduates of the JET Programme who will return to North America after serving as teachers and cross-cultural advisers to local Japanese municipalities and school systems.

What hurdles do Japanese students face when applying to universities abroad? 

Top schools all say they look at academics (the numbers), leadership and teamwork (career and community), personal qualities and communication skills (essays and interviews). But if they all want the same things, why are the results so varied? Schools play games, and I help translate and localize the ever-changing rules for a Japanese audience.
The recommendation process is also a hurdle. MBA admissions officers claim to lack cultural bias, but do they really expect Japanese bosses to write in-depth qualitative evaluations that praise and critique an employee based on American performance standards? I educate my clients on what the questions mean and how to coach their bosses to produce authentic, believable recommendation letters. That is probably the hardest part of my job.
Japanese students also face economic disincentives. For undergraduates, leaving Japan for college often makes it difficult to find work at a large, traditional company.
At the graduate level, many of my clients struggle to implement their MBA and law school lessons after they come back. Organizational behavior and management theories are not universal. Still, I have seen a few former clients use their overseas training to make real changes in Japan. It is inspiring.

Tell us about your favorite place in Tokyo. 

Our son was born in Mejiro, so I have a fondness for that neighborhood. We lived near the Toden Arakawa line (Tokyo’s sole remaining streetcar). On sunny afternoons, my son and I would ride the entire line, from Waseda to Minowabashi. Rolling along through hidden parts of old Tokyo always reminded me why I live in Japan.
What do you like to do in your free time? 

My great love is music, especially the bass guitar. I enjoy getting to know a culture and its language through music. Whenever we travel around Japan (or anywhere in the world), I always keep my ears open for that one true sound, that truly transcendent story. What’s yours?
- Jun 17, 2010 | Issue: 847



- Updated by Vince on 11 Mar 2016

  • I have been a full-time international graduate admissions consultant since 2002

  • Based in Tokyo, Japan, I help clients around the world 

  • In 2007, I launched VincePrep because I wanted to help the best candidates aiming for the top schools

  • To share my insights with a talented team, I rejoined Agos as Consulting Director in 2014 

  • Now, I lead 10 professionals who deliver Japan’s best graduate admissions results

  • I also serve as president-elect of The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC)

  • Given my ongoing professional and personal commitments, I accept very few clients

  • Usually, I refer prospects to one of my highly-experienced and successful colleagues   

  • If interested, please complete this intake form

  • Meanwhile, please explore my YouTube channel, and be sure to subscribe for the latest updates

  • Thank you for your interest, and best wishes for your success!



Vince's clients
admitted since 2007
Kellogg  24
Stanford 1
Tuck  8
Wharton  26

+8 Fulbright Scholars

Full list here




"You encouraged me to be genuine, and helped me find the right, true stories that captured who I am. In this way, you offer applicants not only an effective admissions advisory, but also a unique journey of self discovery and empowering dreams."

Harvard Business School Class of 2015, with Fulbright Scholarship (also admitted Stanford GSB)


"First, you limit the number of your clients so that you can maintain the high quality of your services while many other MBA consultants accept clients almost beyond their capacity. Second, you are really great 'catalyst.' Each question you asked me made me think and thus deepened my stories. Thanks to you, I was able to come up with excellent ideas that I could never come up with alone."

Kellogg Class of 2015 (also admitted Berkeley Haas)


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