MBA Admissions & Beyond
Since 2002, I have been one of the world's most in-demand and successful graduate admissions consultants
- My service (hosted at VincePrep.com and owned by CityStages LLC) reflects 30 years of professional experience in teaching critical thinking, improvisational theatre, storytelling, and instructional design
- I help clients around the world get admitted to MBA programs at HBS, Stanford, Columbia, INSEAD, MIT, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, Wharton, LBS, and other top programs
- I have also helped clients get admitted to public policy programs at Harvard Kennedy School and other leading programs
- On the law side, I have helped clients get admitted to LLM programs at Stanford, Berkeley, UPenn, Columbia and others
- Perhaps my favorite clients are those pursuing design degrees; I helped the first Japanese admitted to Stanford d.school and MIT IDM
- I have helped clients get admitted to other top programs including the prestigious Masters in Design program at Chicago's IIT Institute of Design
- If you are interested in design programs, please contact me. I am happy to refer former clients who secured admissions offers to these programs with my assistance
- Overall, I aim to provide the world's best graduate-school admissions support to a select handpicked group of global leaders
- I also help a select handful of former clients engage stakeholders and advance their careers by preparing for TED Talks & funding pitches
- Please, contact me to learn more
What is Vince's consulting style?
- To quote a top tennis coach, “I’ve got your back"
- During our sessions, I try to maintain the right balance between asking good questions and listening to your answers
- I also try to avoid providing unsolicited advice; that puts the onus on you to ask my opinion when you want it; I know I have a reputation as a somewhat difficult personality, and I work hard to avoid pushing my opinions on you or your story; I know I am not always right and greatly enjoy being proven wrong; I try to keep a beginners mind, despite being sought out for my experience
- Ultimately, we both seek the same result
- I want to help you identify the best mix of stories that will maximize your chances of being interviewed and admitted
- I often ask, “How can you connect with your admissions office readers on an emotional level?”
- Applicants who lack deep writing training often struggle to tell stories on paper with the same passion they use to tell stories in person
- Adding emotional depth and rich detail to your written application materials will help the admissions officers imagine your classroom and event-based contributions
How can Vince help me connect with readers?
Since 2002, I have helped nearly 500 applicants get admitted to their dream schools. If we agree to work together, I will help you:
- Determine your relative strengths and weaknesses compared to past applicants
- Read between the lines to determine why admissions officers ask particular questions
- Guide you step-by-step towards success using time-tested methods & customized creativity
- Research the current admissions environment at your target schools
- Provide an objective view of your materials, as adcoms are likely to view them
- Pull out your best performance, like a personal fitness trainer, or athletic coach
- Reflect industry trends into your goals and accomplishments to convince non-expert readers
- Structure stories so outsiders can understand the cultural context of your achievements
- Motivate you to keep pace with an ambitious but realistic application schedule
What is comprehensive consulting?
- school selection strategy (where to apply and when)
- resume creation and editing (what to include on a one-page CV or resume)
- essay brainstorming, outlining, writing, revising, and editing (which stories to tell to which schools)
- recommendation letter strategy (whom to ask and how to help recommenders support your candidacy)
- application data forms (what information to include in data forms and mini essays requested by some top schools)
- interview strategy and mock interview training
What is Vince's suggested best method for completing written application materials?
These are the tasks most clients complete for a typical school:
- Career goals / why MBA essay https://www.vinceprep.com/essays/ymba
- Leadership / accomplishments essay https://www.vinceprep.com/interviews/accomplishments_leadership_teamwork
- Failure / mistake / setbacks essay https://www.vinceprep.com/essays/failure
- Contribution / personality essay + https://pinboard.in/u:Vince/t:brainstorming_contribution
- Letters of recommendation (LoRs) https://www.vinceprep.com/lors
- Application data forms https://www.vinceprep.com/appforms
- Interview preparation https://www.vinceprep.com/interviews
How much time should I expect to spend on each stage of the process?
- Stage 1: Initial 15-minute consultation to determine whether we should work together
- Stage 2: Resume: 1-3 hours
- Stage 3: School selection and strategy: 0-3 hours
- Stage 4: Essays, first school: 3-30 hours
- Stage 5: Recommendations: 1-4 hours for 2-3 recommendations (0-1 hour for each additional school)
- Stage 6: Essays, subsequent schools: 2-10 hours per school
- Stage 7: Interview practice: 2-20 hours in total (English ability and interview skills vary widely)
- Stage 8: Assistance with administrative issues (application data forms, wait list letters): 0-1 hour per school
To how many schools can I apply?
- I do not limit the number of schools to which you can apply
- As long as we can balance speed and quality, I encourage you to apply to as many schools as you would actually attend if admitted
- We share the same goal and I try to maximize your admissions chances to as many top schools as you can manage
- I do not limit the number of schools we can work on, nor do I limit the number of times I will review your written application materials (or help you prepare for an interview)
- That said, I do not see MBA admissions as an exercise in trophy hunting
- I want to help you get admitted to schools that might actually attend if admitted
- I was admitted to every graduate education school to which I applied (Harvard, Northwestern, Columbia, and NYU)
- I was also admitted to every undergraduate university to which I applied (UC Berkeley with a Regents Scholarship, U. Washington Seattle, Wesleyan, Yale, Harvard, Brown, Stanford)
- Because I did my homework and understand each school's academic and student culture, I would have attended any of them
- In the end, I chose the school's where I felt the best fit (Stanford and NYU)
- If you can convince me that you would actually attend a school if admitted, I will help you apply there
Can I brainstorm, draft, revise or edit more than one school at a time?
- Yes, but not with Vince
- We follow the five steps listed below and can only perform one task per school in any given session
- For example, we might be editing your Columbia application, outlining and drafting your Stanford application, and editing your HBS application
Every time you answer a question in your written application, please, I will do my best to help you avoid common mistakes as you:
- Brainstorm (list and discuss ideas and options with Vince)
- Outline (list your main ideas and supporting details)
- Draft (turn your outline into complete sentences and paragraphs)
- Revise (add words to make the story clear and interesting (explain what happened, add details)
- Edit for concision (cut words to meet the word limit)
Will Vince help me edit?
- I can help you edit as needed
- I am fast and effective
- That said, regardless of my editing, your essay will only get results if the story makes sense, contains interesting details and, most importantly, is communicated in your authentic voice
- Editing is the LAST thing we do
- Since 2002, my most successful clients have told me they value my brainstorming and strategic advice as much if not more than my editing
- We need to get your story straight before we start working about your word choice or tone
- I suggest you start cutting words one or two weeks before the deadline
- I will ask you do the heavy lifting because this is your story and you will need to sell it at your interview
- Here is my best advice about how to cut words from your essays
How long will it take me to finish my first application?
It can take anywhere from four to twelve weeks to complete your first application
How much time you need usually depends on four factors:
1. How deeply you have thought about why you need an MBA
- Can you articulate your strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you know what kind of job you want right after MBA, otherwise known as your short-term goal?
- Do you have a clear and convincing long-term career vision?
- For more insights, please see https://www.vinceprep.com/essays/ymba
2. How quickly you outline and write essays
- Do you have to write in your native language first?
- Can you make logical outlines?
- For more insights, please see
3. How much time you can spend thinking and writing
- Are you especially busy at your job?
- How much travel will you be doing between now and your target school deadlines?
- Are you able to carve out personal writing time during business travel?
- What other family and community commitments will distract you from the creative process that is writing an authentic, self-reflective, concise, and compelling application?
4. How well you balance input from friends, family, mentors, advisers and stakeholders
- Can you send Vince regular updates?
- Can you balance the input of senior colleagues, mentors, friends and family as you find your own voice to best answer each essay question?
- I encourage you to get feedback from people who know you well.
- I only request that you synthesize that feedback and present it to us as your idea
- I cannot share an opinion about whether or not someone else's advice is good or not
- I avoid arguing with people I do not know
- I can only support you as you decide what to share and how to share it in a way that best represents your candidacy and your contributions to your future MBA classmates and alumni community
When is Vince available?
- I try to be transparent and proactive to keep clients aware of my black-out periods here on my website https://www.vinceprep.com/services/availability
- We can discuss these issues during an initial consultation
- Thank you, in advance, for your kind understanding
- While in Tokyo, I tend to take off Mon/Tue
- While traveling, my days off change depending on conference dates and other commitments
- I am usually based in Tokyo, Japan from September—May and the San Francisco Bay Area, California from June—August
- NOTE: My availability subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances
- If you need to change a regular weekly meeting, Vince can work offline on written application materials during the session
- If Vince needs to change a regular weekly meeting, we will reschedule our weekly meeting to a mutually convenient time
- For more information, please see https://www.vinceprep.com/services/availability
- If you meet the above conditions, please contact me using this online form
- If I have capacity and feel that I can help you, we can arrange a meeting or call
- I can answer questions about my service and we can discuss the possibility of working together