Vince's Flat-fee Comprehensive Consulting (FCC)
Career Visioneering for MBA Admissions & Beyond
Thank you, for your interest in Vince's Flat-fee Comprehensive-consulting (FCC). I will launch this service Apr 1, 2020. Please, watch this space for details and get in touch if you are qualified
- 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 and what tasks does Vince's FCC cover?
- 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 work on 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)
How can I maximize Vince's feedback to maximize my chances of being admitted?
Here are some patterns for how the process might work:
- Brainstorm new essay, recommendation, or application data form short answer topic with Vince (face to face or via phone/Skype)
- Outline your essay (quick notes in bullet or list form, as you like)— my best outlining tips are here
- Upload your outline to Google Docs or send it to Vince as an MS Word file (please be sure to add your initials to the file name)
- Tell Vince your outline is ready for his quick review
- Vince will insert comments in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS
- If my suggested text is correct, please re-write my ALL CAPITAL LETTERS into normal text, using your own words
- We can discuss any issues during our next session
- If your logic is clear, Vince will encourage you to write your full essay draft (as you write, you can delete Vince's comments as you fix each issue)
- Send Vince your full essay draft
- Vince will add more comments before our next face-to-face or telephone / Skype session
- The process continues until you have fully explained your story
- After all contents are explained in logical, detailed English, you and Vince begin editing your essay draft until it fits within 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 often will I meet Vince?
- Comprehensive Consulting includes written application support and interview training
- We meet once per week at a fixed time
- Each meeting is scheduled to last one hour
- To keep you moving forward between meetings, we can share updates via Google Docs
How many FCC clients does Vince help at one time?
- I will only be taking eight (8) comprehensive consulting clients in the 2020-21 application season
- In order to maintain the high quality of my service, I apologize in advance if I am unable to assist you
Eight slots go on sale 4/1/2020 . Here are the options
- every Sat 16:00 –17:00 JST
- every Sat 17:30 –18:30 JST
- every Sat 19:00 –20:00 JST
- every Sun 16:00 –17:00 JST
- every Sun 17:30 –18:30 JST
- every Sun 19:00 –20:00 JST
- every Thu 20:00 –21:00 JST
- every Fri 20:00 –21:00 JST
NOTE: While I’m in California (2020 dates TBD), we will reschedule to mutually convenient times to be determined in our initial meeting and pending agreement.
What is I have a business trip or professional/personal commitment during our weekly scheduled meeting?
Can change weekly according to your workflow and deadlines.
- If Vince cannot make our weekly session due to a pre-existing commitment, we can reschedule
- If you can’t visit or call Vince at our regular appointed time, we will work offline using Google Docs
- The session immediately becomes what Agos calls an "email session"
- That means you would send the URL of your latest Google Docs update by the start of the session
- In the URL, you would make a prioritized list of items you want me to check and how much time you want me to spend checking each file
- If it takes me longer to check some of your prioritized items, I will record time on task using time-and-date-stamped comments inside Google Docs
- Since I charge a monthly retainer and not an hourly rate, this system works in your favor
Can our weekly meetings last less than 60 minutes if I don't have much to brainstorm and confirm with Vince that week?
- If you want to spend less than our weekly 60 minutes talking, Vince can use the remaining time to complete a mid week check of your updated written application materials
When does my FCC service contract end?
- Regular weekly meetings can continue at our appointed time until March 1, 2021 (or you get admitted to your dream school, whichever comes first :)
- If you require additional support after that time, we can discuss the options in a session
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
Does FCC include interview training?
- Yes, Flat-fee Comprehensive-consulting (FCC) includes unlimited interview training
- We can start preparing for your interviews as soon as you complete your first written application
- I love helping clients prepare for interviews and will be happy to help you practice until our service contract ends (or you get admitted to your dream school, whichever comes first :)
How quickly can I expect feedback from Vince?
Except during days off and blackout periods, I always do our best to provide written comments and follow up questions in Google Docs file within 72 hours of you emailing the URL of our latest shared Google Docs file to me
- I prioritize tasks according to deadlines, which means that I sometimes ask clients to wait a little while for me to check something that is not due for several weeks if another client needs something checked that is due within a few days
- I cannot promise a quick turnaround for materials sent just before or during my scheduled days off
- Please see https://www.vinceprep.com/services/availability
When is Vince available (and does he ever sleep:)?
- 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
Why can't I start working with Vince before I achieve competitive scores?
- I need to be equally unfair to all
- I think of my service like first-class seats on an airplane
- If I sell you a seat and you do not end up applying to start your MBA in 2021, I would be denying that seat to someone who may contact me after you
- Agreeing to help you before you are ready to fully focus on your written application and interviews is unfair to you and to my other clients
- Clients without competitive numbers represent a business risk and an opportunity cost
- Please understand this decision is never personal
- I wish you grace and g-dspeed on your "score-making"
- Please, keep in touch
- FCC costs 2,400,000 JPY
When can I start FCC with Vince?
- Once we agree to work together, Vince will send you a PayPal invoice
- We can start working together as soon as your payment clears
How can I qualify for Vince's FCC service?
We can arrange an initial consultation if you:
- Aim to commence MBA studies at one the following schools in 2021: HBS, Stanford, MIT Sloan, Chicago Booth, INSEAD, Columbia, LBS, Kellogg, Wharton, Tuck, Michigan Ross
- Are applying to a policy program like Harvard Kennedy School or other leading institution
- Plan to join a design masters program at Stanford d.school, MIT IDM or the Masters in Design program at Chicago's IIT Institute of Design
- Have a 107+ TOEFL or IELTS equivalent (or have at least 104 and Vince feels confident after our initial chat that you will eventually hit your target score)
- Have a 660 GMAT or GRE equivalent score
- 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
How do I arrange payment?
- All payments are made via Japanese "furikomi" or PayPal
- Payments from Native Japanese speakers will be processed by AgosJapan
- All payments from non-Japanese speakers (everyone else) will be processed by VincePrep
Can Vince help me for interview training if I am not his FCC Client?
- Yes, if you have already been invited to interview somewhere and if I have availability
- Please note: I only sell interview training in three-hour minimum blocks (my hourly fee x 3)
- Please visit this page for details https://www.vinceprep.com/interviews