Japan's most effective and exclusive admissions consulting service – for top prospects aiming for the top schools

Coming 4/1/2020

Since 2002, I have been one of the world's most in-demand and successful graduate admissions consultants

  • My service (hosted at 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 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
  • I hope the FAQs below help you decide whether or not to reach out for an initial consultation
  • As a first step, please, kindly watch this short video, where I explain my approach

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?

What is Vince's suggested best method for completing written application materials?

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: 1-3 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: 2-20 hours per school
  • Stage 7: Interview practice: 2-20 hours
  • Stage 8: Assistance with administrative issues (application data forms, waitlist letters): 0-1 hour per school

To how many schools can I apply?

  • You can apply to as many schools as you like
  • That said, Vince will only be able to help you complete seven (7) applications, so please choose wisely
  • If you qualify to for Vince's "First Round Only" package (ask him for details at an initial session if you have already secured competitive scores for your target schools), we will work on five (5) schools together
  • If you need to extend your process into later rounds, Vince can help you for an additional fee to be determined on a case-by-case basis

Will Vince help me apply to MBA programs beyond the "M7" and also policy programs like HKS or design programs at schools like Stanford and MIT?

  • Yes, it would my pleasure to do so
  • Just for your reference, I was admitted to every graduate school of education to which I applied (Harvard, Northwestern, Columbia, and NYU)
  • I was also admitted to every undergraduate university that I applied to, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Wesleyan, UC Berkeley with a Regents Scholarship
  • Because I had been able to visit and learn about each school's academic and student culture, I would have attended any of them
  • In the end, I chose the schools where I felt the best sense of fit and contribution (Stanford and NYU). Despite rankings or published ROI, those were the schools where I had to most to get and the most to give
  • I encourage you to do the same
  • Look beyond the rankings. Fit your fit. Maximize your potential to succeed at school and beyond

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

How can Vince help me create winning stories?

I will do my best to help you avoid common mistakes as you:

  1. Brainstorm (list and discuss ideas and options with Vince)
  2. Outline (list your main ideas and supporting details)
  3. Draft (turn your outline into complete sentences and paragraphs)
  4. Revise (add words to make the story clear and interesting (explain what happened, add details)
  5. 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

2. How quickly you outline and write essays

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
  • 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. In 2020, we cut our California visit short because we want to attend some Tokyo2020 Olympic events. In 2020, I am also taking some personal time in May. We can discuss the details and make a plan that meets your needs during one of our sessions.
  • 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

Am I ready to work with Vince?

  • Because it can often take longer to secure scores than you think, I only work with students who have secured competitive scores
  • I am flexible about GMAT – you need only secure a 670 (or GRE equivalent) before working with me comprehensively. I understand that scores improve with time, and I have helped multiple clients who did not have 700 GMAT get admitted to HBS and other top schools. It does not happen often, but it does happen. I always love helping someone beat the odds!
  • For TOEFL/IELTS, however, I need to be a bit more strict because experience has shown that I sometimes struggle to communicate with those whose listening and speaking skills are below 103 TOEFL or 7.0 IELTS. Please do not take this as any form of a judgment. I am studying Japanese actively and wish I could secure JLPT 2. Someday. Meanwhile, please keep working hard to master your English communication skills and let me know when you are done with "score-making."
  • 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