No one grows up with dreams of being an admissions consultant. It’s a career you almost always discover by chance—or even by accident—and usually after a fairly circuitous professional journey. This was certainly true for me; yet from the day I worked with my first MBA candidate back in 2007, I knew I had discovered a calling that was perfectly matched with my background in writing, education, and mentorship.
I’ve been a professional writer for two decades, and have worn nearly every hat in the business. As a journalist, editor, and copywriter, I’ve contributed to numerous publications and websites including Fortune.com, Computer World, City Pages, and The Huffington Post. As an award-winning screenwriter and member of the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA), I have sold and optioned feature-length screenplays, screened work at numerous film festivals and created film and media work that has appeared on PBS, The Cooking Channel, ITVS, The New York Times, and TeenVogue. Finally, I wrote the book on essay writing—literally—through How To Write An Essay, published in 2006 by Spark Publishing. Intended for a high school and college audience, the book sold over 16,000 copies and was included on the Recommended Reading list for several universities and other academic institutions. My other published work includes the introduction to the book Film Classics, various short fiction and non-fiction pieces, and a 500-word Yelp! review for the worst burrito ever created in New York City (a city with many bad burritos).
Throughout my career I’ve also looked for opportunities to teach and mentor, given my passion for education and helping people fulfill their career aspirations. In addition to teaching film studies and production classes at Columbia University, I’ve taught English as a Second Language in both in the U.S. and Japan, and have four years of experience as an adjunct professor, where I taught writing, editing, and film directing, as well as leading career development seminars.
My career as an admissions consultant began in 2007, when I joined the boutique educational consulting firm Forster-Thomas as an Essay Coach. My background in screenwriting proved to be the perfect preparation to assist MBA candidates—just like I helped multi-dimensional characters come to life in films, I was able to help intelligent and motivated young professionals express their own complex views, values, and aspirations in structured and compelling essays. During my 7-year tenure at Forster-Thomas, I was promoted to Senior Coach, led the training of new admissions coaches, and became an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants of America (IECA).
I launched Justin Marshall Consulting with the goal of offering MBA candidates across the globe an unrivaled level of expertise, personalized service, and creative guidance. Over the course of my career, I’ve helped applicants from over a dozen countries across five continents gain acceptance into every one of the Top 20 business schools in the U.S. World News and Report list. My clients’ success at Wharton (85% success rate over 8 years) has led to my nickname, “The Wharton Whisperer.”
I hold a BA from Macalester College, an MFA in Screenwriting from Columbia University, and a certification in mixology. I speak mediocre Japanese and play numerous musical instruments. I live in NYC.
Working with Justin was a fantastic experience… Justin was attentive and flexible every step of the way, by phone, email, or in-person. He gave realistic, actionable advice on the crucial decisions of school selection and positioning, while going down into the weeds for essays, short-answers, and interview preparation. Above all, Justin’s thoughtfulness and empathy allows him to guide candidates in crafting an MBA application the right way – not as a collection of accolades and formulaic responses, but as a mirror against which an adcom can experience the fullness of a candidate’s personality and talent.2016
Justin challenged me to dig deeper to understand what drives me and why I’ve made certain decisions throughout my life. He helped me turn my background and ideas for the future into a cohesive story. This type of guided self reflection – while challenging, and at a times, hair pulling-ly annoying – certainly made a significantly more interesting application. I’m thrilled by all the acceptances I received and am excited to head to Haas in the Fall.2011
Thanks, Justin, for all your help! You are an amazing consultant – witty, caring and creative!!2016
Justin encourages and guides you to achieve your best work. He really gets to know you and provides very helpful instruction based on your strengths and your brand. He works with you until the resume, essays and all the other materials are flawless—no matter how many drafts it might take.2016