About Me

Bryan Shih

15 years as professional, independent admissions consultant

MA, Journalism, UC Berkeley (full scholarship)

Fulbright Fellow

Business & Features Journalist (The Financial Times, National Public Radio)

Book Author (reviewed by NY Times Book Review, Washington Post)

580 GMAT accepted to Wharton (average: 730)

660 GMAT accepted to Kellogg (average: 728)

640 GMAT accepted to Kellogg and Wharton (w/ scholarship)

640 GMAT accepted to Columbia (average: 717)

660 GMAT accepted to MIT Sloan (average: 724)

640 GMAT accepted to LBS (average: 708)

640 GMAT accepted to Ross (average 708)

620 GMAT accepted to Stanford MSX


Despite what you might have heard, your test scores do not control your MBA fate. My clients’ results above prove that. In fact, my goal for all my clients is to gain admission to schools that might appear beyond the range of their test scores, or for that matter beyond any surface measurement, including company or university name, job title, GPA, or age. Nothing makes me happier or prouder, and that’s how I know I’m adding value to my clients’ lives.


Some of my most successful clients — most of whom work under flat-rate packages — don’t know how special they are. It’s my job to make sure they do and that schools do as well. Through constant communication by Skype, email, and in-person (in and around New York City), and based on my years of interview and editing experience as a professional journalist and author, I draw out my clients’ best stories and fill them with unique and humanizing details to make them come alive. We then shape these stories into a comprehensive and integrated application that unites your best professional, personal, and academic work, and shows your utmost potential for achieving your ambitious career goals.

I will tailor my advice to the particulars of your situation and I will help you filter out unnecessary distractions and unhelpful rumors so we can focus on the big picture of applying as early as possible to your best schools with your best materials.

Do not be surprised if we produce 20-30 versions of a single essay before we are satisfied. I will push you, but will never leave you stranded. You can expect an email response usually within a few hours, and edits usually within 48 hours, even during deadline season.


The most important questions I will ask you during our time working together are not “What did you accomplish?”, but rather “Why did you accomplish it?” and “How did you accomplish it?” Through your answers, we will describe your decisions and actions that reveal your unique combination of strengths and weaknesses — and more importantly your awareness of your strengths and weaknesses — with an emphasis on the soft skills (or lack thereof) that almost always determine success (or failure) in any human endeavor.

The more you can demonstrate this “self-awareness”, the more easily you can express your potential contributions to your classmates as well as your greatest development needs that are driving you to apply to an MBA program. Self-awareness connects every aspect of your applications — including interviews — which makes it the most important quality to express to adcoms, but also the most elusive. This self-analysis process takes time, which is why I encourage my clients to start as early as possible, even before they finish taking the GMAT, TOEFL, or any other test. As I’ve proven repeatedly, great essays can often overcome average test scores, but great test scores rarely overcome average essays.

By the time we’re done, I’ll know you better than your own mama.


At the core of my consulting approach is a passion for helping people tell their best stories. I honed this instinct through my journalism training (M.A., UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, full scholarship) and experience working for some of the best news organizations in the world.

I got my start in admissions consulting in Japan, where I lived for seven years and where I established myself as one of the most successful consultants in the country, pioneering innovations such as flat-rate pricing and no-risk trial periods to provide clients with the most straightforward, comprehensive, and fair services possible. I now live just outside New York City and work with clients all over the world.

While in Japan, I was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to document one of Japan’s leading swordmakers. Before Japan, I completed my first M.A. at the UC San Diego Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies, where the curriculum included many core MBA courses. I did my undergraduate work at UC Santa Barbara in law.

In addition to Japanese, I am fluent in Spanish from having lived and established a Spanish-language school in Guatemala. In my free time, I work on long-term documentary portrait photography projects, where, similar to admissions consulting, I try to capture something unique about each individual I work with. My most recent series of portraits and interviews with original members of the Black Panther Party became a well-received book and appeared in group and solo shows at the Oakland Museum of California and the Queens Museum.