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Interview by Ben Feuer.

What did you do before Forster-Thomas?

At the very beginning, I was a screenwriter.  I earned my MFA at UCLA and wrote.  While I was doing that I worked a bunch of different jobs to make ends meet.  I was a personal fitness trainer for awhile, which is kind of funny to think about now.  After a few years of that I got into writing for magazines and became very successful at that – I edited Seventeen Magazine for a few years.  While all this was happening, I picked up some extra money on the side by helping people write essays for college.  This was before there was an educational consulting industry, although there were educational consultants – they were the people who hired me.  It was all word of mouth, friends of friends.  I had a three-step process, which for the life of me I can’t remember today.  All I know is it had three steps.

So, how did Forster-Thomas get started?

A kid, Dan, called me one day out of the blue.  He had heard I helped people write essays.  But he wasn’t working on college essays, he was applying to business school.  He asked if I wanted to help him with his application.  And I said, sure, sounds interesting.

So I went online and I checked out the essay questions – and it was kind of a revelation.  I felt like this was what had I been waiting for all this time.  I mean, I had done EST, hung out with the Dalai Lama, so it’s not like it was this spiritual revelation or anything.  But I thought the questions were really deep, insightful, challenging.  I thought, ‘there’s a real art to answering these correctly’.  So I said to Dan, take a risk with me.  Don’t just write some safe answers – answer these questions honestly.  Show them who you really are.  And that’s how Forster-Thomas, the oldest MBA coaching firm of them all, began!

How would you characterize Forster-Thomas?

We’re selective and we’re distinctive. Most people like us, but there’s a certain percentage who just aren’t interested in working hard to get great essays.  We always weed them out pretty quickly, one way or another.  Our free candidacy assessments are completely unique — that much we know.  Plus, we reallly get MBA applicants.  We should, we’ve been doing this for long enough!

What’s the most insightful thing a candidate has said to you this year?

I was working with this Olympic swimmer candidate for college. 1/10th of a second is the difference between winning and losing for this guy. And he told me he wanted to bring that Olympic level of effort to everything he does.  I thought that was beautiful.

What’s the craziest thing?

Auntie Evan, you’re wrong.  No … Auntie Evan, you’re right. 

The fact is, I’m not wrong or right — I’m just a collection of ideas.  it’s up to you to implement them in your own life.

Tell me a story from your childhood – the way you might ask a b-school candidate to open up about her past.

In seventh grade, I went to a sleepaway summer camp.  Every single night I heard all the kids singing a campfire song that ended, “Evan Forster is a fag.”  I lived through a lot of stuff like that. It sounds crazy to say this, but it taught me the value of kindness, how essential it really is.

What are some of your favorite books?

A Winter’s Tale.  Anything about a girl finding herself, I’m in for that.  But I like reading all kinds of different stuff -- stories, essays, tweets.  They all need beginnings, middles and endings or they’re useless.  And yes, that goes for your admissions material too.

Any final words of advice?

Be Olympic.