Justin Marshall

Over the past decade, Justin Marshall has created a successful career that encompasses his two great life passions, writing and film making—and as an essay coach for Forster-Thomas, he combines these two passions seamlessly.

Justin is the author of the book How To Write An Essay, which was published in 2006 for SparkNotes' Ultimate Style series and is currently in its second edition, having sold over 10,000 copies. He also wrote the introduction for the SparkNotes book Film Classics, and has had personal essays published both in print and online. His journalism has been featured in various publications including The Huffington Post, the Minneapolis City Pages, and Firstwivesworld.com, where he served as Managing Editor from 2007-2008.

Justin is also an active, award-winning screenwriter and a member of the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA-E). Since earning his MFA in Film from Columbia University in 2005, he has sold and optioned both short and feature-length screenplays, and has developed television projects with various producers.  His most recent project, Promised Land, was the recipient of both a development and production grant from ITVS (PBS), and was in season four of the online series FutureStates.  His understanding of narrative structure and character development is a true asset to the work he does at Forster-Thomas, allowing him to help candidates tell a compelling story in their own unique voice in each of their essays.

As an educator, Justin has taught English in Japan, Screenwriting at The Katharine Gibbs School, and Film Directing at Columbia University, where he also served as an admissions reader for the MFA Film Department for two seasons. He has tutored various subjects both privately and with non-profit organizations, served as a camp counselor for at-risk youth, and continues to try to teach his pet parrot to speak (with little success).

Finally, Justin has a deep commitment to helping the underserved and underrepresented. He has spent many years working for different organizations that serve the homeless, and as part of an independent research project sponsored by the Department of Anthropology at Macalester College, he lived on the streets of Denver for a number of days to experience homelessness first-hand. Justin has also been a lifelong advocate of animal welfare, and currently volunteers with both the ASPCA and Mercy for Animals. This year, he is excited to recruit a team of fellow unathletic artists to run a 10K charity race for the ASPCA. 


Testimonials for Justin:

"Working with Justin was a fantastic experience. He really took the time to get to know my experiences and activities to provide better feedback on my essays. He turned around essays quickly and was available at all hours to fit my schedule. I'll admit when choosing between a number of different consultants, a small voice in the back of my mind told me to go with a former MBA admissions officer or MBA graduate. I'm SO glad I ignored that voice. In addition to knowing the aspects of the program's I was applying to down cold, Justin's Columbia MFA-honed storytelling abilities were vital when I was writing myself as the hero of my application essays. My sequel? My top choice MBA program.”

-New York City

"I got into Kellogg, Chicago, Wharton, and HBS!!! I am super excited! HBS was all I needed, but the others are amazing, too. I am so excited and so grateful for all of your insight along the way. THANK YOU!”

-San Francisco, CA

"I got into Columbia! I started orientation last week and have barely had a minute to catch my breath since getting into school. What a wild ride. Anyway, I wanted to reach out to say thank you again for all of your help. I had a great experience working with you and have recommended Forster-Thomas to many of my friends that have talked about pursuing an MBA.”

-New York City

"I just wanted to let you know that I was just accepted to Kellogg!! I'm beyond excited and I can't thank you enough for your help. When I started this process I had no idea if I'd get in anywhere, let alone into my top two choices-- really could not have done it without you guys! Now let the inner turmoil begin as I attempt to choose a school...

-New York City

Working with Forster Thomas revolutionized my approach to MBA applications. They facilitated a very introspective process that required me to soul-search and evaluate my path, which resulted in meaningful essays. I was a non-traditional candidate with no idea how MBA admissions committees would evaluate my profile, but Justin and David were incredibly helpful in suggesting MBA programs and providing feedback on how to highlight my qualifications. They were always available to answer questions. The investment was 100% worth it. Not only was I accepted to four out of six programs I applied to (including my "reach" school), I received a large scholarship to one of my top choices. I can't thank them enough for making the incredibly daunting application process much easier and--dare I say it--enjoyable.

-New York City