Accepted Consultant Publishes Her First Novella

Read more about Jessica here!You already know that our consultants are admissions experts, eagle-eyed editors, and incredible coaches. You can probably also guess that they’re prodigiously talented in their lives outside of Accepted (we sure think so!). Here’s a case in point:

When she’s not helping clients get into law and med school, Jessica Pishko is a writer—and she just published her first novella!

Based on a death penalty trial that she worked on as a law student,  A Trial for Grace explores the complicated question of guilt and innocence. It’s available for Kindle (and Kindle apps).

You can download A Trial for Grace here.

Check out the book!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• An Interview With Our Own: Jessica Pishko
• 5 Ways To Start Your Med School Personal Statement
• So You Didn’t Get Into Law School…

Approaching The Diversity Essay Question

Learn How to Use Examples to Write an Exemplary Essay

Explain how your experiences built your character.

Many applications now have a question, sometimes optional, geared to encouraging people with minority backgrounds or unusual educational or family histories to write about their background.  If you are an immigrant to the US, the child of immigrants or someone whose ethnicity is a minority in the US, you might find this question an interesting one to show how your background will add to the mix of perspectives at the program you are applying to. If you are applying after having an unusual experience for applicants like joining the military, becoming part of a dance troupe, or caring for an elderly relative, you can use your experience to evoke the way in which you will bring diversity to campus.

Your family’s culture, situation and traditions, and the way they have helped you develop particular character and personality traits are of interest, as well unusual experiences that have shaped you. Perhaps you have grown up with a strong insistence on respecting elders, attending family events or learning your parents’ native language and culture. Perhaps you are close to grandparents and extended family who have taught you how teamwork can help everyone survive. Perhaps you have had to face and deal with difficulties that stem from your parents’ values being in conflict with those of your peers. Perhaps teachers have not always understood the elements of your culture or outside-of-school situation and how they pertain to your school performance. Perhaps you have suffered discrimination and formed your values and personality traits around your success in spite of the discrimination. Perhaps you have learned skills from a lifestyle that is outside the norm–living in foreign countries as the child of diplomats or contractors, performing professionally in theater, dance, music or sports, or communicating with a deaf sibling.

Understanding and explaining how your experience built your empathy for others, a strong will, and character is a good focus for the diversity question.

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes [Free Guide]
Writing About Overcoming Obstacles in Your Application Essays [Short Video]
• How To Write About Overcoming Challenges Without Sounding Like A Whiner

Venture For America: Champion Of U.S. Entrepreneurship

Listen to the show!Entrepreneurship among 18 – 30 year olds in the USA is at a 24 year low, but the founder of Venture for America, is on a mission to spur economic growth through entrepreneurship.

Listen to our talk with Andrew Yang, Venture for America’s founder, for great insights into the state of entrepreneurship today, the case for why you should become an entrepreneur (and not a management consultant), and more.

00:02:14 – What is Venture for America?

00:04:20 – The story of how Venture for America came to be.

00:06:35 – How to create 100,000 jobs by 2025.

00:09:00 – Becoming a Venture for America fellow.

00:11:04 – What VFA Fellows do after boot camp.

00:14:27 – A look at where grads of the program end up.

00:19:20 – Chickpea pasta: A Venture for America success story.

00:22:18 – What inspired Andrew to write Smart People Should Build Things.

00:23:34 – Society aside, what is the benefit of becoming an entrepreneur to the individual.

00:28:45 – Do entrepreneurs need business school?

00:30:30 – Why the best and brightest should be kept out of consulting.

00:35:17 – Advice for making the transition from the corporate world to the start-up world.

00:37:20 – The definition of entrepreneurship and what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Click here to listen to the show!*Theme music is courtesy of

Related links:

• Venture for America
• Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America
Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast
• The MBA and Entrepreneurship
Which B-Schools Send the Most Grads into Entrepreneurship?

Related shows:

• Jon Medved & OurCrowd: The Remarkable Story of an Entrepreneur
• A Wharton Grad Rids the World of Bank Fees
• An HBS Entrepreneur Promoting Career Flexibility
• Entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson
• Entrepreneurship at Stanford GSB: Carlypso Drives Down the Startup Street
• A B-School Professor on Main Street, USA
• MBAs Across America: Entrepreneurs with a Heart

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An Interview With Our Own: Natalie Grinblatt Epstein

View Natalie's bio page!Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the staff. Next up is…Natalie Grinblatt Epstein.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any graduate degrees? Where do you currently live?

Natalie: I’m a first generation immigrant who grew up in suburban Detroit surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins (we have a large family) that didn’t speak English, so I picked up Yiddish, French, and a little Hebrew along the way. My parents felt travel and community service were both extremely important to our upbringing and by the time I was 18, I put in over 1000 hours of community service for organizations ranging from the American Cancer Association to UNICEF. We also traveled to 20 different countries before I began university (that count is closer to 80 now).

I attended the University of Michigan and my closest friends and I lived in the same dorm, so we created our own sorority without having to go through pledging. We are best friends to this day.

I waived out of a lot of courses through AP and university testing, so I actually started as a sophomore, but decided to use that to explore the sciences, the arts and a lot of literature. I was active in theater groups, political action groups and I was lucky enough to be assigned on a research project that changed my world. I studied the Elizabethan period in depth and dropped pre-med having fallen in love with Shakespeare instead of Jonas Salk.

Theater enabled me to be fearless, but it didn’t lead to post-BA careers, so after spending two years in retail, I returned to Ann Arbor for my MBA.

Accepted: Can you walk us through the jobs and experiences that led you to become an admissions consultant for Accepted?

Natalie: I initially pursued the MBA for a career in CPG, but again, a research project turned my world upside down and my marketing professor/mentor suggested I implement my research at Michigan. I thought I would stay for a year, I stayed for 11. Understanding that I needed to diversify my resume, I was offered and accepted the role of Admissions Director at Cornell.

My first day was memorable: I walked in from orientation and 75% of my staff had resigned (I hadn’t even started yet), I negotiated to move Financial Aid under my charge, I discovered 10,000 “inquiries” that were still being hand entered and then automated the system. That year we broke all prior records despite being short staffed, and I created a team that I knew could navigate the most rigorous rapids.

I worked my way up at Michigan from Assistant Director, to Associate Director and finally Director managing not only admissions, but also students services, student affairs, events, marketing (now each of those has separate departments, but I was a one woman shop under the guidance of amazing mentors). I created my own roles at both Michigan and Cornell. They trusted me to make the school better, and I used intra and inter university relationships to do so. I created recruiting teams out of multiple schools to share costs and also data. It worked well for all schools who are now solidly placed in the top 15. Moreover, I volunteered for GMAC (the Graduate Management Admissions Council) for 9 years in order to strengthen those relationships. At Cornell, no one thought it possible to work together with the Fundraising offices at other schools to pipeline students. I institutionalized this at Cornell and again, it works well for all parties involved.

I loved Michigan and Cornell, but on a snowy day in Ithaca, I received a call from Arizona State University. My best friend lived in Phoenix, and I was missing the sunshine. I accomplished a lot at Cornell and felt like it was time for a move. So I did.

Soon after moving to Phoenix, I met the man who became my husband. He sent me a business plan before our first official date. I wasn’t sure if he wanted to date me or hire me. He did both. We launched a business together and then tied the knot. I became a mother instantly to two wonderful boys (my stepsons) and a technology venture.

We sold the business two years later, and I missed higher education, so I called Linda Abraham and asked her if she needed another consultant. I knew Linda because she was running chats for us that benefitted Cornell and, and I really enjoyed working with her. I knew she was sharp and I always want to surround myself with brilliant and positive people and Linda certainly fits that definition. I’ve been with ever since that phone call in 2008 and I enjoy being on the other side of the table helping clients understand the inner workings of admissions. Transparency helps everyone, and my knowledge has been a powerful tool for my clients. I also brought on two of my former admissions colleagues and have been conducting some business development for when I have time.

Accepted: What is your favorite book?

Natalie: My favorite readings are Shakespeare’s canon. I still love to read the history plays. Currently, I’m reading The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt (no relation), but this Harvard professor writes eloquently and I’m learning a lot about how once lost classical literature was found again and created the entire Renaissance movement.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Natalie: My favorite thing about consulting is helping others make their dreams come true. I find it so gratifying to hear, “I’ve been accepted and I couldn’t have done it without you.” It’s a great boost to my ego, but more importantly, I love to see my clients blossom and grow. Education is vital to growth and if I can help clients gain the education they deserve, I feel I’ve accomplished my vision for the future.

In terms of the nuts and bolts, I love brainstorming ideas with my clients and preparing them for interviews. I believe I have the greatest impact in helping my clients shape their stories both in their application and in person.

Accepted: What sorts of applicants do you mostly work with?

Natalie: Given my business school background, I work mostly with MBAs and EMBAs, but I also work with high school students (because I did work with undergraduates at Michigan), PhDs (because I did work with the PhDs at Cornell), MF or MFEs (because I had experience reviewing those candidates files as well) and MPH or EMPH because they are similar to MBA candidates and I have a personal interest and read a lot about healthcare. I also work with a variety of dual degree candidates because I’ve had that experience as well.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?


1. Keep it simple (many clients want to cram everything into an essay and it doesn’t work).

2. Show your multi-dimensionality. For example, I love Columbia Business School’s question, “What would your cluster be surprised to learn about you?” Surprise them. Many clients think this is business only, but as an admissions director, I loved reading about other things that motivated my candidates: athletics, cooking, unique travel; musical instruments; standup comedy (Twitter’s CEO, a fellow Michigan graduate, spent many years as a standup comic). Don’t be a one trick pony.

3. Use relationships you have to put in a good word for you (not too many or that becomes desperate, but a shout out coming from a faculty member, student or alum will gain the attention of the admissions director).

4. I know you asked for three, but I have 5 suggestions: Seek the help you need (consulting, tutoring, editing, proof-reading, resume-writing, interview rehearsals).

5. Finally, don’t wait until the last minute. Applying to school takes time, introspection, and a realistic outlook. Cast the net widely and you will land softly and in the right place for you.

Learn more about Natalie and how she can help you get accepted!

See how Accepted can help you succeed!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

MBA Interview Prep: How to Ace Your Interviews [Free Guide]
• MBA Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
MBA Admissions According to an Expert [Podcast]