The Highest StandardsVeritas Prep was founded on the philosophy that “Success Favors the Prepared”, a notion that resonates throughout every GMAT course we teach and extends to the way that Veritas Prep instructors are hired and trained. Every instructor must have scored in the 99th percentile on an officially-administered GMAT exam (not a practice test) to even be considered for a teaching position with Veritas Prep.
From there, Veritas Prep filters qualified applicants for demonstrated teaching passion and ability and a genuine intellectual curiosity about the GMAT and its students. Successful applicants pass three phases of interviews before being hired:
- A preliminary interview with the Academic Development team, in which successful applicants will showcase their enthusiasm for teaching and their interest in the GMAT as a subject.
- An instructional interview in which successful applicants will not merely teach their assigned questions, but rather teach lasting lessons focused on strategic takeaways and student thought processes.
- An in-person interview with a Mentor Instructor in which a successful applicant will create her own GMAT practice questions, showing an ability to think like the testmaker and anticipate necessary student lessons; in this session, the applicant will preview the training process by learning from a Mentor Instructor with whom she will keep in touch throughout her training, sharing resources and shadowing lessons.
Teachers FirstWhile all Veritas Prep instructors have scored in the 99th percentile on the GMAT, that ability to achieve a high score is not all that is necessary to help you achieve that score. Veritas Prep instructors share another common thread: they have a passion for teaching and an intellectual curiosity to not just see how they can do well on the exam, but how they can help you do well. Instructors are trained to think both like the testmaker and like the student, anticipating the trap answers that will befall you and developing lessons that will give you an edge. It is important that your instructor is an expert; it is more important that she wants to make you an expert, too.
Active TrainingAll new Veritas Prep instructors serve as teaching assistants for a full course before engaging in lead instruction. In this period, instructors answer student questions and give breakout advice in a course led by a veteran instructor. Their goal: to learn how you think. Teaching assistants note common student questions, pay attention to popular incorrect answers and the explanations behind them, develop analogies and reinforcement techniques, and ultimately learn a student-focused approach to the GMAT. When you make a mistake or have a question, your instructor will have seen it before.
Collective WisdomNo instructor is an island, as the Veritas Prep Academic Development team at headquarters hosts regular Instructor Development sessions to update instructors on best practices, share new resources, and encourage a collaborative approach that allows each instructor to learn from the lessons that have helped students around the world succeed. The Academic Development team updates instructor resources frequently and instructors regularly participate in the sharing of their own resources so that your instructor can bring you the latest and greatest analogies, lessons, and techniques from across our worldwide faculty.
Meet Our GMAT Experts
Chris Kane // El CapitanPrior to becoming a GMAT instructor, Chris was an accomplished rock climbing guide, a member of Yosemite’s Search and Rescue Team, and served as the president of a climbing school in Acadia National Park, Maine. Notable ascents include five routes of El Capitan and a host of first ascents across North America and Canada. His teaching ability and style has grown from a decade of introducing people to climbing and helping them achieve goals far beyond their expectations.
These days, Chris is a veteran GMAT instructor who has taught over 60 Veritas Prep courses and helped hundreds of students successfully prepare for the GMAT. With his in-depth knowledge of the test and years of teaching experience, he has continuously helped Veritas Prep improve and update their approach to the GMAT as the test evolves. Chris is a graduate of Stanford University.
Cliff Smith // The Method ManCliff has helped more than 500 students prepare for the GMAT and has won the coveted Worldwide GMAT Instructor Of The Year award. He created all the instructional materials for the Veritas Prep Live Online GMAT courses, and is the voice behind the popular Veritas Prep On Demand self-study video lessons. When Cliff’s not pursuing his two most prominent passions, teaching and playing trombone “semi-professionally” in a jazz band, he takes advantage of the perks of living in the San Francisco area - fine cuisine, skiing in the Sierras, and admiring the palm tree that grows in his yard.
Mike Butville // The Academic AdmiralMike has been a GMAT tutor and instructor for Veritas Prep since 2008. He studied Mechanical Engineering at MIT, where he was also a three sport varsity athlete and Academic All-American in Football and Lacrosse. Mike then served as an officer in the US Navy for five years, working at the headquarters for Naval Reactors in D.C. He left to earn his MBA from Harvard, where he was a captain of the Rugby team and also performed in the HBS Show.
To replace the adrenaline of nuclear submarines and the competitiveness of the football field, Mike thrives on boosting the GMAT scores of his students, who relish in the leadership and discipline of a football captain and military officer turned teacher and performer. In any pursuit he undertakes, Mike’s proudest moments are those in which his team is successful, and countless Washington-area GMAT students have been proud to be on Mike’s winning GMAT team.
Brian Greenwald // Agent of AltruismBrian is a born teacher, motivator, and mentor to young professionals, having trained countless GMAT students and worked in employee development for Booz Allen Hamilton. He also serves as an admissions representative for Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, from which he earned an MBA in 2007. In each of these roles, Brian has relished the opportunity to meet and mentor future leaders, and he maintains that the role of a teacher is a gift that keeps on giving as he continues to hear back from former students and employees with good news.
Before joining the working world Brian studied at Princeton, where he researched treatments for Parkinson’s disease and began his passion for founding organizations and businesses with the Princeton Bioengineering Society. He would go on to found an internet startup (he lived in Silicon Valley while at Stanford; it’s the law) and now works on his own biotech startup when he’s not teaching GMAT students or working with Veritas Prep clients on their admissions essays. Regardless of the pursuit, Brian takes pride in the altruism of education and medicine, and in the lasting impact that each allows him to have.
Neil Moakley // MoaktownphillyFrom SAT tutoring to fencing instruction, Neil has a wide range of teaching experience. He also knows his standardized tests, having scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT, LSAT, and GMAT. Neil brings this knowledge to his Veritas classes to create lessons that lead to not only higher test scores - several of his students have scored in the 99th percentile on the GMAT - but also a fundamental understanding of concepts like logic and critical reasoning that can be invaluable in business school and beyond.
Neil was raised in Philadelphia, received his MBA in International Business Administration and MS in Marketing from Temple University, and has spent three-quarters of his life calling the city home. This means that you can be sure to find local color behind some of his in-class examples, from invalid arguments defending SEPTA public transportation to sound arguments about the Eagles.
Frankie Beecroft // Chicago HopeA career educator with a master’s degree in Education from Notre Dame, Frankie has taught in South Central Los Angeles and the south side of Chicago, always seeking challenges and opportunities to share her talents with those who could benefit most. Currently, she serves as Assistant Principal and Director of Development at a Catholic elementary school on Chicago’s near southwest side. A three-year veteran Veritas Prep instructor (and Worldwide GMAT Instructor of the Year), she is renowned for her commitment to education from her students, many of whom comment in their course evaluations about her true passion for teaching.
This passion is most evident in the story of her “concussion class”, in which she shook off doctors’ orders, dizziness, and headaches to teach her class’s final (and arguably most challenging) lesson to properly give her students a sendoff toward their GMAT exams. Like fellow Chicagoan Michael Jordan, she’s not afraid to play through pain; like fellow Chicagoan Oprah Winfrey, she’s a caring communicator; and like Chicago’s most famous teacher, Barack Obama, she’s teaching at the University of Chicago to bring your MBA candidacy hope.
Bobby Umar // Aerospace ComedianWhile working at Bombardier as an Aerospace Design Engineer, Bobby founded a successful musical theater company called Markham Thespian Society. He also attended Second City’s renowned Conservatory Program, and as a professional actor, Bobby’s sketch comedy troupe Fade to Brown filmed a TV pilot, and he’s appeared in various commercials and on-stage ventures. Most recently, Bobby started his own company called Raeallan, where he is a corporate trainer, motivational speaker, and coach.
Blending the worlds of higher education and entertainment, Bobby brings an engaging presence, endless exuberance, and dynamic people skills essential to developing and connecting people. This energy fuels his Veritas Prep students, who have made Bobby the unofficial Veritas Prep “King of the Exclamation Point!!!!” for the overwhelming excitement they show while writing enthusiastic course evaluations and testimonials. He was named Worldwide GMAT Instructor of the Year in 2009, but more importantly, he values the successful GMAT score reports and admissions letters received by his hundreds of grateful students.
Aaron Pond // Rocky Mountain Higher EducationAaron’s extraordinary love for learning all began when he started reading at the age of eighteen months. He has been devouring books and subjects of all kinds ever since. Aaron did his undergraduate work at Brigham Young University with a major in astrophysics, during which he also finished BYU’s two-year certification program in secondary education. This allowed him to combine his love for “rocket science” with his love of teaching. He then went on to complete his MBA from BYU’s Marriott School of Business, finishing number one in his graduating class.
More than anything else, Aaron loves to teach. By day he’s an educator for the LDS seminary and institute programs, and by night he teaches for Veritas Prep. Between these two jobs, he has taught more than 7,000 lessons. Aaron’s personal attention to his students, sense of humor, and variety of teaching methods - combined with a profound ability to communicate difficult concepts in easy-to-understand ways - has earned him acclaim from students and fellow teachers alike. He is a living example of what Henry Adams once said: “A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops.”
Amit Kakkad // London PrideA Worldwide GMAT Instructor of the Year award winner, Amit has helped over 700 students and taught 75+ GMAT course equivalents in London since 2006. Loved by many of his students for his endless patience, and by others for his funny-but-effective examples; Amit is known among his students for explaining each concept intuitively. As one of his students puts it - “Amit can make the most complicated problem seem nothing more than a few simple steps and has the wit to make the whole process fun.”
Amit received a Master of Research from London Business School and is currently working on a PhD in Operations Management from London Business School. As an avid adventure sports enthusiast, Amit loves to push his own boundaries across aero, water and mountain sports whenever he manages to take a break from his GMAT course teaching and academic research.
David Newland // Burlington Joke FactoryDavid has been teaching and tutoring as a part of the Veritas Prep team since 2006. He loves to find the most efficient way to do things - especially GMAT problems! This undoubtedly helped him to score above the 99th percentile on both the GMAT and the LSAT. After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School with his Juris Doctorate, David worked for the National Park Service living on a wilderness island and writing environmental compliance documents.
Now living in Vermont and working in Boston, David teaches and tutors the GMAT and the LSAT full-time. David is a true GMAT expert, having taught dozens of GMAT courses and written extensively on the subject. His techniques have helped hundreds of students maximize their scores, and were instrumental in the creation of Veritas Prep’s Essentials Course curriculum. David was named Worldwide GMAT Instructor of the Year in 2008.
Kevin Richardson // Batter Up!The owner of a bachelor’s degree and two master’s (including an MBA) from Stanford, Kevin divides his time between preparing his students for the dog-eat-dog world of business school and running Soggy Paws, a Chicago-based (and soon to be Midwestern!) chain of dog wash, grooming, and retail products. To his sunshine-craving chagrin but to the delight of Chicago-area GMAT students, Kevin was finally released from Stanford and allowed to return to icy cold winters. Known to his students as Mr. Analogy, Kevin can craft a GMAT explanation out of virtually any topic: Problem Solving is really a lot like the rope climb in gym class; Sentence Correction questions often read like “Yo Mama” jokes.
Accordingly, Kevin consistently ranks as one of the highest-rated instructors in the company, and was named Worldwide GMAT Instructor of the Year for his efforts. When Kevin is not teaching, serving as an MBA admissions consultant, or working with 4-legged creatures, he can be found cooking a gourmet meal or sliding into home on a softball diamond. Either way, it’s batter up!
Megan Kucik // Smooth OperatorAfter graduating Magna Cum Laude from Dartmouth College with a brief stint in architecture school, Megan focused her attention on a career in management consulting. Megan was an associate consultant and Bain & Company before getting her MBA from Stanford GSB. Megan later worked her way up at Home Depot to become the most senior female Director of Operations Strategy at the time.
Most recently, Megan has turned her energies toward managing her four children, a job she maintains is surprisingly much more difficult than managing a 60-person multidisciplinary project team for a $50 billion dollar company. She now spends her nights and weekends teaching the Veritas Prep methods to business school applicants and answering the Veritas Prep Homework Help Line as the most overqualified phone operator you’ll ever meet. She spends her days issuing homework reminders, making dinners which never please everyone, and playing hide-and-seek over and over and over again.
Brian Galvin // NBA ChampionOne of the world’s few owners of both a 99th percentile GMAT score and an NBA championship ring, Brian would gladly help Charles Barkley (but not Karl Malone) achieve either. Upon graduation with a BBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Brian embarked on a quest to fulfill his childhood dreams of athletic glory, working for the University of Michigan Athletic Department, NYC 2012 Olympic Bid Committee, and Detroit Pistons. After winning (and we use that term loosely) the 2004 NBA championship with the Pistons, Brian turned his focus to earning a Master’s degree in education from Michigan and teaching Veritas Prep GMAT classes.
Seeking a more temperate climate to continue to train for marathons and the Ironman, Brian moved to Santa Monica in 2006 to serve as Director of Academic Programs for Veritas Prep. The co-author of several of Veritas Prep’s GMAT lessons, Brian oversees the instructor and curriculum development for Veritas Prep. He also serves as a featured expert and blogger on multiple GMAT and education websites and continues to teach GMAT classes in Los Angeles.
Valerie Browning // Houston, We Solved the Problem!A lifelong teacher from a family of educators, Valerie grew up learning, teaching, and promoting programs designed to help schools improve results, and has taught standardized test preparation courses since 1994. With an analytical mind that refuses to rest, Valerie relies on a variety of hobbies to stay intellectually active while she’s not teaching Veritas Prep courses - she works with an educational software and publishing company, and loves invitation design, painting, calligraphy, and consultations on landscape planning and organic gardening.
In college she fed her vociferous academic appetite with pursuits of math, science, and engineering degrees, and ultimately graduated with a BA in Psychology from Southern Methodist University. Her thirst for further education prompted her to transition from a financial career to receive an MBA from McCombs at the University of Texas, where she focused on marketing and entrepreneurship. She continues to stay active with the school as an alumni interviewer in Houston, and serves as a GMAT instructor, MBA admissions consultant, and Homework Helpline instructor for Veritas Prep, where she is able to transfer her love of learning to hundreds of students. She was named Worldwide GMAT Instructor of the Year in 2006.
Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor of the Year™ AwardBased on student evaluations and other factors, including innovative course development, we confer the prestigious Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor of the Year™ award. Winners embody the loftiest Veritas Prep standards, providing the ultimate GMAT preparation for their appreciative students.
- 2012 - Dave Goldstein (Boston) and Aaron Pond (Salt Lake City)
- 2011 - Travis Morgan (Los Angeles) and Mia Groves (Irvine)
- 2010 - Frankie Beecroft (Chicago) and Matt Douglas (San Diego)
- 2009 - Rob Stringham (New York) and Bobby Umar (Toronto)
- 2008 - David Newland (Boston) and Burak Powers (Houston)
- 2007 - Amit Kakkad (London) and Laura Cook (San Jose)
- 2006 - Valerie Browning (Houston) and Ken Kleinfeld (Washington, DC)
- 2005 - David Chambers (London) and Megan Kucik (Atlanta)
- 2004 - Chris Kane (New York) and Kevin Richardson (Chicago)
- 2003 - Cliff Smith (San Francisco)
- 2002 - Andrew Hense (Minneapolis)