FOR HIGH ACHIEVERS BY HIGH ACHIEVERS
FOR HIGH ACHIEVERS BY HIGH ACHIEVERS
A success story built on word of mouth
An obsessive focus on quality
An obsessive focus on quality
We created the blueprint for Veritas Prep in 2001 while we were students at Yale University. The founding principles of Veritas Prep have endured since its inception: to provide the world’s highest quality test preparation and admissions consulting services to the most ambitious students applying to the world’s most selective universities.
Drawing on Chad’s victory in Yale’s business plan competition, we won a similar statewide event and eventually placed third in the world’s largest student business plan competition. Our success in competitions likely flowed from our singular focus on the quality of our services, rather than on how to generate a huge payday for investors.
On July 1, 2002, we transitioned from roommates to business partners. Launching Veritas Prep from our apartment in New Haven, Connecticut, we had no employees and survived on a budget that consisted of the winnings from the business plan competitions and our own savings (about six months of Ramen noodles and cheap whiskey).
We have since turned down every opportunity to take outside investment. We believe we can stay truer to our original ethos and that our students are better off without owners that are only in it for the financial rewards.
Word spread quickly
Word spread quickly
The only guiding principle for the original curriculum we wrote was “What would the ideal test prep course look like?” As a result, our program was nearly three times longer than the one offered by our largest competitor. From the first day to today, all Veritas Prep instructors have earned official scores above the 99th percentile of all test takers. Our primary competitors didn’t even require their instructors to have taken an official test for the exam they were hired to teach (the largest still doesn’t). We also constructed our practice tests, homework problems, and student support with the same mindset: focus only on the highest possible quality. The same went for our admissions consulting services – we pioneered the Specialist/Head Consultant model, where each Head Consultants actually served on the admissions committee of a top tier program and your Specialists had attended the schools to which you were applying.
That formula proved to be popular with students, and today we are the nation’s largest privately held test prep and admissions consulting company.
Your success motivates us
Your success motivates us
More than 300,000 students later, we are no longer a two-person firm. Nevertheless, every person that has joined our team has shared our “students first” philosophy. Everyone at Veritas Prep is consumed with student score improvements and acceptance rates. Our internal quarterly reports and company wide meetings focus on the feedback and reviews we collect from each of our students. Our employees’ bonuses are based on client satisfaction. Almost daily, we forward student success stories to our entire staff and celebrate. We love our jobs so much because we get to positively transform the lives of our students.
Meet the Veritas Prep Team
Chad Troutwine has been preparing students for entrance exams since he was nineteen, the same year he graduated from college. Since childhood, Chad has demonstrated a preternatural talent for standardized tests. He recorded a perfect score on the Stanford Achievement Test and scored above the 99th percentile on the PSAT, ACT, SAT, LSAT, GRE, Multistate Bar Examination, and the GMAT.
Relying in part on his exam success, Chad catapulted from an underserved public high school into elite graduate programs. He graduated with honors from the University of Missouri School of Law, completed an MBA at the Yale School of Management, and earned an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School while working full-time.
At Yale, Chad met Markus Moberg and launched Veritas Prep, fusing his test-taking acumen, commitment to education, dynamic teaching style, and entrepreneurial skill into a single venture. Veritas Prep has proven to be wildly successful: helping tens of thousands of students achieve their highest possible test scores and gain entry into the world’s most selective universities.
While Veritas Prep remains his chief passion, Chad is also the co-founder of Spectrum Station, one of the Midwest’s largest early childhood education centers, and he has produced ten feature films starring more than a dozen Academy Award-winning actors and directors. He is also the co-founder of Freakonomics Media, a digital partnership with author Stephen Dubner and economist Steven Levitt.
The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg Business Week, Entrepreneur, and Inc. magazine have featured Chad’s tenure with Veritas Prep. He currently serves on the Yale SOM Alumni Board of Directors and on the Harvard Kennedy School Admissions Committee.
Born in the countryside of Sweden, Markus Moberg grew up in a tri-lingual household in Norway. His father, a nuclear physicist, and his mother, a chemist at the University of Oslo, undoubtedly helped nurture his interest in education from an early age.
After completing high school in Norway, he studied Computer Science and Economics at Cornell. At Cornell, Markus picked up the American bug for entrepreneurship and decided that he would someday start his own company.
Missing the entire dot-com boom, he accepted a position as a Field Engineer with Schlumberger where he worked for extended periods in South America, West Africa, the Faeroe Islands in the North Sea, and the Mediterranean. He has also traveled extensively on his own, hiking to the Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas, shark diving in New Zealand, heli skiing in Alaska, and surfing in Indonesia.
With a 99th percentile on the GMAT, Markus gave his battered passport a rest to attend the Yale School of Management. Between his first and second year of the MBA program he worked as an Associate in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley.
While he enjoyed his brief stint on Wall Street, Markus decided upon graduation to finally fulfill his long time passion for entrepreneurship and teaching. He teamed up with Chad Troutwine to found Veritas Prep, a company that has since grown to become one of the largest privately-owned test preparation and admissions consulting providers in the world.
Ashley Craft - Customer Experience Manager
A lifelong Southern California resident, Ashley has been spreading client happiness around the Los Angeles area for as long as she can remember. Before joining Veritas Prep, she managed the Ralph Lauren shop at Bloomingdale’s, turning even the most finicky shoppers into huge advocates for both brands. Clients love Ashley for the calm, confident way in which she takes care of all their needs. When she isn’t turning Veritas Prep clients into happy zealots, Ashley loves hiking, reading, and training all three disciplines for triathlons. Just be careful - although she’s a certified massage therapist, she has also trained in Krav Maga, a form of martial arts that makes her as dangerous as she is helpful. Just be nice to Ashley’s dogs Arya and Eleanor, and everything should be just fine.
Will Conlu - Product Designer
Will Conlu is a natural designer with an innate ability to draw out core ideas in beautiful ways. His non-linear career path has led him to create visuals and experiences across a variety of mediums. From designing clothing collections with brands such as Levi’s Strauss and Tommy Hilfiger to creating experiential products and services for Calvin Klein and Toyota. More than anything, Will is the kind of designer who will do and learn whatever it takes to make a vision come to life. When he’s not creating, you can find Will planning his next travel adventure, meditating on the train, or spending quality time with friends and family. Favorite Quote: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” - C. R. S.
Shay Davis - Director of Operations
Originally from Central California, Shay has a passion for traveling that has led her all over North America, Europe, and Costa Rica. She even spent time living in France, serving as an au pair for a family in Bordeaux. When Shay isn’t making Veritas Prep instructors happy with her calm demeanor and attention to detail, she teaches future ESL educators and works on her Bikram Yoga habit. She earned her B.A. in English from Cal State Fresno and her M.Ed. from Pepperdine University. Finally, you should know that Shay has friends in high places... George Washington is a distant relative of hers!
Brian Galvin - Chief Academic Officer
One 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. Since receiving a Masters in Education from the University of Michigan he has studied the GMAT fulltime since 2006 as the Director of Academic Programs for Veritas Prep. Combining his professional achievements with his personal hobbies as an Ironman and standup comedian, Brian might very well be the foremost expert on the GMAT in the world. Judge for yourself by following his always-educational and oft-entertaining GMAT Tip of the Week on our blog!
Matthew Honig - Academic Advisor
A Los Angeles native, Matthew earned his BA in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His fondest memory from college was hosting the radio show “White Chocolate,” a weekly hour of high-energy funk and hip-hop music. After spending four years braving the Midwestern tundra, he returned home to Southern California and moved in with two of his closest friends from high school. On an average weekend, Matthew enjoys sinking his teeth into a juicy cheeseburger (medium rare, extra aioli on the side) and catching a flick at the Arclight Cinemas.
Blin Kazazi - Chief Technology Officer
Blin was born in Kosovo, lived in Belgium and moved to the Bay Area at the age of 16 as a high school exchange student. As a young nomad, Blin lived in 4 different countries and went to 4 different high schools before finally settling in Thousand Oaks, CA, to attend California Lutheran University. He says he has designed his first “website” at the age of 9. Blin is an avid soccer fan, bicyclist, paragliding pilot and researcher who brings diversity to the Veritas Prep team. The love of what he does is what made him stand out in the pool of applicants for his job position.
Cecile Matthews - Director of MBA Admissions Consulting
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Cecile is formerly an Assistant Director of Admissions at Berkeley-Haas, where she spent more than two years evaluating thousands of business school applicants. Before she joined the world of MBA admissions, Cecile did student recruitment at the college level, marketing for Major League Baseball, and analyst roles at a biotech venture creation firm and an investment bank. She received her MBA from UCLA Anderson and bachelor’s degree in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University. Outside of work, Cecile enjoys seeing the world, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her family.
Michele Patrick - Chief Financial Officer
True to form, Veritas Prep Controller Michele Patrick used her hometown of St. Louis as a Gateway to the West, taking advantage of the opportunity at Saint Louis University’s MBA program to transfer to Loyola Marymount to complete her education (with Summa Cum Laude honors) and relocate to sunny Southern California. Michele soaked up all the sun that her path to Los Angeles would offer, studying in Madrid, cheerleading for the St. Louis Rams of the NFL, appearing in a few Hollywood movies, and working for multiple media and fitness companies with “Hollywood” and “LA” in their brand names.
Now firmly entrenched as a Los Angeles resident, Michele maintains an active and varied lifestyle, managing accounting and HR responsibilities for Veritas Prep, teaching spinning and pilates classes, and managing a handful of entrepreneurial ventures.
Hayley Paul - Marketing Manager
Originally from the Bay Area, Hayley moved to the Southern California area to attend Loyola Marymount University. Armed with the dream of becoming the next Elle Woods, she pursued a degree in political science and held several internships at various law firms before realizing that although she loved her major, attorney life was not all it was cracked up to be. Despite having more than half her college career under her belt, she flipped a complete 180 and developed a new passion for marketing and event planning that intensified through her student job at LMU, internships in the area and involvement in her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. A few months after graduation (and a couple celebratory trips to Vegas later) Hayley joined the Veritas Prep team and hasn’t looked back. When not working, you can usually find Hayley at her favorite place (the beach), in the kitchen baking something chocolatey and unhealthy, or out for a run in the California sun.
Brian Piere - Senior Software Engineer
Brian Piere grew up in Newbury Park, California, not far from Veritas Prep’s current headquarters. He has been programming as early as he can remember and was eager to participate in the dot-com boom. In the wake of the bust he founded an online printing company without loans or investment, eventually making it to #849 on the Inc 5000. Brian can be found on Medium.com discussing his passion for artificial intelligence and the pursuit for an open source framework to revolutionize collective debate. While many may never get to meet Brian, there’s a chance they’ll one day get to speak with partial copies.
Hitasha Shah - Associate Director of Operations
Hitasha is a true SoCal native and recent UCLA graduate (Go Bruins!). She discovered her passion for education during her second year of college as a statistics tutor. Since then, she’s been involved in various educational organizations and partnerships that work with underserved and underrepresented communities. Majoring in Political Science and minoring in Philosophy, she understands the importance of being a critical thinker and an active global citizen. When she’s not managing Veritas Prep locations and logistics, Hitasha is trying new foods, reading, getting her yoga on, or binge watching any noteworthy TV series. She also loves spending time with her dogs, family and friends (in that order). Fun fact: English is just one of four languages she speaks!
Scott Shrum - President & Chief Operating Officer
Born and raised in New Jersey, Scott earned his BS at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and pursued a career in technology marketing. Later, while at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Scott met Omari Bouknight from Harvard Business School, and the two of them wrote Your MBA Game Plan. This book is now in its third edition, and continues to be one of the most popular books on getting into business school. While researching the book they came in contact with Chad and Markus, and the four stayed in close touch. Years later, after a career as a brand manager in the consumer goods industry, Scott joined the team to run Veritas Prep’s marketing efforts, and now he oversees the company’s day-to-day operations. Outside of work, Scott can be found rooting for the Yankees and working on his improv comedy skills.
Alex Trenchard-Smith - Web Developer
Born in Australia, but a Los Angeleno to the core, Alex is passionate about his job. With degrees in Business Management and Computer Science, Alex brings his love of technology to the task of keeping the Veritas learning experience up to its elite standards. When he’s not working with web-pages and databases, Alex writes and records rock and folk songs, does acting for fun, and listens to countless audio-books. He’s also a serious movie and music geek, and co-captain of a champion pub-trivia team. Alex enjoys exploring the diverse cuisine of Los Angeles, and is enthusiastic about Korean barbecue, burritos, and especially Korean barbecue burritos. After all these years in California, Alex is finally learning to surf on the sunny shores of Malibu.
Laura Smith - Director of College Admissions Consulting
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Laura traveled to Missouri to pursue a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri (Go Tigers!) For four years she worked in the Office of Admission as a Student Recruiter and traveled around the Midwest to speak to high school students and their families about the wonderful world of Mizzou. After graduation, she stuck around St. Louis to work in Admissions Consulting for low-income, first generation students. Her love-affair with Missouri came to an abrupt end after one especially terrible winter (picture her car as a frozen ice sculpture), so she moved back to sunny California in 2011. Since then, she has earned her College Counseling Certificate from UCLA and developed national and international youth engagement programs for various non-profit organizations. When she isn’t managing projects for the Admissions Consulting division at Veritas Prep, you can find her watching sports, wine tasting or playing with her dog!
Farrah Walker - Academic Advisor
Yes, Farrah really was named after a famous blonde model that solved crime on television, so naturally, she aspired to become a teacher. Since trying seven different majors and ultimately graduating from BYU with an English degree, she continues to write and has been published in a collection of essays (so don’t be surprised if her emails are long). Needless to say, Farrah is over the moon about working for an education company and seeing her students excel on their exams. She continues to mentor children through volunteering with reading programs and hospital art programs, and started her own organization to produce and promote benefit events for non-profits. And even though she knows they’re out there, every time she sees dolphins off the Malibu coast, it’s like she’s seeing a unicorn.
Peter Williams - Senior Academic Advisor
A political science/pre-law major from Washington State University, Peter’s political and business philosophies can both be summarized in the phrase “yes we can,” a mantra that he enjoys spreading to apprehensive graduate school applicants worried about their futures. Peter looks forward to talking with you about your goals and helping you formulate a plan to get there. Just don’t tell him that you’re a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers or Oklahoma City Thunder; this Seattle native has suffered enough.