Noah Greenfield, Co-Founder and President at InGenius Prep
Noah Greenfield’s BIO
Noah Greenfield is the co-founder and president of InGenius Prep, a global admissions consulting company. He is also a JD/PhD candidate at Yale Law School and the University of California, Berkeley, where he is a Mellon Fellow.
INTERVIEW SHOW NOTES
1. BSO: You are Co-Founder and President at InGenius Prep. Please share with us how you got into admissions counseling.
NG: I have been working in education for many years (including pursuing a doctorate at UC Berkeley) and understood that there was both a need and a demand for reliable, high quality, professional admissions counseling.
It got to the point where I was turning students away for lack of bandwidth. But how could I scale myself? I was talking this over with a fellow classmate of mine, Joel Butterly, at Yale Law School and, more or less immediately, the ideas about admissions counseling and consultation started flowing.
That is when InGenius Prep was conceived. Over the next few weeks, we put together a business plan and built a partnership and friendship that has been the backbone of all our success. It has been a roller coaster ride ever since!
2. BSO: Take us through a typical day, start to finish.
NG: Work starts around 9AM after I drop off my son at school.
I usually work from home or my local office in Brooklyn, NY but am occassionally at our headquarters in New Haven, CT and spend a few weeks each year in China or elsewhere for business.
I work until about 7PM, have an hour with my family, put the kids to bed, and then am back on at 8PM until about, depending on the night, 1AM, 2AM or 3AM, working with students who seek admissions counseling and members of the InGenius Prep team around the world.
3. BSO: What was the best advice you received when you co-founded InGenius Prep?
NG: We were given conflicting advice.
One mentor told us that we would have to work insanely hard to build our company into anything resembling success.
Another mentor told us that if we worked too hard, we would burn out.
They were both right, of course!.
The best way I have found to work impossibly hard but to avoid burnouts is Sabbath observance. I work 6 days a week and observe the Sabbath from Friday afternoon at sundown until Saturday night. On my Sabbath, my phone and computer are off and I am fully immersed in my family, my friends and the delight of my day of rest.
There are no exceptions. It is my day of heaven each week, and my opportunity to step back, reflect and be grateful for what I have and what is to come.
4. BSO: What are your strategies for building awareness of InGenius, short term and long term?
NG: We have a robust marketing effort that utilizes traditional and digital media to reach very targeted demographics. We have learned to tailor our marketing to different markets, so do things rather differently in China than we do in Canada, for instance. We also made the very wise decision to bring early on an extremely talented and devoted director of marketing, Yosepha Greenfield, and she has taken our marketing to the next level.
At the end of the day, we have the most expert, thoughtful, and engaged admissions counselors in the world and we have the largest team of former admissions officers from the top universities in the world. They all write high quality articles and are featured in high quality videos, webinars, and workshops, most of which are offered entirely free through our website for anyone who wants to benefit from them.
Our long term plan is very simple: As more and more students work with us, maximize their opportunities, get in to the best schools, and achieve their dreams, more and more families will learn about us and realize that we have something that no one else can offer them.
5. BSO: What is your proudest achievement?
NG: From the very beginning, before we were making any money or had any students, we agreed that we would be a mission driven company. So, from the very beginning, we offered financial aid to anyone who needed it and have never turned away a single student who couldn’t afford our services.
But, we wanted to do more to be able to give students more access to the best in higher education.
This year, through our partnership with Team for America, we teamed up with a charter school in Los Angeles to provide our admissions counseling services to their college bound seniors. It has, thus far, been a great success and we are now hoping to expand to many more charter and public schools throughout the United States. We are working on setting up our non-profit which will give us the institutional resources to do even more to equalize the playing field in higher ed. .
6. BSO: What are Your Top 3 book recommendations?
NG: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It isn’t just helpful for business – it is helpful for life.
The Book of Psalms. If you don’t pray yet, you will start when you start a business.
Instead of reading a book, I schedule lots of meetings with our students and their families to learn about their needs and wants, their hopes and dreams. There isn’t a book that can give you their insights.
7. BSO: What other charitable causes are most meaningful to you and why?
NG: Anything that can fix the many “education problems” in the US. There are so many people who want to get into a good college but are not getting the education they deserve, not getting the opportunities that can help them soar and reach their potential as a result.
More than that, they lose out and we, as a society, lose out. Organizations that we partner with, like Teach for America, do great work. We want to continue to partner with like-minded schools, organizations, educators, policy-makers, to do our part to make a difference.
8. BSO: Who has been most influential toward your accomplishments, professional & personal?
NG: My wife, Nava, has been completely supportive of InGenius Prep from day one. Whether time or love or a sleepless night, she does everything in her power to support our growth and success. My many students who have gone on to great schools owe much of their success to her because of her tireless devotion.
The same goes for Joel’s fiancee, Emily Ulrich. She is utterly selfless and a source of joy and optimism whenever we encounter rough spots.
But we have such a profoundly talented and hard working team of admissions experts and graduate coaches at InGenius Prep – some of the smartest, boldest, most thoughtful, caring, and good people – it is an inspiration to work with them every day.
9. BSO: What is your advice for entrepreneurs who are 1-3 months away from launching their business?
NG: Launch before you are ready.
Get ready for no sleep.
Make sure you are driven by mission, not just money.
Find and keep the best people you know and give them the ability to make things happen.