Director of Instruction Stefan Maisnier
Elite Test Prep & Application Support
MyGuru's Director of Instruction, Stefan Maisnier, has a unique resume compared to most admissions consultants or test prep tutoring experts. He graduated from two top schools, earning a bachelor's from the University of Southern California (USC) and a master's from Northwestern University, but those degrees are in communication and journalism rather than education or engineering. His first full-time job after graduating from USC wasn't at an admissions office for an Ivy League school, but in a television truck covering live college football and basketball (visiting dozens of college campuses and 45 states!) for ESPN. However, for nearly 25 years, he has been helping students at the high school and collegiate level improve their applications to get accepted at top universities worldwide.
Stefan still remembers the exact moment he got the urge to help other students achieve their academic goals. His AP English teacher asked to use his application essay as a template to share with classmates. Without hesitation Stefan agreed, and since then he has found no greater satisfaction than helping others reach their scholastic potential. At USC, Stefan was blessed with the opportunity to serve as student video manager for the National Champion Trojan football team. Producing coaching tape under Head Coach Pete Carroll, he developed the foundations of a proven test prep formula: regular practice of consistent processes with intentional review after a period of rest. This allows test takers to recognize and react on test day, rather than become stuck struggling to apply memorized concepts to questions that are always different from practice.
In 2016, after more than a decade teaching on the side for various standardized test prep providers, Stefan joined founder Mark Skoskiewicz at MyGuru to turn his passion into full-time purpose. Over the last eight years, he has developed a dynamic approach to online tutoring that provides instructor notes to students after every lesson so that learners can focus on learning instead of stenography. At MyGuru, Stefan has helped students get admitted not only to top U.S universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, but also to less selective schools and internationally. Because of his extraordinary background, every student he works with tells a singular story to stand out in an applicant pool!
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Engaging Test Prep Expertise
Since teaching his first SAT class more than two decades ago, Stefan has understood that the key to standardized test prep is student engagement, and he has emphasized this importance to every tutor on the MyGuru team. To reach effectively reach high schoolers, this means creating a safe space for failure and explaining how to approach a likely unloved aspect of their college application as an opportunity to relatively quickly (in a matter of weeks or months) improve their profile as opposed to as an "unfair" obligation to put off. At the collegiate level, it means explaining how the logic and problem-solving skills required by the Executive Assessment, GMAT Focus, LSAT, and, to a lesser degree the GRE, are useful long after test day as applicants continue pursuing their academic and professional goals.
In addition to his work as a private tutor, Stefan has taught the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT in institutional settings. For nearly a decade he has led both in-person and online test prep courses for Northeastern Illinois University. He has also been invited to speak to potential MBA applicants by ESMT Berlin, Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), and The Consortium. For each test that he instructs, he has personally scored in
Prior to joining MyGuru in 2018, he spent nearly 15 years at The Princeton Review (TPR) tutoring for the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, and LSAT, where he was voted best instructor in the Midwest. At TPR and NextStep (now Blueprint) Test Prep he put his journalism degree to its intended use writing, editing and developing content. He has also written practice problems for both GRE Prep Club and GMAT Club online prep materials. His most recent production accomplishment is developing three different courses in partnership with Analyst Prep for the Executive Assessment, legacy GMAT, and most recently for newly updated GMAT Focus.
Unique Admissions Perspective
Most admissions consultants have worked in admissions before moving to private consulting. Not Stefan. He has a resume that helps students create applications to stand out from the cookie cutter crowd.
Approachable College Experience
At the University of Southern California, he took advantage of his location in a media capital by interning for Good Morning America and KCBS Sports. As a senior, he was the student video manager for the National Champion USC Trojan football coaching staff. Less than a month after the Rose Bowl victory securing that title, he was worked his first event for ESPN at the Winter X Games in Aspen. Then, as a journalism graduate student at Northwestern, he continued to expand his experiences beyond campus, representing the university in a New York Times team case competition for new media opportunities.
Campus location Scout
Stefan has also visited dozens of campuses in the U.S. while producing interviews and graphics for ESPN's Emmy-nominated college football and college basketball programming. If you or your student are considering universities with a football or basketball program, there is a good chance he can share insights about the area, having been to 45 states, if not the school itself. Whether discussing city campuses such as Saint Joe's or Temple in Philadelphia or rural schools like Penn State and Oklahoma State, he can help students with valuable information about what is like to be a student at schools from coast to coast.
Dynamic Online Tutoring Method
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic turned most in-person teaching into distance learning, Stefan developed an innovative online tutoring approach based on the simple principle that every student should leave each tutoring session with the instructor's notes. Using an interactive whiteboard from Miro (formerly RealTimeBoard), Stefan and the entire MyGuru tutoring team use a parallel track of instruction to outline tactics and concepts for a standardized test or academic subject by completing real practice problems live. This allows Stefan and the MyGuru team to teach the student and subject rather than a prepackaged, prescribed one-size-fits-all curriculum.
teaching to different learning styles
Using either official test prep resources or a student's academic course materials directly, Stefan and the MyGuru team are able to adjust their instruction as needed to help every student learn in the way that is best for them as an individual. Furthermore, with the ability to offer a private whiteboard and full lesson recording capabilities, each student can fully immerse themself in the learning process rather than worrying about being a stenographer. The private whiteboard also allows students to document and compile notes for their own benefit at their discretion, while also being able to leave questions for the instructor to respond to in between lessons.
These tools can be especially beneficial for students with learning challenges such as ADD, ADHD, and dyslexia among others. Because the whiteboard is always being updated live like it would be in a physical classroom, it helps students be fully immersed in the learning process with little loss of focus.
GMAT Focus Course Author
In partnership with esteemed online course provider Analyst Prep, Stefan has produced a brand new GMAT Focus Course intended exclusively for this version of the GMAT. Featuring nearly 50 videos and more than 1,000 questions, Stefan uses his expertise to holistically share how to excel on this test of logic and problem solving using the languages of math and English. Best of all, this course is currently available for only $39 a month!
Stefan's insights aren't limited to North America. A dual citizen of France and the United States, thanks to his father having been born in raised in Paris, he moved abroad to Paris to work for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development after obtaining his master's degree at Northwestern. He draws on this migration experience to help students with the process for moving, working, and studying abroad. He also spent a year later in life living in Melbourne, Australia, and has traveled to many countries in Asia and is always expanding his understanding of the Pacific Rim.
As a first-generation college student, Stefan understands that the sheer amount of application information that is available online doesn't mean that a high schooler without family academic connections is any more ready to navigate the college application process than he was at 17. In fact, it might be even harder today to work through all of the various options like what is the difference between test-optional and test-blind?
Over his nearly two decades as a test prep and admissions professional, Stefan has helped students from every continent (except Antarctica) achieve their collegiate and graduate school goals. He really enjoys demystifying the application process and using his own unlikely successes to inspire everyone that he works with to believe that they too can achieve greatness. As his LinkedIn profile says, he's very proud to have helped students get into schools from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Cambridge, England!
Executive Assessment Course