Our Story

IvyZen is a boutique admissions consulting firm based in San Francisco, CA and Seoul, Korea. Founded in 2003 by U Chicago graduate, Mark Lee, IvyZen focuses on helping top students get into Ivy League schools.

Our approach is different. Instead of packaging applications on a conveyor belt, we proactively develop a student’s profile and help her capitalize on her strengths with proven strategies, high expectations and effective mentoring that gets results.

Mark’s (Founder/Executive Director) story:

Mark Lee, Founder and Executive Director

B.A. 1996 Philosophy, The University of Chicago
M.A. Current Psychology, Harvard University
30+ Years of College Admissions Consulting

I was top of my class at a large public high school. In my junior year, the school district threatened to do away with all AP classes because they were “elitist.” Even then I thought about ways to help ambitious students do even better and help find their unique voice. I stumbled my way to U Chicago and learned a lot along the way.

With this experience, I helped my younger sister get into Yale. My sister and I were the first in our high school to get into top colleges. Word spread and parents were asking me to help their kids get into the Ivies. This gig brought in enough money to pay for my college education. As soon as I graduated in 1996, I started consulting professionally by launching The Princeton Review in Seoul, Korea.

SooJung Park

Managing Director, Relationship Manager, Korea

SJ has been with IvyZen for over 15 years, helping parents and students find their way through the difficult Ivy League admissions process. Her care and compassion to families, and dedication to results has earned her a sterling reputation in the education industry.

Jane Suh

Managing Director, Academic Director

With over 10 years of college admissions consulting experience and over 15 years of tutoring high-achieving students, Jane has helped hundreds of students with award-winning essays, research papers, extracurricular clubs and helped develop unique and compelling themes for Ivy League-bound students.

David Doherty

Academic Director (Research)

Dave’s responsibilities range from developing social justice-related clubs to helping students write award-winning essays. His students have won numerous top-shelf competitions, including National History Day (over 100 national-level winners), Ayn Rand and John Locke essay competitions (over 200 commendations and above).

David Fitzgerald

Academic Director (College Apps)

David is responsible for all things related to the college application. With years of experience helping students craft the perfect college app essays and making sure everything is filled out correctly on the application, David has helped hundreds of students complete the perfect Ivy League application.

Michael Corra

Art Director

Michael, along with being a professional artist, helps students with both visual and literary art. His students develop Ivy League-worthy art and writing portfolios, filled with pieces that have been published in literary magazines and won awards including Scholastic and YoungArts.

Esther Na

Director (Sustainability, STEM Fairs, Research)

Young Shin’s students consistently win the top sustainability competitions, including Conrad, NFTE, Blue Ocean and win spots at the top summer programs, e.g. Jerome Fisher, Launch X. She also helps students build out award-winning products, such as mobile apps.

Kevin Ham

Managing Director, Olympiads

A founding member of the IvyZen team, Kevin has helped over 300 students qualify for the AIME and over 120 students qualify for the US math team. His work also extends to helping talented students with original math research papers that have won numerous wons and published in academic journals.

Kevin Ham

KR Park

STEM and Engineering Director

With graduate degress in engineering and computer science, KR works with students on everything from research papers to science projects. She has a steller track record of helping students with science fairs, the Regeneron competition as well as gain admissions to the top summer programs, e.g. RSI, SSP.

Ju Yeon Sohn

Director (Operations, College Apps)

A favorite with IvyZen students, Ju Yeon tirelessly works with students on the numerous forms and options within the common app. She ensures that all applications are completed on time, with the highest of quality.

Since then I’ve helped over 60 students get into the top Ivies (Harvard) and over a 1,000 in to the top 20 colleges (Cornell, Johns Hopkins). IvyZen (established in 2003) is the formal expression of what I’ve been doing for over 30 years. What’s unique about us is that we ONLY focus on the top students. From the moment I first started consulting, I felt most empathetic to hardworking, ambitious students. We balance compassion with a results-oriented, highly personalized 1on1 mentoring approach to develop unique and compelling themes for students and also help them to realize their true potential.

Please browse through our many articles and content at ivyzen.net. If they’re helpful, sign up for our pdf booklets and white papers or feel free to contact us at info@ivyzen.net to see if we can help.