Kim R.'s Story

“My initial plan was to apply to MBA programs in Round 2, but when the QB Graduate School Match pilot was announced in the summer, I knew I couldn’t miss out on this incredible opportunity.”

Self-doubt is one of the most common—and most challenging—aspects of the undergraduate and graduate application processes. Kim Rosa-Perez is no stranger to that feeling. When Kim was a high school student in Glendale, Arizona, she was often celebrated as an academic leader. Still, as a first-generation college applicant, she feared rejection and questioned her collegiate qualifications. “You hear all these stories about how low acceptance rates are for private universities and Ivy League institutions,” Kim explained. “Because of that, I was already making plans to attend my state university since I was familiar with the program and thought it’d be a good fit.”

During her junior year, Kim learned about QuestBridge and took a chance on the National College Match. One year later, she was admitted to Swarthmore College: “I had my fair share of doubts along the way, so to open up a letter that said ‘Congratulations!’ felt like a huge weight had lifted from my shoulders.” 

Throughout her time at Swarthmore, Kim studied Economics and Spanish, all while serving as President of the Swarthmore QuestBridge Scholars Network chapter and staying active in Enlace, the college’s Latinx student organization. “College taught me that I can navigate new experiences on my own,” Kim shared. “While it may feel overwhelming in the beginning, it’s important for me to find a community that I can lean on.”

Near the end of Kim’s fourth year of college, a new goal came into focus. “I realized I wanted to pursue an MBA,” Kim explained. “When I was first learning about Swarthmore I remember the school mentioning that a large portion of its alumni would pursue graduate education. I wasn’t sure what that would entail, so over the years, I turned to Swarthmore alumni to learn about the different career paths people were pursuing. I found that I kept gravitating toward alums who had obtained MBA degrees at some point in their career journey.”

Keeping her MBA goal in sight, following graduation, Kim spent four years working as a Consulting Analyst at Accenture’s Washington D.C. office. “I was able to explore different industries like Financial Services, Media & Telecommunications, and Tech,” Kim shared. When the time felt right, Kim took her next step forward: “My initial plan was to apply to MBA programs in Round 2, but when the QB Graduate School Match pilot was announced in the summer, I knew I couldn’t miss out on this incredible opportunity.”

Over the next few months, Kim worked to finalize her application materials. “It was intense,” Kim said. “I was managing a full-time job while studying for the GMAT, researching different programs, and putting together a strong MBA application. [Admittedly], I was very nervous about applying to these programs because standardized testing was something that I did not enjoy in high school.” Kim struggled with doubt and anxiety related to the GMAT and worried that standardized testing would stand in her way. “I had to remind myself that [the test] was only one component of the application. … I studied hard and would not have been able to do it without the help of all the people who were cheering me along.”

In December of 2021, Kim received the news she had been hoping for: a Match – admission and a full-tuition scholarship – to the Yale School of Management. The following fall, she eagerly prepared for the journey ahead, packing her bags for Connecticut to officially begin her MBA. “[At Yale SOM], it has been incredible to meet individuals from all walks of life,” Kim shared. “Yale puts a big emphasis on recruiting people from all over the world, which allows for interesting perspectives to be shared both in and out of the classroom. In terms of what I hope to get out of the program, I am striking a balance between taking Venture Capital courses and social impact courses. I am learning what aspects investors take into consideration when making decisions about who and what funds to invest in, while also pulling frameworks from the social impact space to advocate for recruitment of more diverse founders across socioeconomic status, gender, and race.”

Looking to the future, Kim envisions pursuing business operations and strategy-related work in the tech sector. “I also hope to devote time and energy to personal goals not related to my career,” Kim explained. “It took a lot of effort and consistency to end up in the spaces I am today, and I feel ready to start channeling that energy towards personal relationships with friends and family.”

Reflecting on her journey to an MBA, Kim shares her advice on self-doubt and self-care: “What has helped the most is leaning on others and making time for activities that keep me grounded. The combination of taking care of my physical and mental health has allowed me to balance out any anxiety, doubt, or negative thoughts.” At the same time, Kim’s confidence has grown, and she has learned to take more risks. “[QuestBridge has shown me] to just believe in yourself and never say no to an opportunity because you don't think you're good enough.”