Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Uriel Kim, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Uriel Kim

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

“Life-long learner fascinated about discovering how to best improve the wellness of individuals and communities.”

Hometown: Monterey, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am obsessed with backyard chickens and beekeeping, even though I have never lived in a place with a backyard.

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Southern California, Biological Sciences (BS)

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Clinical and Translational Science (PhD)

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine (MD), In Progress

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Health Disparities and Health Policy Researcher

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I really appreciate the opportunity to move through the core curriculum as a cohort. As someone without a formal business education previously, I have found that the core classes help establish a common working language and understanding for all students, ultimately leading to a more vibrant learning environment for all. For my colleagues who have had previous exposure to the some of the core course topics, my impression is that they have found courses to be worthwhile. Indeed, even with my quantitative background, I have been challenged and engaged, for example, with the introductory business analytics coursework; the professors here are truly exceptional teachers with a knack for keeping students interested in learning more.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Northwestern Kellogg? I am most excited about the Healthcare at Kellogg Pathway. The pathways at Kellogg (there are 11!) provide a flexible way to delve deeply into a particular industry though a curated set of courses and experiences. The Healthcare pathway begins with a foundation in healthcare strategy and economics, and includes courses such as Biomedical Marketing and Value Creation and Capture in Healthcare. It culminates in a capstone where we can pursue an experiential or field course. I am looking forward to utilizing the tools and experiences from the Healthcare pathway to build upon my previous experiences in healthcare.

I’m also looking forward to the potential of participating in the Board Fellows program. Board fellows is a 20-month long program that places students as ex-officio members on the boards of non-profit organizations in Chicago. While I believe that the levers to effect positive change are accessible in any industry, organization, and function, none are quite as direct as those that exist in the non-profit sector. Non-profit organizations often responsible for tackling some of our society’s most “wicked” problems, and the opportunity to engage with these organizations in such a meaningful and sustained way is rare.

What word best describes the Kellogg MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Genuine. I have found that Kellogg MBA students and alumni are uniformly interested in getting to know you for you. They listen to your trials and tribulations without judgement; celebrate wholeheartedly when good things happen to you; and selflessly and enthusiastically find ways to help you succeed.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? Practically every single industry is represented in Chicago, which makes it the perfect proving ground for business students who are trying to figure out “what’s next.” There’s also an amazing amount of cultural and recreational opportunities in the city, so there’s never a dull moment. Also, I’ve found that the people here in general are so much kinder than in other big cities (Midwest Nice is real!).

Kellogg is known for a team-driven culture. What quality do you bring as a teammate and why is it so important to success? I think that high performing teams arise from groups that are aligned in terms of mission, have warm personal relationships between team-members, and have a trusting environment where ideas can be shared openly. I think that the quality I bring as a teammate is that I am deeply invested in establishing team norms that will facilitate high performance. As most of my professional experienced has required that I be part of a team, and I try to adopt the best-practices of the high performing teams that I have been a part of. This includes simple (but often overlooked!) things such as a “check-in” for each meeting where we can stay abreast the personal and professional happenings of our colleagues and a “check-out” period where we can reflect and provide constructive feedback.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m proud of the research study that I designed, lead, completed that examined the impact of the Affordable Care Act on cancer disparities in persons with low-income. The Affordable Care Act was a highly anticipated change to the health policy landscape, and I was able to demonstrate that through Medicaid expansion and the insurance marketplaces, many individuals who were previously marginalized by not having stable, affordable insurance gained coverage. This translated into substantial and significant improvements in cancer outcomes. These findings are important because cancer is the second leading cause of death in this country, and the burden of the disease has been shouldered disproportionately by socioeconomically disadvantaged populations who have not had equitable access to optimal cancer prevention and treatment services. Of course, the Affordable Care Act is not a panacea, but I take pride in that my research has helped document an important success of the Affordable Care Act and provides data to drive future policy interventions.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? During COVID-19, our research group, like many other groups, pivoted to a virtual setting. As we worked from home, we quickly came to realize what was sacrosanct and what was not; what we came to miss the most was each other, and when the world (eventually) returns to “normal,” I think that we will more intentionally cultivate and enjoy our relationships with each other.

Later during the pandemic, I returned to the hospital setting to continue my medical training. This experience was humbling, as I saw healthcare providers, with grace and grit, rise to the challenge of confronting a disease with many unknowns. I hope that in my professional journey, I will lead with the same compassion and courage.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I was taking stock of my professional and educational experiences thus far, and I wanted to take the time to reflect on how I make the pieces all fit together. My professional goal is to improve the wellness, construed broadly, of individuals and communities. Certainly, being a Health Policy Researcher or a physician would provide me an avenue to achieve my goal. However, I felt that business school would help me identify, or even create, new intersections where my experiences can be best leveraged.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, Stanford GSB, Wharton, Columbia, Booth, Sloan, Yale

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA program?  Don’t try to force your journey into a mold that you think will be most appealing to the admission committee. I have been so impressed for the variety of paths that have led my classmates to business school (spoiler: they are rarely direct paths). More importantly, I think my classmates have really interesting and profound ideas about “what’s next.” Thus, I think it’s important to convey how your experiences thus far have helped you identify your next great step and how business school will help you get there.


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