Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Lauren Kim, Wharton School

Lauren Kim

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

“Give me more words and maybe I’ll tell you!”

Hometown: Los Altos, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: Golf has taken me to 38 states across the US + many countries

Undergraduate School and Major: Stanford University, BA Science, Technology, and Society

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: LPGA Professional Golfer (Ladies’ Professional Golf Association)

What has been your first impression of the Wharton MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Wharton story so far. Everyone from the Wharton staff has been so welcoming and receptive, from second year students to Pete at the front desk of Huntsman Hall. No one at this school feels like they can meet a stranger. The sense of community and Wharton pride is truly amazing. The professors I’ve met so far here are absolutely hilarious and inspiring. My best Wharton story is more of a Philadelphia story. The first morning I woke up in Philly, I decided to grab some coffee at a local shop. The first thing I noticed while walking around my new city was everyone’s iced coffees. Having spent the last 27 years in the Bay Area and San Francisco, I didn’t understand the phenomenon until I got back from the coffee shop half an hour later, drenched in sweat in my jeans with my hot coffee. I will be drinking iced coffee through the rest of summer.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the Wharton School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? It was the school’s reputation for giving its students a strong finance and quantitative background. This was important to me as I come from a non-technical background. I really want to focus the next few years on developing my quantitative skills and Wharton’s program is perfect to fill this gap in my education.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at the Wharton School? I am excited for Wharton’s experiential learning opportunities, particularly the treks. I love the outdoors, so to be able to further develop my leadership skills while out in the wilderness is an opportunity I can’t wait to take advantage of.

When you think of the Wharton School, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Diverse. I have not met a more diverse group of people in my life. Everyone seems to have a unique story to tell. For many people, the question, “where are you from?” is difficult to answer because they’ve lived in so many countries all over the world. Being around such a diverse group of people has made me more mindful about how I fit into and move about the world.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I don’t know if undergrad technically counts as “career,” but the accomplishment I’m most proud of so far is winning a National Championship with my college teammates. Besides that, I’m proudest that I was able to win professionally and compete for six years with the best golfers in the world on the LPGA. Not many people have the opportunity to chase a childhood dream, and mine came true for the last six years (with much hard work, of course).

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I want to keep giving myself opportunities to help those around me. I felt like I had given myself time to succeed on the LPGA and it was time for a new journey. I hope to explore and figure out exactly how I can use my experience and newly found Wharton quantitative skills to bring value to people and help others become the best versions of themselves. Eventually, I’d like to end up in venture capital after gaining some tangible industry experience.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech. The last time I watched it, I was probably in middle school. To rewatch with fresh eyes and a new perspective on leadership was transformational. The way MLK speaks gives me goosebumps. I can’t help but be inspired as an MBA student to employ some of the tactics he used to motivate people in my own life. What an amazing leader he was.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Seemingly, I applied every other one. I casted a wide net when I applied because I wasn’t sure where someone with my unconventional background would be accepted. Turns out, Wharton values what I had to bring to the table, so for that I’m grateful!

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Wharton School’s MBA program? Be yourself. Sounds cliché, but Wharton seems to care a lot about authenticity. I’m sure that’s common amongst most MBA programs. Authenticity and telling your true story are such important parts of being genuine in your application. People take you the most seriously if you show them your true colors from the beginning. Also, don’t get too caught up in the details. My admission to Wharton is a true testament to the holistic nature of Wharton’s application process. There were a couple parts of my application that I was worried would derail my admission. In the end, the other great parts of my application made up the difference.


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