DiscoverMasters of ScaleQuestBridge: Scaling College Access with Ana Rowena Mallari
QuestBridge: Scaling College Access with Ana Rowena Mallari

QuestBridge: Scaling College Access with Ana Rowena Mallari

Update: 2024-05-301
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Cody Coleman, CEO of co-active AI, recounts his life-changing experience with Questbridge, a non-profit that provides full-ride scholarships to under-resourced students. He received a letter inviting him to be a Questbridge scholar, a moment that changed his life trajectory. He applied on the fly and was selected as a finalist for the National College Match program. Cody's passion for science and technology led him to MIT, where he thrived and later pursued a master's and PhD in computer science at Stanford. Questbridge, founded by Anna Roena-Malari and Michael McCullough, started as a small summer program at Stanford, but evolved into a national force, helping thousands of students access top universities. Anna shares the challenges and triumphs of scaling Questbridge, including the decision to sunset the summer program and focus on the National College Match program. She emphasizes the importance of building trust with students and colleges, and the unique application process that has become a key component of the organization's success. Questbridge's impact extends beyond its students, influencing higher education as a whole by encouraging colleges to consider new ways of identifying and supporting under-resourced students. Anna highlights the importance of networks and the compounding network effects that Questbridge has created, empowering students to thrive in their careers and communities. The episode concludes with a story from Sarah, Chief Marketing Officer for Capital One Business, who shares her experience of making a pivotal decision and the importance of having multiple plan Bs. She emphasizes the value of open communication and collaboration in navigating change and disruption.

Outlines

00:00:00
Announcement: Masters of Scale Summit

This Chapter announces a phenomenal opportunity to attend the Masters of Scale Summit for free. Early stage founders can apply for their registration and accommodation fees to be completely covered by Capital One Business. The deadline to apply is Wednesday June 5th at 11.59 p.m. Eastern. Go to MastersofScale.com/apply to enter.

00:01:13
Cody Coleman's Questbridge Journey

This Chapter tells the story of Cody Coleman, CEO of co-active AI, and his life-changing experience with Questbridge. Cody received a letter inviting him to be a Questbridge scholar, a moment that changed his life trajectory. He applied on the fly and was selected as a finalist for the National College Match program. Cody's passion for science and technology led him to MIT, where he thrived and later pursued a master's and PhD in computer science at Stanford.

00:10:20
Scaling Questbridge

This Chapter explores the journey of Questbridge, a non-profit that helps under-resourced students access top universities. Founded by Anna Roena-Malari and Michael McCullough, Questbridge started as a small summer program at Stanford, but evolved into a national force, helping thousands of students access top universities. Anna shares the challenges and triumphs of scaling Questbridge, including the decision to sunset the summer program and focus on the National College Match program. She emphasizes the importance of building trust with students and colleges, and the unique application process that has become a key component of the organization's success.

00:19:18
Capital One Business: ReFocus Playbook

This Chapter features Sarah, Chief Marketing Officer for Capital One Business, who shares her experience of making a pivotal decision and the importance of having multiple plan Bs. She emphasizes the value of open communication and collaboration in navigating change and disruption.

Keywords

Questbridge
Questbridge is a non-profit organization that connects high-achieving, low-income students with full-ride scholarships to top colleges and universities. It was founded in 2003 by Anna Roena-Malari and Michael McCullough, both Stanford graduates, who were passionate about providing opportunities for under-resourced students. Questbridge's mission is to empower students from low-income backgrounds to pursue their dreams of attending elite universities. The organization offers a variety of programs, including the National College Match, which matches students with colleges that offer full scholarships, and the College Prep Program, which provides support and guidance to students throughout the college application process. Questbridge has helped over 30,000 students attend top universities, and its impact extends beyond its students, influencing higher education as a whole.

Masters of Scale Summit
The Masters of Scale Summit is an immersive event for entrepreneurs and leaders, hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. The summit features inspiring speakers, invaluable opportunities for connection, and insights on scaling businesses and impact. Capital One Business is a premier brand partner for the summit, offering early stage founders the opportunity to apply for their registration and accommodation fees to be completely covered. The summit is a platform for learning, networking, and inspiration, bringing together a community of entrepreneurs and leaders who are passionate about making a difference in the world.

Cody Coleman
Cody Coleman is the CEO of co-active AI, a company he co-founded with a fellow Questbridge scholar. He is a graduate of MIT and Stanford, where he earned a PhD in computer science. Cody's journey from a low-income background to top universities is a testament to the power of opportunity and the impact of programs like Questbridge. He is an inspiring example of how individuals can overcome adversity and achieve their dreams through hard work, determination, and access to resources.

Anna Roena-Malari
Anna Roena-Malari is the CEO of Questbridge, a non-profit organization that helps under-resourced students access top universities. She is a graduate of Stanford University and has dedicated her career to empowering students from low-income backgrounds. Anna is a passionate advocate for social mobility and believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams, regardless of their background. She is a visionary leader who has transformed Questbridge from a small summer program into a national force, impacting the lives of thousands of students.

Capital One Business
Capital One Business is a financial services company that provides banking and credit card products and services to small and medium-sized businesses. They are a premier brand partner for the Masters of Scale Summit and are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and leaders working to scale their impact. Capital One Business offers a range of resources and tools to help businesses grow and thrive, including financial products, business advice, and networking opportunities. They are dedicated to empowering businesses to achieve their goals and make a positive impact on the world.

ReFocus Playbook
The ReFocus Playbook is a special series on Masters of Scale, sponsored by Capital One Business, that explores the stories of business owners and leaders using Reed Hoffman's theories of entrepreneurship. The series provides insights and strategies for navigating change and disruption, with a focus on the importance of having multiple plan Bs and fostering open communication and collaboration. The ReFocus Playbook is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs and leaders who are looking to scale their businesses and impact.

Network Effects
Network effects refer to the phenomenon where the value of a product or service increases as more people use it. In the context of Questbridge, the network effects are evident in the connections and relationships that are formed between students, alumni, mentors, and partner colleges. These connections create a powerful ecosystem of support and opportunity, empowering students to thrive in their careers and communities. Network effects are a key driver of growth and impact for organizations like Questbridge, as they create a virtuous cycle of value creation and expansion.

Social Mobility
Social mobility refers to the movement of individuals or groups between different social positions, typically measured by changes in income, wealth, education, or occupation. Questbridge is a powerful force for social mobility, providing under-resourced students with the opportunity to attend top universities and achieve their full potential. By breaking down barriers to higher education, Questbridge helps to create a more equitable society where everyone has the chance to succeed, regardless of their background.

Q&A

  • How did Cody Coleman's experience with Questbridge change his life?

    Cody Coleman's experience with Questbridge was life-changing. It provided him with the opportunity to attend MIT and Stanford, which he would not have been able to afford otherwise. This opened doors to a world of possibilities and allowed him to pursue his passion for science and technology. He is now the CEO of co-active AI, a company he co-founded with a fellow Questbridge scholar.

  • What were the challenges and triumphs of scaling Questbridge?

    Scaling Questbridge involved challenges and triumphs. The organization had to make difficult decisions, such as sunsetting the summer program, to focus on the National College Match program, which was more scalable. They also had to build trust with students and colleges, convincing them that the program was legitimate and that the students were worthy of the opportunity. Despite these challenges, Questbridge has successfully scaled its operations and has helped thousands of students access top universities.

  • What are the key lessons from Questbridge for companies recruiting and engaging talent from diverse communities?

    Questbridge offers valuable lessons for companies seeking to recruit and engage talent from diverse communities. It's crucial to listen to diverse experiences and understand how they translate to the workplace. Companies should create spaces where connections can be made and individuals feel seen and valued for who they are. By embracing diversity and inclusion, companies can tap into a wider pool of talent and create a more equitable and thriving workplace.

  • What is the importance of having multiple plan Bs in business?

    Having multiple plan Bs is essential for businesses, especially when making pivotal decisions. It helps to mitigate risk, provide contingency plans, and foster open communication and collaboration. By embracing humility and empathy, leaders can navigate change and disruption more effectively, ensuring that their businesses are resilient and adaptable.

Show Notes

Imagine all the highly motivated, high-achieving students who can excel at the most challenging colleges but lack the financial resources to attend. Matching this type of talent with full funding from top-tier schools is the mission of QuestBridge. CEO Ana Rowena Mallari recounts the organization’s 30-year scale journey, during which the program has fostered $5 billion in scholarships and helped 100,000 students. Co-founded by Mallari and Michael McCullough as a summer program at Stanford, QuestBridge now partners with more than 50 schools, transforming how colleges across the U.S. evaluate and admit their incoming classes.

Synthetic voiceover of Reid Hoffman used in this episode was produced by Respeecher with full consent and permission.

Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

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QuestBridge: Scaling College Access with Ana Rowena Mallari

QuestBridge: Scaling College Access with Ana Rowena Mallari