We are here to make an enduring difference in lives and communities everywhere by enabling, empowering, and emboldening every student we guide to do something impactful.

Our Founder

Los Angeles native Marie Kim, Founder and Advisor at Ivorywood, started the company based on insider perspective as a Harvard College student and Harvard Undergraduate peer tutor, college admissions background as a former Harvard University Office of Admissions staff member and applicant evaluator as well as her professional background. Kim is a published, higher education expert for The Huffington Post, The Korea Daily, The Korea Times.

Entering Harvard as Valedictorian, prestigious Coca-Cola Scholarship winner with National Merit Scholarship recognition, Kim majored in Government for her Bachelor of Arts degree and graduated with the Jim Cramer Scholarship. Applying experience gained at the Harvard Law School Fund, the Women’s Leadership Project, and Harvard House Committee, Kim dove into political and business management. She served as a state campaign headquarters manager for President Barack Obama’s second White House run, deputy field director for the Democratic National Committee, Washington, D.C., spearheading U.S. Presidential Election efforts in California, and pac finance chairperson securing the win for Councilman Eric Garcetti as Los Angeles City Mayor. Kim also helped elect a reform candidate to the Los Angeles Board of Education as a field operative to the coalition backed by philanthropist Eli Broad, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the widow of Steve Jobs. In Silicon Valley, Kim led competitive strategy for a billionaire angel at a Sequoia Capital-funded predictive marketing analytics firm; then, under her leadership managing Los Angeles County, the field team at a Benchmark Capital and Google Ventures-backed billion-dollar startup elevated to #1 in the U.S. She also secured record-breaking new business accounts for a Fortune 100 campaign, becoming its #1 marketing manager in the U.S.

Kim is director of the Summer Internship Program to Harvard University undergraduates on the Board of Directors at Harvardwood, a member of the President Obama Alumni Association, serves on the Harvard Prize Book committee, a TEDxTalks event facilitator, and prior to launching Ivorywood, recruited and interviewed Harvard College applicants with the Harvard Schools and Scholarships Committee.

Our Story

How did you pull it off? What’s your secret? Show me how.

When Marie Kim came out the winner at a Harvard University student government election for the executive role her sophomore year in a hotly contested race of 5 challengers, her best friend pulled her aside to figure out how she had done it. You won? But you just got here; no one even knew who you were.

By the time Kim was a sophomore in college, she’d been elected President more than 20 times. But it wasn’t until then, when peers at Harvard like her best friend began seeking out her advice and strategies, she realized she could offer something unique. That some of the most talented people on the planet benefited from her help motivated Kim to apply this aptitude further.

Working with one client grew to a dozen, then to hundreds; over the years, Kim held courses and workshops, trainings and seminars, gave lectures, talks and speeches to crowds from all walks of life, in the U.S. and abroad. Teaching leadership skills to students, Kim helped them improve dramatically, earn accolades, get into the Ivy League. You changed her life forever. I never, ever imagined my son could do this. No one else has been able to do this for my daughter. Hearing comments from parents like these became very common.

Ivorywood really came about because people asked for it, especially moms and dads wanting to give their students unique learning opportunities and get them a leg up in college admissions. With Ivorywood, more families and students benefit from insider strategies and tactics so they know exactly how to make a mark to become the most compelling college applicants in the process.

Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA, USA

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Our Enterprise

IVORYWOODTM is The Original Leadership and Specialty Area Development Company for students in grades 6-12 integrating expert College Admissions Advising. Leveraging a creative and collaborative approach with unique offerings, we turn students into leaders and specialists through transformative experiences, maximizing real-world, hands-on trainings so they get a leg up in college admissions and reach personal milestones. Our proprietary IVORYWOOD COURSESTM get students high level, lasting skills in-demand and cultivates a winning mindset for holistic enrichment; they target high-priority, critical college application components, foster intellectual vitality, reinforce a broad range of core leadership capabilities, and deliver unparalleled support to develop specialty areas. The curriculum is the only one of its kind in the world.

Harvard University graduate Marie Kim founded Ivorywood, an exceptional enterprise applying 20 years of firsthand leadership achievement and 10 years of leadership development research. Our strategies and solutions also incorporate analysis conducted over years of actual classroom teaching, insider perspective of college admissions at Harvard University’s Office of Admissions, and hundreds of evaluations and case studies of college applicants admitted to the Ivy League and other highly selective institutions. Ivorywood gives families and students access to vitally-needed, fundamentally different learning opportunities so students achieve things previously unthinkable while becoming a most compelling candidate to colleges.

Our Mission

We are here to make an enduring difference in lives and communities everywhere by enabling, empowering, and emboldening every student we guide to do something impactful. Providing a fertile, supportive, purpose-driven environment and delivering one-of-a-kind, experiential learning opportunities, we aim to draw out greatness from each student and cultivate it. We guide students to maximize their talent and strengths, channeling their zeal and interest to enrich lives and communities. In our dedication to foster each student’s leadership growth, progress, and achievement, we make it possible to impact even more lives and strengthen communities elsewhere around the globe.

We envision a world teeming with student leaders and deeply-committed student specialists, motivated and focused to do what they can to make a difference through their unique contribution. We see a world populated by students who act and execute daily, so that they fulfill their deepest desires, reach their most ambitious goals, and realize their various dreams, mindful and driven to advance humanity and society. We believe in the power of students to innovate, effect change, lead movements, profoundly touch lives.

And while this is no small task or simple responsibility, by putting people and experiences at the heart of our enterprise and at the forefront of everything we do, we strive to inspire and transform lives doing something greater and good through a lot of grit and tenacity, caring and understanding, vision, and—really hard work.

Guiding Principles

We practice these principles everyday in the Ivorywood community:

Respect Self-respect and respect for others — anytime, anywhere
Adaptive Change is the name of the game; aim to be ahead of the curve
Hopeful Struggle, challenge, setback are part of securing sustained success; remain level-headed and positive
Hungry No room for complacency here; if we can, we must
Daring Face the formidable for some of life’s greatest rewards; go after what you want
Focused Your energy, time, attention are limited; commit and dominate in priority areas
Joyful Happiness rests so much in perception; find the joy each day
Caring The very thing we need, and the thing that keeps us going


We currently support education-focused organizations and causes: the Early College Awareness Program, a global initiative that strives to inform middle school students and families from less advantaged schools about the benefits of college and to encourage them to plan early for a college education; City Year, an international service organization dedicated to helping urban, high-poverty communities of students and schools succeed with projects and programs including academic mentoring and campus beautification; Harvardwood Helps, a worldwide nonprofit advancing local activism and hosting service events championing the arts, media and entertainment community with education events, preprofessional programs, and service initiatives. Ivorywood also provides services to selected students and families based on financial need, qualifying application materials, and community service commitment. Please contact us here for more information.

The Unique, Collaborative Community to Unearth and Cultivate your Extracurricular Passions.