Yulkendy Valdez ’17

Appreciating the journey as much as the destination

Yulkendy Valdez ’17 / St. Louis, Missouri

“My grandma used to say, ‘You are now a collection of patches, a quilt of sorts. That is a beautiful thing, but never forget who you are at the core.’ I took that with me to Babson and believe that in order to be happy, the best thing I can do is unapologetically be myself.

“Luckily, I feel safe being myself at Babson because the campus is a hub of entrepreneurs, change-makers, and people that want to pursue their boldest ambitions—people that are willing to dream big, while not being afraid to fail. I’ve learned not to take things too seriously because it’s better to enjoy the process and learn as much as you can from personal and professional opportunities.

“In order to be happy, the best thing I can do is unapologetically be myself.”

“Even though I missed my family as a first-year, the campus culture really pulled me in and motivated me to pursue my most daring interests. Babson has sparked a fire in me and made me feel like I am unstoppable. Plus, there’s so much energy in and around Boston. Living here has enriched my experience because I’ve attended programs and collaborated with students from Harvard, MIT, and Boston University.

“One of my favorite things is the learning that happens outside the classroom. Babson has taken me all over the world, allowing me to share the power of entrepreneurship with students in Rwanda, study abroad in Spain, mentor high school students and intern in Boston, and travel to Russia, China, and India as part of the BRIC program to personally experience the changing global business landscape.

​“I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process, including what I would like to do as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® has shown me that my boldest ideas are not as far-fetched as I think and that if I want to do something, why not go ahead and test it right now? Because of Babson, I am pursuing my social venture, Project 99, full-time post-graduation along with my co-founder, Josuel Plasencia ’17. Project 99 is diversifying leadership. We convene underrepresented people in collaborative spaces to enable them to be the leaders of tomorrow’s workforce.

“As a first-generation college student, paying for college was always a challenging conversation with my family. However, Babson made it so much easier for me to take the leap due to the support and commitment that it has given me from day one.”

Yulkendy Valdez ’17