As a student at Boston College, Bernard Kim, MCAS ’98, once had his classmates observe his roommate playing video games while Kim presented a statistical analysis of the video game industry for a class project. Kim had been watching his peers present their slide decks and found himself bored. By including live gameplay in addition to a presentation, his goal was to present his argument by using not only numbers, but real human experiences as well. “By the end of the presentation, people were actually cheering,” he recalled. 

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The story, told at a “Lunch with a Leader” event hosted by the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics, demonstrated Kim’s affinity for exploring human connection throughout his career. Now the CEO of Match Group—known for dating apps like Tinder and Hinge—Kim, who studied economics and communications at Boston College, continues to be recognized for his innovative approach to bringing people together.

On a sunny Friday afternoon in mid-March, Kim stood in front of an audience of more than 50 eager students in the Fulton Honors Library. He spoke of his lifelong search for community and happiness, and his struggles along the way.

Before joining Match Group in 2022, Kim worked in video games, holding prominent positions at Disney Mobile, EA, and Zynga. Kim shared that he first felt the power of human connection as a child while playing video games with his older sister, who turned up for the event and sat in the front row, laughing along as Kim recalled sneaking down to their basement to play games late at night. 

As clear as it is that Kim is passionate about his work, that was not always the case. He explained that the transition from Boston College to ‘the real world’ is one that he struggled with, recalling his first job as a buyer for a local clothing brand. “It was so different from what I thought I would be doing,” he said. “I think I lost the sense of community that I found at BC. I didn’t feel the passion.” His story struck a note with the crowd of students, many of whom are no doubt looking to the future, unsure of their path forward.

The things that have led to the most happiness in my life are community and human connection.
Bernard Kim, MCAS '98

Today, as a leader of the online dating industry, Kim’s emphasis on human connection has taken on a whole new importance—Tinder alone has facilitated more than 55 billion matches internationally. As CEO, Kim is invested in fostering a sense of community within the company as well. In an effort to meet people and get in touch with the company’s culture, Kim visited every office under the Match Group umbrella for a worldwide talking tour during the first months in his role. “Dedicating your own personal time to make those connections has tremendous benefits,” he said. 

As the hour came to an end, Kim urged attendees once again to find communities and a sense of connection within their own career trajectories. “The quest for title and money in the beginning of your career can cloud you,” he said. “As you get further into your career you really come to learn that that stuff doesn’t matter. The things that have led to the most happiness in my life are community and human connection.”

Students lined up to talk one-on-one with Kim, and he declared, “Let’s take a selfie,” before snapping a picture with the whole group. 

Mason Braasch is a contributing writer and editor for Carroll School Communications.