MBA life: Seoul National University
The course started last August and it will end this August, so I’m still studying these days. The class starts at 9 a.m. and continues to 9:30 p.m. with short breaks for lunch and dinner. I also just started a formal language (Korean) course last week, so there’s not much spare time for me.
Is it your exam season?
It’s kind of always the exam season. The one-year program is really condensed. Right now, my schedule has new classes every two weeks.
Does that mean that each class lasts for only two weeks?
For the first half of the program, there were two classes for every four weeks. Now we have switched to one class per two weeks, since there are classes being taught by visiting professors from the United States and other places.
I am also preparing going to France for a three-week exchange student program at ESSEC Business School in June and I need to get all the required credits before that. That’s why I’m doubling up now.
How about job hunting?
You can start now. Some people have already found jobs. But I haven’t started searching for jobs, since I also want to go to China for another exchange student program after France. China is obviously a very important market and I hope I can make some connections there.
So how many exchange programs do you have, and how many students are in your course?
There are 35 slots. The class has about 50 people.
What did you do before your MBA, and what do you want to do?
I grew up in Philadelphia and did my undergraduate in computer science at Columbia University in New York and worked there a bit. And I worked eight years as Foreign Service Specialist for the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. until 2010.
After the MBA, I want to do something different. I’m looking at some companies where I can work on corporate strategy.
The Foreign Service Specialist of the Department of State? It sounds like a James Bond job to me.
I worked at the technology sector and managed contracts and relationship with other countries and partner firms.
Why did you decide to do your MBA study in Korea?
I always wanted to come to Korea. Both my parents are Korean, and I wanted to master the language and understand the culture more. I also think it will be a good stepping stone for my career in Asia.
Why did you choose SNU, among a number of business schools in Seoul?
SNU was the only school I applied to. Being a one-year program was attractive to me. And people told me that SNU was the best.
Where do you hang out in your spare time?
I live in Gangnam because I did not want to spend my whole year near the school.
Do you need TOFLE or GMAT scores to apply?
You don’t need GMAT and if you are a native English speaker you don’t need English scores. The application process was pretty quick.
What is your favorite course?
Corporate Strategy. It’s challenging but interesting. Professor (Kathryn) Harrigan is also from my alma mater, Columbia University.
Interview by Cho Jin-seo