‘Setting clear goal is key to successful MBA life‘
Yoann Pinon, 33, is in the Global MBA program at Yonsei University. He studied engineering in France, graduating in 2002, and moved to China in 2003. He worked at an oil and gas company in China for seven years. He now plans to work as a project manager in a Korean company after graduating from Yonsei.
What made you come to Korea and choose the GMBA course of Yonsei University?
After I moved to China in 2003, I fell in love with the dynamism in the working environment of Asia. The world’s economy went through the financial crisis in 2008 and industries have been struggling with a sluggish economic recovery and the long hangover from the crisis.
Korean conglomerates such as Samsung and LG have emerged as the sturdiest companies in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Both sidestepped problems while rivals weakened. I wanted to discover what made Koreans cope well with the global recession. Besides, Korean companies are particularly successful in my field, oil and gas, so Korea was an obvious choice for me.
Yonsei’ GMBA was a natural choice given its history and reputation, not to speak of the school’s ambition.
How do you think education and life as a student in Korea is different from those in France?
The most important part is to participate in the class and interact with professors and students. This is something I did not see in France. The strong commitment and sense of belonging the students show here is very new to me. You feel the cohesion not only as the student of the school but as a part of the community.
Do you think the school offers an international environment for students?
Half of the students in the GMBA program are Koreans and the other half are foreigners. I face cultural differences from time to time, but it helps me to understand others and this society.
Almost every professor got master’s and doctor’s degrees in the U.S. or in Europe. They also have teaching experience abroad.
In retrospect, what do you wish you had known before you pursued your MBA education?
I am on my way to learn Korean, but I would have followed the course faster if I had learned the Korean language before. Although the GMBA course is done in English, it’s way better to know Korean language in order to understand Korean corporate culture. And speaking the local language fluently is essential in getting involved in its community.
What factors should prospective students consider when choosing an MBA program?
An MBA degree should not be a goal in itself. You have to set a clear goal in your life and the degree should be part of your broader career path. When this is set clear, multiple factors have to be taken in account: the country, the international exposure, the academic excellence and, of course, the student’s own capacity. In my case, I wanted to live and work in Korea, so focused on the Asian business offered by Yonsei’s GMBA. It was a major determinant for choosing the program.
Does a degree from a prestigious school make a difference in landing a person in a good job?
Obviously, yes. It does not stop there though. What will convince the recruiter is the more complete and consistent profile of which an MBA degree is only a part.
In any case, a degree from Yonsei University’s School of Business will only help me to find a great job in Korea given their reputation and extensive network among Korean companies.
What kind of skills do Korean companies look for when they recruit foreign applicants?
Companies look for foreigners who understand the business environment of their own countries. In other words, corporations want talented employees to establish a human network in the countries where they want to start a business.
Interview by Bahk Eun-ji