Meet the President and Vice President of the SKK GSB Alumni Association: Mr.Hee Bai Kim and Mr.Chong Man Suk
Mr. Hee Bai Kim (EMBA 2016) and Mr. Chong Man Suk (EMBA 2015) graduated from the Executive MBA program and have taken the roles of President and Vice President of the Alumni Association since early 2020. They have done well in maintaining their connections with the SKK Graduate School of Business.
Q. When and why did you decide to pursue the EMBA program?
Mr. Kim: Pursuing an MBA had been part of my career plan ever since I was in my 20s. The career I had envisioned for myself was clear from a young age, and I gave myself a goal of working in senior management for a company and pursuing an EMBA degree in my 40s so that I could excel in a leadership and executive role. I have always maintained that constant learning is critical. Therefore, I believed that going back to school to obtain an EMBA degree after years of accumulating professional work experience would allow me to better understand the theories taught in class.
Mr. Suk: Unlike Mr. Kim, I never had a plan to pursue an EMBA degree until SKK GSB came to our company to host a workshop. After that seminar by SKKU, I realized that it would be a good opportunity for me to continue my learning and keep my competitiveness in the company by pursuing an EMBA degree.
Q. Why did you choose SKK GSB to pursue an EMBA degree?
SKK GSB is the only MBA school in Korea that boasts a truly international pedigree that is consistent with today’s globalized economy and with courses that are taught 100% in English. Over 60% of the faculty come from international backgrounds. The student body was also very international, adding to the diverse cultural flavor. Also, the case studies we had discussed in class were all discussed in a global context. Finally, the global field trips offered us real, hands-on international business experiences. Attending SKK GSB helped us broaden our global vision and gave us an opportunity to master our business communication skills, especially in English. Both of us are currently working in multinational corporations and our experience at SKK GSB has helped tremendously in this aspect.
Q. What has been most memorable from your EMBA journey?
The entire EMBA journey was fruitful and we had lots of great experiences. One of the most unforgettable experiences was the Global Field Trip to the U.S. For two weeks, we visited many of the iconic places in America and exchanged ideas with a diverse group of academic scholars.
However, more than just the academic experiences, the social gatherings allowed the entire class to truly get to know one another in a fun, casual environment. It was a valuable opportunity for all of us to get closer to each other, something that had been challenging to do in Korea due to the busy work schedules of our classmates, who were executives or senior managers in their respective firms. The two-week Global Field Trip gave us a temporary respite from our everyday norm, and allowed us to enjoy our time with each other.
Q. How did the EMBA program help with your career success?
At work, we are not given the leeway to make mistakes, and any mistake could potentially be detrimental to the company. As a senior manager, we are also expected to know everything. However, at SKK GSB, we were encouraged to try out new ideas and we were allowed the leeway to make mistakes, as mistakes could provide a good opportunity to learn from. It wasn’t wrong to say “I don’t know” whenever we encountered something we were not aware of and we were able to learn new theories from our professors and our peers. It was great that we could indeed be “ourselves” and continuously acquire new knowledge in a pressure-free environment.
Teamwork was also highly emphasized at SKK GSB. It was difficult for us to work as a team initially, as many of us came from leadership positions and we were used to making the decisions at work. After multiple team projects, however, we were able to get a firm grasp on the importance of teamwork and how to deal with diverse set of opinions.
The MBA program was also driven by learning through case studies, which helped us enhance our problem-solving skills. During the program, we studied over 100 real-life cases and learned how to solve different practical problems. The case studies prepared us thoroughly on how to tackle real-world business issues and handle complex problems in a more efficient way, and has proved beneficial to our work life.
Taking courses in English also gave us opportunities to practice business English outside of work. Our English communication skills have since improved a lot, thanks in part to the program.
Q. Why did you want to come back to the campus and join the Alumni Association?
We both had an amazing EMBA experience at SKK GSB. Yet, we felt it was a pity that the opportunities to reunite with our classmates after graduation were few and far between, as everyone had to go back to their busy work life. We thought that it would be great if we could reconnect with the school and get to meet everyone again. We also wanted to help other graduates and alumni rebuild their connections with the school as well. Therefore, we decided to join the Alumni Association. Every time we come back to the school, we feel younger and rejuvenated.
Q. What is the plan and mission of the Alumni Association?
We had grand ambitions and planned to bring the alumni together at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, most of the plans have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been monitoring the situation closely and we are planning to move some events (e.g., alumni gathering) online in early 2021. Hopefully, we will be able to gather and meet each other in person soon after the pandemic is contained.
Irene So and Bomi Kim, SKK GSB PR Committee, Class of 2022
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