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Farewell Messages from Our Former Deans

17 Jan, 2020 KDIS News Center 3,635


“Creativity comes from looking at the problem from multiple perspectives”

I would like to share a few guidelines which have helped me over the years, and then, indicate my personal opinion regarding a medium term goal for the School.

The guidelines are not my own creation. I received them from my teacher Robert Lucas during my time at Chicago. Throughout his lectures, Lucas told us: if your model is not commonsensical, you have made a mistake. When we set up an economic model and find that its conclusions do not match with stylized facts, either we have made calculation mistakes or the model relies on questionable assumptions. We must constantly check the relevant empirical data when refining an existing model.

Lucas also indicated that a thesis must be creative and that creativity comes from looking at the problem from multiple perspectives. Obviously, there is a pre-requisite: we must have a deep understanding of different but related subjects. We must have sufficiently deep knowledge in finance to apply a financial theory to explain a macroeconomic phenomenon.

Such cross functional expertise is not just relevant to academic research, but instrumental in solving numerous practical problems, and its demand has been increasing rapidly. To meet such demand, many schools offer joint programs such as the MPP/MBA, JD/MPP and MD/MPP. For us, the MPP/MBA is particularly interesting. Many years ago, among the NASPAA affiliated public policy schools, we were unique in offering MBA degrees. Now, Chicago, Harvard, Stanford and Penn have MPP/MBA programs. Is it too far-fetched to consider offering an MBA program again in the foreseeable future?

Prof. HAHM, Sang-Moon


“Shouldn’t be afraid to live and study, while the flame is strong”

After twenty-four years at KDI and five years as a KDI School professor, I thank these organizations for having me as I retire at the end of this year.

I started research on the North Korean economy in the late 1990s when the North Korean Economic Research Center was established. Since then, I have studie

d the economic and foreign investment system of North Korea and South-North Korea’s financial integration. However, I am left with two regrets.

One is not dedicating more time to research. Of course being part of the administration for fifteen years was rewarding because I could contribute to the stability and development of the organization. However, in retrospect, research and teaching were the most rewarding and enjoyable times for me.

Second, I regret not researching more about East Asian architecture and economic integration of South-North Korea. Korea’s positioning between the United States and China, and the possible achievement of economic integration between Korea, China, and Japan without the exclusion of the United States are important for South- North Korea’s economic future. Therefore, I hope the KDI community will further research these issues.

Lastly, many KDIS students are in their 20s, 30s, or 40s. However, age is just a number, so I advise our students to stay young at heart and study hard by introducing one of my favorite songs from my college years, “The Young Ones.” The lyrics go like this: “Shouldn’t be afraid to live and study, while the flame is strong.”

Best wishes to KDIS’ future and its community.

Good-bye. I leave my heart at KDI School.

Prof. CHUN, Hong Tack