As KDI School celebrates its 20th anniversary, it is only natural that a stroll down memory be fitting. The Globe reached out to the alumni, Mr. Joo-Hyung CHUNG, Strategy and International Management (1998) and Dr. Eun-Hyung LEE, Strategy and International Management (1998) and Ph.D. in Management (2001) for this reflective piece.
Can you tell me about your time at KDI School?
CHUNG The two years I spent at KDIS was an opportunity to raise my standard of living in my life. I was one of the few students who entered KDIS immediately after college without having any work experience. Since I didn’t have enough knowledge and experience, it was very hard for me to catch up with the courses and huge amount of readings of articles in the class, but I could say it was a time when I felt happiness. Every moment at KDIS was always a new learning opportunity. It was a chance for me to learn how my colleagues, seniors and professors looked at the world with higher perspective. Looking back, the time I spent there was like a dream, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that it changed my life.
LEE I entered KDIS right after the Asian Financial Crisis, January of 1998. The economic situation was very tough and people were devastated. However, to be honest, we didn’t feel so bad because we belonged to the school where was out of touch with reality. It meant we didn’t have to fight in the field to tackle the problems resulting from the crisis. In that sense, we were lucky. The most intensive topic in the classroom during our semester was why Korean economy had to face the foreign exchange crisis. We tried to understand the global trend in economy and management and to find ways to overcome the crisis. KDIS helped us prepare theoretically as well as practically to adapt ourselves to the changing environment. We enjoyed learning many things in the classroom and interacting with our friends very much. Diversity in age, experiences, and background in our group made our interaction richer.
What were your accomplishments during your stay at KDIS?
CHUNG I would like to say that I have achieved “tenacity” during my KDIS days because it has been the driving force in running my company without giving up easily when difficult tasks are in front of me.
LEE I used to be a journalist before KDIS. Even though I worked as a journalist for ten years, I didn’t know much about the global economy or global environment where the companies should survive. I didn’t even have the ability to communicate in English in a proper manner. I eagerly wanted to overcome my weaknesses. KDIS was the best place for me to strengthen skills and capabilities. My accomplishments through the graduate school were getting used to the global trend in economy and management, having a global mindset, and establishing proper communication skills in English.
How did KDIS help you find your first position (or different position) after graduation?
CHUNG As I majored in foreign languages at university, business and economics were very unfamiliar to me. However, based on the knowledge I have gained at KDIS, I have acquired a Certificate of CPA in the U.S. It was an opportunity that opened my eyes to a new world. It has been very helpful in doing business since then.
LEE Upon my graduation, I joined the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy as the first Foreign Press Spokesperson. I served as Spokesperson for two and a half years (Dec. 1998 – Apr. 2001). I could hardly get the position without skills and knowledge I earned from KDIS. I was one of the few who returned to KDIS for a Ph.D. degree. I became a professor at Kookmin University after earning Ph.D. in Management in 2005. I have served as the Vice Dean of the College of Business Administration, Kookmin University. Thankfully I really love my job, my students, and my colleagues.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
CHUNG If I go back to KDIS, I would like to read more books, enjoy my own life in the dormitory, and concentrate on my own development.
LEE I would do the same that I did exactly at that time. When I was at KDIS, I was excited by the joy of learning and cherish of friendship. I was so lucky that I had the opportunity to meet the distinguished professors who attract, inspire, and influence the students. I have been very proud of being a part of KDIS. I don’t want to change anything of the School life.
Would you like to conclude with a congratulatory message for KDI School’s 20th anniversary?
CHUNG I would like to express my gratitude and congratulations to KDIS for its 20th anniversary. I also would like to express my respect for the hard work and time to provide and to successfully establish a truly globalized educational environment in Korea’s harsh educational world. I would like to congratulate again and expect the continued support of quality education as the best educational institution in Korea. Thank you very much.
LEE I congratulate you on the 20th anniversary with my deep heart. I am the person who grew up with KDIS. I would say the school brought me up. Thanks a lot! I hope that KDIS will continue to prosper forever and to be the best school in nurturing global talents.
Thank you Mr. CHUNG and Dr. LEE for being great examples of KDI School’s vision, which is to shape leaders so that wherever life takes them they will be able to adapt and effect positive change.
By Tracy Amanda SMITH [2017 MPP, Guyana]