2017 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Hyun Young Park, CEIBS

Hyun Young Park

Assistant Professor of Marketing

CEIBS (China Europe International Business School)

In the words of a fellow professor, Hyun Young Park “has been making a difference in this world by first making a difference in her classroom.” Like any difference-maker, Park starts by asking “why.” In particular, she seeks to understand the emotions and morality underlying individual decision-making. In the process, she is constantly challenging her students’ assumptions and bringing to light the complex and often conflicting variables that separate beliefs from behaviors. That may be one reason why students enthusiastically describe her classes as “mind-blowing.” 

In Park’s world, service is the highest form of excellence. As an avid volunteer, she sets an example for students by giving of herself to causes in a variety of locales ranging from Central Asia to Haiti. However, her servant leader nature is best personified in her classroom, where she is described as “charismatic,” “energetic,” and “passionate.” “Professor Park delivers her classes in a very meaning and impactful way,” writes one admiring student. “With her calm but quick and assertive personality, she enjoys more authority and respect than most professors despite her young age. Even though she is very hard-working, she is approachable and doesn’t shy from giving thorough feedback. Her teaching materials are  informative, beautifully crafted and ensure student engagement by deliberately leaving blank the most relevant learnings of the class.”

Age: 35

At current institution since: 2013

Education: Ph.D., Marketing, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University, 2013; B.B.A., Seoul National University, South Korea, 2006

List of courses you currently teach: Consumer Behavior, Marketing Management, Integrated China Strategy Projects, Disruptive Market Positioning through Understanding Consumer Psychology, Case Master Development Camp

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? One of my research projects examine how people deal with tainted money—i.e., money that people feel guilty about. I find that when people feel guilty about money, they strive to symbolically cleanse the money, rather than redeem themselves from their moral failure by engaging in various pro-social activities. Specifically, those who feel guilty about money are more likely to donate some of the tainted money; but they are not more likely to donate other, untainted money (although money should be fungible) or spend their time in ways that benefit others (although volunteering time is generally viewed as a more moral endeavor and thus is more effective – than donating money – in alleviating guilt and restoring the failed moral self-view).

Professor you most admire: Professor Wujin Chu at Seoul National University, who opened the eyes of a self-focused, extravagant teenage girl to the plight of the poor and less privileged through his social entrepreneurship and charity work. Professor Tom Meyvis at New York University, my PhD advisor, for his integrity as a scholar and his immeasurable patience (with me) as a teacher and coauthor.

“I knew I wanted to be a B-school professor when…I met Professor Wujin Chu, who has inspired me through his way of life—an entrepreneur who donates the entire profits from his company to charitable works in developing countries; a dedicated social worker who had no house of his own until he completed a building for a charity project in Kazakhstan; and a humble person who – during various volunteer trips that he went on with his students – always took his shower last, using icy cold water after the warm water ran out.”

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…I would be a full-time volunteer worker or a social entrepreneur.”

One word that describes my first time teaching an MBA class: Apprehensive

Most memorable moment in the classroom, or in general, as a professor: When students apply psychological theories I taught in class to their own businesses, enterprises that cover everything from wine to tattoos, food and beverage, mobile apps, hotels, etc.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Same as above

What do you enjoy most about being a business school professor? Conducting research and meeting students who actively apply research findings to improve their business.  

What do you enjoy least about being a business school professor? Persevering through failures and loneliness that I face constantly while conducting research. But my coauthors, who are also my dear friends, help me enjoy this process more and more as I walk this journey together with them.

What is your favorite business-themed movie and what is the biggest lesson that MBA students could gain from it? My favorite movie has never been a business-themed one. I guess I am taking a break from the business world while watching a movie. Lesson to MBA students? Take a break from time to time.

What is your favorite company and why? Companies (or more specifically, their products) that make my life more convenient and enjoyable—e.g., Google, Apple, Dropbox, Nike, WeChat, Kakaotalk, Uber, QQ, various airline and hotel apps, Kindle, etc.

Fun fact about yourself: I speak Russian and love reading Russian literature. I learned the language during my volunteer work in Kazakhstan, which I visited consecutively for seven years.

Bucket list item #1: Going on a volunteer trip with my family to Haiti, Yunnan, or one of the “–stan” countries.

Favorite book: The Bible

Favorite movie: “The Barber of Siberia” and other movies based on Russian literature

Favorite type of music: Classical music (in particular, baroque and romantic period music), music with string instruments

Favorite television show: Don’t have one yet

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere that I am with my loved ones.

What are your hobbies? Leisurely drinking tea in the early morning, running outside (8-12km), finding hidden, small cafes

Twitter handle: None

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have…volunteer work as a core course.”

Students say:

“Professor Hyun Young Park is a true role model for all young professors. She is not only having great teaching and professional skills but also having a precious caring heart that would influence the students beyond classes. After classes, she always tries her best to reply emails promptly to answer questions regardless of her tight schedules. More than often, her replies were much more detailed than you could expect from any other professors.”

The first time that I had Professor PARK’s lecture was an absolutely impressive experience. Professor Park has successfully delivered the course with a perfect synthesis of logical analysis, solid theory framework, first-hand insights as well as juicy complementary information that broaden our horizon towards industry and decision-making rationale. Professor Park did do a great job to equip us with a more logical-thinking process and scientific approaches to explore the possibility of marketing.”

“She admirably manages to engage the whole class by listening and replying sincerely. Once, I was stunned when she remembered a statement in class months after during office time. And I mean, such kind of passion catches even students like me who were not interested in marketing at the beginning of the MBA. I am grateful that she brought marketing closer to me and my own kind.”

“Professor Park is able to explain what marketing means using a strong framework and highly structured, well-prepared, use of the whiteboard. This made it easy for us to learn what marketing is about and how we can effectively analyze different situations from a marketing perspective. The lectures that Prof. Park delivers are fast-paced and energetic, filled with plenty of interesting examples and cases.”

“Professor Park has the ability to build strong personal connections with students. This is through her ability to learn the name, nationality and professional background of every student in her class by the end of the first class.”