“A tech enthusiast who is on a mission to find new ways for innovation.”
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Fun Fact About Yourself: I accidentally became good friends with an ambassador of Israel to South Korea on a low-cost airline to Tokyo.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Toronto, Mechanical Engineering
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Samsung HQ Mobile Division, Product Planning Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a product planning manager of Galaxy Note smartphones, I was able to contribute in the invention of new features for Galaxy Note series such as S Pen remote control, underwater writing capability, S Pen translator and more. As a result, the usage of S Pen, the stylus, has been expanded from just a writing apparatus to a remote controller for selfies, a presentation clicker, and a translator. These new features helped the Note series to maintain its loyal users and the brand identity from the Note 7 battery incident and built an even stronger user base afterward. I feel honored to have been in the part of the process and to have contributed in a positive way.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Diversity and Inclusiveness – The classmates I have met so far have diverse cultural backgrounds and professional experiences. They are not only very open-minded and culturally intelligent, but also willing to help others. As an international student, I had a few hiccups during my move to the U.S., but a classmate I met from the admitted student weekend proactively helped me resolve my issues. I think this is representative of our entire class and the Tepper culture.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? As a sponsored student, it was important to find programs that will foster my personal growth as well as my ability to do my profession at a higher level. I believe Tepper’s MBA program goes beyond just business administration and is trying to integrate technology and business together. Tepper’s effort on interdisciplinary collaboration is a good example that the program always looks into the tech side of business. By surrounding myself with world-renowned technology related faculties such as Machine Learning, AI, and Big Data, I was confident that I can broaden my perspective and knowledge about the tech industry.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? The Business and Technology Club and the Tepper Golf Club: I am excited to meet new people from other parts of the tech industry. Through the Business and Technology club, I hope to exchange ideas with other tech enthusiasts about the latest technology trends, products, up-and-coming tech start-ups, and more.
I have been playing golf since as long as I can remember. In the last two years, I have really grown to enjoy the sport deeply. As a result, I brought my clubs with me 6,000 miles from home. I really look forward to playing my favorite sport and making new friends through it.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I started my career as an engineer. However, after a few years, I wanted to pursue a position that overlooks a broader spectrum of projects. Therefore, through an internal opportunity, I switched my career to a product management role without leaving my current employer. At first, my engineering background and technical experience helped me to excel in this new position. However, as my responsibility and role expanded, I felt that I needed more expertise, knowledge, and skills regarding business. The best way to learn, experience, and grow in that direction within a short period of time was through an MBA.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Sloan, McCombs, Anderson
How did you determine your fit at various schools? My biggest focus was to get into a tech-based business school that was at the forefront of innovation. Therefore, I researched schools that had a heavy influence of technology within areas like academic curriculum, resources in and out of business school, and student clubs. From my MBA admissions process, I also felt that experiencing a program in person was the best way to find out which ones fit me the most. My final decision actually changed after I visited the schools. Before visiting, talking to as many alumni and current students helped me understand the schools on a personal level, but seeing and experiencing the program in person helped me make my final decision.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? When I first joined Samsung as an engineer in the digital camera division – which was struggling because of the market saturation – I worked rigorously to execute product concepts as perfectly as possible. However, all of my efforts were fruitless because the original concept lacked innovation and the digital camera division went out of business in the end.
This challenging experience changed my overall career path and motivated me to move on from engineering while teaching me the importance of innovation for organizational success and sustainability. I realized that even perfect engineering cannot help a business if the original concept is not driven by innovative ideas. Therefore, I pushed myself to succeed as a product planning manager at Samsung Mobile.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I hope to see myself leading innovations and technology management at a world-leading tech company.