Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Youngtak Lee, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

Youngtak Lee

Georgia Institute of Technology, Scheller College of Business

“Ph.D./MBA dual-degree candidate with a heart for continuous learning and who is a father of two fun children.”

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Fun Fact About Yourself: I traveled to South Korea for a research collaboration work trip with Samsung Electronics Semiconductor R&D Center during the summer of 2020 amid the rising Covid-19 concerns. Fortunately, my family and I traveled safely and spent quality time with our families in Seoul.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Virginia, major in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in Business, Georgia Institute of Technology, MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in mathematics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Samsung Electronics, Process Integration R&D Engineer at Samsung Semiconductor R&D Center

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I believe in technology and innovation, and I learned from professional experiences that business acumen is a key ingredient to connect dots between engineering and the customer/market. After I joined the Ph.D. program in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2019, I wanted to learn about the dual degree program. After I attended an info session, I immediately knew that this would be the right decision and a fantastic opportunity to retain knowledge to connect the dots. The Georgia Tech Scheller MBA program offers a unique experience for their students with a small cohort size, world-class professors, a wide spectrum of programming, and (most importantly) the best career service coaches. I knew it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if I dual-enrolled and I was very elated that I received an offer to join such a prestigious program.

The Scheller MBA ranks among the best for instilling innovation and creativity according to alumni and students surveyed by Bloomberg Businessweek. How have seen this in the programming so far? Scheller College of Business sits right next to one of the best engineering schools in the world and the close tie to the engineering schools offers a unique opportunity to network and learn from professors with different perspectives. For example, I had an interest in operation optimization and how managing information resources were conducted in large corporations in different industries to tackle challenging times in the past. There was a professor in Industrial and Systems Engineering (IsyE) who offered a cross-listed course in both IsyE and Scheller that links the knowledge from operations engineering to business operations. I took the course and had the opportunity to discuss case studies related to industries from food and/or equipment manufacturing to retail, software, semiconductor, and mobile. It was very informative and interesting to learn how the past taught them to become more innovative and competitive or to cause them to scale down their business portfolio due to unfortunate decision-making. In addition, MBA students can also take a course in computer engineering and other courses in different departments to explore the knowledge such as analytics, machine learning, and AI while linking them to the business cases and course electives. Georgia Tech takes student engagement and learning very seriously, and it enables students to become well-rounded individuals upon their graduation and stand out among other top elite MBA candidates in the nation.

At Scheller, you are literally across the street from Tech Square and living in one of the dynamic business environments in the world. What makes Atlanta such a great place to live and learn for you? The best part of the Scheller College of Business is that it is located at the center of innovation ecosystem and this is a key differentiator for the Scheller MBA program in the 21st century, as we are living in the world that is constantly evolving and changing.

At Scheller, you can live, work, learn, and play in a very close proximity to everything. Scheller is surrounded by the Tech Square Innovation Ecosystem, Georgia Tech engineering schools, a growing number of startup firms, incubators, established technology firms, major corporate offices, corporate innovation centers, venture capital investors, and other various retail, residential, and business service providers. The MARTA transit system is in walking distance from the school and that acts as a hub for a subway system and bus routes. The cost of living in Atlanta is cheaper than other major cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. There are also many attractions nearby to explore and enjoy such as Piedmont Park, the Atlanta BeltLine, Ponce City Market, Old Fourth Ward, and authentic restaurants. The city has a growing young population and there are always innovative ideas and fun activities in the city.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I would like to say inclusion. We are living in a world that constantly changes and evolves to the degree that what’s new today is old tomorrow. The future is being driven by immense technological innovation and demands for breakthroughs seem even more imminent than ever before with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the myriad of challenges faced in society and upon their entrance to the MBA program this year, my MBA classmates have shown inclusion, courage, diversity, and empathy in every corner of the program that has made the MBA experience rivaled to none. They are professional, successful, aspiring, yet kind, caring, and accepting. We adapted quickly to new communication and education platforms to respect each other and nurture learning both laterally and vertically. To facilitate new learning experiences, Scheller adapted quickly as well and relentlessly accepted feedback from students and faculty to accommodate the virtual learning experiences seamlessly. The community and people you meet at Scheller define why the school is praised for its excellence in business and technology innovation.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career so far has been my ability to resiliently challenge myself with new career experiences in the U.S. When I first began my career in the U.S. after my master’s graduation, I was excited to learn and grow in the medical device industry where it aligned with my interest in improving human healthcare via technological breakthroughs. My role as a microelectronic packaging research engineer enabled development of a next-generation packaging platform that housed the digital signal processing chip along with other passive/active components on a single package.

After years of working as an R&D engineer, I wanted to know about the post new product development process. I joined my next company as an engineer who managed current product development to communicate with customers, solve complex engineering problems, and provide feedback to both customers and the new product development team for improvement in future products. Then, I took a data analyst role in the automotive industry, and was a program manager and executive assistant president at a software company. All the while, I was working as a graduate researcher for my Ph.D. program. I feel most accomplished when I continue to learn new knowledge, express and communicate knowledge in the form of research writing and presentations to help others succeed, and solve complex, challenging problems that enables one step closer to the next innovation.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? One of my biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far is that I started the program with a healthy body and in a safe and caring environment thanks to the Scheller MBA Graduate Office. Another big accomplishment is that I was accepted into the programs within the MBA curriculum that I wanted to join which include TI:GER (Technology Innovation: Generating Economic Results), MIINT (MBA Impact Investing Network & Training), and the pro bono consulting practicum. The TI:GER program was one of my main reasons to join the dual degree program because it offers entrepreneurial experiences and knowledge. The MIINT program offers a unique experience to the MBA students and enables the students to act as impact investors with an actual investment fund to identify and invest in a startup that shows a potential for both financial and social growths. The pro bono consulting practicum puts students in a supporting role for local community business owners to improve their business by engaging in business activities as a consultant.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? By completing my MBA concurrently with my Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, I want to become a well-rounded individual who is positioned to nurture the dual perspectives of engineering and business to become an impactful leader in innovation. The passion to become an innovative leader and trusted advisor has led me to pursue an MBA at this point in my career.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment for the pursuit of business school occurred when I worked as an R&D engineer. I wanted to learn about the world of business and communicate professionally with internal stakeholders and external customers and suppliers. I wanted to become more educated and speak the business language to advocate my research and work. The potential learning experience and the opportunity to transform engineering knowledge into business growth strategies were the defining moments.







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