Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Hyelin Oh, IESE Business School

Hyelin Oh

IESE Business School at the University of Navarra

“A human MBA work-in-process inventory, dreaming of self-improvement. Made in Barcelona.

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a sponsored individual seeking a relaxed lifestyle yet couldn’t resist choosing IESE which guarantees a little pain but immense gains.

Undergraduate School and Major: Seoul National University, BA in Economics, International Relations (double major).

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: S-OIL Corporation, Senior Manager in the CEO’s Office.

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? The essence of the case method lies in the entire process, starting from examining the case and reflecting on real-world scenarios to discussing it with classmates. Through each case and subsequent discussions, I’ve learned how to coordinate diverse opinions to arrive at better decisions, rather than unquestioningly following the strongest voice or persistently insisting on my own. As a result, I now find myself evolving into a better listener and a more effective speaker.

What has been your favorite part of Barcelona so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA?  The color of the sky in Barcelona is always so pristine and unique that I can genuinely feel the beauty of the city. The special blend of pink and porcelain blue undergoes delightful changes. Through its location nestled on the hillside, IESE enhances this experience. As I make my way home after school, it feels as though I am walking close to the sky, passing through exotic trees and the cathedral. Studying in such a picturesque environment is incredibly refreshing, akin to being immersed in a painting.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the IESE Business School MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The school’s 15-month program appealed to me. Although the sponsor company advised against a 2-year program, I desired something akin to a regular MBA. IESE, at this juncture, presented a favorable option. In IESE, you follow the same track as all the other students in the 19-month program until the end of the first year. This means you don’t need to play a minor role in the program, despite having a shorter duration, and still get to engage with 350 amazing MBA peers. I am genuinely satisfied with my choice thus far.

The IESE MBA is known for heavy reading and rigorous academics. Has the program lived up to its reputation? What advice would you give to first-years to help them thrive in the early months of the program? For me, at least, I have to say yes. Reflecting on the first term, avoiding being psychologically overwhelmed is crucial. It’s easy to become fixated on the notion that you are the only one grappling with numerous tasks, but the reality is that everyone feels the same. Acknowledging my imperfections ironically brought me peace of mind – and provided me with the energy needed to tackle tasks.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at IESE? IESE´s Communication class, a rigorous and stressful two-week course at the start of the program, comes to mind. Writing speeches for different occasions and audiences, delivering them to the entire team, and receiving direct feedback to refine subsequent efforts…the daily repetition was almost a shock! As a non-native English speaker with no prior public speaking background, it was a challenging and even painful experience for me. However, as two weeks passed, things began to change. The pressure during speeches lessened, I learned the most strategic and effective ways to capture listeners’ attention, and a profound sense of achievement emerged. Thus far, the lessons from the communication class have formed a solid foundation applicable to my entire MBA journey.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Over seven years in the CEO’s office, I successfully supported four Saudi Arabian CEOs on the business side, maintaining strong relationships with them so far.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: Too early to say!

What has been your best memory as an MBA so far? Seriously, I like the school, I like the program, and I love my team and all the classmates. But the best moment of my MBA life so far was the final day of the final exam. I celebrated with my friends, saying “Finally we are released, the vacation starts!”


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