Lee Young-rak, 37, has just finished his first semester in Waseda Business School. Graduating from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies with a major in Japanese, he started to work at Shinhan Bank in 2002. After working in several branches including the Coex Financial Center in 2010, he was sponsored by the bank to study the course beginning in September 2011. Upon graduation, he will go back to Shinhan Bank. He says that he wants to contribute to the firm’s efforts to become one of the leading global financial institutions.
1. Why did you decide to take an MBA course?
Lee Young-rak, left, a student at Waseda Business School, poses with his team while preparing for a project in their Management of People and Organizations class at Waseda University in Tokyo, in December, 2011.
/ Courtesy of Lee Young-rak
I was always interested in how global economy works while working as a banker. As I got promoted, I increasingly felt the needs for in-depth knowledge in business. Besides, I figured out that companies look for employees with global experiences nowadays while globalization speeds up. Since MBA is an optimized course that teaches business in depth and global standards, I chose to study it.
2. Why is Waseda so special?
First of all, Waseda Business School has ranked top in Japan for having excellent professors with hands-on experiences and superior curriculums. Group works with outstanding students of various backgrounds would help us to build up a global network and understand diverse perspectives.
Secondly, the school encourages students to learn languages by allowing them who have passed a Japanese test to attend bilingual courses which are conducted in both English and Japanese.
Lastly, the process of preparing for the final thesis with supervising professors by attending seminars is remarkable. It helps students not only to approach and learn about the subject practically as well as academically.
3. Are there any special activities that school provides?
There are many. Students can study in partner schools in the U.S, Europe and Asia for about three months while events for network building and job fairs joined by top class Japanese and global companies are arranged by the school. Various business forums are held frequently as well.
4. What is your favorite class?
General Management and Organizational Strategies by Prof. Koji Aiba is my favorite. The class mainly analyzes cases of global companies, especially the cases of failure. The class helps students to draw a big picture of overall corporate organization and strategies. The professor encourages us to voice various opinions during the class rather than suggesting the answer right away. I like the class because of the professor’s way of managing it which allows students to share variety of experiences from their own fields, not to mention that I was originally interested in the subject.
5. Was the course helpful to achieve your goal?
Of course, what I gained most from the course is the ability to see things through a business expert’s eyes. I also could draw a clearer picture of my future by collecting memories of the past and reflecting my present during the course.
6. What did you earn from the course?
I came to understand different cultures through having discussions and sharing ideas with students with various nationalities. I am still trying to broaden my perspectives by studying further. I also have a better grasp of Japan’s current economic situation and corporate culture. Building networks with Korean seniors who works with Japanese companies or running own businesses in Japan is another precious gain from studying here.
7. What is your long-term goal?
I will go back to Shinhan Bank after graduation. I would like to devote myself to helping the bank to become a global leading bank. I have wanted to be a global minded leader. Because I’m in the stage of realizing these dreams, I will do my best to make most out of the program.
Interview by Kwon Eun-young