MBA life: internship offers glimpse into Korean firms
Moran Halevi, 26, has a double major in Asian Studies and Art History at the University of Haifa in Israel. She worked for three years in an entertainment firm’s public relations department before coming to Yonsei University’s Global MBA program in 2010 on a full scholarship. Yonsei Global MBA was established in 1998 and two thirds of its 2010 enrollment were non-Koreans.
Why did you come to Yonsei?
I always intended to come to Asia for my MBA and I was debating between a number of schools, mainly in Japan. But it seemed to me that the Japanese schools hit a glass ceiling and they lack energy. After being contacted by Yonsei, I decided to come to Korea as both the school and companies in Korea are making a strong push to become world class institutions.
What are you doing these days?
I just finished my internship at Boehringer Ingelheim’s Seoul office, and my last semester of the MBA began only Thursday.
How did you get the internship?
The head of the HR team was in Yonsei’s executive program. He was looking for international interns with diverse backgrounds.
What was your role at the company?
I was in the controlling division, which is part of the finance department. It involves working on strategy, compliance and financial reporting.
How was it? You didn’t have experience in corporate finance before.
I had a great time. Yes, I’m not a finance person but you can’t run away from numbers. Finance is the basics of business. I had a chance to look at how companies work.
Was it comfortable to work there as a non-Korean?
There were two foreigners in the company and one of them was the CEO. He has been there for a very long time and I think that made the company feel like a European firm — the way people speak, the way they work, and having coffee in the morning, etc. Language was not a problem as they used both Korean and English.
Is your Korean skill progressing?
When it comes to language, there is no short cut. It’s just a function of time. The course doesn’t make you do that. I can read and I can write but that does not help much if your vocabulary is limited. In the next two months I need to improve it.
Who is your favorite teacher?
It would have to be a neck to neck between Park Sun-ju who teaches Management Science and Lee Ho-uk who teaches Business Strategy.
What’s your plan after graduation?
At this point, it’s a lot easier to know what you don’t want to do than to know what you want to do. But I plan to continue work in public relations and slowly progress to corporate strategy. I am specifically interested in brand recognition for diversified conglomerates.
Do you want to say something to the school or to your friends?
I am happy with my school and my friends. And I think they both know it.
Interview by Cho Jin-seo