[MBA life] WBS: networking and thinking skills
Jung Hoi-kyoung, 35, is a second year student at Waseda Business School (WBS). After eight years at Shinhan Bank, Jung is appreciating the life of a student, working on his graduation thesis and networking closely with fellow students — two important aspects of a WBS MBA.
Can you introduce yourself?
I studied Japanese language and literature at Korea University as an undergraduate student. I worked at Shinhan Bank for eight years since 2002. I won the Japanese MBA sponsorship that the bank gives out to one of its employees every year and have been studying at WBS since March last year. I’ll be graduating next March. My concentration is marketing but I also have a sub-concentration in finance.
There are two tracks in WBS — one taught in Japanese and the other in English. Are you enrolled in the Japanese one?
Yes. I had to submit my Japanese Language Proficiency Test score as part of my application to the Japanese program.
Why did you choose WBS?
I was familiar with the Japanese culture and language. Naturally, when I heard that Japan was one of the nations to which Shinhan sends its employees for MBAs, I did some research on Japanese schools and decided to come to Waseda because I liked how it emphasized “developing the ability to think.”
Do you think WBS has helped you nurture “the ability to think?”
Yes. Back at work, it was all about running to a goal, trying to grow sales and make profit. I didn’t really have time to think about how our efforts and strategies led to results. But here, I’ve had chance to look back and apply the theories to my experience at work. On top of that, every student has to complete a thesis on a topic related to their concentration here. Every Tuesday, students of the same concentration gather to present their progress on thesis and exchange ideas. As I conduct in-depth research, I’ve been able to hone problem solving abilities. It is also great to have the opportunity to listen and contribute to classmates’ research.
Who is your favorite teacher?
My favorite teacher is Nagai Takeshi who also happens to be my concentration advisor. He has been teaching marketing at WBS for around 30 years now. His classes are great. Students can learn the marketing strategies of successful Japanese businesses many of whose leaders he taught.
The networking opportunities he arranges for students are also great. On the evening of our Tuesday thesis seminars, he organizes a little drinking party — called Nomikai in Japanese — to help us build a close relationship with each other. He knows many graduates so students and alumni often get in touch with each other through him. He also plays a role in Korean alumni associations of WBS.
I heard that WBS is famous for its strong alumni network.
I think Professor Nagai — who creates the right atmosphere and plenty of opportunities for networking — is representative of WBS’s emphasis on networking both in and outside classes. Although WBS has two language tracks, students can take courses offered in both tracks. There also are courses taught in both languages intended to facilitate interaction between students. Although students in the Japanese track are mostly Asian and Japanese, I have had opportunities to work and build networks with the more diverse group of students from the English track.
What is your career plan after WBS?
Nothing’s set as of now since I still have more than six months till graduation. But I hope to contribute to Shinhan further, using the expertise I’ve acquired in WBS.
Interview by Lee Sun-kyo