Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog
From Durham to Seoul with the Help of Fuqua
Back when I was applying to Fuqua, I remember there was an essay portion asking you to describe your 5-year and 10-year ambitions.
Back when I was applying to Fuqua, I remember there was an essay portion asking you to describe your 5-year and 10-year ambitions. Coincidentally, I had just found out about the Samsung Global Strategy Group and decided to write about that as part of my 5-year ambitions. It was my ideal path given my goal for an international experience and for the opportunity to work in an industry I’m passionate about.
Fast forward three years, I’ve graduated and am now with Samsung, working and living in South Korea. The path I took to get here wouldn’t have been possible without Fuqua. Not only did Fuqua open doors for me, but it also taught me how to adapt and succeed in a foreign country.
Culturally Diverse Network
Arriving at Fuqua with a 400-student class was intimidating, but soon, I realized I was immersed in an intellectual environment with individuals from all around the world. In my core study team alone, we had six different cultures and two members from countries other than the U.S. The best part was the different cuisines I would’ve never gotten to try without them. The homemade Columbian arepas and Greek soutzoukakia are foods I still crave today.
Arriving in South Korea was a similar experience. I’m a Chinese-American whose only exposure to Asia was short-term vacations. Here, I’m surrounded by different languages, mindsets, and food. Keeping an open-minded outlook, I embraced what South Korea has to offer. My company offers Korean classes so I could expand my vocabulary more than what watching K-dramas taught me. I’ve tried raw octopus (not bad with soy sauce) and various other traditional Korean foods that can’t be found in America.
The learnings from these three courses, Business Computer Applications (BCA), Leadership Communication, and Foundations of Strategy, are still applied to my daily work life:
- From BCA, I was able to learn new shortcuts in Excel, enhance my skills in other programs such as SQL, and learn new data visualization tools such as Power BI.
- From Leadership Communication, I was able to learn how to effectively present to an audience and how to give and incorporate feedback.
- From Foundations of Strategy, I was able to learn to storyline.
For many of us that are career-switching, the combination of hard skills and soft skills is important.
As a global strategist at Samsung, I use Excel to build my framework and analysis. When I’m building my presentations, I think about what message I want to tell on each slide and how I want to tell the story while presenting my work to my peers, supervisors, and leaders in the business. These are skills all learned through my past experiences and Fuqua.
Even though the transition to South Korea hasn’t been all smooth (long story), Fuqua did make it easier for me. With the culturally diverse environment, the education, and the alumni network in Korea, Fuqua gave me what was needed so I wouldn’t be afraid to live or work here or anywhere else.