Alumni Footprint Series, An Interview with Sung Min (Chris) Kim, (Korea)

Name: Sung Min (Chris) Kim

Year of Graduation: 2018

Nationality: Korean

Country of Residence: Germany

Current Employer: Pelikan

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

I am passionate about marketing and my career has always been in the field of marketing, starting off with my first job at marketing research at Kantar TNS, where I participated in various marketing research projects to understand consumer behaviors through both qualitative and quantitative research to draw insights for future marketing decisions.

Right before my MBA, I worked in leading global creative agencies such as Leo Burnett and J.Walter Thompson where I had the opportunity to work with global brands like Philip Morris, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, and Ferrero Rocher in localizing their global marketing strategies to the Korean Market.

I am now working at Pelikan Group as the Global Brand Strategy Manager after my MBA, where I am working to create a new roadmap on how to position the Pelikan and Herlitz brand within the global market.

What inspired you to pursue an MBA and why did you choose IESE?

There were two things that I considered important when I was applying for my MBA. First was finding a job outside of Korea after my MBA and second was global ranking.

Since my top priority was finding a job after my MBA, events such as the US presidential elections and Brexit were issues that I could not ignore at that time. That is why I started to consider applying to schools in Europe rather than in the US or UK. I also believe that doing an internship during my MBA will help increase my chances of finding a job in Europe, therefore I preferred a 2-year program and of course IESE was the perfect choice.

How was your job search process at IESE, what worked well for you? How did the Career Development Center help you?

This applies to any other MBA program, getting into a good school or even the top schools do not guarantee you a job after your MBA.

Starting from Day 1 (or even before that) most students start preparing their resume and interviews for their summer internship in the following year. You need to do this on top of all your classes and exams which can be quite stressful.

During a career trek, visiting the office of LEGO

There are a lot of ways in which you can find help, but you need to be PROACTIVE. At IESE you can consult with the Career Development Center and participate in events like the Career Treks or Career Fairs. But you should not be waiting for someone to reach out to you to offer you a job or for help. You need to continuously seek information and build your network, asking for help to receive proper support.

We even travelled from Barcelona to Singapore to visit companies in Asia.

In my case, I had a clear goal of wanting to continue my career in marketing after my graduation. Therefore, I was in close contact with the Career Development Center, especially with the person who was in charge of Consumer Goods Industry, constantly asking for advice which helped me find my job at Pelikan Group as the Global Brand Strategy Manager.

How has your IESE MBA experience helped your post-MBA career so far? 

When working abroad, you get the chance to meet and to work with different people. I believe how IESE structures our classes and teams helped me to better adapt to the diverse work environment.

Just as an example, if you look at my section, I learned with friends from all around the world, who had different work experiences, and this helped me to learn and to tackle the complicated business problems from different angles and perspectives.

Aside from the career aspect, what did you enjoy the most at IESE?

For me it was meeting new friends, which I consider as my new family and I still believe are my biggest asset.

Every moment that I spent with my friends in school and outside of school such as Multi-Culti, SKIESE and Carcassonne Winery Tour are the most memorable moments which I enjoyed.

Friends from all over the world who became my new family!

If you were to the IESE MBA again, is there anything you would have done differently? 

Since my main goal was finding a job after my MBA, I didn’t have the luxury to relax and to enjoy many things inside and outside of school. So I wish I could have spent more time enjoying Barcelona, which is known to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Is there any special advice you would like to give to applicants, particularly those from Korea too?

I would highly recommend doing your MBA sooner rather than later. Before my MBA, I always thought having many years of experience would be a plus but if you think again most of the positions which you apply to after your MBA are either manager or senior manager level. In my case, I was already a manager before doing my MBA and I did not take into consideration that I will be applying for similar positions post MBA. This meant that I was receiving a similar salary than I received before my MBA. In most cases, a common assumption of MBA students is that you will receive a higher salary after graduation but this will really depend on the position and location, as well as your pre-MBA experience.

You also need to consider that for many companies paying a high salary and sponsoring your visa can be tough, so you might have to be flexible about your job conditions.

Of course, nothing is impossible, and it is important not to be too tied up with how old you are, where you come from or even what you did before your MBA when applying.

You need to keep trying and to consider every step as a challenge.

Pursue your dream MBA! Take these next steps today:

Camille Chow View more

Associate Director, Admissions (MBA '16)

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