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Category: Interviews / Reports

Introducing Prof. Jung Kuk-Mo

Introducing Prof. Jung Kuk-Mo

Please introduce yourself. What do you teach in DIS?

I am a professor of economics in the DIS. Before I joined the DIS last year, I taught economics at Henan University in China. My research interests are in the areas of monetary economics, finance, and international economics. I am currently teaching economics and finance-related subjects in DIS.

How did you become interested in joining the DIS? Was there anything in particular that attracted you to this department?

I had a previous teaching experience in the DIS of Korea University in 2015. I really liked it. Students were quite different from those in other departments I had taught in. They were engaging and challenging. In particular, they were never afraid of arguing with professors, which you won’t find easily in typical Korean universities. Perhaps, it’s just because of their international background. Anyway, I thought I might as well apply to a DIS program in the future. Luckily, Hanyang DIS also wanted me too! So, here I am.

How does teaching in this department differ from your previous experiences?

So far, HYDIS students have really lived up to my expectation. In fact, they were better than I first expected in many aspects. I was used to teaching students majoring in economics. I don’t know why, but those students are quite reserved during lectures even though they are well equipped with quantitative techniques. However, the students in this department are not at all afraid of challenging conventional economic theories and thoughts. For an instructor, these students are really fun to teach, and it motivates me to improve my teaching skills.

Any recommendations to those who want to apply in DIS?

Although I am quite new here, I can already tell such students that they would enjoy a unique and caring educational experience here. It is relatively a small department compared to other social science related schools in Korea, and yet we are full of highly renowned professors with cutting-edge knowledge in their fields. Based on this expertise, we offer a truly interdisciplinary program and collegial atmosphere. These features will surely help students compete in the 4th generation industrial revolution era.

Any advice to current DIS students?

Be yourself and always think the unthinkable. I am already very happy with the way students here study and participate in my classes. But I am sure they can get easily discouraged in the current job market. Even so, I want them to maintain their self-esteem, and never give up on whatever they think is important and interesting. I believe this is the only way for their long-term career success.

Interview with Jaesung Yoon (Korean Chamber of Commerce)

Interview with Jaesung Yoon (Korean Chamber of Commerce)

Please introduce yourself.

Hi, my name is Jaesung Yoon. I graduated from Hanyang University in August, 2017 with a bachelor’s in International Studies. I am currently working as an intern in the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KOCHAM) in the USA. Upon termination of my current contract, the performance review that I receive will determine whether I will stay on as a regular employee. In the meantime, I am in the process of exploring other options that will ensure a permanent stay in the United States.

What is your current position and how did you apply for it?

The Korean Chamber of Commerce is situated on Park Avenue in New York. I started working in August but had to arrive in the U.S. a few weeks earlier due to a separate program I did at the UN. My main duties include composing documents and press releases, organizing seminars and conferences, liaison duties, and pretty much any other administrative functions that may fall within the responsibilities of an intern.

I learned about the job opening from the Hanyang Office of International Affairs (a separate entity from the DIS administration office). I had participated in a government-sponsored internship program to the Korean embassy to the Philippines, and upon returning home I was interviewed by the school magazine ‘사랑한대’. Subsequently, the office of international affairs introduced me to a private agency that connects job openings located overseas with Korean students, and after a number of rejections from various organizations, I was able to land a position in the Korean Chamber of Commerce.

What did you learn most from the experience?

Aside from a 6-months internship that I did for the Korean embassy, this is the first time that I will be staying in a foreign country for a long period of time. So pretty much every day is filled with new experiences. Perhaps the biggest perk of being affiliated with KOCHAM is that due to the nature of my work, I get to meet high-ranking managers of Korean businesses, and the American counterparts from the private/governmental sectors that they interact with. KOCHAM has regional offices in Michigan, Georgia and Washington aside from the headquarters in New York, and its main function is to advance the trade and business relations between Korea and the U.S. by way of managing a complicated network involving corporations, financial institutions, non-profits, and the governments of both countries. So the work demands a lot of careful attention, and there is no compromise regarding even the slightest errors. But it’s very interesting and exciting.

What kinds of difficulty did you experience while engaging in this work?

The application process and requirements for working in an American company (or a Korean entity located in America) is very different from working for a company in Korea. If you desire to go abroad for employment, I suggest you consult with people and organizations that have had previous experience.

It may seem unclear where to start, but there are many people who are willing to help students if only they have the enthusiasm to dedicate themselves in these endeavors. There are of course, various contingencies involved, many of which are beyond your control.

It certainly is a risk to allocate your time and energy in trying to go abroad, and there is a considerable chance that you may not succeed, despite your best efforts. You also need to take into account the requirements for relocation, tasks such as obtaining a visa, long-term accommodations, a local bank account, which are just a small sample of the numerous things you have to prepare. So if and when you consider a career path such as mine, I would say the most important difficulty would be making sure you have a lot of options, to arrange a plan B and C in case your most preferred course does not work out. Consult with your professors, your fellow students, your department office, private agencies, and others. It’s important to avoid having all your eggs in one basket.

How did DIS major help attribute to your career?

The Division of International Studies is, in my opinion, vastly unappreciated compared to the considerable potential it can have to its students. For me personally, the DIS significantly improved my command of the English language, and provided me with the principle knowledge and insight required for an international career track.

One of the biggest advantages of the DIS is that its curriculum encompasses a wide range of different subjects, including politics, diplomacy, economics, management, marketing, law, and so many more. Though this broad spectrum brings with it the side effect that there is a limitation in the depth of education the school can provide to each subject, I believe the option itself, to be able to choose which field you feel more comfortable with after having the chance to explore them, is a privilege very few students have access to.

Of course, it should also go without saying that a background in International Studies gives a certain advantage in applying for positions and programs overseas. I have participated in short- and long-term programs for NGOs, diplomatic missions, the UN, and now the Korean Chamber of Commerce to the U.S., and these opportunities would have been much harder to seize had I not been a student of the DIS.

For those of you seeking tips on what kind of courses to take to advance your competencies in such a direction, I would recommend that you direct your attention to courses provided by Professor Ryoo, Professor Ahn, and Professor Saxer. Although all courses in the DIS are indispensable, I have found that the lectures from these professors have greatly enhanced my comprehension of management, economics, and political science respectively.

Any further recommendations for DIS students?

I would advise DIS students to never neglect the value of human networks and relationship management.

I am aware that networking is frowned upon by some people, and I myself belonged to that opinion for quite some time. I am not proud to admit this, but I alienated myself from fellow students and their community after finishing my military service. But all the experiences that I’ve garnered were made possible by what few people that I knew. Their opinions regarding my capabilities turned out to be very important. I cannot imagine what kind of accomplishments I could have achieved had I valued relationships at an earlier age.

I strongly recommend DIS students to make a constant effort to manage this intangible resource, to maintain a constructive link with the people you meet in your lives.

If there are any students who would like to consult with me, feel free to contact me at It will be my pleasure to help fellow DIS students in any way that I can.

Interview with Garam Seok (Pyeongchang Winners)

Interview with Garam Seok (Pyeongchang Winners)

Please describe the activity you participated in.

I worked as a university student reporter for “PyeongChang Winners”, a publication for the upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. This activity lasted for 6 months from June to December 2016. The activity focused on promoting the upcoming Games and the student reporters uploaded articles regarding various events leading up to PyeongChang 2018 or interviews with Winter Olympians and members from the Korean National Team. PyeongChang Winners also had the privilege of participating in various promotional events of PyeongChang 2018. In addition, we carried out team projects publicizing the Olympics via social network services.

What motivated you to apply for this activity?

I have always been an avid fan of sports, ever since I was young. I remember watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics and waiting for live matches in front of the TV as well as waking up at dawn to cheer for Yuna Kim and the Korean National Short Track Speed Skating Team during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Simply put, my persisting passion for the Olympics motivated me to apply for this activity. Moreover, I wanted to contribute my writing skills in any way possible so as to promote PyeongChang 2018 as a Korean and a sports lover.

What did you learn from this activity?

Working with PyeongChang Winners was an invaluable experience for me because I was able to improve not only my interpersonal skills, but also my communication skills. Cooperating with group members to create media contents and directly contacting winter sports athletes enabled me to gradually achieve and enhance these skills.

What was the most memorable incident throughout the activity?

Looking back upon the activities and events I’ve experienced and attended, it is definitely difficult to decide a single memorable experience. A few events that stick with me even to this day are meeting the Korean figure skater Yuna Kim and attending the PyeongChang 2018 news anchor appointment ceremony of the main Korean TV networks (SBS, KBS, MBC). Meeting Yuna Kim and the news anchors I’ve only seen on TV was a dream come true for me.

What difficulties did you experience?

There were times when interview requests were declined. This was one difficulty I had to deal with. However, this type of obstacle is one that professional reporters face frequently and I considered it as a valuable experience for my future.

Would you recommend this activity to other university students?

Unfortunately, although I would definitely recommend this activity to other university students, the the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee is no longer selecting students for PyeongChang Winners. However, other forms of support for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games would be very much appreciated!

Interview with Jungyun Choi (UK Student Exchange)

Interview with Jungyun Choi (UK Student Exchange)

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Jungyun Choi and I am currently a senior student in the Division of International Studies. I studied in Leeds, United Kingdom, for a semester as an exchange student majoring in Performance and Cultural Industries. The courses I took were in musical theatre, event management, and performance workshops. I enjoyed learning about British theatre and British culture during my time in Leeds.

What made you want to study as an exchange student?

Traveling and studying in a new environment were the two major reasons why I applied for the exchange program. As a person who loves to travel, I had a strong desire to live abroad for six months. Additionally I knew that the cultural and artistic experiences that I would have in Europe would be very beneficial as well. I visited five countries and 42 cities during my time in the UK, trying to make the most out of the time. One place that I would recommend for all visitors to the UK is Seven Sisters, where you can see beautiful chalk cliffs. Another reason why I chose to participate in the program was because I wanted to experience studying in a foreign university. I not only wanted to see how students abroad study, but also wanted to experience their university life. Besides, theatre is a field that originates from the UK, so it felt right to go and learn and experience the theatre culture there. I loved going to theatres to watch musicals or plays with friends while traveling in different cities in the UK.

What was the most memorable moment abroad?

My favorite moment was when I got to perform in a play called “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.” This was my first time acting in front of an audience, and my team worked so hard to make this show happen. Before the show started and the audiences started coming in, the cast would get together and perform a special ritual to get us all started and ready for the show. I would never forget all the work and effort put into the production by all of my classmates.

How did you prepare for the exchange program?

The very first thing that I did was to decide on which school and program to apply for. I narrowed down my choices to universities in the UK since I wanted to go to a European country and take theatre classes. I omitted the US since I had already gone there in my sophomore year as an intern. Then, I tried to meet the qualifications as best as I could. Hanyang University has basically two standards when it comes to applying for the program: GPA and English. The higher your GPA, the more likely it is that you will be able to go to the school of your choice. English is also essential, as most schools require some type of English score in order to study in the country. It is also very important to check the website of the Office of International Affairs because that is where most of the information is regarding exchange programs.

Would you recommend it to other students?

The exchange program is a package full of amazing experiences. I would recommend it to everyone, as it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that allows you to travel, study, and network at the same time. The program really enables you to explore “your world,” try something new, go to different places, meet different people, and just enjoy your time abroad. I will never forget the six months I spent abroad in the UK where I learned so much from great people. I would say that the only downside of studying abroad is probably the cost because you need money to travel and participate in social events. Nevertheless, it was totally worth it for me, and I would choose to go again if I had the chance to do so.

HyunSik Jo’s Heartwarming Mailbox

HyunSik Jo’s Heartwarming Mailbox

Located in Gamgodang-gil, Jongno, the Heartwarming Mailbox is a mailbox that receives anonymous letters. It was installed by HyunSik Jo (Hanyang University DIS, Senior) after he was inspired by the book Miracles of the Namiya General Store written by Keigo Higashino. Since it was installed, hundreds of letters have gone through the mailbox. The Heartwarming Mailbox is managed by the Heartwarming General Store (온기잡화점), where there are sixty other workers. Anyone with worries can send a letter to the mail box. However, the letter must remain anonymous. Because handwriting a letter is inconvenient and time-consuming HyunSik found value in slowness. He says that “people can truly put their heart into the letter because they take their time.” He hopes for the incoming and outgoing letters to be filled with warmth.

In November of 2016, Jo happened to read the book Miracles of the Namiya General Store by chance. In the book, a character from the past writes his worries in a letter and sends it to a character in the future. Then the character in the future replies to the letter. Jo claims, “People have numerous relationships, but there are many who cannot share their problems. Everyone has at least one concern that they cannot share with their friends. I thought if a person shares his problem anonymously, he could share his entire story”. It was one of Jo’s values, to live a life that helps someone, that made him to create this mailbox. “My grandmother who raised me passed away after suffering from a disease. I realized that life is finite so I pondered a lot about how I was to live life meaningfully.” He felt that a life filled with competition and greed was meaningless. He hoped for people to laugh once more throughout their lives. In that sense, he thought the mailbox would be a comfort to someone and eventually deliver happiness to people. Immediately he put his plans into action and recruited ten workers through an online community website. However, the number of letters exceeded all expectations so he recruited additional workers. There were even cases when people approached him first, after reading his story in an article, to volunteer as workers. Currently, there are more than sixty workers with their ages ranging from 20 to 50. When asked about what kind of characteristics a worker should have, he answered that nothing was required. He only needed people who yearn to deliver comfort to those in need.

The letters inside the mailbox are collected every Saturday. The workers are divided into four groups (15 workers per group) and they gather in a café near Ehwa Womens University to write their replies. They go through the letters and respond to the ones with the problems they themselves have experienced. If there are letters with difficult problems, the workers discuss the answers together and they even attach excerpts taken from books. Since Jo’s life has not been so smooth, he was able to give appropriate advice. At the beginning of his twenties, he felt a sense of loss to live a life that seemed to be already set for him. In order to gain experience, he took time off the university and travelled, volunteered, sold accessories and ice cream on the street. He says that “I once read in a book that selling something will be a good experience. I went through hardships and was even once beat up. However, after enduring that I gained the confidence that I could do anything. Therefore, when I receive letters in which the reader is confused about the direction of life, I reply saying that I have also been lost but there are numerous ways in life. So I tell them not to be impatient when things do not work according to their plans.”

Dae Hyun Park: Student Exchange Program (Spain)

Dae Hyun Park: Student Exchange Program (Spain)

Name: Dae Hyun Park
Exchange University: Spain/Universitat Politècnica de València
Program Duration: 1 semester (6 months)

What made you want to study as an exchange student?
I spent last semester as an exchange student because I wanted to learn the language and culture of Spain. Specifically, I wanted to experience Spain’s relaxed attitude. My friend from my Judo team recommended Valencia, Spain due to its cheap prices, natural surroundings and culture. Moreover, I wanted to travel all across Europe during my stay.

What were the pros and cons of being an exchange student?
To start with the pros, first, being an exchange student gives less academic pressure due to its pass/fail grade system. This allowed me to have more time engaging with European people. I was able to experience their cultures and simply enjoy life. It felt like a vacation.

Second, I was able to learn the country’s language. As I interacted with local students, my Spanish improved significantly.

Third, I had more time and opportunities to travel. Traveling taught me many lessons in life while it introduced me to many great friends from all across the globe.

Fourth, my cooking skills have improved. I lived in a shared flat so I had to cook for myself. Being able to cook good food is a necessity.

For the con side, however, one can become lonely as everything is foreign and new.  This sometimes discourages exchange students from being proactive.

Moreover, many universities do not offer a high number of major courses in English which can hinder one’s academic progress especially in regards to completing credit requirements. Hence, I was not able to take many courses in Spain.

Would you recommend it to other students? Why?
Yes, I would recommend the exchange student program. Many students, including myself, enjoy the best time of their lives. They make many good friends and memories. Additionally, it is beneficial in regards to education. Languages, cultures and vital life lessons are learned throughout the stay. I hope everyone gets the chance to spend at least one semester as an exchange student.

Boram Lee: Participating in the United Nations’ CSW 61

Boram Lee: Participating in the United Nations’ CSW 61

Name: Joyce Boram Lee
Internship / volunteer institution: UN Commission on the Status of Women 61
Duration: March 10-March 20

Q: Why and how did you apply for this activity?

I’m a volunteer at an NGO called the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). The YWCA of Korea participates in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) each year, and they were recruiting young volunteers to represent them at the event. The first process of application was with documents of personal information and self-introduction. Then there was a phone interview conducted in English where they asked me about my interests in women’s rights and the United Nations.

Q: How did you prepare for this activity?

I did a lot of reading. Although I had always been interested in gender equality, there was still a lot of reading to catch up on, mainly previous UN documents or publications on gender equality by the Korean government. It was important for me to be able to understand and share as much information as possible when I got to the event, and the best way to ensure that was through reading and studying.

Q: What specific activities did you participate in?

1. CSW 61 Youth Forum:
For the first two days, I participated in the CSW Youth Forum. This is a forum where young people under 30 years old from all over the world come together to discuss gender equality. Numerous panelists from a variety of backgrounds share their experiences and engage in discussions with other participants. It was also here where we heard a keynote speech from the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed. After the plenaries, smaller groups of people gathered for thematic sessions. Each group discussed different themes, such as Refugees and Migration or Violence against women and girls. I went into the “Young women and men challenging inequality in times of climate change” session. With the respective conclusions of each session, the drafting committee wrote a Youth Declaration to submit to the general assembly at the CSW.

2. NGO and Government Parallel and Side Events:
During the CSW, NGOs and governments open parallel and side events to advocate their cause or summarize past achievements in gender equality. Being a member of the YWCA, I attended events hosted by the YWCA of Japan and Canada. I also attended meetings hosted by other NGOs and governments such as those of Finland and Norway. These events covered a variety of topics, from “including men and boys in the gender equality movement” to “young women entrepreneurs”. I went to 3 or 4 of these meetings each day.

3. Egumeni Safe Space and Navi campaign:
The World YWCA opened a safe space close by the UN headquarters. (A safe space is a physical space, often a large room, where people can intervene in any kind of discussion with guaranteed confidentiality: it is a “judgement-free” zone.) The safe space provides people the opportunity to talk about gender-related issues more intimately with one another. There were also special guests, such as Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Canadian minister of international development, and Amina J. Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary General of the UN. They answered the many questions of the YWCA youth and led discussions about their experiences and professions.

At the safe space, the representatives of the YWCA of Korea, including myself, did a presentation to promote our campaign, “Ignorance is Violence”. We explained the tragic situation of the sex slaves during the Japanese colonial era and further asked for the international community’s support in combating violence against women and girls in armed conflict. We had the privilege to present our cause in front of delegations from all over the world, including ministers of Finland and Australia.

4. Meeting the Senior Advisor on Policy, Kang Kyung-wha:
The YWCA of Korea had the opportunity to meet Kang Kyung-wha, the senior advisor on policy at the UN. We asked her a number of questions regarding her past experience in Korean and international politics, her personal opinion on what makes a good leader, and how a person of her position deals with the clashes between reality and the ideal of “making the world into a better place”.

Q: What did you learn from this experience?

As a child and teenager I used to dream about working in the United Nations. But after entering university, the more I researched, I came to see it just as a formal gathering of member states–all talk and no action. The lack of binding law seemed like a major flaw, and the value of all of the “fancy” rhetoric seemed questionable.

Yet after CSW I realize the significance of providing people a platform. The United Nations and CSW in specific, provides people with a platform in which they can share experiences and information. These aspects to some may still come across as a waste of resources or even as unnecessary. But after having first-hand experience, I can say that at least in my eyes, people truly and sincerely utilize the provided platform to advocate their causes. The passion and drive these people have is amazing, and so I came to place great value in the UN in that it gives these people a place to speak. It is one of the few official places where people can be idealistic for once. Not to mention the fact that people from literally all over the world convening to empower women in and of itself sends a powerful message to organizations and governments everywhere.


Jae Ah Shin: Volunteering with SK SUNNY

Jae Ah Shin: Volunteering with SK SUNNY

Name: Jae Ah Shin
Volunteer institution: SK SUNNY
Duration: February 2017 – February 2018

Q: Why and how did you apply for this volunteer activity?
I applied for SK SUNNY Social Enterprise Supporting Team with an expectation of gaining a valuable experience. My future goal is to become a Social Enterprise CEO. I hope to establish a social enterprise that can tackle a number of social issues simultaneously. The moment I applied to SK SUNNY program, I was confident that this volunteer activity would help me overcome my weakness while strengthening my abilities and would function as a stepping stone that leads me a step closer to my dream.

Q: What activities did you participate in?
I participated in the SK SUNNY Social Enterprise Supporting Team Leader Group, which was a one-year program. Our main goal was to support social enterprises’ by utilizing diverse marketing strategies and further expanding university students’ talents. This semester, I was assigned to support a social venture, “Ease and More”. “Ease and More” is a social venture that encourages sanitary, healthy and content female lifestyles. Such actions are carried out by monthly funding the underprivileged teenage girls with sanitary napkins. As a part of the leader group member, I have the responsibility to select and manage supporters—team members. Managing supporters involves planning a workshop, managing a community website, and keeping schedules.

Q: What did you learn from this experience?
Through the SK SUNNY Program, I learned how to carry out the marketing strategies that I learned in the DIS courses. Moreover, as the SK SUNNY Leader Group consists of university students from all around Korea, I made a lot of friends in other regions as well. Interacting with friends in other regions of the country certainly enabled me to gain a broader perspective. SK SUNNY is truly a window of opportunity.

Q: How did you prepare for the volunteer activity?
There are two programs within SK SUNNY: the Social Enterprise (SE) Supporting Team and the Volunteering Team. As I applied for SE Supporting Team, I prepared myself by joining Hanyang Social Enterprise Network and researching about social enterprises. Understanding the concept of the social enterprise and having a passion to change the world in to a better place are vital.

HaNeul Hong: Volunteering with Happymove

HaNeul Hong: Volunteering with Happymove

Name: HaNeul Hong (홍하늘)
Volunteer institution: Hyundai Motor Company
Duration: 12 days

Q: What was this activity about?
Among the various CSR activities of Hyundai Motor Company, Happymove is a program that sends about 1,000 university students each year to different countries around the world. Through this program, the company hopes to produce global leaders with humanitarian concerns, leaders who know how to cooperate with others and have the ability to take creative approaches and generate sustainable results. Among the countries I could apply to, I chose to go to Laos, to Champa Elementary School in Vientiane.

Q: What activities did you participate in?
The experience was divided into three sections: Construction work, educational sessions, and cultural exchanges. For the construction work, my team built walls around the school, made stone benches, wooden desks and chairs, varnished over those wooden desks and chairs, and also painted walls. During the educational session, we devoted one day from the schedule to communicate with the first graders by teaching Korean traditional street games and teaching them about the countries around the world. Lastly, for the cultural exchange, our team presented a combination of traditional and K-Pop and Taekwondo moves in front of 300 people of the Champa including several high ranking governors in Laos. Originally, we had another performance planned but about a week before the performance, we found several problems. Thus, we had to come up with something from scratch within five days! Everyone in the team panicked, thinking that we had to start from zero. After hours of brainstorming, we decided to present Taekwondo moves even if only five people in the team had a belt. It was extremely challenging to learn the Taekwondo moves without having any basics in my body. Fortunately, we were able to perform well and the people in the Champa community seemed to enjoy the Korean martial art.

Q: Why did you apply for this volunteering activity?
I applied for this activity because I am interested in joining an NGO that is dedicated to improving the lives of children. Hence, when I first heard about this opportunity from a friend, I thought that it would help me gain a meaningful experience for my future career. In addition, having lived in the Philippines for about ten years, I was comfortable with the South East Asian environment. That is why I specifically chose Laos over countries such as China and India. Another reason that made me apply for this activity was the fact that Hyundai Motor Company covered all the expenses for us to go abroad and work. Usually, overseas volunteering activities require personal expenses to some extent. However, being a college student, it was always a burden for me. Yet, Happymove was a volunteering activity that supported their workers fully which fulfilled everything I desired in an overseas volunteering program.

Q: What did you learn from this experience?
Through this experience, I was able to change my mindset about volunteering. Whenever I volunteered for something, especially if it was serving a community that was in need, I subconsciously thought that I was superior to the them. However, the outcomes of this activity benefited me more than it benefited the Champa Elementary school. A couple of years ago, I watched the movie, “Big Hero 6” and there is a scene in which the two main characters (Baymax and Hiro) do a fist bump. I brought that to Laos and taught it to the children in the Champa Elementary school. Surprisingly, a lot of the kids remembered it and later on, and they approached me just to do the fist bump and run away. I thought I went to Laos to give or share something that I possessed. Nevertheless, I was the one who received a greater change and meaning in life through this experience.

Q: How did you prepare for the internship/volunteering activity?
For this volunteering activity, I first had to check when the registration period was. When I first heard of this activity from a senior, I went to the website right away but I missed the deadline by a week. So I marked the calendar a year ahead so that I would not miss this opportunity again. After registering online, I had the option to present official documents regarding my linguistic ability. I also had the option to submit documents with volunteering experiences. Then I had to write a personal statement using three hashtags. After that was complete, I waited to find out if I made it to the interview. For the interview I went to the headquarter of Hyundai Motors Company located near Anguk station.

Wangyu Koh: Internship with Merril Lynch

Wangyu Koh: Internship with Merril Lynch


Name: Wangyu Koh (DIS, 2008)

Place of internship: Washington D.C. / Merrill Lynch

Duration: 4 Months (February-May 2010)

Q: Why did you apply for the internship?

W: I applied to the internship because of my curiosity with the field of finance. I also wanted to experience Washington D.C., which is not only the capital city of the United States, but also a world hub where powerful governmental, political and economic institutions coalesce. Additionally, I wanted to attend the development forums at the IMF/IBRD HQ to identify world economic trends and gain insights on the findings of leading economists.

Q: What did you mainly do in the internship?

W: Merrill Lynch, the wealth management division of Bank of America, is the world’s largest brokerage managing $2.2 trillion in client assets. I worked at Merrill Lynch, Washington D.C., Global Wealth Management Division, in a team comprised of a senior financial advisor and a client associate.

It was crucial that I familiarize myself with the Bloomberg workstation, which is a powerful information source that enables users to monitor and analyze real-time financial market data. The Bloomberg online training courses were extremely useful in helping me fulfill my daily tasks and at the same time allowed me to acquire the Bloomberg Essentials Certificate (Fixed Income/Equity/Foreign Exchange/Commodity).

I researched, analyzed and monitored the best performing stocks and mutual funds of target sectors. This involved using the Bloomberg workstation to gather and compile financial data such as stock performance, benchmark performance, asset allocation and holdings. For qualitative analysis, segments of analyst reports were also summarized, compiled and submitted to the client associate.

I analyzed the financial products of competitors and reported new investment opportunities to the group’s financial advisor. This required monitoring a set of financial products and attending meetings that took place in and out of the office. Other duties included reviewing annual statements of clients to help the financial planner set and meet his targets as well as managing client account information.

Q: What did you learn most from the experience?

W: There are around two hundred people working in Merrill Lynch, Washington D.C. They are finance experts not just from the US, but also from all over the world.

It was a great opportunity to experience the American corporate culture, which is nothing like that of Korean companies. In American organizations, being direct, even to the President or the CFO, is a virtue. If one wants to be heard, one is expected to be confident about oneself and one’s capabilities. Meetings are kept as short as possible and are not considered a success unless they result in a tangible action or decision.

I learned that being ‘professional’ is not purely about one’s expertise in the field. Rather, it is about one’s commitment in getting the assigned work done no matter what. In other words, it is important to finish all the work on the day it was received, even if it involves working late into the night. Being proactive in constantly finding work for myself was also a rewarding experience.

Q: How did you prepare for the internship?

W: Getting advice from senior students in the field of finance helped me the most. I talked to several seniors working in finance regarding what their job entailed and how to prepare for a career in the sector. Actively taking economics and business courses at school helped me acquire the basic knowledge required for the job.

Internship programs like TWC and WEST are the two main routes for students who want to work in the US. Identifying which program is the most suitable for oneself is crucial. Finding out the procedures of the program in advance and making a strategy to meet the requirements will significantly increase one’s chances of getting a placement.