KASC Alumnus Sung Woong Park (KASC 2 & 3) shares his story of how the KASC program helped him achieve his career goals at Samsung.
Two months ago, I was in my final interview for a job at Samsung Engineering. There were five executives sitting in front of me, and they started asking questions. One of the questions they asked me was, “What do you think of ‘fairness’ in Korean society, and do you have an example to illustrate your opinion?” The few moments I spent trying to find a good answer from my knowledge and experiences felt like an hour to me; then, a memory I had from KASC suddenly hit my brain. I answered the question by elaborating on my experience trying to fundraise the participation fee for the 2nd KASC after being designated as a Korean delegate. I remembered that several Korean delegates had a difficult time getting funds from schools or companies, while American delegates received funds relatively easily by comparison. I believe this situation exemplified how the business and civic cultures in different countries vary in their perceptions of the value of giving donations and lending support to students. I told my interviewers that, to make a “fair society,” people must foster younger generations by sharing their resources and experiences – not only by giving financial support, but also constructive feedback and encouraging messages. I told them how I could not even get a reply from some companies from which I had requested financial support. The interviewers seemed to respond with an awareness of what I was talking about.
Eventually, I was offered a position with Samsung Engineering, one of the leading engineering firms in the world. Without my privileged experience of participating in both the 2nd KASC as a delegate and the 3rd KASC as a member of Executive Committee, I would not have been able to formulate this answer, which informed the interviewers’ decision to hire me.
It’s been a year since I became an alumnus of KASC. Despite the fact that the 2nd KASC and 3rd KASC are over, my memory from KASC is still affecting me. When I attended a kick-off meeting for a project with clients and their engineers from Bahrain, my cross-cultural communication skills I learned during the roundtable sessions and Six-party Talks simulation helped me to alleviate the very tense atmosphere of the meeting. When I studied the issue of the gas pipeline around the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan as part of a new marketing strategy, all of my dear KASCers with deep knowledge regarding that issue were right behind me to help with my research.
For the long future ahead of me, by building on my good memories and experiences from KASC, I want to realize my dream to work for international organizations like the International Development Association, which is an arm of the World Bank that I visited as part of the 3rd KASC. Then, I would be able to support the poor in the world as an electrical engineer. I would like to end this essay by quoting Steve Jobs during his commencement speech: “Small dots from our past become connected as time passes and brings us to achievement.” And I hope that the small dots drawn by KASCers will continue to connect and strengthen not only KASC itself, but also the participants.