South Korea Study Tour

By Michael Longaro

Upon the completion of our first academic year of the ESADE MBA, sixty of us first year students embarked on a weeklong study tour in Seoul, South Korea. Met with incredible warmth and hospitality by our hosts at Yonsei University, Sangnam Institute of Management, one of the premier institutions of higher learning in South Korea, we were treated to five days of cultural, educational, and professional enlightenment.

Upon our arrival, we were taken on a bus tour of Seoul, led by a local guide whose knowledge of the city was matched by his humorous anecdotes. We wondered in awe at Gyeongbokgung palace, took in the views from N Seoul Tower, wandered the quaint streets of Bukchon village, and feasted on traditional Bimbimbap.

For the next four days, were had a series of lectures, learning about doing business in Korea. One of the highlights for many of us was the lecture given by Peter Underwood, grandson of the original founder of Yonsei University, who spoke at length about Korean culture, history, and economics.  We also had the pleasure of learning about business to business marketing in Korea, doing business in Korea from a European perspective, negotiation strategies, business ethics, and even Fintech. 

One of the highlights for many of us was the lecture given by Peter Underwood, grandson of the original founder of Yonsei University, who spoke at length about Korean culture, history, and economics.

In addition to the plethora of high quality lectures, we also had the chance to visit the offices of two titans of Korean business: Samsung Electronics and KT.  During each of these visits, we were afforded the opportunity to ask hard-hitting questions about each company’s success heretofore and plans for the future.

The study trek was not all work and no play, though, as we made good use of our free time in the evenings.  Over the course of the week, we explored the different neighborhoods of Seoul, whether we were mingling with the fashion conscious in Sinchon, having drinks with students in Hongdae, or singing “Gangnam Style” with locals at a Karaoke bar in – you guessed it – Gangnam.  Each night we gorged ourselves on delectable Korean cuisine and made sure to include Soju with each meal.  Upon the conclusion of the study trek we bid our wonderful hosts goodbye and left with a newfound appreciation and understanding of South Korea and all of the wonderful things it has to offer.

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