[Letters] Better Korean MBAs needed

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[Letters] Better Korean MBAs needed

Many world leaders, including former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad, are anticipating that the central axis of the world economy will move toward Korea, China, Japan, India and Asean in coming years.

Even in the aftermath of the U.S.-originated economic crisis stemming from the subprime loan incident, Asia is showing the soundest and fastest recovery. The recovery is a sign that the region can become the center of the world economy in the short-term outlook based on Asia’s stable economic structures and systems.

The engine of the future world economy will be twofold. The outstanding human resources of Asia’s emerging countries will provide an enormous growth potential for the economy. And the region’s high-value-added industries like IT and bio-industry have the competitive power to push the economy forward.

Asia is already playing initiative roles not only in silk production activities but also in overall areas of consumption, investment and economy, and it is stretching a big hand to the mergers and acquisitions market, the sector owned solely by U.S. and European companies. This extension of Asia’s role in the world economy is a sign of the beginning of the Asian era.

In such an economic environment, the Korean-style MBA is drawing attention. Under the slogan “securing a global competitive edge and fostering management talents specializing in Korean entrepreneurial characteristics,” Korean-style master of business administration programs are successfully in operation in 13 universities in the nation, along with Seoul National University, where I am enrolled.

The MBA programs are extensively staffed with outstanding professors armed with lecture experience at highly respected overseas MBA programs. Considering the recent high exchange rates, Korean MBA programs also offer affordable tuition that are half the cost of overseas MBA programs. Korean-style MBA programs, currently well-established thanks to the government’s efforts, must now prepare for the Asian era. In other words, now is the time to foster a specialized management workforce capable of leading the Asian era by becoming serious about enhancing the quality of education programs.

First off, Korean-style company management cases will need to be sufficiently offered. Presently, most of Korea’s MBA programs are using the cases offered by overseas universities like Harvard Business School. In order to foster the talents needed to succeed in Korean-style entrepreneurship, the systematic development and analysis of domestic cases are essential. In particular, the experience of having successfully overcome the late 1990s currency crisis through the highly intensive restructuring and reformation of government and companies offers magnificent cases for students to study. These domestic cases would cover overall sectors of business administration like human resources, finance, global management and the entrepreneurial spirit.

Hence, each university will have to strengthen efforts to analyze domestic cases and offer data to their students. The establishment of departments dedicated to case development and the extension of university-industry collaboration are two good examples of the efforts we need to make. When a thorough analysis of such domestic company management cases follows, overseas talents will gather in domestic MBA programs. In this way, they will be able to learn about the Korean economy properly, the main axis of the Asia’s economic era. These overseas talents will become a circle which can help the Korean economy either directly or indirectly later on.

Secondly, a university-industry collaboration system needs to be reinforced. Through partnerships with major Asian companies in diverse industries, academic synergy will develop. Internship programs or academy consulting programs that major companies offer will give students a chance to gain practical experience with the various management issues and analyses of applicable companies they learned about in their MBA curriculum. In this process, companies also will be able to receive fresh ideas from an outside perspective through consulting.

Lastly, under the newly structured world economic map, new leadership and vision will need to be proposed. New visions are necessary to make the Asian era one of collaboration and mutual survival beyond the relations of competition and conflict and to strengthen the integrated leadership education that will lead the economy.

When such efforts are maintained in parallel, Korean-style MBA programs will be able to improve global competitiveness and become the training grounds of the Asian economy era.

Pae Ki-pyo, U.S. CPA (Delaware State) / U.S. AP
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