Yonsei University School of Business signed a dual degree agreement with ESSEC Business School in France in March 2016. This was the first dual-degree agreement for undergraduate programs at Yonsei University. Sang Heun Lee (Business Administration, entering class of 2015) became the first dual-degree student under the agreement and graduated in August 2020.
Q > You are the first to receive an undergraduate dual degree at Yonsei University. You must have many feelings, so please tell us how you feel.
A> Although I still feel surreal that I just graduated with a dual degree, I am feeling a sense of accomplishment that I have successfully completed the dual degree courses as I planned. It wasn't easy, but I'm happy that I learned step by step and finally got through it. I would like to express my great gratitude to the people involved who signed and implemented the dual degree agreement smoothly.
Q > What is the most rewarding and meaningful thing after completing the dual-degree program?
A> There were many professors who had a bachelor's degree in engineering at ESSEC Business School. I took classes on developer skills and the latest technology such as Python, web design, and the Internet of Things. In particular, I remember that I was solving problems and making games with my partner while taking programming classes. And I was greatly touched by the professor's words that, rather than focusing on grades and theories, we should have the passion to stay up all night alone and concentrate on coding. Also, it was very rewarding to go home and study on your own while I had a lot of fun programming during the online lecture which was arranged very efficiently.
In addition, I remember things like celebrating with locals at a tavern in Paris when France won the World Cup and calling the landlords in poor French to find a house to rent. Living in France for a year is not an easy opportunity in one's life, so I have been maintaining the attitude until now that I have to spend my time efficiently and embrace different challenges in my life.
Q > In contrast, what was the most difficult part?
A > It was the lack of information. Since I was the first to take the dual-degree program, there was no course review or relevant know-how about the program. Hence, it was difficult for me to get prepared in advance based on predictions. ESSEC had no prearranged schedules and plans for students starting the dual-degree program in the summer, so I had to get information from the briefing session for inbound and outbound exchange students.
Since I studied French before I went there, I didn't have much trouble in communication. However, there were required courses in the curriculum, and I wondered if they were truly necessary.
Q > You must have thought about the advantages of a dual degree, but what was it like in reality?
A > When I have a chance to work in Europe in the future, I think a bachelor's degree from ESSEC will be of great help. So I'm still studying French and English constantly. Looking back at the preparation for the dual degree, there is no big difference from exchange students in terms of interacting with foreign students, overcoming language barriers, and understanding French culture. The real difference is that I had to write my graduation thesis and get my degree. I finished it when I came back home. These two tasks can be fully experienced, even if you don't take the dual-degree program, so I don't think they are advantages unique to the program.
Q > Is there anything you are currently doing after graduation and anything you want to do in the future?
A > I graduated after one year of internship. I am currently preparing for graduate school. I want to continue working on developing artificial intelligence and programming, which are my hobbies, and I studied on my own while attending ESSEC. And I want to keep practicing French, apply for Ph.D. programs in Europe, or go on training programs.