The 2020 entering class of first-year undergraduate students of YSB participated in a newly organized online alumni mentoring event in September that because of the COVID-19 pandemic replaced the previous annual in-person event held in March.
The event, organized by the Yonsei University College of Business and Economics Alumni Association, was divided into two parts. The first part was a "listen to alumni mentors" session, followed by a group online meeting session via Zoom.
The first section started with a welcome speech from Ha-Gyeong Song (Applied Statistics, entering class of 1978, president and CEO of Monami), chairman of the alumni association. Chairman Song pointed out the definition of mentoring, noting, "Usually, when it comes to mentoring, people tend to merely think of it as mentees learning and mentors teaching; however, mentors also need to study and understand mentees comprehensively. It is an experience in which mentors and mentees support each other and awaken each other's potential."
[Ha-Gyeong Song (Applied Statistics, entering class of 1978, president and CEO of Monami)]
Next, to start off the meetings with freshmen, alumni Sang Jin Oh (Business Administration, entering class of 1998, broadcaster) and Han-ik Yu (Business Administration, entering class of 2003, chairman of Tmon) facilitated a conversation session with mentors Kyung-bae Suh (Business Administration, entering class of 1981, CEO of the Amore Pacific Group), Ho-Chan Kang (Business Administration, entering class of 1995, CEO of Nexen Tire), and Ji Ho Son (Business Administration, entering class of 1994, CEO of NeoValue).
The two facilitators introduced alumnus Kyung-bae Suh with the keywords of "K-beauty," "charity angel,” and "the king of reading." As for a recommended book or quote for freshmen, Suh picked "A high-flying bird sees far away" in The Seagull's Dream.
[Kyung-bae Suh (Business Administration, entering class of 1981, CEO of the Amore Pacific Group)]
“It is difficult to fly high,” he said, “but if you try to fly high, you see far and fly far. Keep in mind that you can achieve great goals without knowing when the opportunity will come.” When asked what he would like to suggest to the freshmen who are taking online classes, he replied, "What is the opposite of memory?
“The opposite of memory is to dream. If what you have done so far is memory, then to dream is to do things in a way you are not used to. It's a new challenge," he explained. Then he advised, "Please take on a new challenge, and do what you love."
Alumnus Ho-Chan Kang was introduced with the keywords of "tire," "sportsman," and "communication." Kang said he regretted not having an experience as an exchange student while attending school, so he donated an exchange student scholarship for his juniors. He suggested learning to be flexible by observing and listening to others extensively. “The generational gap is not due to age difference, but due to lack of flexibility,” he added. “I also check whether I have become less flexible, and I think those who have already covered their ears in their 20s and 30s miss out on future opportunities,” he said in emphasizing the importance of flexibility.
[From Left: Han-ik Yu (Business Administration, entering class of 2003, chairman of Tmon) , Ho-Chan Kang (Business Administration, entering class of 1995, CEO of Nexen Tire), Sang Jin Oh (Business Administration, entering class of 1998, broadcaster) ]
Alumnus Ji Ho Son was described as "generous," "real estate," and "unconventional." He introduced himself as a lifestyle developer who creates a people-centered urban culture. Son has his own mentoring style. He maintained his relationship with his juniors whom he met in the mentoring program in 2013 until their graduation. He often meets with mentees who said they will buy him a meal when they get employed.
NeoValue, run by Son, is a real estate development company. "When I was in school, I wasn't exceptional and knew nothing about this field. But having dreamed of starting a business, I focused on only one thing and eventually achieved fruitful results," he said. "If you find a field of interest and spend time and effort consistently, your efforts will definitely pay off."
[From Left: Sang Jin Oh (Business Administration, entering class of 1998, broadcaster), Ji Ho Son (Business Administration, entering class of 1994, CEO of NeoValue), Han-ik Yu (Business Administration, entering class of 2003, chairman of Tmon) ]
Finally, the event closed with a video message from Ju-yeol Lee (Business Administration, entering class of 1970, governor of the Bank of Korea). Lee could not participate in club activities because he was a resident teacher for three years after entering the school. "If I could go back as a freshman, I would like to become an insider, a super insider, and enjoy a romantic campus life," he said.
He gave freshmen students two pieces of advice based on his more than 40 years of social life experience. First, be creative. In the future, flexibility will be more important than expertise. It is essential to develop ?CRITICAL? thinking capabilities rather than knowledge. Second, picture yourself after graduation. Whether or not we picture and plan about our future will make a clear difference over time.
"Although our society can be seen as unreasonable and contradictory, society does not miss out on those who are prepared and talented. Therefore, we should boldly challenge to do what we want to do and make the future ours," Lee added.
After watching the insightful interviews of the chairman of the alumni association and alumni mentors, mentors and mentees used Zoom to conduct mentoring within each group. There were 19 mentoring groups. And two or three senior students or faculty mentors were matched for each group. The mentees felt a sense of belonging as Yonsei students as they heard advice about college life and career paths from their senior mentors. Both mentors and mentees regretted the need to meet online and promised each other that they would meet offline in the future.