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Meet the Ross Global MBAs

Seung Kwon Han
MBA ’12
Korea International Trade Association

Seung Kwon has met politicians and businessmen from across the globe at the World Trade Organization and the G20 summit. But the Ross School’s Global MBA Program provided new opportunities to expand his network. “My company is focusing on business opportunities throughout Asia,” says Seung Kwon. “Meeting students from these countries was really valuable.” The three-month Asia Session, where students live and study in China, Japan, and Korea, gave Seung Kwon an insider’s view that will help him develop his company’s growth strategy. The students toured key companies in each country and also were able to travel. “It was a tangible way to learn about the business environments and cultures,” he says. The experience also solidified his connection with fellow Global MBA students. “By the time we came to Ann Arbor, we felt like a family. I know I will stay connected to them throughout my career.” Learning to appreciate cultural differences among his fellow students was one of the biggest benefits of the program. “I’ve become open to new ideas and different backgrounds, which will help me better manage relationships and lead teams in the future.”

Grace Hong
MBA ’12
CBMC Corp.

Grace came to the Ross School because the focus on general management and strategy was the ideal way to diversify her marketing-based skill set. Plus, the 16-month Global MBA Program meant she could return to her family’s business in the Philippines more quickly. “Ross offered a good balance,” she says. Once she entered the program, Grace embraced the opportunity to explore operations, finance, and accounting. “Eventually I’ll be leading my family’s company, so I need to be strong in multiple areas. I will be able to make us much more efficient in the way we do business. I’m much more confident and willing to take risks.” Grace credits her Cost Accounting class with teaching her to think holistically about her company’s finances. And she says strategy professor Aneel Karnani helped her develop ideas for growing her family enterprise. “His Strategies for Growth course made me realize how all aspects of a business affect its expansion, so I need to be conscious of the decisions I’m making in every area.”

Donghwan Kim
MBA ’12
Hyundai Motor Group.

Before coming to the Ross School, Donghwan lacked the confidence to speak up in meetings or volunteer for additional assignments. Now he’s a changed man. “I learned from professors and students who come from all over the world,” says Donghwan. “I am confident I can apply this knowledge to my job.” He describes finance professor Gautam Kaul, strategy professor Linda Lim, and marketing professor Puneet Manchanda as examples of how Ross combines theory with practice. “They are very well-known in their areas, and they bring rich experiences to their teaching. Experience and knowledge are a wonderful synergy, and I think Ross professors excel at that.” Donghwan also valued the opportunity to learn from corporate executives who frequent the University of Michigan as guest speakers. “I understood what they were saying because the faculty had already talked about the theories in class.” And thanks to the school’s proximity to the heart of the American auto industry, Donghwan was able to tour facilities and develop contacts at Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. “I really benefited from Michigan’s business environment,” he says.

Joungwook Lee
MBA ’12
Bobath Memorial Hospital

As a practicing physician specializing in age-associated neurological diseases, Joungwook saw an MBA as an investment in his future. He plans to transition into hospital administration, and wanted to develop quantitative decision-making skills. He also was eager to expand his knowledge of an industry that’s poised for growth. “Healthcare in Korea is getting broader,” Joungwook says. “The industry is going to require more professionals with business knowledge. At Ross, I got the big picture as well as the business details, which are required for true leaders.” The Ross School’s team-based approach to education was new for Joungwook, but he sees it as a valuable component of his MBA experience. “In each of my teams at Ross, my peers were brilliant and confident. I was so impressed by their qualifications.” Initially Joungwook was hesitant to jump into group discussions, but he grew more comfortable, in part, because of his close relationship with his fellow students. Their support also spurred him to take classes in the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “One of the advantages of the University is the large amount of resources outside of the Ross School, which I could access without limitation. That was a big benefit for me.”

Akihiko Sato
MBA ’12
Mitsubishi Materials Corp.

Prior to attending the Ross School, Akihiko oversaw production control for his division at Mitsubishi Materials Corp. But in order to advance in his career, he needed to understand more than supply chain. “I didn’t have training in marketing, strategy, or sales,” he says. “Ross helped me tie it all together.” Akihiko says his courses in management and organizations prepared him to lead teams, while his marketing classes offered an immediate return on investment. “Before I came to Ross, I had no idea about branding. Now I know it’s an area where my company can improve. Branding is not just an emotional concept — I learned a logical framework to implement it.” He credits marketing professor Rajeev Batra with explaining the theory of branding in a realistic way. “His vast experience in the field provided a lot of real examples from real companies.” Akihiko also enjoyed gleaning diverse expertise from peers in the Full-time MBA Program. “Ross has students who have worked at Google, Apple, and so on. I couldn’t have broadened my perspective as much if I had stayed closer to home.”

Chris Shang
BSE ’04/MBA ’12
United Can Co.

Chris traveled from his home in Indonesia to Ann Arbor to earn his bachelor’s degree in engineering, so he already was comfortable with the University of Michigan community. But his time as a Global MBA student offered a new perspective. “I liked the idea of spending time living and learning in Japan, Korea, and China, while also being able to have the MAP [Multidisciplinary Action Projects] experience,” he says. During the residencies in Asia, Chris logged some on-the-ground experience in countries that impact his family’s can-making company. “We have suppliers that we deal with in those countries, so to study business there gave me valuable insights.” During the 13-month session in Ann Arbor, Chris found that the atmosphere at the Ross School mirrored what he remembered from his undergrad days. “It’s a positive, friendly environment,” he says. “People like to help each other and get to know each other, too.” Without the pressures of a job search, Chris pursued a host of interests through the schools’ various clubs. But it wasn’t just fun and games. “My time at Ross gave me the frameworks to examine business problems,” he says.