As the clock ticked for the term 2 final exam, an unmistakable sense of anticipation filled up the examination room & EPGP hallways. The busiest term was drawing to a close. The icing on the cake, however, was the much anticipated 2-week international immersion program. 50 of us were about to go airborne to the land of Samsung, Hyundai, and, of-course, Gangnam Style!
Last minute checks ran thrice, thanks largely to the delayed departing flight. The mood, however, stayed upbeat. Finally, we bid a good bye to Bangalore at 2 a.m.
Touchdown 10 hours later brought with it numerous validations & re-validations of what people had imagined South Korea to be. Some nodded in appreciation, some were star stuck, some struggled to find vegetarian food & the rest tried to find a mid-way between Korean & English to be better understood.
Our host, KAIST Business School, gave us the first glimpse of compassion Koreans are known for. Here’s a disclaimer: dealing with 50 Indian students in a chaotic &, at times, disorienting place like an airport can be a daunting task. No exaggerations. In a beautifully coordinated exercise, we got a glimpse into what was to follow in days to come – execution, execution, execution.
Our schedule was jam-packed with seminar sessions from Korean business leaders & industry visits. From understanding nuances of doing business in Korea from Nike Korea CEO, Electronics Arts Korea VP, LG New Products CTO, to getting a deeper understanding of India-Korea political relationships from the Indian Ambassador in Korea, firms & country strategies were dissected, discussed, agreed & disagreed upon. The amazing rags-to-riches Korean story was at full display during our visits to Samsung Innovation Center, Korean Stock Exchange & Busan shipping yard. There was so much to explore about Korean culture, which I must confess was initially hard to adapt to. Long socializing hours, stout nationalistic outlook, utmost respect for hierarchy, and absolute discipline for execution took us some time to get used to.
It’s hard & perhaps unfair for me to encapsulate everything in a single blog – much more to follow in my next post. Until then, Aneyasayo!