As we settled our way into the warm & friendly Korean ethos, an extremely packed schedule awaited us. In the next couple of weeks, we ended up visiting places with vast historical, cultural & economic significance. Here’s a debrief of what followed.
Korean Stock Exchange (KRX)
The trip to KRX was humbling in many ways. It’s hard to describe the feeling of looking at the big sensex screen. It flashed – “KRX welcomes IIM Bangalore”. It was humbling & daunting at the same time. At KRX, it was interesting to go through the chain of events that led to the integration of Korean Stock Exchange, Korea Future Exchange & KOSDAQ under the Korea Stock & Futures Exchange Act. With 1800 international & local companies listed in KRX & a combined market capitalization of $1.1 trillion, it was proof enough of the remarkable rags-to-riches story Korea has witnessed over the last 6 decades.
Samsung Innovation Museum (SIM)
Samsung’s journey, beautifully captured in its state-of-the-art innovation center, is a vivid walkthrough of the enormous leaps it has taken in the last 3 decades – from its semiconductor businesses to a multi-billion dollar “chaebol”.
What caught me really off guard was Samsung’s presence in fields I had never known or imagined! From intuitive digital standees in retail to smart classroom education tools, from being one stop solution to all home appliances to driving fashion, from building innovative health-care equipments to undertaking the construction of Burj Khalifa, Samsung has done it all.
The brand power of Samsung was in full display at the SIM. I know for a fact that it managed to win quite a few fans that day…for life.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) Shipyard
We were already into the second week of our trip but the question still loomed large, “What’s the secret sauce of South Korea’s remarkable growth in such a short span?” The answer was right around the corner: Korea’s sturdy manufacturing sector.
Our next stop was DSME shipping yard, where precision met enormity. Spread over 4Mn square yards, I must confess I felt numb looking at the huge onshore plants, off-loading facilities & steel bridges.
Ranked world’s best until 2011, it was evident beyond doubt that the fate of a nation is shaped by its manufacturing capabilities. I wondered what would it take to run operations of such gigantic proportions? So many things must run together to make things work. The importance of execution, execution & execution in Korean mindsets was now getting much clearer.