Before leaving for Seoul, I had breakfast in Tokyo with Dong Bin Shin ’81, executive vice chairman of the Lotte Group, and a true expert on pan-Asian business — the Lotte Group is the fifth-largest conglomerate in Korea with major operations across Asia.
Seoul was a wonderful opportunity to enrich connections with alumni there. I found them pleased with the pro-business agenda of newly elected President Myung-bak Lee, and with the prospect of his planned visit to New York and Washington in mid April, which will include a meeting with President Bush.
Later I held two interviews that included queries on CBS’s MBA program, which is very well regarded in Korea. The School’s Social Enterprise activities were of particular interest to the journalists.
I rounded out a very busy day with a wonderful dinner hosted by Chull-Young Lee ’73, chairman and CEO of Ark Investments Advisors, Inc. Conversation revolved around the School as well as national and international current events: U.S. economy and credit crisis; implications for Korea and other Asian economies; and the U.S. presidential campaign.
I also shared with the group an update on the Social Enterprise Program at Columbia, and the planned replication of such a program at Korean business schools. Right now, through a grant from Chull-Young Lee, Woo Taik Kim ’72 and Soo-Kil Oh ’72, CBS is hosting Visiting Professor Hun Jun Park, a management professor from Yonsei University in Seoul as part of this initiative, which will also include a social enterprise conference in Korea next year.