Korean business schools stake claim for MBA excellence | TopMBA.com

Korean business schools stake claim for MBA excellence

By QS Contributor

Updated June 27, 2016 Updated June 27, 2016

Increasing numbers of Korean business schools are acquiring international accreditations, fast improving the country’s status in the Asian MBA market.

Over the last few years the number of English-taught, accredited MBA programs offered by South Korean business schools has steadily increased. A total of nine business schools are now accredited by the US-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

These include two public schools: Seoul National University (SNU) and KAIST Business School, as well as seven private schools: Yonsei School of Business (YSB) at Yonsei University; Korea University; Sejong University; Sogang University; SungKyunKwan University; Hanyang University and Ewha Womans University.

The KAIST Business School, first set up in 1996, launched South Korea’s first Korean-taught MBA.

At their campus in Seoul they now deliver general MBA programs, a Techno MBA, Executive MBA and IMBA, the latter taught in English, as well as specialized MBA programs, including a Finance MBA and an Information and Media MBA.

Yonsei School of Business established the first part-time MBA in South Korea and now offers three part-time MBA programs, a Corporate MBA, a Finance MBA and an Executive MBA.

In 1998 they launched their Global MBA program, South Korea’s first full-time, English-taught MBA. With its long history in teaching globally-minded business leaders YSB has cemented its reputation as one of South Korea’s leading business schools.

Most of the business schools are based in Seoul, which makes South Korea’s capital a center for business education.

However, MBA programs taught in English are now also being established in other Korean cities, including SolBridge International School of Business at Woosong University; Pusan National University, College of Business and Ajou University, Graduate School of Business Administration.

Benchmarking for MBA excellence

Jaekoo Lee holds an MBA from KAIST Business School where he concentrated on Management Information Systems (MIS). Upon graduation Lee earned an MBA career opportunity at BP in London.

“KAIST Business School emphasizes and actively practices a cross-disciplinary MBA approach. For example, financial engineering as a combination of advanced maths, engineering and finance, or marketing combined with IT and network theory. These combined disciplines pose totally new ways of thinking, new dimensions of value creation challenges and opportunities for businesses in the 21st century.”

American Benjamin Maddox graduated from YSB in February 2009. He now works for Nautilus Hyosung, a Korean manufacturer of banking equipment and self-service machines.

“At Yonsei they are steadfast in their determination to develop a world-class MBA program.

“One of the most critical factors in achieving this goal is to fill the program with outstanding faculty. The faculty and management of YSB regularly examine the program, evaluate its success and strategize ways to improve. The school’s dedication to cycles of reflection and perfection was an inspiring factor in my decision to attend.”

Korean visas for international MBAs

International students who want to embark on MBA studies in South Korea need to obtain a student visa (D-2). They should apply for the visa at the embassy or the consulate of the Republic of Korea in their home countries by submitting the ‘Standard admission letter’ from the receiving business school.

The D-2 visa allows foreign students to work part-time, either on campus or off campus, for up to 20 hours a week. Many international students take up this opportunity to support their living expenses by mostly teaching foreign languages.

While MBA programs taught in English do not require Korean language capability, students are strongly encouraged to study some Korean. Some schools, like YSB, even provide Korean language classes to international students at no additional cost.

“Most of our current international students are participating in Korean language classes. It is our observation that communication capability in Korean makes it easier for the international graduates to settle into Korean corporate culture once they are offered a job,” says Sun-Joo Hong, MBA director at Yonsei School of Business.

MBA prospects in South Korea

“Korean firms have the desire and capability for global expansion and Korea’s economy presents significant opportunities for young professionals looking to gain experience in the international marketplace. There are very strong job opportunities for international graduates from Korean MBA schools,” argues YSB graduate Maddox.

Business schools are seeking unique ways to attract high-caliber MBA candidates from around the globe by helping them finance their studies and finding employment in Korea upon graduation.

KAIST Business School, for example, has developed a scholarship-job offer package arrangement with Korean companies that aims at prospective MBA students from emerging markets.

The South Korean Government is supporting the efforts of Korean corporations and education providers by sponsoring the Career Fair for Overseas Students, held annually in Seoul.

“Both the US and Europe have been in a severe recession for several years now while the Asia Pacific region, including Korea, are becoming more and more a dynamic and fast-growing economic engine of the world with a constantly rising demand for the best talents.

“MBA candidates should seek out these opportunities and not find themselves stuck in a recessed economy,” concludes KAIST Business School graduate Jaekoo Lee.

This article was originally published in July 2013 . It was last updated in June 2016

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