“I Think My Confident Appearance Helped Me win the Contest”
I am delighted by the love and support but at the same time I feel an immense sense of responsibility … Winner of 2017 Miss World University, Chaelyn Lee (Business '14)

Chaelyn Lee, a KUBS undergrad (Business School ’14), was awarded “Ji”, the highest honor, in the 30th “World Miss University 2017 Korea.” World Miss University is an annually held world campus peace festival, aimed at selecting group of candidates to form a World University Peace Corps delegation. The event was organized to commemorate the 1986 UN’s resolution of celebrating the International Year of Peace. Students selected under each of the 3 categories in Ji (wisdom), Duk (virtue), Chae (body) will join other students from around the world and serve as members in the World University Peace Corps. <KU Business Journal> met with Chaelyn Lee to hear her story.

Q. Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Chaelyn Lee, and I am in my third year in business school. I lived in the U.S. for ten years and came to Korea three years ago when I entered KU.

Q. Tell us how you feel about winning "Ji" in "The 30th Miss World University Korea" contest.
Everything feels surreal. On the day of the finals, I only had an hour and thirty minutes of sleep. When my name was called, I was so surprised that I could not remember what I said. I had not prepared a speech because I did not expect to win. I am grateful for the support and love after winning the title but I also feel immensely responsible. I have become more conscious and cautious about my everyday conduct after the contest. I found myself recycling trash more properly.

Q. What made you participate in the contest?
My parents were enthusiastic about the contest. They understood me well and were very supportive about my interests. They probably were the most proud of all the people who heard the news. They were the first people who came into my mind when I was presented the award.

Q. What were your strengths that helped you win?
I could think of two. First, my English fluency. They like that I could speak English like a native speaker. Second, my confidence. I always try to be confident about what I do. Even if I make mistakes, I always try to learn from them and I think this positive mind-set appealed to the judges.

Q. Were there any activities that might have helped you win the contest?
I think my experience in theatrical acting and doing musicals were of particular help. I became used to being on stage and I did not experience stage freight. My 550 hour-volunteering service was vital as well. I talked about my story of giving an elderly a four leaf clover while I was doing voluntary service in a hospice.

Q. What did you find the most difficult when you were preparing for the contest?
I found it very challenging that I had to prepare for the tournament myself; I did not even have a clue on how the competition was run. All the other participants thoroughly prepared by attending afterschool academy, and I tried by looking through past videos. I was not able to go on holiday in the summer, constantly cover my face and always wore long shirt and trousers. It was a particular pain for a sun loving person like me. Overcoming language barrier was another problem because I found Korean to be more difficult than English.

Q. Do you have any particular enjoyable experience?
I think I have come to treasure all the small moments leading up to the contest. I remember sharing the biscuits my mother baked for me with my roommate, or staying up all evening practicing dancing and choreographing. I felt like an idol trainee when I drank 10 cups of coffee to practice dancing.

Q. What are your hobbies?
I like to think that I am in love with classical music. I have an enormous passion for playing the cello, as I have played it for ten years, and I have been the first chair in an orchestra in New York. Other than that, I like to eat and exercise.

Q. Could you tell us about your determination on participating in World Miss University?
I will be participating in "World Miss University" next year. There will be numerous exceptional talents so I just want to enjoy it as much as possible. I am delighted by the prospect of meeting diverse people from various countries. I am also thinking about better ways to promote Korea on an international stage.

Q. Could you tell us about your future plans?
My main focus is finishing my undergraduate degree. I am doing a joint degree in fashion designing and merchandising, and I want to do well in the lectures. My ultimate goal is becoming a CEO. I originally considered the fashion industry but my interest has expanded into IT. I worked on a start-up last year, and I want to build on the experience.

Q. What kind of start-up did you work on?
We built a mobile app for students intending to study abroad. The app is called "GLOBS" and it focuses on helping students with tuition fees for studying abroad and filling them in with relevant information. It was selected to enter Seoul Global Startup Center. I am not the founder, but I designed its development as one of its earliest members. The business is still operating but unfortunately, I did not have the time to work on the startup this year. 


Q. Could you give a word of advice for your KUBS students?
I am still a student, and I agree with KUBS graduates who tell us to diversify our experiences. I would like to advise them to try out exchange programs and participate in club activities and academic associations. Through the contest, I strongly felt that experiences eventually come together to add layers to people’s confidence and eventually, a unique story. I hope people can have the time to reflect upon themselves. I too have been able to have a better grasp of myself after working as a school ambassador, Yeoul, running a startup and being a member of KU female alumni. Lastly, I would be more than happy to help anyone who would like to compete in World Miss University.