An Interview with Professor Johngseok Bae, the 32nd Director of IBRE
The Goal is to establish a clear and right direction of Business Administration”

Facing its 60th anniversary, the Institute for Business Research and Education (Director=Johngseok Bae, hereinbelow IBRE), is the first business research institute and has been leading the history of Korea’s business administration. <KUBS News> met him for an interview on his future vision and management philosophy.

Q. You have been inaugurated as the 32nd Director of IBRE. Would you like to say a few words on the celebration?
I feel both pride and sense of responsibility. It is the 60th anniversary of IBRE. Korea’s economic development has been progressed since the 1960’s, and the Institute was established before then which means it is older than my age. The IBRE has a long history and is the first business research institute that was established by a university, which is meaningful for me to become the director of IBRE.

Nonetheless, the role of IBRE itself has been changing a lot. There also has been some identity crisis. Hence, I feel a sense of responsibility towards finding my role and defining a clear identity of IBRE, rather than merely feeling pleased. Also, this is a position where you must consider how to go along with the business school’s development since you are a researcher affiliated with Korea University and should make a connection with professors in the business school. To be honest, I therefore feel pride since the organization has a long history but also feel heavily responsible of how to direct the organization’s future.

Q. IBRE is the first business research and education institute in our country. Please briefly introduce IBRE.
Our institute’s name is IBRE (Institute for Business Research and Education). Therefore, the role of IBRE can be roughly divided into ‘Business Research’ and Business Education’.

First, the support of business research is mainly conducted by eight centers, and there are two research groups below the centers. Currently, Executive Education Programs are conducted in business education. We take over a kind of industrial education where we must be concerned about how to link our research theories and outcomes with industrial sites. Thus, the IBRE should support research activities and provide research funds to ensure development of theories in each of the majors. Also, IBRE has a task of making and integrating academic-industrial cooperation so that developed theories can be applied in relevant fields.

Q. What are some new goals of IBRE?
The IBRE will continue with the pre-existing business but also seek new tasks that can help future development. Above all, IBRE has been contributing to create research environments and improving graduate school students’ research competence to help professors write theses. Moreover, it has been continuously comprehending new research trends and participating in challenges which will be significantly dealt with in the future as well.

A new goal and direction of IBRE is ‘Effort of adapting to changes in business environment’ and ‘Founding direction of 10 Executive Education’. First, we will try to understand and adapt to a new business environment such as Big Data and Internet of Things as internal effort. To meet such conditions, IBRE has a ‘Market-oriented Big Data and Internet of Things Research Group’ under the Marketing research center. Likewise, the IBRE will try the best to lead the frequently changing business environment. Furthermore, we will endeavor to prepare humanities and philosophical basis. We need to focus on the point that firms are currently having a hard time predicting the future, and thus hoping to have outstanding predictive abilities based on humanities. Lastly, we are willing to concern deeply about social values. Although economical values and profit were a priority in the past, a direction that can both enhance economical values and find social values is discussed nowadays. Therefore, the internal goal is to change the overall direction of business administration by reflecting content related to social values in the curriculum of undergraduate studies. Followed by this is the external effort of Founding direction of 10 Executive Education. Since theories and practical affairs should be connected and integrated, setting a correct and clear vision is the goal.

Q. IBRE has been contributing to the development of Korea’s economy through many ways such as publishing business administration books and producing business executives and scholars. What roles do you think should IBRE have in our rapidly changing society?
The reputation of IBRE has largely decreased compared to the past. When it was first established, IBRE’s activities became the standard, and its research had indescribable important values. As time goes by, however, firms began to have research competitiveness and knowledge is becoming increasingly commercialized. Therefore, IBRE’s role should also change along with the rapidly changing environment.

I believe IBRE has two main roles. The first is to find what it can do better than a firm. IBRE has excellent capabilities of predicting the future through integration, evaluation, and interpretation. This, I think is what IBRE can do much better than people at the enterprise field. Also, IBRE is superb at conceptualization capabilities of things that have a high abstract level. If we can make a good use of this, we can exhibit superior ability of predicting the changeable future.
The second role is to provide the direction of business administration. Business administration is in a crisis due to some misunderstandings such as ‘Business administration cannot catch up with the field’ and ‘Talented people who majored in business administration are outstanding just after joining the company, but cannot demonstrate their abilities after four or five years’. Therefore, I believe it is the IBRE’s role to clarify business administration’s direction along with humanities and philosophical imaginations and to spread social values.

Q. Do you have any comments on IBRE’s management philosophy and where it should be headed?
Let me first comment on IBRE’s direction. First, we would like to act as a compass of business research and education. We can improve the connection between theories and practical affairs through providing a clear and correct direction. By having all three components: research, education, and practice, achieving connection and integration of research and the industry is the direction which firms should head to.
As a management philosophy, I would like to put integrity and excellence in the center. It is important to properly conduct the right things and satisfy the persons concerned by doing one’s best even in a small program. The IBRE will do its best so that the Business School, its members, and firms in Korea can achieve mutual growth in the future.