My KUBS

Interview with Retiring ProfessorsㅣProf. Seoil Chaiy, Prof. Jin Kyu Lee, and Prof. Kwan Hee Yoo
“I Will Not Forget the Time I Spent with My Students”
 
Professor Seoil Chaiy
 

Q. You have spent 34 years in the teaching profession. How do you feel?
I was happy during my 34 year tenure in KUBS. I was extremely fortunate to be able to teach my favorite subject, marketing. The most challenging period was in 1984 when I came to Korea University after quitting professorship in the University of Pittsburgh because I did not have much time to carry on with my research after teaching for 19 hours a week. KU has transitioned from being teaching-focused into research-focused.  I think the school changed the most during my time here. There were other troubling periods but I think there were more happy ones.

Q. Do you have any memorable events during your teaching period?
There were plenty of memorable events. I always felt worthwhile when my students told me that my lectures influenced their views of the world or that they had subsequently developed a keener interest in business studies after taking my course. I felt hugely let down when students told me that business studies did not quite suite them and it was distressing to give my students career advice on developing their careers despite not having found their passions. I always told them to pursue their passions. I always thought of my students more like my brother, or my children and thus, I found myself giving lots of life counsel.

Q. You have taught innumerable students during your time in KUBS. Do you have any special memories with your pupils?
I taught many pupils. One was very bright and he became a renowned professor, and there were many others with diverse personalities.  The one I remember distinctly is the one whom I scolded. When mobile phones just came out, I told off a student whose phone went off during the lecture. He visited me after he was discharged from the army and thanked me for the life related advice I gave him after that little disturbance. He bought me a tie as a token when he received his first pay check. Other memorable events include when our country was undergoing depression; students who came back from spending holiday with their families visited me in my lab with rice cakes from their parents. Every student who came to visit me has a special place in my memory. I also remember students who thanked me for my assistance.

Q. What are your plans after retirement?
After retiring from my post, I am going to provide students who are ambivalent about their careers with information about various jobs. In fact, I started it 5 years ago. I first got into it because lots of students came to me for counsel because they did not like their subjects. "Institute of Creating Shared Value (ISCV)" is the name of the program and it helps students find suitable degrees and informs them with requirements for certain jobs. One-third of the jobs that exist now are apt to disappear in the future. A few words of advice to students who are struggling with their future career can be of huge help. Through ISCV, I hope to help students choose their careers and introduce similar services in other countries.

Q. Could you give us a few last words for all the members of KUBS?
We should always be conscious about our goals. It is imperative to think about the vision of KUBS and create a culture that is geared towards achieving it. I understand that it is not easy because not all members share the same goal. To achieve a common goal, there should be a platform where people can freely express their views. I also hope that after 30 years, KUBS will still be the number 1 business school and that I can feel proud of the fact that I was a professor in KUBS. I want to tell the students to do what they are passionate about but never to give up on learning. The quest for learning is an unending journey and the end of it marks the start of the deterioration of the mind. Whether it be starting a new sport or learning a new instrument, I want to point out the significance of learning.

Professor Jin Kyu Lee
 

Q. Your teaching profession has come to an end after 29 years. How do you feel?
I became a faculty member in KU in March, 1989. Before coming to KU, I was in West Virginia University, USA. My old teachers prompted me to come to Korea. As a KU alumnus, I felt a surge of pride and self-esteem when I assumed a teaching post in this school. And that marked the start of my 28 years and 6 months of teaching in KU. At the same time, I feel relieved and sad to leave a place where I have worked with such passion. I have many fond memories as the dean of KU Graduate School of Labor Studies and KUBS. But fortunately, I am still young and I will try out something new when I leave the school.

Q. Do you have any memorable events during your teaching period?
There were many episodes during my professorship in KU, but I the most memorable ones were the ones with my pupils. Even to this age, I still remember talking about life with my students over a few pints of beer. I feel that this is what being a professor should be. I taught a course called "Modern Business Management," a large size lecture that used to have 400 students which has been scaled down to 200. I used my book "Modern Business Studies" for the course and it covered the principles of manag
ement studies. I used to have lots of social talks with my pupils over their love life, travelling abroad and their experiences and we used to relate each story with business studies. I think that made many students to like my lectures. It was a deep interaction of thoughts that overcame the generation gap that existed between me and my students. I derived immense pleasure from that. 


Q. You have taught innumerable students during your time in KUBS. Do you have any special memories with your pupils?
A lot of my pupils have now become faculty members in various universities. The one I remember the most has gained a professorship in Notre Dame University in the U.S. I was his tutor when he came to our school in 1990. He did not come to my office often, but after 4 years, he asked me to officiate his wedding. The event became a fertile soil on which our relationship developed into a friendship and later, I became his mentor. He eventually became an eminent professor in the U.S. We frequently have the come-and-go and talk about our silly past. Another fond pupil of mine is from the history department who told me that he was very moved by my lecture. He could not afford to study abroad so I contacted one of my KUBS graduates who was studying in the U.S. and asked him to make an additional slot for the student. He eventually became a professor in Yonsei University, but he always proudly mentions that he is from KU. I feel immense joy when I see students with lots of potential succeed under my assistance.

Q. What are your plans after retirement?
My life mentor whom I have a deep respect, Professor Bok Song, have recently published his book <Privilege and Responsibility>. It calls for the upper echelon of Korean society to cultivate a culture based on noblesse oblige, as the privileged Korean elites have had prospered on special privileges but have avoided the responsibilities that entail them. The book inspired me to return the privileges society has endowed upon me in the form of becoming involved in voluntary and charity work. One of my works involves helping out the Palestinians as the chairman of Bethlehem University, a Vatican affiliate institution. I want to become help people in need as I believe that global peace starts by treating these people.

Q. Could you give us a few last words for all the members of KUBS?
I assume cultivating a "I love KU" - mentality is the most important. For the business school to do well, and on a larger scale, for the whole university to do well, we have to be deeply concerned about how to accomplish our goals. We must always remember that our ultimate goal is to love KU which will hopefully help resolve conflicts and ease differences. Lastly, I would like to add any KUBS students who want to talk about life over beer or Makgeolli are more than welcome to visit my office in Gwang Hwa Mun!

 
Professor Kwan Hee Yoo
 

Q. Your teaching profession has come to an end after 22 years. How do you feel?
I feel relieved and fortunate. First of all relieved, because despite accounting being a very difficult subject to teach, I feel I made my course easily approachable for student. I also feel privileged to have had the opportunity to interact with many bright students. It is a shame that I would no longer be able to communicate with these students. It was a worthwhile experience teaching exceptional students for 22 years in KUBS.

Q. Do you have any memorable events during your teaching period?
Now, classroom size in our business school is below 100 pupils but in the past we used to have classrooms that would be filled up to 250 students. So it was difficult to remember the students’ names and their faces. Amidst the confusion came Cyworld. It marked the start of an era of social networking services in Korea and I remember becoming closer to my students via Cyworld. I eventually remembered the students’ names after accepting their friend requests and continuously looking at their pictures. If it was not for the SNS, they would have remained as mere passing students; it felt good to stay in touch with them even after the lessons. 

Q. You have taught innumerable students during your time in KUBS. Do you have any special memories with your pupils?
I have fond memories of many of my pupils. One of them was a student who was in his third year and came to me after passing his CPA exam. He joked how my course made accounting seem easy and eventually encouraged him to become an accountant but I was very proud. Another student I remember was Junkyung Uh, who came to this school in 1998. He often visited my office as an undergraduate. We would talk about the student’s future plans and we still keep in touch. He came to me for his recommendation letter when applying for an internship, a firm in Hong Kon after graduation and pursuing a master's degree abroad. I heard that he became a professor in Yonsei University this September. I would have been more glad if he came to KU instead.

Q. What are your plans after retirement?
A lot of people ask me if I have any plans to go travelling. I intend to continue one with my work and make accounting more approachable to people who do not know much about it. Professor Hyung Suk Kim in the philosophy department in Yonsei University said, “Looking back my 100 year long life, humans are the wisest between the age 60 and 75 and I think this period is our golden age.”  I started taking swimming lessons this January. I never swam but learning from a professional did improve me a lot. I try to swim whenever I have the time. You could say that keeping a healthy physical and mental state and teaching accounting would be my retirement plans.

Q. Could you give us a few last words for all the members of KUBS?
Everything about KUBS – its facilities, academic environment – is simply the best. During my 30 years in KU, I seemed to have overlooked the fact that no universities in Korea have the infrastructure that KUBS enjoys. I hope that KUBS faculty members would always remember the privilege they enjoy, and maintain the harmonious atmosphere we have always cherished. I want to tell my pupils to quickly set up their life goals. The best way to not waste any time in university is to have quickly established a life goal. And I think it would help students if they listen carefully to the smallest detail of what professors say. At the beginning of my lecture, I always advise my students to invest in stocks even if it is only one share. But hardly anyone raises their hands when I ask at the end of the semester if anyone had become a shareholder. There is a huge difference between studying financial accounting as a shareholder and not. Other professors would share their resourceful experiences and I hope students would become more attuned to their professors’ stories.