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Reasons to Consider Korea for Your MBA

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Although less well-known globally than China or Japan, the number of unique MBA opportunities available in Korea may surprise you.

Joe Dewberry is director of the International Center at the KAIST Business School.

Korea is slowly becoming more attractive to MBA students from around the world both for those interested in full-time studies or a student exchange program. Although it may be less well-known globally than China or Japan, there are a number of unique opportunities available in Korea that may surprise you.

1. Seoul, Korea is the most wired city in the world. The level of technology – especially computer and internet technology – is unsurpassed.  Knowledge and use of this technology is embedded in most MBA programs in Korea. Students have an opportunity to see how Korea is able to continue developing this technology, and to learn the strategies used by Korean MBA graduates working leading companies like LG and Samsung. 

2. Korea universities are pushing globalization. Koreans are well known for their strong focus on education. Parents push their children to get admission into the best universities, and universities are strongly concerned with their global image and world rankings. This requires campuses to globalize, which is an impetus for schools to recruit international students. Even the top schools offer a liberal range of scholarships for international students. Moreover, since these Korean MBA programs generally offer a number of dual degrees with well-known global universities, students can gain a number of cultural and business perspectives from Korea and a partner school in Asia, Europe or North America.

3. Korea’s corporations recruit international students with Korean MBAs. Korea’s large international companies need managers with knowledge of Korea and the ability to work in its international subsidiaries.  For example, an MBA student from Vietnam may attract the attention of GS Engineering and Construction because of construction projects in Vietnam. Of course, knowledge of Korean language is quite helpful, but understanding Korean business culture is a great advantage as well. 

4. Korea is becoming multicultural. Korea is facing the same problems as many Asian nations caused the low birthrate. An interesting outcome of this is that Korea is becoming more and more open to multiculturalism. This offers two opportunities.  One is to watch Korea as it shifts its cultural focus by becoming more global. The other is that as Korea globalizes, there will be more and more career opportunities for people from around the world.

5. Korea is a great travel hub. One of the advantages of getting an MBA in Korea is that it is in the center of Asia. Japan and China are Korea’s neighbors, and all of the countries in Southeast Asia are a few hours away. International students in Korea have the opportunity to visit Asian countries either on their own, or through study tours offered by a number of MBA programs in Korea. 

Korea may not yet be a well-known destination for students looking for a global MBA. However, Korea wants to be a leader in global education and is working hard to attract global attention. There are many scholarships available for MBA students at a number of hi-caliber universities. Korea is a great success in technology innovation, the entertainment industry is globally popular, the society is becoming multicultural, and there are a number of unique opportunities for launching a career, traveling, or simply learning the Korean perspective on business and life.