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  [The Korea Times] University Students Taste Business World
   날짜 : 06-12-09 18:42     조회 : 3302         
  트랙백 주소 : http://fki-eic.org/bbs/tb.php/press/8
University Students Taste Business World


With the South Korean job market getting tight, particularly for college graduates, the top priority of students on campus is to prepare for a job after graduation. It is common to see students poring over a bulky guidebook for the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) at the libraries of universities. A high TOIEC score is one of the key requirements at the first stage to apply for a job in Korea along with a high grade point average. Extra-curricular activities designed to enhance student life on campus have decreased and most clubs have difficulties recruiting members.   

Choi Yu-ri, 22, a Myongji University student with business major, was a typical student preparing for a job, until she decided to take an adventure off-campus. Last year she applied to take a business education program for university students run by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), an organization representing the interests of big companies. "I wanted to take a peek at what is going on beyond the campus before graduation,''Choi said. As a business major, she reviewed business education programs provided by public and private organizations and finally chose FKI's Elite Intensive Course (EIC), which puts stress on community activities along with the course. "The 14-week long educational program was established in 2003. It aims to cultivate future leaders who will make a commitment to various sectors of Korean society, based on an understanding of the market economy,'' said Park Byong-jin, an FKI official.

The program runs once a week and its topics vary from economics to political issues. In addition, the course invites a couple of political and business leaders as lecturers, while it includes leadership training and a field trip abroad. "Different from other business education programs, as part of efforts to build their leadership, the EIC also provides participants with an opportunity to create a community program according to their need and run it on their own after the course work.''

Most participants join one of the clubs under the Elite Integrated Club (EIC) umbrella.
Sub-clubs are diverse, ranging from groups studying English and investing in stocks to climbing mountains. "The sub-clubs have the same goal _ to grow the EIC community,'' Choi, who serves as chairman of the E.I.C., said. "The FKI accepts most of the suggestions and recommendations we make through club activities. We feel satisfied and rewarded to see the outcome of our efforts.''

Last year, the international affairs team of the EIC proposed to FKI a field trip to Shanghai, China, a symbol of one of the world's fastest growing economies, to learn about economic development and to take a closer look at the future challenges and opportunities China may have on offer.

The FKI adopted the idea and financially supported the EIC members to implement the plan. "The EIC operates the way a company is run. The board of the EIC makes a final decision, while sub-clubs develop new ideas,'' Choi said. "It is a unique experience for Korean students, who are accustomed to remaining passive in making proposals. The experiences obtained through the EIC and club activities have had a huge impact on my life." She stressed she learned that there are more important qualifications to landing a job than TOEIC or GPA scores.

Be Proactive: At first glance Choi seems outgoing enough to lead the EIC but she said didn't used to be good at expressing her opinions in front of others. "Like other students, I had few chances to say what I thought. But I have become a lot more confident in expressing myself through club activities, involving the whole process of problem solving, setting goals, developing action plans and implementing them," Choi said. Now she no longer sits back in silence. "I became a sort of self-motivated person. Being proactive is very important in solving issues and making an improvement in an array of situations. I expect the qualification will help me in building my career in the future," she said.

Communication Skills and Teamwork: "I also learned the importance of teamwork and effective communication skills for harmonious relationships," Choi said.
"Working as a team tends to require more time to reach a consensus than working as an individual but team members with different perspectives and backgrounds bring more ideas." She added that working as a group is also effective in developing communication skills.

Most of the EIC club members, most of whom are in their early 20s, are from different universities with different majors. "In general, we communicate with each other. We all are excited to see an improvement in our community, whether it is small or big," she said. "Sometimes we argue about some issues but we have learned to resolve disputes through communications."
Human Network: Choi said the most precious thing she has acquired through the EIC activities is people. "On the campus, friends I meet are restricted to those in my class. But the EIC friends with different majors enhance my perspective and indirect experience,"she said. For instance, she had never had the chance to talk with students majoring in engineering before taking part in EIC activities. "I was able to taste various sectors like computer science which I thought was distant from my world," she said.

The EIC community keeps growing. About 100 students join the EIC every semester, with the current membership of the EIC being about 450. In relationship-based Korea, human networks have been seen as a key asset. Choi also thinks the EIC community is most valuable.  "I can solve a lot of problems with the help of EIC friends and I hope to give them my hands anytime,'' she said.

Globalized Talent: As head of the EIC, Choi and other board members have sought ways to globalize the community. "We need to cultivate international perspectives. The field trip to Shanghai last year was the first project for the goal," she said.

The second project it is considering is linking the EIC and to the community of foreign exchange students in Seoul. "We are looking for ways to learn different languages and about different cultures without going abroad," she said.

Choi is confident the values she mentioned will work in any kind of organization including the corporate world. ``I believe experience-based business education is effective helping students grow into future workers with the talents required by companies,'' she said. The FKI is ready to provide full support to the EIC. "Witnessing the EIC activities growing so fast, we realized our role is to encourage and support their growth," FKI official Park said.


2005. 8. 30 The Korea Times

http://search.hankooki.com/times/times_view.php?term=university+students+taste+business+world.++&path=hankooki3/times/lpage/biz/200508/kt2005083017370811860.htm&media=kt


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