Yoony Kim is an MBA graduate of Nyenrode Business Universiteit in the Netherlands, where she now works as an international marketing manager.
Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Ms Kim attended the Ewha Womans University before moving to London to study for a masters in marketing communications at the University of Westminster. She completed her MBA at Nyenrode in 2011 and has worked as a marketing manager at Harley-Davidson, the motorcycle manufacturer.
In her spare time, Ms Kim enjoys cooking and exercising.
1. What academic achievement are you most proud of?
My MBA. It opened a completely new chapter for me, both professionally and personally. This is the magic of education, you not only gain the knowledge and skills for work but you also learn about yourself. You can identify where there is room for improvement and discover your hidden capabilities.
2. What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?
If there is nothing further you can do to change the situation, giving up is no longer a shameful failure; it is a brave decision.
3. What is your biggest lesson learnt?
Happiness comes from within and it is close to impossible to make others happy if you are not happy yourself. Sometimes we tend to forget about ourselves and focus on making other people happy, which is all very well but how can you do so if you are feeling miserable?
4. What would you do if you were dean for the day?
I would make a point to attend as many classes as possible, to be with the students. I believe education is a very personal and life-changing experience and as an educational institution we can never do enough to be as personally relevant as possible.
5. What is the worst job you have ever had?
As a marketer, I sometimes faced the challenge of dealing with the “special” stakeholders. In my case, the most special ones were celebrities. I found it very difficult to understand what they really wanted, so I struggled to figure out how to assist them.
6. What advice would you give to women in business?
Consider gender differences as valuable diversity. Think “fair” rather than “equal”. I believe in embracing and enjoying differences. When you focus too much on being equal in the literal sense, you tend to think more about being the same. Why would you want to be the same when you could benefit more from being different? On the other hand, being fair allows you to acknowledge different circumstances, capabilities and competences. Only when these are considered can you bring out the best in each other, including yourself.
7. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?
I have a perfect example. As you may know, the motorcycle industry is an extremely male-dominated environment. Being a frontline player at Harley-Davidson in Korea – which is a male-dominated society anyway – could be considered challenging, but actually my gender was an advantage because I was a rare breed within the company. It was easier for me to be noticed while carrying out my roles and responsibilities. After I realised this, I could relax and be myself at work.
8. What is the last book you read?
I recently read a Korean book which has been translated into English as Please Look After Mom. It is a book about a love/hate relationship between a mother and her daughter and it has made me realise how important it is to acknowledge and appreciate the unconditional love of family.
9. Who are your business heroes?
During my time at Harley-Davidson there was an enthusiastic customer who had had a serious accident and could no longer ride his motorcycle. But despite this, he never stopped hoping he’d be able to ride again in the future. He was one of the happiest customers I knew. His story reached Harley-Davidson headquarters and he was presented with a customised motorcycle, specially designed for him to be able to ride. He then went on to found a company that supports people with similar physical challenges.
10. What is your life philosophy?
My life motto is “crazy, addictive and wild”. I believe that the people with the least regrets are the ones who have devoted themselves 100 per cent in every situation, so whether I’m dealing with a professional or a personal matter, I try to put my heart and soul into it. I also do not necessarily believe in luck. I think luck is an opportunity that is identified and explored by those who are ready to take it. So, if there is a goal you would like to achieve, make sure you are ready so you can act upon it immediately.