Regular FeaturesPeople/Yonseian
Good Job!
Kim Kyeong-hee Reporter  |  ellinore@yonsei.ac.kr
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승인 2005.03.01  00:00:00
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

   
"GOOD JOB, Lycos!" A few years ago, this was one of the most famous TV commercial campaigns. Just looking at the commercial, not many people could imagine Lycos as a portal site. Frankly, not many people thought such an Internet site would be advertised on TV. Who touched off a boom to advertise Internet sites? His name is Kah Jong-hyun, (?6 Dept. of Business Admin.), then a CEO of Lycos Korea.

Kah as a lawyer

A lot of people regard Kah as a young CEO, but Kah has a somewhat interesting career. He not only completed his MBA at the University of Chicago but also managed obtaining JD (Juris Doctor) from New York Univ. "While studying MBA, I saw a lot of people taking a course for JD. Thus I followed them and attained a JD after finishing MBA. I assumed that legal training could help me improve my issue spotting skills," says Kah. In fact, he worked as a lawyer for Skadden Arps (law firm in New York) dealing with cases in the Silicon Alley for four years. One of the reasons he had resigned was because of a case with Mirae Corporation. "The corporation was in need of a person who was aware of Wall St. conditions, and I was in need of a chance to help Korean society. While working for American companies, I could see lots of Korean lawyers losing. Seeing that, I thought I should be of help to Korean society in any way," says Kah. Besides his turmoiled state of mind, another reason he quit was because he had always considered his career as a business manager, not a lawyer.

Kah becomes a CEO

   
While working in Silicon Alley, he could see Internet business rising as the next biggest industry. Thus, when Jung Mun-sool, the owner of both Lycos Korea and Mirae Corporation requested Kah to become CEO of Lycos Korea, he thought it was a challenging yet interesting chance. You may then ask how working for Lycos can be good for Korean society when Lycos is another American company. "Lycos had branches all over the world and I could sell content invented in Lycos, in the name of Korea," explains Kah. In fact, Lycos Korea had managed to become the most dominating company among 42 worldwide Lycos branches which sold much of its unique content to other Lycos branches such as Japan and America.
Later, Lycos Korea was acquired by SK Telecom and Kah moved to SK Telecom. "I felt my heart burn when I recognized the situation Lycos was going through for I had devoted all my energy to enhance it. SK treated me fairly. It made me see that working in SK Telecom was another opportunity  to develop Korean Internet business combined with mobile service," states Kah. In fact, numerous projects were developed by Kah in SK.

Being a CEO

For Yonseians who dream of becoming an excellent businessman, Kah emphasized the importance of having a theme. What he meant by having a theme was selecting the kind of business one would like to be related to. For example, Kah had always been curious about Internet technology business, which made him work for Hewlett-Packard before taking an MBA course, work in Silicon Alley as a lawyer, run Lycos Korea and currently work in SK Telecom. Kah followed the path that was somehow involved in the Internet business. "Avoid becoming functional when doing business, such as an expert in marketing or financing. Try to use various business skills to focus on one business field such as Internet, food or entertainment," suggests Kah. Kah also added that various activities and knowledge accumulated in one's university life would support one's ability to focus on the field.

Kah learns

Speaking of which, he was asked about his university life. He had various experiences. He played as an actor of Yonsang Drama Team (performing dongahree of Dept. of Bus. Admin.) and was a chairperson of YESA (dongahree for exchange students) after his one year exchange program to U.C. Davis. He had to be a diligent student in class, since his name was always the first to be called, as his last name is the first letter in Korean alphabet. Kah often cleaned the blackboard and put coffee cans on professor? desks. "It may be stressful to be a diligent student in university but I thought if I made a little effort and made the professor feel happy, it could be good for rest of the students too," says Kah.
Although he was a hard working student in class, he also enjoyed the Shinchon night life; visiting night clubs, playing games in arcades and drinking till late night. Yet, he always made up for the time he spent having fun. "I read books for as much of the time I had spent hanging out. My friends are getting ahead of me and I should not be left behind, should I?" mentions Kah. Among his university experiences, Kah cherished the time he had spent with his girlfriend, who is now his lifetime partner and mother of his two beautiful girls. "There were eight female students in Dept. of Bus. Admin. while 340 male students were there. I went out with one of the precious women in our department so I guess I beat the competition!" says Kah with a happy smile on his face.

To Yonseians

He pointed out three important factors to advise Yonseians. One was to start a consistent life style, meaning to build a few habits which can help elevate one's ability. For instance, he constantly practiced memorizing 20 new English words since he was a freshman and is still doing it. Also, he made it a habit to write small notes after reading a book to remember his impressions. "Little habits piled up become the ability that distinguishes you from others," includes Kah.
Next, he stated that making a human relationship network is also substantial. Kah accentuated that university life is the best chance to meet diverse friends. Kah said that listening to people with complete different ideas helped him cultivate the power of understanding the world. Kah quoted the saying, "There is no such thing as free lunch," to explain the importance of building interrelationship which result in an open human network.
Last, he emphasized the importance of good GPA. Kah says Yonseians are all students, whose priority should be put on studying. "People should study their major subjects very hard and earn high GPA for sure. But they should also try to learn everything the university provides. Attend distinct classes to extract as much as you can from school curriculum," requests Kah. Kah himself attended various classes such as philosophy, English literature and even graduate school classes.

Young spirit

As far as I am concerned, I regard him as a powerful trend reader. His desk was a center of up-to-date technology; two PDAs, two notebook computers, two MP3 players, and two cellular phones. He had the 20s spirit. Talking to him did not make me feel he was 20 years older than me since he knew exactly what young people were interested in. Another impression I had was that Kah tried to see what he could earn from every experience he had in a very positive way. Kah was a person whose brain was busy searching for the best. I guess it was his bright young ideas combined with accumulated consistent habits that made him become one of the leaders of Korean society in his 30s.

 

   

Photographed by Doh Sang youp

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