MOST STUDENTS are used to being a compliant
'part' of an organization. Being a 'founder' of an organization is something
they hardly dare to do. However, Ahn Eun-jeong, equipped only with mere passion,
established the first Korean branch of SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise).
Furthermore, as the first president of the Yonsei SIFE team, she led the team to
win the National SIFE Competition and is currently preparing for the SIFE World
Cup in Toronto, Canada. Let's listen to this founder's story.
Seo: Many people are still unaware of SIFE. Can you
explain what SIFE does?
Ahn: SIFE is literally a 'business volunteer
group.' It is an international non-profit organization that empowers and creates
economic opportunities for fellow college students and others who would not have
had the chance otherwise. Student members who are skilled in business hold
educational programs that teach business or financial knowledge. We also
organize economic projects that would bring beneficial results.
I heard you already had a SIFE experience in the United
States as an exchange student. Why did you decide to join SIFE in the first
place and what activities did you do there?
I joined SIFE by chance.
I asked my professor about SIFE and went to their meeting once to see what was
going on. The events that followed just happened naturally. I started helping
with the projects, and after six months passed, was asked by my professor to be
a presenter at the SIFE regional competition. Afterward, my team won the
competition and finally advanced into the semi-final round at the U.S. national
competition where 500 colleges competed.
Why did you decide to bring SIFE to Korea? As a founder
of the Korea SIFE, how did you overcome the obstacles?
I wanted to
transform our inert Korean college education into an energetic one with tangible
results. As SIFE enables students to internalize their business education taught
in classrooms and apply it for the benefit of Korean society, I started
'selling' SIFE to Korean students. I first tried to figure out who would react
to SIFE positively. While carrying around the brochures and repeatedly
introducing SIFE, I purposely participated in international events where I could
meet as many different people as possible. Although it required much persuasion
and commitment, I bore with it because I knew that every meaningful activity
requires much effort.
Your team recently won the National SIFE Competition.
What was the 'success factor'?
We had to give a professional
presentation on our activity throughout the year to high ranking officers from
foreign companies like Walmart and HSBC. We tried to show our enthusiasm,
leadership and fluency, and we stood out from others because we valued
entrepreneurship and actually helped people like college cartoonists earn money.
The other teams only focused on education, and I would say that we planned more
and better economic opportunities.
After the SIFE and university graduation, what are your
I recently got a job offer from McKinsey Consulting,
so I will start working as a business analyst after graduation. But my long-term
dream is to become a knowledge guru optimizing non-profit organizations. I will
strive to make such unstable organizations profitable by adding value as well as
profit to them. Ultimately, I want to positively influence Korean society and
start a chain of impact on our society.
Enthusiastic, open-minded, creative, courageous, enlightening:
reportedly, these are the qualities that five major Korean companies require
students to have. Ahn, an exemplary model perfectly displaying all of them,
proves that such qualities can be achieved only from natural passion and driven