My story in Korea started in hot June of 2014, when I visited Korea first time for a short month-long language program organized by my university in Moscow. During that time, I could experience many parts of Korean culture and travel to some top destinations. For sure it wasn’t enough for a young curious boy, so I decided to do a semester-long exchange program at prestigious Korea university and another one at Chunnam National University in Daejeon. I invested a lot of time into studying Korean language, culture, economic and political background.
|▲ Genya Smagin, '16, Faculty of Business Administration|
Spending my time travelling around Korea, Asia, meeting diverse people I could realize that I want to build up something meaningful instead of having just one-time countless (still beautiful) experiences. Luckily that time Chonnam National University could spot my potential and offered a full transfer scholarship with an option to change to major. I still appreciate that investment and feel thankful to every single person who believed in me and my twin brother (our path is very similar).
Next two years in Gwangju were simply amazing with numerous new beginnings. I decided not only to concentrate on in-school life, but instead to focus on building my name and career outside of the school (school has got a lot of recognition from my activities, so it was a very safe bet for all parties). Me and my brother have participated in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum where we got a chance to present our business project. We also were a part of Asia-Europe Ministers Meeting, which is the highest level meeting of foreign Ministers of global world powers. In 2017 me and my brother took part in the most prestigious National Debate competition where we successfully got to the finals and secured a victory, which became the first in the history of Chonnam National University and the first won in Korean language by Russian nationals ever. I also started to work for a locally based portable house production company, where I was responsible for export operations, marketing and accounting. In 2017 I also was appointed as an advisor for Regional Prosecution Office, where I was reviewing crime cases related to foreign nationals. That year Korean ministry of Trade appointed me as an export advisor for several Korean middle-size companies with a potential to export their product to Europe and CIS region. Another appointment came from the biggest in Asia cultural cluster - Asian Culture Center : for almost two years I was covering the most notable cultural events, exhibitions and meetings in the walls of that highly respected institution.
All these events contributed to the recognition me and my brother got on different levels. Many broadcast stations and newspapers became interested in so-called “Russian twins phenomena”. In 2017 and 2018 me and my brother were invited to numerous top-level Korean TV shows. Among them there was “비정상회담” which features panel of speakers discussing Korean and international issues in Korean language, “이웃집찰스” – where my life was depicted in 3 consequent episodes, which were aired on prime time and drew enormous audience and high ratings. Thanks to the huge recognition these shows get outside of Korea, our family back in Russia could watch every single episode. After that we have participated in several other shows including famous morning show “아침마당” and others. Two new shows with my participation will be aired in upcoming fall on JTBC and KTV.
When my graduation started to approach, I started to think about building my own startup on Korean land. I had numerous discussions with my friends on potential ideas and was very close to file the official form. Exactly that time I got a message from one of the world’s most prestigious technology schools – KAIST, telling me that I got accepted to their MBA program with a full scholarship. Considering the amount of tuition - $50 thousand for 4 semesters, this was a life changing moment for me and my brother (yes – we both got it). In KAIST I could grab the knowledge on many technological stuff, including AI, networking technologies, cryptocurrencies, sophisticated data analysis etc. Meanwhile I was selected by Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co. (one of the biggest Asian pharmaceutical companies) as a student with outstanding potential and started to get professional training assistance.
Based on my academic interests and background I decided to pursue my career in high-tech industry. I completed all stages of SK Telecom’s selection process, which included document screening, written logical exam and aptitude test, two interviews, approbation period and two final projects. All this process took about 6 months. In 2018 I was finally chosen and started my duty as a Loyalty Programs marketing manager. Many of you know it as an SKT Membership. In the beginning of 2019 I moved to a new 5G department, where I am in charge of new AR and VR services and streaming games project. I work closely with companies like Google, Microsoft, Intel, AT&T, Magic Leap, Facebook, Universal and others.
You might get a question : how did I went through all these in less than 5 years? I would say, that the most important thing was and still is - to stay focused. As I mentioned in the first part – I consider my life as a self-journey of discovering hidden parts of myself. And I try to do everything 100% : if I eat – I eat 100%, if I go travel – I get everything from that, if I study – I will cover all grey spots. Sometimes I get stressed or depressed, but I consider it as a natural process, which I also need to go through – so don’t try to kill your emotions, doesn’t matter good or bad ones. Just live your life fully, stay focused, never lose dignity and create positive aura around yourself – then everything is going to be just alright. Cheers.
By Genya Smagin, '16, Faculty of Business Administration
Genya Smagin, 경영학부 firstname.lastname@example.org