Category: Bragging Rights
Exploring Korean business, language and life from Ansan, Korea
I just purchased memoQ translator pro which I am hoping will be a replacement for SDL Trados 2007, which I've been using for way too long. This is my certificate for the beginner course… As far as I know, the beginner course is the only one they currently offer as I can't find an advanced one to take…
I much prefer email interviews to verbal ones; that's because I can keep and post my exact answers here even if the reporter ends up using only bits and pieces of what I provide. This is from an interview with the Donga Ilbo.
Q. 동아일보 독자들에게 스티븐씨에 대한 간단한 소개 부탁드립니다.
Q. KBC외에 다른 직업이나 직책이 있다면 알려주세요.
제가 한국에 처음 온지 20년 되어 가는데, 그중 10년 이상 한국에서 살았습니다. 지금은 안산에서 가족이랑 거주하면서 미국 법인인 Korean Consulting & Translation Service, Inc.를 운영하고 있습니다. 개인사업자로 미국법인을 서포트를 해 주는 한국회사도 차렸습니다. 그 이외에는 Korea Business Central을 운영하고 안산에 있는 한양대학교 ERICA캠퍼스에서 경상대학원에서 박사과정을 공부하고 있습니다.
더 자세한 내용은 - www.StevenBammel.com
Q. 독자들에게 KBC에 대해 간단히 소개해주세요.
KBC를 시작한 목적은 외국인들이 한국에서, 그리고 한국사람들하고 비즈니스을 잘 하고, 한국회사에서 취직하여 잘 살아남을 수 있기 위한 것입니다.
이 목적을 달성하기 위해서 여러 방법을 동원하고 있는데, 주로 한국 비즈니스에 대한 지식, 토론 및 뉴스 마당을 만들면서, 멤버들의 서로간 네트워킹 기회를 제공하고 있습니다. 그리고 개인의 한국 비즈니스에 대한 지식 및 취직하는 과정에서 자신에 대한 신임을 받을 수 있기 위한 KBC Professional Certification Program (https://www.koreabusinesscentral.com/page/certification)도 작년부터 개발/도입하여 운영하고 있습니다.
Q. 왜 한국과 관련된 사업을 시작 하게 되었습니까?
Q. KBC를 시작하기 전에 한국에 관심이 있거나, 관련이 있었습니까?
제가 한국에서 오래 살고 한국에서 가족도 있고 한국을 사랑하기 때문에, 한국과 인연이 있어서 KBC를 시작한 것은 그리 어려운 결정이 아니였죠.
Q. KBC를 이용하는 외국인과 한국인은 몇 명쯤 됩니까?
한국인 멤버들이 있기는 있는데, KBC의 콘테츠가 주로 영어로 되어 있고, 외국인 대상으로 만들어져 있기 때문에 한국인 멤버들이 KBC에서 그렇게 활발하지 못 한 것 같습니다. 그래도, 한국인의 멤버가입은 언제든지 대환영합니다.
Q. KBC의 큰 도움을 받은 외국인이 있나요? (에피소드가 있다면 알려주세요)
그럼요, 멤버들이 공유한 다음 추천의 글은 있습니다: https://www.koreabusinesscentral.com/page/testimonials
그리고, 한 에피소드를 멤버의 말로 알려 드립니다.
I would like to share with you my experiance concerning my recent job search in the Netherlands..
I am a Polish girl that obtained a Master degree in Korean languge in Poland and also studied for one year at the Yonsei Univeristy in Seoul. I`ve worked for more than 6 years in 2 Korean companies in Poland and had various experiance in translating, interepreting, managing many variuos tasks.
To be honest with all this experiance and also my Korean language skills I was sure it would be quite easy to get a job at such an international and opened job market as it is in Amsterdam. But after some time I realised it was not easy at all. I sent my CV to most of the Korean companies in the Netherlands. I tried to apply for certain positions or ask for internships – maybe half of the companies replied and it was always a negative answer. It seemed that my Korean language skills were not very important. At some point I was almost ready to give up.
However, just then it happened that I contacted KBC Ambassador in the Netherlands Ms. Eun-Shil Boots and mentioned to her about my job-search situation. She assured me that it is possible to find a job in a Korean company, but just I needed to know how to do it. I agreed with her that Koreans rely on the opinion of others and tend to hire people that are recommended. She mentioned to me that there is a logistic company that is very international and has its branches all over the world and might need someone like me. I changed then my CV, made it more easy to read and understandable for Koreans and she send it to the headquarters of the company in Korea.
To be honest I did not believe it would work, but surprisingly very soon I was invited for an interview and got the job! I was so happy, because it seemed that my Korean language skills got appreciated!
I live 15 minutes away from the company, but my CV had to travel long way – to Korea and back so that I could get the job!
I would say that it is definitely possible to find a job in a Korean company. Don`t be shy, tell as many Koreans you know that you search for a job and sooner or later you will find a job you like!:)
Greetings to all memebers!
<아래의 질문들은 '서울에서 외국인이 창업을 하는 것'에 대한 질문입니다.
가능한 구체적으로 사례들 말씀해주시면 매우 감사하겠습니다.>
Q.서울에 창업을 원하는 외국인을 아십니까? 알고계신 사람들에 대해 간략히 설명해주세요. (ex.업종, 국적, 인원 수, 규모 등)
한국에서 창업하고 싶은 외국인들이 많습니다. 제가 몇 명을 소개해 드렸는데, 저에게 길고 정리한 리스트가 없습니다. Seoul Global Business Support Center에 문의하시면 이 질문과 관련한 유용한 정보를 아마 많이 입수하실 수 있을 것 같습니다.
Q.서울에 창업을 한 외국인을 아십니까? 알고계신 사람들에 대해 간략히 설명해주세요. (ex.업종, 국적, 인원 수, 규모 등)
제가 이미 소개해 드린 3명을 이외에 1-2명을 더 인터뷰를 하고 싶으시면, 말씀하세요. 제가 찾아서 소개해 드릴게요.
Q.서울에서 창업에 실패한 외국인을 몇 명 아십니까? 실패한 원인이 무엇입니까? 그들은 다시 시도했습니까?
아마 있겠죠. 그런데, 대부분의 창업하고자 하는 외국인들이 이미 한국에 와 있고 크게 시작하지 않기 때문에, 실패했다 하기보다는 큰 손해없이 그냥 포기하고 자기의 나라로 돌아가든지, 어디서 취직을 하든지 했을 것 같습니다. 구체적으로는 지금 생각이 나는 사례가 없습니다.
Q.서울에서 외국인이 창업을 할 때, 어려움이 있습니까? (ex.제도적, 문화적, 경제적, 언어적 문제 등)
제가 보기에는 가장 큰 어려움은 자본금/비자 문제입니다. 많은 외국인들이 자기의 나라에서 할수 있는 것처럼 큰 자본금없이 집에서 혼자서 무엇을 시작하고자 하는데, 한국에서는 자본금이나 풀타임 일자리가 없으면 비자도 못 받기 때문에 천천히 시작하는 방식은 어럽습니다. 대부분의 한국에 오는 외국인들이 아파트 전세금조차도 없는데, 한국 법인을 설립할 1억원에 달하는 자본금까지 모아서 창업하는 것이 그림의 떡이다. 그리고 한국은행은 외국인들에게 신용카드를 주지는 않은데 사업 자본금을 대출하겠습니까?
Q.한류가 외국인의 창업에 영향을 미쳤습니까?
한류덕분에 한국에 와서 창업하거나 취직하고 싶은 외국인이 증가하기는 했을 것입니다. 그런데, 실제로 창업/취직할 능력이 있어서 한국에 와서 취직/청업한 사람은 그정도 늘어나지 않았을 것 같습니다.
Q.외국의 도시(싱가포르, NY, 도쿄, 베이징 등)와 비교했을 때,
서울의 매력이나 특징이 있습니까? 특히 창업과 관련한 특징입니다.
저는 그 다른 도시들에서 살아본 적이 없어서 직접적으로 통찰을 공유할 수 없지만, 제가 다른 사람들의 말을 듣고 생각해보니까 서울은 싱가포르나 NY이 외국인들에게 주는 매력을 비교하는 것이 좀 무리한 것 같습니다. 북경이나 도쿄하고 비교 대상이 될수 있습니다. 그래도, 저같이 한국을 사람하는 사람이 아니면, 서울의 특별한 매력이나 특징을 깊숙히 고려하는 외국인들이 많을 것 같지 않습니다.
Q.외국인이 서울에 창업하기 좋은 업종은 무엇입니까? 그 이유는 무엇입니까?
아무래도, 영어와 관련된 업종은 영어권 나라에서 온 사람들에게 가장 유리하겠죠…
Q.외국인이 서울에 창업하기 좋지 않은 업종은 무엇입니까? 그 이유는 무엇입니까?
그거는 모르겠습니다. 아마 한국내 인맥이 필요한 업종은 외국인들에게 불리하겠습니다. 한국에서 비즈니스가 크게 인맥에 의존해서 음직이니까, 보통의 외국사람들이 자신의 회사를 크게 할래면, 다른 나라에 가서 할 수 밖에 없을 것 같습니다.
Q.서울이 '아시아의 실리콘벨리'가 되기위해 어떤 노력이 필요합니까?
어려운 질문입니다. 한국은 “아시아의 실리콘벨리”가 못 될 것 같습니다. 이미 싱가포르나 홍콩은 있는데, 서울이 그렇게 될래면, 엄청많이 변해야 할것입니다. 차라리 한국의 독창적인 매력이나 장점을 제데로 살려서 새로운 입지를 만들어 나가야 할 것 같은데, 그 답은 쉽게 풀리지는 않을 것 입니다. 그런데, 실리콘밸리가 이미 있는데, 서울은 왜 또 다른 시리콘밸리되고 싶어요? 질문의 발상부터는 잘못 됬다고 생각합니다.
Q.그 외 외국인의 서울 창업에 관해 조언하실 것이 있습니까?
한국은 외국인들에게만 창업하기 어렵지 않습니다. 한국의 SME들도 죽어가는데요… 일부러 외국인들 위해서 창업하기 좋게 하는 것보다 모든 사람들에게 평등한 시장조건을 조성해서 한국인이든 외국인이든 누구나 창업하고 비즈니스를 잘 할 수 있는 환경을 만들었으면 합니다. 서울은 꼭 외국인이 많이 살고 창업해야 살기 좋은 도시가 되는 것이 아니라는 것은 저의 생각입니다.
I was quoted in the following article from the Korea Herald on October 29, 2012.
Opaque, top-down system leaves some expats bitter
Expert says problems more common at SMEs without HR departments
Last year saw the total number of foreign workers in Korea surpass 700,000 for the first time, a consequence of an ever-rising demand for foreign labor.
For many, Korea offers the chance to earn a living and acquire new skills in an exciting new environment. For others, however, thriving in a work culture often vastly different from their own is a constant struggle.
One skilled worker from India found the rigid, hierarchal company culture at his workplace, one of the country’s biggest semiconductor makers, extremely difficult to deal with.
“It is very top-to-bottom-driven. You are supposed to be the ‘yes man.’ Especially if they (colleagues) are higher up in the rank, you cannot argue with them. If you argue with them, you are considered to be very rude or very inconsiderate,” said the former employee of six years who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The top-down culture at the chaebol affiliate, described by the former employee as “dictatorial,” asserted itself when he went to make a complaint against his manager for demanding a share of extra earnings the employee had earned for in-company training. Rather than being approached from a neutral standpoint, his complaint was treated with bias by the human resources staffer responsible, he said.
“Instead of being a neutral body, she actually started taking sides with that local person and she actually tried to put me in a bad spot and made it look like I was making up something,” said the former employee.
Frustrated at the handling of his complaint and denied a meeting with his CEO, he attempted to contact the company head directly. But after sending his CEO an email, he found himself called into a meeting of senior human resources staff.
“That HR person explained very politely that I made a mistake as an expat to write an email directly to the CEO of the company. He said that this is not Korean culture … and that I should be extremely careful with my actions.”
In an email seen by The Korea Herald, an HR staffer at the company told the employee that legal action would be taken unless he stopped calling and emailing about “unreasonable matters.” The email referred to correspondence by the employee on two different dates about his grievances with the company.
He ran into further problems, he said, when he later began the process of leaving the company after six years there. His boss demanded to know what company he was going to work at before he would cooperate with arranging the paperwork for him to leave.
Contrary to the former chaebol worker’s experiences, however, Yi Seong-ok of Seoul Global Center said that the majority of problems foreign workers encounter are at small and medium-sized companies.
“The big companies take care of their own issues; also, there are experts to support employees,” said Yi, adding that non-payment of wages and industrial accidents were the most common issues brought to her attention.
“But at small and medium-sized companies there are no small special programs for employees and no special experts that can help employees.”
Yi added that many conflicts between employers and foreign employees are primarily failures of communication.
“In arguments between employers and employees, the bottom line is they cannot communicate. That’s the reason for (many) arguments between employers and employees.”
Steven Bammel, the creator of Korea Business Central, an information resource and support service for foreigners doing business here, said that non-payment of wages was the most common issue that he came across.
“The most common issue is probably non-payment of wages by institutes to their teachers,” said Bammel. “It’s probably not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen and I get contacted from time to time by folks needing interpreting or translation for such issues.”
Familiarization with the culture, however, goes a long way toward a smooth work life, he added.
“Foreigners who want to work or are working in a Korean workplace must understand Korean business culture and without that background, they are sure to cause offense, look silly and get frustrated,” said Bammel.
By John Power (email@example.com)
It's always encouraging to hear nice things from clients…
“Hi Steven,… Our Korean HR director looked over everything and says it all looks good. Thank you very much for your accurate and timely services. I will recommend you to other people in our company. Thanks,”
Katherine Chapman, HR & Employee Development Representative at National Oilwell Varco (Cedar Park, Texas)
“Our Korean contact said, ‘Whoever did the translation did a good job.’”
Joel J. Crampton, Marketing Manager at the Cartwright Companies (Grandview, Missouri)
“Hi Steven, Thank you very much. We just finished integrating the new strings into the app, along with the new EULA text, and the final result looks polished and perfect. I want to express how happy we are with the business service you and your firm have delivered us – your turnaround on issues has been extremely quick. We will definitely return to you for Korean translation work in the future, and will recommend you to others when they need Korean translation performed. Please express our appreciation to your staff as well.”
Erik Geidl, CEO at GoldenShores Technologies, LLC (Moscow, Idaho)
For lots more: https://www.koreanconsulting.com/testimonials.php
I was recently interviewed by Ahn Junghyun of 1013 Main Street on TBSeFM 101.3Mhz here in Seoul. We discussed a number of topics related to business in Korea.
Interviewer: Steven Bammel came to Korea in the mid-1990s. Since then, he has become an expert of sorts on Korean business practices.
He is currently a GyeongGi Province Foreign Direct Investment Advisor as well as a consultant to the GyeongGi Association of Foreign-Invested Companies and the creator of an online community called Korea Business Central.
In addition to that, he runs his own business weblog, Nojeok Hill: My View from the Top, and writes a monthly business column for Seoul Magazine.
He joins us now armed with essential tips and information for doing business here in Korea. Morning Steven.
Steven: Good morning. Thanks for having me.
Interviewer: Thank you for joining us today. You’re a busy man. How do you find the time to do all this?
Steven: Well, I work more than 40 hours a week. I’ve gotten used to the Korean workweek, I guess. I did realize recently that I have hit my limits when I tried to start classes again at Hanyang University a couple of weeks ago.
I took a year off after a few days of classes and decided I’m going to think about it for a year, get my priorities arranged and maybe arrange some of the stuff that I do and try again in a year.
Interviewer: You’ve gotten into the habit of the Korean way of not wasting any minute.
Interviewer: How would you describe the business environment here for foreigners today, perhaps compared to when you first got here over a decade ago?
Steven: Korea has become a lot more open in the last ten years or so. I think a big factor in that was the end of the 90s with the economic crisis and all. Koreans really changed their outlook on things, realized they needed to open up to the world, and they did. It’s pretty amazing.
Today, so many more Korean young people go overseas to study than did even ten, twenty years ago. Korea’s a much more open place, more understanding of the ways that foreigners do business, and much more up to the international standard in many ways.
Interviewer: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in a positive way?
Steven: The government. A lot of regulations have been relaxed for foreigners.
You see a lot of efforts by the local governments to make opportunities for foreign companies to do business. You see a lot of free economic zones. You see a lot of industrial areas for privileged investing conditions for foreign companies that come in.
You find a lot of sectors that have not been open before are open now. These would be some of the big positive changes.
I’d say the success of Korean companies in and of itself has been a big factor. As we look at companies like Samsung, LG, and Hyundai having so much success overseas, I think that also opens up opportunities in Korea for foreign companies to find opportunities.
Interviewer: Then in your capacity as GyeongGi Province Foreign Direct Investment Advisor and consultant to the GyeongGi Association of Foreign-Invested Companies what are some areas where you think we could use some more improvement?
Steven: One thing that has been on my mind since I started in this position is when I look at all the opportunities the government has set aside just for foreign companies, for foreigners, it really does reinforce the separation between Koreans and foreign companies.
If you’re going to set aside a block of an area in an industrial complex down outside of Pyeongtaek or many other places just for foreign companies and give them special rights for investment, for tax purposes and all that, there are side effects.
The fact that if a company does come in, invests, and then they decide to pull out, where do they go? Who do they sell it to? There’s nobody available to buy it because it’s only authorized for certain foreign companies.
It reinforces the idea that, “The foreign companies go here. The Koreans do business over here.” I don’t think that’s a totally positive thing. I think foreigners already find it hard enough to do business in Korea sometimes and setting things aside and pushing them off to the edge has its drawbacks.
Interviewer: So we need to make more efforts to integrate them into the Korean economy?
Steven: Well it’s a very difficult question, actually. The easy answer is, quite simply, just make Korea an easier place for everybody to do business. I was in a discussion a couple of weeks ago and the subject came up. “Is Korea that hard of a place to do business for foreigners?” and I said, “Well, yes it is.” But it’s not just for foreigners. Middle, small, and medium size companies have a tough time too.
I think if the Korean economy can develop in a more fluid way that’s not quite as based on these very large Korean multinationals that there would be more flexibility and more opportunities for everybody.
Interviewer: Let’s start talking about some specific Korean business tips, if you will. You have a monthly column in Seoul Magazine and recently you wrote about things to remember about Korean job titles. So what do foreign businessmen need to know about job titles in Korea?
Steven: The key point here is that his Korean job title is the one that matters, not what his English business card says.
I’ve seen all kinds of translations of Korean job titles for everything. A “Cha Jang” – I’ve seen that translated as Director, I’ve seen it translated as General Manager, as Assistant Manager, all kinds of stuff. Koreans do have this tendency to “interpret” their job titles when they translate them into English.
I did a translation job a few years ago where it was actually a Korean Cha Jang. He had gone over to the U.S. to do business and it was a lawsuit of an investment gone bad and I was working on the internal documents.
To the Americans, he was a Director but when I was doing the work it was clear he was not anything close to a Director.
So the key point here is if you want to know what rank the Korean is, and he or she does have a rank – every Korean company has them – that you need to know the correct Korean version of the job, not the English name that they choose to use.
Interviewer: By that token should Korean companies and employees start printing their Korean titles in English, like Cha Jang?
Steven: I don’t know that that would communicate too well. They’re doing fine. There’s a certain advantage to be had from maybe not sharing everything about your job title.
I’m not sure that I would change it from the Korean’s perspective but I’m saying that if you’re not Korean and you’d like a small advantage, a little more insight into the person you’re working with, figure out some of this stuff.
Interviewer: You need to know exactly where they are in their company. How would you translate Cha Jang, just out of personal curiosity?
Steven: The way I’ve always translated it –and I will say that I have written the definitive guide on business cards in Korea – Deputy General Manager seems to be the most common term that I’ve seen used. That’s what was used when I was at LG many years ago. Assistant General Manager is another one that’s used.
Interviewer: You also talk about how the position of the employee representing a company that you’re working with can give you clues on what the company thinks about you or your business.
Steven: This connects with what we were talking about on understanding the rank of the Korean you’re working with. If you’re interacting with a Korean company, they should send someone to meet you of a rank similar to you.
If they come to you with a business card that says “Director” on it and you’re a Director in your Western company that’s a good start but what if you were to turn the card over and notice that they were a “Cha Jang” or a “Gwa Jang” or something?
It could represent a number of things, but for certain, it indicates they don’t recognize your position. That’s something that if you hadn’t been aware of these internal facts you would not realize. It should change your strategy on how you deal with them.
If you’re being dealt with with as much respect as you deserve, you’re going to deal one way. If you’re not, you’re going to have to reassess.
Interviewer: I think things are changing a little bit. I know that there are a growing number of companies trying to kind of go horizontal instead of hierarchical and vertical, for example, by removing all titles internally and just calling each other with the suffix “nim”.
So I would call you “Steven-nim” instead. I know one company that calls their people “masters” and “pros” – they’re professionals. What do you think about this sort of trend?
Steven: Well, are those the successful companies in Korea?
Interviewer: I would say so. Yeah.
Steven: Are they? I was talking to someone not all that long ago about this topic also and he was mentioning Korong. Korong is one of the companies that’s doing this, but I’m not sure that they are recognized as one of the leaders. Samsung, Hyundai, LG – they’re not changing theirs and they’re the ones that are really being successful.
I would not discourage it but I wonder if it’s even possible in the Korean language. The Korean language itself is so hierarchical-based that just to put “nim” on the end of every name, are you going to start speaking to each other in Panmal?
Interviewer: It wouldn’t be Panmal.
Steven: I don’t think a Korean company could have the speech be the same for everybody. I can’t imagine the employees speaking to their boss on the same level that he speaks to them. It’s a good start. I’d be interested to see what kind of results it achieves.
Interviewer: Another one of your columns talked about building business networks in Korea. Is it very different from how you would do it elsewhere in the world?
Steven: Back home I think cold-calling is a lot more effective than it is. It’s easier to establish a business relationship in the West for some reason or other. A Korean business relationship, once it’s established, is worth more but it takes more investment and it takes more effort.
If people come to Korea and expect that they’re going to do a networking session here and there and that’s going to be enough, I don’t think they’re going to get the same results.
I’ve had some phenomenal results from just one-time meetings back home and I don’t think that you could recreate that. I think Korea is a society where it takes an extra degree of trust and that has to be built. It has to be built in the Korean way.
Interviewer: How would one go about building that level of trust?
Steven: Koreans use the word “jeong”. You have to show the person that you’re dealing with that you have an element of jeong in your relationships – that you can give as much as receive.
Going out for a meal dutch is so uncommon in Korea. It’s apparently becoming more common but amongst co-workers at the office perhaps when they’re going out every day it would be one thing. But if you’re dealing with somebody trying to build a network, trying to build a business relationship, you should never go dutch and you should never make it clear that you’re going to let them pay.
Things like gifts – my next column for Seoul magazine will be about gift giving. Gift giving in Korea is on a whole different dimension. Koreans don’t give gifts. “It’s the thought that counts.” That may a nice thing to say back home but price is pretty important around here too. A cheap gift could actually work against you.
We were given a Chuseok gift from one of my business colleagues of $150 of beef. We’d never buy that for ourselves, and I think we gave him some red ginseng socks and towels that cost about $100 for that. You’ve got to show that you’re not pinching pennies in your relationships.
You’ve got to show that you’re not pinching time. If you’re going to say, “Let’s go out for lunch. I’ve got 35-45 minutes,” if you’re setting limits right out of the chute when you’re trying to build a relationship with a Korean, you’re going to hit some walls.
Interviewer: I understand the need to respect local traditions and practices and so on but at the same time when Korea wants to attract more foreign investors, wants to do more business with foreign partners, shouldn’t we be changing our way as well?
Steven: It depends on who you’re talking to. If you’re going to talk to Koreans, I might be giving them a different spiel. When I’m talking to Koreans, I’m going to tell them, “You’re going to have to learn to do things the Western way.”
If I’m talking to Westerners doing business in Korea, they’re going to get a totally different side from me. I’m going to tell them, “You’re going to have to do it the Korean way.”
No Westerner is ever going to do it 100% the Korean way and no Korean is going to do it 100% the Western way, but if you can push them halfway each you can find that happy medium.
Interviewer: You run an online community website called Korea Business Central where you hold some interesting discussions. What have you found are some of the most common business related issues that people have?
Steven: I would say number one is getting a job in Korea. It’s been a surprise to me how many foreigners want to work in Korea. Number two, how few jobs there are outside of English teaching for foreigners in Korea.
There’s a huge mismatch. We’ve got an intern database on our site and I think I’ve had 100 people sign up for it on the intern site and as far as companies hiring interns I don’t know that we’ve had more than a handful.
There’s this huge mismatch between the numbers on each side. People want jobs in Korean companies. There are a lot of them and that’s a major reason that people are joining the community.
Interviewer: What would be your advice for people who want to come work in Korea?
Steven: English teaching is a great way to get started. I started that way. If you stay in that position, it should be a stepping stone. Once you get to Korea you need to start working very hard to network as we’ve talked about. Two, learn the language, learn the culture, and figure out what you can do next and what you can contribute next.
It’s a long-term process. A lot of people join our community hoping for some kind of a short-term solution and, unfortunately, as of yet I have not found any short-term solutions for them.
Interviewer: You need to invest time and effort.
Interviewer: I understand you have a business networking invent in Suwon on this coming 8th of October?
Steven: Yes we do, and it’s going to be very big. The GyeongGi Province is co-sponsoring it. The GyeongGi Association of Foreign-Invested Companies and Korea Business Central, we’re co-hosting it. We’ve got CEOs coming from many foreign-invested companies in GyeongGi Province. We’ve got food catered by a five-star hotel there in GyeongGi.
It’s actually the weekend of the annual Hwaseong Cultural Festival and the venue is right at the Hwaseong palace, so it’s right in the midst of all that from 5:00 to 7:00.
It’s going to be 30,000 won at the door and you’ll get far more than 30,000 won of food and networking opportunities if you come.
Interviewer: Just some quick advice for perhaps Koreans not necessarily used to these business networking occasions.
Steven: It is interesting how this networking meeting thing does seem to be a Western import. However, last year I was at a networking event which I think may have been modeled on a previous event we had on Korea Business Central. It was all Koreans and they seemed to know what to do. It wasn’t that hard.
We sat around the tables for a short while, had a speech which, that might have been the Korean part of it, but then once the moderator said, “Okay we’ve got about an hour here of networking. Stand up and pass out cards,” our people knew what to do.
Interviewer: So all you have to do is go armed with your business cards?
Steven: Yeah bring business cards. That’s a good thing to do.
Interviewer: What other plans do you have whilst you’re working here in Korea?
Steven: I’m here semi-permanently. I love Korea. I’ve been here for quite a while. My goal right now is to figure out how to simplify my life enough that I can go back to school next September so I’m thinking through that process very hard right now.
Interviewer: I hope that works out for you. Thanks very much Steven for spending time with us this morning.
Steven: Thank you. Thank you very much for having me.
Interviewer: We spoke with Steven Bammel of GyeongGi Province, Foreign Direct Investment Advisor and Consultant to the GyeongGi Association of Foreign-Invested Companies about doing business here in Korea in particular.
As mentioned in a previous posting, I recently passed the highest level certification exam for translation of Korean into English. Until now, I only had the online confirmation, but today I picked up the original certificate at the office of the Korean Society of Translators.