Archive for August, 2012

Relationships between Korean students and American teachers

Here’s a Korean’s view on the cultural differences between dealing with teachers in Korea and in America.

One aspect of American culture I really cannot adapt to is the way students behave to their teachers. English has no honorifics so there is no way of speaking with respect to older people. I cannot call a teach ‘you’ or use their first name. In high school we say “teacher” and in university we say “professor.”

In addition, US students say hi to their professors by waving. In Korea we bow. In class, Americans interrupt the lecture with questions. In Korea we have to wait for the professor to pause. It seems that in Korea we really have to be much more careful to be polite to our professors.

I’ve noticed a difference in the concept of right and fairness as well. One of my friends goes to university in the US, and he told me a shocking story. He became really close friends with one of his professors. They went out for lunch, played tennis together, and the professor even invited him to his house. When the semester was over, he got a B. He thought he would get an A easily since they were friends but the professor just gave my friend the grade he earned. In Korea people expect preferential treatment when they know each other but in the US I guess opportunities and results apply to everyone the same.

Interview experience: Lotte Department Store Seoul (sales management)

The job aptitude test started at 7:50 AM and the interviews started at 9:15.

First interview

This was a high pressure interview where two workers grilled me. I remember a few questions:

Have you gotten any suggestions that you found hard to accept recently? How did you react?
Tell us about something you did creatively in a group.
Tell us about a time you were working ina group and had to make some changes.
Tell us about a time when you were group leader. How did you lead?
What personal skills do you have to make a good a group? Describe how you use these skills at the group’s first meeting.

Second interview (English skills)

Here I was one on one with a native speaker.

Introduce yourself.
Why did you apply for a position in sales management? What is sales management?
Tell me as much as you can about Lotte Department Store.
Tell me about your internship experience.
Tell me about your hobbies.

Third interview (discussion / debate)

They put six of us in a room and gave us a topic: The game industry is developing rapidly in Korea but we should make a bill to prohibit adolescents from accessing internet game sites to protect them. We had 10 minutes to think and then moved to the interview room with two interviewers. The put is in two groups, pro and con. The idea was to listen carefully to the opponents reach some sort of compromise.

Fourth interview

The final interview was the executive interview. There were three executives and three interviewees. This time the atmosphere was pretty relaxed.

Introduce yourself briefly.
What are your strong and weak points?
What do you think of our company president, Shin Guek Ho?
Do you know how many Lotte Department Stores there are in Korea?
Tell us about your volunteer experience. What did you learn from it?
What current issue are you interested in?
Tell us about IT technology and how we can use it in our department store.
What can you do better than other job applicants?

Interview experience: Daewoo International 2010 (Steel)

I was in the afternoon group so I arrived at noon and the interview started at 12:30. It was a personality interview where six executives asked questions of me. I was the only interviewee and the atmosphere was very heavy.

What do you know about our company? Tell us in English.
Why did you apply here?
What are our strong and weak points compared to our competitors?
Why did you apply for the steel sector?
Tell us as much as you can about the steel industry.
You have an interesting hobby. Why do like boxing and what have you learned from boxing?
How god is your English and do you speak other languages?
Tell us about a failure you’ve experienced.

Interesting that there weren’t many personality questions in the personality part of the interview.

Then they put me ina room with a laptop, gave me a topic, and 45 minutes to prepare a presentation. “What are the main issues of CEPA with India and what is your opinion? Suggest business strategies for our company.”

I used the net to do some research and created a PowerPoint presentation. Then I delivered a 5 minute presentation to 4 workers who asked some follow up question on my content.

Tell us more about the water business.
How did you think of trading cotton and silk between India and Korea?
Where did you get your information?
Tell us more about the natural gas business.
Sum up the presentation in Korean.