Courtesy of Tom Harblin

Sejong University in Seoul, South Korea, and Syracuse University share a similar goal: Both institutions emphasize research as an important part of their students’ educational experience. But that’s not all the universities share, says Myung-Gun Choo, chair of Sejong’s board of trustees, who earned a master’s degree in economics from the Maxwell School. The universities have begun the joint Global M.B.A. Program in South Korea, with several visiting faculty members from SU’s School of Management expected to teach courses. “I’m looking forward to having a closer working relationship between Syracuse University and Sejong University,” Choo says. “I’m sure there are many things that will be beneficial for both universities.”
      Choo’s father founded Sejong University in 1946. The university takes its name from Sejong the Great, fourth monarch of the Choson Dynasty, whose reign from 1418 to 1450 united Korea. Among Sejong the Great’s accomplishments was the development of the Korean alphabet.
      Sejong University has about 10,000 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate students. “A little more than half of the students are natural science and engineering majors,” Choo says. “We are aiming to be among the top five research universities in Korea within the next four years. Looking at all the publications and research projects that our faculty and staff are getting from the government and corporations, I’m sure we can meet our goal.”
      Choo is also chair of Sejong Investment Development Corporation in Seoul, which counts among its diverse holdings the first hotel chain in Korea, an Asia-Pacific travel agency, and dairy production, publishing, and book-distribution companies. It also owns Sejong Institution, 13 research institutes that seek to further technology and policy development.
      Choo says attending the Maxwell School helped him in his business life by providing not only a solid economics education, but also a network of fellow Korean alumni. “I’m very proud to be an alumnus of Syracuse University,” he says. “I had a wonderful experience and the opportunity to learn a great deal.”
      As for the similar goals of Sejong and Syracuse universities, Choo says research, particularly in engineering and the natural sciences, is key to any great institution of learning in the 21st century, “not only for the sake of the university’s development, but for the world as a whole, to meet the challenge of the future.”

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