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Chat with Chairman
By Kriti Joshi
Samsung interns for summer'18 met our chairman, Mr Pankaj Agarwal over coffee in Suwon. It was a casual session where Pankaj shared his story and experiences with the newbies of the corporate world. This blog is a compilation of insights gained by the interns and their thoughts about the interaction.
"When you are about to step into the real world, its best to gather 'life fundae' from as many sources as possible, may be one works out for you. When this source happens to be an alumnus of your college, who has 20+ patents in his name, is a Harvard MBA graduate and is successfully running a startup in an unconventional setting, you'd be a fool to say no. We got to interact with Pankaj on a random Tuesday evening, fourth week into our internship. By this time we were familiar with the projects we were going to be working on for the rest of our stay here in Korea, we had got to know our teams, couple of us had experimented with Korean cuisine and most of us knew 'Kamsahamnida'. But I was clueless about life outside of Samsung, life when Maggi I brought from home finishes and whether I could ever (or even want to) fit into Korean society. When someone else has walked on the path you are embarking on, it is reassuring to say the least. You might not trace the exact footsteps but you know you are not wandering into an unexplored territory. I took away a couple of things from the session. One, that you would fit in here, eventually. You would have to learn the language and it is going to be a tough ride initially, but things will fall in place. Two, for all the vegetarians in the house, you will survive. May be you can learn how to cook. (I'm someone who prefers vegetarian food over non-vegetarian. Please don't kill me :-P) Three, Samsung is a great platform. It enables you to steer your career in which path you want to take it. You might stay with Samsung or not, but it is a great place to work in. Lastly and on a lighter note, you can retain your 'Indianness' living in Korea. (We witnessed Pankaj asking the cafe waiter to give us discount in fluent Korean). I was debating whether or not to go all the way to Suwon that day for this interaction session. I came out feeling it was worth it. Thanks IITAAK for organizing this session."
Anirudh asked Pankaj about his thoughts on post graduation degree. He recollects
"The answer begins with his life at Samsung and his education. He explained that he had to do MS as a part of contract with the company and that his guide expected alot from him. With insane amount of efforts he was able to stand up to the task and was able to learn alot from his MS. After MS he had worked for Samsung as an engineer and was able to contribute alot because of the knowledge gained. Although he was comfortable with his job, he went on to do MBA because of pressure from family. Because of going out from his comfort zone he had to study alot to be able to complete his degree and in the end enjoyed the field of management. He went on to work with Samsung as a part of management team and now he has started his own company thanks to Samsung spin-off.The conclusion was that post graduation in any field helps you get an understanding of the field in a broader sense.but to be able to extract the best of PG you need to know what is important to learn and this can only be inferred with experience. Hence he suggested that incase we are not clear about our goals we should work for some time and gain experience before going for post graduation."
"The two most important and more importantly new to me takeaway were :
1) Always make "good" friends.
2) Doing Ms after some company experience makes more sense rather than directly going after college.
I too have felt this to be true uptill now in my internship. It was really important to get a hands on experience on what I had learnt in theory."
Ankesh was curious to know the reason behind Pankaj's shift from hardware to management even though he was enjoying his work.
"He was impressed with the question. He mentioned that it was more of a custom for his family and his father will that he went for an MBA. His father really wanted him to get an MBA. So after he had sufficient working experience about tech, he went for MBA, and currently, he was happy with his decision."
Prakhar's three major takeaways were :
1. This is the right time to do experiments with our life. Later we'll have responsibilities.
2. Doing masters after having the experience of 1-2 years job.
3. Korea is a good country.
Thanks all the interns for sharing the insights. The positive feedback by session attendees keeps the IITAAK body motivated to organize more interactive sessions.
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