December 04, 2018 • By Aaron Orlowski
Nearly 10,000 miles from Orange County in South Korea, Chris Song, FEMBA ’11, preaches one of the main benefits of a degree from the UCI Paul Merage School of Business: the network.
“Usually, people focus on MBA programs’ rankings and how much salaries increase after graduates get their MBAs,” says Song, who lives in Seoul and is very involved with the Merage School alumni programs and recruitment efforts in South Korea. “I try to explain that the right MBA program can change your future in even bigger ways.”
“You’re dedicating a lot of time to earning your MBA and you want to find the school that can support you to achieve your goals,” he adds. “It’s the people that make the school, and I met great people at the Merage School.”
Song, who leads the Merage School alumni group in Korea and is a member of the UCI Korea Alumni Chapter, has dedicated himself to connecting Merage School alumni with each other and growing the alumni network by helping recruit future MBA students.
In 2018, Song helped the Merage School’s Korean alumni group find and bring in more than 100 new members — graduates who had previously not been involved with other alumni. Korean alumni also held a dinner for the new class of students this year before they left for Orange County.
Every year since 2011, Korean alumni have volunteered and participated in an MBA fair in Seoul. At the most recent MBA fair, the Merage School was represented only by alumni, who were able to give students a distinctly personal perspective of life at the Merage School. Song organized everything necessary for the fair with the Korean alumni and the UCI staff.
“Our goal of the fair was to explain about the Merage School and our actual experiences in Irvine to potential MBA candidates so they could really learn about the school,” Song says. "I am very proud to be a Merage School alumnus and I’m proud of all my classmates’ accomplishments. I deeply appreciate the continuous and sincere support from the Merage School and the staff."
Song himself has stayed connected to classmates through social media, often talking to former classmates in the U.S. on LinkedIn and Facebook. Locally, the Merage School alumni in Korea regularly gather for dinners and events.
Prior to earning his MBA, Song worked in overseas marketing and sales. The Merage School Career Center connected him with Costco, where he interviewed and earned a job that launched a new phase of his career. Now working as the central human resources manager at Costco Wholesale Korea, Song oversees hiring, training, benefits and compensation for all Costco Korea employees.
And he continues to connect Merage School alumni with each other.
“The next step of our goal is to strengthen the Merage School Korea alumni group by collaborating with other Merage School alumni groups in different countries,” Song says. “I hope the Korea group can be a good example for other alumni who want to create groups in their countries and regions.”