[Interview | New President of KUBS Alumni Association] “Fortitude and Tenacity Are the Ways to Become a Good Leader”
Mar 14, 2017
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[Interview | New President of KUBS Alumni Association] – Halla Group Chairman Mong-won Chung (Business, ’74)
“Fortitude and Tenacity Are the Ways to Become a Good Leader”
Since its first graduation in 1907, Korea University Business School (KUBS) celebrated its 110th anniversary. Alumnus Mong-won Chung (Business, ’74) was appointed as the new president of KUBS Alumni Association. President Chung has been leading Halla Group and made significant contributions in building the foundation of Korean economy, as well as enriching human life. He also was selected as “the 35th Alumni of the Year” last year. <KUBS Journal> introduces President Mong-won Chung’s passion in the past, present, and the future.
Halla Group Chairman Mong-won Chung (Business, '74)
Q. You are the Entering Class of 1974 and a living witness to the history of KUBS. We would like to know some of the memorable episodes of your college life.
As you know, I went to school during the era when the economy was growing quickly and the numerous political issues were raised simultaneously. At that time, college students often participated in protests and I have some related memories as well.
I remember having a discussion on the future plans for the KUBS students all night long. I also remember the time I was bewildered by the fact I was unexpectedly at the forefront of the rally. My parents scolded me for going out for a protest. One of the protest leaders back in those days is still a good friend of mine.

I also met my lifelong friends during my undergraduate years. The eight of us became close after going out for a blind date with girls from another university. We are still close friends and will continue to cherish our relationships.

 You are leading Halla Group in various fields such as construction, automobiles, retail, service, investment, education, and sports by accumulating experience and technology. What is the most important philosophy you hold while running the company.

I would like to say that there are three important points to running a company. The most important of all is for the leaders to grow the insight which can be used to anticipate what are ahead. To do this, you have to stay alert. You have to continously observe the trends in the world and diverse changes in the industries while coming across new experiences and always trying to think deeply.
The second point is to establish the company’s system and processes. You need to build a consensus among employees about the company’s plans, evaluate them on a rational basis for their work performance, and establish a system that fairly compensates them for the results. You also need to introduce a process that will advance the way you work and encourage the spirits of “Work Together”.
The last is to acquire resources. Important keywords here would be “People”, “Funds”, and “Establishment of the Right Corporate Culture.” Among these, I think “People” is the most important, which leads me to focus on making the right environment where people can work well.

 Many students are challenging themselves to establish startup companies. What would be an important quality to attain for students who dream of becoming the future CEOs?

Primarily, to succeed in business, you have to put in enormous amount of effort yourself before anything else. Then, you have to create diverse and constructive networking and utilize social systems and supporting policies to the advantage of your business.
Clear vision is the core component in running business. The vision will bring you passion which will be followed by efforts. However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Thus, wouldn’t it be important to endlessly challenge and build fortitude and tenacity while you are in school? I hope that you become a person who dreams, believes in that dream, and makes it come true.

 Please give words of advice to KUBS students.

I know that right now is a difficult era for youths where they can barely prepared for the society's minimum requirements. Even during these hard times, I encourage you to experience a lot of everything and anything. Always contemplate, travel much, and meet diverse people. No matter what it is, new experience will become valuable assets to you. Try and fail, and overcome that failure. Through such courses, you will form your own frame of thoughts, which will help you become a good leader.