A life update: going back to korea and getting an mba – new plans?

Everything I hear, read and see these days all relates to the pandemic, this way or another.

Which is in a way, bad, that all the information I process is so negative it stresses me out.

But on the bright side, I’ve never felt so…connected? Suddenly I have something in common with everyone. Picking up smalltalks has never been easier, speaking as an awkward introvert who has never really mastered the art of small talks.

Anyway, onto the update – I had gotten admission to the MBA program at KAIST back in March (the Seoul campus, sorry guys, I already promised myself I wouldnt live in ‘rural areas’ even if someone paid me to, lol)!! Such a big moment, that the only thing dampening it is all this negative pandemic talk. But we’ll see.

thanks for the reminder, KAIST. I almost forgot to be proud of myself. Here comes the humble brags, brace yourself, my friends and acquaintances for the coming months.

Although, if I’m being honest, I rather wish if only studying abroad wouldnt mean a clear step down in terms of living standards. You know what I mean. I’m already at a point in my life where I should enjoy a solid stable urban middle class office worker lifestyle – a clear contrast to the uncertain nature of an expat lifestyle. I should know, I already lived the horror through my 4,5 years in Finland. I had also been enjoying my job and my stable set of trusty colleagues – for the time I had there (that’s something about working in the hospitality industry – when it’s good it’s really good, but times like this it’s really bad). What I enjoyed the most though, must be the monthly paychecks and the fat bonus. Really gonna miss that one when I’m back being a broke student abroad.

A broke MBA student though, what an upgrade.

At this point, you might wonder: Why KAIST? Yes, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, for its fame as the Korean MIT (I’d read sources claiming it’s the Asian MIT, but let’s be realistic here), isnt extremely well known for its business department. Their MBA program was the first of its kind in Korea, somethingsomethingsomething, with its full set of abbreviated credentials so you know it’s legit, but I bet you never knew it had a Seoul campus. Me neither, at first. And who am I kidding? I’m so vain, that I was always set on the SKY schools anyway. In Korea, brand names matter, yall.

But, MBA programs speaking, KAIST is the only one giving me money to go there. Full tuition fees + stipends for 2 years. For those who dont know, it’s rare for MBA programs to be fully funded – when you’re going for MBA, school boards just kinda assume you’re made of money or you’re some hotshot executive whose company is funding this. (SKY schools mostly only waive tuition at best so KAIST giving out stipends is huge). Me failing the Korean Government Scholarship program two years in a row at the final interview isnt such an ego boost either – really drives home the message “It’s not your qualifications, it’s your personality” LOL.

It’s time to be realistic: I’m 25, going 26 and it’s no longer socially acceptable to rely on parents for monthly allowance. Not entirely, anyway. I’ll definitely have to figure out something else, but it’s a start. And KAIST already offers enough bragging rights that I think I’m set.

To my current situation: I’ve since left my good job at the hotel (hotels did not do so well during covid, guys). KAIST had made up their minds about not allowing most international students to come to Korea (update on August, 2020: Turned out only the Daejeon campus did. The Seoul campus is still holding onto hopes of offline classes). I went from having a clear, bright, albeit challenging 2 years career plan to…having none. Possibilities are vast and endless, and I’m stuck in a limbo.

My first ever business card. I’ll miss you.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know what to do yet. But I still decided to write this post in hope typing this out may provide some sort of clarity. As of now, my only plan is to continue my korean language course and we’ll see. Who knows, this break might be good for me. I might really be able to speak Korean any day now. I can afford to spend more time with my friends and rediscover my artistic side (did you know I originally wanted to apply to an arts university for design?) Whatever the case, I have something to look forward to and can’t wait to see what the future holds.