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From an Ordinary Student to a CEO of the Next Generation? Go Another Step Higher! (Moon Yong Cha, UST-KIER Campus)

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  • Registration Date : 2015-10-07
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“Challenge” is one of the alternative names of the youth. However, as easy and comfortable lives become the new norm, spirits filled with challenge are disappearing in this age. Young people often get scared at words like start-up or business and simply wave their hands. Here’s a man who boldly comes forward to start a new business. Our schoolmate, Mun-yong Cha―a young man running to challenge every day.

 


The French philosopher Sartre said, “Life is C between B and D.” As he said, our life from Birth to Death is a series of Choices. In life, we are bound to continuously stand at the crossroads of choices. Mun-yong Cha of the Korea Institute of Energy Research Campus knows how to choose a way that he can challenge.

 

 
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You seem to be very energetic.

 

Usually, I am quiet. But when it comes to my passions, I am only fulfilled when I am sure to make it. I like riding bicycles, so I lead a bicycle club. Also, I am learning how to swim. I am working out with the aim to join a triathlon next year. Nowadays, I also spend a lot of my energy with starting a business, and not just with studying and exercising.

 

 

What got you interested in start-ups?


Actually, I was not very interested. I entered this school in the fall of 2013, so I have three more years to go. When it comes to job hunting, it would be a matter of concern when I leave school. But, if it is about a start-up business, I think I can give it a try right now. So, I followed my motto, “Just do it” and simply rushed into it.
At first, I didn’t know what to do. If you want to challenge something, you need to know to what you’re doing. But science and engineering majors―including me―don’t know how to operate a business. So, while I looked for the ways to start out, I found that UST had a program for people like me. That’s how I came to apply for the start-up support program. Now, I’m taking educational courses of the program.

 

 
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Can you explain in more detail the start-up support program?


Most science and engineering majors can develop something, but they are not familiar with business administration, planning, or setting up a business model. The support program provides training courses and funds to students who are interested in creating their own business. The program provides a six-month training course, which is called “Korean I-Corps Supports Project.” Students can study in the US for three weeks and in Korea for the rest of the program. While I’m taking the courses, I can make products using the fund that the program offers. The product that I am preparing  now will be released in November.

 

 

In which part does the program help you?


Generally, people tend to think that if we make good products, consumers will buy it. But I’ve learned that actual technological prowess and consumer purchase are separate issues. There was one thing that impressed me very much in my training courses in the US. They provided us with an opportunity to listen to consumers of the products that we wanted to make. We were able to listen to their real opinions about what they were uncomfortable with in the products or what they wanted to improve. It helped a lot.
Additionally, I participated in the 3DE Program, which was a short but intensive three-day start-up education program. I was able to verify my own business idea and get great pieces of advice from prominent guest lecturers such as the CEO of Daum Kakao and Cyworld. I gave myself another opportunity when I chose to participate in the start-up support program when I entered this school.

 

 
 
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How did you attend UST-KIER?

Since long before, I have already been interested in clean energy field, particularly in fuel cells as this topic has not been researched deeply yet. I paid my own way through to a graduate course, when I found that I already had KRW 20 million worth of debts. But I wanted to go further and take doctoral courses. That time, the breakthrough was UST. Also, its various support program attracted me more. 
Another difference of UST from other graduate schools is that it carries out major government projects. This means that I can build a working experience and not just study theories. I directly perform tasks that would be applied to the real industry settings later, which is significantly helpful.

 

 

What is your goal?


I am building an idea with one of my schoolmates now. This year, I will make sure that I complete a test product based on this idea. But, the product details are still a secret for the time being (laugh).
Also, part of my long-term goals is to be an expert in fuel cell. I want to make “something useful” for consumers.

 

 
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Do you have any other comment to make?

 

UST is like a buffet restaurant to me, because it offers a variety of programs for students. We, USTians, can choose and take anything we want―study, research, employment, or start-up. There are a lot of of things that we can learn here. I hope all USTians will grow together with more active exchanges.