Students of the DIS were given a rather inspiring lecture last Thursday, May 25th, by Dr. Nigel Callinan of Pusan National University’s Department of Global Studies. Dr. Callinan gave a talk entitled “Opportunities for personal growth: Entrepreneurship in South Korea,” which centered on student opportunities for starting small businesses while still in school.
Dr. Callinan’s presentation yielded immediate results from a small but enthusiastic group that cornered Dr. Callinan following his talk to pepper him with questions regarding business ideas and probabilities of success. One student declared that he would scuttle an idea he and his partners had of opening a coffee shop or chicken restaurant—two businesses Dr. Callinan stressed repeatedly had a high probability of failure. Another student spoke of his desire to monetize his blog, which explains and reviews Korean manufactured specialty products for a Russian audience keen to learn about Korean culture. The talk was declared by some to be the most interesting and useful special lecture they had seen.
For his part, Dr. Callinan was keen to point out that starting a small business takes very little or no capital in the internet and social networking age; he also stressed that the ideal time to start a business was while attending school, when individuals have more time to spare relative to the time available once professional careers begin. He strongly emphasized the need to be the interface between two entities that need each other but otherwise cannot get together to better provide their goods or services. It is the interface that can benefit from profit margin gains even with little or no capital invested. He also stressed that enhanced social networking skills and basic programming and software skills can yield impressive returns when leveraged appropriately.
Students particularly enjoyed the real world examples of small business startups that led to permanent companies or job opportunities in other businesses. This greatly enhanced the effectiveness of Dr. Callinan’s presentation and provided students a “no excuses” lesson on moving forward with one’s ambitions and start-up dreams. Overall, the lecture was a great success in the eyes of the students and faculty who attended, and Dr. Callinan’s participation in the After Dongseo Exploratory Lecture Series was greatly appreciated by all.