▲ Mikah Lee's Best-seller Book. Provided By Mikah Lee
▲ Lee Giving a Speech. Provided By Mikah Lee
Bon Voyage is associated with experiences overseas, encompassing both happy and difficult moments. Many students could not only be fascinated but also be discouraged when they get exposed to foreign culture and language while going abroad. The Granite Tower (GT) interviewed the alumnus of Korea University (KU), who embraced the cultural differences and made a successful business in the global market. Mikah Lee (’87, English Education), the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LPR Global Incorporated (LPR Global Inc.), a marketing company located in Canada, shares her story in a cheerful way about how her journey has been exciting and rewarding.
About Mikah Lee
Mikah Lee, whose Korean name is Lee Bo-kyoung, is the CEO of LPR Global Inc., which mainly provides marketing and business development services for Korean manufacturers and enables them to export to the Western world. Due to the company’s excellent services, it has been awarded several prizes, including Premier Consulting Firm Certification by the South Korean Government’s Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA) and the Small Business Corporation (SBC). At the same time, she is also known as a best-selling author in Korea, and her most recent book, How to Avoid Writing Incorrect Business Emails , was just released in February.
GT: What was your dream when you were at KU?
Lee: When I was at university, my career path was not entirely set, but I had an interest in trading companies. Although I chose English Education as my major because of my father’s influence, I wanted to learn about business since I was young. Therefore, right after my graduation, I worked on a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at KU at night while working as an English teacher in the daytime. I also, after moving to Canada, received an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
GT: Which experiences in your life affected your career?
Lee: My turning point was while doing my MBA at the University of Toronto in Canada. I studied with hyper competitive students from many countries as well as Canada. During those tough years, I found that presentation skills were very important for differentiating me from the crowd, who possess similar knowledge and skill. Therefore, I worked very hard to improve my communication and presentation skills in the intense atmosphere of the MBA
program, which enabled me to develop my presentation skills.
GT: What allowed you to become a CEO in the international field?
Lee: The most important motivation comes from my attitude: having selfconfidence and staying optimistic. Entrepreneurs need to have an optimistic attitude because there are a lot of rainy days ahead. If I do not believe in myself, I would not be able to convince others to trust me. When I started my business, I started from nothing but my solid belief in myself and a core value that I would never let down others who trusted me. Therefore, this positive attitude embedded in my life made me enjoy my work truly all the time.
GT: What were the hardships you faced in achieving your current position and how did you overcome that adversity?
Lee: The most challenging time was when my company stayed stagnant and wasn’t growing for a few years. The costs and revenue remained parallel, so I could not but face the question how to change the business model of a consulting company. It was 2007, the time when Google was not in your everyday life; the public was starting to search for books using Google. I thought people who would look for books by using Google would also look for machines by using it in the future. We launched a website called US Korea Hotlink, optimized for Google’s search engine, and started selling industrial products and machines through the website. This new model brought us a new revenue stream, leading the company to grow.
GT: While working as a CEO, what were your motivations for publishing How to Avoid Writing Incorrect Business Emails ?
Lee: I sincerely love to write, and always wish I were capable of writing novels. My books manifest my passion for writing. It’s also a good way to share my knowledge and experiences with many people. My book is different from other business email books written by somebody with limited experience with global marketing and sales; it has rich and practical guidance on Western business culture and selling tips in addition to succinct English style. When I received an email from a reader in Korea who said that the book was a great help for him to communicate with German companies at work, I felt rewarded.
GT: What are your current goals that you hope to achieve in the future?
Lee: I hope my company to be my legacy. I love to work in my company, but this will not last forever; I cannot always remain in my seat as a CEO. When I leave my company, I hope my company continues to grow—this is an assignment for me. In fact, I do not have any elaborate personal goal but just continue my daily routine and enjoy my life. My goals are to be healthy and happy; so every day I exercise, eat healthy food, and do my best to keep my life simple.
GT: Do you have any advice for KU students?
Lee: There is a strong bond in the KU alumni network and that will follow KU students throughout their careers. They could take advantage of both the relationships that they forged during their school years as well as throughout the alumni network. Therefore I would advise students to continue to develop and maintain their KU network. Furthermore, the best advice I can offer is to trust yourself, and do not compare yourself to others; do not let others be the center of your life or be afraid of creating your own path. Life is comprised of a collection of habits, so just try to establish good habits over the course of your life while enjoying the process you are experiencing.