It goes without saying that, as the Korean company Samsung is one of the world's biggest companies, university students, especially those majoring in the engineering sciences, are queuing up to work for it. Samsung's success is largely due to its rigorous customer standards: the company provides a variety of segmented IT services that include business consultation, system integration, package solutions, IT outsourcing, IT education as well as IT infrastructure. That is why it is always looking for the best and brightest applicants to facilitate these services. Kim Sul-ki got a job at Samsung SDS in the first half year of this year, a time that was particularly difficult for job-seekers. He entered Dongguk University (DU) in 2003 and will graduate in 2010. His major is Computer Science and Engineering. What is his secret? Let's listen to his story.
His Campus Life
The Post: Almost every engineering student that we speak to says that there are too many things to do in each semester. What about your campus life?
Kim Sul-ki: My campus life is the same as other students; I find it very difficult to keep up with the amount of class work and homework expected of us. After I came back to school from military service, I had a very hard time catching up on the courses I missed. Once, I took six major courses in one semester! It was very hard because I had to manage three or four projects along with the regular exams and homework. Sometimes I, along with friends who had also just completed military service, would spend all day studying.
Out of all the courses I took, however, Data Structure was the most important and the hardest for me. I re-took this in my senior year, but it is probably better to take it either in your freshman or sophomore years. The course is based on several major classes. So, I recommend juniors to work hard on this subject.
The Post: Have you ever engaged in any other activities, e.g. a circle or a club?
Kim: I was involved in TNP, a computer academic society wherein I could share my knowledge while learning also from others. Rather fortuitously, as it turned out, there were many seniors who had already been hired by a big company or public enterprise. This was very useful as it helped me acquire some practical know-how about job interview techniques as well as gathering information on the employment examination.
His Internship Experience
The Post: I heard that you won an internship at Samsung. Please, tell us about this.
Kim: It is the custom of Samsung to recruit interns as a way of introduction to its working environment; after this, the best internees are often upgraded to full employment. Moreover, many seniors recommended, positively, Samsung as a place for employment. It was for these reasons that I made up my mind to apply for a Samsung Internship.
The Post: How should we prepare, then, for the internship? Are there any secrets to be selected?
Kim: When I was a freshman and sophomore, I studied carelessly. My grade point average (GPA) was 3.2. So, when I signed up for the Samsung Internship, I felt very nervous. But, Samsung only choose its interns after passing an aptitude test (called SSAT). Your application will only be accepted if the aptitude grade is over 3.0. I studied very hard for this. Thankfully, my college grades didn't come into it. The test is in many ways like an IQ test: common sense is more important than theoretical expertise. For example, there were mathematical questions in a middle school level; e.g. solving questions about the concentration of salt in mixed water. To prepare, I began studying for the SSAT four or five months before the exam day. I looked at previous SSAT tests and would work on them for half an hour to an hour every single day. From 2009, however, Samsung introduced an oral test along with the SSAT. Applicants should prepare for all of this beforehand.
The Post: The first half of 2009 was a terrible time for job-seekers. How about your employment process?
Kim: Because I am supposed to graduate in March 2010, I originally planned to apply for jobs in the second half of 2009. But, because the opportunity for internship at Samsung came up so fast, and because I passed the selection process with such ease, I felt it would be foolish to wait around. Frankly speaking, I had a slight chance like one out of million to pass the exam with the grades that I had - 3.2 GPA and no TOEIC score! The internship taught me lessons on the value of preparation; so after my time internship had finished (I was there from the end of the January to April), I organized a study group with friends who had participated in the internship to discuss prospective Samsung job interview techniques. We would sometimes simulate job interviews for five hours a day. To enforce diligence, we introduced a rule that if anyone skipped an appointed study meeting, he/she would be fined 10,000 won.
The Post: In what ways did the internship help you?
Kim: I obtained valuable information about the employment process from the internship; for instance, one notable lesson was the importance of social networking. During the internship, you will meet people of the same mind who are just as willing to form communities. In these communities, you are able to share up-to-date news along with useful information about current events. The most helpful thing was that it made me fully conscious of the need to find secure work during such economically uncertain times. Such information and experience will help me on the proper interview day. I want to enjoin all those Donggukians who are feeling complacent about the job market: "Get serious before it gets too late! Start preparing right now!"
Finally, he said that companies want students who are confident and passionately minded. When you go for an interview, speak your mind, don't be shy; the more confident you are, the greater the impression you will make. The interviewer doesn't expect expertise from the outset. The interview is merely a means of checking how serious and ambitious you are. If you believe in yourself, the desired result should not be beyond your grasp. So, if you want to take a job as good as Kim's, adopt the motto: Nothing ventured, Nothing gained!
Choi Jung-youn firstname.lastname@example.org
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