By Associate Professor Steen Peitersen
38 students from the AP Degree in Marketing Management and the Bachelor's Degree Programme in Financial Management and Associate Professors Gitte Top Jensen and Steen Peitersen from Cphbusiness have visited the Republic of Korea on a study trip.
10 of the student teams were assigned to Danish companies and brands (some of the brands have been sold to international investors). The companies and brands were Flying Tiger Copenhagen, BoConcept, Libratone, Bang & Olufsen, LEGO, Kopenhagen Fur, Skagen Design, Joe & The Juice and ECCO.
The assignment for the student teams was to make a comprehensive strategic analysis of the assigned company with focus on their presence in Korea and the dimensions of the adaptation and standardisation of their product or service portfolio in this market.
During the trip, a number of visits and presentations were arranged, and we visited the Innovation Centre at the Danish Embassy, Invest Korea (KOTRA), Samsung Electronics/Samsung Innovation Museum, SMØR and Oticon.
During the stay in Seoul, our partner university Hanyang University Business School hosted with lectures from Ph.D. professors in marketing and social sciences in topics such as the Korean society in both a historical and contemporary context as well as marketing - for example buying behaviour in Korea.
Presentation: "Marketing in Korea".
Cphbusiness coming back in the future
As a small, open and very export dependent economy, Denmark and Danish companies are equally dependent on sharp minds and skilled hands in order to build profitable relationships, develop and expand their market presence and win the never-ending battles of competition.
This is a mind-set and experience lecturers at Cphbusiness share and constantly try to pass on to our students. It is also the strong foundations on which this study programme has been developed since 2014. The first initial contact, however, was made as early as in 2012.
Change of focus towards new and more distant markets
A study of the development in Danish exports just before and after the global financial crisis reveal, among other things, a shift in focus from traditional export markets towards new, upcoming and very interesting markets.
In order to become successful in this transition, skills in developing and expanding these markets have been a key component. Cphbusiness must be present in such upcoming and new markets the same way we need to be present eye to eye with our business networks in other important areas.
To work close with established businesses as well as start-ups in Denmark provides the best possible framework for building first hand experiences from real life situations and challenges.
Cphbusiness is making an important difference when we support and encourage individual students as well as study groups to experience different cultures, customer needs, attitudes and preferences first hand by actually being in the market.
That is an important contribution to both students and lecturers in our roles as businesswomen and businessmen of the future and educators of today.
Cphbusiness - on a mission to innovate
Several of Cphbusiness' strategies are about innovation and business development eye to eye with our partners in Danish companies, business organizations and start-up communities. We have gained - and must continue to develop – competencies related to processes and know-how in these areas.
From what we learned and were told during the study tour, Korean business life and business structure is under a huge pressure to change. Less than 10 family owned conglomerates - "chaebols" in Korean - control more than 80% of all business in the country.
Leading politicians, intellectuals and social scientists, but also a few of these chaebols, recognise that this is a structure of the past and that much more time, effort and money should be directed to support new structures to nurture growth of a small, but much more innovative start-up culture.
It is my conviction that Cphbusiness, through our four partner universities in Seoul, should monitor this wave of change and position ourselves to benefit from this.
The students from Cphbusiness and their teachers at Hanyang University Business School the Republic of Korea.
Students' experiences in the Republic of Korea
Amelia and Rikke:
We got the rare opportunity to experience Seoul from a professional business perspective.
During our stay, we gained a lot of inside knowledge about their culture and work ethics as well as hands on practical experience. We travelled to Seoul with certain ideas and expectations of what things were going to be like, both culturally and professionally.
We found it really interesting to confirm some of our thoughts, however it was especially rewarding to be proven wrong and get a true picture of Seoul which can only be gained by experiencing it in person.
The program was well structured, with time for both pleasure and studies. It was truly fascinating to explore South Korea as the country is developing even faster than we expected. We really had the time of our lives, made lots of new friends and created memories that we will never forget.
Coming back from this project has changed my perspective on many aspects of my current studies. This study tour has vastly supplemented my knowledge in marketing, culture, creativity and keys to great performance in business environment. Not to mention, the pleasure of meeting with competent South Korean professors, guides and business associates in well-respected companies.
Having such a "real-life experience" in Korea while studying, where you are challenged on your skills within the culture that you are not familiar with and with the exploration of the same European brands you are accustomed to gives you an edge of understanding of how marketing works in different cultures.
By Associate Professor Steen Peitersen
The study trip to Seoul has been a huge success. Most of this success can be explained by the continuous and never-ending effort from my good colleague Gitte Top Jensen.
Success in most parts of Asia is often explained by a willingness to work long term. This means all from attention to detail and attention to keeping and nurturing network and connections in Seoul universities and the innovation centre at the Danish Embassy to important Korean corporations and other important partners. Gitte is a person with this type of mindset and mentality.
In my opinion, our strong partnership with the Hanyang University Business School should mostly be explained by her effort.
In addition, thank you to counsellor Mr Torben Orla Møller, Dean and Professor Suk-Guon Chang, Professor Seung Ik Baek, coordinator Ahram Lee, Annett Borchardt and Henny Meldgaard Nielsen from our international department, all the students from Cphbusiness City and Cphbusiness Søerne and Deans Susanne Rievers and Bo Steen Larsen.