Soojin Pak

Country of origin: South Korea

Internal Audit Manager, Hyundai Capital America

Soojin and her husband Nick Miles came on the Lancaster MBA together, bringing with them their 10-month-old son.

Throughout my career I was longing for an MBA degree because I felt it would give me more insight into business as well as the boost I needed to step up my career to a more senior level. That was at the back of my mind, but until shortly after my son was born in late 2007 I guess I had not had either the courage or time to go for it.

At that point I was working as a regional compliance manager for Universal Music Group in Shanghai, covering the Asia Pacific area. The job involved not only internal controls but also internal project management, such as new software development, new IT systems or marketing or manufacturing enhancements. Before that I had worked for quite some time as an internal auditor for Philip Morris International in Hong Kong.

It’s certainly no easy task studying with a young son, and initially when the suggestion of doing an MBA together came up, I probably needed a bit of a nudge. For about half a day I thought about staying at home to support my husband – but I rapidly realised that was something I would later regret.

We both wanted an MBA programme that was really practical in focus as well as being academically strong, which is why the Lancaster MBA stood out.

I was also very attracted by the idea of studying in the UK. I had lived in the States since the age of 15, then in Hong Kong for seven years, and finally Shanghai, but I had never lived in Europe, and I was very excited by that prospect.

Doing the MBA turned out to involve so much more work than either of us had anticipated – but was immensely rewarding. I found that my project management skills from my previous jobs came in very useful. Because I had been an internal auditor for a long time, my main skill is in quickly understanding a business and finding out where its strengths and weaknesses are. That was really helpful for the consultancy projects we did on the MBA, where I often found myself taking on a leadership role. I definitely contributed to those teams in terms of group task allocation and time management, because I so desperately needed that!

Looking back a year on, I am so happy that I finished my MBA. It has given a huge boost to my confidence levels, and the feeling that I can do anything.

I am now giving some time to my son, as this seems only fair. But when I go back to work, I will be looking to go into consulting, project management or business development. And I know that I’m ready to take on some big responsibilities.