Second-year MBA student Heather Y. Kim credits a lot of her drive for success to her father, who brought his family to Atlanta from South Korea with only $300 in his pocket when she was four years old.
She watched him convert an abandoned restaurant into a successful nightclub, where he performed as a musician, and turn around the fortunes of a small convenience store before starting a successful company that manufactures high-end customized home interior products (and later a multi-million dollar commercial real-estate company).
"At dinnertime, we often talked about what it takes to run a business," Kim remembers. "My father started with nothing, but he was able to build his own business and find his destiny."
Kim dreams of one day creating her own company. She's gotten a head start through a variety of entrepreneurial development opportunities at Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.
But for now, Kim is excited about graduating with her MBA in May and starting work in Eaton Corporation's Global Leadership Development Program. She believes that her entrepreneurial education through Tech's TI:GER® (Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results) Program will prove invaluable as she embarks on her new career.
"You learn how to work with people from different backgrounds, leveraging each other's talents and skills to achieve a common goal," Kim says.
Developing Entrepreneurial Mindsets
A collaboration between Georgia Tech and Emory, TI:GER is the first program of its kind to bring together PhD, MBA and law students in the classroom and research lab over two years to advance research into real business opportunities.
Students accepted into this highly competitive program are assembled into five-member teams, including two MBA students and two law students who focus on the commercialization of a PhD student's research (in Kim's case, a portable hemodialysis machine).
This program has led to the creation of real businesses, while many other alumni have reported gaining an entrepreneurial mindset that benefits them in a wide range of careers.
In addition to commercializing research, TI:GER participants work on consulting projects for startup businesses in Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). "We serve as a 'think tank' for these startups, learning what their needs are, drafting project plans, and meeting deadlines."
Kim is one of a select number of TI:GER students gaining up-close exposure to the world of investors through an internship program with Atlanta Technology Investors, a group that makes early-stage investments in promising Georgia-based companies.
"While I help with operational duties, I'm getting to network with heavy hitters and see firsthand what it take for start-up companies to be successful," she says. "I'm getting the inside scoop on what investors are looking for. That will help me one day when I build my own company."
Kim, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry at Tech, decided she was ready to get out of the lab after graduation. So she found opportunities to serve as a financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial and Keystone Financial Group. "I learned to build a practice from the ground-up. This helped me sharpen my business skills while providing valuable service to clients."
Feeling the need to sharpen her business acumen with an MBA, Kim was drawn back to Tech by TI:GER and the overall culture of innovation. "Georgia Tech's Full-time MBA program provided the right environment to develop the skills I need to be a thought leader," she says. "These skills will be huge assets as I leap into my career at Eaton."
As a member of Eaton's Global Leadership Development Program, Kim will prepare for a manager-level position by completing two one-year assignments in areas ranging from supply chain and product marketing to business development and manufacturing operations.