Alumni Interview: Yoobin Kim
Class of 2015 | Years at ISPP 2012 – 2015
Hello everyone! I’m Yoobin and I attended ISPP from 2012-2015.
I grew up in South Korea until Grade 9 and joined ISPP when my father moved to Cambodia for work. ISPP was my first international school, and I had to adapt to an absolutely different culture, language and people. Since everything was new to me, I struggled a lot at first, but I think I was able to go through all kinds of challenges, thanks to ISPP teachers and students.
When I think of my life in Cambodia, it was definitely a turning point for me. I’m still thinking if I haven’t been to Cambodia and ISPP, I might still have been short-sighted. ISPP taught me how to broaden my views, build logical thinking, and express it professionally through writing, speech and visuals.
Academics were not the only ones. I participated in all kinds of activities, such as cultural events, volunteering, musicals, and sports. Among those, my favourite was music-related events, especially playing the piano. Believe it or not, during my school life, I think I played the piano on every occasion, such as graduation ceremonies, talent shows, and assemblies! My piano-playing skills really brought me lots of chances to interact with people and to experience different activities. One of them was the “Animal Farm” musical, which is now hung in the Black Box theatre.
I really want to say that if you have your own hobby, keep up with it without giving up. It will certainly become your own strength that you will never lose.
After graduating from ISPP, I double majored in Economics and Finance at the University of Hong Kong. My experience at ISPP and my interest in Economics from the IB curriculum triggered me to keep pursuing studies abroad, and to challenge myself in the finance field. During my university life, I prepared my career path by doing internships in Korea and Singapore, where the job was related to global treasury and proprietary trading. Those were incredible experiences to realize how interesting the financial market is and to learn new financial knowledge.
Fast forward to now, I am currently a treasury dealer at Citibank, based in South Korea. As the financial market is moving in real-time, it often makes the job so busy and tiring, but I feel really great whenever I achieve something. Other than working, I also recently started learning Futsal to keep me energized. No one knows what will happen in future, but I can tell you that I will never stop learning.
To dearest ISPP students, please feel free to reach me if you have questions about anything. I’m more than happy to talk and share my stories!
How has your perspective changed after living in many countries?
I mainly spent my life in two countries, Korea and Cambodia. Although I spent most of my time in Korea until Grade 9, a relatively short time in Cambodia helped me to break my fixed ideas, and to reflect on myself. I believe the change in education and the environment were the two main drivers. After going through a whole different way of learning and real-life challenges that I need to resolve while living, I realized becoming aware of myself at an early age is very important. I was just a frog in the well when I was in Korea, but as I start living in Cambodia, where culture, environment and people are totally new, I could awake to new perspectives and started to gradually change myself into a better person.
What are your hobbies? What do you end up doing in your spare time?
I have been playing the classical piano since I was very little. I kept learning it in both Korea and Cambodia when I was a student, which brought me good opportunities like performing at assemblies, graduation, and musicals, and even getting invited as a guest player in the pianist’s recital. Even though I could not make use of it as a profession, I am still practising in my free time after work and challenging myself to participate in competitions. Other than that, I am still exploring new hobbies these days, like soccer, playing the guitar, and swimming.
What are your favourite memories of Cambodia?
I cannot choose one among all my memories, but I remember the times when my family went to Siem Reap all together to see Angkor Wat, ride on elephants, eat local foods, and see dolphins. These memories are so priceless since it would be practically difficult to make the same one while I am working in Korea. It was a very special right to enjoy those moments in Cambodia where I got to reside.
How do you feel your time at ISPP contributed to where you are now?
Time at ISPP contributed to where and how I am now almost 100%. It was a great opportunity for me to grow as an international person with an international mindset. Since I spent my learning and experiences at ISPP with the best teachers and activities, I was able to be independent enough to go to Hong Kong for further studies. ISPP was also the place where I could get self-confidence and become a mature person.
How did you find job opportunities/connections to companies?
When I was in year 2 at the university, I started to join mentor/mentee clubs where I could get advice from seniors on how to find internships and prepare resumes and interviews. Since I liked to meet people with experiences and hear their stories, I proactively created new connections in the school first. Other than school clubs, I actively attended job fair events even if I wasn’t qualified to apply. Going to any career-related events and just watching helped me get fresh information. By doing this, I could find job opportunities naturally from the websites, recommendations from seniors and the business card that I received from the jobs fair. If you are trying to find job opportunities, get good information from people around you, be aggressive both offline and online, and lastly be patient.
From all experiences you got from your work, what are you looking to develop in yourself?
To make myself more professional in my task and responsibility at work, I aim to read more professional books, articles, and columns to learn and evaluate experts’ views. I realized knowledge is power as I start working and as people become independent, there would be no one teaching them if they don’t do anything. The more you want to be successful, the more you need to be hungry for knowledge. To become an expert in the finance field where I am right now, I intend to get myself motivated by always being curious and find for answers without procrastination.
This interview was first published in the ISPP Pulse Magazine (November – January 2023).
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