This student was a pioneer in management consulting at Mason Korea


Throughout his time at a STEM-focused high school, Chanyoung Kim, BS Business ’24, aspired to be a scholarship student in Japan, following in the footsteps of his high school classmates. However, a rejection letter prompted him to pivot to a different cultural and language context.

Chanyoung Kim. Photo provided

My first experience with Mason Korea was an exhilarating blend of anticipation and curiosity, intertwined with a strong awareness of the challenges ahead,” said Kim, who graduated from George Mason University this May. “The transition to an English-speaking educational environment initially presented itself as a formidable challenge, particularly since I had spent a significant amount of time in Korea, where English was not my daily language.”

Despite previously being a STEM student, Kim had a keen interest in business strategies. At that time, as he did not have a strong career goal, he took a chance majoring in management, hoping that he might find a more specific area to delve into.

Later, coming out of his mandatory military service, he dove into the world of management consulting, hearing that it was a great job for those burning with curiosity. However, recognizing that management consulting was a difficult industry to break into, Kim took the initiative to get support from Mason Korea. He founded the Mason Consulting Group to create a platform for students to learn about the latest trends in consulting jobs, hone their skills in strategic thinking, and share their passion for consulting. The student group even participated in an international business case competition hosted by HSBC.

In spite of his initial trepidation about English, being a college student at a U.S. institution turned out to be an advantage as he applied for internships, as his English skills caught the eyes of a U.S.-based consulting firm’s Seoul office. He followed this experience with an internship with the Big 3 consulting firm, Bain & Company. His experience at these two firms and his involvement in mobility, blockchain, and hydrogen business projects allowed him to find his specialized interest in renewable energy and mergers and acquisitions.

“The experience of strategizing, presenting ideas, and receiving feedback in a real-world environment fostered a unique form of learning that went beyond the traditional classroom, enriching my understanding of the relevance and efficacy of business theories in addressing real-world challenges,” Kim said.

Realizing the importance of having a specialized industry focus in consulting firms, Kim started his journey in Fairfax in fall 2023, declaring a minor in renewable energy. The curriculum of the minor required an internship, which allowed him to be part of an on-campus research project that explores the possibility of installing solar panels on George Mason campuses.

To further develop his English skills, he went out of his comfort zone to participate in language exchange sessions and met with Writing Center tutors. “The initial struggles with language and adaptation were, in retrospect, a blessing in disguise,” he said. “They were not mere obstacles but opportunities that enabled me to rapidly enhance my English proficiency and adjust to new environments more efficiently.”

Looking back at his four years at George Mason and looking forward to his career, Kim hopes to continue helping other students interested in consulting to acquire meaningful experiences in the industry. He wants to help establish a management consulting association at Mason Korea to help prospective students. He hopes his experiences show other Mason Korea students an unexpected directional change in life can be a true silver lining.