Mason Korea senior is making his mark through networking


When Joonhyuck Lee was visiting the United States on summer breaks, he did not know that he would eventually study abroad there. When he had to choose between going to college in Korea or taking a gap year, he decided that the study-abroad track would be much more beneficial than attending a local Korean university.

Joonhyuck Lee
Joonhyuck Lee. Photo provided

Unlike some students whose parents, friends, or private institutions introduced them to universities abroad, Lee attempted to find the best study-abroad option himself. Noticing the financial advantage of the tuition discount at Mason Korea compared to other institutions that required him to pay more than two times the cost, he took his chances to Songdo, South Korea, rather than straight to the United States.

“The fact that I could take part in an American college environment without leaving my home country was the most attractive aspect,” he said.

Initially planning to study finance during his freshman year, Lee’s passion and interest in the business world exponentially grew after he started saving money through his stock investments. Using his U.S. college education at Mason Korea, he successfully landed an internship at an investment firm in Seoul, where he met with foreign clients worldwide and dived into various market research translation projects. He further perceived the value of his U.S. college degree and the power of networking, something not as familiar to the Korean context.

“Realizing the limited scope of networking opportunities within the Korean industry enabled me to further want to help students voice their opinions so that they can take advantage of their U.S. college background,” said Lee.

Knowing that networking was more important in the United States than in Korea, he continued to move out of his comfort zone to broaden his perspective of the finance industry and build connections with professionals. His first semester at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus was filled with coffee chats with numerous industry leaders and information sessions with several investment banking companies. He boasts that his English skills improved considerably in Virginia and that his language skills are his most valuable asset.

With one semester left until graduation, Lee aspires to be one of the few pioneers for Mason Korea in the finance industry and wants to be a mentor that other Mason Korea students can look up to and ask for advice when navigating their careers.

“What sets Mason Korea apart from other institutions is the pride of being from a tight-knit campus and the passion of the students to elevate the success of this school further,” Lee said. “I hope to represent that pride in finance, where much is still to be established.”