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[Career Compass] Craft yourself as a unique talent

By Korea Herald

Published : June 11, 2024 - 16:31

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With more than 23 years of experience, Dong Hyun (Ryan) Kim, senior director of Asia Pacific Regional Data and Analytics at the Coca-Cola Company, based in Singapore, is recognized as a global expert in his field. I met with him to hear about his career path.

Q: You are a global expert in data and analytics. What is data and analytics?

A: Simply put, it enables faster and better decision-making, which ultimately leads to better in-market execution. Companies typically have three core business questions: Where to sell, what to sell and how to sell. While these questions have remained consistent for centuries, the methods of finding answers have evolved. Data and analytics has modernized this process, offering more precise, data-driven insights to guide business decisions. I am excited to see many young people joining this field.

Q: How did you get started in your career?

A: It is a bit dull as my story is very ordinary. Honestly, I lived a pretty typical life in Korea and never had any big dreams. Even choosing mechanical engineering as my university major, it seemed like a general field that could lead to almost anything in the future. I liked programming and wanted a fresh start, so I thought a big company like Samsung SDS would provide new learning opportunities, and I learned a lot from Samsung.

Q: What was your motivation in joining a multinational company?

A: After four great years at Samsung SDS, I wanted to gain business experience beyond just programming. While I was not fluent in English, I thought being able to communicate in English would open many opportunities. I chose Procter & Gamble, which was known to have the best training and system globally, and I wanted a completely new and different experience.

Q: How different was P&G?

A: I felt the freedom to work in my own way. As long as you deliver desired outcomes, there is a lot of flexibility regarding how much you work or how you get things done. Every project starts with a shared objective and is much more results-oriented. This approach suited me better. During my 13 years at P&G, I gained valuable and diverse work experience ranging from data analytics, digital marketing, e-commerce and media to customer relationship management and leading Asia, global digital and analytics projects.

Q: What triggered your move to the Coca-Cola Company?

A: Coke was just starting to invest in data and analytics and was looking for a person to lead the change. It was a very attractive opportunity for me to apply all that I had learnt from scratch, starting from setting up the organization.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m in my seventh year at Coca-Cola and I really like the open and welcoming culture here. You can ask the president of Coca-Cola Asia to have coffee with you and discuss the future of Asia, and he'll say, "Sure, let's do it." This openness and accessibility make Coca-Cola a great place to work. I have been recognized for my business contributions, such as my forecasting model, which is now used in 180 countries. From here on, I want to focus on growing the organization. I’d like to be remembered as someone who helped create a foundation for the successful future careers of many people.

Q: What would you advise young people who are just starting out in their careers?

A: First, don’t be obsessed with having the best or the fastest career track. The key is to craft a unique you as a talent by exploring a variety of career adventures. I worked across programming, digital marketing, e-business, analytics and data science. Initially, it didn’t create much synergy, but ultimately it allowed me to become a unique data and analytics professional with expertise across all business domains. The second point is about people. You will inevitably meet people you want to run away from. Try not to run away since you cannot run away forever. Instead, think about what you can do and overcome the situation. Best of luck to everyone starting your career.

Kim Jooyoun, an independent board member at SK Innovation and a former CEO at P&G, answers questions on careers and multinational companies. She can be reached at kimjy2025@outlook.com. -- Ed.