Breaking Into Business Today

The Samsung executive recounts his own rise in the business world, and advises young people preparing to enter today’s daunting economy.
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: What is your job description?

David Steel: Yes. I'm responsible for Samsung's corporate marketing efforts in North America covering the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and then looking at all of their corporate marketing activities across all of their product lines.

Question: How did you rise to your current position?

David Steel: Sure. It probably sounds a lot more logical and a lot more rational looking back on things, but I grew up in England, went to school there and actually studied physics in college. I came to the States to get my PhD in physics, worked for three years doing federal government R&D, and then decided I was ready for a change. So, I went back to business school and then Samsung hired me. I moved to Korea where I spent the last ten years heading up marketing for consumer electronics globally and then just came to the U.S. about a year ago. So, it's been a strange mixture of some science and some business and lots of cultural issues mixed in, but it's been a great time.

Question: Based on your experience, what would you advise young people entering today’s business world?

David Steel: So, I think there's no substitute for real fundamentals. When I was taking physics, people used to question whether a science or a math would be useful for business or useful for a career outside science or math. Actually, it turns out to be very useful. Those sort of fundamental number skills and **** skills, problem solving, they are really important. So, first thing would say is go for a fundamental education. If it's science or if it's math, that will really help you later.

Probably the second thing would be, look for international opportunities. Business is becoming so global in nature that language skills and cross-cultural skills are becoming far more important. So, I would say, look for opportunities to work in different countries, to learn different languages, to understand how business is done in different countries. That would be important too.