When John Jin’s family departed South Korea for the United States in 2007, he faced the formidable tasks of making new friends and speaking a different language. His transition was not made easier as his family moved from Philadelphia to Tennessee, and then to Texas before settling in Northern Virginia, not allowing him to grow accustomed to any one area or community.
“This helped me with my social skills in terms of introducing myself, and to this day, I think about how I can communicate with my audience,” he says. Through joining sports teams, and then attending George Mason University, Jin found that by putting himself out there, he was able to forge connections and excel.
Two of the School of Business professors who have guided Jin the most on his prospective career path are Gretchen Hendricks and Peggy Tsirigotis. “They pushed me, explaining that if I want to get into consulting, I have to learn to communicate with others,” he says. He took that advice to heart, getting involved in and leading student organizations like Immanuel Christian Fellowship, and Mason Information Systems and Operations Management Association (MISOMA). His academic performance and display of leadership resulted in his being named an undergraduate recipient of the Emerging Business Leader Award, which comes with the benefit of scholarship money.
Part of the reason why Jin chose Mason was to alleviate financial burdens. The Emerging Business Leader Award scholarship is a major boost in that effort, and it will help him finance his study abroad program, something he wants to participate in prior to graduating from Mason. Putting his communication and networking skills into practice, he attended the School of Business’s Annual Business Celebration, where he gave a speech to accept his award, and mingled with alumni and faculty members, exchanging business cards and Mason stories. “A lot of people at Mason come from diverse backgrounds, many where college is not typically seen as an option, and we all see this diversity of cultures across campus,” he says. “There are many resources at Mason and the alumni are one of the most important ones because they have been through it and can give advice and support. It’s truly awesome.”
John’s courses and internships have opened his eyes to career paths that interest him, several that he had never considered previously. “I think cyber security is so critical and it’s not going away anytime soon,” he says. “I also enjoy learning about the project management career path.” Within the diverse student population of Mason, students often learn as much from each other as they do from faculty and textbooks. Jin recalls a case competition he entered in which he felt very encouraged by his teammates and mentor. “It was a great networking opportunity to work with a team of people who I had just met,” he says. “We were able to get first place in the competition and it gave me a lot of confidence that I can actually do it.”
Now that he’s proven himself to be a go-getter and eager to seize the opportunities ahead of him, John Jin is in the right place at the right time here at Mason, where opportunities are abundant. He’s a leader on campus and the Emerging Business Leadership Award further elevates him into a networking community of business leaders where he will continue to use his skills to make connections and build his career.