1314T2g1 South Korea/Course information

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Course Info
Trip Itinerary
Cast & Roles
Project Teams

Course Information

Overview of Project Course

It is not by accident that Korea has the highest Internet penetration in Asia. You will learn this unique Internet culture and their approach to entrepreneurship. From Entrepreneur Forums to University incubators, we will cover the ecosystem and support structure. How do you compete in an economy that is second to Japanese, European and American products, mired by corruptions and bankruptcies of family-run chaebol, and government inertia? Yet, Korea continues to be resilient, churning out large successful companies like Samsung, Hyundai, LG, Daewoo, etc. We will investigate the environment by visiting start-ups in Internet, Online gaming, Social Media, NOG and other industry in Seoul and Japan.

Visit the soul of Asia, Seoul and experience the unique culture by emerging ourselves in startups, ventures and government support structures. You will have the opportunity to speak to entrepreneurs and ask questions about their process, challenges, risks and rewards of starting up a new business. Is it Korean guanxi? Is it luck? Is it a culture or personality of the founders? Seek the X factor that is the ultimate ingredient for a successful business.

Students are strongly encouraged to explore Technopreneurship related internship opportunities with the companies that they visit.


Students are encouraged to take innovation and Technopreneurship related course.


This course will help

  • Introduce students to the vibrant entrepreneurship scene in South Korea.
  • Develop an understanding of the factors leading to the proliferation of start-ups.
  • Aspiring student entrepreneurs apply their findings to their own new venture journey.
  • Students understand how and why entrepreneurs in South Korea were able to start up technology-based companies.
  • Motivate and facilitate SMU students to start their own technology-based companies in other parts of Asia.
  • Students explore Technopreneurship related internship opportunities with the companies that they visit.


Student teams will be assigned to different organizations.

Output and Assessment Summary

Students will be assessed on both in class and during the trip activities and conduct. The grade break down and project descriptions are listed below.

Grade breakdown

The grade breakdown is listed below.

No Time Frame Topics Assessment Type Weighting
1 Pre-Trip Research on Organization Team 20%
2 Trip Discussions Individual 20%
3 Post-Trip Presentation (organization) Individual & Team 10%
4 All Recommendations to the Organization Team 25%
5 Reflection – wiki/journal/blog, video/photos, role/helping others, etc. Individual 25%


Here are the assignments:

  1. In class presentations and wiki report
    1. Teams are to research on selected or assigned organization.
      1. Country/City: background, industry, population/skill/language/culture, compare to Singapore, politics, aspiration, etc.
      2. The culture/trait could be connections (guanxi, family, companies, country, customer focus), support environment (government, business, infrastructure, society, market maturity, reputation), personality/company culture (integrity, leadership, competitive, pragmatic, savvy, creative, innovative, dynamic, risk taking, commitment to technology, excellent communication, team spirit, fun seeking, etc.). Research on this by reading a book and summarize. Come up with examples of company events when this trait is vital to the company. Explore this trait in some of the organization we will visit.
      3. Organization: background, motivation, challenges, investments/employee stock ownership plan/intellectual property, strategy/business model/IPO, culture/personalities/politics/connections, etc.
    2. Individual will be assessed based on the quality of your contributions in the role you play, getting organisation, helping out with the trip planning and execution.
  2. During the trip
    1. Teams will ask questions, when the opportunity presents itself. Each team will introduce their company, present the focus and recommend improvements. Each team will have a backup team to support them (taking photos, questions, follow up, etc)
    2. Individual will keep a journal/blog/diary/tweet (with video, photo, links, etc.) on the discussion and visits. Focus on learning points and reflections. Compile your journal in the individual reflection page.
  3. Post trip Presentation
    1. Reflection on your research
    2. Key takeaways (2) or learning points from the organization
    3. Quotes from presenter/senior management/owner/founder
    4. Recommendation on how the trip can be improved further

Academic Integrity

All acts of academic dishonesty (including, but not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, facilitation of acts of academic dishonesty by others, unauthorized possession of exam questions, or tampering with the academic work of other students) are serious offences. All work (whether oral or written) submitted for purposes of assessment must be the student’s own work. Penalties for violation of the policy range from zero marks for the component assessment to expulsion, depending on the nature of the offense.

When in doubt, students should consult the instructors of the course. Details on the SMU Code of Academic Integrity may be accessed at http://www.smuscd.org/resources.html.

Classroom Planning

There will be several classroom meetings to organize the course, trip and research. Students will meet in classroom to present their research findings. The teams are required to update their progress using the wiki.

Course Schedule Summary

Classroom: SIS SR 3.1 Thur 12:00-15:15

Class (Week) Topics Comments
1 (Jan 9) Course introduction, team formation and organisation selection. Group photos. Start individual, team and organization pages
2 (Jan 16) Preliminary contact to organisation and trip planning Start trip Itinerary
6 (Feb 13) Get to know each other lunch. Update or confirm organisations. Continue trip planning. Update organization and trip Itinerary pages
Week 8: Break
9 (Mar 6) Progress report. Continue trip planning. Student presentations
12 (Mar 27) Present organisation research. Finalise trip planning. Internship confirmation. Visa Student presentations
16 (Apr 24) Trip briefing and internships Update internship
17-18 (Apr 29-May 9) Trip to South Korea & final presentation Report and reflection complete