Day 3, Wednesday March 13

Netmarble, Sol Kim

We kept you busy today.  We started with a tour and lecture at the Bank of Korea. This was followed up with a lunch and viewing from Namsan Mountain and the Seoul North Tower.  And we then continued on to Netmarble.  Relate what you learned about Korea, Culture, Business Practices, and History?  What most impressed you about the Bank of Korea and Netmarble?

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28 Responses to “Day 3, Wednesday March 13”

  1. Nikki Says:

    What impressed me the most about both of these places can be summarized by stating how welcoming they were about our visit. They were as excited to host us as we were to be at both the Bank of Korea and NetMarble.

    1. It was a different way of looking at how they present to their audience. BoK also tried to make it fun through a quiz
    2. NetMarble was most prepared to host us and provided a personalized experience with the banners and the presentations.
    3. Both Netmarble and BoK genuinely wanted us to learn about their way of doing business.
    4. It was also a very interactive learning experience at Bank of Korea – AR and telling the fake money from real money was pretty cool.

    And this applies to most companies we visited –
    5. Even though most companies didn’t speak English- the HR/marketing department did a bang up job on the presentations and you could tell that they hired talent to represent their companies who were well versed in speaking English.

  2. Leili Says:

    I loved the Netmarble visit because it was apparent that they truly valued their employees, and ensuring they were creating a healthy and supportive work environment. Throughout the discussion, it was evident they took the appropriate measures to make sure employees weren’t burning out, but also continuing to meet their goals.

  3. Chase Says:

    The Netmarble team was so welcoming! They had several printed banners welcoming McCombs, snacks, swag, and several great presentations. I loved seeing the strong female representation, especially in the gaming industry. This surprised me, having recently heard from a friend that his female colleague in Korea faced challenges as a female leader there.

  4. Nicholas Pyne Says:

    The NetMarble visit was a blast! There seemed to be a number of similarities between NetMarble’s office and those of technology companies in the US. The culture was relaxed, the office space was very modern and the employee perks (like free food) were everywhere. I also really enjoyed learning about how NetMarble is using artificial intelligence and data analytics to create more engaging in-game experiences for their customers.

  5. Chandler Moody Says:

    Netmarble was a great visit, because they seemed so happy to have us. They were very hospitable. The gaming culture in Korea is fascinating, because it is so different from the US. Despite how popular mobile games are in Korea, they aren’t as popular in the US. When our guide talked about all of the mobile games, I honestly hadn’t heard of any of them. I personally am happy that Americans aren’t as obsessed with gaming and virtual worlds.

  6. Margaret Mauel Says:

    Netmarble was absolutely amazing! I was very interested to hear the response to the question about gaming addiction-they really did not seem that concerned about the potential for over-indulgence with games, and instead were more concerned about content. I was also excited to hear about how many women developers worked at Netmarble.

    The Bank of Korea visit was interesting as well. It was fun to explore the museum and see the beautiful building.

  7. Rachel Compton Says:

    I still find myself thinking about the analytics presentation at Netmarble and the company’s ability to individually tailor rewards and incentives to players based on their gaming behaviors. Our presenter’s passion for analytics shined as she told us how they collect and analyze data from even the briefest gaming sessions. Her genuine desire to share the total number of data points collected continues to intrigue me because it is a number I can’t even fathom.

  8. Rachel Says:

    I still find myself thinking about the analytics presentation at Netmarble and the company’s ability to individually tailor rewards and incentives to players based on their gaming behaviors. Our presenter’s passion for analytics shined as she told us how they collect and analyze data from even the briefest gaming sessions. Her genuine desire to share the total number of data points collected continues to intrigue me because it is a number I can’t even fathom.

  9. Emma Blumstein Says:

    Our visit to Netmarble might have been my favorite business visit of the trip. They shared so much with us — they discussed their business strategy, culture, analytical capabilities, and more. They even thoughtfully curated an assortment of Korean snacks, knowing that we’d be hungry for a taste of Korean culture!

    I also found it incredibly interesting to visit Netmarble and BoK on the same day as the two companies were very different in many regards. Bank of Korea was fairly formal with their presentation and the museum was clearly established for tourists such as ourselves. In contrast, Netmarble’s presentations were much less formal in tone. Experiencing this juxtaposition reminded us that there is no one type of Korean business environment!

  10. Jeff Ochfeld Says:

    I was incredibly impressed with the hospitality shown to us by both the Bank of Korea and Netmarble visits. The combination of creating tailored presentations in English for our convenience, finding individuals who speak English fluently to speak to us, having gifts and treats for our group and making us feel welcomed was humbling and gratifying. This is in addition to simple things like ensuring a timely visit and coordinating logistics. That hospitality not only positions these institutions well for a broad, international audience, but provides evidence of the pride that these individuals take in working for these firms.

  11. Paula M Says:

    Koreans like things to be orderly with little room for improvisation — i.e. the Bank of Korea presentation / tour. Although BOK and Netmarble are very different, they still provided structured days. It was interesting that Netmarble is trying to change Korean company culture by introducing core hours and following the government lead by encouraging people to work less. However, I’m not sure how much of that is put into practice.

    I was SO impressed with Netmarble in general — printing all those banners for us, the presentations, the elaborate gifts! I do think that they foster a welcoming corporate culture.

  12. Anika Urfi Says:

    I enjoyed hearing about the monetary policy at the Bank of Korea. I found it interesting that they don’t have a Federal Reserve, but that the bank itself sets the policy and the base rates. I also liked that they honored the currencies of other countries in their own museum of currency.

    What was interesting about this day was stark difference in culture of the two companies;
    a) BoK was stuffier, we sat through a long lecture in a very warm room, we visited the museum and took fun pics in very serious and important looking rooms
    b) Netmarble’s cafe floor looked like a toy store, our speakers made jokes and were engaging, and the room we sat in had theater seating and we were provided snacks

  13. Anna Edelman Says:

    I was very impressed by how welcoming both BoK and Netmarble were to a group of American students. It was interesting to compare the culture of BoK, which was much more traditional, with Netmarble, which functioned very similarly to tech companies in the US. I am not a gamer, so it was very interesting to hear about how popular gaming is in Korean culture for all ages.

  14. Bryant Buraruk Says:

    The Netmarble visit was the highlight of the company visits! It was great to see visit a company that would be akin to an Electronic Arts or Activision Blizzard in the U.S. It was very interesting to see Netmarble carve out a foothold in a very niche industry.

  15. Laura Greissing Says:

    Netmarble was probably my favorite company visit. It almost felt like the Google of Korea. There culture seemed innovative and laid back. What a fun place to work! I loved how welcoming they were and it was very interesting to hear about the gaming culure in Korea.

  16. Cecile Cosby Says:

    I really enjoyed the museum tour at the Bank of Korea. It was fascinating to see the evolution of their currency, as well as, getting to check out what North Korean money looks like.

    Netmarble was also extremely impressive based on the hospitality of the individuals. The team there made us feel so welcome and it was lovely given the fact that Sol had to work very hard to get us in the door!

  17. Grace Ferguson Says:

    It was interesting to learn about monetary policy in South Korea and compare it to what we recently learned about monetary policy in the US in our economics class. I enjoyed walking through the money museum and learning all the secrets built within the banknotes to prevent counterfeiting.

    Netmarble seemed like a remarkable place to work. Employees wore casual attire and hung out together like friends in the cafeteria area. All drinks were free were demonstrates to me that the company values its employees and giving them a nice break. I also saw some employees doing work in the relaxing area, which is a nice way to get things done in a stress-free environment. During the presentations, I enjoyed learning about all the things that Netmarble and its cultural foundation are involved in.

  18. Waldo Arreola Says:

    As many have noted, NetMarble’s attention to detail as far as optics was incredible and it felt like they rolled out the red carpet for our group. It was incredible nice for them to offer us both snacks and gifts to take home. I also liked their approach to fostering community by way of creating and maintaining a common space where folks can go enjoy a cup of coffee with their coworkers on the company’s dime.
    Climbing the Seoul North Tower gave a greater perspective of Seoul rather than just running around town by foot, taxi, or bus. It was cool how they had signs pointing to different locations around the globe on the periphery, which tells you about how Koreans think of themselves as global citizens.

  19. Blake Schwartz Says:

    The presentation from Bank of Korea highlighted to complexities associated with transitioning an economy. South Korea spent decades as a high growth, emerging economy and now they are an established global economy. With this, the same fiscal policies and economic infrastructure that enabled the country to grow may not be the best strategy moving forward. At Netmarble, I was blown away at how the company adjusted its games based on the cultures in the different distribution geographies.

  20. Kathryn Robinson Says:

    This day was interesting in the way that the two company visits could not have been more different. Having been in the Bank of Korea presentation group, I was able to be a little more jazzed up about what we were seeing and learning! I surprised myself by being pretty interested in the tour part of the day, with our great guide. (The counterfeit money component is very cool). Thank you to Sol for showing us your old stomping grounds! Netmarble was a highlight, and though I have little to no interest in video games I left thinking… should I try one…? They were incredibly welcoming (the thoughtful printed banners continue, oh my gosh) with in-depth presentations, engaging speakers, and even breaks and snacks. Even with the language barrier for some pieces of the presentation it was easy to see how this would be an engaging workplace for an employee.

  21. Molly Pfister Says:

    Netmarble was the perfect caricature of South Korean culture. Everything was brightly colored and cutesy. As a company, they clearly value their employees. They offer the perks and benefits typical of technology companies in the US, such as free food, fun meeting spaces, and a relaxed corporate culture. Of all the company visits, we received the warmest, most energetic welcome from Netmarble. With UT welcome signs and banners, Netmarble went out of their way to make us feel very special.

  22. Ramon Cordova Says:

    Netmarble really knocked it out of the park with their welcome and subsequent presentations. In addition to the personalized welcome, their common area with the coffee shop was really cool and is an amenity I wish all offices had. As far as Netmarble’s employees and products go, I was thoroughly impressed. The young woman from the HR department was unbelievably knowledgeable in all aspects of the company’s product offerings (in great detail too, because she plays them herself!) and was supremely engaging. I knew South Koreans love gaming, but I had no idea Netmarble has such a massive footprint in mobile gaming. I remember looking up their most popular game on the App Store, and the reviews were stellar. They’re clearly a market leader, and I’m glad I learned about them from the visit.

    The trip to Seoul Tower, though brief, was great. I love being able to see far and wide, and the observation deck had some breathtaking 360 views of Seoul and the surrounding countryside. I never knew South Korea would have beautiful landscape, but boy was I wrong. I snapped a lot of photos up there.

  23. Clare Lanaux Says:

    At the Bank of Korea, what most struck me, was the similarities between the BOK and the Federal Reserve. I wondered how much the BOK was structured off of other countries’ banks.

    I loved the hospitality of the Netmarble team. They were so welcoming and clearly very excited to have us there and very proud to share their company with us. I wondered how many American companies would be so hospitable.

  24. M. Ku Says:

    This day was all about Sol. Thank you, Sol, for arranging visits to your former workplace and for getting us into Netmarble! While the two workplaces were polar opposites in terms of environment and objectives, both are shaping Korea’s influence on the rest of the world. And in both cases, our hosts could not have been more gracious. From the thorough presentation and thoughtful souvenir at Bank of Korea to the signage and snacks at Netmarble, the day highlighted Korean hospitality and the idea that business can be deeply personal.

    The Netmarble visit was especially memorable for its presentations from the HR and Ai teams. It was so refreshing to see two young and clearly brilliant women talk about their work.

  25. Jaey Li Says:

    Netmarble was definitely the best company visit that we got on the entire trip. It was well organized, well prepared, and quite engaging. They showed us their break room/cafeteria area which allowed us to see a more relaxed side of South Korean company life (stark contrast from the Bank of Korea visit in the morning). We also had some peak and glances at their cubicle/office life, which seemed identical to those found in America.

    I think Netmarble was also the most open and honest about their global positions among all the companies that we visited. While most companies focused on touting how they have top of the world accomplishments and features, Netmarble acknowledged on many instances their lack of success in the western markets. Their accomplishments and market position in Asia was definitely something to be proud of, but instead they also openly admitted that, like most of us, the western markets aren’t quite into their games yet. And they made it their goal to eventually conquer these markets.

    I liked their friendliness and openness and wished that we had more opportunity to interact with their employees.

  26. Garrett Arras Says:

    The two business trips that we went on today provided a broad understanding of the industries and corporate cultures represented in Seoul. Bank of Korea was extremely professional, not surprising given they are responsible for important elements of the national economy. Netmarble held a very different energy, with many young employees running around the office and video game characters covering their walls. It was a great visit at both companies, learning that the culture these industries represent in America are not that much different than those in Korea.

  27. jolene wang Says:

    Having visited both companies with drastic corporate culture differences was a fun experience. We received the most welcoming hospitality with the netmarble team. It was definitely the most international and laid back company we have visited through the entire trip.

  28. Neomi S Says:

    A day full of contrasts! The work cultures at BoK and Netmarble seemed poles apart but they were both incredibly warm and gracious hosts. The fact that BoK had a visitor museum, Netmarble had banners/a photographer and they both gave us gifts made it evident that this wasn’t their first rodeo – they had plenty of visitors in the past. All the presenters that day were incredibly knowledgeable and accomplished. I struggled to pay attention through the BoK presentation but found Netmarble to be super engaging and loved that we heard from 2 brilliant women. Enjoyed hearing about the complexity of the gaming industry and nuances of gaming across different countries – I learned a lot! The tendency to make everything cartoon-ish/cute was evident across S Korean stores and Netmarble was a great amplification of that culture. I would work at Netmarble! We all thought we left with Keke stuffed animals – only to learn later the proper use as a massage stick!

    N Seoul tower had a beautiful view and gave us good perspective. Would have loved to visit at night to see the lights.

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