Day 4, Thursday March 14

Seoul Train Station

Last day in Seoul, hard to believe how fast the time flew by.  First a little free time, and then today we visited LG, including time in the showroom.  We then ended the day on the bullet train to Busan, arriving in the dark as we drove to our hotel in Haeundae.  What did you enjoy most about the LG visit and what did it teach you about their business philosophy and how this fits into Korea?  And what did you think of Korea’s rail travel?

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31 Responses to “Day 4, Thursday March 14”

  1. John R Says:

    I’ll answer the travel part of this post. The rail travel was great – I would have liked to have taken more trains. They had everything I wanted on a train:

    1) enough sitting and baggage space
    2) comfortable enough seats
    3) free wi-fi
    4) ability to bring on your own snacks and drinks
    5) the expectation of silence

    #5 above was the most unique aspect of the rail travel vs. what I am accustomed to in the states. To me it was a show of respect which I really enjoyed. One woman sitting across from us was on a phone call but hardly audible – she whispered and kept her hand over her mouth so she would not project noise.

  2. Leili Says:

    LG was incredible — it emphasized two parts of Korean culture, practicality & quality. Every item fit a specific consumer need, and was of superior quality.

    In terms of the rail experience, I ate the best Udon in the train station, which I don’t think I would ever say in the U.S. It was a clean, comfortable, and reliable experience. In the U.S., Amtrak is often delayed, but with Korean transport, this was a rare occurrence which I truly appreciated.

  3. Sneha Says:

    I enjoyed learning about the integrated smart things in the new products that LG is producing. I also enjoyed receiving a Polaroid photo!

  4. Sneha Says:

    The train experience felt very similar to European rail system only so much neater and quieter.

  5. Chase Says:

    LG was a fun experience! It was very special to feel a warm welcome from a McCombs alum and hear his views on working in various countries – the U.S., Korea, Dubai, and India.

    Korean rail travel was very enjoyable! It was clean, efficient, and QUIET. I’d enjoy that aspect being adopted in U.S. public transit!

  6. Nicholas Says:

    The LG visit provided some great insights into the tech-forward culture in South Korea. There were a number of household gadgets that I would love to own like the closet dry cleaner and the supercharged roomba. It was interesting to learn about the ultra high definition televisions and how cable providers are still catching up with this technology!

    Traveling by rail (with free wifi) was quite comfortable and relaxing.

  7. Chandler Moody Says:

    I still can’t get over the wallpaper-thin TV. It’s impressive that LG and Samsung both are Korean companies. I didn’t know that before the trip.

  8. Jackie Margol Lewis Says:

    I really enjoyed LG! It was great to meet an alum and hear about his role and experiences working across the globe. My favorite “gadget” in the showroom was the in-home dry cleaner. That could really change the game (and would probably pay for itself very quickly)! It was fascinating to see how LG is incorporating IoT into everyday life.

    Korean rail travel was very pleasant. Impressive selection and quality of food in the station. The ride was seamless, comfortable, and quiet (I feel like we made the car a little noisier than it would have otherwise been and it was still so much quieter than anything I’ve been on in the states).

  9. Margaret Mauel Says:

    It was so fun to visit the LG showroom! I agree with Chandler- I cannot believe how thin that TV is, and how realistic and detailed the picture was! I found the precision and secrecy with which they conduct themselves is representative of the culture I observed in Korea.

    I also really enjoyed the food court at the train station. There was a centralized menu and ordering location which I found fascinating, and I could not believe how delicious the food was- especially for the price!

  10. Rachel Compton Says:

    The Product Showroom at LG was a dream. From the paper-thin TV to the automatic door on the refrigerator to the dry cleaning station, I couldn’t stop touching each product, opening each door, and pressing each button to fully experience it all for myself. One thing I found interesting was that although we were asked not to bring our phones or cameras, when we entered the Product Showroom, our guide turned to us and asked if we wanted to take any photos. While I would expect a sense of secrecy at an innovation center, I enjoyed seeing how proud they were to show off their products to a group of MBA students.

  11. Emma Blumstein Says:

    I’ve never felt more passionate about high quality kitchen appliances than I did after visiting LG. I had no idea that some of the product innovations we witnessed even existed and if the prices our guide quoted were correct, I’m confused as to why we haven’t adopted more of these products in the states.

    Throughout the trip, I continuously noticed that all Korean bathrooms are incredibly nice, even at the train station! I wonder if the cleanliness of the bathrooms is related at all to the high-tech toilets. I know it seems silly but I noticed the advanced toilets at the hotel on my first night and thought it was just a benefit of staying in a nice hotel. Turns out these seat-warming, self-cleaning, bidet-toilets are all over South Korea. I wonder if the nicer toilets instills a sense of respect in bathroom-goers and results in less dirty bathrooms. I never saw any bathroom attendants while in Korea and have no other ideas on how or why the bathrooms stay so clean, even at a public transportation center!

  12. Jeff Ochfeld Says:

    The LG visit was a lot of fun! It was neat to visit the showroom to test and tinker with all of their new products. I found it interesting that all of the advertising and description language in the showroom was in English despite the office not only being located in South Korea but LG being a South Korean company.

    I enjoyed the rail travel very much. It was interesting to witness how strict the cultural norms of quiet and subtle speech were in the train, to the point where the train conductor had messaged the cabins (likely due to us) to keep quiet.

  13. Paula M Says:

    I liked that LG had a McCombs alum! It goes to show that the Longhorn network is truly global! The focus on innovation seems to be embedded into large corporations. It was fun playing with all the toys in the showroom…although I did feel old having an interest in home appliances…

    I was surprised that the train had to make announcements about being quiet in all cars. Meanwhile in the US, we have designated “quiet” cars. Also – I didn’t realize we were on a high-speed train until we got off…very impressive…couldn’t tell haha!

  14. Anika Urfi Says:

    I really enjoyed LG’s innovation center and getting to try out some of the cool new gadgets and appliances. It’s definitely given me some lifestyle goals post-graduation! I wish we could have seen more of the r&d center, but I was still truly impressed with the level of performance from their products in the showroom.

    I loved the ride on the bullet train. So fast, so efficient and so comfortable! There should be more bullet trains in the states!

  15. Anna Edelman Says:

    I was fascinated by the innovations that LG has developed. The wallpaper TV really struck me because that was unlike any technology I have seen before.

    It was also interesting to travel by train in Korea because the etiquette is very different than in the US. I really appreciated that they discourage loud conversations on train – it made for a much more relaxed experience!

  16. Bryant Buraruk Says:

    I thought the LG visit was great, and i loved how they took us to a showroom so we could see the new products they are launching. Being able to see and interact with LG’s products really makes the connection with what their R&D is trying to implement.

    Travelling on the rail was a super easy and enjoyable. I wish that more parts of the U.S had transportation that was as convenient and affordable.

  17. Laura Greissing Says:

    Visiting LG was an incredible cool experience. I am going to start saving for the in-home dry cleaner! And of course the OLED TV. I was also amazed by the cleanliness of the train to Busan. I wish all trains in the US looked like that! Was a pleasant travel day.

  18. Cecile Cosby Says:

    LG was one of my favorite company visits because we got to experience their products. It left me wanting to buy a home just so I could get a new washer and dryer. My biggest takeaway from this was how passionate they were about being on the cutting edge and improving the user experience.

    Also, the bullet train was a blast. It was so easy and convenient and CLEAN. Plus it was fun to do the facemasks 🙂

  19. Amanda Wilson Says:

    The LG visit was extremely cool and I felt honored to be at their R&D Innovation center. Once again, the hosts were extremely well prepared and exuded great passion for their work. I appreciated how every host at every office visit always began their introduction with an outline of the agenda for the visit, and they consistently met expectations every time!

    Today in my marketing class, the professor posted a WSJ article about “smart refrigerators” and asked if any of us had seen what is happening in refrigerator innovation. I was SO excited to raise my hand and share what I learned from this visit…very cool experience!

  20. Grace Ferguson Says:

    The showroom at LG was fascinating! This visit showed me how secretive Koreans are about their business practices. We watched a short video on LG but didn’t learn much about the business during the presentation time. Then when we went into the showroom, we were not allowed to take pictures. This theme of keeping business practices close to the chest is seen throughout many of our visits in South Korea.

    The bullet train was amazing. So much easier than getting on a plane. I wish we could travel like that in the US.

  21. Molly Pfister Says:

    The LG showroom was excellent. I’m not domestic by any stretch of the imagination, but I have never been more excited about kitchen appliances in my life.

    The rail travel experience was the highlight of my day. The train was very clear, the seats were roomy and comfortable, the wi-fi was free, we were able to carry on food/drink, and best of all, it was quiet! In Korea, you’re expected to be quiet on the train to respect the other passengers—something that I 100% appreciate and value. It was so nice to relax and unwind for a bit.

  22. Waldo Arreola Says:

    It was super fun to have an interactive experience with some of the latest in LG technology. I really liked how they had prominent wall displays for some of LG’s successful patent, which really shows how highly they value innovation.
    As the group knows, one of my bags got left at the hotel and we found out en route to the train station. I already knew Korean people were very nice, but the hotel employee that took a taxi to hand deliver my bag and would not accept any form of payment really blew me away.

  23. Blake Schwartz Says:

    The LG showroom felt symbolic for the Korean economy as a whole. LG has spent much of its history as a high growth company capitalizing on the new general electronics market. Now, as the market has saturated, LG finds itself in an industry that requires significant innovation to compete, which was on display during the showroom. As the 11th biggest world economy, South Korea is also placing an increased emphasis on innovation to move the economy forward.

  24. Kathryn Robinson Says:

    What a good day! Emma and I had woken up super early to try to go to a department store, if I recall, but since they didn’t open until 11 we ended up wandering and then going to Namdaemun Market (which we previously hadn’t had time for), which I really liked. I didn’t know what to expect from LG but their showroom was wild and now I want to own a home and turn it into a “smart home.” I did have a quiet laugh to myself when our nice tour guide asked the television what the best TV is and Samsung came up as the number one response. Oops! Interestingly, our teacher in Strategic Marketing brought up really high tech refrigerators earlier this week (so Amanda and I mentioned the LG visit) so we got to talking about whether or not people are actually buying them at the rate that these companies are innovating around them. (Sounds like no)

    Loved the train ride. I’m a big fan of train travel in other countries. And to echo what John said about the train, the expectation of silence…! I’m a generally quiet person so tend to notice when people around me are being super loud, but it’s never more apparent than on a train. I’ve actually encountered this in other countries as well.

  25. Ramon Cordova Says:

    LG’s showroom was incredible. I thought I saw some pretty cool stuff at the Startub Hub in terms of cutting-edge tech, but the LG TVs, fridges, and entertainment systems really impressed me. I particularly loved the TV that is thinner than a spiral notebook and the at-home dry cleaning appliance. If I could somehow cram one of those into an apartment, I could and I would save myself many, many trips to the dry cleaner (spoiler alert: I’m lazy). But most of all, LG’s next-generation product offerings are in keeping with South Korea’s leadership in technological innovation and excellence. Everything was easy to use yet mind-blowingly cool and satisfied every possible need you could imagine having.

    As far as travel goes, I’d like to apologize to everyone for having to see me in extra-tight millenial pink Supreme sweatpants. Subtle, that was not (Yoda-speak). Having said that, my sweatsuit (purchased on the streets of Myeongdong) made an already comfortable train ride that much more comfortable. I was impressed by the efficiency with which the trains operated, as well as by the basic comfort levels being much higher than American travel. The free Wi-Fi was a nice perk, too.

  26. Clare Lanaux Says:

    The LG visit was great. I really enjoyed being taken onto the showroom floor and seeing the constant and rapid innovation that happens at LG.

    I also found it interesting how quiet Koreans are on different systems of transportation. American culture differs largely in this sense, where speaking in public is normal.

  27. M. Ku Says:

    Our LG tour was a very excellent sales pitch for their products. Instead of an exploration of their R&D process, we got a mini CES presentation complete with TV specs. In all seriousness, the tour revealed some really interesting differences between how Americans and Koreans might talk about their businesses. Koreans don’t boast about the hard work and innovation that goes into developing these products– what matters most is the final result and presenting customers with a high-quality product. Americans, on the other hand, would feel much more comfortable talking about things like process, breakthroughs and setbacks, and the product lifecycle development. Though now that I think about it, American’s haven’t developed a wallpaper TV or an at-home dry-cleaning closet, so maybe we should talk less and work more 🙂

    As for the train travel– fast, clean, comfortable and quiet. I loved it!!!

  28. Jaey Li Says:

    This was a fun day! I enjoyed the free time in the morning where we explored Seoul a bit more on our own. We visited Starfield Library, which was quite a sight to see. Having a modern library as a “must-see” is something that can’t be said in most western cities, but here the enthusiasm about reading, learning, and the respect towards education and books made this very possible. The design of the place was definitely one of the most photo-worthy part of Seoul.

    We also visited the street of plastic surgeries, which is something that Korea is known for. The area was literally filled with clinics and hospitals that can help “fix” your eyes, nose, face, and pretty much anything that you can think of. All the nearby facilities and shops also catered around “plastic surgeries” and it was really a whole fully fleshed out industry.

    LG was an interesting visit and I was truly amazed by the technology they show cased. I think the key theme is attention to details. Whether it’s the knock-to-light refrigerator door or the curved screen smart TVs, LG really made it a mission to improve customers’ life through every tiny aspect. What I found most impressive was the context-awareness of their AI system in TV. You can ask several questions, each based on the previous question and answer, and still get very relevant results. In comparison that’s often not the case with Siri, and you would have to start each question as a new one.

    The train experience was very pleasant. The entire trip process and technology itself is quite prevalent in east Asia (China, Japan), and I really wish the US can adopt such convenient travel method. The level of quietness was somewhere between that I found in Japan(silent) and China (way more talkative). I enjoyed the trip and was very excited about exploring Busan as we arrived.

  29. Garrett Arras Says:

    I really enjoyed meeting with a McCombs alum at LG! The tour of their showroom allowed us to see and experience their pace and breadth of innovation.

    At first, I felt the train ride to Busan was quite slow… until someone reminded me that the trip used to take 5+ hours! It was a different experience than the train rides in the US which are typically much louder, even the announcer for the train warned us to keep it down!

  30. jolene wang Says:

    The highlight of the day was definitely the train ride to Busan. The speed was not the fun part bu the movie of “Train to Busan”. I was watching the movie while being on the train which was quite an entertaining experience.

    LG visit was fun, particularly the home theater sound showroom, makes me want to have one for my future home.

  31. Neomi S Says:

    Nice to have some down time in the morning and on the train! Sneha and I explored the insadong area, tried a charming local teahouse, and had a kind storeowner leave her store to walk us to the teahouse when we looked lost – another moment of kind hospitality.

    LG visit was very cool – a clear reminder of how impressively futuristic Korea is and how much they have accomplished since the war. Also a reminder of why I need to have money when I grow up. Loved the knocking fridge door technology. It was very nice to hear from a McCombs alum – his stories from abroad made it evident that LG is a truly global company. Having worked in R&D before, I was hoping to see more of the actual R&D work rather than a showroom.

    Getting to travel by train during our visit was a treat – and a nice break from bus life! Such a clean, simple, and quiet system. Loved seeing our classmates use the time to bust out a face-mask or two.

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