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Sungwoo "Ben" Cho | MSHRM '12

ben cho, mshrm 2012

For Krannert alumnus Sungwoo “Ben” Cho, a graduate degree in human resource management and a bachelor’s degree in economics helped propel him to new heights in his career, which today finds him at Kwangwoon University in Seoul, South Korea, where he’s worked on the administrative staff since 2012.

His journey began much sooner, however, beginning with a move to the United States when he was in the fifth grade. Growing up in New York and Los Angeles, he found something different at Purdue. “I felt like I was missing out on something by living in big cities, from agriculture to industry, which is why West Lafayette was so appealing to me,” he says.



Upon completing his undergraduate degree in 2006, Cho returned to South Korea for the first time in 20 years to complete two years of military service in the Republic of Korea’s Marine Corps. Reaching the rank of sergeant, he served as a language specialist and earned several commendations.

His next stop was the Chosun Ilbo Daily, South Korea’s largest newspaper, where he worked as a sales associate in the advertising and marketing departments.  “It was a great experience, but it didn't really move my heart,” Cho says. “I wanted to do something more meaningful that could grow talent and make people better individuals instead of just making money for the company.”

That experience brought Cho back to Purdue to earn an MS in Human Resource Management (MSHRM) in 2012, fueling his passion for helping others.

“In terms of growing talent, HR is a key, whether it's a nonprofit or profit organization,” Cho says. “I considered programs at other schools but kept coming back to Krannert. It’s a valuable degree when it comes to seeking jobs outside the United States because a lot of companies value Purdue and Krannert very highly.”



With two Krannert degrees in hand, Cho worked as the planning director for Kwangwoon Foundation, which supports a kindergarten, an elementary school, two middle schools, and one technical high school as well as Kwangwoon University. He then transitioned to a role in international and external affairs before serving as team manager for the university’s Donghae Arts Center, followed by a position as team manager for its career development and internship teams.

“The majority of our staff are members of a labor union,” Cho says. “I was able to negotiate and work with them more smoothly because the HR program at Krannert taught me so many things in terms of how to value our workforce and people. If you respect your people, your company will be respected. And this core spirit you learn from Krannert was the most valuable experience I got from Purdue.”

Today, Cho continues to serve Kwangwoon University as managing director of Happy Dormitory, a residence hall with a capacity for nearly 1,000 students.

“We’re not only an environment to provide sleeping and eating, but also to give them a more diverse experience such as English instruction, job placement support, and professional training,” he says. “Working in a university, I get to mingle with a lot of young students and see how their talents grow. It is very meaningful and enjoyable work.”

From Marine veteran to newspaper professional to team manager, mentor, and HR specialist.

That's Ben's giant leap.