Entrepreneurship Is A Mindset And Not Necessarily A Career Path
A sales and marketing professional with a zeal for entrepreneurship.
John began his enterprising career in his hometown Korea, before furthering his studies in Singapore. He is now based in the United Kingdom as a Product Manager for the global leader in hearing implants MED-EL.
Hello from Singapore! You’ve been quite mobile in your life so far, having resided in three countries – what influenced you to make these decisions?
JC: Back in 2010 when I was still in Korea, I was considering taking up an MBA programme in the States, but decided against it because the MBA teaching materials were readily available online. While I was researching on similar courses, I chanced upon the Master of Science Technopreneurship and Innovation Programme offered by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and I felt that it was really ideal!
Furthermore, I have also been a great admirer of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and how he managed to build a small city-state with such limited natural resources. I was excited to experience Singapore, and hopefully be inspired to emulate these successes in my own job.
You’re very passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship – would you care to share more?
JC: I have always wanted to be innovative in my workplace. Corporate life can be rather structured and routine, and I didn’t enjoy that – I wanted to constantly challenging the status quo and improve myself.
In Korea especially, climbing up the corporate ladder has a standard template. You simply follow what your seniors did, and be evaluated based on the job scope requirements.
I found it challenging to make an impact with these standard and traditional procedures. Applying innovation and intrapreneurship within the corporate setting is definitely risky but it’s the only way ahead in my opinion.
Applying innovation and intrapreneurship within the corporate setting is definitely risky but its’ the only way ahead in my opinion.
How has further education help you in breaking out of that mould?
JC: Prior to the course, I had trouble grasping the concept of entrepreneurship – I did not know if I was interested in becoming an entrepreneur myself. However, after the course, I was enlightened that entrepreneurship is not just a career path but also a mindset and a set of skills that can be used within a corporate as well.
Especially in my role as a Product Manager, I always think about new value creation and encourage the entrepreneurial mindset amongst my colleagues. I keep asking myself how to help people see the big picture of my products. As an employee in a corporate entity, my entrepreneurial mindset has no doubt aided in the company’s growth and contribution to the industry as well as the society at large.
Along your intraprenuership journey what struggles have you faced while doing things differently?
JC: Working in a leading hearing implant company in the medical industry, people always have the misconception that we are just a consumer product company, instead of a provider of life-changing technology. Our direct users (the surgeons and clinicians) see us as only a pharmaceutical company, and it is my endeavor to inspire them to think differently, and to collaborate and work together with us through an entrepreneurial mindset to help the industry as well as the society to grow in tandem.
What are some of your concluding thoughts about what makes an entrepreneur/intrapreneur?
JC: To me, it’s all about making a difference to society. Even though I’m not an entrepreneur per se, I still practice intrapreneurship by inspiring new ideas in the value chain and developing the entrepreneurial mindset amongst my colleagues.
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John graduated with a Master of Science in Technopreneurship & Innovation in Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He is the Product Manager at MED-EL, a leading manufacturer of innovative medical devices for the treatment of hearing loss. With over 11 years of working experience, John has spearheaded and managed successful sales and marketing teams for the medical and CRM industry.