I have always done my best in life. Although faced with many challenges, I overcame the difficulties with a positive and persistent approach and attitude. As a result, I could have accomplished as I have thought and intended. I am very proud of that.
In retrospect, I was a very ordinary student when entering high school. My grade was not good or bad, and I didn’t eager to study hard. However, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, was a turning point for me. Even as young as I was it was impossible not to notice the chaos it had brought to the Korean economy and society. Large companies and banks declared bankruptcy every day. Streets filled up with jobless people. I witnessed first-hand the damaging impacts of economic debacles and policy failures on the lives of ordinary citizens. This was about the time I decided to study economics in the university. To do this, I started to study hard and I was lucky to study economics at Seoul National University, the most prestigious university in Korea.
It was wonderful time for me to study at the SNU. I gained a solid understanding of the inner workings of a national economy, the process of making economic decisions, the interaction between different economic decisions, and the effects of such decisions. Still, however, there were things that textbooks could not explain. For example, large and small economic crises such as the 1997 Asian financial crisis, still happened even if all market participants made “optimal” choices on their part. From this, I realized the importance of the government’s role. It was the government’s responsibility to coordinate efforts to overcome and prevent systemic crises.
I therefore decided to become a government official. Since the Higher Civil Service Examination in Korea is the highly competitive one, I could not help doing my best for preparing it. Though I failed to pass the exam once, I finally passed the exam with a high record and began my career as a Deputy Director at the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.
As you might know, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance is in charge of overseeing and devising the nation’s economic policies, mid- to long-term development strategies, budget, taxation and international finance. During the past nine years, I served in many key positions within the Ministry. I was initially responsible for the privatization and IPOs of major state-owned enterprises, including energy...