Category Archives: Career Insights

The Evolution of Private Equity in Korea

chulmin-leeChulmin Lee is a co-founder and managing partner at VIG Partners, a private equity firm in South Korea that invests in mostly mid-sized firms across multiple industries in the Korean market. A 2001 graduate of Fuqua’s Daytime MBA program, Lee is also president of the school’s Korean Alumni Association.

Lee shares some of his insights on the Korean economy and the investment challenges and opportunities in this Fuqua Q&A.

Describe the private equity climate in South Korea. What are the most exciting investment opportunities?

Private equity is a very young industry in Korea, one that has only been around since 1998, just after the Asian financial crisis. Market dynamics at that time were such that Chaebols (South Korean multinational business conglomerates) and other major local companies were swamped with bad debt and therefore looking to sell assets. The who’s who of the global private equity industry swooped into the market to take advantage of this opportunity. Everyone from TPG to Lone Star and Carlyle broke into Korea as the system lacked the necessary capital to push ahead. Then 2005 was another watermark year. That was when the Korean government established the legal frameworks for its own private equity industry.


The Quant Group Senior Partner Shares Leadership Insights 

Pakpoom Vallisuta presenting during the 2015 Duke University Asia Business Conference

Pakpoom Vallisuta is chairman of The Quant Group, a leading investment bank based in Thailand with a specific focus in mergers and acquisitions. Pakpoom spent the first five years of his career as a computer engineer and the last 27 years in investment banking, including almost 20 years with The Quant Group since he founded the company. He has an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and serves on the school’s Board of Visitors and East Asia Regional Advisory Board.

Pakpoom discusses his career journey, the state of the finance industry in Asia and what he looks for in new talent in this Fuqua Q&A.


Tesla Executive Shares Insights on China’s Electric Vehicle Movement

Tom Zhu, general manager of Tesla China and Duke Fuqua MBA alumnus

Tom Zhu, president of Tesla’s operations in China

Tom Zhu has gained expertise managing large international projects during his career—skills he now utilizes at Tesla Motors in China. He joined the company in early 2014 to lead the team that builds the network of car charging stations across the country. At the end of the year he was named general manager—assuming operational leadership of the company in China.

Prior to Tesla, he worked at Kaibo International, a construction project management firm, where he held several roles and ultimately led business development and the investment division of the company. In addition to East Asia he consulted on projects in Africa and New Zealand.

Zhu graduated from the Daytime MBA program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He shared his industry and leadership insights in a Fuqua Q&A.

Q) Can you provide some context on the Chinese automobile market that has seen unprecedented growth over the last 10 years?

The development of China’s car industry is closely related to China’s demand. In the last 10 years, China rapidly increased its rate of purchasing vehicles. To date, an inventory of 155 million private vehicles has been reached throughout the country, and that increases by 20 to 23 million each year. Therefore, China has already become the most important vehicle market in the world, both in terms of the import and domestic automotive brands—and the competition is white-hot.


Lessons from the Duke-Caixin Global Leadership Forum

By Shan Shan Zhao, a member of Fuqua’s East Asia regional team based in Shanghai.

When I reflect on the Duke-Caixin Global Leadership Forum, held in April in Beijing, I feel as though it happened yesterday. The planning required months of hard work and long hours, but was ultimately worth all the effort in part because of the lessons I was able to learn from the leaders who participated in the forum.

I am a member of Fuqua’s East Asia team based in Shanghai. One of our responsibilities is to invite business leaders to share their experiences and industry insights with our Cross Continent and Global Executive MBA students when they are studying in our region. I always tell my colleagues and friends that the most exciting and valuable aspect of this job is that you always have the opportunity to meet with great leaders, listen to their interesting stories, and get inspiration from their wisdom. Of course, each leader takes his or her particular path to success and it’s impossible to duplicate any single one, but the stories always make me realize that each quest is unique.

Here are the key insights I took away from two of the speakers at the forum:

Jesse Wu

Jesse WuJesse Wu is chairman of Johnson & Johnson China. He has worked at the company for 25 years and is a graduate of the Fuqua School of Business. Wu was born in Taiwan and spent most of his career in emerging markets.

At the forum, Wu shared that being a leader of consequence on a global scale requires three things:


Bain Capital Executive Explores Leadership in China

Jonathan Zhu knows what it takes to make it in the world of finance. The former CEO of
ZHU_JONATHAN_JIA_LEFT_LARGE_HIGH_RES_001Morgan Stanley China currently leads Bain Capital’s investments in Asia and serves as the organization’s managing director.

He recently spoke at the Duke-Caixin Global Leadership Forum. He discussed the qualities of leadership and what it takes to succeed in China.

Zhu elaborates on these topics and more in the following Q&A.

Q) What are the key qualities to being an effective leader?

When I think about leadership, I think an effective leader must be able to do three things.

First of all, an effective leader must be able to set the right strategic goals.

Second, an effective leader must be able to build an effective organization, because in this day and age, there is very little you can accomplish by yourself.

And the third is an effective leader must be able to execute and have his team execute business objectives.