Rewarding first trip to Seoul for the Gothenburg Executive MBA programme

5 June 2024

On April 16-19, Seoul debuted as a destination for one of the two trips included in the Gothenburg Executive MBA programme. Company visits were interspersed with lectures on the remarkable development of the Korean business community, regional geopolitics, and national market and consumption trends. All packaged in a well-filled four-day programme that was much appreciated by the participants.

The Executive MBA programme at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg includes two residencies in Asia. For several years, the trips have gone to India and China. After the pandemic, it became relevant to find a destination other than China and this April, the cohort visited Seoul and South Korea for the first time.

Academia, business and culture
The participants were given the opportunity to take part in an ambitious programme designed in collaboration with the School’s partner university, Yonsei University, and its business school, the Sangnam Institute of Management. The university provided lectures on various topics, including Korean leadership, innovation, the historical development of the business sector and Korean consumption and market trends, as well as on regional geopolitics and its role in relation to the economic and military showdown between the United States and China.

The academic activities were interspersed with company visits to the incubator Pan-gyo Start-up Zone and Hyundai MotorStudio, among others. Lunches, dinners, and tours in Seoul provided complementary insights into, and close contact with, Korean culture. The stay concluded with a visit to the Swedish Embassy and a formal closing ceremony at the university.

Voices of participants

Tina Resch, Vice President, Liseberg:
“South Korea is a fascinating country, not least considering the development from the end of the war in the 1950s to today’s prosperity and modern high-tech industry. It was a very well-organized event with professional care and an intense and comprehensive programme featuring high-quality lecturers and exciting company visits. South Korea is primarily associated with the automotive industry and consumer electronics, so I found it particularly interesting to learn more about the country’s new major export industries, such as K-pop and K-beauty, which provided new insights.”

Mattias Nilsson, Head of Strategic Propositions, Stena Recycling Holding:
“It was a fantastic trip with an impressive programme. I was surprised by the Koreans’ strong focus on education and how much resources they invest in providing their children and young people with the best possible academic opportunities. We experienced this firsthand through the lecturers and lectures at Yonsei University, which were of an impressive level. I found it particularly interesting to gain insight into how the country has now identified that it is in something of a vacuum after an extensive growth journey and needs to find the next step in development, while grappling with tough societal challenges, such as the extremely low birth rates driven by precisely the high costs of education.”

Evalotta Rehn, Senior Management Consultant, Babunia Consulting:
“South Korea is interesting not least because it is a democracy and has different conditions in various ways compared to some of its neighbouring countries. They are a hard-working people who have put in an incredible effort to get the country back on its feet after the Korean War when nothing worked, and the entire city of Seoul was in ruins. One is also struck by the breadth and innovative power of the business community. The lecturers at the university were impressive and provided us with fantastic insights. I was particularly impressed by the lectures on historical development and the country’s relationship with its neighbours. We see everything from a Western perspective, and now we got their perspective. Very enlightening.”

Leadership in a changing economy
“We chose Korea as our destination primarily to provide EMBA participants with insights into what it takes to lead in a fast-paced and innovative economy. By focusing on Korea, we also aim to foster a deeper understanding of China’s role in the increasingly complex geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region and its impact on the world economy. We are very pleased with our collaboration with Yonsei University and are planning to go to Korea next year as well,” says Håkan Ericson, CEO of GU Executive Education.

The trip is part of the second semester for the Executive MBA group that started the programme in autumn 2024. This first-ever trip to South Korea was also open to participants from previous Executive MBA cohorts, who experienced cancelled trips due to the pandemic. In addition, a limited number of alumni, who had previously visited India and China as part of their Executive MBA programmes, were also given the opportunity to join.


1. Satisfied travellers
2. Lecture on geopolitics, Yonsei University
3. Visit to Hyundai MotorStudio
Photo: GU Executive Education

For more information, please see GU Executive Education and/or contact:

Håkan Ericson
GU Executive Education
+46 709 50 63 35

Peter Salomonsson,
Business Development Manager
GU Executive Education
+46 31 786 13 83