Alumni Spotlight – Launching from Penn into Southeast Asia’s Dynamic Tech Scene

By Minju Song, WH’13

Looking back on my time at Penn, I most appreciate how diverse the learning opportunities were, both inside and outside the classroom. I recall alternating between hosting career networking sessions with the Wharton Korea Undergraduate Business Society (W-KUBS), and running a dance team called K-beats focused on K-Pop choreography. Till today, I draw on lessons in professionalism and problem-solving from the broad yet rigorous Penn curriculum; for instance, OPIM 319 on Advanced Decisions Systems opened my eyes to strategic decision-making from multiple perspectives. In my career journey, I’ve continued to seek that diversity and openness.

My first step out of Penn was to join Credit Suisse as an Investment Banker, whom I had interned with as an undergraduate. One of the projects I worked on was Sea’s IPO, and it was exciting to learn about Sea through that process. I grew passionate about the gaming industry and e-sports ecosystem, and sensed a lot of potential for Sea to grow in scale and reach. Gaming was shifting from console-based to mobile-based, accessing mass appeal in emerging markets as smartphone and internet penetration rose. Wanting to be a part of that growth journey, I joined Sea in the fall of 2017. Today, the global mobile gaming industry is on track to surpass $90B in revenue this year, and Sea has grown to become a leading global consumer internet company with the highest market capitalization among public companies in Southeast Asia.

My journey has been similarly dynamic. At Sea, I work with the Group Chief Corporate Officer’s team on a diverse range of projects that evolve and grow in line with the company’s rapid expansion. We are somewhat akin to a special task force – most of our projects are ground-breaking with no clear precedents, spanning functions ranging from fund-raising, investor communications, and strategic investments and partnerships.

In particular, one of my most memorable experiences was my first quarterly earnings conference call. As a publicly listed company on the NYSE, Sea holds these public calls where anyone can dial in to update investors and analysts on recent progress and upcoming strategic moves. I was tasked to frame the key messages, create presentation materials, and prepare for possible questions. This entailed quickly gaining full knowledge across Sea’s core businesses in games, e-commerce, and digital financial services, across our markets spanning 130 countries. The weeks leading up to the call were filled with both tension and excitement, and the satisfaction I felt upon the smooth execution of the earnings call was commensurately impactful.

Even as the company has grown larger, our culture remains practical with a flat hierarchy. I love working with my motivated and driven team-mates. My top tip for fresh graduates thinking about your next steps would be to consider the wide range of career paths with an open mind, because you can find amazing opportunities and experiences in unexpected places. Try to get a sense of which companies can provide dynamic opportunities to accelerate your growth as a young person.

For instance, you could consider opportunities at Sea, which is hiring rapidly to support our expansion. We offer rotational leadership programs for outstanding graduates from all majors that are based out of Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Shanghai, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, Mexico, and Brazil (see here). Sea also offers a wide range of full-time positions across business segments: Sea & Garena, Shopee & SeaMoney. Fresh grads will be able to embrace exciting new opportunities as we expand into new businesses and geographies, and take on challenging projects that reach millions of people across the world. Wherever your career choices may take you, trust that the diverse experiences that Penn provides have prepared you well to learn and contribute. I wish you all the very best in your journey ahead.

By Michael DeAngelis
Michael DeAngelis Senior Associate Director, Communications & Technology