Sang Mee Ko

Class of 2022

Hometown: Yorktown, VA
Undergraduate University: University of Virginia
Class Year: 2014
Major/Minor: Environmental Science
Employer: World Martial Arts
Position: Master; Head Instructor and Manager

Why was earning an MBA important for your professional development?

I work for my family's business, which is a Taekwondo school in Yorktown, VA. Since I grew up with Taekwondo infusing every aspect of my life, I thought I knew everything already. After a few years, I realized that, in order to better serve my students, I needed to be better at managing the business side of things. Then, I could build up a great team so that my parents could finally retire, and we could continue running a quality school.

What appealed to you about William & Mary's PTMBA program?

First, I liked that the classes were held in the evenings during the week. We hold most of our big events on the weekends, and I didn't want to have to miss those for school. But what really stood out to me as I researched the program was that it was recommended that you have several years of work experience prior to applying. This program is for professionals who are at a point where they understand what a business needs, and for me, as a small business owner who was looking to continue growing, this was important. It was helpful to have this perspective, and I've built more confidence in what I'm doing.

In what way have you applied what you've learned to your family business?

The Communication for Managers course helped me to streamline my emails and messaging to my students. I also took Management of Information Systems during the pandemic, which was helpful as our instructors looked at ways to teach martial arts using remote technology.

How do you plan to leverage your MBA in the future?

Before earning my MBA, I wouldn't have dreamed of opening a second location. I thought it was better to stick with one and make it the best it could be. I understand now that we have the potential to do that, especially with classes like Global Competitive Strategy that have helped me fine-tune the strategy of our business. My MBA will contribute towards the solid foundation set by my parents so we can continue to be successful.

Has your network grown since you began the PTMBA?

I've met a lot of other professionals and business owners through the program, and they've motivated me immensely. I am inspired by other people who work hard, and the members of my cohort do that. I have also connected with the Executive Partners, who are available to us. Unlike the full-time program, we are not assigned an EP, but it was clear they enjoy mentoring professionals, especially ones like us who have actual work experience. I enjoy hearing about their different perspectives because it takes me out of my bubble. I was able to see that while businesses may be different, the challenges and opportunities are often the same. Finally, I met my fiancé through the program, which is obviously a huge bonus! I'm not saying that everyone should get an MBA just to expand their dating pool, but it's certainly a place where you can meet people with drive and observe their work ethic.



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