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Korean Alum Goes From ASU to Microsoft

In 2012, Angelo State University alumnus Deok Hwan Choi made the momentous decision to leave his hometown of Ulsan, South Korea, and head to West Texas to finish his college education at ASU.

Little did he know that the choice he made as a sophomore at the University of Ulsan would lead to such a successful outcome in the U.S. Choi recently landed a job as a user experience (UX) designer at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash., with an impressive six-figure starting salary. 

“Firstly, I would like to say thank you for all the help from ASU’s Center for International Studies,” Choi said. “They always helped to advise me how I could get internships and jobs as an international student. Also, the Career Development Center helped me to have a great résumé and cover letter by giving me one-on-one advising.” 

“ASU also gave me so many opportunities to have work experiences, not only on campus but also off campus,” he added. “ASU has so many great places and people to work with, and they are always very happy to help however they can. It was very easy to just raise my hand and ask any questions.” 

As part of a 2+2 student exchange agreement between ASU and the University of Ulsan, Choi completed his first two years of college in Ulsan and then finished up at ASU in 2014, earning bachelor’s degrees from both universities. His ASU degree is a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing. 

“Deok Hwan will definitely be an inspiration for future international students.”

Meghan Pace

According to the Microsoft job description, as a UX designer Choi will “craft clear, concise user-interface text for products; collaborate with designers, researchers, prototypers, product managers and engineers to define user stories, scenarios, requirements and work flows—and then craft user-interface content; develop concepts for early-stage products; and develop creative briefs and solution strategies, user research and testing, product and feature name development, and information architecture, terminology and taxonomy.” 

“Deok Hwan is a great example of the quality of our South Korean students,” said Meghan Pace, director of ASU’s Center for International Studies. “His hard work at both the University of Ulsan and Angelo State is paying off, and we all wish him continued success as he starts his career at Microsoft.” 

“As the number of students coming to ASU from South Korea and other Far East countries continues to increase over the coming years,” she added, “we are looking forward to more of this type of success story. Deok Hwan will definitely be an inspiration for future international students.” 

ASU currently has 185 South Korean students on campus.

Deok Hwan Choi—I Chose Angelo State

Why did you choose to attend ASU?

I decided to attend ASU because I had a chance to get in a dual-degree program through the University of Ulsan. I thought it would be very helpful to get two degrees in four years. 

Name a professor who made a difference in your education.

Dr. Moody Dr. Moody

Dr. Randall Dr. Randall

My favorite marketing professors were Rex Moody and Gayle Randall. I learned basic marketing knowledge and skills through Moody’s lectures. He always gave me various case studies in order to make me understand difficult marketing theories. I was able to think how I should approach the work assigned to me by analyzing the purpose and scope of the projects. Also, preparing for Dr. Moody’s mid-term and final exam was very helpful to organize what I’ve learned from his lectures. My favorite parts from Dr. Randall’s lectures were team projects. Throughout team projects, I was able to work cooperatively and efficiently with more than two people. Also, she always concentrated more on process than results. So I learned how important preparation is in teamwork.

Where was your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place was the University Center. I love the UC because my first paid job in the U.S. was there.

What student groups or activities were you involved with as a student?

I was a part of the Korean Students Association, which was led by Dr. Won-Jae Lee and Dr. Mansoo Ko. Through the group events, I didn’t experience any homesickness.

What was one of your most memorable experiences as a student?

I did a marketing internship at Chartwells for nine months. It was my first official job in the U.S., and I learned a lot of marketing and graphic design skills from Richard Gonzalez and other members of the Chartwells family at ASU. Also, it was very helpful to understand American work culture and environment, which is very different from Korean.

What was your favorite thing about being an ASU student?

My favorite thing was the people at ASU. All of the students, professors and employees are willing to help if they think they can do something for you. So I also tried to improve myself in order to become a person who can help other people.

Was there anything about ASU that surprised you when you became a student?

I expected that there were not that many chances to communicate with big corporations in big cities. However, ASU always tried to host events that connected current students with alumni. I was able to ask many questions about how they prepared to get into big companies and how they spent their time in college.

What would you say to prospective students who are considering attending ASU?

If you want to make your dreams come true, you should register at ASU now. There are so many opportunities you can have if you are ready to raise your hand and ask.

Deok landed a job at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Deok landed a job at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

  • Tom Nurre

    Tom Nurre

    Tom Nurre is a news and information specialist at Angelo State University. 
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