The Big Picture at Samsung

Cordula Oertel on her job as a global strategist with the Korean giant and how she laid the groundwork in B-school for winning the post

Before joining Samsung -- an electronics, finance, and service conglomerate based in Seoul, Korea -- as a global strategist, I earned my MBA from IMD in Switzerland in November, 2004. I enjoy the variety of my daily work and the constant need to become acquainted with new projects and business areas. Also, I find it really exciting to analyze a company from a big-picture perspective. Working for Samsung in Korea offers all of this and the opportunity for me to immerse myself in a new culture away from Europe and to act as intermediary between East and West.

In my position, I focus on projects developing Samsung's strategic direction. The range of projects is broad and can include benchmarking, restructuring, market-entry strategies, and ways to increase sales. Every project is different and introduces me to new challenges, people, and aspects of this diverse company. My responsibility is to define where Samsung will go and to ensure that it's prepared to go that way. That's why there's never a dull moment.


6 a.m. -- Depending on the weather, which is quite unpredictable in Seoul, I either start with a run through Namsan Park or an aerobic workout in my apartment.

7:30 a.m. -- Some of my colleagues live in the same building, and we share a cab to work in the morning. Seoul, with a population of 10 million (18 million in the capital region) is always jammed during rush hour. Sharing a cab is cost-effective and convenient and saves us from having to squeeze onto the crowded subway.

7:50 a.m. -- The day at the office starts with checking e-mail. Since working in Samsung Global Strategy Group (SGSG) is international, I get many overnight messages from all over the world.

9 a.m. -- At SGSG, employees are divided into teams to work on different projects for Samsung worldwide. My current project is for Samsung Electronics, U.K. We're working on an organizational restructuring of the IT product area, focusing especially on a new sales and marketing approach.

My team members and I discuss the project: Where do we stand? What's the plan for the short- and mid-term? What meetings and phone conferences have we planned? Is everybody aligned? Ensuring that we're on the same page is crucial -- then we concentrate on our individual modules and dive into information gathering, data analysis, conclusions, presentation preparation, etc.

12 noon. -- Lunch is spent with colleagues and friends. We can choose from many local restaurants. I enjoy discovering a delicious new dish every time. Also, lunch is a great opportunity to network. What's going on in other projects? What do we think are important issues Samsung will face in the future?

See Full Version

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.