2018 Top 50 Undergraduate Professors: David Park, Syracuse University (Whitman)

David Park

Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship

Syracuse University, Whitman School of Management

At just 34, David Park has already lived multiple lives. In his home country of South Korea, Park served in the R.O.K. Marine Corps. He’s also raised money and launched a tech startup. And now he is entering his second year of teaching after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. Now, at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, Park teaches Introduction to Entrepreneurship: How to Launch a Startup.

Currently, Park is exploring “the role of information sharing using social media on venture financing,” and has found that information being shared on social media is important when it comes to raising money. According to students, Park takes a very welcoming approach both to entrepreneurship and his specific classes. “Professor Park demonstrated extraordinary effectiveness to teach by inspiring and guiding our creativity. Within each teaching module, his message was consistent: we can accomplish our goals by thinking critically and never quitting,” one student gushed.

In his free time, Park enjoys traveling to the country’s National Parks. His favorite movies are The Matrix and Sangdo, which is a Korean word for ethics and morality in business.

Age: 34

Education: PhD in Business Administration, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, University of Washington

At current institution since: 2017

List of courses you currently teach: Currently: Introduction to Entrepreneurship: How to launch a startup, Past: Strategic Management, Teaching Effectiveness Seminar

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Startups founded by my students that will change the world

“I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…” I learned that I can create new knowledge, suggest new ways of thinking in business and influence business people in a positive way via my research and teaching.

“One word that describes my first time teaching…” Blast

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? My colleagues and I are conducting research on the role of information sharing using social media on venture financing and we found that information shared by whom and when in social media is important.

What is your most memorable moment as a professor? When told by a student that I looked too young to be a professor.

Since you first started teaching, how has business education changed? It has become more experiential.

“If I weren’t a business school professor, I would be…” A serial entrepreneur, globetrotter and professional snowboarder

“Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a professor”: There are always a few students who just don’t read your syllabus.

Name of the professor you most admire and why: Prof. Hongja Lee for the level of curiosity and the passion for learning. I am heavily influenced by her, genetically (she is my mother) and intellectually.

What do you enjoy most about teaching undergraduate business students? Seeing students’ eyes light up when they gain fresh perspectives or learn new things.

What’s the biggest challenge? Motivating that last student.

What is the most impressive thing one of your undergraduate students has done? After my first teaching, a group of students (the best group in my class) took a picture with me, printed the picture, signed on the back and gave it to me as a present.

What is the least favorite thing one has done? Making excuses.

Since you’ve been teaching, how have students changed over the years? More students from different backgrounds and majors are interested in launching a startup.

What does a student need to do to get an A in your class? EEE: Explore, Experiment, and Enjoy

“When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as …” Fast and Fair

If your teaching style/classroom experience had a theme song, what would it be? A combination between La Vie En Rose by Louis Armstrong and It’s the Hard Knock Life from Annie

Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student: Proactive

Using just one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Lazy

“If my students can utilize entrepreneurship in their career and lives, then I’ve done my job as their professor.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was a Marine Corps officer and a paratrooper.

What are your hobbies? Learning something new

How did you spend your summer? Enjoying the warm, sunny and pleasant summer in Syracuse

Favorite place to vacation: National parks

Favorite book: The Gospel According to Matthew

Favorite movie and/or television show: The Matrix (1999) / Sangdo (Korean historical drama based on a true story of an uber-successful and moral businessman during the Joseon Dynasty / Sangdo means ethics and morality in business)

Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist: K-hiphop/Bewhy

Bucket list item #1: Surfing

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…” More experiential learning in collaboration with industries

“And much less of this…” Pure lecturing you can easily get from online learning platforms

Looking ahead 10 years from now, describe what “success” would be like for you: As a thinker and a teacher, I informed and inspired numerous people to change the world in a significant way through business and entrepreneurship.

Students say…

“I had professor David Park for Intro to Entrepreneurship. I am not a business major, but had to take the class because of a requirement. Professor Park made the class so enjoyable for a non-major. In a class filled with business students, professor taught me how to think and act like an entrepreneur. My favorite aspect of the course was the day he had six students go up in front of the class and act out a partnership deal. I am confident that I learned more in his class than I could have in two classes with another teacher. The bottom line is that this guy just enjoys what he does and is great at it!”

“Professor Park demonstrated extraordinary effectiveness to teach by inspiring and guiding our creativity. Within each teaching module, his message was consistent: we can accomplish our goals by thinking critically and never quitting. In one class, we visited Syracuse’s MakerSpace, which allows students to bring their inventions to life with 3-D printers. Countless students, myself included, were unaware such a place existed on campus, aligning perfectly with Park’s apprise that resources are within our reach. Not only did he embolden our creativity, he gave us the tools needed to foster it in our professional pursuits. His course wasn’t simply an- other grade, but rather a means to get to where we want to be in life.”

“I specifically enrolled in the Whitman School of Management in large part for its reputation and the prestige of the professors. Throughout my first year, I had plenty of different experiences with my professors and while most were favorable, Professor Park’s teaching style and course, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, was what I came to Whitman for. Through group building and actual real life scenarios, my classmates and I were able to achieve experience that will no doubt be useful in a job atmosphere.”

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