Samsung Global Strategy Group

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Samsung Global Strategy Group Reviews

Updated October 22, 2014
Updated October 22, 2014
47 Reviews
2.7
47 Reviews
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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    OK place to work for now

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Samsung Global Strategy Group

    Pros

    Great pay for the work

    Cons

    Not much movement on ladder

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More opportunities for movement

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2.  

    An amazing life experience, but know what you want to get out of it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engagement Manager in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Engagement Manager in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at Samsung Global Strategy Group full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    GSG provides an amazing life experience, to live and work in Korea as a foreigner with no knowledge of Asia before joining required. You will be impressed by the breadth of Samsung’s businesses and global reach, and hopefully travel to different markets around the world to experience them first hand. Joining as a class of MBAs provides a nice community and support group when you first arrive to Korea. Despite the cons, if I had to do it over again I would definitely join GSG.

    - The total compensation – salary+bonus+housing along with a favorable flat tax bracket for foreigners (may be phasing out soon) – allows you to save a larger portion of your pay than other post-MBA jobs. Great for paying off hefty loans
    - Amazing travel opportunities, whether on projects or for personal trips within Asia
    - Great location in Seoul when you first start (changes once you transition)
    - Work life balance. Almost a 9-6 job, which may be disappointing for those that expect to put in and get out more from their job
    - The prestige of working in a “strategy” role for Samsung Group – this wears off once you realize the real nature of GSG and the projects it does

    Cons

    Much negativity stems from misaligned expectations, caused by a confluence of MBA egos and overselling of the program by GSG’s HR team. You are sold on the fancy titles, glitzy office, the might of Samsung, and how you will influence its strategy while on a fast track in the company. Of course MBAs will eat this up. Once you arrive you realize your English title means nothing, the office is great until you go to Suwon, and few projects are valued by leadership

    - Life completely changes once you “transition” to a role within a Samsung business unit. For many this means joining a real Korean team, in offices far out of Seoul. Don’t underestimate how this will impact your personal life, as you will spend hours commuting each day in a miserable company bus, and have much longer working hours than in GSG. Your experience while in the line can vary greatly and will challenge your mental fortitude, but can also be very rewarding. You learn a lot more within the line than in GSG
    - Militaristic culture can be hard to adjust to for westerners, but this is a source of Samsung’s strength. The company was built as a fast follower, and to execute quickly everybody must fall in line with what management decides
    - HR is more concerned about meeting its own KPIs in hiring and transition numbers than your career path. Moving you through GSG into a line position – any line position is its goal. You have to be proactive in finding a good role and managing your career however short-lived at Samsung
    - Age based promotion and hierarchy. If you are on the younger side, the rigid formula Samsung uses to determine your level (and bonus potential) works against you. Your classmates in the same GSG class may be 1 or 2 levels above you after transitioning simply because they are older with more years of experience, with no consideration of the quality of experience
    - If you stay too long you may end up in a value trap, where your compensation stays high relative to what you really contribute to the company. This is because your responsibility level grows only slightly, your skills stagnate, and your pay increases in a modest lockstep fashion for the rest of your career (until you become an executive, which few GSGs have ever accomplished)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There is not much advice to give. GSG management simply reacts to orders from the management above it, as is typical across the company.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    It is all about your attitude

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Leader in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Project Leader in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at Samsung Global Strategy Group full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    In general I have a very positive view on GSG because I came in with the right expectations. I wanted to focus on tech (I did not come from Tech industry), experience Asia and saw it as a 2~3 year gig. I have no regrets and I am happy with my experience and I recommended GSG to candidates that are seeking an experience which is different and unique relative to what your MBA classmates will do at the other tech companies

    - You will learn a lot, work on a variety of topics relevant to the tech industry and gain exposure to many senior executives
    - Quality of work have improved significantly in the last two years as many principals and experienced managers were hired from top tier consulting firms
    - Many projects are very cool and have sizable impact on the business (but sometimes it is difficult to get on these projects - see cons)
    - Competitive compensation package relative to other consulting firms and tech companies
    - Experience the way of doing business in Asia and get a good understanding of how Samsung operates
    - A great network of people from different MBA schools
    - Lifestyle is good in general

    Cons

    - Solid career opportunities beyond GSG are limited. Even though I was one of the top 20% performers I found it difficult to find a suitable transition and for me there is no clear career path outside of GSG (I was being picky but its my career)
    - It could be difficult to get on the projects you want. I had to play politics to get on some projects. About half of the projects have a real impact on the business
    - Corporate culture is tough. It is very top down and many decisions are not logical and not transparent (well they probably make sense in the Korean context). Felt like my career was not in my control
    - If you want to stay with Samsung and eventually move to your home country then be prepared to stay in Korea for ~4 years

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Get smarter about talent management. Why hire 30~50 people every year when you don`t have a clear retention strategy? I know that you have HR KPIs such as the number of people hired, transitioned, etc. but your best people will leave if they don`t see the right opportunities
    - Be more transparent about decision making. Show genuine interest to resolve issues rather than saying `please understand the situation as we got direction from the top`
    - Be more performance driven. Performance evaluation is not only about bonus allocation. I am willing to work hard but nothing is more discouraging than good performance not being rewarded with the things you want to do with your career (e.g. project selection, career advancement opportunities)
    - Fewer projects with larger impact. I know this is currently being tried but focus on projects that executives really care about... your top talent wants to see results and see their work implemented

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Only Come if You Have No Better Options

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Global Strategist in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Global Strategist in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at Samsung Global Strategy Group full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - Interesting opportunity to live in a different culture. Living abroad really opens up your eyes. That being said, see cons, as there are many other better options for living abroad
    - Very easy to get a job and even easier to do well once inside
    - Unless you get staffed with a hardcore Engagement Manager or Principal (about 30% of them can be pretty intense), then work life balance is amazing
    - The work is not difficult at all (see cons, as well, as with this comes a lack of professional development)

    Cons

    * Above all else, the way that GSG and your clients do business is the worst part. By "the way they do business" I mean that hardcore sexism, racism and lack of ethics is present in the everyday work life. No amount of good attitude can overcome this. Unless you are willing to turn a blind eye to this sort of thing, then your two years in Korea will be very long

    * Not only is it hard to turn a blind eye to the dealings of others, it's inevitable that you will be asked to do something shady that if it were to get out would be extremely embarrassing to you (which is already happening, many companies in Silicon Valley will no longer take calls from GSG) and could endanger the lives of others (at worst). There are many, many well known public examples of this happening in Korean companies: "Another Promise", fake online reviews in Taiwan, Galaxy S4 battery explosion cover up, paying lawyers to disclose confidential information during the Apple trial, falsifying sales of the Galaxy Tab to investors, Dyson / Apple / Nvidia / Microsoft/ patent infringements, Suwol Ferry, Sampoong Department Store. As Korean companies and Samsung become more global these types of things are becoming harder and harder to cover up. And, you can be assured that for every 1 public thing, there are about 10 non-public things going on

    * The "show more loyalty" culture is a catch all phrase for hardcore Koreans who expect you to do everything from unethical things to spending excessive amounts of time compensating for inept management. Anyone closed to an open discussion and that uses the phrases "hire more loyal people" or "show more loyalty" should be viewed with skepticism -- and for sure is not an authentic western MBA

    * Professional development is really limited. There are many high ranking Samsung people, whom will be your clients, who do not understand simple business concepts. This is pervasive from the top to the bottom of the organization. The culture supports ineptness, and, thus it will be very difficult for you to learn

    * Samsung is at an inflection point where the old way of doing business (fast following) is really falling apart. The result is a huge company, where most of the business are unprofitable or marginally profitable. With one large business (mobile) that is subsidizing everything else but which is failing fast (profit down ~60% yoy). Not a great time to be joining such a company

    * Transition opportunities are not great. No non-korean will ever be trusted with real responsibilities. The result is that most people are forced to transition into non-MBA jobs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The old way of doing things is no longer working. There are a lot of people who want to help Samsung change, but that will require not treating them like dirt, while also following certain rules of fair competition. This will be the only way to prevent Samsung from being the next Sony

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  6.  

    Hmm...

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Samsung Global Strategy Group full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    I am perplexed by former employees who trash the company on here. Do you honestly think Samsung cares what you think about it? The group does $300 billion a year in revenues and $30 billion in profits. Also, who are you writing these reviews for? Someone sitting on a Samsung offer? Or is it to seek revenge on people you hold responsible for your own failings?

    Chances are that you made no effort to learn Korean and you did nothing to build rapport with Korean managers. You probably have no real work accomplishments in your two years in Seoul. Spiteful comments only damage the GSG brand; you will only hurt your own job search back in the US.

    The amount of MBA entitlement reflected here is ridiculous. If you want to see a truly demanding post-MBA job, look at investment banking. Getting paid $200,000 at GSG to work 9-6 with a lunch hour M-F is hardly anything to complain about.

    Cons

    Korea is a tough place for foreigners. There is a language barrier that takes years to overcome. Even then, you will always be an outsider and never accepted as a true Korean.

    Even if HR is always watching, who cares? You can't get fired except for the most egregious actions (e.g. leaking confidential information). Most people quit because life is tough in a non-English speaking country. They blame their frustrations on Samsung, which is a convenient scapegoat.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    look to hire and promote people who are willing to work hard and show basic loyalty to the company (i.e. not trash the company on an anonymous board while withholding any criticism from HR or foreign members of the Global HR team)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7. 6 people found this helpful  

    A Great Place... If You are Interested in Seeing What a Weird Dystopian Future Looks Like

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Global Strategist in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Global Strategist in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at Samsung Global Strategy Group full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - You will develop outstanding benchmarking skills
    - If you are interested in seeing what life is like in North Korea, but are afraid to live there, then Samsung will provide you a similar experience without (some of) the dangers of North Korea
    - It's a unique opportunity to live in another culture
    - Seoul is relatively cheap place to live

    Cons

    - Samsung is outright a miserable place to work. If this seems impossible, then consider the following. Korea has the highest suicide and depression rates amongst the OECD, one of the highest alcoholism rates (per the WHO), the highest sexism (per The Economist Glass Ceiling Index, .. you can confirm this with many of the female workers who have experienced it first hand), the highest amount of corporate corruption, one of the lowest freedom of the press levels in the OECD and the highest power distance indices. Now consider that Samsung is Korea's worst attributes on steroids. If Koreans can't stand it, then how can you expect to survive?

    - Other third party websites can verify the accuracy of these statements. A good example is the Samsung C&T Glassdoor review page. Similar to the GSG reviews, almost all the reviews will be universally horrible, unless they are fake reviews (yes, most of the positive reviews on this site are fake) or from someone who has very limited career options (like someone from a developing country). There are many things that give away the fact that many of the reviews are fake (for example, improper grammar and using propaganda like phrasing -- like "courageous founding"). However, I have seen the internal satisfaction survey results and their is a massive discrepancy between what's on this site and the unedited satisfaction survey results

    - You will often times be asked to do illegal and unethical things. Primarily this will consist of "benchmarking" trade secrets from competitors. Your compliance training will consist of how to cover up and protect your superiors. The unethical things you will witness will frighten you

    - You will see unbelievable amounts of racism and will likely be subject to it yourself. The Korean employees will often times turn to each other and say racists things about you in Korean, assuming your can't understand the language. Some of their hostility arises from the fact that Samsung has a virtual monopoly on labor in Korea. Your presence as a foreigner within the company is viewed as a threat to the one of the few job options they have access to. There have even been articles in Korean newspapers commenting on how Samsung GSG is made up of dirty foreigners who are corrupting the pureness of the Korean culture

    - You will constantly be subject to absurd propaganda. The things you hear will make you fear for the future of humanity. The culmination of this is the Samsung Blue Festival (also called the Samsung Summer Festival if you are looking for it on Youtube), in which 10k to 15k new hires chant cult like slogans. If you have ever seen the North Korean Mass Games, the concept is eerily similar

    - You will be treated like a child. Instead of measuring the quality of your work, you will be given a set of rules to follow, then tracked against how well you follow the rules and then constantly be reminded that "you are being watched". A great example is when they sent out a emails warning of HR actions for people who were not taking their lunch hour EXACTLY at 11:40. Other great examples are posted all around the office. Simply take a look the office fridge, which has a sign explicitly stating (albeit in Korean) "you are being watched"

    - The quality of healthcare in Korea is low, so if you or your family gets sick then you will struggle. My wife had serious migraine issues and we could not find access to a decent doctor. Ultimately, we ended up leaving because of this issue

    - Most of the people you will work with have no business skills. If you are joining right out of your MBA program, you will spend two years sliding backwards in your career, as you will lose what you learned in school. The primary skill set you will learn is how to copy what other companies do

    - If you are joining Samsung at this point in time, many of these negative attributes will likely only get worse. Samsung has been experiencing profit declines and there is only a small chance this will get better

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Overall a great experience if you come in with the right mindset and expectations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at Samsung Global Strategy Group full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    You'll notice quite an extreme range of reviews of GSG. This is because people come into the program with very different expectations and willingness to adapt to how things are done in a foreign country. Overall it presents a great opportunity to experience living and working in a very different environment and the ability to work on a wide range of projects covering many different categories (please see stipulation under "cons").
    -It also provides a very nice salary package as you do this. GSG makes sense if major factors in you career decision and are new experiences and cultural learning and not purely career progression and responsibility growth.
    -In general the work/life balance is very much in favor of life most of the time. There are times that you'll have to crank, but you're an MBA, suck it up.
    -Seoul is an awesome city. The energy and range of things that are going on 24/7 blows any other city away.

    Cons

    -Salary and responsibility limitations. The salary starts off great (you'll save way more than your MBA classmates since housing is covered and tax benefits), but salary growth and more importantly responsibility and career growth are limited by the fact that you're a foreigner and a very korean company. Look to GSG as a 2-3 yr career experience and then plan to move on.
    -You have to be very open minded and truly excited about experiencing living and working in a very different country. This is nothing like your semester abroad studing in France or England where you had that great fling. Korea is a very intense country and they really do think differently from westerners in a lot of ways, but this is also what makes it super interesting. If you know nothing about what it's like to live and work in Asia you're treading on thin ice. Do your research.
    -There are a wide range of projects, but quite often you won't get your top project choices. I doubt that this is much different than working for the major strategy consulting firms. Also note that people pinned to the semicon group/track seem to have much less project flexibility and less interesting opportunities.
    -Do not expect things to be fair or to be a meritocracy. This is Korea we're talking about. Korean companies are able to out execute just about another other hi-tech manufacturer in the world because of their militaristic culture and top down command chain. It tends to make westerners unhappy, but it really is quite impressive when you look at what it can accomplish.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not much to say here. We were told that we were "change agents" when we came into the program, but it's clear we're not going to change anything culturally in Samsung/Korea's work culture. I'd recommend just focusing on creating close personal relationships between korean employees and foreign employees within GSG. At least then it adds a human aspect to a lot of the conflicts that come up. Some of the korean employees are very good at this, some not at all.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Your experience will vary depending on your approach and what you want from it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Global Strategist in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Global Strategist in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at Samsung Global Strategy Group full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - Wide variety of projects, specially compared to other in-house consulting groups
    - Diverse set of like-minded colleagues (MBAs)
    - Reasonable work-load making for high reward/effort ratio
    - Seoul turned out to be a much better place to live than we had expected

    Cons

    - Not really a leadership development program as pitched on-campus; management is short sighted to meet short term MBOs rather than career development. Little or no support from GSG once you transition to a group company
    - Decision making is not transparent

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Be committed to make it a 'leadership development program' because there is a lot that Samsung 'could' offer to people who are genuinely interested
    - Push your self to think and plan for the mid-term, otherwise you'll keep making decisions that are absurd and half-baked

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  10. 7 people found this helpful  

    Empty Promises

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Samsung Global Strategy Group

    Pros

    - Good compensation package
    - Great opportunity to travel
    - Good for resume

    Cons

    - Promised to be able to transition back to country of origin after 2-3 years in Korea (HQ).
    Now that I have reached that time, we realized that it is impossible to move back! Its either Korea or out.
    - Stagnant corporate ladder advancement due to Korean culture (the only way to move up is by age, not by accomplishments)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Provide real career path possibilities to prospective full time MBAs
    - Stop making false promises
    - Stop posting fake reviews in Glassdoor, everyone can notice they are fake.

  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    Context is everything

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Global Strategist in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Global Strategist in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at Samsung Global Strategy Group full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    *Good coworkers who are multi-talented and come from diverse backgrounds all over the world
    *Direct exposure to an Asian company in an emerging market / region
    *Work life balance
    *Generous compensation
    *Once in a lifetime business and life experience
    *Exit opportunities are good for those people who plan ahead

    Cons

    *Heavy on politics
    *Mismanagement by Samsung leadership
    *Lack of career path
    *Poor project selection and allocation by Korean staffers
    *Disconnect between interests of "foreigners" and "Koreans"
    *The current GSG model seems to be optimized for a small organization of ~25 people. Now that GSG is ~100 people, the infrastructure/ policies need to change accordingly.

    To potential job seekers- This is a good program for about 2-4 years. Nowhere else in Asia can you find this combination of compensation, exposure, and location. People who've never lived or worked in Asia are going to be in for a harsh culture shock. If you come for the money or expect to have a significant impact right away, you're going to be disappointed (you're a speck in this $250 bn company). If you come here because you want emerging Asia exposure and are open to new (and not always easy) life experiences, you'll feel satisfied.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    "If you keep doing the same thing and expect different results, then you're not going to have a good time"

    This program is not for everyone. I don't know why this isn't better communicated.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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