Young Mongolian professional says "Robots will become a crucial part of our future"

By B.DULGUUN
Samsung Electronics Telecommunication Network R&D Center plays a major role in not only South Korea but also in the world’s information technology. Four proud Mongolians work in this world leading company, where only the most brilliant and creative minds from all over the world are accepted.
N.Nandinbold, one of the four Mongolian programmers at Samsung, spoke to us about the company and the world information and technology development.
N.Nandinbold majored in electronics and engineering at the Bogazici University in Turkey and got his master’s degree in South Korea, where he is currently living with his family. His wife is working as a marketing manager in the European Marketing Division of Samsung.
-You are one of the people who showed young people in Mongolia that they can contribute world’s information technology development. What qualifications are required to work in companies like Samsung?
-Every world-renowned company with long history has their own policies. New employees require quick adapting skills as the world market constantly changes and new ideas are essential. They can only pass international qualifications if they have the ability to overcome daily hardships, and have the willpower and effort to learn the basics and develop oneself.
-You advanced your studies and got your master’s degree in the Republic of Korea through a ILWOO Foundation (IWF) scholarship program. Does your employment at Samsung Electronics have any connection with the scholarship program?
-The job interview for Samsung Electronics takes place twice a year, from June to July, and the competition is very fierce. The screening process is divided into four sections (test, qualification, interview and practical training) which have standards exclusively determined by Samsung Electronics. The IWF scholarship program does not affect the interview at all. However, the fact that I was able to advance my studies abroad with the help of the IWF scholarship program strengthened my resume.
Scholarship graduates working in global companies such as Google Korea, Shinhan Bank, Naver and SK C&C influenced me the most to work abroad and reassured me that I could work for renowned foreign companies.
-How many interviewing stages does Samsung Electronics have and what are the requirements?
-The interview process is different every year. Overall, it has six stages.
On the first stage, quantitative index of English skills, academic average performance, achievements in University and oral tests are important. On the second stage, you have to take mathematics, logic and English tests. Thirdly, you are to present your technological solution or programming assignment, depending on your profession, to the head engineer. The next stage is an interview with the company directors and executives and if you pass, you have to do training with other new Samsung Group employees for a month. On the final stage, you will be put into your assigned team and do another three month practice.
-Were you confident that you would be employed during your interview?
-By observing Koreans, I have noticed that they prepare for job interviews and test for a long time. I was doubtful on my employment as the competition was intense. I started preparing for the interview from the last school semester so I had a lot going on. This included preparation for graduation exams, publishing my research, interview for Samsung, final exams and my diploma work. I was extremely nervous on the final stage when I had to do a technical discussion with three vice presidents. After a fortnight, I received a letter of acceptance.
-If you hadn’t flown straight back to Mongolia from Turkey in order to take the scholarship exams and attended your graduation party, where would you be working now?
-I had planned to get my master’s degree in a foreign country where electronics sector had advanced and if possible, work in that country after I had graduated the Bogazici University in Turkey. I would still be working in another highly developed country as an engineer even if I hadn’t taken the scholarship exam.
-Did you face any hardships in terms of level of knowledge or with other colleagues?
-The deeper your knowledge, the easier it will be to earn a colleague’s trust and adapt to your workplace.  No matter how good you were as a student, if you lack the knowledge, you will face some hardships to harmonise with fellow engineers. This alone brings excessive stress and pressure. I’ve faced these issues when I first the company.
-How did you overcome it?
-Every project and products are based on new and advanced technologies. To develop it to a higher level, we face more and more issues every day. The designing R&D Center is different from other departments. We can’t find solutions from the internet or social networks so we get advice from those who have more experience in the field. I’ve never spared my time for self-development and in my opinion; I was able to overcome those hardships by broadening my extent of knowledge.
-Mongolians started studying abroad since 1990 and many innovative and startup companies have been established. The government stated that it will provide full support to developed information technology in 2014. In your opinion, what is the South Korean government focusing on mainly to make startup companies more competitive in the world arena?
-By observing South Korean educational system, it struck to me that they focus on giving knowledge and skill to the mass instead of individuals. This gives large business groups skilled personnel who become their main pillar. On the other hand, it limits the number of those with incredible creativity skills and erases all chances to distinguish themselves.
The main policy of South Korean President, Park Geun-Hye is to transform the industrially dependant country into a “creative economic” country. Favourable ecosystem for ventures and startup companies to work efficiently is being formulated. For instance, many reforms and changes like a special fund where millions USD is saved with low taxes are being made for innovative and startup companies. Estimation shows that four billion USD is required for such services.
-Competent personnel are the key for the information technology sector. Mongolia is unable to develop train qualified personnel. You’ve observed foreign teaching methods. What’s the best way to train qualified personnel?
-I believe it’s best to share from my experience. Language skills are essential. In top universities in Turkey and South Korea, majority of the lessons are taught in English.  They teach based on not only American curriculum but also English research materials. The English language requirement for Turkey’s Bogazici University is 550 points from Toefl. This is connected to the publishing of science and advanced technology research materials in English. In order to access this information, English language needs to be taught promptly in Mongolia. If Mongolia uses translated American textbooks and curriculum, our English skills will reach the world standards.
Obviously, not every problem will be solved by just improving language skills. Especially in engineering, you need to work on actual projects, and make designs and experiments to master the profession. Furthermore, a fund to pay capable teachers and acquire laboratories and technologies is necessary. I believe money-related issues can be settled by either increasing tuition or localising grant systems and student loans to those with potential but unable to pay tuitions. This will be a huge advancement in Mongolia’s education system.
-A task force for the project to a establish startup company in Silicon Valley, USA was recently created. Experts evaluated this as the start of Mongolian “brand” in the world information technology sector. Do you think that Mongolia has the potential to compete in the world?
-Facebook was founded by a student and Google by two students, yet now they have expanded into giants. Truthfully, there’s no one in Mongolia who can come up with an innovative product and work nonstop for it to develop.
In Mongolian startup companies, huge sum of funds are used up just to develop their product and find initial investments. There are many instances where the main product is lost due to lack of focus on it while working on sub-products to pay expenses. There are possibilities of producing Mongolian brand if we can create venture capital funds that supports startup companies financially until they find initial investments. In addition, Mongolia could have multiple million USD worth companies if startup companies launch new creative products.
-How do you determine trends in technology in the world? What do you think will be the next trend in the market?
-World leading information technology companies can make trends based on their acquisition and patent clearance. Smaller companies make production changes in products they see as potential trends based on demand.
In the last few months, Google bought eight robot companies. This indicates that robots will become an integral part of our future.

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