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FACULTY & STAFF

Myung-Soo Lee: World Class Leader



Education at Baruch has long had a global flavor, given the College's very diverse faculty and student populations, in addition to various international programs. As national borders in business, media and other fields become increasingly permeable, Baruch has stayed on trend. The College is the only CUNY campus with a cabinet-level position devoted to global initiatives, and its newest vice provost for global initiatives, Myung-Soo Lee, PhD, is more than up to the task.

Says Provost David Christy, "Baruch is lucky to have a seasoned expert in marketing who is developing strategies that will enhance the global perspective of our students and faculty. Dr. Lee thinks deeply about the experiences that we can provide to the Baruch community that will increase understanding and empathy. His vision is that Baruch students and faculty be 'of the world,' not just passing through it."

Re-thinking Globally

Globalization at Baruch has two parallel foci:

  • Expand our outreach to international partner schools, send faculty abroad to teach and students to study; concurrently, continue to develop collaborative degree programs.
  • Offer global experiences for students in New York City who have not had the opportunity to study abroad or visit another part of the world.

In this, Dr. Lee will continue to develop partnerships with institutions in key countries, in addition to Turkey, China, and Brazil, where Baruch has already made major connections. "I am very mindful that we have limited resources," he says. "I will take a calculated, paced approach, such that we will not expand to too many countries and schools and then be unable to deliver. It's better to expand relationships within the institution rather than spread out too thin all over the world.

The Student Experience

"When students walk away with a Baruch degree, I hope to see that they are ready to be challenged by this global economy and hyper-connected world."

Approximately 10 percent of Baruch's students are international and close to 300 will have the opportunity to study abroad, says Lee. "But with over 18,000 students, sending 300 is not enough. That's why President Wallerstein set the goal of 15 percent of our students to have some global experience before they graduate. That's a lofty goal, but we will slowly notch up that number."

Though sending students abroad is an important part of Baruch's global plan, Lee is especially enthusiastic about on-campus globalization for all students. He has met with the College's international student clubs, of whom he says, "When they engage in activities with a global flavor or related to cross-cultural, intercultural experience, all of our indigenous student population should be invited." He also plans to take greater advantage of Baruch's proximity to the UN, embassies, NGOs and other international organizations, so that when guest speakers and delegations come to campus, "these encounters are not limited to small, specific audiences."

He explains the rationale for recruiting more international students, "Sitting next to people from all around the world, indigenous students have the opportunity to interact, learn a new language if they're interested, learn cultural context, so that when they graduate and get a job with an international company, or get an assignment to travel abroad, they should be ready to work and interact with other cultures."

Professor, Administrator, International Ambassador

After receiving his BBA from Chung-Ang University in Seoul, Korea, Lee came to the U.S. in 1983 as an international student and earned his MBA from SUNY Albany. After moving to New York City to be near his wife's family, he was offered a position at Baruch in 1990, teaching undergraduate marketing classes. He obtained his PhD from SUNY Buffalo soon after and became professor of marketing and international business.

Since then, he has fulfilled an impressive number and variety of roles at Baruch. He has served as chair of the College's Allen G. Aaronson Department of Marketing and International Business, as associate dean for academic affairs, and as interim dean of the Zicklin School of Business. Most recently, he was director of international executive programs, which involved travel to Taiwan and Singapore. Upon the retirement of Weissman Dean Jeffrey Peck, PhD, who served as Baruch's first vice provost for global strategies, Lee was tapped to fill the global position. He also inherited Dean Peck's role as CUNY's representative to WC2 Network, the 11-member consortium of international universities including London's City University, Japan's Meiji University, and South Africa's University of the Witswatersrand.

"It's somewhat incidental," says Lee of his trajectory at Baruch, "but citing Steve Jobs's famous quotation ("You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards…"), it's almost like I moved strategically through my career path to be in my current position."