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01/24/2017 Interview > Student Important News


Aspirations of a Prospective Technical Official

Jo Min-woong (Mechanical Engineering, 4th year)


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A civil servant is one of the most admired jobs in Korea. It is due to the fact that the job involves taking part in researching, making, and assessing national policies. In order to become a Korean civil servant, one has to pass the Civil Service Examination. The exam is notorious for its immense difficulty, with a very high competition rate. There are diverse fields and ranks in the job, and the one Jo took was the official deputy director's post.  Of all the test takers hoping to work as a technical official, Jo Min-woong (Division of Mechanical Engineering, 4th year) not only passed the test but attained the highest scores among the examinees of 2016. Jo spoke about his study tactics and his thoughts about being a public official.

For the happiness of the public
Jo Min-woong (Photo courtesy of Jo)

December 13th, 2016 was the day the names of applicants who passed the Civil Service Examination were announced. “I felt relief when I saw that I passed the exam. After that, I realized I was the top among all applicants. That had been my objective, but I couldn’t believe that it actually came true,” Jo remarked. “Even though I’m not perfect, it’s a great honor to receive such good results. Now, as a future civil servant, I want to try to contribute all I can for the development of Korea."
Jo wished to become a public official because he wanted to contribute to increasing people’s happiness. “I did some volunteering- teaching high school students, repairing houses, and carrying coal briquettes for the needy,“ said Jo. One special experience of his was when he helped distribute free lunches to the poor on Christmas Day. Seeing 2,000 people waiting for their lunches on the cold roadside, Jo became determined to become a government official who could enlarge happiness for the public by developing policies that could greatly benefit them.
Another reason why Jo wanted to become a technical civil servant was because of the dream that he could devote to Korea’s adjustment in the change related to the 4th Industrial Revolution, characterized by AI (Artificial Intelligence), Big Data, and IoT (Internet of Things). “Like Korea did in the 3rd Industrial Revolution, reaching 10th place in the world economy, I believe that contributing to Korea’s adaptation to this new paradigm is what I want to endeavor for in developing my nation."
Effort not in vain

There are three stages in the Civil Service Examination. The first stage of the examination is called PSAT (Public Service Aptitude Test), which assesses whether the test taker has the basic ability and refinement of carrying out government affairs. PSAT comprises of subjects called language and logic, data analysis, and situational judgment. The second stage tests how well one is equipped with knowledge of one's major. There are three compulsory subjects and one elective subject, depending on the field that one applied for. The test is held for five days, one subject each day, and applicants are to write their answers in essay format. The final stage is the interview. Held for two days, the test comprises of PT (Presentation), GD (Group Discussion) and an individual interview on public service values and job competence.
“I began studying for the test since my sophomore year. I took a leave of absence to concentrate on studying in 2015, one year before the test.” The most difficult time Jo went through was when he failed the first stage of the examination in 2015. However, due to much encouragement from his family and friends, Jo could settle himself down to study once again. “I tried to use all my time to study, except the time taken to maintain elementary needs, such as eating and sleeping. The episode I remember most during the time I spent studying is last year’s seollal, or the Lunar New Year. Instead of going home to see my relatives, I had to stay in my empty dorm alone to study. Eating instant food from the microwave oven, I vowed to pass the exam in 2016 and have rice-cake soup with my family,” Jo reminisced.
The folders of papers Jo organized while studying. (Photo courtesy of Jo)

“I will receive training from May to December this year. Next year, I am to be placed in a department and start working. I don’t know where I’m going to work yet, but I want to work in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy because it is the department where officials handle the real economy." When asked to give advice to fellow students who are preparing for big national tests, Jo said, “There is a saying that goes: ’Move forward step by step. There’s no greater method than this in order to accomplish something.' There were times when I felt anxious because I had a lot of studying to do in a limited space of time. In those moments, I tried to repeat this message over and over in my head. I hope this message helps fellow Hanyangians as it did for me in times of distress.”

Jang Soo-hyun
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