Talking about himself is against Soon-Ho Kim’s nature. But we couldn’t help but highlight him for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Kim, a clinical associate professor in Robinson’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration, grew up in South Korea, where promoting one’s personal achievements is considered rude. He would much rather discuss his students—because in his book, their achievements are the best indicator of his success.
Kim regularly treats students to lunch or coffee. He finds they more readily accept his advice when interacting face-to-face. For example, one of Kim’s pet peeves is students’ use of laptops and phones to conduct outside business when they should be paying attention in class.
“I implore them to consider what their families would think about that,” Kim said. “If your parents asked what you learned today, what would you say?”
The recent implementation of social distancing measures has forced Kim to adjust his method of communication. Text messages and Webex calls have taken the place of campus delis and cafes.
“I sit in front of the computer more than 10 hours a day, which is challenging since I have a son and daughter who need help with their schoolwork,” Kim said. “But I have to support my students and help them get through this difficult time.”
Kim is helping his students prepare for careers in the hospitality industry, which will be permanently changed by COVID-19. He cites analytics acumen as the number one skill they should master.
“If they build competence in the area of data, they will survive,” Kim said. “I’ll be here for them even after they graduate. That’s what I uniquely deliver to students.”