Lessons from Itaewon Class- A Korean drama.

It’s the journey Park Saeroyi-an entrepreneur who lost his father in an accident. His father was hit by the son of the chairman of a huge corporation- Jangga Co. ( the largest food company in Korea). The 16-episode series revolves around how Saeroyi stood up against Chairman Jang of Jangga Co., built a food company of his own  & ultimately got his revenge after 15 years.

Here’s what I learnt from the show.

It’s never too late to start afresh.

Saeroyi was expelled from school and landed in jail because he beat up the person who killed his father but he didn’t give up. After getting out, he started with a small pub called DanBan which later grew into a franchise business and eventually he became the number one food company in the country.

Always stick to your believes and values. Integrity is the key.

Park Saeroyi was headstrong and unshakable. He always followed his values- no matter at what cost. Instead of taking shortcut’s or doing what others expected him to do, he would decide his own path. He was highly idealistic and transparent which was admired the most by his people. He was able to gain the trust of his employees, friends and investors all because of his idealism and morale. A person’s reputation determines how worthy he is to take important responsibilities.

Set a long-term goal and stick with it. Do not give up on your dreams

Saeroyi was bullied by chairman Jang in many ways . He was kicked out of the building he had  rented for his pub. Later, Chairman Jang destroyed Saeroyi’s expansion plans with his corporate politics but Park never gave up. He tried and tried until he achieved what he aspired for. He was never distracted by the hurdles that came his way.

It’s the people that matter for a successful business

Saeroyi founded his business on people and trust not money and gain. He started his business with the objective of taking down Jangga Pub but that didn’t prevent him from being a good boss. He valued his people(his employees) with whom he started his pub over anything else. He wouldn’t stand any misbehavior with his employees by anyone and treated them with respect. He respected their choices and took responsibility for their mistakes. He didn’t let anyone feel down. It was due to the hard work of all these people that he finally achieved what he aspired for.

Second chances are important.

Saeroyi challenged his people to go out of their comfort zone. His chef wasn’t that good at cooking and his manager wanted to fire her. But Saeroyi gave her another chance with one-month extra pay. He motivated her and she improved so much that she eventually won a cooking competition where she beat the largest pub in the country.

Flexibility and Improvisation.

One cannot foresee all future eventualities and plan accordingly. A business needs to improvise when things aren’t going as planned. One has to just keep moving towards their goal. When the building where DanBan first started was purchased by Chairman Jang, he also threatened that he will buy and kick them out of any building they rented out. So Saeroyi liquidated his investments which he had kept aside for a different purpose to buy a building. He prioritized what was urgent then.`   

Follow your Gut.

Sometimes your gut guides you the best. DanBan’s success was largely due to his manager,   Yi-Seo. She had a great college life ahead but she followed her gut and joined DanBan as her gut told her so. Ultimately, she was able to grow the pub into a global food corporation.Saeroyi also hired her because of his gut which proved to be very helpful for him.

Somethings are more important than your pride

The whole conflict started when Saeroyi refused to kneel before Chairman Jang for beating his son. But years later, he finds himself in the same situation where he has to kneel before Chairman Jang to save the life of his manager Yi-Seo and he realizes that it is the easiest thing he could do to save her. Pride & rivalry be damned.

It’s always good to have some good friends around.

When the series started Park was more of a loner and he thought of his father to be his only true friend until he meets Oh Soo-ah. She is the one who stops him from killing his father’s killer for which he could have ended in prison for life. Later, as the story progresses he establishes many more valuable friendships, and together with their help, he is able to turn his small street pub into a huge success.

So if you liked it, you can go ahead and watch Park Saeroyi’s story on Netflix. Though the show is in the Korean language, watching it using subtitles is worth it!!

Do comment your opinion below.

Authored By- Dhruv Agarwal, A student of St. Xavier’s College Kolkata. You can reach him here- LinkedIn, Instagram

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