Shinhan Bank, the first corporation to recruit student ambassadors, chose only 100 of 3,417 applicants in 2010, its 12th year of the program. Busan Bank’s 20 spots drew 633 applications in its fourth annual recruitment.
Student ambassadors help publicize a corporation, enabling companies to promote themselves as friendly and accessible to customers of any age group.
This year, Daegu Bank also adopted a student ambassador program.
“We are recruiting student ambassadors because we can listen to various opinions about our bank from the students who live in our district and apply them to our management,” said Hwang Dong-hwan, deputy department head of Daegu Bank’s Public Institutional Banking Financial Division. “Publicizing our bank is the most prominent factor in recruiting student ambassadors,” said Hwang.
In return, the ambassadors form a strong human network with students from other schools, meet prominent figures, receive a monthly salary and possibly visit an overseas branch to learn about overseas operations
This year, competition was high at Shinhan Bank.
Yun Je-sung, the bank’s public relations manager, believes the benefits of being a student ambassador caused the rise in the number of applicants.
Different from internships that require students to work full time daily, student ambassadors only take on short-term activities but are guaranteed a similar experience.
Selected students attend mandatory lectures on financing and banking and experience the workplace without having to spend an entire day as an intern.
“We have attended special lectures from high-profile figures like the former minister of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the Ministry of Knowledge Economics,” said Song Min-chul (Seoul National University, 3) a former student ambassador for Aekyung and currently the fifth student ambassador for Korea Forum for Progress.
The chance to meet new people and form relationships is another attractive factor.
“For me, a student at a women’s university, I usually do not have the chance to meet men and work with them. However, as a student ambassador I can interact with so many different people, including men, across the country. I learn how different men are from women when working with them,” said Kim Min-ju (Politics and Diplomacy, 2), a student ambassador for Shinhan Bank.
As part of their training, student ambassadors are asked to come up with ideas to publicize the company and then start the project themselves. This teaches them to work independently. Furthermore, qualified students are also given a leg up if they want to work for the company.
“We give information about trained student ambassadors to the personnel department, and their former activities are considered in the employment process,” said Yun.
The coveted titles are granted to those undergraduates who have contributed to society and proven their creativity.
“Because students have to come up with their own ideas about how to publicize our bank and make a project themselves, we consider creativity one of the most important characteristics of student ambassadors. GPA is barely considered,” said Busan Bank’s regional cultural publicity team, Kim Ji-hyun. “Skills in Web-designing or other computer related programs are always a plus.”
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