CEO’s key to success revealed: Follow basic standards
CEO’s key to success revealed: Follow basic standards
  • Lee Ji-hyun
  • 승인 2012.05.25 16:56
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Song Kyung-ae (’84, Business), the CEO of Business Travel & Incentive, one of the top 10 international traveling management companies in Korea reveals her tips to her entrepreneurial success. Photo provided by Song Kyung-ae.

While students compete for the most coveted positions in the job market, Song Kyung-ae (’84, Business) is a business woman who made a position for herself.
Business Travel & Incentive (BT&I), the company led by Song, is one of the top 10 travel management companies in Korea that provides a comprehensive travel management service to more than 200 major multinational and domestic corporations. It has a global network of over 100 countries throughout Europe, America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa – a company with enterprise value of 260 billion won.
This enormous business made its start in 1987 with Song at the age of 25 with only 2.5 million won. Upon graduating Ewha, Song worked at a hotel where she realized that there was no domestic travel agency specialized for the VIPs. In 1987 she took the risk of starting her own enterprise.
For students who want to start their own businesses, Song advises to be prepared with a great deal of background knowledge in the field of their interest.
“Having an early start does not always mean the better. If you run a business without fully understanding or studying it, you will fail. So do not be hasty and take time to prepare thoroughly,” Song said.
In choosing career, Song says it is the most important to do what you are best at.
“Listen carefully when others compliment you and try to develop those qualities. You cannot excel at everything, but you can work and develop the things you are already good at,” Song said.
In 2010, Song also became the first female CEO (Cheif Executive Officer) member of the Honor Society, a group of major donors to the Community Chest of Korea.
“Donating has become a part of my life; it almost became a habit for me. I donate in special occasions and in anniversaries,” Song said. “Some people make an excuse by saying that they will donate after they become successful. However, I believe that we all need to have a habit of donating even a small amount of money.”
Song believes that she has grown accustomed to helping others because she understands how difficult it is to be jobless. For Song, starting up a business from scratch was not easy. She frequently encountered moments of despair, and thought of giving up. However, she always told herself that the difficult times would pass in time.
“Although the hardships that you are facing may seem unconquerable at the moment, being preoccupied with the problem will not solve anything,” Song said.
Song’s philosophy towards life is reflected at work. The corporate philosophy of BT&I is based on the welfare of its employees. The company operates a three plus one policy for its employees. After three years of work, they are compensated with additional salary worth one year, fifteen days of vacation, and  traveling fees of two million won.
“The conditions presented to the employees are unprecedented. But I implemented the policy to increase to satisfaction level of our employees and to help them save large sums of money. I also wanted to provide such opportunities for their contribution at work,” Song said.
“I believe the key to success is following the most standard and basic social rules, such as, not being late or being friendly to others, not butting off today’s work, and being honest,” Song said. “Those common manners you learn in elementary school will make you responsible, someone others can trust.”
Song says a leader is not born by herself but made by others.
“To make others follow your decision and to gain respect from team members, a leader needs cooperation with its members and respect towards their opinion without judgment,” Song said.
Song’s journey of becoming a female CEO was published last August in her book “Staying Positive 99 Times.”
“Since I thought that I did not have enough experience to write an autobiography, I decided to simply write about my experiences of starting and running a business in an easy and readable style that would be helpful for others,” Song said.
Song titled the book to reflect her attitude towards everyday life.
“Frankly speaking, I was not a very positive person, which contradicts the title of my book,” Song said. “I used to be Mrs. Picky, with a sensitive personality and I was dissatisfied with everything I faced. However, thinking in a more positive way completely changed everything about my life and I hope it does the same for you.”

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