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Hyun Sang An: Inspired to teach

Hyun Sang An always knew he wanted to be a business man, but discovered his passion for teaching during his years at UH Hilo. Now a professor at Minnesota State University Moorehead, he’s fulfilling both dreams having earned a PhD in Marketing and teaching college classes.

Did you always know you wanted to be a professor? How did you decide to choose a career in higher education?

My dream has changed a lot. When I was a teenager, I always wanted to be a businessman, and this was why I chose to study business administration when I first entered the college. However, as I grew older and as I became mature, I was looking for much more valuable things to do. One day at the UH Hilo, I met Professor Kimberly Furumo in her Business Statistics class (Fall 2006), and I liked her ways of teaching and respecting students. From that day, I started thinking about being a college professor. And I found myself good at teaching people and doing research, as well. Then, I decided to go to grad school to take the first step forward to become a professor.

Describe your career path. How did you get to your assistant professorship at Minnesota State University?

Since I met Professor Kimberly Furumo and I decided to become a college professor (Fall 2006), I started study GMAT (standardized test for business grad school admission). December 2006, I took my first GMAT test but the result was not satisfactory. I took one more test in January 2007, and the result was good enough for me to apply several grad school’s master’s degree program. Being inspired by Prof. Furumo, I chose to study Management Information Systems (MIS), and I found Oklahoma State University (OSU) had a good master’s degree program in MIS field. I applied several other schools including OSU and received admission from the OSU with the scholarship package. While I was studying MIS, I saw possibilities that MIS can be very helpful to Marketing field. Thus, I chose Marketing for my doctoral major, and I applied several doctoral programs which provided full scholarship package including monthly stipend. Thankfully, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey gave me an admission with the scholarship package. After 7 years of coursework and my own research, I received Ph.D. degree in management with marketing emphasis. I received several assistant professor of marketing offers from universities, and I finally chose Minnesota State University Moorhead since its atmosphere is so similar to the UH Hilo. Minnesota State University Moorhead is a 4-year liberal arts college enrolling about 9,000 students. And its average class size is 25-30 students.  

How has your education at UH helped you on this career path?

First of all, UH Hilo gave me a great chance to me to think about becoming a college professor. UH Hilo’s great student advising system helped me to approach advisor professor, Prof. Kimberly Furumo, with no barriers. She showed me sincere commitments and always helped whenever I requested consultations and guidelines for my graduate school application preparation.

Who would you say was your most influential mentor while in college and why?

Professor Kimberly Furumo! She is my lifetime mentor! She is the very first one who motivated me to dream about becoming a college professor. She read my application packet especially statement of purpose (a statement that I wrote why I wanted to go to grad school) line by line and gave me very good comments. Even when I had an interview with Minnesota State University Moorhead, she gave me lots of helpful tips and very good letter of recommendation.  

What part of your work excites you the most or gives you the most satisfaction?

When I see students are learning marketing course contents and decide to major Marketing, I am most excited and satisfied!

What advice would you give students to help them prepare for their career?

Utilize advising system! While having a 1-on-1 conversation with Professor Kimberly Furumo, my advising professor, I earned lots of insights from her. Also, I attended many career information session or scholarship information session held by career center and other department in the campus. So, please take a careful look at campus news not to miss any important events.  

Connect with Hyung Sung An on UH Connect!

University of Hawai‘i Alumni