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Julian is Swiss but currently lives in Singapore. He works as a Business Developer in Asia for FAIRTIQ, a company that works to provide the most cost effective ticket options for public transport. He also dedicates his time to the St Gallen Symposium. Julian is a partner at the Choson Exchange, an NGO that teaches North Koreans about the world of international business.
Could you tell us a bit about Choson Exchange and how you went into that field?
Choson Exchange is an NGO founded in Singapore by Geoffrey See. It is a programme that teaches business in North Korea. The aim is to bridge the knowledge that people have in the world and make it accessible in North Korea with their strict policies. The NGO brings over different experts to North Korea to host a conference where they provide mentoring, teaching and insights into the big global platform.
A different side of their program is to actually bring North Koreans out of the country on trips to visit international events. They typically visit countries in Asia where they give people an opportunity to broaden their horizons and see beyond North Korea. They work on a micro level to create change in North Korea but do not take any political stance.
Working full time as well as working with Choson Exchange and other platforms, how do you manage a good work life balance?
As an entrepreneur, he has a mindset that there is no 9-5 model because there is so much more time than that to be doing things. Julian mentioned that he prefers going for smaller companies because there is a lot more flexibility when it comes to adjusting time for work and other activities. Julian also said that everything he does on the side is something he is super passionate about so it never feels like work.
From an outside perspective, it can seem that the work Choson does has limited impact, how do you fight through those barriers?
Julian said that although he joined an already well established company, there are still challenges with breaking through barriers with the work he does. For example, the limited access to North Koreans, makes it very difficult to organize events and trips. With the pandemic, it made things even more difficult but instead of dwelling on the situation, the team came up with new ideas for the foreseeable future with different regions in North Korea.
If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t force anything in life.