Campus Celebrity: Ian Ko

Meet Laurier’s own Ian Ko! Whether he grabbed your attention with all his involvement on campus, or helped you pass BU121 last year (guilty!), this second year BBA (Co-op) major is turning heads left and right. Get to know this week’s campus celebrity and learn how he manages to keep his sanity, stay scholarly, and make the most of his university experience!

What positions do you currently hold on campus?

Currently, I’m the Co-President of E-Business Laurier, and a Corporate Relations Manager at the School of Business & Economics Students’ Society (SBESS). On the side, I work with a local Communitech Hub/Velocity Startup company, uMention (now rebranding to Sneek), with business development and growth strategy. Things may get hectic at times, but it’s simply an exercise in time management.

E-Business Laurier is a relatively new club. Why do you think that connecting students with the technology industry is beneficial?

E-Business Laurier (EBL) is the 2nd youngest of the “SBE 23” (with AdHawk Laurier being the latest addition), and since our debut in 2012, EBL has grown from a sizably small club, all the way to its current general member roster of over 100. Last year, we launched our pro-bono consultancy, EBL’s EXACT Division, and we currently operate with 3 clients in the immediate Kitchener/Waterloo area. Simply put, we can’t go anywhere in the business world nowadays without running a new technology. Disruptive technologies have the ability to change the way we see certain industries, and we’ve been seeing a lot of buzz around the global tech industry lately. EBL saw the opportunity to connect Laurier’s students to that industry, and seized it.

Admittedly, compared to our Waterloo neighbors, our general populace isn’t as tech-oriented as they are. With that being said, EBL focuses on the ‘commerce’ side of the tech industry, and the speakers we bring in are suited towards business development. It’s a dynamic that has worked beautifully so far.

As Co-President, what plans do you have for the club this year?

There’s a lot coming up at E-Business Laurier. On November 10th, we’re bringing in the CMO of uMention/Sneek to give us his outlooks on growth strategy and ideation in tech, and a Consumer Electronics Demo set around March. In the grand scheme of things, I’m looking to expand our EXACT Consulting Division to at least six clients by the end of the year. Apart from that, my focus is directed solely at the long-term solidification of our organization – I want to come back in 10 years and see EBL still running better than it is now.

You’re avidly involved in so many business-related organizations on campus! Do you have any goals or plans for after you graduate?

That’s a great question – in fact, I tend to ask myself that a lot! I have a focus that is spread pretty evenly over all functional areas, so it’s tough to see what I will be literally doing. I know that I want to involve myself with emerging trends and markets, specifically in the food commodities & distribution sector. It may not sound ‘sexy’, but food fuels all, and I think there will be a definite sustainable business opportunity to leverage with the ever-growing population in certain areas. Big ideas are intriguing to me. With that being said, I want to gain some more practical experience next year. Whether it’s trying out for JDC Laurier or moving up in SBESS, only time will tell.

If you could give a piece of advice to first year SBE students, what would it be?

Ambition is a great thing, but take some time for yourself and your loved ones. The “work hard, play hard” lifestyle sounds great in theory, but it’s unsustainable in reality. Go out to a park, feed the fish, cook a healthy meal – if you’re not physically or mentally able enough to enjoy and spread your successes, it’s a bit of a wasted effort. I don’t want to seem ‘preachy’, but avoiding burnout is a constant struggle.

The person whose opinion matters most to you?

Oh, it would definitely be my mom. It all comes back to her in the end.

What is something about yourself that wouldn’t come up in a typical conversation?

In March 2013, I summited Mount Kilimanjaro with a team from my high school. The total duration of the climb (8 days) was one of the physically and mentally challenging things that I have ever done. I barely made it up to the top, but I’m glad I persevered – the view was breathtaking.

Most embarrassing moment?

When I was a kid, I played semi-competitive badminton, and we did these net lunges. One day I was wearing a pair of button up pants and did a lunge...the pant buttons snapped off, and because I forgot to wear shorts underneath (like a normal person), I was left standing there in my boxers. That moment still haunts me to this day!

Biggest pet peeve?

When people start comparing questions right after midterms. It usually devolves into a subconscious debate of one-upping; I do my best to avoid it.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Emily Blunt, hands down. The British accent does it for me.