A Conversation with Minerva Graduate Alumnus Daeil Chun

Feb 22, 2023

This is part of a series of profiles introducing alumni from Minerva’s Master in Decision Analysis (MDA). If you would like to learn more about our programs, please visit our website.

Before enrolling in Minerva's Master in Decision Analysis (MDA) program, Daeil Chun worked as a freelancer in the field of IT consulting when he decided to utilize his interest in big data and shift his career path toward AI and data science. Having worked on multiple projects in the education field in the past, Daeil was familiar with educational opportunities and spent a while comparing curricula and exploring the methodology of various Master's degrees. Since Minerva has gained increasing awareness among Korean educators in recent years, Daeil quickly learned about its unique approach to learning.

"Minerva's MDA program was exceptional. Not only did it focus on big data analysis and statistics, but also combined it with the psychological dimensions of life."

The link between statistics knowledge and its implementation in business decision-making in today’s complex world was what set Minerva apart from other traditional institutions Daeil was looking into. Well-matched with his needs, he decided to apply to the MDA.

Daeil shares that the part of the program that influenced his professional life the most was a section of the Complex Systems course about leadership and organizational issues within larger companies. As part of one of the course assignments, Daeil conducted an interview with an employee of Naver, one of the largest internet companies in South Korea, and analyzed the team structure and culture of the company. Working on this project inspired a passion for teamwork and organizational transformation in Daeil. As a result, he pivoted from a freelance position to becoming a Data Analysis Team Manager at Chunjae Education, one of the leading educational publishing companies providing online learning resources for K-12 students in Korea. Currently, Daeil leads a team of Machine Learning Engineers, developing machine learning models and communicating insights across the company's business divisions. One of the most significant projects Daeil has managed to date was the company's shift from traditional learning materials toward digital education to accommodate the needs of the 21st century and a constantly changing world.

Daeil emphasizes the importance of leaders possessing a data-oriented mindset in order to avoid cognitive biases in decision-making and, additionally, enhance communication by utilizing modeling to evaluate alternative solutions to complicated problems.

"It is important that leaders themselves promote data-based decision making so that their followers can openly discuss using data rather than try to satisfy their leaders without evidence-based claims."

For his master’s thesis, Daeil utilized existing prediction models and agent-based modeling to develop a game theory model to simulate the current population decrease in Korea. Based on that model, he utilized the skills and knowledge he had gained throughout the MDA program to explore how Korean universities could accommodate this population trend shift.

"Since Minerva's curriculum is based on the science of learning, it is designed in a way that, with a constant input of work every day, you can achieve unbelievable results. At the end of the MDA program, I was astonished by how much knowledge I gained, how many skills I learned, and how much I grew over those two years, personally and professionally."