An International View of Strategy

BYU strategy professor James Oldroyd was flying to Singapore for a job interview when a colleague called and asked him to stop by South Korea. With no expectations, Oldroyd complied and made a pit stop at the Sungkyunkwan Graduate School of Business (SKK GSB). This brief trip changed the course of his life for the next five years.

Oldroyd taught some of the best and brightest students during his time at the SKK GSB, but he also traveled to the Indian School of Business and taught some of the finest MBA students in India.

“One of the reasons that I love being a professor is being able to provide educational opportunities to as many people as possible,” he says.

Since coming to BYU in July 2015, Oldroyd has contributed his knowledge and experience gained overseas to teaching strategy students studying at the Marriott School.

Like BYU, the Indian School of Business has a mission to give its students not only a degree but also the ability to change the world. The school has a specific vision to change India, and students don’t take it lightly. Oldroyd says he mainly taught students who were in their late twenties and who were ambitious, faithful, and driven to make their country a better place.

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Oldroyd with one of his classes at the Indian School of Business.

“They have no fear,” he says. “They are more aggressive in pursuing opportunities. They just go for it.”

Like students Oldroyd taught in India, students in South Korea held a similar ambition to make their mark in their country. Last year, Bloomberg ranked South Korea at no. 1 for most innovative economy. South Korea’s tech industry and billion-dollar companies such as Samsung and LG foster a competitive desire to get a higher education.

“Because the pressure is so intense, the students are phenomenal,” Oldroyd says. “They would literally memorize everything in the books.”

Two of Oldroyd’s seven children were born in South Korea while he was teaching there, and his oldest daughter is currently in Seoul serving a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Besides appreciating the dynamic group of students he taught, Oldroyd grew to enjoy the food—“after two years”—and relished the safe atmosphere as he sent his kids to explore exotic landmarks on their own.

Glad to now be back teaching strategy at his alma mater, Oldroyd enjoys the values and opportunities of the Marriott School and the strategy program.

“Strategy is incredible because it works at every level, country, industry, firm, business, family, and individual value,” he says. “What a huge blessing it is for students to have four years to develop their human capital and prepare themselves to succeed in their career and life.”