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Young Univ Stories: Adam CJ Park

Adam CJ Park (2005, MChem Chemistry)

I was born in Seoul, South Korea, and left home when I was ten to attend boarding school in the UK, so by the time I arrived at Univ, being away from home and living with peers was rather familiar. But Oxford turned out to be much more than just a school and a shared living space.

For me, it was an opportunity to be inspired by peers with unique ideas and interests, passion for learning, and a desire to make an outsized contribution to society. My friends taught me something new every day and pushed me to think about different ways in which I could make a difference. I later realized that, for a generalist like me, this was foundational to broadening my understanding of the world and building the ability to connect the dots between ideas to chart my own course.

Running Marathon Des Sables with Tom Lickiss

I was inspired by the already-accomplished postgraduate students I got to know at Univ too – a radiologist from South Africa, a Rhodes scholar from the US Naval Academy, a computer scientist from India to name a few – and one neuroscientist among them, Tom Lickiss, convinced me to run the Marathon Des Sables (known then as “the toughest footrace on earth“), and we dedicated two years in preparation for a challenge that pushed us to our limits.

I also just had a lot of fun at Univ. Coaching the Women’s 1st VIII that won Blades at the 2006 Torpids was particularly special. The Boat Club was also where I met my best man and half the groomsmen at my wedding!

As for my journey after Oxford, the people I met there have continued to shape and support me at every turn in my professional and personal journey.

I met my first boss at a Univ careers day, who became a great mentor, and his lessons in entrepreneurialism continue to serve me well today.

When I was working at UBS Investment Bank during the European debt crisis where every day was unpredictable and challenging, it was highly motivating and comforting to have a supportive network of friends from Univ who were also going through similar experiences.

With Howat Duncan (Univ 2005, Physics), subsequently best man at my wedding) at Summer VIIIs

Since then, I’ve been at BCG where I’ve had the opportunity to live and work in London, San Francisco, Sydney, and Seattle, and travel to cities around the world where, more often than not, I’ve been welcomed by a friend from my time at Oxford.

My experiences at Univ, and the people I met there, have enriched my life in more ways than I could have imagined. I hope the Young Univ stories continues to be exciting and relatable to students and give them confidence that, however they chart their own paths, their time at Univ will serve them well at every iteration.

After graduating, Adam went on to works as a consultant in the energy industry (2010-2011) where he helped improve sensitive maintenance processes at nuclear power plants; he then went on to be a Leveraged Capital Markets analyst at UBS Investment Bank (2011-2013), before joining Boston Consulting Group where he is currently a Partner focused on helping companies transform by adapting digital technologies and new ways-of-working at scale.

While at Univ, Adam rowed in the Men’s 1st VIII, and was a two-time Blue and the president of the University Taekwondo squad. He also cycled 4,000-miles from San Francisco to New York in his first summer break, cycled across the Himalayas via Everest Base Camp, and ran the 250km Marathon Des Sables ultramarathon across the Sahara as part of a fundraising effort for various charities.

Published: 14 July 2021

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