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Informational Interviews

Seong Kim

VP, Corporate Development and Strategy, Chegg

Interviewed: 10/20/2020

Seong has been working for Chegg in a VP capacity for about 5 years now. I initially contacted him to better understand the world of corporate strategy, with the goal of assessing whether that area is something that I would find interesting. Additionally, I wanted to understand how I could ‘break into’ corporate strategy from my current position as a Product Manager.

Below are some of the key highlights from our conversation:

Per Seong, corporate strategy is defined different in every company. So do the responsibilities of the corporate strategy function in the organization

Corporate Strategy at Chegg

The corporate strategy function in Chegg sets the vision for the company for the next 5 years. Then, the corporate strategy team ensures alignment across the company of that vision (working closely with leadership and other functions), as well as map the path to accomplish that vision, essentially setting the growth strategy

Corporate Development at Chegg

The corporate development side of the house works on executing the growth strategy set by the corporate strategy team. The corporate development team is responsible for M&A negotiations and the integration of acquired companies with the mothership (Chegg).

Takeaways

After sharing with Seong what I would want to do moving forward as the next step in my career (focusing more on strategic vision rather than on tactical execution), he suggested I focused my attention on corporate strategy (as opposed to development). Seong suggested that M&A procedures get really tactical really fast, and that might not yield the fulfillment I am looking for out of my next role.

Additionally, Seong suggested I try to find spots to shine a brighter light on my strategic accomplishments as a Product Manager (i.e. to prove that I can do the job). He also mentioned the fact that I may be a good addition to a strategy team, as what happens often is that if in the process of an M&A or other activity some product input is necessary, the strategy team has to either rely on other teams (which delays operations), or hire external consultants. Seong believes that might be a good avenue for me to pursue.

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