Chulmin Lee

MBA '01

Managing Partner
VIG Partners

What do you do professionally?

I am a Managing Partner at VIG Partners which is one of the leading mid-market buyout funds in Korea. I have spent 11 years here after 4-and-a-half year consulting experience at The Boston Consulting Group. Like other private equity investors, I have been raising funds, sourcing deals, conducting due diligences and managing portfolio companies. 

Chulmin Lee presenting

Chulmin is the chairman of Fuqua Korean Alumni Association in Seoul, South Korea.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Private equity investment is not about dealing with numbers on the desk. It is more about meeting and interacting with various experts from a wide range of industries with very different backgrounds. Every day, I am learning a lot from them on industry trends, best practices in valuing up companies and even people management.     

What is the biggest challenge you face?

The global economy has entered into so-called New Normal Era with low growth. Korea is not an exception. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to identify companies as investment targets with further growth potential with stable cashflow. 

What sorts of interesting places has your position taken you? Do you have a favorite?

I fly to the major cities of capitalism including New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore to meet investors and potential investors of the funds I am managing. Since the global investment community is looking at Asia as the growth engine, I am also very much interested in being in Hong Kong and Singapore where I can feel faster changes than in Seoul.   

What is the best professional advice you've received?

It is: "Don't chase after money. Let the money come to you," which was told to me by a senior partner in my firm. Over last 10 years' experience in this highly volatile industry, I found that there are not that many variables I can control. Therefore, I have to do my best without any obsession on the result and wait for the consequences. I think this is a kind of Asian approach of investment business, though.

Aside from your current role, what is your dream job?

Personally, I am a big movie buff. I would love to manage my personal fund for investing into the Korean movie industry. Interestingly enough, Korean movies are getting more popular these days so that there would be a great opportunity.

What do you like to do outside of work?

As a movie buff, I love to watch movies from all around the world. Since 1996, I have been writing columns on the movies for various media and published four books. The column I am currently writing every two weeks is about interesting technologies and business ideas in the movies.

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at Fuqua?

Obviously, it is team work. The experiences I accumulated from various team projects at Fuqua have been the foundation of my successful career as a consultant and an investor. It is because both jobs need a person or leader who can co-work well with other colleagues, clients and/or counter parts.

Who was your favorite professor?

It was Prof. Aleksandar Pekec who taught Decision-Making in Competitive Environments, which was totally new for me then and became really important in my career later. 

What is your favorite Fuqua memory?

I got invited by two of my classmates to their homes, one for Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas. Because I had never stayed at an American home before, my wife and I were extremely happy to mingle with warm-hearted people with great foods. 

Why do you support the Fuqua Annual Fund?

It is because I got great benefits from Fuqua. I am sure the tuition is absolutely not enough for providing the top-notch education to all Fuqua students.

What does Team Fuqua mean to you?

Team Fuqua is my creed in people management at work. Regardless of their background and expertise, I always try to get all of my co-workers deeply involved in deriving the best result.