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Joo Yi '98



Joo Yi, Class of 1998, has had many stops on her journey since parting ways with our campus. From learning the ins and outs of business analysis, to applying that knowledge to the gaming industry in South Korea, China, and more, we checked in with Joo to see what role MCI has played in her personal and professional success.

There are hundreds of different career fields and opportunities that our distinguished group of MCI alumni have pursued after leaving the comfort of our campus. Some job fields and careers are more common or unique than others, but they all serve the greater good of strengthening our worldwide community and continuing to develop all aspects of the human experience. Joo Yi, Class of 1998, never truly saw herself going into the gaming industry, let alone the intersection of gaming and business analytics. From her education before coming to MCI to her time on our campus and beyond, it's essential to look at our unique alums like Joo in order to truly understand how far our MCI community stretches across the world and across all walks of life.

Joo was born and initially grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabi. Her parents are Korean but were working in Saudi Arabi at the time, meaning that Joo's earliest memories were growing up and learning English at an American international school in Riyadh. "I would be lying if I said it wasn’t challenging," said Joo. "But what I really liked about Saudi Arabia was that we were all international... I think being in that environment definitely opened my eyes to being accepting of things I didn’t know or wasn’t really familiar with... just getting acclimated to people that spoke different languages or looked different than me.”

The country soon became unsafe due to the Gulf War, causing Joo and her family to move back to Korea. From that point on Joo had to get acclimated to the new Korean education system, which was more structured and had much larger classes than her school in Saudi Arabia. By the time she was in high school, Joo knew she wanted to see more of the world and her twin sister had just applied to a boarding school in the United States in Kentucky. Joo's family worked with an agent to see which school might be the best fit, and Maine Central Institute just seemed like the right place for Joo to finish her high school studies.

"The school itself just felt very cozy and warm, the dorm parents and the girls who were already living in the dorm were extremely welcoming,” explained Joo. Joo lived in Alumni Hall at the time, and she remembers how the dorm parents really took care of all the students and truly cared about their well-being; not just that they were good students or doing their homework. Dorm parents like Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Harvey, and Ms. Montgomery really had an impact on Joo and her experience at MCI. Joo was involved in Student Council, Drama Club, National Honor Society, and more during her time on our campus, excelling in academics and graduating Salutatorian of her class. She also had a great relationship with English teacher Deborah Rozeboom, who acted as her host family and the two still keep in touch to this day.

After graduating from MCI in '98, Joo went on to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she majored in Economics and minored in Chinese. While at William and Mary, Joo did a semester abroad her junior year in Beijing, China. Fascinated with the country and their culture, Joo knew that it would only be a matter of time before she found her way back. After graduating from William and Mary in 2002, Joo worked for a couple years at an economic consulting firm in the Washington D.C. area, but soon realized that she did not feel tied to the area or even to the U.S in general. She decided it was time to go back home, and so Joo took her talents back to Korea where she joined the McKinsey & Company team at their office in Seoul. The office would often sponsor their employees to go get their MBA, and while Joo was interested in furthering her education, she had just been in the U.S. and wanted to widen her net of knowledge. An English MBA program based in China was on the table, and Joo jumped at the opportunity to travel back to China to further her education and continue to make a name for herself across the globe.

Joo Yi '98 pictured in the Alumnus Magazine after graduating Salutatorian of her class, and today pictured with her boyfriend in Korea .

Joo graduated from the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in 2010, dead set on working in China and continuing to develop her career and niche. While at the CEIBS, Joo interned at Tencent, one of the highest grossing multimedia companies in the world (based on revenue) and the largest company in the video game industry based on its equity investments. They were impressed enough with Joo to give her a job offer post-MBA, where Joo would eventually dedicate 10 years of her life to growing and sustaining the business economics of the gaming giant.

During her decade at Tencent Games, Joo worked in a variety of different roles, both at their headquarters in Shenzhen, China and also stationed back in Korea. There was a lot of work being done at the time between China and Korea in the gaming industry, and Joo helped license Korean games to be published in China while facilitating those contracts. When she moved back to Korea, Joo also helped manage the investment portfolios of the company. Joo enjoyed a long and well-respected tenure at Tencent, but towards the end of 2019 Joo was looking for a change, and the opportunity presented itself for Joo to take her talents to Google.

Joo spent three years working at Google Korea in their Google Play division, where she helped Korean mobile developers expand globally and extend their reach in the global marketplace. As Joo began to work with more and more game developers, she realized that there was something rewarding about being able to specialize and focus on key points with specific developers. In February of 2023, Joo decided to join the team at Nexon, a Korean video game developer responsible for such games as MapleStory, Dungeon & Fighter, and most recently the global hit Dave the Diver. For Joo, the gaming industry is always exciting because there will always be new opportunities for growth and development.

"Tech is fun for me because it's continuously evolving," explained Joo. "If you look at my upbringing I always moved around, new places and new things excite me... because technology isn’t stagnant and the gaming industry always evolves, it just continues to be fun and exciting.”

When discussing her career and what role MCI may have played in Joo's life, it is clear that our school truly has an affect on our students, especially our international population. Joo joined our Board of Trustees in 2021 in hopes that she can contribute and help replicate the same experience she personally had with our current student population.

"As an international student who didn’t really have family in the U.S., the MCI experience made me feel like someone was caring for me, that I wasn't alone, that people are genuinely interested in my well being and that I succeed in whatever my dreams and goals would be," reflected Joo. "I don’t think you realize that as a high school student, but looking back you realize how much they cared, they weren’t even my family, but they were all rooting for me, even people I didn’t know very well… that feeling really boosts your confidence and that’s why I think MCI has made me a better person. I think just having that confidence and believing in yourself because you know other people believe in you, that has really helped me on so many fronts."

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