One of the best ways to truly understand a school’s impact is to ask students to tell their own stories. Join us in getting to know Crowell students and recent alumni and how they have been transformed — by professors, by fellow students, by God — during their time at Biola in our series, Character and Career: Stories of Transformation.
Choosing the “right” major may seem like the most important decision you can make in college. For some students, like Younga Kim, there are lots of extra variables and pressures that make it even more challenging.
Kim was born in Busan, Korea, but at age six moved with her family to Diamond Bar, California, where she still lives. She will graduate in May 2021 with a B.S. in accounting. At first, Kim did not want to attend a Christian university — she wanted to be surrounded by non-Christians in order to do outreach. However, as an international student, it was more affordable to attend a private school so she applied to two Christian universities.
“After visiting both schools, I just felt this warmth at Biola and I never ever regretted the decision!,” said Kim.
Selecting a college was just the first of many decisions for Kim.
“I changed my major/concentration almost every semester,” said Kim. “These decisions weren’t just made out of the blue. Instead, each change was heavy and quite emotional for me. I placed a lot of pressure on myself to find my ‘purpose’ and choose the ‘right’ major.”
Part of the pressure on Kim was that, as an international student, she needed a major that met H-1B criteria. At the same time, anticipating that her parents would soon become more financially dependent on her, she had to consider what kind of career her major would lead to.
Here, Kim shares her journey with us as she embarks on her career.
How did you ultimately decide on a major?
Through all those struggles, and all those changes of my major, God was revealing how much I was living to advance my own kingdom, not His. I didn’t want to be kicked out of a country that I grew up in. I didn’t want to be separated from my family by force. I was so stressed. When I realized how much these fears were affecting my daily life, that’s when I knew I was more concerned about living for myself than for God.
Picking business still wasn’t an easy decision. I wanted to go into missions or be in full-time ministry. How could I balance my dreams and aspirations against my responsibilities, especially with my immigration status at risk? But God was revealing more and more of Himself to me; through His Word and in prayer, the Holy Spirit has allowed deeper intimacies with my Father than I could have imagined. Finally, I was able to see more of what it means to place my joy in Christ. This allowed me to stop scrambling to get my life together the way I wanted it to be, and to instead seek whatever He would desire.
Has anything surprised you about your major?
I definitely did not expect to find people passionate about accounting. In fact, I had several misconceptions about business. But I was able to see beauty and power in classes such as accounting, marketing, management and financial planning. My professors made the difference. Seeing how they used their disciplines to honor God and love others was empowering and inspirational and something I did not expect from my business classes. Also, I realized that God had wired me in a way that accounting wasn't too difficult for me to understand!
How have you sensed God’s movement in your life during your time here?
God has blessed me in so many ways that I often forget. He allowed me to commute since my freshman year, which I dreaded at first, but it has allowed me to witness and be part of my family’s sanctification. He allowed me to be a part of a Christ-centered church community. He allowed me to meet professors, other students, and friends who have encouraged me in my walk with God.
I didn’t realize how much I loved studying theology. I’ve so appreciated the chapels and conferences. Being able to learn different subjects from a Biblical perspective has been one of the best experiences for me. Before Biola, I thought my purpose on Earth was to love others. During my time at Biola, God has revealed that, while loving others is very important, my ultimate purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
What did you learn from your internships during your time at Crowell?
In summer 2019, I volunteered at FACE (Faith and Community Empowerment) LA, a non-profit organization that bridges the Asian American community to the larger community to help low-income individuals and communities. I met Fiona Ma, the Treasurer of California, and Philip A. Washington, the CEO of Metro LA, and I helped organize an event to honor pastors' wives with special guest Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the First Partner of California (California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife). These were memorable experiences, but taking the Metro back and forth and seeing the homeless community weekly left an impact. I often felt overwhelmed, thinking that I couldn’t help enough or solve the main problems. However, through these experiences, I witnessed the value and beauty in even "small" impacts. This encouraged me to take one step at a time in helping those in need and to advance God's kingdom.
Would you have any advice for incoming Crowell students?
Do not take the college years for granted! It’s easy to think about school and career as a duty, or as a necessity for survival, rather than a privilege. In some sense, it is a duty, but if you take the time to be intentional about each class and seek to learn more about the world, it will be enlightening! As the hands and feet of Jesus on Earth, I think the most important thing is to really ask yourself if you are living for yourself or for God. I encourage students to pursue their relationship with God first and foremost because at the end of the day, He is our ultimate end. I pray and hope that, for you, it would be true that “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Learn more about Crowell School of Business and apply now.