As the popularity of esports grows each day, more people are getting interested in having a career in esports. However, it can be very difficult to actually find a job in esports, because many get lost in where they need to start and how they need to prepare. The need for people with various talents increases as the industry continues to grow, but it’s really hard to actually hear how to get into the industry.
For those planning to have a future career in esports, we at Inven prepared a series of interviews with people in the scene, essentially showcasing the various jobs in esports. From how they found their jobs to what they needed to prepare to get these jobs to details about their jobs, we had a chance to hear their stories of their past and the present. We hope that this series of interviews will help those that are looking for a potential career in esports.
Meet Hyeong-jun Park of T1, our second interviewee of ‘Meet the esports insiders’. He works as the Business Development Manager for one of the biggest esports organizations in the world, T1. His main responsibility is to create revenue models in order for T1 to continue to work with the best players around the world.
Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello, my name is Hyeong-jun Park, and I’m the Business Development Manager at T1. I oversee new projects within T1 such as the T1 esports academy and the T1 membership program, and also the streaming sponsorships.
Can you tell us how you first got into esports?
I have loved gaming ever since I was a kid. I was a huge StarCraft fan growing up, and after high school, I played a lot of League of Legends, to the point where it felt a bit too much. My peak in League was Diamond 2, and even won a tournament in college with friends. I think that’s how I naturally got into LCK.
Around the era of the ‘Korean Supremacy’ in League of Legends, I really wanted to join T1 and work with the best players in the world, and contribute to continue making them the best. Ever since I was young, I wanted to work in a field where I could contribute to my country’s advancement, and I happened to be an SKT T1 fan.
Around the time when T1 stepped out of the shadows as a corporate-affiliated team and became its own entity through a joint venture with Comcast, I wanted to play my part in keeping Korea as the dominant country in esports. So I joined T1 right after I graduated from college.
Tell us more about some of your responsibilities within T1.
In 2020, I oversaw the streaming platform contracts and stream sponsorships, and signed Lim “BoxeR” Yo-hwan and Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan as streamers under T1. Then I took on the title of Business Development Manager in T1, and am currently in charge of overseeing the T1 Membership program and the T1 Esports Academy [TEA].
I hope to create long-term business models within T1 in order to continue working with top players at T1, and aid COO Josh Ahn and CEO Joe Marsh in achieving T1’s vision. In that process, I hope to expand T1’s position within esports and most importantly, provide the best experience back to the fans, because without them, we wouldn’t be here right now.
For example, Choi “Zeus” Woo-je, Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon and Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong, who have achieved so much in the LCK this split, have all been through our ‘Path to Pro’ youth program in T1 Academy, so we hope to continue producing top talent in the next generations to come.
In terms of our ‘Path to Improvement’ program, our goal is to provide a space for our fans to gather and cheer for T1, as well as to provide entertainment for our fans. We hope to be a step up from other esports academies and ultimately create a theme park for T1 fans on the scale of LoL Park, Jamsil stadium, and other amusement parks.
Tell us how your normal work day looks.
In order to minimize the risk of our players contracting COVID, I’m currently working a lot from home. Apart from the internal meetings, as well as with our contracted partners, my work involves researching the market, establishing strategies, and physically doing what I need to do to make our plans work. My responsibilities also include working with our team and our partners in creating and executing our events.
When do/did you feel the most satisfied with your work?
In early 2020, one of the first things I did for T1 was to sign BoxeR as a streamer. I remember visiting him and his family to convince him to stream and work with T1 again. Not only was he the reason why SKT T1 existed, he was the pioneer who made esports in Korea be viewed as a culture that unites a lot of people, so I felt really good bringing him back to T1.
After that, I helped bring on some of the former SKT T1 players back to T1. Wolf as a streamer, and Untara, Piglet, and Sky as coaches for T1 Academy.
By also bringing Bengi back as a coach for the main team and even Bang back as a streamer, we’re continuing to create a family-like environment who are finding new beginnings in their next chapters of their careers. I feel satisfied when I watch all those individuals who shaped T1 in the course of the organization’s history interact with one another through activities like hiking, traveling and even playing StarCraft together, and when the fans enjoy watching them interact.
In contrast, when does the job feel the toughest?
Due to the nature of my work, my day and night gets switched most of the time. However, I’m a gamer, so I’m used to staying up late and sleeping during the day.
How did you prepare yourself in taking on this job and its responsibilities?
I really loved League of Legends a lot when I was in college, to the point where I even streamed regularly for a year. I went to go watch a lot of SKT T1 games live, and even ended up becoming an official supporter for bbq OLIVERS. I even went to watch the Worlds finals live, which ultimately shaped me to become a fan of esports culture.
Afterwards, I worked as an intern for the PUBG international tournaments for six months in Shanghai and Berlin, and that’s when I thought to myself that esports can be an actual career path for me. Even in my grad thesis, I wrote about T1’s Worlds run in 2016.
When I applied to T1, I put all these stories in my resume. I think they really liked my long-time interest in the esports industry, culture, and in T1.
Apart from the skills in relation to the job itself, the most important thing was the passion for esports and T1. Also, being bilingual really helped, because T1’s a global venture.
Can you tell us some of the questions you were asked during your interview? Are there any questions that are memorable?
The most memorable question was, “Why did you decide on T1 as your first job over any other big companies?” As I mentioned earlier, my answer was that I wanted to contribute to my country to be the best in one of its best fields, and gaming and esports was one of them.
Furthermore, I answered that there would be no work more meaningful than working with BoxeR, who was the pioneer in creating the foundations of esports, and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, who’ve elevated the popularity of esports to its peak on a global scale, so I decided to apply to T1 straight after graduating.
What advice would you give to our readers that are looking to walk a similar career path?
Esports is not a field with a great work/life balance. However, if you’re really passionate about esports, there’s no field that’s more fun to work in. If you decide to enter the industry with a clear goal in mind, I believe that you will never regret working in esports.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports