Meet the Esports Insiders – Kwandong Freecs Manager Kim Ga-hyeon

[On the right] Kim Ga-hyeon, the manager of Kwangdong Freecs

As the popularity of esports increases every day, more and more people are interested in a career in esports. However, finding a job in esports can be very difficult as many get confused about where they should start and how they should prepare. The need for people with diverse talents increases as the industry continues to grow, but knowing how to get into the industry is really difficult.

For those considering a future career in esports, we at Inven have prepared a series of interviews with people in the scene, essentially introducing the different jobs in esports. From how they found their jobs, what they needed to prepare to get those jobs, to the details of their jobs, we got to hear their stories from their past and present. We hope this series of interviews helps those looking for a potential career in esports.

The first person we interviewed for our series works in the leadership of the LCK team. Management is exclusively involved with the schedules of professional players, as they are responsible for managing their schedules, health, external communication, and helping to create events for fan interaction. Meet Kim Ga-hyeon, the director of Kwangdong Freecs.

Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Kim Ga-hyeon and I work with the management of Kwangdong Freecs. I am in charge of the KDF League of Legends, Kart Rider and the Wild Rift team. My responsibilities include managing teams, social media, youtube and stream content, and online and offline operations.

Can you tell us how you started working in esports?

I love games since I was in high school. However, esports wasn’t as big as it is back then, so I didn’t think too much about wanting to work in the gaming industry. Once I got to college, however, I joined the Esports College Club Association [ECCA] and experienced planning and operating leagues. I had a lot of fun back then, and that’s when I got the idea of ​​working in esports.

However, even back then, the esports industry was still very young, and the people around me hadn’t really found a career in the esports industry, so I didn’t know what to do. in the beginning. I remember researching information, interning at AfreecaTV and Riot Games, and getting advice from industry insiders.

After graduating from university, I lived briefly abroad. Someone I know told me I would fit in well in the front office of an organization, so I applied and have been working ever since.

At first, my parents were very against it because they thought the game didn’t make money. However, my internship has changed their perspective, to the point where they watch every Kwangdong Freecs game in the LCK. After every game, they contact me and say, “We saw your team win today! Who was the MVP? »

A lot of news about professional teams comes not just from on-scene reporters, but also from the front office.

Can you explain in detail what the front office of Kwangdong Freecs does?

Because there’s such a variety of things the front office does, it’s hard to pinpoint one thing and say, “This is what management does. The best way to describe it would be that if it’s player-related work, then it’s controlled by the front office. This can range from helping set up schedules in line with players’ daily routines to arranging online/offline fan meetups.

We also plan, film and edit video content for KDF’s Youtube and plan fan events through our social media. During the off-season, we help deliver what the players do through our sponsors and collaborations with our fans.

I’m curious how the front desk works on a normal working day. Can you share what your daily schedule looks like?

Our working hours are normally 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but depending on shift schedules, we adjust our working hours accordingly. Matches usually take place in the evening, as well as at weekends, so we tend to work at that time as well. Even when there are no games, players stay up until quite late to train, so we have to be on standby during those times as well.

When would you say you feel most satisfied with your job?

Personally, I’m satisfied when all the hard work of our players pays off. It’s also very satisfying to see the players training very hard, giving each other feedback for more than 12 hours a day. Watching their passion really fuels me.

I am also very satisfied when our planned social media posts have a lot of likes from fans. In esports, I think fan interaction is key. We try to listen to all kinds of opinions from our fans and apply as many of their opinions as possible in our direction. Offline fan meetings are difficult due to COVID, so right now I’m trying to show the natural side of our players as much as possible to the fans.

[From the left] KDF League of Legends head coach Cain and bot laner Teddy after their playoff win over DRX

On the other hand, when does the work seem the most difficult to you?

It’s very hard on your physical health to often work late at night and on weekends. That’s why I started exercising so I could follow the schedule. It’s also mentally taxing when players are on a losing streak or are at the bottom of the leaderboard.

How to prepare to find a career in this industry? Is there anything specific they should prepare in their portfolios?

As the industry has grown a lot more than before and the LCK has become a lot more known to the public, I believe there are a lot more opportunities right now. You can literally search for “esports” on job search sites and you will find a wide variety of esports jobs.

If you’re good at listening to players’ needs and you’re just good at communicating with them, you’ll fit in well with management. It is also important to show confidence during your interviews. My interview with management at the time was online as I was overseas. Maybe I wasn’t nervous because it wasn’t face to face, so I smiled a lot and felt very comfortable. They told me they liked that side of me.

If you can edit video and know how to use Photoshop, those are big bonus points. Of course, if you can speak more than one language, that’s also a huge plus, as many teams upload their social media posts and videos in other languages ​​as well. If you can really showcase all of your experiences, whether in gaming or even in areas like marketing, in your portfolio, they will definitely help you on your journey to a job in esports!