“I will never stop moving forward with my motto: Rome was not built in a day.”
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Fun fact about yourself: I love to travel and eat, and one of my favorite things is going to cooking classes to experience the local cuisine and culture at travel destinations.
Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Tokyo, Bachelor of Engineering in Urban Engineering
Most recent employer and job title: East Japan Railway Company, Urban Development Project Manager
Integrative thinking is one of the cornerstones of the Rotman MBA experience. What does integrative thinking mean to you and how have you been able to apply it so far? For me, integrative thinking is the ability to think not just from one point of view, but also from multiple points of view to solve problems. It is necessary not only to acquire specialized knowledge, but also to acquire a wide range of knowledge in order to examine and understand problems from multiple angles. In this way, you can organically connect this knowledge and understand it in a systematic way. Although I have only completed half of the core courses, I believe Rotman has created an environment that supports this by providing lectures and assignments that allow students to understand how each course and knowledge relates to the others, rather than focusing on knowing each individual course.
What’s been your favorite part of Toronto so far? What made it such a great place to get an MBA? Public transport, such as the metro and trams, is well developed and we do not need to own a car to live in the city center where the campus is located. And Toronto is very tolerant of other cultures. There are so many different ethnic groups that even as international students with families, we were able to blend into this city naturally as soon as we moved in. Also, the environment is child friendly and people on the street will talk to children. and put families first. As mentioned above, I don’t feel any stress in my life, so I can focus on my MBA program.
Aside from your classmates and your location, What was the key element of the Rotman MBA program that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The most important factor in Rotman’s choice of program was the CDL. CDL is the starter program for startups that is now offered at many MBA schools around the world, starting with Rotman. This program gives MBA students the opportunity to discover and experience real startups beyond classroom cases. I aim to solve social problems by contributing to next-generation urban development and mobility services using technological advances and collaborating with entrepreneurs. CDL is a great way to gain experience and learn that will allow me to achieve this goal, and I think it’s a unique program offered by Rotman that no other program can offer.
What class, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Rotman? The activities I have enjoyed the most so far are those of the Business Design Club. As I mentioned earlier, CDL was the most important factor in choosing Rotman, but Business Design was an equally important factor. During the first quarters, when we only focus on the basic courses, we cannot take Business Design as a course. However, the Business Design Club offers a variety of resources and opportunities such as workshops, mentorship programs, and case competitions. Basically, I tried to raise my hand and participate in every opportunity. Especially in a case competition, I was able to experiment with a series of processes to come up with solutions to real consumer problems using design methods such as user research, ideation and prototyping. I feel like I learned skills and knowledge that I couldn’t have acquired by reading books on my own.
Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: I led Tokyo Station improvement projects for the Tokyo Olympics and completed the projects. In preparation for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Tokyo was undergoing a number of development projects to welcome guests from all over the world and provide them with the best experience.
I was in charge of urban development at JR East, a railway company that provides public transport infrastructure in Tokyo, and led station improvement projects. It is the gateway to the city for customers, especially the commercial area development project. With a limited schedule for the Olympics, I coordinated with internal and external stakeholders to reduce costs and shorten the construction period, working hard to open the buildings on schedule. I have also contributed to the development of original products and installations to offer visitors special experiences, and created new spaces and services.
Unfortunately, the Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus and we were unable to welcome foreign visitors in 2021. Nevertheless, it was a very good experience for me to improve my project management skills. And above all, I would like to invite you to visit Tokyo, a city that combines tradition and avant-garde attractions, once the coronavirus has taken hold.
Describe your greatest achievement as an MBA student so far: It would have been nice if I had something spectacular and easy to understand like “I won the XX case contest!”. Unfortunately. I haven’t managed to achieve this yet. Instead, what I’ve realized is that I feel like I’m gradually able to demonstrate my strengths in a very diverse environment and team.
The diversity environment at Rotman was a challenge for me as I had never studied or worked outside of Japan before. In particular, during the common core, study teams are formed and we must essentially approach the missions as a team. My team consisted of Ecuadorian, Nigerian, Pakistani and Peruvian members. At first, I found it difficult to express my opinions and arguments. However, three months have passed since I started the MBA, and I am now able to establish my role in the team and show my strengths. Although I owe a lot to the very cooperative members of my team, it is a Rotman environment where we can learn to show my leadership and my values in such a diverse environment. In the future, I will continue to do my best to build on this experience and achieve spectacular and easy to understand achievements.
What advice would you give to help potential candidates gain admission to the Rotman MBA program? The Rotman app asks for a presentation of your unique peak factor. When I first saw this, I was very confused as to what kind of weird thing I should show. However, after finally passing the exam, I realized that there was no need to be eccentric. Instead, take stock of your past experiences and the strengths that flow from them, and express yourself as you are. I think that by expressing yourself as you are without forcing yourself to decorate yourself, your words and explanations will be more convincing and you will get closer to your ultimate goal. You’ll have a fun and exciting MBA life ahead of you, so don’t give up and work hard until the end.
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