My desire for an MBA stemmed from the need to transform myself from a good player in the banking field, to a great financial services manager. I had spent seven years structuring, negotiating, and completing transactions in the Middle East and Brazil for JBIC, but given that the bank had just started to enhance its equity investment business, I wanted to increase my knowledge in this area. I was also looking for a fully international experience that would allow me the opportunity to live outside Japan.
I was already familiar with London and had built a number of business relationships there, but the two major reasons for choosing London Business School were the flexibility of the programme and the calibre of students. As a sponsored student, my employer provides a maximum study period of 18 months, so the flexible exit points were crucial. I also wanted a top-ranked programme because I knew the strong brand would attract the best talent from around the world.
London Business School’s study groups are made up of six or seven students from diverse professional backgrounds, and are a key part of the MBA learning experience. Task allocation is extremely fluid and everyone is very open about sharing knowledge. During one recent strategy session we were grappling with an assignment relating to a ‘value curve’ on a particular case study. A classmate who worked in the strategydepartment of a global manufacturing company shared an internal presentation showing how the tool is used to make decisions in the real world. Combined with the theoretical classroom explanation, this practical demonstration gave me areal insight of what it means to work as a strategist.Study groups help you learn to be both leader and team player, all in a truly international environment;it is these experiences which will enable me to lead global teams in the future.
The MBA is enormously flexible, culminating in the ability to graduate at 15, 18 or 21 months. Although we receive assignments almost weekly, the extent of commitment to each one depends on how you want to allocate your time. Spreading the load with others in my study group leaves me free to concentrate on professional activities like the business school competitions which are frequently held on campus, or to enjoy weekend trips. This means that as well as what I’m learning in class, I’ve participated in a strategy consulting competition, an IPO competition and a buyout competition in the US. These were all great opportunities for me to learn how other industries think and to work intensively with classmates who have entirely different backgrounds. I’ve also enjoyed playing in the Men’s Football Club. I’m not a great player on the pitch, but playing with teammates from so many different countries has been truly exhilarating.
London Business School is a place full of opportunity. The MBA programme has given me the chance to work in a truly global and eclectic business environment and has greatly enhanced my technical and business management skills. I am definitely building the skills necessary to make my future investment decisions, but perhaps best of all is the global network – the friendships I have created which will benefit me throughout the rest of my personal and professional life.