Admit Interviews

Successful Applicants’ Road to Success

Yuta Miki / Stanford GSB Class of 2023 / Fulbright Mikitani Scholar

Self intro / Linkedin
Hello! My name is Yuta Miki, and I will go to Stanford GSB in the fall of 2021. I grew up in Kawasaki City, Japan. I worked at SAP for four years and now enter the MBA school as a private-sponsored student.

Tell me about your decision to study in the US for college - it seems like a key turning point?
Yes, I was in Meiji University and transferred to the Ohio State University in my second year. I was eager to learn with students from different countries and acquire English skills to prepare myself for working globally after undergraduate school. Also, I thought the undergraduate business curriculum in the US is advanced because the US has so many renowned business schools. The decision to study in the US was one of the best decisions of my life so far!

Why did you join SAP?
I wanted to have a good impact on societies with technology, which is changing every industry. Also, a sales skill is often ignored but very essential to build great businesses. I wanted to acquire the universal sales skill that I can utilize for the rest of my corporate life. Finally, I love the people of SAP. They are very open-minded and supportive.

When did you start thinking about the MBA?
I got interested in an MBA in my first year of Meiji University. HBS alumni gave us a presentation about the MBA. I was attracted to the curriculum and mission of MBA to educate future leaders. I have always dreamed of going for an MBA since then. Because I knew GPA is crucial for MBA application and I wanted to do well in US college, I attained a high GPA which was helpful for my application.

You contacted me very early in the process and I think that it was very important and helpful for you. Can you tell me about that decision?
Yes, I contacted you in May of 2019. I thought early preparation is critical for successful application. Also, when I was in high school, I did not prepare early for a college entrance exam, and I failed to get admitted into the college of my top choice. I did not want to make the same mistakes for an MBA application. I was fortunate to attend your seminar with many people applying in 2019, one year earlier than my application round. It helped me grasp the whole application one year earlier.

Fortunately you could get your score early and apply for the Fulbright Scholarship, how was that an important part of your application process?
The deadline for the Fulbright application comes earlier than the deadlines for other business schools, and the application process is very similar. The Fulbright scholarship application helped me prepare early, and it was like a vital practice game for your World Cup game, a business school application. (I like soccer analogy)

What was the hardest part of the application process for you?
Writing essays is fun but very hard because I needed to make many edits and it required a lot of introspection. However, the essay part helped me think of who I am, what I am passionate about, and how I want to contribute to this society for the rest of my life.

What was the valuable aspect of the Edogijuku Service that helped you?
Ed’s feedback on essays and interviews was always detailed and on the point. Ed’s seminars gave me a lot of information and insight into MBA schools and the application process. Most importantly, Ed is a very nice person and always supportive of applicants. I enjoyed working with him throughout my application journey!

You are private sponsored so how did you develop your future goal?
First, I wrote down what I am passionate about. After that, I connected these dots to write the short-term and long-term goals covering my interests and passions. In the process, I often asked myself, “Is this goal worth the rest of my life and compelling MBA admission to invest their available seats in me??”. With this method, I made it to create the goal coming from the bottom of my heart.

How did you choose your letter of recommendation writers?
I have had two supervisors for my years at SAP. I asked them to write the recommendation letter. Although they never wrote recommendation letters before, they put great effort into writing the letters for me. I really appreciate it.

I thought that you had a good strategy to show your leadership outside work, can you give some hints about outside work experiences?
I was involved in different extracurricular activities, such as leading the SAP Japan soccer team and founding the Ohio State University Alumni Club of Japan. The key for extracurricular activities is to do what you like or are passionate about to keep working on these activities even though you are busy with the primary job responsibilities.

If you could go back to 20 years old and make one change, what would it be?
At Ohio State, I should have taken a minor in science disciplines such as computer science and bioengineering because knowledge and experiences of these fields are becoming more important in real businesses.

What is the best advice you can give future MBA applicants?
Prepare early! Although some people are smart enough to get into top business schools with a few months of preparation, many people, including me, need to make great efforts to get into top MBA schools. If you prepare early, you have more chances to boost your scores, write compelling essays, know more about MBA schools, build great relationships with your recommenders and do well on your main jobs while applying!

You were very good at networking and also took a leading role in Kaigai, can you give some advice about the importance of networking?
SAP Japan does not send MBA students or hire them, so I did not have anyone close to me applying for top business schools. I also love to connect with and support people, which encourages me to build the communities of MBA applicants during the application phase. It was my pleasure to know my fellow MBA applicants. They are super awesome!!
I just want to say that there are applicants who did not connect with any applicants and still got into their desired schools. You do not need to feel pressure to network!

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am grateful for the people helping me get into Stanford GSB. I aspired to learn from renowned professors and fellow students, support them and change the world together after MBA. If you read my interviews and get interested in knowing more about the application process from me, I am always happy to support you! Feel free to send messages on LinkedIn!

Yiping Zhang / Harvard Business School Class of 2023

Self intro
Hello, my name is Yiping. I was born and raised in China and have been living in Japan for nearly 10 years. After graduation, I started to work for a consulting company. I plan to go to HBS from fall of 2021.

Tell me about your decision to study abroad in the Japan during high school - it seems like a key turning point?
Exactly. I was always curious about the world outside of my home, an industrial city in China. I have been eager to study abroad since very young. After joining the Japanese class in high school, I was selected as a member of a government organized exchange program to study in high school in Kyoto. During the homestay in Kyoto, I was able to further understand Japanese culture, and gained a “minority” perspective as an exchange student.

Why did you come to Japan for university?
During the one-year homestay in Kyoto, I made many good friends in Japan and I was hoping to continue the friendship and learn more about Japan, so I came back to Japan for college.

How did you decide to join your company and the consulting industry?
I chose the consulting industry because I was hoping to gain basic business skills in a short time after graduation. ZS specializes in the healthcare industry, which I found rewarding, and I found ZS especially attractive for its unique culture.

When did you start thinking about the MBA?
When working with the MBA holders in my company, I found they had a well structured and comprehensive understanding of business, which encouraged me to pursue an MBA myself.

You applied to the UK and the US programs and the 1st round and 2nd round, can you share some insights about these decisions?
I did not have a strong preference on geography, and found both programs attractive in different ways. Therefore, I decided to apply for both, and chose a UK school for R1 as I wanted to get familiar with the application process and start story building earlier.

What do you think was the most challenging part of the process?
As for most applicants, balancing work and application was challenging. I did not regret spending enough time on work to gain good results, as it helped me with the essay and interview eventually (i.e., achievement stories).

The score making was not easy for you and for many others, do you have any good tips for other applicants?
I had a hard time achieving the ideal GMAT score, so I think I should have created a more strategic study plan at an earlier phase.

You did a good job taking time for self reflection and integrating your personal experiences and connecting them to your career and future career path, can you give some insights to help other applicants?
With the help from Ed, close friends and mentors, I was able to reflect thoroughly on my personal experiences from when I was a child. To be specific, my process was basically 1) recall those moments that I felt excited and had passion about, 2) find the connections and core values behind them, and 3) draw a picture for the future about what I want to dedicate my life for.

What was the most valuable thing about the Edogijuku Services for your applications?
Professional advice from Ed and connections with other applicants are definitely the two most valuable things. I am so glad and thankful that I found Edogijuku and had Ed be my advisor.

Do you have any other advice for future applicants?
Find your own motivation about business school, while allow some downtime during the process for the balance.

Finance / HBS Class of 2024

Ed is known for his long experience of helping many applicants enter into top business schools, based on which he provides edits suited for each school’s characteristics.
On top of that, what I’m most grateful to him for is that he was always nice, kind, and approachable; that was a great support for me during the stressful application process. When one interview suddenly got scheduled two days later, he even advised me about my interview script at midnight. He patiently worked with me until I’m sure my essay was the best version possible.

Another of his unique strengths is that he deeply understands the realities of Japanese applicants. Many native speaker counselors insist that you shouldn’t prepare interview scripts as you would be like a tape recorder in an interview; however, I believe this policy is unrealistic to many intermediate level English speakers like me. In contrast, Ed will help you develop your interview scripts if you want. He provides interview strategies suitable for non-native applicants, which also helped me pass my HBS interview.

Hiro Sera / MIT Sloan Fellows Program Class of 2022

Self intro / Linkedin
I've worked for Hitachi as an HR since I graduated from university and led several global projects, such as PMI in a M&A in the UK, establishing a joint venture in Saudi Arabia, creating the employment and compensation scheme in Taiwan and Indonesia, and supporting the largest cross border M&A in the company’s history. In college, I studied abroad in the US for about a year and enjoyed learning business. Outside work, I love soccer and music, especially playing my guitar, traveling abroad (as my wife does) and cooking (though she doesn’t).

Tell me about your decision to study abroad in the US for college - it seems like a key turning point?
I wanted to achieve something I would be proud of during college. One day I went to New York with my friend. I was overwhelmed to see diverse communities and vibrant energy in every corner of Manhattan, so I was determined to go to the US again to challenge myself and grow more by joining an official study abroad program.

Why did you join Hitachi?
Through the international experiences in the US during college, I started thinking that I wanted to work for a global company to expose myself to the international businesses and that I really felt proud of being Japanese, seeing a lot of made-in-Japan products there. So, I applied for Japanese manufacturing companies expanding their businesses globally and luckily I got an offer from Hitachi.

When did you start thinking about the MBA?
When I’ve accomplished several global projects for around 6-7 years, I felt I couldn’t be satisfied anymore and wanted to challenge myself more. So, I considered options and found the MBA as one of the best opportunities to change my career from an HR project lead to a business project manager.

You changed your plan and applied at a later date, can you tell me about that situation and how did getting experience on that project help you become a better candidate?
I passed the sponsorship selection at Hitachi and was supposed to apply in 2018. However, I was assigned to the biggest M&A project ever and decided to postpone the application because I felt committed and responsible to complete the project. Looking back, I think it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life, as I overcame a lot of tough situations in the global contexts with world leading business and M&A experts and developed the negotiation skills, strategic thinking, global mindset, and grid, which made me a better candidate for top business schools that welcome those qualities.

You decided to apply for the 1 year vs. the 2 year program. Can you share your insights about why you thought that would be more suitable for you?
Having a clear objective was the key. When I reapplied for schools in 2020 with sponsorship from Hitachi, I was still clinging to the 2 year programs since I wanted to take time and study longer, though I knew it was difficult to be admitted to the top 2 years programs at my age of 34. But, one day I came across one article in some career advisor’s blog, which said, “Going to a grad school should not be a goal. Your goal must be beyond it.” and I was convinced. I started thinking about why I wanted an MBA and reached the conclusion that I still wanted to change my career to do business on my own. I wanted to “use an MBA" rather than just get “an MBA”, so growing fast and coming back to work early was my priority. I realized the MBA is a tool, not a goal, and one year is the best fit at this timing for me.

The score making was not easy for you and for many others, do you have any good tips for other applicants?
I analyzed myself and found the best way of studying for me. For example, I noticed I was really bad at sitting at my desk for a long time to concentrate (I rather like working and doing something). So, I measured how long I could concentrate and found a sweet spot, and set the timer and took a rest once my limit came. In addition, I realized if I had a sufficient block of time to concentrate, my score went up, so I made priorities on my work and chores and got as much time as possible for studying. The test skills and coaching from my mentor at a prep school helped me a lot, too. I believe the key is knowing and adapting yourself to the right way.

If you could go back and change one thing when you were 20 what would you do?
I would do external activities more. It’s not because I could write it down in my resume, but I could nurture my personality and become a more mature human. I just started getting executive coaching as a leadership program at MIT and learned that leadership is all about becoming a mature person, not only at a workplace but also at home with your family and any place with your friends. Eventually, admissions will look for those types of persons, seeing you as a person, not on your resume.

Your ideas for the essays seemed very creative, can you give any hints to applicants on how to write creative, personal and powerful essays?
I always try to think of the “points” first, and then connect those dots, which I learned a lot from Ed. When I read the questions in essays, I tried to understand admission’s intention (of course, with the help and instruction from Ed), and made a point of my essay like “spotting the destination in a map”. I also thought stories as supporting evidence like “items to level you up in a game”. Lastly, I wrote them down to connect those points and stories as if I was "drawing routes in the map to get all the items and reach the destination". In real processes, you should go back and forth, but this is my basic approach I’ve developed with Ed.

You met the MIT admissions once before and made a good impression and I think that helped your candidacy. What are some hints on how to interact with admissions offices to make a strong first impression?
The admission process was matching yourself and schools. So, I not only studied myself, but also researched admission's needs and preferences by hearing from Ed, current students, and admissions themselves on YouTube (there are lots of videos thanks to pandemic). In my case, I met Rod Garcia of MIT and from my research I knew he liked the informal way of “Izakaya talk” to understand and sense a candidate's true personality. In addition, I tried to imagine what kind of situation he would be in at my interview, and I thought it was late at night and tiring for him after having several interviews, so I determined my strategy and thought my meeting with him should be fun and impressive with my passion for MIT. It worked. It was not like subordinating you to pretend as if you would be matched with a school, but like thinking how to get someone’s attention to date and marry.

What was the most valuable thing about the Edogijuku Services for your applications?
Objective and logical advice with the right points and information. You’ll lose sight because knowing yourself, learning schools, and matching those are intimidating and tough. So, his advice always lifted my face up and made me see things at a high level. Rich information was also strong to match myself with each school trait.

Do you have any other advice for future applicants?
I thought the MBA application was a solo sport and felt so lonely while doing, but looking back it was actually a team sport. I couldn’t stop sending emails to thank so many people who helped me, including Ed (of course, the first email!), teachers at a prep school, GMAT study group mates, current students, alumni, bosses, colleagues, business partners, friends, and my family, until midnight after being admitted. Then I realized I was not alone. So, my advice is take ownership of your MBA "project" and manage your “team” to reach your aim in your application path. It is not others to pave your way, but you to make your own way with teammates you choose on your responsibility. I guarantee Ed will be your great fellow in your team.

Karen Kamakura / MIT Sloan Fellows Class of 2023

Self intro / Linkedin

You pursued an advanced STEM degree, but shifted your career from academia to consulting/business. Can you share the reasons for this important decision in your career?
The direct reason was that while studying neuroscience and pharmacology in graduate school, I became aware of issues regarding motivation and R&D investment in organizations and wanted to learn more. I thought that besides working directly as a researcher, there might be other ways to contribute even in an indirect way. For me, moving to the business side was a good choice because it gave me a chance to broaden my horizons.

In your career, you decided to prioritize the healthcare business. Why do you have such a strong passion for healthcare consulting?
At first, it is based on my personal experience that my father is a medical doctor and professor who continues research. So, healthcare is the closest thing to me in my childhood. Furthermore, I believe that the medical and healthcare service area is not only of great importance in our daily lives, but also in the scientific and social progress of all humankind. A lot of people and money are invested in this area, and everyone wants to see progress. It is my lifework to think about progress in the healthcare field.

It is challenging to continue your career as a working mother. Can you share your decision and some of the keys to your success so far?
When I had my children, the number of role models of working mothers was very limited. I think there are many role models now.
The important thing to remember is that every "working mother" has a different lifestyle, work-life balance, and family situation. I think those who want to continue working at the same time as mothers should not only look for role models but also sort out the appropriate balance b/w work and family.
For me, the key to success is to set priorities and do PDCA. Avoid boiling the ocean and think realistically. If you, as a working mother, have more to do than those around you, you must give up something. In addition, if you do not design your style in one day, you can pursue trial and error with other people’s help.

When did you decide to apply to the MBA program?
Just 3 months before the application (September in 2021).

What was the hardest part of the application for you?
Time limitation. I don’t have enough time, so when I started preparing, I decided only to take IELTS and GMAT 1-2 times (actually I took only once for both). I was going to be happy if I got accepted. As a result, I was able to receive an offer from MIT and USC, which I think was a matter of luck. I know that everyone who applies to the MBA is busy with work/ family matters, so I think it would be better to organize in your mind how much time you want to devote to the MBA exam, how far you want to go, why, and what you can discard.

What did you prioritize when selecting an MBA program?
-Full-time oversea programs allow me to bring my family. (the most important thing for me)
-Allow Executive Assessment.
-Allow my career (having 10-15 yrs. of experience. I received an answer that my career was too short from several executive courses)
I found only 2-3 MBA programs under these criteria. Under these conditions, I wanted to go to a school that would fit my interest as much as possible. As a result, MIT offers the option of taking classes outside of the MBA, has a good balance of hard skills such as data analytics and soft skills such as leadership, and the SFMBA course has matured classmates with over 10 years of experience, making it the perfect school and program for me.

How did Edogijuku help you prepare a successful application?
Ed helped me throughout my application process. I learned not only the technical stuff of essays but also what to get out of taking the MBA application and what the university expects from us, all from conversations with Ed. This was helpful also in keeping our motivation high. I am very grateful for this!

If you could go back to 20 years old and make one change, what would it be?
I would have challenged myself earlier for the opportunity to learn and work abroad. It has been more than 10 years since I thought I was "ready."

What advice would you give to applicants?
Please plan well what MBA you want, what you can sacrifice for it and what you can give up alternatively. Have no regrets about your application journey.

Masa Nakamura / Wharton Class of 2023

Self intro
Work at a trading company. 5 years in HR, and 7 years in Sales/Business Development.

You had the chance to go to work overseas in Africa or pursue an MBA and you decided to go to Africa. It seems like an important decision in your career, can you share some insights about it?
Working in global settings in Africa, ME, and Asia, I confirmed that working globally is one of the priorities in my career. Through business development, investment, and management, I realized the needs of having general skills so that I can add value in my company.

When did you start thinking about the MBA?
I started thinking about the MBA when I was 27. But later, I moved to other countries for new assignments. After coming back to Tokyo at the age of 33, I started studying for the TOEFL and GMAT.

You were in your 30s and decided to go to the 2 year vs. 1 year program. Why did you think that the 2 year program was more suitable for you?
The biggest difference is how long I can immerse myself in MBA life. I wanted to prioritize not only academic learning but also practice such as experiential learning, so I changed my target program from 1 year to 2 years.

You prioritized the US schools vs. EU schools, can you share why?
Since I have worked in ME, Africa, and Asia, I thought that studying and working in the U.S. will allow me to see a different world.

Wharton has a unique team based discussion. I think that you were really preparing well and very collaborative, do you have any insights to share about this process?
Practice is everything because a topic will be announced beforehand. I simulated how to react to others, how to propose ideas, how to conclude discussions.

You decided to apply in R1 and R2. Can you share your strategies about the schedule, school selection?
I decided to use R1 as practice. So I selected my target schools in R1, and put other schools in R2. This strategy was not bad because I could improve my essay in R2.

When developing your WHY MBA study plan and goal you started to shift more and more to clean, sustainable solutions. Can you share about this process to develop your goals?
I was simply interested in clean, sustainable solutions. In addition, I was working in the traditional industry. So I’m afraid that admission teams might think my industry would not grow in the future. Therefore, I tried to shift more from the traditional industry to the growing industry.

What did you think was the hardest part of the MBA application process?
Preparing essays is the hardest part for me. Deciding the core of the essay and customizing essays to schools require a lot of time and effort.

What was the most valuable thing about the Edogijuku Services for your applications?
The tips to promote myself in interviews, to understand the meanings/aims of essay’s questions, and to improve essays.

Do you have any other advice for future applicants?
Time management is the key. Try to make a sufficient score so that you can concentrate on essays and interviews.

Kohei Hasegawa / MIT Executive MBA Class of 2024

Self Intro/Linkedin
My name is Kohei Hasegawa, one of the emergency physicians / scientists at Mass General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. I am a native of Yokohama and came to Boston 14 years ago for emergency medicine residency training. While my original plan was to go back to Japan after the training, somehow, I’m still here. Life is full of uncertainties, which I embrace.

You have an interesting global career. How did your passion for emergency care lead you to success overseas?
I just followed my inner voice, did what I love, and tried to think out of the box. The apparent “success” was merely a given label. When I worked hard and pushed myself, people helped me. I must admit that I’ve been extremely lucky and that my career may not have reproducibility.

So far, you have developed a successful career as a medical doctor. When did you start thinking about the MBA or was it something that was always on your mind even before you started your career?
I had no plan at all. To be honest, as with many people in academia, I had little respect for the industry and did think that MBA was for people who chase money. I was premature.
During my tenure at Harvard I have published 250 papers, advanced science, and got many funding (and awards). While some may say that it is a good career as a scientist, last year, I recognized that my science would not help a single patient if I stay in this silo. Now, I needed to change.

How would you use your business studies in your career?
My next focus is the translation of our scientific discoveries into patients' lives. This journey won’t be easy because there are many barriers to doing so. The vast majority of scientific discoveries in academia fall in "the valley of death". I need to know how to work with many external partners, including the industry. I want to learn the basics of business administration and gain experience in working with people from different backgrounds.

What did you prioritize when selecting the EMBA program?
MITs’ culture (innovation, application, and craziness), strength (e.g., biomedical research), and location (I’m local). I chose the EMBA because it's part-time and the classmates are mature/experienced. So, MIT EMBA was the only program I applied to.

How did Edogijuku help you prepare for a successful interview?
Ed gave me a lot of information on MIT Sloan (including the one from his previous EMBA applicants), which helped me prepare for and expect what would be asked. And the general strategy—stemming from your themes—was essential.

If you could go back to 20 years old and make one change, what would it be?
Nothing much. Perhaps, I should have taken more risks, failed more, and embraced them. This lesson remains true at my age.

What advice would you give to future applicants?
My advice is -- listen to Ed. :)

Koyo Moriya HBS Class of 2024

Self Intro/Linkedin

You decided to pursue a master’s degree in a technical field. Can you share how that decision influenced your career?
I studied design engineering under the guidance of my French professor with students from six countries. Specifically, I researched how virtual/augmented reality could improve user experience. From my research, I learned that I need to do more, not just invent new technology per se but also design good user experiences to transform technology into a meaningful impact on people and society. I also learned the importance of creating an inclusive environment for innovative ideas. Those experiences became the foundation of my passion for using technology to improve people's lives and include more professionals to tackle complex issues in my professional career.

Why did you decide to join your company?
Based on my grandfather's words, who loved to drive with me, and my internship at a Japanese personal mobility startup for wheelchair users, I decided to improve the safety of cars and deliver the fun to move for all. Considering EVs and connected cars trends, it seemed to be the best idea to join the automotive department of one of the largest Japanese electronic conglomerates, Panasonic.

You grew up in Japan, how did you develop your international experiences and make use of them in the application?
In addition to my master’s degree research project with talented international students, I was selected as one of the members of a government-funded design thinking workshop in India. In India, I found that social issues involving older adults are a common problem in every aging society worldwide. I shared these vivid lessons in my application process to tell a story about how I cultivated my determination to tackle social issues of an aging society in the world and improve the well-being of the elderly.

You are the first person from your company to be sponsored to go to the MBA, can you talk about that opportunity?
Just one year before I applied to MBA programs, Panasonic had decided to transit to a holding system by splitting it into several subsidiaries, each of which started to have more responsibility and authority for its management. I considered it a chance to propose a corporate MBA sponsorship program because my company has urgent reasons to cultivate a next-generation management leader. Of course, I was struggling to reach a consensus mainly because of their unique perspective on their talent development, but I finally got on the same page.
Ultimately, I strongly felt that they are now trying to modernize and globalize themselves in every aspect. They sincerely hope I accelerate my growth at HBS as a leader who can lead breakthrough changes in a traditional and legacy organization like Panasonic and beyond.

It can be challenging to develop your goal, can you explain how you developed your future vision?
First, I created a lifeline chart to discover turning points in my life and my values that could be the foundation of my future vision. Also, I talked with many MBA students and alumni to brush up on my career aspiration from different viewpoints. Apart from that, initiating a project with a Japanese startup to solve the problem that matters the most to me also helped me figure out gaps between my current standpoint and my career goal. Through analyzing and learning from various kinds of past successful essays which I read at one of the Edogijyuku’s seminars, I could finally express my future vision in my own words.

When did you start to get interested in the MBA program?
When I joined an educational entrepreneurship program that aimed to create startups based on the results of academic research as a graduate student, I confirmed that I needed to acquire the ability and expertise like an MBA to transform those technologies into business. After joining Panasonic, my experiences commercializing security technology as the first subscription-based business in my company taught me the necessity of seeing a particular industry trend as an opportunity to design suitable business models and build strategic alliances to implement technology into society in a sustainable way. That made me realize more that I need to hone my leadership/ability to bring a positive impact on the automotive industry, where we are now involving different kinds of technologies and players we have never collaborated with before.

What was the hardest part of the application for you?
Time management. I struggled to balance myself between score-making, writing essays, communicating with my company, and so forth. However, thanks to Ed’s advice, I could prioritize what I had to do from moment to moment under pressure.

What did you prioritize when selecting an MBA program?
When I applied to MBA programs, I figured out what I’d like to learn at a business school; leadership across industries, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and CEO perspective, and thus which are attractive schools for me. In addition, I interacted with students and alumni who finally convinced me that HBS is the best place to pursue my career aspiration.

How did Edogijuku help you prepare a successful application?
Ed always helped me figure out essential parts of my applications. His “inside-out” style fitted well with me. For example, he organized events where fellow admits and I analyzed and learned from various styles of past essays. Also, during interview preparation, he always asked me questions like “what are your edges?” or “where will you raise your hand in the MBA classroom?” Those were valuable to prioritize and narrow down my strengths or unique perspectives, especially for a fast-paced HBS interview. Since he taught me many valuable things which apply to my coming MBA journey and beyond, for me, he is not just a counselor but mentor and made me enjoy my application process as the self-discovery process and opportunity to hone my strength and leadership.

You were taking initiative to manage the line group among various applicants. How was that helpful for the process and can you recommend how people network and the value of networking?
The LINE group was composed of about 70 fellow applicants mainly living and working in Japan but some of them outside of Japan, such as in neighboring Asian countries, Africa, and the US. As I followed one of my values, ONE TEAM, I encouraged them to help each other by sharing useful information for the application process and organizing mock interviews. Working with the brightest applicants from diverse backgrounds and industries gave me a chance to review and brush up on my essay and interview strategy from multiple angles and made me understand myself more deeply. I would recommend connecting with and diving into diverse groups of people and there to act as the role you would like to become during/after MBA even before MBA. I think that’s an effective way to find the best and most authentic version of yourself.

If you could go back to 20 years old and make one change, what would it be?
I strongly felt that understanding Japanese corporate culture and history was part of the foundation for my past achievements. From now on, understanding the culture and history behind people’s values and personalities will be an integral part of my future success as a global corporate citizen aspiring to tackle one of the most challenging social issues around the globe. From this standpoint, it would be great if I could have spent my academic life exposed to the realities of life in different cities with diverse cultures in my 20s.

What advice would you give to applicants?
Think about balance between your application's professional and personal aspects. In my case, I shared a story through my application process in which I learned the spirit from my hobby, Ikebana (transitional Japanese flower arrangement), that is the foundation of my collaborative leadership style to work with different kinds of people in diverse environments and to overcome complex challenges.

Kyohei Ishikawa / Chicago Booth Class of 2023 / Chicago MSCS Dual Degree / Chicago Distinguished Fellows Award

Self intro / Linkedin
Hi, I’m Kyohei. I was born and raised in Tokyo, went to college in the US, and worked for both a traditional Japanese company and a startup company. I'm going to pursue a dual degree in the joint MBA/MPCS (Masters Program in Computer Science) program at University of Chicago, starting in fall 2021. Aside from work, I am passionate about fashion and surfing.

Tell me about your decision to study abroad in the US for college - it seems like a key turning point?
As a teenager, I was passionate about music, fashion, etc originating in the West. Thus, I wanted to explore the world outside Japan, especially the US. It was a big turning point for my life in a rather unexpected way; I started to see Japan more positively.

Why did you join a traditional Japanese company?
When I lived in the US, I started to see more positive sides of Japan. Thus, I sought to leverage my international background and help Japanese firms flourish in overseas markets.

You changed your career and joined an interesting company - can you tell me about that important decision in your career?
Though I was happy to start my career and build my foundation at a traditional Japanese company, I came to feel cramped working in a workplace where there's a lot of preparation of material only to report, seniority-based evaluation, and strict hierarchy. I sought an environment where I would be encouraged to make my own decisions and direct contribution to the growth of a company.

When did you get interested in an MBA?
I thought about it from time to time but started considering it seriously in fall 2019 when I led a project which involved a variety of stakeholders and could manage it very well. I realized that an MBA would be a great opportunity to develop myself as a leader and achieve my long term goals.

You are not sponsored so how did you develop your career goal?
I contemplated my career goals first and then found an MBA a way to achieve the goals.

Who did you select for your letter of recommendation letter writers and why?
I selected my direct supervisor and former supervisor as my recommenders because I worked with them closely, and they knew me very well.

After you were admitted, you won the special fellowship - can you share the details about it?
I have been really fortunate to participate in a fellowship which not only aids me financially but also gives me an opportunity to work closely with a professor and a few other fellows to develop my leadership skills.

If you could go back and change one thing when you were 20 what would you do?
I would not change a thing but advise my 20 year-old self to be open and seek new opportunities, find what interests you, and work hard on it.

What was the most valuable about the Edogijuku Services?
Among various elements such as high quality and speed of work, I'd like to highlight that Ed focuses on each applicant's strengths and lets them shine in their MBA applications. During his consultation, I started to see my career more positively and could build confidence in my MBA application. I believe he is truly passionate about helping applicants pursue and achieve their own career goal.

Do you have any other advice for future applicants?
Be open to opportunities. Honestly, I did not think about pursuing an MBA two years ago. However, as I looked into it, I found that it's achievable and it could be a great opportunity to achieve my goals in the long run. If you find an MBA a good opportunity for you, work hard and make it a reality! Also, when you do research on an MBA, don't hesitate to reach out to current MBA students or alumni for their insight and advice.