Self intro / Linkedin
Originally you were considering an MBA. Also an MBA from a European school. You decided to pursue a non-MBA program so can you tell me more about this decision because there are many programs and why do you think that this program was the right one for you and your career?
There were mainly three keys for why I chose the HBS Program for Leadership Development, a fast-track alternative to the executive MBA.
1. To gain confidence with absolute experience to make me think that “I can compete with global talents”.
My strongest purpose was that I wanted to gain confidence by interacting with global top elites. The confidence stemming from the unparalleled experience will surely be a robust core value to pursue my future career at any stage.
2. To envision my career by acquiring decision making skill, global perspectives, and cross functional leadership.
My vision is to make Japan a more competitive country in the global field through my career. Therefore, I desired to learn the necessary factors I still lack in a global, competitive environment.
3. To minimize the impact for my family
Though MBA initially seemed the best way to pursue, life events, especially having two children, made it difficult for me to attend a 2 year full-time program.
With the above consideration, eventually I started to think about a 1-year European MBA. Later, I realized that the above purposes can be achieved with part time courses such as Executive MBA, which are even more non-restrictive. Finally, I decided to apply to HBS PLD without sponsorship.
Your career seems to be going well, how will the study at Harvard help your future career?
I believe that the HBS PLD enables me to become a global talent and bring more positive impact on my organization/business. In addition, the students are more senior than usual MBA courses, so the course might give more pragmatic views which can lead to huge business.
A lot of people have trouble showing the people they are working with why they have to study abroad and they struggle to find the people to write the letters of recommendations -can you give some advice?
My purpose was to gain confidence and related factors as a global talent so that I can boost my company’s business and globalize Japan. To show that simply to my manager, I prepared powerpoint slides, set a meeting, and explained how this application might have a positive impact on the company. As a result, he did not hesitate at all to write an LOR and wrote a very good one.
If you are struggling with asking help from your manager, I recommend that you be clear and concise about the reason why the manager needs to support you.
It is really hard to work full time and manage the time to prepare all the things that go into a winning application - can you tell how you managed your time to complete your application successfully?
I spent over 6 years in total preparing everything, from age 28 to 34. Therefore, I did not feel at each moment that I was rushed or that I lacked time. In other words, perhaps I was patient enough.
When I was 28, I started to study for the TOEFL and GMAT, and made scores in around 2 years (TOEFL 110 and GMAT 710).
After I made the scores, because of the many life events, I suspended my application for a while. When I turned 32, I started to prepare for the INSEAD MBA with the help of Ed, but finally decided not to apply.
Finally, when I was 33, I restarted to prepare for HBS PLD with the help of Ed again, exactly while I was taking the second paternity leave for 3.5 months. Using most of the time for taking care of my children, I spared 1~2 hours every day to prepare for applications, especially while the children were taking a nap and after they slept in the early night.
What was the hardest part of the process?
Unlike usual applicants, I spent a lot of time on each process, and thus time management for making scores or writing essays were not so big an issue. The most difficult part was to cope with anxiety that if I could not get into any of the schools, the effort I made may end up in vain. Because I use English in my daily work, I kept convincing myself to think that even if I do not get into a business school, the study will benefit my future career anyways.
What was the most valuable thing about the Edogijuku Services for your applications?
With so many “why” marks from Ed’s reply in the essays I drafted, I could dig deeply about the reason “why I want to study at business school”. This made me think thoroughly of the business person who I wanted to become in the future. From this, I felt that this service is not only about helping applicants be enrolled into prestigious schools, but also about making the applicants realize what they truly want to achieve in their future.
In addition, the advice from Ed was reliable ~ points that I should elaborate, expressions, length ~ and without the support, I am sure that I could not be admitted to HBS.
Do you have any other advice for future applicants?
Applying to business school is not an easy way. Through the processes, you might face various difficulties: scores, essays, time, money, family, work, and even the pandemic.
If you feel that the school you initially wanted to go to now seems not the right fit for some reasons, I recommend that you think differently and keep seeking for another possible way.
Unlike Japanese universities, global schools are far more diverse, and there are so many options. If you do not give up, you will find better paths which may potentially leverage and enrich your career.