Admit Interviews

Tatsuro Sato / INSEAD Class of 2022

Self Intro/Linkedin
After graduating from the Univ. of Tokyo with a bachelor degree of Law, I joined a trading company, where I have worked 9+ years in the Energy industry. My experiences range from M&A in Oil & Gas upstream in the U.S and Australia to business development in renewable energy in Asian emerging markets.

When did you get interested in an MBA?
I got interested in pursuing an MBA in Dec 2018. While I felt I was well equipped to perform at my work, I often reflected on what I wanted to achieve in my career using my expertise. By chance, I had a chance to talk with my colleague who was about to go to the U.S. MBA, and he talked about the social impact movement, which drew growing attention in MBA education. I was fascinated by the concept and felt that I wanted to learn more about it. I decided to pursue an MBA on the same day and started score making on the next day.

How do you think that an MBA will help your future career?
Ultimately hard skills taught in MBA can be learnt by other means and platforms at a lot cheaper price, but I believe MBA is still valuable since it allows us to access people, places, and opportunities that we otherwise cannot reach out. For me, an MBA is most beneficial in that I can have opportunities to know about social impact and people who share the same passion. Being in MBA, we can do internships, work in student clubs, and take related classes to explore areas we
are interested in. I plan to put my focus during my MBA on figuring out what social impact really is, how it works, what I can do in the sector, and how I can design my future career.
In addition, I studied and worked predominantly in Japan before my MBA. I wanted to expose myself to a diversified environment to know new cultures and new people, which I believe will enrich my life. I also wanted to be immersed in brilliant and passionate people to see how I can perform in a competitive and international environment. Given my motivations mentioned above, being in a highly-ranked, diverse MBA program like INSEAD was the best option.

It is challenging to manage time with your work and family and spare time to prepare for the MBA, how did you manage time?
With my wife and two kids, squeezing my time to prepare for my MBA was not easy. At the same time, I was never alone throughout my MBA application journey. All in all, I did better with my family than I would have done without. Before Covid-19 and work-from-home, on weekdays, I allocated around two hours either before or after work to do MBA preparation. I secured a shared work space close to my office to focus on MBA stuff. Typically, I spent my time with my kids in the morning and studied in the evening since they go to bed earlier than I come home. I tried to minimize overtime to keep time for MBA prep. I was lucky that I had already worked in the same position for several years and was able to manage my work mostly within the work hours. On weekends, I had one day with my family and another for MBA prep. My wife and her parents, who live close to my home, extended full support so that I could secure a day each weekend. After starting work-from-home, balancing between MBA preparation and family got much easier. Without the need to commute, I spent the evening time with my family, taking baths with kids and having dinner together, and then I spent as much time as I wanted after my family sleeps. Again, I could deal with my work mostly during work hours so I could focus on my MBA after finishing my work.
For many people including me, MBA preparation is not a short sprint but a marathon where we experience many ups and downs along the way. Having a wife to share my progress and having kids to play with are my best relief, which allowed me to re-energize even when exhausted and get ready for MBA prep again.

You were sponsored by the company. That is a great honor but sometimes it is challenging to develop your own goal. Share some insights about that process.
In order to make strong MBA applications, we need to plausibly present what we experienced in the past, what we want to achieve in the future, how MBA helps achieve that goal, and what kind of passion drives you in your past and future career. This is the same whether or not you are sponsored. Being a company sponsored applicant, your future goal is supposed to, at least broadly, align with what your company aims to achieve (If your passion is outside your current company, it is not reasonable to get the company’s sponsorship in the first place). This is how the MBA admission committee expects in reviewing your application. You need to be authentic but at the same time be mindful about the above-mentioned context. In my case, what I present in the company sponsorship selection and in the MBA application are
not exactly the same. In the former, I put more focus on the strategy of the company and how I can contribute to it by gaining an MBA. In the latter, I had much more emphasis on my personal story, my experience in emerging markets and my passion to pursue impact in emerging markets. However, I kept in mind that my future goal can be indeed achieved in the same company. All of my essays and presentations share my same passion to make a positive impact for people in need, so in that sense I could keep my authenticity.

You are going to study in France at INSEAD, what are you most excited about?
As I mentioned, I am most excited to explore the social impact realm through internship, electives, and club activities. I am eager to learn like-minded people and practitioners and open up my future career possibilities. In addition, INSEAD is the most diverse business school in the world with the highest reputation as an educational institution. I cannot wait to see my classmates who are super brilliant and unique in their career and personalities. I will be in France with my family for our first journey overseas. I am also looking forward to experiencing new life in France with them.

There are many challenging parts to the MBA application process, what was the most challenging part for you?
Essay was the most challenging part for me. While my passion for social impact was real, finding out my unique story that plausibly supports my passion was not an easy task. It required deep self-reflection and many essay iterations, most of which did not impress Ed and made me work for the next iteration. I ended up spending almost 6 months ruminating on my core essay story. However, once I succeeded in weaving my own story, I was able to tell it with confidence in the interviews.

What was the most valuable thing about the Edogijuku Services for your applications?
Ed has been my companion throughout my MBA application, starting from essay construction to application review and interview preps. To enumerate a few of many unique values he provides, I would start with his candid feedback. Backed by an unparalleled, successful track record advising top Japanese MBA applicants, Ed always provided valuable viewpoints and opinions, which were the important yardsticks for me to know how good (or bad) my essay or interview responses were. I knew that I had to work harder if I could not impress him, and I was on the right track if his feedback was positive. As we have no “correct answer” in an MBA application, having such an authentic and trustful viewpoint is what I could not do without.
Second, I love his swift and flexible service. Ed is always quick in providing feedback. That was especially helpful when the due date of applications was close, enabling me to brush up my applications until the last minute. He was also flexible in providing his service. By charging only for actual minutes spent, Ed allowed me to send many iterations for review in a given paid hour. While the hourly rate is not cheap, I could make the most of it thanks to his flexibility.
Finally, I admire his personality. While he did not hesitate to provide critical feedback when necessary, he kept an encouraging attitude and was always constructive. Thanks to him, I could stay positive in my MBA application journey and overcame challenges I faced.

If you could go back and change one thing when you were 20 what would you do?
I do not regret my past decisions, but I would put more effort into academics in university since my GPA is a disaster!
Also, I would try to expand my world by interacting with people outside my community, which in my case was the rugby football club of the university. Such interactions would have given me more chances to broaden my perspectives and values while I was younger.

Do you have any other advice for future applicants?
Sometimes I felt jealous of people who speak perfect English, have international and unique backgrounds since I did not think I had any of these attributes. However, now I sincerely believe that your life is unique to you and every story can shine if rightly presented. You do not need to be perfect in order to get into your target schools. I would like future applicants to have confidence in themselves and try to be a better version of themselves, rather than comparing you with others
and craving what they do not have.
Also, an MBA application is more like a marathon than a short sprint. I recommend finding people with whom you can share your difficulties and joys. It can be your partner, family, or friends.
Maybe your counselor. Having such people makes you more resilient and your success a lot more wonderful!

Yoshiaki Nakayama / IESE Business School Class of 2023

Self intro / Linkedin
Yoshiaki Nakayama, a former sales and marketer of a Japanese semiconductor manufacturing company.

You are working in a traditional industry - semiconductors - and I think that few people in your company go to the MBA. When did you get interested in the MBA?
My interest in the MBA started in my college days. When I visited Barcelona for sightseeing, by chance I met one Japanese person who was doing a campus visit to IESE. He inspired me a lot by his passion about his future career with his MBA.

How do you think that it will help your career?
My current knowledge and experience are primarily focusing on sales and marketing. The comprehensive business knowledge that I will acquire during my MBA will help me to survive in the current and future chaotic business world.

Also your university probably does not send many people overseas to study and earn an MBA. I really think that it is a big challenge, but you did it. Can you share some insights for other people who may not go to the famous Japanese university and show how they can challenge the global MBA too?
I would recommend that you mention why you chose your college and what/why you did there. Also, you had better try to get GMAT and TOEFL points as high as possible. Find or create your strengths that can cover your weaknesses.

You grew up in a local area of Japan and did not have a lot of chances to live and work overseas, but I think that you could get overcome that domestic background. I believe people win with what they have and that they need to look at their strengths. You did that by showing your experience managing people oversea - can you share some insights that would be helpful for other applicants.
International experience does not only mean you need to be physically in other countries. Look back on what you have done that could show your international exposure. Plus, there are probably many other applicants who have richer international experience than you do. Try not to compete with them on an equal footing. You have your advantageous field.

You started by applying to the US schools and you did get into one of them, but you started to shift your focus to the European schools. Can you share how you found the better fit with the European schools?
European schools have many more international students than US schools do. For me, working, studying, and talking with people from diverse countries and areas are very important. (You can improve your English skill in US schools, so it can be more important for people who want to work in English-speaking countries!)

You could get into INSEAD, a one year program, and IESE (and HEC), a 2 year program, why did you decide to go to IESE?
First, IESE's solid and intensive 2 year curriculum will help me grow my business base. Second, IESE has been excellently dealing with Covid-19. It has continued to offer face-to-face classes with its reliable protocols. Finally, I will visit the school with my wife. She supported me a lot through the application process, so I want her to enjoy 2 years living overseas in a place that has nice weather and food.

What do you think was the most challenging part of the process?
GMAT and TOEFL were the first and the most difficult parts I had to overcome.

What was the most valuable thing about the Edogijuku Services for your applications?
Ed's sophisticated application strategies, both positive and constructive feedback on essays and mock interviews, and passion to let me get admitted were essential for my application process.

If you could go back and tell your 20 year-old self advice, what would you say to do differently?
Keep improving yourself.
Do you have any other advice for future applicants?
You are not other applicants. Find your strengths and weaknesses, and assemble them into how you want to be seen by the schools. Then, you'll be ready to join real Avengers!

Trading Company / Male / Private Sponsored / Columbia Business School MBA Class of 2023

Self intro / Linkedin
I’ve worked for a Japanese trading and investment company for 4 years. I’ve been engaged in upstream and downstream business in the energy field.

You had a successful career in a big and famous Japanese company - when and why did you get interested in the MBA?
Since I was a university student, I have dreamed of taking an MBA. Firstly, I thought I would pursue an MBA as a corporate-sponsored applicant, but I want to change my career and decided to apply as a self-sponsored applicant.

Your future career goal is different from your past career to some extent and you decided to quit your company to pursue your MBA - can you talk about this?
Being engaged in the energy field, I enjoyed a meaningful mission to contribute to supply the Japanese market, but I plan to pursue my dream of building infrastructure in developing nations.

You did a good job showing how your travel abroad in college and your personal experiences deeply influenced you. Some people tend to focus only on their professional career, but I think that personal maturity, self-reflection and being authentic are important to developing winning essays - can you give some insights or advice?
With Ed, I dug deep to find my story. Writing essays is a great chance to reflect on yourself and find what is your true dream. I think your personal experiences form you. Ed helps you realize who you are, and this is the first priority to write essays.

You grew up in Japan and did not grow up overseas or have so many international experiences so I think that the score making is quite challenging. Do you have any suggestions for people like you who did not grow up overseas?
Choose sincerely which one you take TOFEL/IELTS and GMAT/GRE. Score making is long run, so take it easy and find companions

If you could go back and change one thing when you were 20 what would you do?
Traveling in college changed me. If I attended a university abroad, I would expand my horizon more.

You decided to apply to CBS early and this can be advantageous. Can you explain this decision?
I’m interested in international affairs as well and taking SIPA class would be great for me. And, I’m still thinking about a career in the public or private sector after graduation, so NYC location would be a great advantage.

You are applying and you have a family and so there is a risk of quitting your job and going to the MBA. Can you give some advice to people in a similar situation?
Again, an MBA is a huge investment. In most cases, you would not need an MBA, but it is also true that there is a world you cannot see without an MBA. Talk with your family and go the way you believe.

What was the most valuable thing about the Edogijuku Services for your applications?
His style and character. He respects clients and he’ll always be with you. He encouraged me to do self-reflection and be authentic to myself. And, his quick responses were great, you can keep your pace.

Do you have any other advice for future applicants?
To be honest with yourself and dig your own story.
Who dares wins!

Kentaro Numa / MIT SDM Program Class of 2023

Self Intro/Linkedin
I believe that innovation makes the world better. Particularly, innovative solutions at the intersection of business and technology resolve conventional and complex problems in our society. Also, my passion for tech innovation is driving my career. I have worked in one of the largest IT companies in Japan for 8 years. I developed technical skills and gained valuable hands-on experience as an engineer, and now product manager. However, I faced unforeseen challenges to reach my goal and decided to enter the SDM program at MIT which offers the best opportunities to develop my management and technical skills to achieve success in the IT industry.

You originally did a master’s degree before starting your career -how did that influence your career development?
I have two points. Firstly, my analytical and problem-solving abilities developed during my master's degree allowed me to move things forward with other people. By analyzing things objectively and persuading people such as my company's board members and business partners with the number and logic, I have convinced people who worked with me and inspired their decision-making. As a result, my performance in my company was highly evaluated and I gained the earliest promotion to the manager position. Secondly, admissions would be concerned about my past education performance. In this context, my master's degree enabled me to show my education potential in graduate school. Also, I worked as a statistician at an International Organization and a Japanese Government Research institute during my master's degree and my name was on the official publication, which would also contribute to my admission.

Why did you decide to join your company?
I have two points. Firstly, I would like to obtain hands-on experience and technical skills in the IT industry. Particularly, my company is famous for its passion for engineering training. Secondly, I would like to make use of my company's huge resources and presence to impact society.

You have a background in engineering and started your career implementing ICT systems. How has your engineering foundation been important for your career?
As I wrote in the above question, I have a passion for tech innovation to solve conventional and complex problems in our society. I realized that I need to understand the technologies and communicate with engineers to achieve my goal throughout my experience. Therefore, I developed my engineering foundation at my company.

You grew up in Japan, but worked on some projects with members from other countries such as Thailand and Cambodia, how did you manage the challenges in the international team?
The biggest difficulty in my team management was inspiring their support. Through my experiences as a project leader, I consider a people-centric approach was a key factor to make sure all interests get involved in one goal because everyone and every organization have different interests. Particularly, I’m now in charge of creating new innovative products that need many people’s support, and I feel this type of leadership is critical to accomplish great work. Growing up in the Japanese countryside and having lived in Tokyo and Osaka, and worked in Bangladesh, Paris, and Hong Kong, I’ve learned through my experiences that common sense and the self-interest of others are different from person to person. We are all people who have different cultures and backgrounds. The goal of a leader is to have the ability to use our differences in culture, language, personality, etc, and to unite these differences into a common goal to achieve success. Therefore, I think it is important for leaders to understand each person’s interest and background at first to later inspire their cooperation. As I showed this type of leadership, I could obtain international team members' support.

When did you start to get interested in graduate school abroad?
It's around two years ago. Due to my achievements in my company's engineering division and oversea office, I was selected as a task force member to plan corporate innovation programs such as open innovation. Later, one of the trial cases, fintech service development, was highly evaluated and I was assigned as a project leader. I succeeded in rolling out my products and winning some model cases. Currently, I am planning to capitalize on these services by spinning off a new company. However, interacting with many startup executives and developers, including unicorns in Asia, I realized that I need to enhance my capabilities as an entrepreneur in the IT industry to achieve my goal. Therefore, I got interested in graduate schools abroad.

What was the hardest part of the application for you?
In my application process, it was hard for me to consider my composition and content in my essay and interview. At the beginning of the preparation, I did not know how to express my strengths and convey my messages logically to admissions.

What did you prioritize when selecting the MIT SDM program, it is unique?
It’s an ideal and unique program to help me achieve my goal of leading innovation in tech fields. There are three reasons. Firstly, the program is excellent in both business and technology to foster leaders with excellent skills in both fields. That exactly fits my purpose. Particularly, the SDM’s unique program for mid-career that offers customizable and advanced curriculums of both MIT Sloan business school and Engineering School is attractive to me.
Second is curriculums focusing on action learning like the SDM integrated core. It’s not just from books. I can learn how to lead diverse team members to achieve real innovation by involving tech and business. It’s ideal preparation for me to develop and extend my service globally. Also, the classes would enable me to manage different backgrounds and people to solve complex problems with a system thinking approach. Again, it would allow me to design a new ecosystem in this complex industry with international members and stakeholders in the future.
Finally, in terms of the learning environment at MIT, guest lectures from both business and technology industries, and activities like the tech and entrepreneurship club would broaden my view of technology businesses and open chances for my international business development.

How did Edogijuku help you prepare a successful application?
Ed was very supportive and gave me much insight into strategies for success in graduate school admission. I didn't have time to apply because I started my preparation for my essay one month before the deadline. However, he advised me to focus only on MIT (which was the first choice) to improve my application quality and helped me to make the strategy by making use of a lot of his past databases. Also, he gave me his review and feedback quickly on my essay and interview. Thanks to his people-centric approach and supportive mind, I gained the MIT admission even though I applied only for the university.

If you could go back to 20 years old and make one change, what would it be?
I would have had prepared to apply for a Master's degree in computer science at a U.S university (maybe MIT or Stanford), later for the Ph.D. degree to obtain more changes to impact our society. When the information revolution occurred in Japan, around 20 years had already passed. During this period, the world changed dramatically for better or worse (how to use the technologies would depend on our ethics). It took many years for me to realize the potential of IT to solve conventional and complex problems in our society. If I were 20 years old, I would go to the universities directly and learn about the cutting-edge knowledge to lead innovations in this generation and design a new society even in my earlier career.

What advice would you give to applicants?
I recommend you contact your counselor as soon as possible even though you have not decided which university you will apply for because your submission in an earlier round would improve the probability of your admission. They have a lot of databases on universities and help you select them and make your strategies for them while bringing out your hidden interest. They are professionals in this field like you in your current job. In this context, I recommend you Ed because he has a lot of databases on universities and successful candidates. He will support your whole application process.

Sho Tatsuno / CBS Class of 2024

Self Intro/Linkedin
I worked as a data scientist / software / data engineer for 5 years in a HR company. I am really fascinated to consider how technology will change the world and how to connect technology to actual business. My family has a family company that develops filling pumps. I quitted my previous job in March 2022 and am now a director of my family company and support to modernize its internal process.

Tech is disrupting many industries. How did technology innovation influence your career?
I am always a person on the technical side. Technology is changing rapidly and many industries and services have been disrupted by new technology. But on the other side, because of the complexity of new technology, people sometimes are racked by fancy words. For example, do you know what is "AI", "Blockchain" or "Sustainability" and how these technologies will influence our life?

To oversee the incoming era and utilize technology, I strongly believe that I have to or understand the core of each technology and do not escape seeing the inside of it. That's why I started my career as a data scientist and moved to different technical roles, not beginning with my family company's track.

You had a lot of success in your company. When did you start thinking about the MBA, was it something on your mind from the beginning of your career?
I used to consider that I will study abroad in the future from my grad school, especially the US, because regarding both technology and business, the US is the most advanced country and I would like to push myself to the global level.
After working for years and experiencing 3 tech roles to grasp vague understandings about data and software, I felt that the business side is also critical to give value to the world no matter how innovative a product is. This is the time to consider going for an MBA.

Also at the same time, my family reason is another factor to consider. I also wanted to have a basic management and also have a feeling to support my company as well.

What have you seen in your company and in your family business shaped your future vision?
My previous company was a tech company, and it diversified its business in many ways. This utilizes AI, introduces SaaS business models, and changes the organization structure dynamically almost every year. This agility definitely influences my way of thinking about organization and business. Also, I have encountered a lot of resistance in my traditional family company to propose introducing new technology and change their daily work. Experiencing an innovative/flexible company and a traditional/stable company gave me an insight about how to change an organization or how to influence a stagnant society as a whole.

What did you prioritize when selecting an MBA program?
I want to gain experience about how to create new business with technology from zero.
So, entrepreneurship is the most important. Then, also check the sustainability area because this is also another area which I do not understand but will change the world (also, this is a hot topic to my family company). Ranking (or the alumni quality) is definitely important because this directly connects the quality of my network.

What was the hardest part of the application for you?
I would especially like to mention 2 things.
1. Essay to make a convincing story
Even though you might think that I am coherent, it's difficult to summarize my life and make a story because my life is not a straight line. My grad research is to develop a device to support acquisition of human sport skill, which is totally unrelated to the current work. Also, my essay is easy to be inclined to tech. Even though many business schools welcome tech-person, they are still "business" schools and I have to draw myself in a business perspective.

2. Essay / Interview questions about DEI / international topics
I do not have experience using English in both daily communication and work. I only went on a trip or participated in international conferences in a week. These topics are super difficult for me to explain.

How did Edogijuku help you prepare a successful application?
Specifically, I appreciated Ed for 2 points.
1. Brainstorming
Ed has a lot of stories about previous applicants and gives advice based on them.
As I said, I struggled to draft my main story.
We sometimes disagreed, but discussed seriously about what is best.
This thorough process would be definitely the core of my essay story.

2. Interview
Ed's interview was very customized to each person.
Due to his advice or anticipated questions, I could pass all the invited interviews.

If you could go back to 20 years old and make one change, what would it be?
Have the opportunity to study abroad.
Overall, I was satisfied with my life and did not deny my past action, but it would be better to have an international viewpoint since young

What advice would you give to applicants?
1. Fight with Ed (optional and not limited to Ed though). A good story begins when you seriously see your life. Serious discussion would be the foundation of your application journey.

2. It's important that you stand out among many applicants. Keep in mind that other applicants think the same thing and think what would happen as the result of these players' thinking from admissions' perspectives.

Kazuya Murata / Cambridge MBA Class of 2023

Self Intro/Linkedin

You were interested in technology, can you talk about your passion for it?
I believe technology can change its form flexibly and can contribute to solving social problems. Also, it continues to develop even now. I like studying the latest technology and applying to an industry or a company.

Why did you join your first company?
The first company has been solving client's problems by making good use of IT. Additionally, as a Japan based global company, I thought it would give me a lot of chances to work abroad.

You gained international experience in your company. Can you talk about those challenges for a person who grew up in Japan?
The biggest challenge was English. I haven't studied and lived abroad before I started working so getting accustomed to English meetings and appealing presence was a big challenge for me.
Another difficulty was the way to show value to local employees. Although it might not be limited to a person who grew up in Japan, because the definition between HQ and branch was not so clear, it was very difficult to find a way to contribute to KPIs of local branches.

How did the experience, especially learning Chinese and working in China, impact you?
Working in China was the most important experience that changed my mind. I understand how I should behave in a working environment surrounded by colleagues from different countries. Since I had to manage sales team members, I learned how to lead a team to the same direction while leaving minor differences of ideas.
Learning Chinese was not only making me a trilingual, but also giving me more chances to communicate with Chinese sales members because more people get interested in people trying to study their country's language.

When did you start to get interested in earning an MBA?
After I started working, I got interested in a professional CEO, who moves around to multiple companies as a CEO. Then, I started learning business strategy or getting a registered consultant license for small and medium enterprises. I started learning TOEFL in 2016.

What was the hardest part of the application for you?
Exams. TOEFL, IELTS were very hard for me. GMAT was the hardest. Even after studying very hard, I got lower scores than before. I almost gave up after I couldn't get a target score.

What did you prioritize when selecting an MBA program?
Learning opportunities in the Technology field, diversity of students, and living cost of the city.

Why did you finally decide to go to Cambridge?
First, since Cambridge is a science focused university, not just a business school, I thought I would have more opportunities to get involved in technology related subjects. Second, an English speaking country will give me more chances to work in the area than non-English speaking countries. Third, my wife's preference.

Before being admitted by a school, I tried to adjust myself to each school. I think I did not consider "fit" to each school very well because of worry about losing all schools. but after getting admitted by multiple schools, I started to think of the best school seriously.

How did Edogijuku help you prepare a successful application?
Ed helped me write an essay which can express myself as much as possible. Also, his teaching style, which is email based, was very time-effective. I was relieved by his quick response right before the deadlines and he replied to me even on the new year's day.

If you could go back to 20 years old and make one change, what would it be?
I will try studying abroad and getting a master's degree in computer science.

What advice would you give to applicants?
Never give up until getting admitted. It took more than five years for me to get accepted by a school while working abroad in the middle of the period. But now I believe the power to make a dream come true will form your future story more specifically and the future story will be a power to move other people around you.

Naohiro Yamaura / NUS EMBA Class of 2023

Self Intro/Linkedin

You have a long and successful career. What challenges shaped your future career vision?
The Japanese marketing industry is very mature. I would like to use the expertise I have developed to expand my business into the APAC region.

Why did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA? Why did you think it was important for your career?
Understanding the local community and local networks are important to achieve my career vision. EMBA is the best choice for management-level professionals.

Was there any experience recently that made you decide to apply to business school?
Recommendations were made by acquaintances and supervisors.

Why did you focus on the location in Singapore?
There are several strategic reasons.
The part-time program allows students to attend classes from Japan.
There is no time difference and service delivery is possible from Japan.
The program is diverse and growing rapidly.

What was the hardest part of the application for you?
The process of logically constructing my self-analysis and motivation for the essay was the hardest part.
In my case, I also invested a lot of time in learning English.

How did Edogijuku help you prepare a successful application?
It goes without saying that Ed-san's precise advice at the right time was the best, and he was always encouraging even in difficult times.

If you met the other applicant for the executive program, what advice would you give to applicants?
The major attraction of the Executuive Department program is not only the business administration knowledge, but also the networking with executives. You can participate in the program while working, and regardless of your age, you can challenge yourself and expand your opportunities.
Many unforeseen things can happen during the application process. The experienced counseling by Ed-san will surely be of great help to you.

Finance / Duke MBA Class of 2024

You studied abroad during college, can you share how that shaped your career development?
The experience gave me the sense of the level of English I would need to flourish in academic programs at a US university. This knowledge was a great asset for me when applying for MBA programs this time as I already had a sense of the efforts needed to reach admissions criteria in terms of English proficiency. From a career perspective, the experience also allowed me to build confidence in the international environment and served as a key differentiator for my consulting recruiting process I went through at that time.

When did you start getting interested in the MBA? Was that when you started your career or after you started working abroad?
Getting a MBA from a top US business school has been my long-term goal since my college age. My hectic professional life in consulting and banking made time management on the actual application challenging, but it had been always there in my mind.

What did you prioritize when selecting an MBA program?
In my entire career I’ve worked in fields where work is always done on team and project-basis and I know that components of teamwork such as empowerment and empathy really impacts the performance of the team and would be critical for success of both individual and entire organization. Therefore I was looking for schools which have an education philosophy which emphasize teamwork and collaboration where students have constant opportunity to work on team assignments. College town environment where students can have 24/7 learning experience is another point I considered as I believed such environments would help me to immerse myself in the student community there.

What was the hardest part of the application for you?
I believe almost all of the MBA programs ask applicants what career goal they have, requesting them to share concrete stories to substantiate it. I struggled with answering this question as I was not utterly clear in my post-MBA goal therefore required some self-reflection to come up with the idea. f I were to pick one, I would say that was the hardest part of the application.

In spite of the pandemic, you visited campus. How was the campus visit helpful for you and how did it enhance your application process?
A campus visit is a great way to communicate your passion for the school. While visiting, I succeeded in securing chance to directly connect with one of the admissions officers and could discuss my potential contribution to the program. Also, knowing my passion for the program, the professor and students of the class I audited luckly offered me to write an endorsement notes to the admissions. These are the things difficult to achieve without meeting with people in person and the value of campus visit should be underestimated.

How did Edogijuku help you prepare a successful application?
The following four points struck me about the counseling service of Edogigyuku. I appreciate Edo’s support which makes me realize my dream and would recommend everyone serious about applying for top business schools.

Deep understanding of each school’s culture
Edo has a clear understanding of the image of ideal candidates each school looks for, and is able to advise on what elements we should include in essay content reflecting such points. While often underrated relative to standard test score., each school has unique history and education philosophy which distinguish themselves and showing clear understanding of those would be critical to improve the chance of admissions.

Strategic advice and intelligence
I would say strategic advice is another element which I appreciate about Edogijyuku’s service. Edo has worked with a number of MBA applicants over many years and has a clear sense of what minimum criteria schools look for in a candidate profile in terms GPA, TOEFL, GMAT (including Executive Assessment) as well as years of work experience. While some counselors are not sure about these numerics, Ed is able to provide concrete advice on how we should develop an application strategy based on concrete numbers. Interview reports he has accumulated over time were also instrumental when preparing for interviews.

As mentioned in many other places, Ed had been very responsive to my emails and meeting requests throughout my service-use period. Ed was willing to work on reviewing my essays and interview prep stuff even in the late night or early morning when the situation necessitates. MBA application is very intense in terms of schedule and responsibility should be one of the most important criteria one should consider when selecting a counselor. I can testify to his high-quality service from this perspective as well.

Warm and encouraging personality
Ed as a person has a warm personality and I am happy I could work with him on my application. Obvisouly, MBA application is not an easy process and requires tons of sacrifice and patience, but Ed does not forget to cheer up his students and always works with them side-by-side. He is very committed to the success of the client and has the attitude to devote himself to the ultimate consequence. This is another point I can applaud about Edogigyuku.

What advice would you give to applicants?
Your MBA experience will be a fantastic one and should reward you in many aspects of your life going forward. So, please do not give up and be persistent.
As a piece of advice, I would reiterate the importance of networking with people. Most schools should welcome you and will enjoy talking with you. So please do not hesitate to contact them and initiate conversations.

Hirokazu Kosuga / IESE Class of 2024

Self Intro/Linkedin

When you were studying in college did you always want an international career?
I was interested in international activities, but not always. I was born in a rural area in Shiga, and for me at that time, going abroad was a kind of “dream”.

Why did you join your first company?
To get exposure to international contexts and to train myself and get skills. As I stated, I was seeking some international experiences, but honestly speaking, I thought that those were only for selected people such as Kikoku-shijo or students having experience of studying abroad while at university. In Japan, getting into the first company after graduation is one of the greatest opportunities to change one’s lives, and I took the advantage.

You studied law but you got involved in business and later earned a US CPA, can you talk about that decision and how it influenced your career?
I really liked my hometown when I entered the university, and this was why I decided to study law to become a local lawyer in my hometown. However, the more I studied law, I lost interest… and I came to be interested in business topics through the classes of reading business contracts. (The experience of studying international contracts helped me a lot after entering the trading house)
For the first 5 years after joining a trading house, I was involved in typical domestic trading business and gained some soft skills, but once I got responsible for investment projects, I realized that my accounting and financing knowledge was not enough to do a “good job”, therefore I earned a US CPA. Through US CPA I learned accounting in English, and this experience has been quite helpful for me when I have discussions with our partners overseas.

In your company you could have the chance to work in the United States. How did those challenges overseas shape your future career vision?
The experience of working in the US taught me how fun it is to continue getting over myself. In Japan, where we share a little bit of a uniformed cultural norm, once we get some skill set in a company and share the context, “working” tends to become an everyday task and I lost the excitement of growing myself. While I was in the US, on the other hand, I had struggled a lot, such as language, culture, and getting into new business fields. This experience made me seek an environment where I can continue to gain new knowledge and skill set and to grow in my future career.

When did you start getting interested in the MBA?
I guess it was in the spring of 2020, but I had my US CPA. I started to think seriously when my CPA in Feb 2021.

What did you prioritize when selecting an MBA program?
I am not a company sponsored, so the cost of tuition and living cost was the first thing I had in my mind. I wanted a 2-year program, but I did not have many choices. Second was the place of living and the quality of food. And ranking.

What was the hardest part of the application for you?
Writing the essays was the hardest part. Like a typical Japanese, I am not good at describing myself and my past experience to be “attractive”.
After being admitted to the school and joining Shukatsu Sokokai of many companies, I realized that my career vision was not clear enough when I wrote my essay. I strongly recommend that applicants have a clear vision after graduation and contact such alumni working in those industries or field and get some true feeling in post MBA career.

How did Edogijuku help you prepare a successful application?
As mentioned, writing essays was my hardest part, but Ed helped me describe myself as “good candidate”. Moreover, Ed’s reply is always fast and I could prepare all the essays in such a short time.
Moreover, Ed’s network with the schools and alumni is beyond my imagination, and the information he has is so important for me.

You are going to IESE and what are you looking forward to the most from the school?
The diversity. The classes or the teaching method at IESE gives me a lot of opportunities to interact with students from all over the world. I am looking forward to such interaction in the class so that I can learn how different people see the exact same situation from their own point of view depending on their experience and cultural background. I believe that such experience will help me become a good leader in an international context.

If you could go back to 20 years old and make one change, what would it be?
Difficult question… but maybe nothing. I do not (or always try not to) regret any decisions in my life. I am who I am, and it is what it is.

What advice would you give to applicants?
Seriously think about post MBA career and have a clear vision, even if it is tentative.
Talk with a lot of alumni or current students.
Trust oneself and never give up.