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Kunihiro Hattori, Class of 2011

Alumni interview with Mr. Kunihiro Hattori, Class of 2011

Q. Why did you choose the McGill MBA Japan Program?
A. McGill offered me the only chance to get an MBA in a globally recognized program while working. The words of my friend while I was working in New York also persuaded me. I worked at Deloitte’s New York office from 2007 to 2008. I was about to leave New York, full of ideas for starting a new business on returning to Tokyo. I realized I needed skills to build my own consulting practice within Deloitte Japan, and that the MBA was the best means of acquiring business-related skills. I was looking into a Japanese university, but my friend recommended McGill, saying, “It’s a highly recognized program in North America, and you will be able to take it while in Japan.”

Q. How did you manage your time during the MBA program?

A. Basically, I slept less, did homework during lunchtime, and read textbooks on the train. You would be surprised how much time you can find.

Q. What was the atmosphere like in the classroom?
A. It was very much a Japanese culture type of atmosphere. Although most of the students were foreign, everyone understood the concept of wa or consensus. Nobody became overly aggressive and everyone made very constructive arguments to reach an answer as a group. I was surprised, because I had expected an MBA class to be very competitive. I’d like to have socialized outside class with the students more.

Q. Can you say something about your professors or fellow students?
A. I was surprised by the variety of professors, their nationalities, and teaching styles. They all understood what a business professional wants to know and how they think. As a result, the professors taught academic topics, such as statistics, from a business perspective.

Q. Post-graduation, how did prospective employers react to your McGill MBA qualification?
A. While the MBA itself wasn’t so significant, the key was demonstrating the skills gained in the program to the employer. For instance, my boss began to notice that I understood how business works, so he gave me the opportunity to start up my own practice inside the firm.

Q. How did the course affect your leadership and management skills, as well as your level of confidence?
A. As consulting projects become increasingly global, I need to manage a multinational staff. Learning international management skills through the MBA was a great start for leading my team. As I was aware that there are differences between countries, I tried to listen to each team member carefully. Showing that I understood them was key to building my leadership.

The study of organizational behavior gave me insight into how power functions in an organization. I volunteered for the role of setting an agenda for meetings and moderating discussions. These activities were very helpful in terms of influencing the organization’s direction.

Q. How has your career developed since graduating?
A. I have been working at Deloitte Tokyo for 11 years now. Inspired by one of the professor’s statistics classes, I launched a new business called Deloitte Analytics while in the program. Started by only two of us, the group has grown to more than 50 people. I, myself, lead a seven-member strategy consultant and data scientist team. My experience in the MBA Program helped me with the new business, from marketing to team-building aspects. I also started a project with global talent. The international management skills I acquired proved invaluable in a multicultural setting.

Q. Have you kept in contact with alumni and faculty, or attended our networking events?
A. I hired three McGill alumni, including two former classmates. One is an expert in marketing and the other is a highly skilled data scientist. They have significantly helped accelerate the growth of the business.

Q. What kind of person makes a good candidate for the McGill MBA program?
A. Those seeking change. A career change is one thing, but a change in mindset can be enough. In this program, you can learn all aspects of business in a short period of time, and the knowledge can be used to start up a new business. Also, studying with classmates from all over the world will inspire you in many ways and give you a more global perspective.

Q. What is your message to people interested in the McGill MBA Japan Program?
A. Jump into the program. The McGill MBA will help you find a place for yourself within the classroom, enabling you to find your way for life.