2017 Best MBAs: Tada Yamamoto, Ohio State (Fisher)

Tada Yamamoto

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

“A curious student, aspiring chef, homebody with wanderlust, and a patient consultant.”

Age: 30

Hometown: West Chester, OH

Fun fact about yourself: My very first official paycheck came from NASA

Undergraduate School and Degree: Fisher College of Business, Bachelors of Science in Business Administration

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Deloitte Consulting, Business Analyst;The Dow Chemical Company, Supply Chain Specialist;The Hackett Group, Senior Consultant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? McKinsey & Company – Cleveland, OH

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey & Company, Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  1. President, FTMBA Council: Served the class in planning and hosting events for MBAs, represented MBA interests and concerns with faculty and staff, started revenue generating activities to raise money to fund new MBA activities for the first time, and created net new culture events to improve camaraderie within the program.
  2. Serve on the Board of Directors of LifeCare Alliance (a $13MM non-profit company that is one of the largest operators of Meals on Wheels in the nation as well as a host of other services from a cancer clinic to at home help services).
  3. Regular Meals on Wheels Driver Volunteer – Drove various routes to deliver hot meals to those in need while mitigating the cost of delivery drivers.
  4. Case Coach – Organized and held weekly sessions to improve candidate case interviewing preparation during the interview season for both graduate and undergraduate students.
  5. Member of the Honors Cohort Advisory Board – aid in the planning, programming, and funding for an undergraduate honors program. In addition, I sit on a committee to organize and manage a mentorship program for students, served as a chaperone for the group’s trip to Silicon Valley, and conducted in-person interviews for the selection of the new class.
  6. Author/Organizer of a Crisis Case for Honors Undergrad students – author sections of a new case designed for undergraduate students to experience and handle a mock business crisis as an executive team and will aid in the execution of the event.
  7. Graduate Assistant – Individually leading recitations for 120 undergraduate students covering business ethics, presentation skills, and key business topics each semester.
  8. Internal Case Competition Winning Team – Participated in a case competition among Fisher students and was one of the selected winners.
  9. Big 10+ Case Competition Winning Team – A member of the Fisher team earning 1st place team in a case competition between ten schools from around the nation to provide recommendations to a clothing retailer.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Winning the Big10+ Case Competition with some of my fellow classmates definitely ranks among my best memories of my MBA experience as it seemed to distill the very best of what I expected in an MBA program into a few day experience. I was able to work on a current business problem for a large company in an extremely focused and pressured environment with peers that I truly respected and from whom I learned a great deal. I was challenged on that idea from business executives and also saw the thought processes of other capable students from other backgrounds as well. It doesn’t hurt that we were also able to win at home as well.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Spending an unexpected 14 months on a project in Germany was a unique challenge for me that I was most proud of accomplishing. In addition to surpassing our initial targets for the project in my category, I was able to challenge myself by being in a unique environment for a significant period of time while developing some of the relationships that continue to be some of the most significant with peers and client counterparts. I am most proud and thankful for this experience that allowed me to grow as an individual while simultaneously providing value to my company and client.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?  From the various courses, I actually enjoyed a coaching course I took that was taught by a certified executive coach. This was actually a bit counterintuitive for me as we frequently talked about the significant difference between coaching and consulting in leading a client versus reflecting on a client and allowing them to come to their own conclusions. As a previous consultant and someone re-entering the field upon graduation, it wasn’t a perspective I was initially intending to embrace.

Still, as coaching and consulting are used in the business world today (in addition to other techniques), my biggest insight I gained is thinking through the various roles that I might play and when consulting could actually be a weakness. Challenging the core of what I had done made me better appreciate what I did and will do in the future. Whether that be through mentorship, consulting, coaching or otherwise, understanding the different channels and paths towards change was something I had not considered deeply before and understanding how to conduct myself in each was extremely eye opening for me.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose the Fisher College of Business as I wanted to take some time to return to my roots and truly get to know a community and city well. Getting off the road from consulting and spending so much time abroad made me realize how little connection I had to cities, friends and family. Fisher had given me a family during my undergraduate years and given only two years for the MBA program when I would not be traveling, I wanted to go to a city where I already had some relationships that I could deepen and have close proximity to family. It also didn’t hurt that Fisher had a respectable MBA program, featured programs with international projects and travel, and had a truly collaborative vibe I felt when speaking to current students. There is a vibe of “Midwest nice” that I believe Fisher continues to embrace while also being in a major city that is on the verge of significant growth.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I enjoyed being able to take time to reflect back on my career thus far and retool myself with some of the hard skills I didn’t feel I had the time to develop on the job. It truly is a unique opportunity to take two years to spend with many like-minded individuals and return to a learning environment. Not only do I feel I’ll return to the workforce refreshed and with new skills I felt I was missing before, but I will do so with a much more focused mindset on how I can (and in some cases should) achieve my goals.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? Aside from the sheer amount of free food I can eat in a week from speakers and activities on campus, the most surprising thing about business school was how much of the “non-business” experiences and knowledge that my classmates and I possessed was important to the business school experience. While personal narratives of a business experience often underscored some of the concepts we were learning, it was the non-traditional business experience that provided the counterpoint in classes that challenged the business precepts. My heavy business background may have given me some immediately salient examples to which I could apply the theory, but through discussions with my peers, I found it sometimes also narrowed my focus for what leading and lagging indicators to consider.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? In addition to the typical advice of doing well on the GMAT, essays, and the like, I would recommend that someone interested in Fisher consider whether they might have the “Midwest nice” that Ohio State enjoys reflecting in their students. Being a prominent institution of the Midwest, it is only natural that the culture of the school reflects the warm friendliness inherent to this part of the US. As every individual is interviewed by a member of the selection committee, they truly look to build a class that is diverse, but will exude the culture of a Fisher student. So think of the times and prepare the stories of when you went beyond to help friends…and prepare to embrace that mindset as a student at Fisher.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Danny Greenawalt is one of my fellow MBAs I most admire as he was one of the most hard-working students that had more to balance than most other MBAs. Given his family (two children and another on the way), his training regimen to do an ironman, and pursuing so many opportunities in business school in addition to his studies, he still was frequently the individual who would collect money for newly-married couples in the program, arrange for social gatherings after a particularly difficult week, and push to plan and host events beyond what are the typical “annually planned” events of the college. I truly feel that he affected the relationships our class had with one another and definitely impacted my MBA experience personally. The person who really can achieve balance in a world that pushes us to dedicate ourselves to a narrow focus is the type of person I would like to be and one I see in my friend and peer.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…my undergraduate professor told me I needed get at least a graduate degree to teach at the collegiate level.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…still consulting (potentially still in Germany on my project that was never ending).”

 If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? A day might make it difficult to make lasting change, but I would require MBAs to work on at least one project with people in a field outside of business for people in a group outside of business directly. It is so easy to get indoctrinated into the business world between business classes, internships, teaching undergraduate business students, and socializing with fellow business students that sometimes you forget the people we ultimately hope to serve in business roles aren’t always like us.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? This is difficult to say as I have already seen my career make multiple shifts, but in the end, after a career in business where I am able to make a difference in my field (wherever I end up), I would love to return to the university to teach as a senior lecturer or potentially a clinical professor if I am able to pursue a PhD later in my career.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? While it may be cliché, I think thanking your parents is cliché for a reason. I would like to thank my parents for all of the support they have provided to me over the years. I don’t think they realize how much their story of struggle in the US as poor immigrants continues to inspire me to work as hard as I can and break from the typical path if I feel it is the right thing to do. Most importantly, they have instilled in me the value system and work ethic that I believe has brought me the success I’ve achieved. Without their spirit and continuous support, I know I would not have accomplished all I have been able to achieve.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like to be remembered as a competent, kind, and inclusive leader with a colorful sense of style.

Favorite book: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Favorite movie or television show: The Office, NBC

Favorite musical performer: Mumford & Sons

Favorite vacation spot: Thailand – a combination of family, adventure, incredible food, and beautiful beaches

Hobbies? I have many of the typical hobbies of cooking, running, hiking, traveling, and involvement in organizations with people.

What made Tada such an invaluable member of the Class of 2017?

“Tada is someone you would describe as an AND candidate – he has great technical skills and great people skills. He is tremendously intelligent and tremendously hard working, he is super efficient and super likeable. He is extremely analytical and extremely persuasive, and, he has a terrific mind and a terrific heart. It’s easy to see why he is the best among equals in any setting. Tada is a quiet leader who excels at anything he undertakes. You definitely want Tada on your team – he delivers, works collaboratively, makes it look so very easy, is always reliable, and is supremely charming. I have little doubt that he will lead as a chief executive in the not-too-distant future of the global corporate world. We, at Fisher, are proud that Tada embodies the best ideals of Fisher – to make a meaningful and lasting impact in the world. A proud double Buckeye, Tada is a champion and a perfect fit for Fisher.”

Shashi Matta
Director of MBA programs and Associate Professor of Marketing – Clinical

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