Meet Chicago Booth’s MBA Class Of 2020

Rei Fukushima

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

“Born and raised in a small island in Japan, always looking for new adventures.”

Hometown: Kagoshima, Japan

Fun Fact About Yourself: After 26 years in Japan, spent 3-years living and working in Singapore and am very excited to stretch my legs even more.

Undergraduate School and Major:  The University of Tokyo, Bachelors and Masters in Mechanical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: JX Nippon Oil & Energy Asia Pte. Ltd., Manager of lubricants business

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: This would have to be when I was working with a local Mauritanian distributor to improve West African sales. I was curious about declining sales in the region, so took the initiative to go to the region to revitalize sales, which we did by working together and involving the local community to develop a new campaign. Not just a business accomplishment, this experience also convinced me that I could succeed outside of Asia.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? The current students I’ve met are all supportive and friendly, the two traits I value most in my friends and peers. Especially during the application process, they have helped me so much by giving me essay and interview advice. I’ve also met several incoming students from Japan and Singapore, and it’s great to see that we share the same goal of achieving great things by supporting each other.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The key factor is truly the people at Chicago Booth whom I’ve met so far. Other than that, I admire Booth’s discipline-based approach in the classroom. I’m never satisfied until I understand the key parts of an issue, and I feel the discipline-based approach will allow me to do this. It fits my personality as a student as well as a professional.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m looking forward to joining the Energy Group. Through energy events, I will discuss energy issues with industry thought leaders and gain the insights of management level professionals.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I would have to say it was my experience of working abroad for 3 years in Singapore. I’ve been in a managerial position in Singapore and have enjoyed the responsibility that came with it. This experience has inspired me to gain more management skills and to continue my global career path.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? After speaking with current students, business school alumni, and working professionals, I determined that an MBA was well worth the investment.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to HBS, MIT, Kellogg, CBS and LBS.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I prioritize first-hand experience, so I visited schools, attended classes, and talked with current students in person. Conversations with the students helped me to gain insight into my career path as well as the culture of the institution I will be attending.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Leaving my island hometown as a child to go to a middle school. Although it was difficult adjusting to a new life and environment, I had lots of exciting and memorable experiences. Since then, I’ve moved to new places looking for new experiences, for example going to Tokyo at 18 and Singapore at 26, and now going to the U.S. at 30.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? After graduation, I will continue working in the Energy industry but plan to switch from lubricants to electricity. This is what I’m most passionate about. I expect to work as a project manager in an international power company where I will plan and develop business schemes for electricity distribution.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years I hope to see myself in more exciting and fulfilling roles than I could ever imagine.

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