Meet IE Business School’s MBA Class Of 2019

Koma Okubo

IE Business School

“Very ambitious person, have a strong vision to give an impact to a society especially in emarging countries.”

Hometown: Yokohama, Japan

Fun Fact About Yourself: Studied marine biology as a bachelor degree and I am a scuba diver.

Undergraduate School and Major: Yokohama City University, Marine Biology (BASc)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: McCANN Worldgroup, Planning Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I launched the first TVCM in localized contents outside of US for Tech company by supporting them analyzing data and changing marketing strategy from market-in phase which eventually achieved 2.5x YoY sales in 2017.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Although I don’t know about the other school, quality of classmates are truly amazing at IE, especially when it comes to diversity. I strongly feel that I am learning a lot by exposing to different perspectives from classmates with different professional and personal background. (I bet it is difficult to have such an experience elsewhere!)

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? I am strongly interested in establishing own business in future so that the programs which IE provides such as Start-up Lab and Venture Lab attracts me the most.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Entrepreneurial Club; I would love to meet people who are passionate about start-up and successful entrepreneurs being invited to events at the campus. (We had the CEO of SpaceX on our campus on the first week of MBA.)

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have worked over five years in the marketing industry and led various projects and pitches, which kind of made me feel courageous enough to move to different stage in professional career. (I know it is never too late to start your business but the older as you become the more difficulties you have to face especially family related issue. For instance, having a child etc.)

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Honestly, I am still not sure it is worth the investment in terms of salary returns in future…BUT I can definitely tell having MBA in such a diverse environment with the smartest people in the world is totally worth it. (I believe ROI will be higher as you contribute/ engage to the program more profoundly.)

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I only applied to IE.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I have a vision that I would like to establish my company in future, but I strongly felt that I need to brush-up my business knowledge as well as the startup idea. IE was just a perfect fit for me in terms of having a strength in entrepreneurship study in the most practical way that we can imagine.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I think I have two moments. The first moment was when I decided to study abroad when I was 15 year old, which exposed me to various cultures and perspectives and opened up my mind. The second moment was when I was a university student and met a professor working as VC in Silicon Valley. That’s where I started being interested in entrepreneurship.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? If I am lucky enough to find a partner (including investors), I would love to start up own business. If not, I would like to utilize the knowledge I learned at school in strategy, which I can utilize when I eventually establish a business in future. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? I will lead my company as a founder giving an impact to a society. (Hopefully achieving one of my targets: changing industry or location.)


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