2020 MBAs To Watch: Megumi Takemoto, ESADE

Megumi Takemoto

ESADE Business School

“A single parent with two amazing children determined to become a successful entrepreneur.”

Hometown: Niigata, Japan

Fun fact about yourself: I traveled around the world by myself on a motorcycle for three years after I graduated from university. I have been to every continent including Antarctica (although I left my bike in Argentina).

Undergraduate School and Degree: BA in Education, University of Tokyo. Master’s in Public Policy, University of Tokyo.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Staff writer at Nikkei, Inc., a newspaper publisher and a parent company of the Financial Times.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? I did not do an internship since I was determined to start my own company and spent most of the summer doing it.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be a co-founder of e-specks, a real estate crowdfunding platform that I will be launching with a friend.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Finalist in the C4Bi case competition (ESADE and elBullifoundation Creativity for Business Innovation Case Competition). Founded a startup and participated in the ESADE Accelerator Program as one of the selected teams/ideas.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of being a finalist in the C4Bi case competition, since I was able to team up with my co-founder, Michelle, which ultimately resulted in our current entrepreneurial project.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the opportunities I have had to interview hundreds of CEOs of companies, from startups to multinationals, which afforded me a wide range of business insights and a grasp of strategic thinking in the real business world.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? There are many amazing professors at ESADE, but if I had to choose one, it would be Professor Jan Brinckmann. He taught my entrepreneurship class and provided us with really practical knowledge that is helping me a lot right now.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Unfortunately, I did not have the chance or time to participate in many of the MBA events. However, I liked the orientation event at the start of the MBA, where all the students stay overnight at a hotel and participate in a lot of activities to get to know each other and engage in team-building.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose ESADE because one of its strengths is entrepreneurship and because it is “the best MBA for women in Europe” (FT). However, to be honest, I also chose ESADE to enjoy my life. Acquiring knowledge is only a fraction of what an MBA provides. With Barcelona’s fine weather, nice local people, and delicious food, there was a good chance that I would be able to enjoy my life enough to come up with a good business idea and become an entrepreneur. In addition, I thought the diverse culture at ESADE and in Barcelona would positively influence my children’s mindset.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Enjoy your life! This is one of the most important things to do, as both an MBA student and a successful business person. If you think an MBA will help you enjoy your life, then the MBA is a definite go for you!

What is the biggest myth about your school? People say ESADEans are hippies. That may be true compared to other schools. As far as I know, though, it is because of the student diversity and the fact that the ESADE student spirit is more collaborative than competitive.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I cannot think of anything. However, if I were single, I would have spent much more time on social activities.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Michelle Rojo. She is a co-founder of our entrepreneurial project and we are now staying together, too, with her husband and my children.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My son, Wataru. Once you have a child, it becomes quite difficult for a professional woman to maintain a work-life balance in the Japanese business environment. I did not want to continue working thinking that I could have done much more for the company, and I did not want to be with my son thinking that I could have done much more for him. I wanted to show him that his mother always tries to do her best, both at work and as a mother. I wanted to make him proud.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. To start a company.
  2. To be a social entrepreneur and contribute to women empowerment.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A humble, modest, and punctual Japanese woman who seemed to have a life that no one could imagine.

Hobbies? Playing with my children.

What made Megumi such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“When you think of traditional Japanese culture and the role of women, you probably do not think of women playing baseball on a men’s Big Six university team, riding around the world by herself on a motorcycle for three years, or doing an MBA as a single mother of two small children, but Megumi Takemoto has set her sights on breaking that and every other stereotype you might have about Japanese women – and women in general.

Megumi has been instrumental in inspiring other mothers who are considering doing a full-time MBA, but who have doubts as to how to balance their studies and family life. Seeing her zipping around campus on a kick scooter, you cannot help but feel that this is one of the keys to her time management, a drive to succeed that results in innovative solutions to everyday challenges. You can imagine the work it took to become the first woman baseball player on the men’s team, and how hard she worked to become a successful journalist at the top Japanese newspaper, only to make the leap to the world of business, whilst at the same time being there for her children as they adapt to life in a new country.

Her career goals are focused on empowering women in Japan and abroad, and she has already taken the first steps by becoming a registered consultant in Japan, while at the same time pursuing opportunities to start her own company.”

Professor Jan Hohberger
Associate Dean of the ESADE MBA and Associate Professor Strategy and General Management at ESADE Business School


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