Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Kay Hasegawa, London Business School

Kay Hasegawa

London Business School

“Ex-McKinsey Product Manager from Japan who speaks with an American accent.

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love going to concerts and festivals, and despise pop music (unless I have enough drinks).

Undergraduate School and Major: Duke University, Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Kargo Tech, Senior Product Manager

What makes London such a great place to earn an MBA degree? As someone interested in tech, being in the middle of such of a vibrant tech ecosystem means immediate access to a variety of potential employers and infinite learning opportunities. Recently, one third of LBS employers have been tech companies, so I see LBS as the ideal place to kick-start my Product Management career in the UK.

London Business School is one of the most culturally and professionally diverse MBA programs in the world. How do you see these global perspectives enhancing the value of your business education over the next two years? As someone who has switched industries (consulting to tech) and grew up in multiple places (UK, Japan and the US), I strongly believe that diversity enhances all development experiences. Working with  students from geographies or industries that I have never had exposure to before will add a new dimension to my learning that could not be achieved otherwise.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of London Business School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The emphasis that LBS places on real-world business immersion was very important to me. I believe the best way to learn is to do, and I felt that LBS’ program really echoed this belief. One is example is the LondonCAP module, that pushes students to apply their learnings from the classroom to projects that are developed with real organizations.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at London Business School? The Music Club at London Business School excites me the most. Since catching a gig is my favorite way to spend a weekend, I can’t wait to meet peers at gigs I may have not have discovered on my own. If I can meet potential employers in the music tech space in London, even better!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:Transitioning to a Product Manager role from a non-technical background at a startup based in Indonesia, where I had never been to before, is my biggest accomplishment. There were many, many risks involved and some people (including my parents) thought I was crazy for leaving McKinsey, but I am glad to say the risk paid off and I had the best time at Kargo Tech as a PM.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 didn’t impact my goals or views tremendously; however, it did make me realize the extent to which some industries are considered “essential” versus not. It has made me realize in my next job search that it would be the most risk-free move to pursue a company that operates in a recession-proof and pandemic-proof space.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I wanted to pursue an MBA at this point because I had just worked in two jobs that were very high-paced, and I wanted some time to reflect on my career so far. I was also very determined to move to London, so LBS was the perfect opportunity to transition my career to the UK. After graduation, I hope to become a Product Manager at a tech company in London.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None!

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into London Business School’s MBA program? I would advise applicants to be authentically themselves throughout the admissions process, from coffee chats to writing the personal essay to interviewing. You have a unique story to tell and LBS is eager to hear it! As much as possible, reflect on what past experiences have shaped you, how they inform your plans for your future career, and then how LBS is positioned to help you achieve your goals.



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