Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Yuta Takeuchi, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Yuta Takeuchi

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

“I’ll never stop moving forward with my motto: Rome was not built in a day.”

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love traveling and food, and one of my favorite things is to participate in cooking classes to experience the local food and culture at travel destinations.

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Tokyo, Bachelor of Engineering in Urban Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: East Japan Railway Company, Urban Development Project Manager

Integrative thinking is one of the cornerstones of the Rotman MBA experience. What does integrative thinking mean to you and how have you been able to apply it thus far? For me, integrative thinking is the ability to think not only from one perspective, but also from multiple perspectives to solve problems. It is necessary not only to acquire specialized knowledge, but also to acquire a wide range of knowledge in order to look at and understand problems from multiple perspectives. That way, you can organically connect this knowledge and understand it in a systematic way. Although I have only completed half of the core courses, I believe that Rotman has created an environment that supports this by providing lectures and assignments that allow students to understand how each course and knowledge is connected to the others, rather than focusing on the knowledge of each individual course.

What has been your favorite part of Toronto so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? Public transportation, such as subways and street cars, are well developed, and we don’t need to own a car to live in the city center where the campus is located. And Toronto is very tolerant of other cultures. There are so many different ethnic groups that even as international students with families, we were able to blend into this city naturally as soon as we moved in. In addition, the environment is kind to children, and people on the street will talk to children and give families priority. As mentioned above, I don’t feel any stress in my life, so I can concentrate on my MBA program.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the Rotman MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The most important factor in choosing Rotman’s program was the CDL. CDL is the seed-stage program for startups that is now offered in many MBA schools around the world, starting with Rotman. This program gives MBA students the opportunity to learn about and experience real startups beyond the classroom cases. I have a goal to tackle social issues by contributing to next generation urban development and mobility services with the help of technological advancement and through collaboration with entrepreneurs. CDL is a great way to gain experience and learning that will leverage me towards this goal, and I think it is a unique curriculum that Rotman offers that no other program can offer.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Rotman? The activities I have enjoyed the most so far are those in the Business Design Club. As I mentioned earlier, CDL was the most important factor in choosing Rotman, but the Business Design was an equally important factor. In the first few terms when we only focus on core courses, we can’t take Business Design as a course. However, the Business Design Club provides a variety of resources and opportunities such as workshops, mentor programs, and case competitions. Basically, I have tried to raise my hand and participate in all the opportunities. Especially in a case competition, I was able to experience a series of processes to propose solutions to actual consumer issues by using design methods such as user research, ideation, and prototyping. I feel that I have acquired skills and knowledge that I could not have gained by just reading books on my own.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I led some projects to improve Tokyo’s railway stations for the Tokyo Olympics, and successfully completed the projects. In preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo was undergoing a number of development projects to welcome guests from all over the world and give them the best experience.

I was in charge of urban development at JR East, a railway company that provides public transportation infrastructure in Tokyo, and led projects to improve the station. It is the gateway to the city for customers, especially the commerce area development project. With a limited timeframe for the Olympics, I coordinated with internal and external stakeholders to reduce costs and shorten the construction period, working hard to open the buildings on the target schedule. I also contributed to the development of original products and installations to provide visitors with special experiences, and created spaces and services that had never been seen before.

Unfortunately, the Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus, and we were not able to welcome overseas visitors in 2021. Still, it was a very good experience for me to improve my project management skills. And most importantly, I would like to invite you to visit Tokyo, a city that combines tradition and cutting-edge attractions, once the coronavirus has settled down.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: It would have been nice if I had something spectacular and easy to understand like “I won the XX case competition!”. Unfortunately. I haven’t been able to achieve that yet. Instead, what I have achieved is that I feel I am gradually able to demonstrate my strengths in a very diverse environment and team.

The diversity environment at Rotman was a challenge for me as I have never studied or worked outside of Japan before. In particular, during the core term, study teams are formed and we basically have to tackle assignments as a team. My team consisted of an Ecuadorian, Nigerian, Pakistani, and Peruvian members. In the beginning, I had a hard time expressing my opinions and arguments. However, three months have passed since I started MBA, and I am now able to establish my role in the team and show my strengths. Although I owe a lot to my very cooperative team members, this is a Rotman environment where we can learn how to show my leadership and values in such a diverse environment. In the future, I will continue to do my best to build on this experience and gain spectacular and easy-to-understand accomplishments.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Rotman MBA program? The Rotman application asks for a presentation of your unique spike factor. When I first saw this, I was very confused as to what kind of bizarre thing I should show off. However, after finally passing the exam, I realized that there is no need to be eccentric. Rather, take stock of your past experiences and the strengths that come from them, and convey yourself as you are. I think that by expressing yourself as you are without forcing yourself to decorate yourself, your words and explanations will be more convincing and you will be closer to your ultimate goal. You will have a fun and exciting MBA life ahead of you, so please don’t give up and work hard until the end.


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