Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Sakiko Matsumoto, Cornell University (Johnson)

Sakiko Matsumoto

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University

“Passionate about hospitality, lacrosse and women’s empowerment. Stay weird. Stay different.”

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am an international lacrosse umpire and was an appointed official for the 2022 World Championships.

Undergraduate School and Major: International Christian University, Asian studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: EY Strategy and Consulting, consultant

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Cornell’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The combination of hospitality and tech. I chose Johnson because Cornell has the world-renowned Nolan School of Hotel Administration and the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan. I have a background in hospitality and an interest in digital technology. While the integration of hospitality and technology has been drawing increased attention in both industries, very few institutions provide high-level and up-to-date academic learning environments such as Cornell.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Cornell? 

Immersion Program: I have not decided which immersion I will choose , however I am excited about this hands-on experience before diving into a summer internship.

Women’s Management Council: I aspire to empower women by supporting them and becoming a role model to work toward closing the gender gap.

Figure Skating at Lynah Rink: I started learning figure skating after I became an adult. There were not enough ice rinks in Tokyo, so it is amazing that my school has one!

What excites you the most about living in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region? Ithaca is a perfect environment for focusing on studying and building close relationships with classmates. I’m looking forward to going hiking and exploring local foods and drinks.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Pivoting from hospitality to consulting. After university, I joined the Imperial Hotel, a privately owned luxury hotel in Tokyo as a management trainee and worked there for seven years. Pursuing an MBA and pivoting into consulting are two sides of the same coin necessary for my career and lifestyle. These areas were so challenging that it took me three years to achieve them. Preparing for the MBA application helped me to organize my accomplishments during my career and set my career goals, which differentiated me from others who applied for the same consulting position. At the same time, consulting interviews allowed me to realize my strengths and gave me confidence, which encouraged me to apply for an MBA.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you enjoyed and would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I listen to hospitality industry podcasts such as Hospitality Hangout and Hospitality Mavericks. Industry-specific podcasts are easy ways to catch up with the latest trends in the industry. For prospective MBAs who are non-native speakers of English like me, it is an efficient way to improve your English listening skill while learning English terms and expressions used in the industry.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I wanted to accelerate my career and achieve goals with more impact. The most critical reason was to positively influence the community I live in and to immerse myself in different cultures and people. Post-MBA, I am hoping to transition into digital consulting to enhance customer experience and increase efficiency and profitability of businesses through digital transformation.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? No other schools.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Cornell’s MBA program? Don’t hesitate to ask current students and alumni for help. You will soon come to realize what a “tight-knit community” really represents. The information found online is the tip of the iceberg. Be authentic to yourself, and don’t make decisions based on what others are doing.


Comments or questions about this article? Email us.