Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Yukiho Ishigami, Stanford GSB

Yukiho Ishigami

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Empathetic multilingual from Japan eager to make an inclusive society and achieve equal opportunity for everyone.”

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a dance performer and am still a big supporter of a “Yosakoi Soran” local dance show team in Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan. We won a prize as the team in the largest competition and traveled around Hokkaido to give performances. My teammates are the people who made Hokkaido my second home.

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Tokyo, Bachelor of Laws

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Bank of Japan, Economist

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Stanford GSB’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The focus on social impact. My heart is dedicated to underrepresented people and areas, and I need to empower myself and acquire support to confront and tackle deep-rooted tough societal issues.

My passion for social impact and inclusion originally comes from my own experience of having physical difficulty in the past. It grew when I was immersed in a rural area as an economist and faced severe reality there. Also, as one of the few Japanese females at GSB, gender equality means a lot to me. I’m grateful for what I have been given, and I’m ready to give back to society.

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? I knew it before I attended Stanford GSB but it was still surprising in a positive way to see the inclusive, flexible and innovative culture that encourages students to explore whatever they want to do.

Students pursue diverse goals and they encourage and support each other to work toward their own aspirations. The school is very supportive too and I feel there is no one right way to do anything at GSB.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far? Give an example why this is true. Inclusiveness. This is my first time living in the US, and my classmates help me a lot whenever I struggle to understand the context or overcome cultural differences.

For example, at GSB, we have a class called the Leadership Laboratory, where a squad of six classmates work together to grow as leaders and develop the reasons why someone would follow them. My squadmates did their best to help me when I was confused by the different definitions of effective leadership by different cultures. I struggled to communicate confidently and decisively in a way that I was supposed to in the culture here. My squadmates carefully challenged me in role-playing to let me practice and gave me feedback and, above all, they were excited to see my progress. I saw true inclusive leadership in my squadmates.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As the team leader, I managed and motivated 10 teammates to estimate and release the largest financial statistic during the pandemic. This happened when work became harder with decreased access to source data and drastic changes in figures. Despite all the uncertainties and difficulties, I securely released the most accurate preliminary data ever to meet the public needs to grasp the money flow in the macro-financial system. I improved the accuracy of the estimations. For example, I uncovered 150 billion USD liability of households, most used data series, and shared my new methodology in the World Statistics Congress.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: I keep adding diversity to the discussions and conversations everywhere to grow as an inclusive leader together with my classmates. I came from different backgrounds than most of my classmates in terms of geography and industry and believe that different perspectives are precious. I think cross-cultural communication is not only about hosting a Japanese dinner or teaching origami to the kids of my classmates (which I also did), but also about the endless effort of exchanging diverse ways of thinking.

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? I come from a culture where humility is a virtue. I still believe that way and don’t want to be arrogant, but I realized that humility sometimes prevents me from moving forward. Humility makes me think that I don’t deserve it or I’m not capable of doing it. However, people here believe in my potential much more than I do and encourage me to step or even jump forward. The support of my classmates has helped me to be bolder and more confident. I feel this is what GSB is all about, and people call it in various ways, like entrepreneurship and innovation.

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2024? Be authentic and show who you are. The application process is just the starting point of continuous self-reflection throughout your MBA journey. I received questions from applicants about what they should write in their essays to satisfy the school, but there is no right answer to who you are supposed to be, so embrace yourself and be confident!


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