Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Reika Ishii, Yale SOM

Reika Ishii

Yale School of Management

“Multicultural collaborator eager to empower underrepresented communities through the intersection of finance and healthcare.”

Hometown: Kobe, Japan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a slight British accent because I grew up in London!

Undergraduate School and Major: Wellesley College, BA in Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Morgan Stanley, Investment Banking Associate

The Yale School of Management is regarded as a purpose-driven program. What is your mission? How will your MBA at Yale SOM help you fulfill that mission? My goal is to help open a new path that empowers and gives voice to underrepresented groups to advance their cause. In Japan, women are an undervalued minority, and the lack of representation can be felt in the absence of fundamental female healthcare products and services. I plan to become a venture capital investor to increase affordable feminine hygiene products by supporting start-ups in FemTech and women’s health. I hypothesize that if more products were available, it would help remove stigmas and replace forced silence with dialogue.

At Yale SOM, I want to understand the complexities driving health and investment, hone my interpersonal skills, and expand my perspective through interactions with diverse classmates. With my financial background and management skills I will develop at Yale SOM, I hope to become a difference maker supporting the next Japanese FemTech unicorn.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Yale SOM’s MBA curriculum or programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was drawn to Yale SOM’s mission to educate leaders for business & society. In college, I led workshops with a nonprofit organization in Kenya that empowers women to solve issues related to water and sanitation. My time with the organization revealed the importance of finance and management for a sustainable impact, and how the private sector plays a role in tackling social issues. I was inspired by Yale SOM community’s passion and commitment to create positive change in society through business.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Yale SOM? I’m excited to explore impact investing through the Turner MIINT Impact Investing Pitch Competition and the student-run Meng Impact Investment Fund. I want to understand how investors make decisions and consider ways to drive the creation of equitable products, so that I can tackle unprecedented cases and make decisions beyond my experience. I also love skiing and will be joining the Ski & Snowboard Club!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was able to step up and take on tasks beyond my role from early on in my career. In my first year, I worked on a difficult project in which I created financial models for the first time. During the project, two of my direct supervisors left, and I took on the responsibility for the financial model, overall valuation consideration, and coordination with directors and other teams. This experience showed me the importance of ownership and timely communication, and more importantly, it taught me to be unafraid to step out of my comfort zone and take on challenges.

What do you hope to do after graduation? My post-MBA goal is to work in impact investing or venture capital to have a more direct impact on the companies I work with. Only a few venture capital firms in Japan have female directors. Therefore, I intend to help start-ups find their voice and prove that there are financial gains investors have missed so far, especially in FemTech and women’s health.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Yale SOM’s MBA program? Take time for self-reflection to let your personality and values really shine through your application. Most importantly, be yourself!


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