To continue our student interview series, we interviewed SMU Master of Business Administration (MBA) candidate Yuta Morita. After working for more than a decade in Japan decade in corporate banking and real estate, Yuta took advantage of an APEC Scholarship that covers his tuition, flights and living expenses. The scholarship, which is funded by the Singapore Ministry of Education allowed him study at SMU and to build skills to someday start a peer-to-peer lending related company.
What influenced you to pursue the SMU MBA? What excites you intellectually?
One of my career aspirations is to start my own business. I believe the SMU MBA would equip me with knowledge in sales, marketing and operations; and skills in negotiation and leadership that are critical for successful entrepreneurs. I am also excited that trending sectors like Fintech, AI and e-commerce are thriving in Singapore, as compared to my home country of Japan.
Did you consider any other schools or programs? If so, why did you ultimately choose SMU?
Yes. I considered a few other schools but SMU was, by far, the more stimulating option due to its small class size, high degree of interaction with other students, and a faculty and curriculum that focuses on soft skills.
How would you describe your experience in the SMU MBA?
It has been challenging, but fun. Juggling school, internships and extra-curricular activities is not easy, and I sometimes stay up till 2am to finish all I have to do for the day. However, I also feel that I learn something new every day. At times, group projects could be a bit of a headache, especially when everyone has a different opinion. However, I feel a sense of relief and exhilaration when we overcome the challenges and reach an agreement as a team.
What has been your favourite module so far, and why?
The marketing core module (taught by Professor Srinivas Reddy) has broadened my scope. I have always imagined that good marketing stems solely from the innate intuition or creativity of a talented few. Through this class, however, I learned that marketing is based more on scrutinised planning and logic - achieved through understanding customers using lots of analysis and groundwork.
What type of extracurricular activities are you involved with?
I am serving as a secretary in the Executive Leadership Committee (Student Council). I enjoy working with its culturally diverse team.
Did you work before going back to school? If so, where did you work, and how did it influence your decision to return to school for a graduate degree?
I worked for over a decade in a corporate banking and real estate company in Japan. I felt the pressure for globalisation during my career - although the real estate company where I worked is considered a domestic company, I would receive phone calls in English from investors in various countries. This experience drove me to pursue a graduate degree overseas so as to equip myself with a global mindset.
What are your career aspirations?
In the short run, I will return to my former company in a different role - I will engage in corporate planning, overseas investor relations and innovation. In these roles, I will try to innovate the real estate industry in Japan. In the long term, I would like to start up my own business.
How has SMU helped prepare you for this type of career?
My previous company highly valued my SMU MBA experience and offered me a more significant role with high expectations. Without an SMU MBA, I would not have had these kinds of opportunities. I have also met some entrepreneurs and venture capitalists through SMU networking events, which will also benefit me in the future when I try to start my own business.
How are you financing your graduate degree? What resources did you use to learn about financing options?
I was fortunate to be nominated as an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) scholarship student, so I didn't need to worry about financing. For expenses which were not covered by this scholarship, I used my savings.
Are there any resources that would help you with career development that you’re not currently getting?
Nothing in particular, as SMU MBA provided me with guidance in career development through its suite of career counselling services, resume writing courses and networking events.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I will continue to play a pivotal role in the company, meeting up with many investors or possibly expanding our business in Singapore!