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A Cultural Journey

KojiAs an international student coming to the United States, Koji Yamada, a first-year MBA student, had certain perceptions of what he believed America would be like. He knew that he would face many challenges, but he came prepared to work hard and dedicate himself to his education. He came from Otsuka Pharmaceutical company which is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Since beginning his education, he has not only learned about academic aspects of business, but he has also had many invaluable learning experiences which have helped him grow as an individual.

When he was given the opportunity to go back to business school as a sponsored student, he began to look at schools within the United States. Because of his interest and background in research, he was very familiar with quantitative analysis and wanted to learn how to translate that into the business sector. Krannert immediately caught his attention due to the strong quantitative and research background of Purdue University. Another key draw for Koji was the cultural and intellectual diversity present within the program. He recognized and valued that Purdue was home to a very culturally diverse student body.

The greatest cultural surprise that Koji encountered was how the students of different countries were so understanding and appreciative. He also found that students were able to maintain their unique cultural identities while still working together as a cohesive team. The ability of the students to mesh well within groups and find value in the differences among others fascinated Koji. He realized that, although it doesn't matter what country students came from, the varying cultural backgrounds contributed to the unique strengths that each student possessed.

From an academic perspective, Koji has enjoyed the teaching approach that the professors at Krannert use.  Traditionally, Japanese instructors use a one-way teaching method that emphasizes lectures, but Krannert has offered more active interactions and communication with the professors. He values how students are able to engage and assert themselves throughout the learning process. This was something that helped him develop the skills to be able to contribute his own ideas to learning while still valuing the ideas of others.

Within his academic team, he found the importance of showing respect and trying to understand others in order to succeed as a group. He learned that, within the group dynamic, each person’s individual strengths help unite the group together and make each member stronger. Koji has also had the opportunity to share his cultural experience with others. He has invited friends to a variety of cultural encounters and has even conducted a cultural presentation of his own to share his native country of Japan with his peers. Koji is excited for the opportunities ahead of him and looks forward to continuing to learn both academically and culturally.