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Passionate Peers and Global Business: Making Interactions that Count

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

After coming to Purdue University's Krannert School of Management, I realized that I had lived in a closed-off world. Before Krannert, I thought that there was an ideal skill-set and specific knowledge one needed for handling business. As a current MBA student, I now realize that there may be no such thing as a perfectly equipped businessperson. I have learned that even though MBA students are highly intelligent and dedicated, they still struggle to solve everyday problems - thus I have learned the importance of collaboration.

Ever since I began my career as an investment banker, I have worked with many individuals from a variety of countries and backgrounds. Even though I have had extensive interactions with businessmen and women from around the world in my banking position, here at Krannert I am learning something new from professors and classmates on a daily basis. Given the challenging environment at Purdue, I am learning how deeply and concretely I can analyze issues in the real world.

When dealing with difficult situations, I have to collaborate with my classmates. I cannot rely on past experiences or conventional theories. With that said, due to our diverse backgrounds and cultural differences, we often disagree over class assignments. For example, in one class (Business Analytics), I studied with BAIM (Business Analytics and Information Management) students who have strong quantitative understanding. Prior to taking this course, I trusted that I also had strong quantitative skills, but I was humbled. The academic expertise, analytical ability, and computational skills of my classmates are just marvelous. I am always questioning whether my opinion can add some value to the group.

"When dealing with difficult situations, I have to collaborate with my classmates. I cannot rely on past experiences or conventional theories."

Additionally, the manner in which I conduct business has been challenged because I am not used to hearing strong opinions presented in an assertive manner. We use constructive criticism often to seek the best answers to case studies. The environment has been stressful but insightful for me. In Japan, politeness is very important. We would never raise our voice to a colleague. But the passionate interactions at Krannert got me out of my comfort zone. We have had many conflicts, but we respect our differences as business professionals. Whenever I discuss things with my classmates, I feel more connected to business issues on a global scale.

Krannert provides a myriad of opportunities beyond traditional MBA courses, such as the chance to collaborate with BAIM students. In the future, I would like to establish a new financial service in Japan with modern technologies (FinTech is now used as a buzzword). To find the best fit for my entrepreneurial interests, I can talk with BAIM students who have IT backgrounds. I can also meet many founders in startup companies at Purdue Foundry. Moreover, I can consult with STEM MBA students who come from a variety of backgrounds, each one with rich managerial experience.

I have come to appreciate Krannert students' insight and maturity. I am confident that we will be friends for life and have made social networks encompassing multiple industries. The rigorous, but supportive Krannert culture will more than prepare me for my next career in the real business world, which is something I could not do anywhere else.

Naotaka Ikeda

1st Year MBA