Name: Yoko Fujimoto
Last job title: Senior Digital Merchandiser, Nike
Previous degree: Master in International Fashion Marketing, Manchester Metropolitan University
Why did you choose RSM for your MBA?
“I wanted an MBA and a global experience. I worked in Japan for 10 years as a retail merchandiser, and wanted to use this year to set up my life outside of my country. The Netherlands is open to international job seekers, and relatively easy in terms of immigration compared to for example the UK.”
What has been the most challenging assignment or activity?
“In term one I was getting used to life in the Netherlands and also to studying. With my work experience I can add knowledge to a class. But some subject matters are tough. I thought I knew about finance, but now I’ve gone beyond the point I knew. Everything is new and challenging.”
How has the Personal Leadership Development programme affected you?
“I learned that your strengths and weaknesses remain the same in any team environment. It’s about yourself. It gives me opportunity to discover my role and reactions in a team environment. When you work hard you don’t have time to analyse yourself so it’s interesting to do.”
Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“I’ve always worked in international teams. But it’s interesting to study for the same goal with students in different age groups. As an older student with managerial experiences in the programme, I always tried to lean about my own position in situations and how to behave in these teams. I stop and see how other people work and how I can contribute to the team most effectively.”
Can you define the 'RSM MBA experience'?
“Our bonding is really strong. The entire batch is really close and everyone helps each other, especially seeing most of us don’t have much experience in this country. At the MBA Tournament in Paris we won the ‘Spirit Award’ – it shows we’re a great community, and really represents the RSM MBA.”
What transformation in your professional life are you hoping to achieve from completing the full-time MBA?
“I got my dream job in fashion after my college but wanted a new challenge in a new environment and new location. MBA is an opportunity to prepare for a new setting. In addition to my core skills, I was able to add more strategy and finance knowledge to my strengths through this MBA.”
What advice would you give to others to make the most of their MBA experience?
“It depends on what you want from the MBA. It's a really condensed, hard-work, one-year experience working with multinational people. Not many MBAs offer such an international experience. It's a precious opportunity. Don’t prepare too much, just enjoy the moment.”
How do you feel about living in Rotterdam?
“I chose the best place to move to Europe! You don’t need to speak Dutch, everyone speaks English. People are open and helpful, and I haven’t had any bad experiences. The city centre is really convenient, you can cycle anywhere. Amsterdam is also easy to reach, I go there about once a month.”
After the full-time MBA, what does the future hold?
“I’m seeing this as a sabbatical – a one-year preparation challenge to then continue in business. I want to carry on combining fashion and business, and keep enhancing my international experience and strengthen my financial knowledge.”