Yuki Takahashi

Country of origin: Japan

Business Management Division, Getinge Japan K.K.

My pre-MBA career was working for small/medium sized companies and my own start-up. After gaining diverse work experience, I had become eager to seek out my own value. The more I gained international experience, the deeper I felt the necessity of having global awareness, discerning eyes and my own leadership identity.

I expected that some sort of discernment would be formed by studying theories and frameworks through comprehensive business studies. It seemed impossible, however, to explore global awareness and leadership identity unless stretching my wings in something new and in a challenging atmosphere.

In researching business schools, a phrase on the Lancaster MBA website caught my eye: “Explore the leader inside you.” When I read it, I felt something click. This was the moment that I resolved to address myself to cultivating my own values and leadership style. I visited all the business schools from which I had received offers. At Lancaster I had the chance to join a lecture and talked with full-time MBA students (2012/2013, at that time) during my visit. From the conversation with them and with faculty and from the overall atmosphere, I intuitively felt attuned to the core values of the Lancaster MBA. I could imagine myself being able to mature as a professional with global awareness in that environment. With these experiences, Lancaster became my first choice.

I really enjoyed the richness of the learning opportunity, especially being engaged with the real business world. Throughout the programme, hands-on learning opportunities were provided through ‘in-organisation’ business projects such as the Entrepreneurial Challenge, Consultancy Challenge and Corporate Challenge. In addition, many talks and lectures by successful entrepreneurs and CEOs – some of them alumni – gave valuable insights into tough business decision making. Since I had been especially interested in research addressing the issues of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and family businesses, LUMS’ outstanding research bodies and open-programme helping SMEs’ businesses grow impressed me. In fact, strong commitment between the University and local businesses for mutual growth gave me a clear perspective on how different the challenges they confront are from those of big companies.

At the end of my MBA journey, I received the great honour of being voted “Lancaster MBA Student of the Year” and the class member who most embodied the principle of a Mindful Manager, which was a totally unexpected delight for me. Alongside people who respected each other’s differences, I had felt safe to challenge my established understanding of the world. Throughout our learning journey, our class of 2013/2014 created our own culture of openness, respectfulness and positivity about learning from others and looking at things from different perspectives. Enthusiasm and integrity of both classmates and faculty allowed us to enhance awareness and reflection through learning experiences from the diverse student group. Thanks to such fantastic people and experiences, I felt the courage to explore my own leadership identity, which comes along with reassessing where I come from and what am I made of. These questions seemed crucial for me to realize the boundaries of my assumptions before thinking about where I will go. I feel privileged to have been a part of such a fantastic class and having contributed to forming its culture.

After completion of my Lancaster MBA, I feel this one-year journey has brought about positive changes in me. Global cultural awareness nurtured by various experiences at the Lancaster MBA gave me confidence to step forward. A new stage where I will play an important role in a new business field awaits me, and I am prepared to continue seeking my leadership identity wherever I go. Every experience and the people I have met through the Lancaster MBA are my treasures forever in my life.