Sunday, October 05, 2008

Graduation - Class of 2008

Here are they are! Thanks to those who've sent me these photos of our graduation.

What a wicked ride the past two years were. Everyone, thank you again for being there, and please stay in touch.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

3-week intensive program in Montreal


At School

Art of Leadership

Extracurricular Activities

End of Program Party and Thereafter

BBQ@Fred's, Weekend@Tetsu's, Supper@Ladi's

3 weeks of both pure hell and pure pleasure from July 16 to Aug. 4. That was the story of our intensive program at the McGill main campus in Montreal. The 3 courses were: Strategy (Corporate Leadership), Business Simulation, and Art of Leadership. A dozen of us came from Tokyo and another dozen or so were main campus MBAers. Then there were also a few who came from other parts of the world. But despite our global origins, we ALL bonded and had fun as if we had known each other forever.

In retrospect, I think that just going through the intense course load was enough to drive anyone insane. But we actually managed to schedule in some major parties along the way! …um…actually…come to think about it…maybe THAT’S what kept us from going mad… yeah, yeah…maybe. Oh well, whatever the case, it was magical. Anyways, I’m sure you understand what I’m taking about from the above photos!

In the end, I only have one thing to say to everyone involved in that program: a huge THANK YOU to all the students, profs, administrators, and others.

And as many have already said so far, this is not a “good-bye”, but a “see you later”!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Yu-Sho Combi

We had our first party of the new school year on July 1st, Canada Day! It was an activity organized by Maria and Carl. Every drink people had included a little donation to Maria's organization BEE. I think she was happy with the outcome right!? There was some heavy duty drinkin' by some of our wild boys and girls from Y1!

....good thing you were done with Stats that day right? Yeah, we Y2s's what we did after one of our own Stats classes last year (actually, it was after an exam!).

Hope you guys are up for more partyin'!!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

2nd Profile Batch

Hi everyone, Zach here again with your next exciting profile update! Today we have very special, and completely unexpected inquisitors to get the information we need from our completely willing participants!

If you know who these guys are, I will personally award you 100 extra nerd points!

First up is our good friend Shoji Takeyama.
After reading his profile introduction questions I learned that Shoji is the finance master! He is also a very modest gentleman.

1. Tell us a little about your background.
I got a BA in economics in year 1993 and established my career in the financial industry, especially securitizaion world. I started my career at Japanese bank, Dai-ichi Kangyo Bank, now Mizuho Bank. I left it in year 2000 and worked as a structure of asset backed security for Credit Lyonnais, now Calyon, or French bank. And then I moved to Moody's, US rating agency as a analyst of commercial mortgaged backed security. Now I work as a marketer of insurance linked security at Swiss Re capital market corporation for two years.

2. What are you doing now?
I am a marketer at security house. I work for Swiss Re Capital Market Corporation Tokyo Branch, capital market subsidiary of Swiss Reinsurance Company. At my company, I try to get a mandate of catastrophic bonds, the bond whose risk is related to natural disaster such as earthquake and hurricane from mainly Japanese property and causality insurance companies.

3. Why did you join the McGill MBA program and what do you hope to gain from it?
I deal with a very early stage product or catastrophic bonds with limited colleagues in Japan. So I would like to learn how to expand my business in this program. In addition, I hope that the international experience at the class makes me more comfortable to work at non-Japanese company.

4. Can you share something that very few people know about you?
I know securitization, one of structured finance product. So if you are interested in it, please let me know. I will tell you in detail.

5. What is your pet peeve.
I do not like time pressure. Especially, I do not like decision making second by second. Although I invest in Japanese equity via internet security company, I have never done day trading in my life.

6. Shameless plug for one of your activities?
I go to the gym every week. I take "KAATSU" training or high pressure training made in Japan, The training is very hard, I believe that it is one of the most efficient training program.

7. Anything else that you would like to add.
I am afraid that I would have put classmates to a some deal of trouble due to my long hour work. But I will try to do my best and I hope that I can contribute to the class.

Thank you very much Shoji. We all look forward to seeing you in class soon!

Next up is Mr. Derek White. Derek is a very cool guy, if you haven't had a chance to talk with him yet, I highly recommend that you make some time to do so in the near future. I had the pleasure of drinking a few beers with him the other night and it was great.

1. Please tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in a town of 600 (yes 600) called Warkworth, appr. 2 hours east of Toronto. I left when I was 18 and took an undergrad in Urban & Regional Planning at Ryerson University and a 2 year diploma in Building Renovations at George Brown College, both in Toronto. I moved to Japan in June of 2006.

2. Where are you working now and what do you do?
I work at Ilya Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kajima Construction. The company does Interior Design, Office Planning and Procurement. My division is called Hospitality Solutions and we procure furniture and operating supplies for hotels and restaurants.

3. Why did you join the MBA program and what are your goals?
I joined the program because I believe it will increase my career options both in Japan and in Canada. My goal is to work in Real Estate Development, particularly in the field of Senior"s Housing.

4. Can you tell us something that not too many people know about you?
I'm a big-time Elvis fan & a bit of an amateur classical music enthusiast.

5. What is your pet peeve?
1) I hate balloons 2) I can't stand opening a banana without a knife

6. Would you like to make a shameless plug?
No thanks.

7. Anything else...?
I think our class is unique and has already done a good job of bonding. I look forward to the next 2 years building a group of peers that I will have for the rest of my life.

Thanks for the profile, Derek. Now, can we ask for your Elvis impersonation at the beginning of next class?

Monday, July 09, 2007

The first profiles

Hello class of 2008 and 2009! This is Zach here to report and help us get to know each other a little better. I have asked the members of the 2009 class to submit a few tidbits of information and a photograph so that we can all get to know and love each other a little better. Over the course of 2007 I hope to profile everyone in the class of 2009!

The questions are:

1. Please tell us a little bit about your background.
2. Where are you working now and what do you do?
3. Why did you join the MBA program and what are your goals?
4. Can you tell us something that not too many people know about you?
5. What is your pet peeve?
6. Would you like to make a shameless plug?
7. Anything else...?

First up we have Laura Younger! When I first met Laura I was really impressed with her presence, this past weekend I got the chance to work with her in a group and had a great time. If you haven't had the chance to speak to her yet, please chat her up when we meet again at the end of August.

1. I grew up in Grimsby, Ontario, which is near the very touristy wine region of the Niagara Peninsula. I moved to Toronto for my undergrad - University of Toronto - where I studied physical anthropology. My plan was to go to medical school or do a graduate degree in medical anthropology, but I would have had to take statistics (!), so I came to Japan instead.

2. I'm working at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), and I am in charge of two departments. A lot of what I do is public facing so I've gained a really great network by working at the chamber.

3. It was always a goal to go back to school at the graduate level, and since McGill is one the top schools in Canada, I was attracted to attending this program. I joined the program primarily out of general interest, and in order to build my knowledge/skill base, especially in the quantitative

4. I spent much of my teenage years in Jamaica and am thus a huge reggae
fan. Not many people know that...

5. The Marunouchi line at rush hour

6. I am Vice President of the Association
for Women in Finance (AWF) - a volunteer networking group that meets monthly for speaker events. We've been growing incredibly fast over the last year and gaining a great deal of support from the major foreign investment banks in town. The mission of the organisation is provide women in finance a forum in which they can further their professional development, network and exchange information, and meet like-minded women of all nationalities. You don't need to be in finance - nor do you need to be a woman - to attend our events, so if you're interested, please join us!

Laura, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! I know that I'm interested about your Jamaican experience, I have heard many wonderful things about the country and its people. I would also be interested in attending the AWF events so if you get a chance, Laura, please post some of the events on our Yahoo group.

Next up we have Makoto Sugita!

I was really taken with Makoto when he made his introduction to the class, I could tell he was a great public speaker. Here's how he answered the questions!

1. I was born in Osaka. I move to the US when I was 17 years old. I went to high school and college in the US. I came back to Japan for medical school. I spent a little more than 14 years as an academic physician. I decided to move forward to a career in pharmaceutical industry. Now I am an employee of one of the biggest global pharmaceutical companies. I have a wife and a son, and I love them. I also enjoy what I do now. In my heart I am still 25 years old.

2. I am a clinical research physician, and I am involved with a few very interesting clinical studies.

3. To maximize my knowledge of medicine in business, I thought that learning more about business would be essential. I also wanted to meet people from different backgrounds.

4. I am a good cook, and I am still a board certified thoracic surgeon.

5. Homework. Work-study-life balance.

6. Never sued for malpractice yet.

7. Guys, let’s have a good time and learn a lot.

Makoto, thank you also for responding to the questions! If you haven't had a chance to get to know Makoto, now you can hit him up for cooking advice. Speaking of which, do you have any advice for making Umeshu? I think I missed my chance this summer, but I would like to try it next year.

That's all for this post, I look forward to profiling everyone!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Congratulations Tim!

I recently found out that Tim got a scholarship, so I asked him to write a little thing about it. Being the humble bee that he is, at first he was reluctant, but I asked him to write some specific things that could be useful to fellow MBAers and potential candidates, who could also use some inspiration in their search for funding.

Below is what he wrote. Congratulations Tim! And thanks for sharing this with us.

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Scholarship Award

I have been fortunate to have been awarded the 2007 J.J. O’Neill Leadership Development Award of $12,150 (approx. ¥1,500,000). This is an Airline Industry Foundation Scholarship in the area of In-flight Services.

There were two of us as finalists and it was particularly gratifying to be selected over a person from American Airlines. The major qualifications include good references, leadership potential, notable contributions in the industry, and a strong desire to further your education.

This scholarship will help in making almost two payments and eases the financial pain. It is also good publicity for the McGill MBA Japan Program and will look good on a resume. The foundation invites one to attend (expenses paid) and receive this award during the President’s Award Banquet at the International Flight Services Association’s Annual Conference, this year to be held in Houston Texas from September 8-10

Previous winners of this Scholarship were:
2004 Joette Schmidt – America West Airlines

2005 J.J. Cook – Delta Airlines

2006 Sarah Klatt-Walsh – Swiss Air

Since there are a multiple of scholarships, grants, and bursaries out there, I would encourage all McGill MBA Japan students to look for them and don’t be reluctant to apply, for they are there to be used.

Tim Zandbergen “Class of 2008”

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Class of 2009 Orientation

It was the Class of 2009 Orientation day today. The student council gave a little presentation on the McGill MBA Japan Experience.

We really enjoyed the experience and thought the Class of 2009 was a very dynamic and very active class. We also went to the New Otani as last year and had a few drinks and discussed with the newcomers. What a great bunch of guys and girls. What a variety of backgrounds. Also, many more Japanese/Asians than our class. And even better, many more beautiful ladies! Ha ha ha... not that we don't got no beautiful ladies! ...just that we only got 4! And now one of 'em is going to Montreal for the second year! v(T T)v. I can't believe I didn't take any photos today to upload here!! If someone took some nice ones, please send 'em to me so I can upload 'em here.

Anywho, we really welcome you with open arms and hope that Y1 and Y2 students can interact extensively throughout the year and take the McGill MBA Japan Experience to the next level!

By the way, a few people told me that they saw this blog and one guy even told me that he's been following it for quite a while. In fact, it contributed to his deciding on taking the program! Man I'm glad that this blog makes a difference.

Alright Class of 2009, you've got a big year ahead of ya. But as we said many times today, you can count on the Class of 2008 to help you through tough times. Don't hesitate to ask.

Ganbarimasho! Yoroshiku!

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