Chief Executive Innovation Office
After graduating from the University of Warwick, I began working in investment in London, specifically with a focus on investment strategy. After that, I went on to complete the MBA program at the Yale School of Management. During my MBA, I studied the business challenges faced by the start-up community at Yale.
I joined Rakuten in September 2016 and have been working on various projects in the Chief Executive Innovation Office (CEIO).
To apply everything I learned from my MBA
After graduating from the University of Warwick, I worked in investment in London. After that, I worked at several companies before deciding to study for an MBA at the Yale School of Management. I felt the need to learn more about global business in order to to achieve my goal of having a successful career spanning different countries around the world.
There are three reasons why I decided to work at Rakuten after my MBA. Firstly, I wanted to work in Japan. Secondly, I thought that I would be able to apply what I learned during my MBA at a company like Rakuten, which has business operations around the globe. Thirdly, I felt that Rakuten would offer me the opportunity to work in many different countries, not only Japan, which would help me learn even more. Moreover, the MBA recruitment scheme would give me the chance to work in the Chief Executive Innovation Office (CEIO), where I could work closely with the management team to formulate group-wide strategies. All in all, Rakuten was a very attractive option.
Eight months in and already leading large-scale projects
I am a Project Manager in the CEIO and work on global projects across the whole of the Rakuten Group. To run these projects, I have to liaise closely with staff inside and outside Japan.
Working directly under the CEO, the CEIO formulates group-wide strategies, among other tasks. As part of this, I work on a wide range of projects, from Rakuten Group branding to projects that involve the whole of the e-commerce business.
The Appeal of
Learning directly from the CEO
I’m so glad to have been assigned to the CEIO, where I am in charge of projects that cut across the group and can work with a wide range of people with different skills and areas of expertise. I’ve also learned so much from working directly with Mickey, our CEO. He’s very open-minded and always creates opportunities for those around him. His pin-point advice also helps me come up with even better ideas and policies.
For me, Rakuten has been a platform for gaining world-class skills and growing as an individual.
A creative and inspirational work environment
There’s a great atmosphere on our team. We get along well and always encourage one another. I'm also grateful for the support of my manager, who is very thoughtful, creates opportunities for me to express my views, and generally fosters a creative environment where I can take on new challenges.
I really value my interpersonal relationships with my coworkers and am constantly inspired by how my colleagues and my manager approach and think about their work. For example, when we were brain-storming about next-generation services, a casual conversation about how my manager’s child uses a smartphone in unexpected ways gave us ideas for a potential new business. I discover so much from interacting with people with different points of view, and our diverse team members are a continual source of motivation.
I am in constant communication with people across Japan and around the world, via videoconferencing and other means. Of course, people working on the same project do not necessarily always see eye-to-eye, so, an important part of my job as Project Manager is to keep everyone highly motivated. To do that, I first make sure that I’m always in a positive state of mind myself.
Innovation for a happier and more fulfilling world
I am now working on ways to improve new projects and make the company more efficient. Personally, I am learning about subjects such as voice input, human-computer interaction related to AR/VR, artificial intelligence, and design, and I hope to apply these to my work in the future.
Rakuten is continuing to evolve into a truly global company. Being at Rakuten while it takes the great leap from the Japanese market to the world will surely offer amazing opportunities, and I hope, in the future, to be able to come with some new idea that will impact all of Rakuten’s many stakeholders. Rakuten aims to be a “Global Innovation Company,” fostering innovation that makes the world a happier and more fulfilling place. I am really looking forward to working with everyone at Rakuten to achieve this goal.
*The names and content of this article are current as of the time of the interview.
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