Motomi Mizushima

Motomi Mizushima

1) Why did you choose Anaheim University? 
There are three main reasons; tuition, quality of the courses, and diversity of the class. After doing some research about business schools, I realized that what needs to be considered in starting an MBA is finding the balance between tuition, quality of the coursework, and diversity among students. Paying very expensive tuition that the typical American business school requires was definitely not affordable to me without full-time work. Also, there are only two application timings after putting enormous effort and money to prepare for admission. Thus I focused on an online MBA that I can afford and start the course once I get the acceptance. Although some people say that online learning is inferior in quality, Anaheim University has a proven track record as an online university in their well-structured curriculum, prominent professors, and excellent student careers. On top of that, I started thinking that doing an MBA while working full-time is an effective way to reflect on what I've learned in my courses to bring to my work in practice.  I also thought that the learning in this way brings synergy effect in terms of reproducibility. Moreover, students [in the same courses] working in different countries give us a variety of perspectives that you have never had before.

2) Can you briefly tell us about your career?
For about seven and a half years since I graduated from college in Japan, I worked in accounting at Dole Japan, the largest importer and seller of bananas and pineapples in Japanese market. I currently work as a senior analyst of Financial Planning and Analysis at Ralph Lauren Japan in Tokyo.  

3) Why did you choose to pursue an MBA?

As I got involved in budgeting and forecasting business performance from my fifth year at Dole, I started getting interested in business management. Since the best part of FP&A is that you can influence decision-making processes to make business more profitable, I believed it would be a good idea to have a viewpoint from the management side in order to analyze the company situations and support business operations. For this reason, I thought that it is necessary to have the related knowledge in various fields such as HR and marketing from the financial perspective.

4) What do you like about this program the most?
Interactions with classmates is the best part of this program. There was a time when I was struggling to manage the time balancing my new work at Ralph Lauren and my MBA courses and I almost dropped out. However, one of my classmates, who was in the same group for a team project, is a working mother with two little children.  She encouraged me saying, "stay the course you set."  They were very simple words, but I always remember them whenever I was about to give up. I also had the opportunity to meet with a classmate from Germany in Tokyo, and it was great to meet face to face.

5) What has been your favorite course thus far?
International Management. For the internet research and final individual assignment, I chose a topic about current trends in management strategy in the fashion industry. I wanted to take advantage of my experience working in this field and wanted to expand my view from an academic standpoint. I did a lot of research on the difference between strategies in Ralph Lauren and other fast fashion brands, and realized that we are sticking to an old-fashioned way even though we have a long history as a prominent fashion brand. I talked about my thoughts with my coworkers and discussed what kind of management is required and what kind of managers we need to be in order to accelerate globalization and digitization. It was a good opportunity to take a moment to stop and think about our company strategy and organizational structure by comparing competitors with a financial viewpoint.

6) How do you study online?
I make use of small pockets of time as much as possible. For example, I downloaded e-textbooks to my iPhone so that I can read it at any time. Also for group work, teams exchange ideas through apps such as WhatsApp and Skype in order to reach out immediately from different time zones.

7) How have you managed to balance your studies with work?
I studied during lunch breaks, commuting time to work, and free time on weekends. Reading e-textbooks online during commuting, doing the written assignment during lunch breaks, then making an outline of a research paper at a cafe, and finishing it up at home: this is the most efficient way for me to keep myself focused and motivated.  However, to be honest, I struggle to balance the time when I am busy with my work and especially when feeling tired. I am still working to discipline myself to manage the time more efficiently. The one thing that works for me is to do something fun to get energy and refresh my mind. As the time goes by, I gradually realized that switching my mind so as not to get unproductive is one of the essential skills that anyone could have, especially for people doing an MBA with full-time work.

8) Do you feel that you are part of a learning community?
Yes. Students at the Anaheim University have various backgrounds and high ambitions for education and their careers. For example, I had many classmates who are doing DBAs, as well as running a company or executives of global companies. They are very inspiring, and the environment being surrounded by such people makes me realize first-hand through this experience that there is no end to learning for everyone in business. I feel that I am participating in a wonderful community where I can always discover new perspectives.

9) What is the most unusual place you have taken part in a live online class from? 
It was the riverbank outside the public library (Ballona Creek Bike Path in Culver City). When I discovered that the library's free wifi is available there, I was very excited that I found my secret place.

10) What advice would you provide someone who is hesitant about studying online?
I would say that you never know unless you try it. At first, you might be skeptical about online learning in terms of its quality, but I believe that online learning is now providing equal learning opportunities to anyone who wants to learn, and it has removed the cost and time barriers. With this condition, the only thing you need is motivation.

11) Do you think the MBA will help you foster your career? 
I would like to answer yes, but it definitely depends on yourself after finishing a course. As a matter of fact, what I've learned the most from my courses is how to manage the time, how to do research online, and how to read materials effectively (other than how to write an essay in APA format).  For me, communicating with classmates in a variety of backgrounds and locations helps me in my current work and also their way of thinking and insights are valuable in the sense of that there are no such ideas in the textbooks. After starting the MBA, I got a new job that I was looking for at a global company, and I believe that doing the MBA while working full time is the best decision that I ever made.

12) Do you have any post-MBA career plans? 
The first thing that I want to do is reflect on the insights I learned through MBA in my current position, such as budgeting and forecasting business performance in order to more get involved in the decision-making process. In addition, with the knowledge from MBA work, I will actively engage in work with higher responsibility and projects with other regions in order to support our business to make it more competitive in the global portfolio.

13) What advice would you give to someone considering Anaheim University?
Since it was my first time learning something in English, it was tough to read textbooks and discuss a specific topic in a real-time session. Also, I changed my job during the middle of a course, so there were many things that were new and frustrating to me. However, you can meet amazing and supportive professors having distinctive backgrounds, and also classmates flying around the world as global business people. They all have practical experiences that are the essence of the wisdom for an MBA and this can happen because it's online learning. This is the beauty of Anaheim University and you will definitely discover something inspiring and influence your career if you try it and stick with it to the end!