Viewpoints - Toru Nanami

Toru Nanami INSEAD MBA

Nationality: Japanese

Year Graduated: 2021

"It is a myth that INSEAD is a party school. Many students, if not all, are very engaged in class, take academics seriously, and care a lot about learning from their peers."

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?

I increased the international sales by over 40%, roughly US$367,000, by leading the sales team to visit 20+ countries, encouraging online client information and task sharing, and redesigning our corporate website and e-commerce platform. Being able to contribute to my family legacy meant a lot to me.

Why did you choose INSEAD? 

I chose to come to INSEAD because of 1) its global network and 2) strong presence in Asia. These are important for my family’s and my own business to grow in the future.

Who was your favourite MBA professor? 

Professor Hyunjin Kim. She looked into every classmate’s background and successfully leveraged that to facilitate the class discussion and illustrate her points.

What was your favourite MBA event or tradition at INSEAD? 

Master Strategy Day was my the most memorable experience at INSEAD. It highlighted INSEAD’s high academic standard, professional network, and global resources. Each group was asked to come up with a strategy recommendation for an actual global NPO within a few hours by applying the concepts we learned in class. This helped us bridge the gap between theory and practice. To facilitate this process, each team received a help from a consultant from Bain & Company. Furthermore, INSEAD used VR to enable students to visualise the situation in Nigeria,

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? 

I should have set specific goals for my business within a certain timeframe and monitor the process closely in the last two months. If I had done so, I feel like I could have better leveraged INSEAD’s opportunities and resources.

What is the biggest myth about INSEAD? 

It is a myth that INSEAD is a party school. Many students, if not all, are very engaged in class, take academics seriously, and care a lot about learning from their peers.

What surprised you the most about INSEAD? 

It would be how truly diverse my classmates’ backgrounds are and yet we are very academically and socially inclusive.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge? 

I explained my career goals explicitly and how INSEAD will help me achieve them while illustrating how my experience will allow me to contribute to the class.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? 

Grace Han. She had her first baby just a couple of months before the MBA programme. While I am still struggling with time management, Grace seems to be doing a fantastic job.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? 

We did not experience this at the INSEAD Singapore campus. We have been having face-to-face interactions with over 40 students in each classroom and this is one of the reasons why I chose Singapore as my home campus and decided not to defer my enrollment.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? 

Keima Ueno, my ex-colleague from Morgan Stanley. He was my mentor and he talked a lot about how his MBA experience enriched his life and career and I was inspired by him.

This interview was originally published on Poets & Quants' 2021 MBAs To Watch