The best of both worlds

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We’re now accepting applications for Insight Asia-Pacific, a three-day immersion in management consulting in Chicago in June. If you are a PhD or MD student in N America and interested in a career in Asia-Pacific, apply by Apr. 8. Masaru earned his Ph.D. from Harvard and started a clean tech company in Boston before returning home to Japan through McKinsey. Here, he shares what led him to that decision:

I joined McKinsey’s Tokyo office after a decade–long career in the US. Before, I ran a venture backed start–up in Boston. I enjoyed being an entrepreneur and thought I would stay in the US.

Family ties

Two things changed when I had to close my clean tech start–up in 2016. We learned we were expecting our second child, and my wife and I finding it difficult to manage full–time jobs and our family life without anyone nearby to help us. We wanted to live closer to our parents to pursue our dual missions of raising our kids, while growing professionally. High daycare and health care costs in the US were another factor we considered.

A second look?

Additionally, I started to feel like I had more to learn about Japan after spending 10+ years in the States. Over the year, I had visited many plants in the US that used Japanese management tools, such as 5S, Gemba Walk, Andon, Kanban, and Poka-Yoke. It was eye–opening to realize there were many things my home country could teach me.

The best of both worlds

I became interested in McKinsey given its global scale. I knew I could work for the firm in Japan and keep ties to the US. I had offers from other leading consulting firms, as well, but I felt McKinsey stressed and appreciated the importance of “one global firm” more. McKinsey is also the largest consultancy in the world, and its continually evolving its expertise and offering, which meant I had more opportunities and choices.

Masaru inline
Masaru inline

Additionally, McKinsey’s emphasis on helping its people be at their best played a key role in my decision. As a start–up co–founder, I had many practical lessons on management; I wanted more knowledge of management principles. McKinsey’s dedicated professional development team and the equal emphasis the firm places on people development and client impact made me feel like I would have the best opportunities to learn how to become a business leader here.

Choosing Tokyo

My decision to join in Tokyo has been phenomenal. The firm is strongly committed to growing in Japan, so I have been involved in many exciting projects to transform Japanese (and American) companies, ranging from developing an electric vehicle strategy for a Japanese auto OEM to transforming an American industrial company’s R&D and product development strategy and processes. Helping companies in Asia and the West has helped me hone my management skills and enabled me to make a difference for my clients.

Leaving a legacy

My parents named me Masaru after Sony’s technical founder Masaru Ibuka. Ibuka’s goal was to make “an ideal factory with a free and open–minded culture that would contribute to society.” Sony, as many of you know, started in post–war Japan and successfully launched products to North America, then expanded globally. My goal is to help others grow their companies from Japan to the world and vice versa. For me, McKinsey is the best platform to realize my dream of becoming a “ninja” at leading global companies across the globe.

Find roles like Masaru’s

More about Masaru

Masaru is a Partner based in McKinsey’s Tokyo office. He has a Ph.D. and MS in applied physics from Harvard University and a BS from Keio University. Prior to joining McKinsey, Masaru was the co–Founder and chief scientist at a venture–capital–backed cleantech start–up based on technologies he developed at Harvard. He has served as adjunct faculty at Kyushu University and been a principal investigator on a research program supported by the US Department of Energy. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, as well as skiing, skating, and running (especially when he’s traveling so he can explore cities around the world).

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