Kanako AKAGI

Class of 2019, Service & Hospitality Program

K-MBA9 Co.,Ltd. CEO/ Author

The Reason Why You Chose GSM

Kanako AKAGI

 I was at a turning point in my life when I was in my 40’s because I could not find anything new to be truly passionate from the bottom of my heart. Over the 20 years of my career, I had experienced "business full course", such as being an office worker, working at my father's company and starting my own business. As I had accomplished what I wanted to do in life, I was seeking new possibilities. Therefore, I tried to rethink my business and career goals by studying at GSM. I thought GSM was the best place to meet people who have an entrepreneurial spirit and a unique point of view. In addition, GSM has a global academic network and unique professors who take many interesting classes. Thus, I chose GSM for a great opportunity to discover new possibilities.

What You Learned at GSM

Kanako AKAGI

I learned three major things at GSM. First, at design school training held in Hong Kong and Okinawa, I used design models to solve complex social problems. Because of these experiences, I could now analyze and solve issues with more creative ideas. In addition, my team and I received the highest award for this. My team comprised of members from all walks of life. They were from different generations, diverse backgrounds and interests. Through this incredible experience, I was able to rediscover the beauty of diversity. Secondly, from high caliber professors and guest speakers, I learned a lot about the world's latest innovations and unique perspectives that differs from the conventional way of thinking. Finally, through discussions with my classmates from all over the world, I was able to get a glimpse of the future from a more flexible perspective, and I was blessed with the opportunity to gain active learning beyond just knowledge.

The Reason Why You Chose Your Career Plan

 As I have already started my own business, there is no change in my career before and after my master’s graduation from GSM. However, I found a new carrier passion for supporting workwomen. I found this new passion by discussing this with my international classmates from over 20 countries and from the heated discussions with professors at GSM. Although the students of my age and caliber are limited in the classroom, it turns out that I am able to support women all over the world and the youngsters in the class from my own experience. Women usually struggle more with the balance between work and family compared to men and it is harder to find an ideal role model. Therefore, I made an online community, which is called "Heroine Power" for women. The members can share their ideas to maximize their happiness in life and find a good role model here. I want to make a greater contribution to society by developing an online community that can be useful as a guide for women. I will try to expand it globally in the future.

What Impressed You About GSM

Kanako AKAGI

The most impressive event was the final presentation of Service & Hospitality program, and my research presentation “The influence of “expectation” between married couples on career design” won creative awards such as one of the top 3 best pieces of research. This research also had attracted great attention from many participants at Spring Design School poster presentations. Thanks to the advice from the professors, especially my supervisor Professor Tomoki Sekiguchi, and the discussion at Sekiguchi lab, where many international members gather. In addition, in the domestic training of design school, I planned and operated fieldwork such as visit to Gosho Higashi Elementary School and interview with the director of Kyoto City Tourism for visiting graduate students from Hong Kong and Taiwan. I received many voices of joy from the participants. I seriously struggled to juggle my time between childcare, work and graduate school life. However, I am truly grateful that I could live a fulfilling day thanks to the family's incredible support.

Extracurricular Activities You Have Done

I often gave advice to start up business consultations to classmates who asked me about their new business ideas. Therefore, I launched "Kyoto University International Entrepreneurs Club". The members built a global network by gathering Kyoto University students and alumnus from across the world. I am in charge of the operation as a representative. Currently, Kyoto University students and graduates, about 105 members with different backgrounds from more than 33 countries are connected and have opportunities to exchange information. The people of other groups, companies and business owners who are interested in this community have also met, and the network is expanding. Moreover, I am also an author, and the publication of the latest book "Family > Work Live family-first" overlapped with the final exam of the first year. Although I forced myself very hard with time and tried to juggle my schedule for the final manuscript and preparation for the exam, thanks to the support of my family and the cooperation of my friends, I was able to publish and pass the exam as well. When I saw my book in the bookstore “Rune” of Kyoto University, I felt that hard work really pays off.

Message for Prospective Students

Kanako AKAGI

 Everything was uniquely refreshing and exciting at GSM. I was able to greatly boost my career because I discovered many possibilities in my life and create a new business at GSM. Before I became a student of GSM, I was proud of having a diverse background, such as that of an entrepreneur, a writer, a mother, etc., However, my network at GSM is now much bigger and more affluent than ever. Lectures have inspired me, professors have given me great advice from their deep knowledge and classmates have given me new insight through group work. The new passion that I have found through GSM has become the driving force of my life. Furthermore, I experienced a lot of amazing serendipity at GSM by not only learning about other fields and meeting many people with different backgrounds but also by trying to support and contribute to others. I hope you also find your new passion and possibilities as you accumulate knowledge through campus life. I am sure that your curiosity and contribution will bring you serendipity that will change your life.