Kenji Fujimoto

Class of 2023, GSM Tourism course

Japan Exploration Tours JIN Representative 
Fujiyoshida City Certified Mt. Fuji Guide 

The Reason Why You Chose GSM

Kenji Fujimoto

I chose Kyoto University's Tourism MBA without hesitation. Although it was a decision based on intuition, upon reflection, the reasons were as follows:

1: Location in Kyoto, a tourist city: I can commute from home (Osaka) and I expect synergies with my work in the tourism industry in Kyoto.

2: Tourism MBA: Since I run my own inbound tourism business, the fact that there is a tourism MBA that is highly recognized by the Japan Tourism Agency was particularly attractive.

3: Kyoto University brand: I had a sense that there would be many interesting classes, teachers, and students. I also had a kind of admiration for Kyoto University.

The direct trigger for knocking on the door of the Tourism MBA was the COVID-19 pandemic. I started my business in 2018 but had hit a wall in my management due to trial and error, and I was thinking of learning management systematically. When the pandemic hit, I had more time on my hands, which was also a blessing in disguise.

What You Learned at GSM

Kenji Fujimoto

I believe the most valuable aspect of my education at GSM was the acquisition of numerous frameworks for approaching and thinking about various issues.

Through lectures, group work, and presentations, I gained knowledge that became ingrained through practical application in my own work. The mental models in my mind have expanded, such as considering how Professor XX would approach a situation, or how classmate YY might respond.

One surprising change I noticed after completing my MBA was during my guiding work with foreign guests. I found that my understanding of their work improved significantly when discussing work-related topics. In the past, I would struggle to keep up with technical discussions, but I believe my overall business acumen has improved, which has led to better understanding and communication in various professional contexts.

The Reason Why You Chose Your Career Plan

In my case, I have continued to pursue the same business both before and after completing my studies, and I believe that many entrepreneurial students may share a similar experience.

However, despite running the same business, my work has expanded in scope, and my perspective has broadened, allowing me to consider my business from a more holistic perspective than before. In a sense, any unnecessary sense of urgency has disappeared, and I have gained confidence in my abilities.

What Impressed You About GSM

Looking back, there were so many enjoyable experiences during my time at the university.

The intellectual and exciting atmosphere of the first real gathering for the Tourism course M1 and M2. The days of being submerged in basic subjects during the first semester of M1, feeling as though diving into an endless ocean of knowledge. The days of being holed up in the library for my final thesis deadline and staying at a friend's house in Hyakumanben. Going on a field trip with my WS group to Iida City in Nagano Prefecture and experiencing a farm stay and a private snack bar experience. Having fiery discussions with my group members during group work. Watching NGK's “Shin-Kigeki” comedy show with a student discount. Performing a skit for some reason during a high-level liberal arts course. Experiencing zen meditation with international students at Myoshinji Temple as part of a cultural experience. Having a great time during a research workshop. Finally, the touching graduation ceremony.

Looking back, as a working student, there were many moments of appreciating the happiness of being able to learn and be a student. The campus life itself was so dazzling for a working student.

Extracurricular Activities You Have Done

The only thing I engaged in outside of classes was drinking parties(“Nomikai”), as I did not participate in internships or club activities. The pinnacle of informal communication, the drinking party is one of the highlights of an MBA program (probably).

The value of the drinking party is inherent in itself, not for the purpose of networking or anything else. I participated in drinking parties across grades and courses, visited other lecture courses, and even served as the general coordinator for the after-graduation party. As of the writing of this article, I am burnt out from the party.

Message for Prospective Students

Kenji Fujimoto

To analyze, there are three types of students. First, those who are recent university graduates, second, those who have taken a leave of absence or resigned from work to enroll, and third, those who work while studying. The first and second types are full-time students, while the third type are working students. The following are subjective tendencies.

Type 1, who have passed the intensive entrance exam, are excellent but have no work experience. Full-time students, types 1 and 2, have a lot of time, so they take a lot of classes, participate in internships, and are proactive, but by the time they reach their second year, there is pressure to find employment. Types 2 and 3 have their own standards and are particularly advantageous in specialized and practical subjects. Type 3 has no time, can only manage the minimum number of credits, and has no time for preparation and review, but there is no pressure to find employment, and there is joy in immediately applying what they have learned in practice.

I was a Type 3 student, so I had a complex about not being able to study enough and being overshadowed by full-time students, but eventually, I realized that everyone had their own approach. Each type has a different way of spending their student life and assigning importance, so if you ask seniors for advice, it is recommended to ask someone of the same type.

Personally, I feel that my perspective, knowledge, network, and experience have been strengthened, and during my time in the program, I was able to create several tour products and learn many useful things.

Above all, the two years in Kyoto University's MBA program were truly enjoyable, with academic freedom atmosphere.