MBA Exchange at Hitotsubashi ICS | Student Voice

Posted by Hitotsubashi ICS on Mar 9, 2021 8:00:00 PM
Alberto, an exchange student from London Business School (LBS) shared his experience at Hitotsubashi ICS and the differences between LBS and Hitotsubashi ICS!
What would have been a routine academic exchange with Hitotsubashi ICS ultimately became, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a genuinely surreal experience. Up until the last hours of 2020, it was unclear whether I would be allowed to board the airplane from Zurich to Toyko-Narita. Yet, here I am, writing these lines from the Kanto Plain – a fact for which I am deeply grateful.

My Background Before My Exchange at Hitotsubashi ICS

I am Alberto Perucchini, an MBA Candidate from London Business School (LBS), and a national of both Switzerland and Italy. I started LBS’s flexible two-year MBA program in summer 2019, following four and a half years in wealth management in Zurich and London.
Alberto LBS
Many things led me to take on the MBA challenge, though one motivation stands out. My role at my former employer was fundamentally analytical – but I had managed to get a taste of advisory work, and liked the tangible impact and client contact is offered. I thus hoped an MBA would help me pivot towards that line of work. Why LBS? I wanted an MBA that was both global and European, and LBS fit the bill. I was also impressed by the quality of the education and network on offer, and I cannot say I have been disappointed with my choice.

I also believed that the MBA would be a great opportunity to realize some long-held aspirations – some of which were only tangentially related to my professional development. One of these long-held aspirations was to live in Japan for a short while, as well as get an introductory taste of the Japanese language. Japan – its history, culture, and role in the world – has fascinated me ever since childhood, and I wanted to explore this as a personal “side-project” during the MBA.

I thus took up 6 months of Japanese language courses as part of LBS’ Language Programme– along with some private tutoring and learning – and gained a very rudimentary grasp of Japanese. As soon as spots for the International Exchange opened, I bolted for Hitotsubashi ICS and was excited to receive the go-ahead to attend Japan’s leading business school.

Meeting My Tight-Knit Community of Classmates

I have now spent two months attending ICS – somewhat physically? – from my room in Yushima, Tokyo. The first thing that struck me when meeting my new classmates was how close-knit the MBA community is at ICS. LBS’ MBA cohorts comprise hundreds of students, with my cohort (MBA 2021) reaching just shy of 500. By contrast, my ICS cohort only reaches the low 40s, making for a much more intimate experience. This feeling of community is reinforced by the seminar, or zemi, system, which sees small groups of students paired with a faculty member for more targeted and spontaneous academic or extra-curricular projects.

Alberto ICS
Though I focused mostly on finance at LBS – one of the school’s strong points, and in line with my career aspirations – at ICS, I decided to take up classes more steeped in the organizational behavior (OB) domain. So far, I have taken two excellently taught classes this term: one in human resource management, and one exploring topics in OB. I am now attending a negotiation course: it will constitute my final course in Japan.

What's Next for Me?

I look forward to bringing Japan back with me upon my return to Europe, and the start of the next chapter in my career. Thanks to the great support of corporate recruiters and dedicated LBS staff, I am happy to report I will join an advisory team in a new wealth management firm post-MBA. For many Hitotsubashi ICS is the gateway to a successful career in Japan and beyond, and it has been a privilege to get a glimpse of this experience for a brief moment. I want to thank ICS staff, faculty, and students, as well as LBS, for making all this possible.
Alberto Perucchini
Born in 1990 near Geneva, Switzerland, Alberto is a national of both Switzerland and Italy and is currently an MBA 2021 Candidate at London Business School. He holds a Master of Arts in Socio-Economics from the University of Geneva, as well as a Master of Arts (Cantab) in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, where he is also an alumnus of Pembroke College. Alberto has spent four and a half years in wealth management in Zurich and London, most recently as a buy-side research analyst for a Swiss private banking group. He reads and speaks six languages with varying degrees of fluency, and is a cinema and history buff.

Topics: Life at Hitotsubashi ICS, Student Voice, MBA Program

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