August 5, 2016

4 Questions for a Distinguished MIT MBA

I recently caught up with Takashi Kiyoizumi, the distinguished MIT Sloan graduate who now serves as Executive Director of the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy’s Japan Forum for Innovation and Technology (JFIT), which builds collaborations between San Diego and Japan in the management of science and technology, innovation, and business and policy strategy. Prior to his JFIT role, Kiyoizumi attended Keio University School of Medicine in his hometown of Tokyo. After his Sloan experience, he worked at ImmuLogic and Indevus Pharmaceuticals in Boston, before relocating to San Diego as CEO of Tanabe Research Laboratories and MediciNova Inc., then subsequently joining TechCoast Angels and Life Science Angels. As for MIT Sloan, Kiyoizumi is a believer, so much so in fact that his daughter followed in his footsteps with a Sloan MBA in 2014.

1. Technically, you did not earn an MBA from MIT. For those unfamiliar with Sloan’s history, please explain why you have a Sloan Master’s of Science in Management?
“​Prior to ​1995/1996, MIT Sloan only offered SM (Master of Science in Management). This degree required master’s thesis (requirement) in addition to regular MBA courses students took . Subsequently (1995/1996), MIT Sloan dropped this thesis requirement (currently is an option, but no one writes thesis) and offered regular MBAs. So all the Sloan alum prior to 1995 have SM and not MBA.”

2. Which business skills that you gained from your MIT management education have you found the most valuable in your career?
​”Strategic thinking and risk assessment​ skills.”

3. How valuable was MIT’s alumni network vis-a-vis the actual specific skills you gained at MIT Sloan?
​”Quite valuable – if I need contacts in a different industry, I can get them quite easily and they are very helpful. We also have a very active Sloan Alum only Facebook page where we can post inquiries, help, and so on.”​

4. How would you describe the importance of MIT’s alumni network to your career success since graduating? Pivotal/essential? Helpful? Not a significant factor?
​”Since I am in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry, the number of Sloan alum is rather small (unlike investment banks or management consulting)​. It is useful/helpful, but not pivotal. For financial and consulting industries, I think the Sloan alum network is extremely valuable.”