Student Spotlight: Sebastian Nsanzugwanko, 2017 MBA Candidate

Sebastian Nsanzugwanko is a 2017 MBA candidate and Simon Leadership Fellow studying finance and competitive and organizational strategy.

Tell me a little about what you were doing before you came to business school.
I worked in Tokyo at a company that owns and operates chain restaurants in Japan, China, U.S.A, and Brazil, among other places around the globe. I started as a system engineer and was transferred to become supply chain management specialist after expressing a strong interest in the business side of things. My pre-MBA role was import/export team leader. Overall, I was tasked with mastering the Japanese domestic mechanisms, and then expanding them to business units overseas. Knowing English, Japanese, Swahili, and a little French was very helpful in my role, as was my undergraduate degree in computer engineering.

photo of Sebastian Nsanzugwanko

Sebastian Nsanzugwanko, 2017 MBA candidate and Simon Leadership Fellow.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
My previous boss had an MBA and the way he could think across the board was impressive. It challenged me and made me wonder how he had acquired those skills. I told him my ultimate career goal to start my own global business and asked him to assess my qualifications. He said that an MBA would strengthen the business skills I would need to make that happen. I was also impressed by a group of investment bankers who came in to pitch to our CEO. The way they thoroughly analyzed our company’s strengths and weaknesses and were able to put together such a convincing presentation inspired me to pursue business school. Initially, I enrolled in the only English-speaking, part-time MBA program in Tokyo to take a few courses in finance, accounting, and critical thinking. After a few classes, I knew I had to find a full-time program to master skills that would open the door to more opportunities.

Why Simon?
I had a few criteria I was looking for in an MBA program. First, I really wanted to focus on finance, accounting, and economics, so I wanted a school that was strong in those areas. I also wanted a small student body because I had been out of school for about five years and knew I would benefit from close relationships and mentoring opportunities. The admissions staff was very responsive to my questions and made connections for me to talk with current students. I attended Scholarship Weekend and was able to meet fellow incoming students and second-year MBA students who matched my drive to succeed. In talking to current students and alumni, I realized that I fit at Simon. My Scholarship Weekend experience really sealed the deal for me.

What is life like as a Simon student?
Well, I spent the fall quarter of my first year doing some soul searching to figure out where my career was heading. Between attending classes, polishing my résumé, and searching for an internship, it was a busy fall! But the hard work paid off: I secured an internship in investment banking at Bank of America in Tokyo for the summer.

Around Simon I’m involved in Toastmasters, Investment Banking Club, COTA, and the Graduate Business Council, where I served as a first-year representative until I recently became president. I like being a voice for the students’ needs. We planned a really successful Winter Olympics event in January shortly after everyone returned from winter break. We picked a weekend, and classmates, friends, and family came together to play sports and get to know each other better. It was a big hit! In my free time I like to grab a drink with classmates and play soccer. I’m a member of the Simon Soccer Club, and we usually play on Sundays. We have a 3 on 3 tournament coming up soon with different teams from the University.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
It is very important to connect with students when making your decision, so if you have questions, reach out to us! Simon is a great community and its small size allows students to really get to know one another. People are very supportive, and the staff in the Office of Student Engagement cares about the students and plans events that foster a close-knit atmosphere. You’ll study with great faculty and receive a top-quality education. Basically, I would say, “Come to Simon!”

If you have any questions for Sebastian, feel free to contact him.

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