Interview: Masahiko Kon
Executive Officer, Sumitomo 3M
Accounting and Finance
Ph.D, The Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies
Waseda University; MBA, The University of Chicago
I can discover more about myself by teaching at GLOBIS.
"At GLOBIS, there is an atmosphere where people from a variety of industries, age, and job titles work and train each other. By interacting with these students, I always find myself discovering new things" says Masahiko Kon, faculty member of the Graduate School of Management at GLOBIS University. While working as a senior executive at Sumitomo 3M, Masahiko teaches Accounting and courses in Executive Management Programs at GLOBIS.
"Sumitomo 3M provides a variety of products from industrial, consumer, to healthcare purposes. Therefore, students at GLOBIS are actually customers of Sumitomo 3M. It is not unusual for me to realize during my Sunday class how people with certain backgrounds think, and then to make use of such information during my internal meeting the very next day on Monday," explains Masahiko on how he is able to benefit directly from teaching at GLOBIS. However, we can easily imagine how busy a top executive at a top-notch corporation would be and wonder how he is still able to manage his time to teach.
"Actually, you know, it's not that easy. Especially since at GLOBIS, lecturers are expected do much more than to just read textbooks out loud. GLOBIS uses case studies so that the lecturer and students discuss together. Obviously, students are required to prepare a lot, but the lectures have even more preparations. Even now, I feel the pressure before class." says Masahiko.
After graduating from college, Masahiko worked for a Japanese manufacturing company, GE International Japan, GE headquarters in the US, a group company of GE. He has also served as a senior executive of First Retailing and a CFO of GE Capital Leasing. He earned his CPA from the US and his MBA from the University of Chicago. It is exactly the kind of resume a top-notch business executive deserves to have. Because he is often asked from many corporations to join as CFO or CEO, one would think how GLOBIS asked him to teach, but surprisingly, it was Masahiko who emailed GLOBIS and asked whether he could teach here.
Educating people who will not limit their possibilities and who will excel globally
One of the reasons for joining GLOBIS came from his personal challenging experience. "When I started working at GE headquarters in the US, I had already obtained my CPA. I went in there excitedly and prepared a financial report, but the management who knew the operations of the company bluntly told me 'this is useless'. No matter how many accounting tools and numbers you organize, I felt there was no value if the people could not understand. I particularly felt that accounting needed to be useful for management. Since then, I recognized that, after all, people use the accounting tools, and true financial strategy cannot be implemented if the people were not ready to utilize it."
"In that sense," warns Masahiko "Japanese companies still tend to see only the results of financial statements. They see the numbers and just say 'this year was a bad year…' which doesn't really help in managing a company. I believe that the true role of accounting is in connecting the financial statements with the everyday activities of the company and to articulate the actual condition of that company."
One of the distinctive benefits of learning at GLOBIS is to be taught by faculty members like him who have literally survived and developed from countless battles in the international business arena. "I want to educate people who will not limit their possibilities and who will excel globally," says Masahiko.