“I want to do my best to give back, to pass on the kindness.”

In college, Fumi Tamaki pursued economics and international studies because she thought “it would help me understand how governments and businesses work.” To apply what she learned, she joined Charles River Associates as an antitrust consultant. “I learned how to use data and numbers to get a clear picture of the inner workings of companies and markets,” Fumi says. “It was a fascinating experience, especially as companies are drawing in larger volumes of data – the ability to analyze it is critically important.”

But even though she enjoyed the analytical work, “I realized I wanted a job that was more customer-focused,” says Fumi. “I came to HBS to find a new challenge.”

Reflecting on the reasons for attending HBS, Fumi notes, “While numbers are important, they only tell part of the story. The biggest issues business leaders face won’t be answered by data alone. Through the case study method, we practice making sound decisions based on limited information – it truly mimics reality. We learn to balance data with judgment.”

Learning through collaboration and the support of peers

With help from MBA Career & Professional Development, Fumi has been exploring the hospitality industry as the ideal opportunity to gain a more customer-centric business experience. “In addition to the formal services,” Fumi says, “there are club events, conferences, speakers – so many useful places to gather information about working in any field. But most importantly, our section mates are extremely helpful. No matter what you want to do, there’s someone in your section who has experience in that industry, and they’re incredibly supportive. It’s amazing how dedicated people are, not just to their own success, but to each other’s success. It’s like family.”

Teamwork is not just a regular theme, but a common practice at HBS. In her FIELD 3 entrepreneurship experience, Fumi says she had the opportunity to deepen her understanding of how she, and other people, function together. “It’s revealing to see how people react under stress, how comfortable people are with uncertainty or with taking risks,” she says. “All these team experiences are great practice for the real world because you’re never going to work alone.”

Indeed, Fumi says she did not even interview for HBS alone. “When I came for the interview last year,” she says, “the admissions rep really helped me calm my interview-day jitters, really made me feel welcome and at ease. There’s a spirit of generosity here that’s very strong.” Inspired by her own experience, Fumi has served as the admissions rep for her own section this year. “I want to do my best to give back, to pass on the kindness.”

In the summer, Fumi will test the hospitality waters through an internship with Hilton Worldwide where she will join the luxury and lifestyle brands group. “I want to work at a company that creates something people love, feel passionate about,” she says. “I want to be proud of the product or service my company provides.”