Prashant Gupta


2018 Alumni

The reason why I chose IBSP

During my last semester of undergrad, I was seeking a master’s program which shall not only prepare me for technical skills but also help me to seek fundamental solutions to mitigate social evils. I did a lot of research and attended a lot of university seminars and events where I came across Soka University’s seminar. I was really intrigued with the mission & values, enchanted campus, and the humanistic educational model of the university which makes each student think deeply – “For what purpose does one cultivate wisdom is something one always asks herself/himself?” By the last semester of my undergraduate studies, I decided to take my passion for economics further by applying for IBSP at Soka University.

Seminar professors helped me to overcome a lot of difficulties

With Prof. Isao Takagi 
Initially, my life in Japan was quite tough as I didn’t speak the language, and was exposed to a new culture, however, my university’s environment and professors helped me to overcome a lot of my inhibitions. It was a great pride to be part of the first batch of 14 smart students coming from 9 different countries. During IBSP we had great exposure to many courses of business, economics, finance, management, and ethics with both intensive and extensive approaches where I found my passion for Development Economics under Professor Isao Takagi. Professors always had an open-door policy to help and had an open-minded approach to welcome new ideas to shape the course in a better direction.

As a Pioneer of IBSP students

When I came to study at Soka university there was a sense of demotivation amongst foreign students to get a job in Japan without having prior Japanese language ability. I wanted to transform such thinking into an environment as a pioneer and aspire to become a role model for the upcoming batches. Meeting students from more than 50 different countries including refugees, impacted my life holistically. At the same time participating in so many arts and cultural activities and university festivals shaped me as a global thinker. During my master's program, I kept a (now an unimaginable target!) to pursue five internships and explore different types of part-time jobs across various domains & industries.
Pioneer of 1st Batch of IBSP:

1. I strove (and overcame my hardest challenge) by founding the Soka Consulting Club featuring humanistic values and a Dialogue Forum to encourage debating culture at the campus.

2. Achieved a (personally unbeatable at the moment for me) record of five long internships within 2 years as a Supply Chain & Logistics Intern (for 6 weeks) with Schneider Electric, International Banking Intern (for 1 week) with SMBC, Volunteering (for 6 weeks) with Teach for India, Financial Analyst Intern (for 6 weeks) with CIBIX Ltd (a startup based in Delhi), Public Policy Researcher (for 4 Weeks) with AP Janmabhoomi, Indian State Government and Strategic Consultant, for 12 Weeks with METI in the Japanese government.

3. My intensive study and experiences inspired me to research the SDGs 2030 and I introduced a new SDG framework based on the topic of “Terakoya: Japanese Ancient Education Model”. My supervisor was a great supporter and mentor who really gave me the freedom to shape my ideas, instilled a sense of confidence, and guided me thoroughly towards my research work.

Seeking for my Job opportunity as a Strategist in Japan

I decided that as a pioneer, I will find a job as a Strategist in one of the largest companies in Japan without Japanese language ability. In Japan, we are given a year after graduation to start looking for jobs a year before but I started late in the last semester. Throughout the job hunting process, the university’s staff provided me with detailed job seminar information, and the professors always encouraged and guided me wisely. Many times, when I needed the recommendation letters, they were always very active to help in the best way possible. I went for each job seminar and tried to formulate my own creative strategies towards interviews and develop a wise approach in communication based on my five internship experiences, educational background, strengths, and weaknesses.

After a lot of rejections, I finally got a job as a Strategist at Walmart Japan Group. At Walmart Japan, I immediately started working in headquarters rather than starting at the bottom with the store/warehouse. As a fresh recruit, we all are supposed to work in-store/warehouse for initial years, but I was the only new hire in the entire company’s history to join the headquarters directly based on my strong academic credentials. My core job was to provide strategies, project management, data mining, and analysis, cross stakeholder management, global communications with the US, Mexico, Canada, UK, India, and China, prepare business cases and perform POC and pilot projects across all retail stores in Japan. I became the first one too to win two Most Valuable Project Awards in the first year as a fresh recruit.

I worked for Walmart for 3 years and afterward joined Coupang as a “Startup Leadership Program’ as one of the emerging retail leaders of Japan. As a Program Manager, I contributed towards laying a solid foundation for the supply chain division and creating an effective retail service for the customers in central Tokyo. In April 2022 I joined Microsoft as the youngest Program Manager globally heading an entire Japan Team for Integrating Technology, Infrastructure, and Management.

Experiences in IBSP helped me to truly discover my potential

I’m really very grateful as I could create such a stunning career with no Japanese language ability in Japan because of all my soft skills and technical training which I received at Soka University through IBSP. All my lessons from my professors, heated debates in the class, reading very extensive sets of study materials and books, long one-to-one discussions with professors, solving case studies with friends across the globe, founding societies, and all the cultural experiences with friends from more than 50 countries at campus helped me to truly discover my potential and achieve so many breakthroughs in life at a very young age.

I will highly recommend everyone to please apply for the IBSP program if they also wish to truly discover their potential and become creative global business leaders of the 21st century. (Updated in July 2022)