ICS student ranked No. 2 worldwide on the BAT
Hitotsubashi ICS MBA student Endre "Oki" Boros has achieved many things, but his latest effort ranking second worldwide and first in the Asia-Pacific region in the Bloomberg Aptitude Test or "BAT" is definitely a career highlight.
Created by finance professionals and university professors, the BAT measures the ability to think critically about financial topics and includes 100 questions on News Analysis, Charts & Graphs, Math Skills, Analytical Reasoning, Global Markets, Investment Banking, Financial Statements and Economics. In-depth knowledge is irrelevant, what matters are so-called soft skills, such as critical, analytical and logical thinking.
"I am very happy to have achieved this score on my first try, especially considering the [BAT's] high level of competition. I hope it helps ICS and me to stand out from the crowd. I am also very grateful to Profs. Abe and Ito, who have taught me so much about finance," Oki tells ICS.
The 27 year-old Hungarian, who originally completed a Masters in Finance at Corvinus University in Budapest, has always had a thirst for knowledge and learning about other cultures. It was a year-long exchange at Waseda that ignited his passion and interest for things Japanese, and eventually led him to enrolling at Hitotsubashi ICS. During this time, he visited Okinawa, and adopted the nickname "Oki", a moniker he uses to this very day.
Oki's initial year in Japan also spurred his desire to become fluent in Japanese. A fluent speaker of English and German in addition to his native Hungarian, Oki created a Japanese-Hungarian conversation and activity club where speakers of both languages could practice the other in a relaxed environment. "Thanks greatly to [language practice in] this club, I passed the N1 and highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test last year," he tells ICS.
Yet Oki had professional goals to achieve before he could return to Japan. First stop was employment at McKinsey & Company, working in the Global Banking Pools unit. Half his time was spent collecting international banking data and using this for financial modeling and forecasting of profitability in the financial industry. It was the other half of his time that Oki preferred. "I worked on strategy consulting teams giving advice to banks globally," he tells ICS. "One highlight was when we set up a support unit in India, and I got the chance to spend a week there to train the new employees."
After 2 years at McKinsey, Oki joined KPMG as Executive in the M&A advisory practice. A highlight was when he represented KPMG on his own at a conference for car part makers, generating valuable leads for future projects. For outstanding work on a bid for a government privatization project, he was promoted to Associate in his second year. The job made a lasting impact. "I really liked my job in M&A advisory, so I am now mainly looking for opportunities at financial institutions (investment banks, commercial banks and private equity firms) or in a corporate planning/in-house M&A unit at a larger company [for internships or future employment]," Oki says.
Oki decided studying in Japan would be most beneficial for his professional development, as he also wanted to gain an MBA to advance his career. "That way I could learn more about management, improve my Japanese in a native environment and look for jobs in Japan," he says.
Yet the search for a good graduate school was not as easy as he thought. "It was not easy to find a good MBA school in Japan, since this concept is relatively new and not that well-known [like] in the US," Oki says. "I had fairly good TOEFL and GMAT scores (GMAT 770/800, 99th percentile), but I was set on coming to Japan. I didn't want to compromise on the quality of the education so I was very happy when I heard about Hitotsubashi ICS."
"One thing I like about the school is the quality of the faculty. Many professors are themselves graduates of famous business schools such as Harvard, and they have a wealth of practical business experience helping discussion and getting practical insights into various fields", he adds.
Oki also likes the use of case studies throughout the MBA. He explains: "In an average class, student comments make up about 90% of class time versus 10% of instructor explanations. For this system to work, you need a diverse group of students where everyone brings their own experience. We luckily have more than 20 nationalities in a class of 50-60 students."
The small class sizes, seminar meetings and Friday evening get-togethers are also mentioned as positives.
Despite receiving such excellent results in the BAT, Oki feels there is still work to do. "I am a self-financed student in the two-year program, so after finishing first year, which is focused on class learning, ICS offers opportunities to do internships, exchanges or to conduct my own research. To improve my Japanese, I'm also thinking about taking classes from the evening Finance MBA program conducted in Japanese."