Spotlight on Natural Sciences and Humanities Alumni: Mona Koda
Name: Mona Koda
Occupation: Vice President of Operations at Hokushokousan
Education (UR and additional): B.A. in Chemistry/B.A. in Japanese with a minor in Psychology, University of Rochester, 2006; M.P.H. in Environmental Health Sciences, Molecular and Environmental Epidemiology Track, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 2008; M.B.A. in Finance and Healthcare Management, University of Rochester, Simon Graduate School of Business, 2010.
Current city/state of residence: Sapporo, Japan
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
I was involved in both executive boards of UR Cinema Group and the Campus Activities Board, as well as being the founder of Yosakoi (also known as Japan Matsuri, although the club no longer exists). I learned many different leadership skills, such as time management, communication skills, and conflict resolution.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
After graduation, I went to Columbia University to complete my Master in Public Health (MPH). I have been interested in medicine since I was a child, making a career in the medical field felt natural. Once I found out about the program, the decision to apply was the obvious course for me.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
I currently work for my family’s company in Japan, as the Vice President of Operations and Managing Director. I also consult for the company while handling the company’s finances, accounting, and human resources. I chose this job since they needed someone with business education and I had happened to complete my MBA at the time.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I would like to be back in the medical field, either as a medical student or at a job. Although I have gained valuable experience from my current work outside the field, I would like to be able to use my previous education in both public health and business in the next chapter of my life.
How are you still connected with the University?
I currently do interviews as an alum for the incoming MBA class since I went to the Simon School as well as the College. Additionally, I visit the school whenever I am back in Rochester, to keep up to date with developments of the University.
What advice do you have for current students?
Attend events since they are both more diverse and easier on the wallet than what you would find outside of campus, giving you experiences you would otherwise miss. Be involved on campus by participating in clubs that interest you, since the skills you can gain from them will be useful later in life.