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Banking Beyond Japan

Although Koji Asada has spent his entire career at one company, he can’t stay in one place too long. Since earning his Berkeley MBA, he has worked on three continents in several investment banking roles, all at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

“Lifetime appointment is still very common in Japan,” Asada says. But “I like living abroad and doing business in different cultures. It’s always fun to learn new things.”

After earning a BA in economics in Japan, Asada didn’t even have a title in his first job working with mid-sized Japanese companies at a small bank branch in Tokyo. His Berkeley MBA led him to learning the ropes of international finance for five years in London before returning to Tokyo and more recently settling in New York. There he oversees 140 employees who work on investment banking deals worth as much as a few billion dollars with clients from Canada to Chile.

Asada caught the travel bug from his father, whose own international banking career took his family to Sydney, London, and New York when Asada was a boy. “Because of my childhood, moving every three years, I probably become a bit bored if I stay in one place for a long time,” admits Asada.

Asada has spent half his career in M&A, half in relationship management with large corporate clients. In addition to travel, Asada’s contact with clients in a wide variety of industries, from steel to solar, “keeps things interesting,” he says.

Asada’s long-term goal is to serve as the go-to adviser for customers’ top management as they face major decisions, such as an acquisition or large capital investment. Asada explains, “The sense of accomplishment after closing these deals is very rewarding.”

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Koji Asada

Koji Asada, MBA 94

General Manager,
Investment Banking Division
for the Americas
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi