When Toshinari Yasuki set a career goal of becoming CEO of the hotel he worked at, what followed was two and a half years of hard work, late nights and learning. It’s a journey that has challenged his commitment, resolve and work-life balance.

“I come from Japan, and before I came to Glion I worked in a traditional Japanese hotel, Hotel Okura Tokyo. It’s a 58 years old hotel and I worked there in the reservation department”, Toshinari said.

“I really enjoyed my work at the Japanese hotel, so I did not have many professional difficulties and challenges. However, there is a personal challenge that I experienced recently – my dream is to become a CEO of my company, the same hotel I worked for.

Commiting to the goal

For Toshinari, choosing Glion as his route to a leadership career meant his studies started long before the first semester. “Unfortunately, in Japan, there are few or no academic institutions for the hospitality industry”, he said.

“I was looking for international schools overseas and decided to come to Glion to study. However, when I applied to Glion, it was a difficult call. I knew that I will need to learn English to get the language certificate, so it meant balancing the work, my marriage and the studies. So I needed a different work-life balance.”

A scientific approach to time management

Excellent time management skills are essential for all Glion students, and successful professionals, something Toshinari was very aware of. “I entered my company in 2014, and I started working on my English in 2015 and I enrolled here in 2018. So I prepared for two and a half years, making sure that my English reached an advanced level and that I can pass the TOEFL test.”

I managed to overcome the challenge and find the right work-life balance by doing these steps:

1. I knew that my first goal was to secure my studying time, so I had to first find out: when can I study in the day? So, I gathered the data of my life in an excel table (when do I get up, how long I work, how long I commute in the train, how long I eat etc) for two weeks.

2. Then I analysed the data. I thought: what is the best duration of sleep for me? Is it 6 hours, 7 hours? As I actually also gathered data on the temperature in the room, humidity, how I feel when I wake up etc, I found that 5 hours is not enough sleep for me, but 7 hours is the best for me. However, 7 hours is too long if I want to manage effectively my time in the day, so I decided that 6 hours is the perfect time. So I went every day to bed at 11.30pm and woke up at 5.30am.

3. Then I set up a routine: I woke up, folded my bed, did some exercises outside and stretched, then I took a shower, then I had breakfast, then I changed my clothes and went to Starbucks directly. There, I study for one hour and then I go to work and stay there for 9-10 hours. After work, I go to Starbucks again and study for three hours and then I go home. Only on weekends it was different because I studied 9 hours a day. These patterns were very important to me: Patterns are the key when you need to manage your time in a precise manner and you the maximum capacity of a day.

‘I declared my future vision to the company: I want to study in Switzerland and come back and contribute.’

Whilst discipline is clearly not a problem for Toshinari, he still had to contend with strict Japanese working culture. “Luckily, my boss supported me with my studies and this project”, he said.

“I declared my future vision to the company: “I want to study in Switzerland and improve my skills, my language and my knowledge, and then I will come back to this company and contribute to it. This is why they showed kindness for me. I will be going back to the company in four months, once I complete my program here in Glion.”

Thank you to Toshinari Yasuki for taking the time to share the story of his personal challenge to find a work-life balance while pursuing a career ambition. The drive, work ethic and commitment he has shown is a benchmark to be aimed for. Be sure to check back soon for the next interview in this series, as Herbert Eku Jones reveals what happened when he took charge of a failing restaurant in a 5-Star Dubai hotel.

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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