Grad finds new career path as a BA

Photo by Greg Ehlers

Whether she’s in school, at work or taking part in one of her favourite pastimes, CrossFit, Machiko Iitsuka is always looking for new challenges. It was this same aspirational trait that led her to complete our Business Analysis Certificate.

Why did you decide to take the Business Analysis Certificate program at SFU Continuing Studies?
I had been at the same company [HSBC] for seven years and I wanted to go into something to do with business analysis or project management. I was more interested in the streamlining and re-engineering part of the work, so I decided on business analysis.

What interested you about a career in business analysis?
I like that it’s always different. Nothing is ever really the same. There’s a lot of challenges all the time, but I like problem solving and trying to be creative. It’s very interesting.

What was the most valuable thing you learned in the program?
Learning from my classmates. We all had very different backgrounds. Some people were from the hospitality industry, some medical, some IT—everyone came from a different background, and I think I learned a lot from that. Even if you have the same case study, everyone came up with a different perspective based on their experience. You got to know exactly what was happening in their industry and their experience in terms of the topic we were working on. It was very beneficial and a huge learning point for me.

Where did your career path go after the program?
I became a business support officer in the process consultancy department. I reviewed processes and identified any opportunity to streamline with a focus on the back-end processes. We looked at data and talked to experts to identify problems and try to come up with solutions. We also analyzed and found data that aligned with what they were saying and compared that to the end results once we implemented the streamlining, to see if it’s actually working.

Photo by Greg Ehlers

Do you think continuing education is important?
One hundred per cent. I go back to school every three years or so. I feel that because I’m in school and working at the same time, I see my regular work in a different perspective. I think that’s very important. You take your new perspectives from school and from classmates and read things that you may not have otherwise and then you bring those concepts or methodologies into the workspace. You actually use it in real time. You widen your view on the same thing you’ve been looking at for years.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
I do CrossFit. It’s so fun; it’s for everyone. At my gym, there’s a lady who is almost 70 and she works out with us. There’s a guy who is almost 65 and he works out like us. Anyone can start and anyone can do it. You make friends in the workouts and you’re always together.

By Alison Brierley