(This interview was conducted in April 2019.)
Q. What made you decide to become a university professor and researcher?
Becoming a university professor after accumulating experience in various business fields
After graduating from university, I joined a company and then was offered the opportunity to study at a graduate business school in the United States for one year. I encountered professors there who used their practical business experience to teach and research business administration. Those encounters first made me want to become an instructor and researcher like them. After returning home for a time, I went back to the United States to work as a public servant at an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. for five years. During that period, I continued studying at night and on weekends to acquire a Master in Accountancy degree and a Certified Public Accountant(CPA) certificate in Washington, D.C. The license to work as a CPA is currently inactive, but I am still a full member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants(AICPA). Then, I joined a global audit firm, where I was leading internal audit practices over overseas subsidiaries of Japanese companies, post-merger integration (PMI) after cross-border M&As, as well as advisory practices such as supporting to implement corporate governance systems. While working, I continued my research activities, including publishing academic journal papers and books. Finally, I was able to fulfill my long-held desire to become a university professor.
Q. What topics have you researched in your own specialized field?
Two key research topics: corporate governance of international corporations and corporate financial analysis
I always try to apply my practical business experience to my research. Specifically, I have two key research topics. The first is researching how Japanese companies should manage the overseas subsidiaries they have acquired through M&As or by other means. This includes such issues as the balance between delegating authority to the local corporate management and governance under the control of the head office, and in particular how the local corporate management’s business execution is monitored by the head office level of a corporate organization—the boards of directors and corporate auditors, the audit committee, and so on. These issues are closely related to company laws and listing rules in Japan and abroad, so I mainly conduct qualitative research in the context of corporate governance. The other key research topic is corporate financial analysis. This includes the issue of how we can find signs of accounting frauds (window-dressing ) or corporate failure (bankruptcy) in disclosed financial statements. Since financial statements have numerical data, I mainly conduct quantitative research in the context of current high-profile data analytics for this topic. So far I have focused on qualitative research in the former, but I hope to place increased importance on quantitative research in the latter at the graduate school.
Q. What has been difficult for you? What has made you feel happy?
Since there are too many things that I want and have to do, time management is difficult, but I feel great satisfaction from my work.
This is not what was difficult for me, but what currently is: time management. There are too many things that I want and have to do in both research and education, so I don’t have enough time. I think nighttime is unsuitable for research because my mind is tired. Therefore, I have no choice but to wake up early and study before classes, and to do so, I have to address the challenges of managing time and maintaining my physical strength. What has made me feel happy as a researcher is the publication of my research findings in academic papers and as books. In addition, I feel satisfaction when my elaborate explanations work well in classes, and when I find that students have gained a strong understanding of important concepts and that they themselves are developing.
The greatest benefit is the possibility of pursuing in-depth studies in a field you choose based on your own interests.
As you advance from elementary school through junior and senior high school to undergraduate and graduate studies, you are given greater freedom of focusing your study on the field you choose based on your own interests and on your own initiative. Although studies and research may sometimes cause hardships, I believe that you can find real joy in acquiring profound knowledge, applying it and accomplishing remarkable achievements in the field you choose based on your own interests at a graduate school. I also believe that such graduate studies will bring you great benefits during the rest of your lifetime.
Q. Can you give a message to prospective graduate students?
Build the basis for advanced knowledge that you can rely on for a lifetime.
It is said that we now live in the era of the 100-year lifetime. A long, fulfilling life requires you to continue learning. I hope that you use graduate schools to enhance your knowledge efficiently and effectively, and to build the basis for advanced knowledge that you can rely on for the rest of your lifetime. We instructors are here to offer you our full support.
Name: Masato Mori
Currently serves as Professor in the Department of Global Innovation Studies, Faculty of Global and Regional Studies, Toyo University
April 2020: Will assume position of the Chair of the Course of Global Innovation Studies, Graduate School of Global and Regional Studies, Toyo University
April 2017: Assumed current position after working at a Japanese company, an international organization (in Washington, D.C.) and global audit firms
September 1991: Completed the Master of Accountancy program at George Washington University
March 1979: Graduated from the Department of Economics, School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University
Specialized fields: Overseas subsidiary management; international group management; corporate governance; corporate financial analysis
Books: 図解 海外子会社マネジメント入門 ～ガバナンス、リスクマネジメント、コンプライアンスから内部監査まで～［東洋経済新報社］ (lit. Illustrated Guide to Overseas Subsidiary Management: From Governance, Risk Management and Compliance to Internal Audits, published by Toyo Keizai Inc.) and other books
Papers: 日本企業のグローバル化と海外子会社に対するガバナンスのあり方について［「日本監査役協会設立40周年記念懸賞論文」受賞論文］ (lit. Globalization of Japanese Companies and Governance of Overseas Subsidiaries, winner of the Japan Audit & Supervisory Board Members Association’s 40th Anniversary Prize) and other papers