Staff interview #10 Yuta Funase

Education determines a person’s potential

Before I joined Quipper, I worked at McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm, for about four years. I worked with a different client every three to six months, and from the very first day I joined the firm, I had to conduct myself as a professional consultant; it was an intense period that tested my skills every single day. It was fulfilling work, but there was one crucial difference between me and my clients: I was not involved with the actual business of decision making. It’s making these final decisions that requires courage and calls for accountability, and that is true management. The growing feeling that I wanted to experience that side of the business is what caused me to start thinking about changing my career.

My interest in educational issues had started during my student days. When I was a postgraduate student, I studied abroad at the University of Waterloo, a university with focus on Science and Technologies that represents Canada, and I was astonished by the excellence of the exchange students from other countries. I felt that their participation in classes, commitment to issues, and the quality of their output were all on a different level to mine. I thought I’d had a pretty good education in Japan, but then I realized that at the university education stage, the world had left us behind.

The frustration I felt then became a source of motivation for me. Education has the power to open up and maximize people’s potential, but it also has the power to limit them. Of course, I wanted to grow more myself, but I also felt like I wanted to think more deeply about how people grow, and after that I began to vaguely think about what could be achieved in education.

I heard about Quipper, met with Masa, and got really excited talking with him, but I wanted to see things with my own eyes before making a decision, so I used my paid vacation time and went to the London office at my own expense to spend a week as an intern there. I put in a lot of work too (ha-ha). After that, I visited the Tokyo office as well, and the startup-like sense of urgency and the strong team there really attracted me, so I decided to join.

Fast growth in Indonesia, born of high-quality content and sales activity

Working at Quipper Indonesia, you can clearly see that QuipperVideo is providing real value to students, teachers, and schools here. For instance, we often hear about students from rural areas who couldn’t afford to attend prep schools and thanks to using QuipperVideo, they were able to be accepted into universities. Hearing this is so motivating for us. It’s a great example of QuipperVideo expanding students’ potential.

There are a lot of students in Indonesia who don’t have access to good-quality education. So, providing access to high-quality education is the first step for Quipper to offer real value to this country.

Quipper has rapidly expanded in terms of the number of users in Indonesia, as a direct result of our sales activity. Over the past three years, we have made an overwhelming number of visits to schools, over 15,000. But we’re definitely not resting on our laurels. It’s our mission to continue improving our service and content to provide better and better value.

Producing a “Quipper Dream” workforce in Indonesia

As an Indonesian company, our scale has grown a lot. As an organization propelled by six hundred people at peak times, one thing we have been putting a lot of effort into is systemization. Even for large-scale organizations, it is still necessary to keep the flow of information transparent and ensure that best practices are shared. I want everyone to push ahead in alignment toward our shared vision with a spirit of competitiveness and ownership. And not just on an individual level, but to drive toward success with the power of our whole organization. That’s what will allow new superstars to be born, so I think we can achieve that kind of positive cycle.

In fact, several superstars have started to be born in our sales organization. For example, a woman in her twenties who was a contractor in one of our sales offices was recognized for the great work she was doing and given a leadership role, was made a permanent employee, and is now in charge of that sales office. In addition, she was the only sales branch head to be selected as a Quipper Global MVP for her outstanding sales result last year.  She accomplished all that in just two years, and her leadership is now indispensable to her team.

RECRUIT’s knowledge sharing has been so helpful for us in this type of organizational management. I really appreciate everyone who has been working to share various types of knowledge with us.

By the way, I’ve recently seen some positive developments on the systemization front. A manager who’d been working with me for a long time on launching our sales org pointed out to me that another team was having trouble with systematization and standardization. Now this was a manager I’d had ferocious arguments with since the sales launch, going over the importance of systemization and the necessity to keep KPIs simple. Through that process, and thanks to the great efforts of her sales team of 300, they had achieved a fairly high level of systemization. However, that other team which she had pointed out, despite my involvement and for various reasons, had failed to make enough progress in this regard. For example, the telephone scripts were not fully aligned, and there were irregularities in the monitoring data. When she pressed me to explain what the team had been doing up to now, I got a shiver down my spine (ha-ha), but I saw that this person, with a keen awareness of the issues, was actively engaged in the systemization of the organization, and I realized that our organization was really firming up. And wherever she goes, she will do extremely well as a systemization pro!

Quipper–StudySapuri as an educational conglomerate

Next, I’d like to position Quipper–StudySapuri as an educational service infrastructure. Quipper will be able to help people assess their current academic development, target and overcome their weak points, plan their educational path, and even help with career planning. The more you use Quipper, the more you will get back from it. Ideally, it will become an infrastructure that promotes healthy competition and allows potential to blossom.With Quipper–StudySapuri, students will get to know not only what to study but also how to study.

At the same time, in line with our Quipper Identity “Growth,” I want to build an organization that allows team members to develop much faster than at any other company. Fortunately, Quipper–StudySapuri has many assets. And I don’t think there are many kinds of work that have as much significance for society, or are as challenging, as ours. I really want everyone to be proud of themselves as frontrunners in the field of education, solving problems that no one else has solved. And I’d like them to savor each moment as they go about their daily work.

Also, although it’s my job here in Indonesia to build a vision that can unify our organization, and to spread that vision, I don’t think I can say that I’ve done enough yet. I want to devote myself to establishing and persistently communicating a clear vision that will inspire everyone to commit their full energy. I have nothing but gratitude for the team here in Indonesia who work so hard to help our users every single day.

I dream that one day Quipper–StudySapuri will be a globally-recognized brand, that we will truly bring our service to every corner of the world. And that we will be an organization that talented people around the world will want to join. Something like Intel or Microsoft in the 1990s. In the 2000s it was Google or Facebook, and in the future it might be Quipper. I think it’s a real possibility for us to build a presence like that. I believe that in the future, a company’s value will be measured not just by market capitalization and sales volume, but by its contribution to society. I’m not talking about things like CSR; I think the day will come when the importance of the business itself to society will be quantified. And when that day comes, Quipper–StudySapuri should be able to show that we are clearly producing such value.

Finally, I personally think that the most exciting moment for everyone is that moment when we realize we can do something that we were not able to do before. I want our students to experience this moment, and more than anything I want our Quipper team members to experience it. Our aim should be to create an environment where those moments can act as springboards in a cycle that continually propels us to take up new challenges.
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