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Hirosuke Shoji is an Associate Portfolio Manager at Dimensional Fund Advisors, an US-based investment management company. Prior to joining Dimensional, Hirosuke worked as a Director of Business Development at a FinTech start-up. He began his career at BlackRock where he was responsible for advising Japanese and global financial institutions on risk analytics, portfolio construction, as well as regulatory and investment compliance. Hirosuke spent his first 15 years in Yokohama, followed by a year in France, 2 years in London, and 4 years in Edinburgh.
The University of Edinburgh, Master of Arts (MA) with honors, Accounting and Finance
SYSP is a program provided by U Share to give residents the chance to meet people who could be potential role models. By hearing about their various experiences, we hope to give residents the chance to broaden their views and provide them with an opportunity to think more about their own careers.
On June 10th, we had our first Share Your Story x Professionals event of 2023. Hirosuke Shoji gave us a fascinating talk: ‘Fear and Curiosity – Principles of Life’. He shared his experiences of living as a student in Japan, France, and England, and how fear and curiosity played a huge part in his life.
Shoji first studied abroad at just 16-years-old, when he enjoyed student life in a small village in France. Afterwards, he moved to England with his family to study at an international school.
For college, Shoji decided to study for a Masters in Accounting and Financing at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating, he started working for BlackRock as an intern. After being there for 4 years, Shoji took a job at a FinTech start-up.
Currently he is an associate portfolio manager at the US investment management company, Dimensional Fund Advisors.
When Shoji looked back on his life and all the decisions that led him to where he is now, he realized that he had always approached both with curiosity. However, his friend was intrigued to know if it was just intellectual curiosity that drove him or whether he had also felt fear when making decisions. As a result, Shoji started thinking about the cognitive process and spoke to students about how this process plays a major role in the decisions we make.
In the cognitive process, the first step of inputting raw data is called the reception. Then comes the perception, where you make an interpretation, and this is where feelings and emotions such as fear or curiosity are added. The last part of the cognitive process is the thinking part, where you think and then make a decision.
Fear can sometimes prevent you from doing something new and therefore can often be taken as a negative. However, it can also become a motivation to move forward. There is no right and wrong, and sometimes it’s best to consider both in order to better analyze a situation.
Oftentimes, the greatest things in life are on the other side of fear and can only be achieved if we allow ourselves to be curious enough to want to find out what that greatness can be.
Looking back at his decisions, Shoji came to the conclusion that curiosity did indeed drive him to new challenges. However, what was supporting him was that he understood where his perceptions came from and moreover, that he knew he had the power to make his own interpretations.
Shoji concluded his talk by giving a singular piece of advice: whether you’re making a small or big decision, know that it’s all up to you. Only you can decide how to interpret it, and only you are the one who makes your important decisions in life.
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