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At SPS this fall, all courses, other than pre-established online courses, will be offered face-to-face in our New York City classrooms. Some of these face-to-face courses will be offered in the HyFlex format to ensure that all of our students can make progress toward their degree requirements, if faced with delays due to student visas or vaccination effectiveness wait times.
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Celso Yamaguchi: Leading the Digital Transformation of Investment Banking at a Major Global Financial Institution

Celso Yamaguchi, '21SPS, Executive Technology Management, is the global head of Investment Banking Capital Markets & Advisory IT. He discusses the leadership positions he has held, from systems engineer in Brazil, to leading IT for Private Banking in Latin America, as well as his experience iterating and presenting his master's project. 

After earning your MBA, and completing the London Business School’s Global Leaders Program, what led you to pursue the executive master’s degree at Columbia?  

I was looking for a program that expanded my horizons by improving my strategic thinking, polishing my executive presence and providing exposure to senior level mentorship. I am also looking forward to opportunities to mentor and advise. Columbia provided all of these elements in a graduate program in technology leadership: not only accretive to my MBA but in my line of work.

Tell us about your career journey. How did you transition into your leadership role? 

Currently, I am responsible globally for strategy and delivery for the CM&A IT department. In the past, I led IT for Private Banking in Latin America (based in New York) and was a Country CIO and Head of IT Private Banking in our Nassau Branch in the Bahamas. I started my career in Brazil as a systems engineer at Banco Garantia, which was acquired by Credit Suisse in the late ’90s. I transitioned though a number of leadership roles including Country Head of IT Infrastructure Brazil.

Walk us through the process of your master's project. What problem are you aiming to solve?

My project is the modernization and digital transformation of investment bank advisory sales. The intention is to create a technology framework for innovation and agility in the sales process while improving flexibility and productivity in the execution of deals.

Tell us about your mentor and how you found the experience of developing that relationship. 

My mentor manages a Venture Capital fund and has vast experience as an entrepreneur and as the CIO of some of the largest global financial institutions. However, we have a frank and open dialogue. It is quite impressive to have the opportunity to ask questions and get wisdom and insight from such an accomplished leader. The energy from these conversations gives me such a confidence boost, as well as foresight and perspectives for deep reflection. It is a differentiator of the program.

Did the faculty play a role in defining and refining your project? 

The Technology Management faculty members are accomplished, experienced, and dedicated professors in technology leadership. The lectures, reading materials, and assignments provide us with 360 degree reflection of our effectiveness to strategize, advocate, lead, and build. The courses are packed with opportunities to grow personally and professionally in all dimensions of leadership. Regarding your question, absolutely! Faculty and mentor continue to help me to prioritize areas of my project that require refinement.

What did you think of the oral defenses?  What was that experience like? 

I truly enjoyed the self-reflection process that went into the preparation of the verbal defense, presentations, and reading materials for a senior executive audience. We train by recording videos of our pitch, which naturally improves your posture, language, and confidence. 

What advice do you have for future students who want to succeed in leadership roles in the tech industry? 

This program is a modern academic framework for technology leadership. We are exposed to the latest thinking in leadership, strategy and communications, but to truly benefit from the opportunities to self-develop, it demands the character and the courage to change. We also are presented with concepts about digital transformation and trends that will influence the future of technology. So be strong, accept change and feedback: it is easier to face adversity professionally once you had the opportunity to deal with it in class. Make an extra effort to absorb concepts and ideas, as they will be useful during our entire careers.


Learn more about the Executive M.S. in Technology Management