Interview with Paul Kates

Many students start from the General Business and Management category and then move on to more specialized fields in HR, Finance, Project Management etc. The General Business and Management category is applicable to whatever industry or field you work in. Mr. Paul Kates is one of those instructors who can provide you with valuable tips that can immediately be put to use. Let's find out more from him.

Could you tell us about your background?

Good question! Where do I start? Let's see...well, I was born in Toronto, Canada so maple syrup, ice hockey, and beer are embedded in my heart & soul. More seriously, I grew up under the entrepreneurial influence of my father and began experimenting with my own business ventures at the very young age of 10 where, with the permission of my school, I set up a lunch-time retail stand selling novelty items. That was the beginning of it all...

Ever since that time, I've been fascinated with the world of business and commerce. That led me to study both of these topics in university where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics for Commerce, graduating at the top of the Dean's Honor List, and subsequently was fast-tracked to complete my MBA at one of Canada's top business schools.

Half-way through the completion of my MBA program, I was recruited by Ernst & Young — actually, it was Clarkson Gordon who recruited me but they were affiliated with Arthur Young & Co. who merged with Ernst & Whinney soon after I joined them. Anyway, I worked in their Entrepreneurial Services Practice for several years as an accountant, auditor, and consultant. After that, I had the pleasure of experiencing management positions in the consumer goods, hospitality, and retail sectors. Oh, and I've also been working as a freelance marketing consultant throughout my career.

I've been teaching business courses in Japan since 2009 and feel like I've now found my "true calling". Everything that I've ever learned and done comes out in my classrooms — in one way or another — and I thoroughly enjoy sharing it all in what I would describe as a truly interactive way. I love seeing the "lightbulbs" go off over students heads — that's when I know I've made a difference to someone.

What courses do you teach? — How can these courses help students and in what field?

Currently, I teach several business courses. My 10-day courses, which are typically held on Saturdays, are Business Negotiation and MBA in 10 Days. I also teach a couple of one-day workshops which are called Becoming an Effective Manager and How to Handle Difficult Customers and Colleagues.

I think that my courses can help virtually anyone. The Business Negotiation course helps people discover what kind of negotiator they are and how to make themselves more effective — not only in business but in any situation. The MBA in 10 Days course can allow someone to "test the waters" before investing their time and money in an MBA program or help them to see the big picture of business — often employees find themselves "stuck" in one department and don't really understand what's happening elsewhere.

As for my workshops, "Becoming an Effective Manager" can help an aspiring or newly appointed manager to understand the scope, skills, and role that would be expected of them as well as the contextual aspects that they would potentially have to operate under. "How to Handle Difficult Customers and Colleagues" assists students in identifying "what makes people tick" and how to deal with them in unsavory circumstances in a clear, methodical way.

Do you know of any success stories of students who took your course?

I would say, without a doubt, "yes". Some of my students have been inspired to the extent that they have moved on to pursue an MBA at some of the top global business schools, including Harvard, Stanford, Darden, Dartmouth, and Insead.

Others have told me, even while still taking the course, that they were able to successfully negotiate deals in favor of their company and earn the kudos of their superiors.

I remember one student in particular who took, if I remember correctly, all of my courses. He was an exceptional student and is part of the senior management team of a major airline company who thanked me for how useful my courses were for him — not only for the concepts and frameworks but also for the practical applications as well.

What backgrounds do your students have?

Wow — they come in all shapes and sizes! I've had students ranging from those who were still in an undergraduate program and were just trying to get an edge over their peers to seasoned professionals and retirees who were interested in keeping on top of what was current and relevant.

Did you know?

Paul is a vegan and is a very active cyclist, runner, and hiker. He believes that a healthy body fuels a healthy mind and vice-versa. He also was the inspiration behind the 1970's marketing/novelty sensation "Pet Rock". Ask him more when you join his classes!