Mr. Shinya Shimizu
CEO. of Elephantec Inc.

エレファンテック株式会社はインクジェット印刷と銅めっきを用いて、片面FPC P-Flex を環境に配慮して製造販売しています。代表取締役社長の清水信哉氏に英語や受験のための勉強法、大学で学んだことなどについて伺いました。

Elephantech Inc. is a manufacturer and seller of single-face flex PCB by utilizing inkjet printing and copper plating while at the same time considering the environment. We asked Mr. Shinya Shimizu, the CEO of Elephantech Inc., about how he studied English and prepared for the entrance examinations, and also what he studied at university.

【清水信哉氏 プロフィール】

2006年 灘中・高等学校卒業
2012年 東京大学大学院情報理工学系研究科電子情報学専攻 修士課程修了
2014年 エレファンテック株式会社共同創業、代表取締役社長就任

[Profile of Mr. Shinya Shimizu]

2006: Graduated from Nada Junior and Senior High Schools
2012: Master of Electronics and Information Engineering, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, University of Tokyo
Joined McKinsey & Company and provided consultancy services mainly to manufacturers in Japan.
2014: Co-founded AgIC Inc. and became CEO. of Elephantec Inc.

【1】 初めて英語に触れたのは何歳の時で、どのような形ですか?

When and how were you first exposed to English?


When I entered a junior high school at the age of 12, I started learning English in class.

【2】 過去、または現在、どのような方法で英語力を高めていますか?

How did you study English when you were a child? More recently how have you tried to improve your English ability?

23歳までは全く英語ができず、大学受験でも英語は0点想定で臨んだほどでした。23歳で就活時に米系経営コンサルティング会社McKinsey & Companyに内定を頂き、入社までに英語が一定レベルに達しないと入社できないということで初めて勉強し、McKinseyの補助でフェニックスアソシエイツ(現ベルリッツ)に通うなどして、半年ほどでビジネス会話には一応問題ないレベルまで英語力を高めました。24歳でMcKinseyに入社後も継続してベルリッツ等で学習を進め、また半年間の語学留学をさせて頂き、最終的には現地語学学校の先生から「ライティングについてはネイティブの平均レベルを超えている」という評価を頂きました。現在は海外Youtuberの動画を見るなどして英語力を維持しています。

I was really bad at English until I was 23 years old. I even thought that there was possibility that I’d get a score of 0 on my university entrance examination of English. When I was 23 years old, I got an official job offer from an American management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. I was told that I must improve my English to a particular level; otherwise, I could not join the company. Therefore, I started studying English seriously for the first time in my life. I studied at Phoenix Associates (Currently known as Berlitz) with McKinsey’s support. In half a year, my English improved well enough to speak smoothly in a business situation. Even after I entered McKinsey at the age of 24, I continued studying English at Berlitz and other schools. McKinsey let me study abroad with their help for half a year. At the end of my English study abroad, an evaluation of my English writing skill from a teacher at the language school there was higher than the average level of Native English speakers. Recently, I have tried to maintain my English skills by watching posts from abroad on YouTube.

【3】 受験英語と生きた英語のギャップをどのように感じられましたか?

What do you think is the difference between exam English and real English?


I regretted having not studied English for the university entrance examination. Eventually, I found that it might be possible for me to improve my pronunciation and listening abilities to reach a native English speakers’ level in a short time; however, it took me long to increase my vocabulary. Therefore, I thought exam English was really effective for memorizing a large amount of vocabulary. When I started to study English at the age of 23, I regretted not having studied exam English harder and studied it by using textbooks and English vocabulary books from my high school days.

【4】 灘中学・高校の英語教育についてどのように感じられますか?

What do you think of the English education system in Nada Junior and Senior High Schools?


When I was a senior high school student, I did not study English at all (it was mainly my own fault). For this reason, I don’t know if I have a right to say anything. If I have to say something, its that I did not recognize the importance of studying English.

【5】 灘中学・高校に入学して最も良かったことは何ですか?

What is the best thing you experienced in Nada Junior and Senior High Schools?


Perhaps the main advantage was the wonderful classmates I became friends with.

【6】 灘中学入試のための勉強を何歳頃からどのような形で進めましたか?

When did you start preparing and what did you do for the entrance examination of Nada Junior High School?


I started to study at a cram school when I was in the 5th grade, at around 11 years old. At first, Nada Junior High School was too difficult for me to pass the exam. When I was in the 6th grade, my grades improved, and I took the challenge again to enter Nada.

【7】 東京大学の入学試験に合格するために必要なものを5つ挙げるとすれば何でしょうか?

Please tell us the five important things needed to pass the entrance examination of Tokyo University.


・Practice by solving problems from the past exams many times.
・Work out a strategy to set a good distribution of scores of each examination to pass.
・Make entrance examinations by yourself to see intentions of the persons who make examination questions.
・Don’t work too hard like studying all night or taking excessive caffeine.
・The nights before the exams, sleep well at the hotel near the university.

【8】 東京大学・大学院で学んだことや経験したことが、現在の仕事にどのように生かされていますか?

How do you take advantage of what you studied and experienced at the University of Tokyo in your current job?


I could actually experience the basic structure of research. At first, I formulated hypotheses and verified them. This is also a useful skill in a business situation.

【9】 仕事にやり甲斐を感じるのはどんな時ですか?

What makes you feel satisfied about your job?


・Good evaluation from my customers
・New employees (=Their decision to use their time in their lives for my company)
・Comments from my investors

【10】 仕事で大変だな、辛いなと思うことがありますか?あるとしたら、どのようなことですか?

Please tell us about difficult or challenging work if there is any.


I have a tough time when I cannot readily reach my goal of business scale and content.

【11】 社員の方との関係で大切にしていることは何ですか?

What do you think is important about the relationship with people working in your company?


I place importance on openness.
For example,
・Share information about management issues as much as possible. (even all the information about investment and budget formulation)
・Avoid using honorific expressions when addressing each other.

【12】 プライベートと仕事をどのように分けていますか?

How do you draw the line between your private life and work?


I try my best to make time to have meals with my wife and in fact I put this into practice.

【13】 あなたが、尊敬する人、目標とする人、ライバルだと思う人などについてお聞かせ下さい。

Please let us know about the people you respect, admire and regard as rivals.


I regard Elon Musk as my goal, as well as my rival.

【14】 今後の目標をお聞かせ下さい。

Please tell us about your goals.


My personal goal is to be an entrepreneur like Elon Musk who is the representative of this generation and a nation.

【15】 今、転職や起業を考えている人に何かメッセージをお願いします。

Could you give a message to people who are thinking of changing job or starting a new business?


Until about only 50 years ago, people could not decide freely what to do in their lives unless they were born in a wealthy family. If they established a business or went their own ways with a spirit of challenge, it increased their risk. Meanwhile, in present-day Japan, you can generally fend for yourselves whatever you do; therefore, you should find a job which you really want to do. You can work for the same company for a long time. Or you can start a business or change your job. It is not important for you to improve your career. If you suffer a lot of stress at work, something like a midlife crisis might occur. When you find signs of a midlife crisis in yourself, I recommend you change your career in order to survive. Just think about how you have lived and what is a reason to live when you choose new job.