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The Bradley mug connection
CHRISTIAN MANCINI ’92 planned to be in Japan for six months when he left suburban Chicago to teach English as a second language. He had visions of traveling the world before returning home to begin law school.
A philosophy major at Bradley, Mancini quickly realized teaching was not his strength. But more than 15 years later, he is speaking Japanese, engulfed in the culture, and works as the representative director of Savills, a British-based real estate services company with headquarters in Tokyo.
Struggling to find employment in something other than food services, Mancini left his job as a bartender at a country club in suburban Chicago for Japan in February 1994. “I decided I could continue tending bar in suburban Chicago, or I could do a little of the post-adolescent, see-the-world thing,” he said. “I came here, enjoyed the place, and I’ve been here the past 15 years uninterrupted.”
Through positions with a software company, an architecture firm, and GMAC Commercial Mortgage Japan, he found an interest in real estate. While at GMAC in asset management, his division was acquired by Savills. Although he has limited formal training in business, Mancini said his Bradley education prepared him. “If I had known this is what I was going to do, I would have spent more time on the business side of campus,” said Mancini, who lives in Tokyo. “The reality is, very few things teach a person how to read for comprehension and retention; write clearly, concisely and logically; and be able to reason and employ the rudiments of logic the way philosophy does.”
Since graduation, Mancini has remained in contact with a handful of professors, including Dr. Michael Greene, assistant professor of philosophy; Jeff Huberman, dean of the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts; and Brendan Liddell, professor emeritus of philosophy. But he was reconnected with the University by chance through Dr. Stephen Kerr, an assistant professor of accounting who joined the faculty in 2007.
Kerr has administered American accounting exams to Japanese students for 10 years. Shortly before he joined Bradley, Kerr ordered Bradley mugs for some of the representatives at the Tokyo Accounting College. One of those mugs soon made its way to Savills in the hands of an administrative assistant. “I didn’t walk into that part of the office very much,” said Mancini, who has a painting of the Hartmann Center for Performing Arts in his office, “but I walked past her desk and saw a Bradley mug. I thought, ‘I’ve not met a single Japanese student who was at Bradley on a foreign exchange program. I’ve met two or three alumni in the city, and they all work for Caterpillar.’ ”
Kerr and Mancini soon connected, and the two often meet when Kerr returns to Japan. Kerr is quick to point to Mancini as a Bradley success. “He said to me that his courses in philosophy and logic gave him the toolbox of intellectual capacities that he needed to take advantage of the opportunities in front of him,” Kerr said. “That’s a success to me. When you have a graduate 10 years out who is doing that well and points back to two professors, that’s a success.”
New Athletics Director announced | The Bradley mug connection | Hillel’s new home | H1N1 vaccine arrives | Extreme makeover for Westlake Hall | Construction of Alumni Center begins | Homecoming fiesta | LaHood lauded for bipartisanship