Many people come to Japan on a teaching contract, be it JET or otherwise. The job can be fun, and give you lots of new skills, but are there other things you could be doing here to help inch up the career ladder? For those interested in developing their business and management skills, the answer is a definite yes.
The Global MBA is a two-year programme taught completely in English at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. It currently has around 38 students from 19 countries, and Doshisha itself has an impressive alumni that work for global firms such as P&G, as well as leading Japanese firms including Daikin, Konica Minolta, Kyocera and Panasonic.
The curriculum features core business subjects as a starter, but then students can choose what they are most interested in studying to create a tailored MBA. There are three main focus areas: Business in Asia, Green Business, and Culture and Creativity. Business in Asia is designed to help students understand and navigate the Asian business world, with all its diverse practices and people. Green Business looks at the theory and practice of managing businesses in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. Culture and Creativity focuses on management in the fast-growing areas of pop culture, manga, video games and more.
Because it caters for students who are often new to Japan, Doshisha offers all MBA students free Japanese lessons. If students already have a strong command of Japanese, they can take Japanese MBA modules and interact with Japanese business managers.
Angela Troianos is currently taking the MBA programme. Originally from Chicago, USA, she joined the course after teaching with the JET programme. “To tell the truth, although graduate school was always my goal, I never really considered an MBA before,” she told KS. “I had a very specific vision for the type of graduate experience I wanted, as well as the skills I wanted to gain. Before discovering Doshisha, I was uncertain if there was an MBA program that could satisfy all my conditions.”
After attending an open day, and speaking with students and professors, Angela found the Global MBA course actually ticked all the right boxes.
Aside from an interest in learning more about Business in Asia, she says: “Doshisha’s commitment to sustainable business was the main reason I chose to come here. I’m very interested in CSR (corporate social responsibility), which is still a relatively new field for some Asian companies.”
While the workload can be demanding, Angela thinks it’s a great learning curve in time and resource management. “One of the most valuable things about my program is my classmates. I find that I greatly benefit from the time I spend with them, both in and out of the classroom. I feel like I am part of a truly international community and the diversity of our backgrounds is reflected in the richness of our class discussions.”
When she graduates, Angela hopes to join some of the alumni by working at a top Japanese company. She hopes to stay in Kansai too, but with Doshisha’s global connections, her options certainly aren’t limited to Japan.
She adds: “There are interesting opportunities to study abroad in the second year. The school also brings in a number of specialists from around the world to teach short-term, week-long intensive classes on a wide range of topics. In addition to normal classes, we really benefit from Doshisha’s extensive business network as guest lecturers drop by regularly.”
There’s a world of opportunity out there, and for many ex-JETs like Angela, Doshisha is providing another stepping stone to an international career.