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MBA In Japan

Ultimate Guide to MBA In Japan

Are you a business professional or an aspiring entrepreneur looking to take your career to the next level? Imagine doing so in Japan—a global nexus of technological innovation and economic dynamism. An MBA in Japan not only offers a rich blend of Eastern and Western business philosophies but also emphasizes hands-on learning experiences that are critical in today’s competitive landscape.

The unique approach Japan offers enables you to transform textbook theories into actionable skills, setting you up for success in the real business world. If you’re keen to elevate your expertise in a setting that prioritizes practical application, read on to discover why an MBA in Japan could be your ultimate career game-changer.

What is an MBA?

An MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is a graduate-level degree aimed at equipping students with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills in business and management. This degree serves as an enhancement over undergraduate business qualifications, elevating graduates to a more specialized understanding of business operations and strategies. Typically offered by major universities and colleges, an MBA program usually spans a period of two years and is tailored to prepare graduates for leadership roles in various industries or to start/expand their own businesses. 

What counts as an MBA, and Why should You consider it? 

An MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is not just another credential to add to your resume—it’s an investment in your professional future. The program is a multifaceted graduate-level education in business, offering essential skills in key areas such as management, accounting, finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, and business law. Here are some examples of MBAs that business professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs can study depending on their goals. 

General MBA: Ideal for business professionals looking to climb the corporate ladder or pivot into managerial roles. These programs usually run for two years but may also offer a one-year accelerated track. A general full-time MBA takes around 1-2 years. 

Executive MBA (EMBA): Designed for seasoned professionals, an EMBA lets you acquire new skills while maintaining your current job. Often held on weekends or as part-time programs, EMBAs are suitable for those eyeing C-suite or leadership positions. These MBAs last around 2 years but can be flexible depending on the university.

Specialist MBA: A perfect match for professionals aiming to be industry leaders in specific business verticals like finance, healthcare, or technology. Specialist MBAs usually take around 2-3 years

Distance Learning MBA: Can’t afford to take time off work? Distance learning options let you study remotely, giving you the flexibility to balance work and education. Distance learning MBAs take around 1-4 years depending on the pace. 

Part-Time MBA: a flexible graduate program designed for working professionals. It covers the same core business curriculum as a full-time MBA but allows students to continue working while they study. Classes are often held in the evenings, on weekends, or online. The program typically takes two to five years to complete, depending on the student’s pace and the program’s structure

Pursuing an MBA in itself is a valuable pursuit for individuals looking to grow their professional lives. On one side, an MBA is highly valuable for career advancement. An MBA is often the gateway to higher-paying managerial and executive roles. It equips you with the hard and soft skills needed to lead teams, manage complex projects, and make data-driven decisions. It also provides a level of authority and expertise to your profile, making you more attractive to employers and investors. On the other hand, for those planning to start their own business, it gives the understanding of market analytics, creating robust business plans, and other essential tools for success giving innovators an entrepreneurial edge.

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However, MBAs provide a unique understanding of strategic insights, organizational behavior will arm you with the insights to make calculated risks and informed decisions. Finally, the global network that is cultivated through your time studying in an MBA program can expand your professional network exponentially, connecting you with like-minded individuals, industry experts, and potential business partners. Learn more about the Japanese networking culture through this article on Japanese Business Cards. 

Whether you’re a mid-level manager aiming for that coveted executive role or an aspiring entrepreneur looking to disrupt markets, an MBA is more than just a degree—it’s your passport to career transformation and entrepreneurial success.

What makes English Language MBA programs in Japan special?

Case Study for an MBA in Japan

  • Global Reputation: Japan is advancing towards becoming one of the world’s leading education systems, attracting over 300,000 international students annually.
  • Unique Curriculum: English-language MBA programs in Japan combine practical and theoretical education, providing insights tailored to the global business landscape.
  • High-Tech Focus: The programs leverage Japan’s high-tech educational system and strengths in STEM, offering specializations linked to science and technology.
  • Japanese Business Ethics: Emphasis on Japanese-style business ethics, taught by faculty experienced in Japanese business culture, enriches the learning experience.
  • Localized Case Studies: Students benefit from case studies rooted in successful Japanese business models, providing valuable insights into local business practices.
  • Multicultural Approach: Programs encourage a multicultural education that helps students apply global business theories within a Japanese context.
  • Diverse Faculty: Internationally inclusive faculty provides a global perspective, fostering an environment ideal for launching careers in international business.

How Do These Programs Incorporate Japanese-style Business Ethics?

When it comes to the curriculum style of Japanese MBA programs, practical experience is often a cornerstone. Many professors have first-hand business experience within Japan, providing real-world context to theoretical teachings. These programs frequently incorporate case studies based on successful business models in Japan, allowing you to grasp important concepts that characterize Japanese business learning.

A significant advantage of a program that is an MBA in Japan is its emphasis on multicultural education. You’ll have the opportunity to apply business theories and practices from your home country in a Japanese context, and vice versa. Professors like Dr. Hirotaka Takeuchi, who is a professor at Harvard Business School, utilized his multicultural education in Japan and the US to become the founding dean of Hitotsubashi University’s School of International Corporate Strategy. Dr. Takaechi’s background indicates the growing trend of global inclusivity prevalent in faculty and courses at Japanese universities.

Such experiences can be valuable for those looking to establish careers in international business.

Another noteworthy feature is the language flexibility within these programs. While English is commonly the language of instruction, some universities also offer courses in Japanese. Additionally, certain institutions align their academic calendars with international schedules rather than the traditional Japanese school year that begins in the spring. This flexibility can make these programs more accessible to students from various parts of the world.

What is the Competitive Advantage of Japan’s English-taught MBA Programs? 

The competitive edge of Japan’s English-taught  MBA courses stems from several unique features that offer both practical and financial benefits. Firstly, these programs are designed to impart not only core business competencies but also valuable skills in cultural communication and conflict resolution. These soft skills can be applied in a variety of contexts, making graduates versatile in international business settings. Secondly, the overall cost of pursuing an MBA in Japan tends to be more budget-friendly compared to other countries, while still yielding high-income prospects for graduates, making the investment highly worthwhile.

Only 59 Japanese students graduated from the top 10 MBA programs in the U.S. in 2019. A significant factor can be attributed to the fact that the cost of the U.S. MBA program in the U.S., as opposed to MBA courses in Japan, can cost from $140,000 to $260,000 a year. Consequently, there have been increasing efforts to increase the amount of MBA holders. For example, Kinya Seto, a member of the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business MBA Class of 1996 and CEO of a major manufacturing firm based in Tokyo, has endowed a scholarship fund in 2021 at Tuck for MBA candidates from Japan, hoping to inspire imitators at peer schools and hopefully reverse the decrease of MBA holders in Japan. 

Studying in Japan also gives you a leg up in the local job market, due to the country’s specific hiring practices. Japan’s standard of living is also high, yet the cost of living is relatively lower compared to other G7 countries. This, coupled with a current labor shortage, makes an MBA particularly appealing for international students seeking employment post-graduation.

Another advantage is that holding an MBA in Japan is that it could enhance your employability by making you stand out in a competitive job market with your specialized skills and international experience. The guide underlines the point that the true value of an MBA in Japan lies not just in the prestige of the school but in your capacity to apply academic and practical skills in real-world situations. Therefore, Japan’s English-taught MBA programs offer a holistic, cost-effective education that prepares students for the complexities of today’s global business environment. Learn more about successful entrepreneurs, the success of Japanese MBA programs (like NUCB Business school!) and the impact of lecturers with real-world experience on the podcast episode Strategic Leadership with Timothy Connor.

What Can Non-Japanese Speaking Students Expect from an MBA in Japan?

For non-Japanese speaking students eyeing an MBA program, the good news is that you’re not expected to be fluent in the language to excel. These programs are crafted with a global audience in mind. The curriculum often merges the best of both Eastern and Western business philosophies, offering a comprehensive understanding of international business.

You can also expect a focus on cultural communication and conflict resolution as part of your MBA training. These skills are not only crucial for doing business in Japan but are universally applicable. Plus, you’ll likely be rubbing shoulders with a diverse student body, which could lead to global networking opportunities. Japan’s robust economy and innovative business landscape also offer real-world experiences that you can tap into during your studies.

Are These Programs Entirely in English?

Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that language can be a hurdle for students who don’t speak Japanese. Given that most people in Japanese educational institutions are fluent in the native language, having a strong grasp of Japanese can be a real asset. It can make networking with classmates, industry experts, investors, and future collaborators significantly easier. Learn more about the intricacies of networking in Japan in this Guide to Business Networking in Japan. 

Most English-taught MBAs in Japan are, as the name suggests, primarily conducted in English. This includes lectures, assignments, exams, and group projects. This is particularly beneficial for non-Japanese speaking international students as it removes language as a barrier to acquiring quality education. However, some programs may offer optional courses or modules in Japanese, geared toward enhancing your understanding of the local business culture.

Are There Options to Learn Japanese in your MBA?

Yes, and it is highly recommended to become fluent in Japanese while acquiring Global MBAs in Japan. While your core MBA coursework will likely be in English, many universities offer supplementary Japanese language courses. These courses are designed to equip you with basic to advanced levels of proficiency in Japanese. Attaining conversational, or even business-level fluency in the local language is a significant asset, especially if you’re considering a long-term career from an MBA in Japan. It can open doors to networking opportunities, make daily life easier, and offer a richer cultural experience during your time in the country. Ultimately, pursuing an MBA in Japan for non-Japanese speakers is not only feasible but can offer a unique and enriching educational experience that prepares you for the global stage.

Top 7 Universities with English MBA in Japan

Which MBA in Japan?

Japan is a hub of technological innovation and economic stability, making it a prime destination for business professionals looking to get ahead. While the country is known for its traditional business practices, an MBA in Japan is far from conventional. They offer a blend of traditional and modern curricula, focusing on fostering global leaders who can adapt to any business environment. 

According to QS Top MBA Universities in Asia, there are seven Japanese Universities that Excel in English MBA programs:

Waseda Business School (#31)

Waseda Business School offers a comprehensive MBAs that integrates theory and practice. The school has strong ties with Japanese industries and provides ample opportunities for networking, internships, and mentorship.

Waseda University offers a range of MBA programs tailored to diverse needs, each with its unique duration and focus. The flagship program, the International MBA, spans two years and is primarily conducted in English, dedicated to shaping students into business leaders with a global perspective. For those interested in specializing in finance, the two-year MSc in Finance Program, also conducted in English, equips students with essential financial knowledge and technical skills for entrepreneurial pursuits.

If you seek an accelerated experience, the Waseda-Nanyang Double MBA Program, lasting 14 months and commencing in Singapore before concluding in Tokyo, is designed to cultivate international business acumen and management skills through courses at both Nanyang Business School and Waseda Business School. The tuition for any of these esteemed programs is approximately 3,826,000 JPY, and they all emphasize Waseda’s commitment to offering a global learning environment conducted in English and a valuable option when looking for an MBA in Japan.

School of International Corporate Strategy, Hitotsubashi University (#18)

Hitotsubashi ICS is part of a renowned public university specializing in social sciences. The MBA program focuses on bridging the gap between Eastern and Western business practices. With partnerships with top business schools worldwide, you’re given a global perspective with a deep dive into Asian markets. They also rank the highest in hands-on learning when acquiring an MBA in Japan, according to QS 2023. 

At Hitotsubashi University, you’ll find specializations in International Business Strategy, Innovation Management, and Leadership. The duration of the full-time MBA program is typically one year, but they also offer a two-year Executive MBA (EMBA) for working professionals. Both programs blend lectures, case studies, and group projects for a comprehensive learning experience. Tuition costs around 642,300 JPY but note that scholarships and financial aid options are available. Japanese language support includes optional language courses focusing on business-specific terminology.

NUCB Business School (#22)

Located in Nagoya, NUCB provides a cutting-edge curriculum that is case-based, similar to Harvard Business School. The program emphasizes experiential learning, which is ideal for those looking to immerse themselves in the Japanese business culture.

NUCB Business School offers specializations in Entrepreneurship, General Management, and Asian Markets. Their Global Leader Program lasts 21 months, with additional weekend and evening MBA options available. The program is case-based, mimicking the Harvard Business School methodology. The tuition costs 1,430,000 JPY with scholarships available for eligible students. For those interested in learning Japanese, the school offers language courses for all levels, integrated into the curriculum.

Ritsumeikan APU School of Management (#17)

Ritsumeikan Asia pacific university alongside its Graduate school focuses on sustainability and responsible management. The MBA program is known for its diverse student body, which enriches the learning environment and offers a global perspective right in the classroom.

Ritsumeikan APU focuses on specializations in Sustainability, Innovation and Technology, and International Management. The program offers flexibility with 1 or 2-year options, available in full-time or part-time formats. The classrooms boast diversity, offering a rich blend of global perspectives. Tuition is 3,800,000 JPY with scholarship opportunities for deserving candidates. In terms of language support, bilingual courses in English and Japanese are available, along with special Japanese training sessions.

International University of Japan (#51)

IUJ’s MBA program is one of the oldest in Japan and aims to produce global leaders who can navigate the complex world of international business. The school has a strong focus on research and practical application, with plenty of opportunities for real-world engagement.

The International University of Japan offers specializations in E-Business, International Relations, and Project Management. The full-time MBA is a two-year program with a strong emphasis on research. Fees are 3,200,000 JPY, with financial aid options available. Optional language classes focus on both cultural and business Japanese skills.

Doshisha University (#121)

Doshisha Business School in Kyoto blends traditional Japanese business philosophies with modern global business practices. The curriculum focuses on ethical considerations and long-term strategic planning, reflecting the Japanese ethos of business as a long-term commitment.

Doshisha University provides specializations in Business Ethics, Strategic Management, and Japanese Management Style. The full-time MBA lasts one year, while the part-time option is designed to be completed in two years. The teaching methods include lectures, case studies, and opportunities for internships. Tuition costs around 1,648,000 JPY for the program. Optional Japanese language courses are tailored to meet the needs of business professionals, focusing on daily and business communication skills.

Globis University (#7647) 

Last but not least, the MBA program at Globis University in Japan offers an internationally recognized curriculum designed to cultivate the skills necessary for successful careers in business and management as well as the opportunity to conduct an online MBA. With an emphasis on new and practical experience, as well as catering to the various program needs of students, the program covers essential areas like finance, marketing, operations, and strategy, while also focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation. Students are provided numerous opportunities for real-world application through case studies, internships, and collaborative projects with top Japanese and international corporations.

Regarding the financial and time investment, the tuition for the entire MBA program is ¥4,000,000, excluding additional costs such as books and accommodation. However, various scholarship options are available to alleviate financial concerns. The program offers flexibility in terms of duration, with the full-time track designed to be completed in 18 months, and a part-time option that extends over 36 months. There is also an online and hybrid option that is available for students as well. Notably, Globis University’s MBAs are well-ranked, placing 10th in Japan and among the top 700th MBA programs globally.

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What Do You Need to Enroll?

If you’re an international student eyeing an MBA in Japan, understanding the admission requirements is crucial. The prerequisites can vary from one institution to another, but there are general guidelines to consider:

Bachelor’s Degree: A completed undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 is a universal requirement.

English: Official scores from TOEFL or IELTS are often necessary if English isn’t your first language. A TOEFL score of at least 80 on the internet-based test 550 on the paper-based test, and a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, are generally recommended.

Japanese Proficiency: Some schools might also require proof of Japanese language proficiency, although the programs of the universities listed above are offered entirely in English.

GMAT/GRE: While some schools may admit you without GMAT scores, an average score of 600 on the GMAT is generally seen as favorable for both admission and scholarship opportunities. GRE scores can sometimes serve as an alternative.

Work Experience: Although not mandatory for all programs, some of Japan’s top MBA institutions prefer candidates with 2-3 years of relevant work experience, especially for executive Global MBA programs.

Statement of Purpose: Your chance to showcase your objectives, skills, and why you’re a good fit for the program.

Letters of Recommendation: Often one or two letters are required, from professional or academic referees.

Essay: Some programs require specific essays aside from the Statement of Purpose.

Resume/CV: A detailed professional history can strengthen your application.

Copy of Passport: Required for international students.

Proof of Finances: To establish your ability to fund your education.

In summary, while specific requirements can differ across schools, most will expect a bachelor’s degree, language proficiency tests, standardized test scores, and possibly work experience. Understanding and meeting these basic criteria will significantly strengthen your application for an MBA program in Japan.

Top Popular specializations in japan

  1. Finance and Accounting
  2. Entrepreneurship/ social entrepreneurship
  3. Marketing
  4. Healthcare management
  5. Information technology
  6. Supply chain and operations management
  7. Digital Marketing
  8. Tourism and hospitality management
  9. Arts management
  10. Asian business management
  11. Project management
  12. Strategy / Design / Innovation
Graduate picture of a student in MBA in Japan

Scholarships and Tuition Fees for MBA in Japan

When pursuing an MBA in Japan, financing your education can be a challenge, as the average cost of an MBA in Japan is around 3,200,000 yen. Fortunately, several scholarships are available to international students. The Japanese government provides the MEXT Scholarships, offering comprehensive coverage of tuition, living expenses, and even airfare. JASSO, the Japan Student Services Organization, offers the 文部科学省 Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for privately financed international students, providing a monthly stipend to help with living expenses.

As mentioned before, universities often have their own scholarships and financial aid programs, including merit-based and need-based awards. Corporate and private scholarships are also available, such as those from the Ibaraki Robots and the Asian Development Bank. To ensure your success, it’s crucial to explore these varied opportunities early in your application process​.

What can I learn / experience from MBA programs in Japan?

MBAs in Japan offers a well-rounded experience that merges global business insights with practical, on-the-ground experience. Students gain a deep understanding of international markets through global case studies and case methods, business tours, and exchange programs. Networking is also a significant component, bolstered by international conferences and strong alumni networks. Opportunities for real-world application are abundant in Japan’s diverse business sectors, including tech, finance, and healthcare.

English-taught programs add an extra layer of competitiveness, facilitating easier access to international markets and a broader network of business contacts. However, while English proficiency is increasingly valued, a strong command of the Japanese language remains important for those aiming to fully integrate into the Japanese business scene.

International Environment in English-Program MBA In Japan

What Kind of Opportunities Do MBA Courses Offer? 

Japanese MBAs are explicitly designed to offer a wealth of experience in global business contexts. They accomplish this through the integration of global case studies, international business tours, and student exchange programs. As a result, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in diverse markets and business ecosystems firsthand. Moreover, these programs put a strong emphasis on developing cross-cultural management skills, thereby equipping students to navigate the complexities of the global business environment effectively.

When it comes to global networking and mentorship, Japanese MBAs leave no stone unturned. These programs often feature international business conferences, workshops, and other networking events that bring together a who’s who of global business leaders. The extensive and often globally dispersed alumni networks offer additional avenues for networking and mentorship. Formal mentorship programs are also a common feature, where students can be paired with seasoned professionals, sometimes even internationally, to gain insights and guidance in their chosen fields.

The practical opportunities available within Japan’s dynamic business landscape are both varied and abundant. From internships and co-op programs to full-time placements, there’s a multitude of avenues for MBA students to apply their academic learnings in real-world settings. Japan’s leading corporations and emerging startups are increasingly recognizing the value that MBA graduates can bring, offering roles in various sectors like tech, finance, healthcare, and manufacturing.

An English-taught MBA in Japan offers a unique competitive advantage, particularly when it comes to international business endeavors. Since English is widely acknowledged as the global language of business, proficiency in it can significantly widen a graduate’s career prospects by providing easier access to international markets and business networks.

Moreover, the cosmopolitan nature of these English-taught programs tends to attract a diverse range of students and faculty. This diversity further enriches the networking opportunities available, making it easier for students to forge invaluable business connections, both within Japan and on a global scale. Learn more on how to acquire opportunities and exposure through networking in the Japanese business environment by taking a look at How to Establish Business Partnerships in Japan with Fariza Abidova.

What are the potential drawbacks of Japanese MBA Programs?

Relatively Smaller Global Recognition: Although Japanese MBAs are increasingly being conducted in English and aim to globalize their curricula, they may not enjoy the same level of global recognition as their counterparts in the U.S. or Europe. This could impact your career mobility if you decide to leave Japan.

Cultural Barriers: Japan has a distinct corporate culture, often marked by hierarchical structures and a focus on group harmony. While understanding this culture is a valuable asset, it may not be directly applicable or easily transferable to other business environments, especially those that are more individualistic or egalitarian.

High Cost of Living: Japan, particularly cities like Tokyo, can be quite expensive to live in. This adds an extra financial burden when you factor in tuition fees, textbooks, and living expenses. Financial aid options may also be more limited compared to programs in other countries.

Language Constraints: Even though the MBAs are in English, not all business in Japan is conducted in the English language. A lack of proficiency in Japanese could be a hindrance when it comes to networking, internships, or even securing a job post-graduation within the country.

Relatively Small Alumni Network: Compared to long-established MBAs in the U.S. or Europe, Japanese MBA programs may have a smaller alumni network. This could limit your opportunities for networking and mentorship, both of which are invaluable resources for career advancement.

Concentrated Job Market: The job opportunities post-MBA may be largely concentrated in certain industries like technology and manufacturing. If you are wishing to enter a new job as a professional and your interests or expertise lie in a different sector, you might find fewer opportunities tailored to your skills and ambitions.

Before making a decision, it’s essential to consider these factors in the context of your own career goals and personal circumstances. While an MBA in Japan can provide a unique and enriching experience, it’s important to be aware of the limitations and challenges that you may encounter along the way.

Best Career Opportunities for MBA Graduates

Masters of Business Administration in Japan

An MBA in Japan offers unparalleled versatility, equipping graduates with the skills needed for a diverse array of career paths. In Japan, a recognized economic powerhouse and center for innovation, the value of an MBA in Japan is especially pronounced. Whether you are a business professional contemplating a new career trajectory in Japan, or simply looking to align your current role with those most sought-after in the country, Japan offers abundant opportunities. Here is a breakdown of the various career avenues that could be pursued post-MBA in Japan:

1. 本社営業 (Honsha Eigyou): Headquarter Sales

This role often involves liaising between a company’s headquarters and its international branches. It’s a role where MBA grads can apply their skills in business negotiations and intercultural communications. While proficiency in Japanese is helpful, it is not always a necessity.

2. 貿易管理・輸入/輸出 (Boueki Kanri; Yu-nyuu/Yu-shutsu): Import/Export Trade

Japan is a vital hub for international trade. MBA grads here may find themselves overseeing logistics and monitoring tariffs, especially in major cities like Tokyo and Fukuoka.

3. CFO (Chief Financial Officer)

For those looking for long-term opportunities in Japan, the role of a CFO in a non-Japanese company can be particularly rewarding. Higher-paying CFO positions often require experience with an IPO in the last three years.

4. 生産管理 (Seisan Kanri): Production/Quality Control Manager

This role requires overseeing production processes and is especially important for products that are exported from Japan. You’ll act as a liaison between factories and international partners.

5. 調達・購買 (Choutatsu & Koubai): Purchasing & Procurement

Here, the focus is on buying quality materials at reasonable prices. Proficiency in Japanese (N2-N1) is often required for major business transactions.

6. 事業統括 (Jigyou Toukatsu): Business Management

You’ll oversee the financial status of the company and manage various contracts domestically and internationally.

7. 知的財産 (Chiteki Zaisan): Intellectual Property

In this role, MBA grads are often responsible for assisting companies in writing patents in multiple languages.

However, there are more examples of the career choices depending on students’ trajectory in life and personal preferences.

Is an MBA in Japan Helpful for Entrepreneurship and Business Expansion?

If you’re contemplating an MBA in Japan with an entrepreneurial angle in mind, you’re looking at a well-rounded ecosystem that offers both financial and educational incentives. One key advantage in Japan is the financial backing for startups. Programs like the NEDO Project offer grants that don’t require repayment, which is a significant boost for any new venture. Additionally, the Japan Finance Corporation provides low-interest loans geared towards startups and small-to-medium enterprises. The ease of starting a business is also a strong point in Japan. The government has streamlined business registration processes to save you time, and there are designated economic zones where regulations are relaxed to foster innovation.

The MBAs in Japan goes beyond the standard curriculum. They increasingly include courses aimed at future entrepreneurs, teaching essential skills from drafting business plans to understanding venture capital. To supplement the learning, successful entrepreneurs often guest lecture, offering invaluable real-world insights.

Cultural fluency is another benefit. Most MBA programs in Japan will include modules or workshops on understanding local business etiquette. This could be a crucial differentiator for your business, especially when engaging with local stakeholders.

For skill development, keep an eye out for various workshops and seminars organized by business schools and other entities. These often cover necessary skills like negotiation or digital marketing, which could be essential for your startup.

According to Globis University, approximately 10% of MBA grads go on to become entrepreneurs, while 20% join entrepreneurial companies. That speaks volumes about the conducive entrepreneurial environment here. Lastly, Japan’s workforce is highly skilled, offering a rich talent pool in areas ranging from engineering to marketing. As the country increases its focus on English education, the pool of bilingual talent is also growing, which is a definite plus for any business with international ambitions. Learn more about how entrepreneurship is supported in Japan with our podcast episode Incubators and Accelerators with Erdinć and Yu Li.

How Do Global Companies View English MBA Graduates from Japan?

Global companies often hold English MBAs in Japan in considerable regard. An MBA in Japan signifies not just academic rigor, but a nuanced understanding of both Western and Eastern business practices. Employers value this blend of perspectives, especially in roles that involve international partnerships or market expansion strategies. Moreover, the strong focus on soft skills like cultural communication and conflict resolution makes you a candidate capable of navigating diverse work environments.

An English-language MBA in Japan usually enjoys international recognition, particularly if earned from a prestigious institution. The degree often fulfills the global accreditation standards similar to those in the U.S. or Europe, which adds to its value. Employers across the world understand that an MBA in Japan likely means you have a deep understanding of high-growth sectors like technology, finance, or manufacturing, given Japan’s strength in these industries.

Is an English-language MBA in Japan the Right Fit for Me?

If you’re drawn to a blend of traditional and modern business philosophies and excited about immersing yourself in a different culture, an English-language MBA in Japan could be an excellent choice for you. This degree is particularly ideal if you’re weighing a career in international business or technology innovation, given Japan’s pioneering role in these fields. Additionally, if you’re open to embracing new cultures and perspectives and are aiming to work in a Japanese environment, this MBA in Japan can make you stand out in a crowded market. It offers unique skills and perspectives that aren’t commonly found among MBAs from more typical locations like the U.S. or Europe.

How can I apply for an MBA in Japan?

How to apply to an MBA in japan is one of the most frequently asked question, it’s crucial to understand the general steps involved, especially if you’re considering studying in Japan. While the application procedures may vary from one university to another, having a sample process can offer valuable insights into what to expect. Below is a clear example of how the application process works at Hitotsubashi University:

Eligibility Criteria: Before diving into the application process, Hitotsubashi University provides some general requirements for students to apply to the university. 

  • Educational Background: A minimum of 16 years of education. 
  •  Academic Record: A bachelor’s degree with a sound academic performance.
  •  Work Experience: At least two years of full-time post-graduate work experience. The count may include the months leading up to the program’s September start date.
  • Personal Qualities: Employment history, essays, and references that show high motivation, a clear purpose, and strong interpersonal skills.
  •  Aptitude for Business: Demonstrated by your GMAT or GRE scores.
  •  English Proficiency: Strong command of the English language.

Then, the university provides a more in-depth look into the application process

Step 1: Download the Application Package

Before starting your application after finding your Mba in Japan by simply looking at “mba japan” search results or by finding it on global ranking lists for MBA, it’s crucial to download the university’s application (in this case, provided by Hitotsubashi ICS). The package contains detailed information about the application process, including the documents you’ll need to submit. For any questions, you can consult the FAQ section or reach out through the contact details provided in the package. 

Step 2: Create your account to start the application process 

Begin by registering for an account on the Hitotsubashi ICS Online Application System. Make sure to register as early as possible to avoid any last-minute technical issues.

Once your account is set up, you can proceed to fill out the application form in English. If any of your original documents are in a different language, you must include a certified English translation. You can modify uploaded documents any number of times before finally applying.

Step 3: Submit the Application Form

Required Documents:

  • Degree Certificate: Issued by the Registrar’s Office of your previous university or college. Those with a master’s or doctoral degree must also submit certificates for those degrees.
  •  Official Transcript: Also issued by the Registrar’s Office of your previous university or college.
  •  Essay: Essay questions can be downloaded from the application system.
  •  Official GMAT/GRE Score Report: Your official score report must be sent directly by GMAC or ETS.
  •  Proof of Application Fee Payment: A non-refundable fee of JPY 30,000 is required, payable via credit card or bank transfer.
  • Identity Document: Photocopies of relevant pages, such as a passport or Japanese driver’s license, are necessary for verification of your identity.
    •  TOEFL or IELTS Score Report (Optional): Official scores must be sent directly by the test center.TOEFL: University Code No.: 8682
    •  IELTS: Department: Hitotsubashi ICS Admissions Office
  •  Up to Two Letters of Reference (Optional): Letters should come from people who have directly assessed your work or academic performance.
  •  Haken Shodakusho (For Company-Sponsored Applicants Only): An official letter stating that your employer is willing to sponsor you.

Step 4: The Follow-up Process

  1. Online Application: Complete the application online along with a non-refundable fee of JPY 30,000. Applications submitted via post or email will not be reviewed.
  2.  Interview: If you pass the initial screening, you will be invited for an online interview.
  3.  Admission Decision: Expect a notification 2-3 weeks after the interview, via both email and post.
  4.  Enrollment: The student receives an acceptance letter from the university. 

Finally, key dates are included for the 2024 Intake. In this case, Hitotsubashi ICS offers two rounds of applications for the 2024 class:

  • Round One: August 1, 2023, to October 18, 2023, with interviews on November 24 and decisions by December 7, 2023.
  •  Round Two: November 13, 2023, to February 14, 2024, with interviews on March 22 and decisions by April 4, 2024.

Note: Scholarship decisions are made post-admission, and early applicants have an advantage in securing these limited scholarships.

In the case of Hitotsubashi University, which does not have the option to choose a part-time MBA, students who are interested in Hitotsubashi University cannot take both part-time MBA classes and continue working unless supported by the company. However, once you are accepted into the university, it is possible to begin the process of acquiring a student visa in Japan.

Successful applicants would send copies of the original required documents to the Hitotsubashi ICS Admissions Office during the enrollment period. 

Before you decide on a program to acquire an MBA in Japan, it’s important to conduct thorough research on the schools that offer the courses and specializations that pique your interest. Ensuring the program has international accreditation can also broaden your job opportunities post-graduation. If it’s feasible, visiting the campus and even attending a class can give you a sense of the learning environment. Talking to alumni can offer insights into how the degree could benefit your career. Don’t forget to plan financially; consider the tuition, living expenses, and any available financial aid options. Once you’ve done all this due diligence, you’re ready to proceed with the application process.

Visualization of learning MBA in Japan

Final Thoughts

Choosing to pursue an English-language MBA in Japan is more than an educational decision; it’s a career and lifestyle choice. Given its international recognition and the unique blend of skill sets you’d acquire, it can be a game-changing move for the globally-minded business professional or entrepreneur. By following a strategic approach to your decision-making, you can leverage this opportunity to position yourself uniquely in a Japanese business landscape. 

At Scaling Your Company, we specialize in accelerating business growth by tapping into the valuable lessons learned from Japanese multinational corporations. Our expertise is particularly relevant for MBA graduates in Japan who are looking to scale their startups, penetrate new markets, or deepen their understanding of business expansion strategies. We offer personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs to help transform your company into a global powerhouse. Reach out to us via our contact form for tailored advice and insights to explore how we can help elevate and support your business. Top Japan Podcasts

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