The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Waseda University, a private research institution located in central Tokyo, offers a range of executive programs for experienced professionals looking to further their education and companies seeking finely tuned staff training. To learn more about the benefits, The ACCJ Journal sat down with Professor Hiroshi Kanno, director of the school’s Institute for Business and Finance.

The Institute for Business and Finance is actively engaged in educational activities for business people through a variety of non-degree programs. Companies often send staff to Waseda for training, and the university works with them to tailor courses. “Each company has a different need, and flexibility is the benefit of the tailor-made executive program,” explained Kanno.

Once Waseda receives a request, a professor is assigned as the project coordinator. Through in-depth discussions with the client company, details about objectives and needs are made clear and a program is designed from scratch, utilizing the expertise of professors who are qualified in the required field.

The open enrollment programs gather as many as 30 companies to create more powerful learning through diversity. “The staff sent from different companies build relationships that help them learn from each other through heated discussions,” Kanno said. “Sometimes they build life-long relationships.”

Some programs can be used to address problems that exist within the companies for which students work. “For example, if it is a finance program, we will assign finance professors,” Kanno explained. “In this way, students can study, analyze the situation, and come up with a solution that—at the end of the program—can be presented to their company’s senior management.”

So, not only do companies get comprehensive executive training for their staff, they may also end up with a detailed solution for an internal problem.

As one of the biggest business institutions in Japan, Waseda Business School has the largest faculty with expertise spanning a wide range of disciplines.

Many professors have previous experience in executive business positions. Two examples are Professor Masao Hirano, who was director and head of McKinsey & Company, Inc.’s Japan office, and Professor Kazunari Uchida, who served as Japan representative and senior partner of The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. before joining the Waseda Business School faculty.

The school has also seen people such as Nobuhiro Endo, chairman of the board at NEC Corporation, and Ichiro Kashitani, president and CEO at Toyota Tsusho Corporation, go through its executive training programs.

“Since we have a wide range of faculty members, I think we can address most of the individual needs of each company,” said Kanno.

Thanks to its rich history, the school has long-running ties with the business community. These relationships supply students with opportunities to learn from experienced professionals. “Beyond discussion with professors, one key component of executive training is interaction with guest speakers,” Kanno explained. “We can bring in someone at the request of the client, and we can get almost anyone who is needed thanks to our deep and wide relationship with the business community.”

“Sometimes the customer’s needs are global, and we can accommodate that. We can provide our programs in English and can collaborate with overseas business schools if that is required,” Kanno said. Waseda h

as partnered with many such schools from around the world, most recently starting joint programs with the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and ESSEC Business School in France.

“The key to success in Japan is a little bit different,” Kanno noted. “What we can do for global companies is to help them understand Japan, unique business factors, and how to succeed here. In many cases, even though the head subsidiary is not Japanese, they request that we do training in Japanese.” This can help create a stronger connection to, and understanding of, the local culture and is one way in which Waseda’s executive education programs align perfectly with the goals of the client.

What we can do for global companies is to help them understand Japan, unique business factors, and how to succeed here.