Value of Getting an MBA in Tokyo - Part I

Value of Getting an MBA in Tokyo - Part I

Something that many people back home consider in order to get an edge in the job market is an MBA. So it may surprise some people to know that education-obsessed Japan has very few MBA courses and less than 10,000 people studying for an MBA nationwide - just a fraction of those doing the same thing in the USA and elsewhere.

So where do you go about getting one?

If I assume that you are already located and working here (why would you study for an MBA in Japan when there are courses back home?), then the best option is a weekend course. There are two institutions in Tokyo that offer world class MBAs and which provide weekend study in English: Temple University Japan and McGill University which has a Japan MBA program.

In this first segment, we look at Temple. The Campus is located in Minami Azabu, not far from Furukawabashi and Azabu Juban. The school offers an Executive MBA program, which consists of 16 graduate courses specifically designed for experienced managers. Since you are working, the idea is to get you thinking and solving problems in the real world - a big plus in improving your own business performance.

The Temple professors are usually sourced from the school's Philadelphia campus, and are chosen for their practical awareness of business as well as their academic expertise. This is important, because honestly speaking, while there are many MBA programs, Temple makes sure that you get real skills to take back to the office with you. The system seems to work - just talk to one of the graduates and you'll find that they are very supportive of the school!

I asked the Assistant Dean at Temple, William Swinton - "Swint" as his friends know him - why someone would actually want to take an MBA course in Tokyo. As a recruiter, I know that it doesn't really get you more cash. He had an excellent response.

Apart from learning management basics and "accelerating the learning curve", there are probably two main reasons for getting an MBA in Tokyo. The first is quite simple: if you're on a recruiter's short list and one of you has an MBA while the other doesn't, you need to make sure that it's always the other guy (or lady) who falls short.

The second is a function of human relationships. Just as students at Ivy League schools are usually offered jobs through the school's network before the students graduate, so it is with Temple, too. According to Swinton, there are Temple alumni and supporters all over the world, and particularly around the Asia Pacific region. Many of these people are running companies and hiring people - which provides natural opportunities for students. Further, and within reason, these same alumni are willing to help with advice and introductions - so the school network is alive and well, and working for the graduates.

Of course, the real value of the MBA is to learn something from the course, and it is here that Temple's professors shine. Among the faculty are nationally recognized researchers and published authors, holders of prestigious Fulbright fellowships, winners of Great Teacher Awards, and recipients of grants from the National Science Foundation and other agencies that support excellence in scholarship. With a brain trust like that, your Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. will be well spent. Temple takes in just 30 students a year, so if you are interested in finding out more for a course this year, you should apply soon! Find more information at www.tuj.ac.jp/emba.

If you are considering a career in the recruiting industry, you can drop Terrie Lloyd an email for more advice at terrie.lloyd@daijob.com. You can also see his weekly newsletter, called Terrie's Take, at www.terrie.com.

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