Immersive Field Course: Japan; Tohoku: The World's Test Market for Authentic Entrepreneurship - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Immersive Field Course: Japan; Tohoku: The World's Test Market for Authentic Entrepreneurship

Course Number 6062

Professor of Management Practice Hirotaka Takeuchi
Five on-campus sessions on Wednesdays 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM - September 21, October 5, November 2 and December 7
Dates: Arrival on Tuesday January 3, departure on Saturday January 14, 2017
Program fee & travel costs: See details on Course Credit and Fees
Credits: 3.0
Enrollment: 45

Career Focus

This course will be of particular interest to students seeking to enhance their entrepreneurial and strategy toolkit, while gaining a general management perspective of the Japanese entrepreneurial landscape. Students will gain exposure to the styles and approaches of entrepreneurs leading a variety of organizations operating in Japan, and acquire an understanding of alternative leadership styles and business models aimed at creating economic and societal value in a changing environment.

Educational Objectives

Regions previously impacted by natural disasters provide a unique platform by which to foster entrepreneurial activity in highly dynamic situations. This course focuses on the innovation and emergence of solutions applicable to revitalization of a local market and its implications as a model for grassroots entrepreneurship on the world stage. This Immersive Field Course will provide students with the opportunity to understand the network of entrepreneurial activity in Tohoku and work alongside entrepreneurs as they seek to cultivate a vibrant livelihood for Tohoku and its future.

Course Content and Organization

Students enrolled in the Japan Immersive Field Course will work in teams to undertake a project with an organization led by an entrepreneur based in the Tohoku region. Tohoku suffered immense devastation from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters, and has since drawn increasing attention as a "test market" for revitalization and innovative approaches to entrepreneurship. Even prior to 2011, Tohoku was facing an expanding set of challenges not limited to: a shrinking and aging population, talent migration from the region, outdated business models and declining industries.

Teams will travel to Tokyo and the Tohoku region to conduct project work, providing opportunities both to contribute to the progress of their project partner organizations as well as examine the nature of leadership and the effectiveness of different approaches in such settings. The full class of students will also come together throughout the course for site visits and to interact with the local people.

During the Fall term, several course sessions will take place on-campus, allowing students to discuss the leadership qualities that foster economic and societal value in entrepreneurial settings. Students will also use the Fall term to assemble into their teams and collaborate with their Japan-based partner organizations to define and scope projects that will take place in January.

In January, teams will travel to Japan, where they will both contribute to the ongoing progress of the organization and attempt to identify the links between strategy and innovation that may be particularly productive in furthering the organization's goals. Each team will be called upon to present initial findings to their partner organizations at the conclusion of their time in Tohoku, and a more formalized report will be completed after the immersion for submission to the faculty and partner organizations. Cultural activities, field-based learning activities and opportunities for volunteer work will also be built into the Japan experience.



The Immersive Field Course Model

In contrast to FIELD 2, Immersive Field Courses are customized according to individual faculty research and are designed to enable students to take an active role in the construction of their learning. In many instances, these courses are built with a specific focus in mind and teams of students are called upon to collaborate directly with local company partners to scope projects, collect data and organize work plans before and during the immersion. Longer in duration than FIELD 2, these courses also tailor learning via field-based exercises, panel presentations, guest lectures, alumni events and plenary visits to relevant companies and organizations.

Course Credit and Fees

Students who successfully complete this course (including participation in all on-campus course sessions during the Fall and Spring terms) will earn 3.0 course credits.

HBS will provide land logistical components for this course (including accommodations, select meals, and local travel) but students will need to contribute a fee of $4,000 towards defraying a part of these costs. Students who have an existing financial aid application on file may apply for additional financial support to participate in this course. Please see the Financial Aid website (login required) for more information on financial support for Immersive Field Courses.

For detailed information about what the course program fee includes and excludes, as well as information about student accommodations, please visit the GEO website.