News & Highlights

  • March 2016
  • MBA CURRICULUM

IFC 2016: What 37 HBS Students Learned From Entrepreneurs in Tohoku

The Japan IFC (Immersive Field Course, formerly known as the Japan IXP), an HBS MBA elective course taught by Professor Hiro Takeuchi, was completed with another huge success this January. Since the program started as a response to the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11 2011, it has become one of the most popular elective courses. In fact, the Japan IFC is the longest running course of its kind, with 2016 marking its 5th consecutive year. This year's theme was "Tohoku: The world's test Market for Authentic Entrepreneurship" and the program was held in Tokyo and Tohoku for 12 days. 37 scond-year students from all over the world - US, Israel, Benin, Ghana, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, Korea, Egypt, UAE, Canada, France, Germany, Argentina, Singapore, Dominica, and Japan - Participated in the program. During their stay in Japan, students were involved in three types of activities: 1) team-based consulting for eight companies in Tohoku; 2) full-group activities to learn and contribute to disaster-affected areas; 3) immersion in modern and traditional Japan through unique cultural activities.
  • March 2016
  • Alumni News

Drawing Connections Between Business and Art

Consultancy shows Japanese companies the benefits of appreciating and investing in contemporary art. In 2007, Tetsuji Shibayama (MBA 1990) founded AG Holdings, a consultancy with a special focus on art and culture programs.

New Research on the Region

  • June 2016
  • Case

FANUC Corporation: Reassessing the Firm's Governance and Financial Policies

By: Benjamin C. Esty, Nobuo Sato and Akiko Kanno

In February 2015, Daniel Loeb (a US-based activist investor) announced his firm had a large investment in FANUC Corporation, a leading producer of industrial robots and software for machine tools. Loeb was demanding that the Japanese firm change its financial and governance policies (e.g., distribute more cash, fix its “illogical” capital structure, and provide more information to shareholders). FANUC’s CEO, Yoshiharu Inaba, and his board must decide if and how to respond. One the one hand, the firm had been very successful having built leading global market shares in each of its core divisions and profitability that exceeded what Goldman Sachs earned on a per person basis. On the other hand, the Japanese government was calling for financial and governance reform as part of the prime minister’s recently-announced economic growth strategy known as “Abenomics”. Although Inaba and his team had previously considered many of the proposed changes, the question was whether it was now time to actually make some of the changes.

  • June 2016
  • Teaching Material

FANUC Corporation: Reassessing the Firm's Governance and Financial Policies Spreadsheet Supplement

By: Benjamin C. Esty and Akiko Kanno

In February 2015, Daniel Loeb (a US-based activist investor) announced his firm had a large investment in FANUC Corporation, a leading producer of industrial robots and software for machine tools. Loeb was demanding that the Japanese firm change its financial and governance policies (e.g., distribute more cash, fix its "illogical" capital structure, and provide more information to shareholders). FANUC's CEO, Yoshiharu Inaba, and his board must decide if and how to respond. One the one hand, the firm had been very successful having built leading global market shares in each of its core divisions and profitability that exceeded what Goldman Sachs earned on a per person basis. On the other hand, the Japanese government was calling for financial and governance reform as part of the prime minister's recently-announced economic growth strategy known as "Abenomics". Although Inaba and his team had previously considered many of the proposed changes, the question was whether it was now time to actually make some of the changes.

  • March 2016
  • Teaching Material

Trouble at Tessei

In 2005, Teruo Yabe is asked to revive Tessei, the 669-person JR-East subsidiary responsible for cleaning its Shinkansen ("bullet") trains. Operational mistakes, customer complaints, safety issues, and employee turnover are at or near all-time highs, even as the demands on Tessei continued to grow. Given previous leaders' failed attempts to fix Tessei's problems with increased managerial monitoring and controls, Yabe seeks a creative approach to overcome the motivation, capability, and coordination challenges facing his organization. Like many contemporary leaders, he selects transparency as his tool. He is, however, unique in adopting a highly nuanced approach to implementing transparency. In the process, he not only leads a fantastic organizational turnaround but even helps to make otherwise "dirty" work more meaningful for Tessei front-line employees. The case therefore presents students, particularly in leadership, organizational behavior, operations management, and service operations courses, with an opportunity to think through how a well-crafted transparency strategy can act as a powerful leadership tool.

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Tokyo Staff

Nobuo Sato
Executive Director
Akiko Kanno
Senior Researcher
Yukari Takizawa
Staff Assistant
Mayuka Yamazaki
Assistant Director
Naoko Jinjo
Senior Researcher