News & Highlights

  • March 2016

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

  • January 2017 (Revised January 2017)
  • Case

Godiva Japan: Think Local, Scale Global

By: Rohit Deshpandé, Esel Cekin and Akiko Kanno

This case tracks Jerome Chouchan’s strategies and execution for a successful turnaround of Godiva Japan’s operations which was experiencing a decline in sales when he became the managing director of the company in 2010. Through various initiatives and innovations, Godiva Japan had targeted a variety of demographic segments in different sales points, acquired new customers and created a moment of luxurious consumption for all ages. Accordingly, within Godiva’s global enterprise, Godiva Japan had become number two in terms of worldwide sales and number one in terms of profits. It exported made-in-Japan products and concepts to Godiva’s other markets. How could Chouchan keep the momentum and sustain Godiva Japan’s top-line and bottom-line growth going forward? Would he be able to keep the balance between aspirational and accessible? How much of the success in Japan might contribute to the growth of Godiva's global sales?

  • December 2016
  • Case

Rice in Japan

By: Forest Reinhardt, Gunnar Trumbull, Naoko Jinjo and Mayuka Yamazaki

  • October 2016 (Revised November 2016)
  • Case

ASICS: Chasing a 2020 Vision

By: Elie Ofek, Nobuo Sato and Akiko Kanno

In early 2016, Motoi Oyama, president and CEO of ASICS, a major sports apparel and footwear manufacturer based in Japan, lays out his company’s growth plan for the upcoming 5 years. The new plan set ambitious goals in terms of revenue and profit increases. At the heart of the strategy to achieve these goals are a desire to embrace a more direct to consumer mindset, expand into new customer segments, and communicate a more consistent and emotional brand worldwide. With its primary core customer currently the “serious” runner and its innovation strategy geared towards high-end performance, pursuing these objectives in light of the fierce competitive landscape posed a multitude of challenges. Moreover, the company had recently launched several lifestyle brands (using brand names it had revived), which posed brand architecture issues. Lastly, the company had just acquired a digital fitness app, RunKeeper, and was wondering how best to leverage this asset and how it fit with the main pillars of the growth plan strategy. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games would coincide with the conclusion of the 5 year plan, and ASICS had paid over $100 million to be a Gold Sponsor of the games— Oyama wondered whether his company was on the right track to achieving the goals he intimated to shareholders.

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Tokyo Staff

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