News & Highlights

  • June 2020

Virtual Event with Professor Rebecca Henderson

On June 20, Professor Rebecca Henderson discussed Reimagining Capitalism after COVID-19 and how to find a “new normal” both in our daily lives and among the Japan business community. Professor Henderson teaches Reimagining Capitalism in the MBA Program and Sustainable Business Strategy at HBS Online. This event was organized by the HBS Online Tokyo Chapter in celebration of her new book: Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire. More than 50 people including former HBS Online participants and alumni from the region enjoyed the lively discussion.
  • June 2020

Why Japanese Businesses Are So Good at Surviving Crises with Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi

As demonstrated after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Japanese businesses have a unique capability for long-term survival. In this article, Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi explains Japan’s strategy of investing in community over profits during turbulent times. He provides examples of several well-known Japanese companies and the positive impact they had on the recovery efforts.
  • JANUARY 2020

The Global Classroom: Student Immersion in Japan

As part of the elective curriculum within the MBA program, students have the opportunity in their second year to enroll in an Immersive Field Course – or “IFC.” These courses are driven by faculty research and industry connections, and provide students with an opportunity to get out of the classroom and put the skills they have learned to practice in the field. Typically, about 200 students participate in IFCs annually. In January 2020, Professor Hiro Takeuchi from the School’s Strategy Unit led 42 students to Japan for 10 days where they visited Tokyo and the Tohoku region. During their stay in Japan, students were involved in three types of activities: 1) team-based consulting projects for companies in Tokyo; 2) group activities to learn about and contribute to the disaster-affected areas in the Tohoku region; and 3) immersive experiences in traditional and modern Japanese culture.
  • DECEMBER 2019

Case Discussion Session with Professor Scott Kominers

On December 16, the HBS Japan Research Center welcomed Professor Scott Duke Kominers from the Entrepreneurial Management Unit to Tokyo and organized a case discussion session in collaboration with Academyhills. Professor Kominers taught his Raksul case that he wrote with the support of the Japan Research Center. Raksul, 2018 Forbes Japan "Startup of the Year," ran an e-commerce platform drawing upon thousands of individual suppliers. Launched as a business-to-business printing services marketplace, Raksul had recently expanded to operate both a logistics/delivery marketplace and a television advertising marketplace. In the case, each marketplace faces its own growth challenges; at the same time, the CEO must consider whether and how each marketplace can enhance the others. 40 people including HBS alumni joined the session and enjoyed a taste of the HBS-style case discussion.

New Research on the Region

  • September 2020
  • Case

Jan Swartz: Steering Princess Cruises Through the COVID-19 Crisis

By: Boris Groysberg and Michael Norris

In the summer of 2020, Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises, was persevering to lead her company back from the depths of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Diamond Princess, one of Princess Cruises’ 18 ships was the site of one of the earliest large outbreaks of COVID-19 outside of China. The outbreak led to hundreds of cases, at least a dozen deaths, media scrutiny, government investigations, and legal proceedings. In early March 2020, Swartz made the decision to pause all global operations of her company, the first cruise company to do so. Six months later, how could Princess Cruises restart operations safely and profitably?

  • September 2020
  • Case

Hitachi Rail Limited (A)

By: David J. Collis, Akiko Kanno and Nobuo Sato

Hitachi must decide whether to make a British executive, who has successfully built its European rail business from scratch, head of its global rail division even though the bulk of revenues for the unit still come from Japan. The case describes, the history of Hitachi Rail as the provider of trains for the Japanese Shinkansen, its struggles to build a European business with expatriates before the success of an outside hire, Alistair Dormer, in winning major contracts in the UK. By 2014, Hitachi is wondering whether to make Dormer CEO of the global rail business in order to further globalise the unit. Will an outsider and a foreigner be the correct choice for a Japanese company? How can the values of the Japanese company be preserved as it globalises? what changes are necessary to further globalise the business?

  • September 2020
  • Teaching Material

Hitachi Rail Limited (B)

By: David J. Collis, Akiko Kanno and Nobuo Sato

Describes the strategy and organisation changes made by British executive, Alistair Domer, after he is made head of Hitachi Rail's global business. The company acquires an Italian company, continues to win contracts in the UK, but struggles to bring its greenfield manufacturing facility up to speed as knowledge transfer from Japan proves difficult. Dormer creates a new global organisation structure with executives based in different geographies and tries to maintain the traditional Hitachi values in the new organisation.

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Tokyo Staff

Nobuo Sato
Executive Director
Akiko Kanno
Assistant Director
Akiko Saito
Senior Researcher
Yukari Takizawa
Office Manager