News & Highlights

  • JANUARY 2019
  • MBA EXPERIENCE

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 2019, Professor Hiro Takeuchi from the School’s Strategy Unit led 43 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.
  • April 2019
  • Alumni News

Alumni News: The Merchant of Osaka

A demographic time bomb is squeezing Japan’s economy from all sides and threatening the future of its health care system. Kanoko Oishi (MBA 1988) has bet her career that she can help defuse the situation—with solutions that sound more like a whisper than a boom. Matsubara is one of eight clinics operated by the nonprofit Platanus Medical Corporation, of which Kanoko Oishi is cofounder and COO. She is also the founding CEO of Mediva, the company’s consulting arm. Platanus clinics share overnight resources and electronic medical records, so their combined 2,500 at-home palliative care patients always have a direct line to doctors and specialists.
  • DECEMBER 2018
  • THE HARBUS

The Harbus: A conversation with Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi: Lessons to business leaders from Japanese companies

For many decades, Japan’s corporate culture has been an enigma to many. Even more puzzling still was how a small, resource-poor nation grew at one point to become the world’s second largest economy. The Harbus met with Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi to demystify what makes Japan unique and what lessons could be drawn.
  • DECEMBER 2018
  • WORKING KNOWLEDGE

HBS Working Knowledge: Honda Created a Civic for Very Light Jets. How High Will It Fly?

After thirty years of research and development, the HondaJet is now the top selling jet in the very light jet segment of the market. In this podcast, Professor Gary Pisano discusses how Honda Aircraft Corporation CEO Michimasa Fujino brought the jet to life, and must decide on ways to grow the business.

New Research on the Region

  • February 2019
  • Case

Honda Innovations: Leveraging External Insights to Accelerate Creation

By: Antonio Davila

Nick Sugimoto, CEO of Honda Innovations—the open innovation organization of Honda, has to decide how to extend his organization’s approach to innovation across the world. Honda Innovations dates back to 2000 when Honda created Honda Research Institute in Silicon Valley. Since then, the organization has evolved through various models from a venture capital fund to its current form as Honda’s corporate innovation effort. The case describes the various approaches to innovation between Honda and outside firms and how it fits into an increasingly dynamic car industry.

  • January 2019 (Revised March 2019)
  • Case

Should a Pension Fund Try to Change the World? Inside GPIF's Embrace of ESG

In the fall of 2018, Hiro Mizuno, the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of GPIF, the Japanese Government Pension Fund, was reflecting on his efforts to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues into every aspect of GPIF’s portfolio. His efforts ranged from constructing new stock market indices based on ESG data, changing the compensation and incentives of active investment managers and passive funds, pushing for more corporate sustainability reporting and integrated reporting, and establishing collaborations with other asset owners to drive systems level change. He was convinced that the only way to meet his responsibilities to his beneficiaries was to improve the performance of the entire economy through a focus on improving corporate governance, increasing inclusion in the workplace and gender diversity and reducing environmental damage and progress towards tackling climate change. The early results from his efforts were promising, but was there more he could do?

  • December 2018 (Revised December 2018)
  • Case

Shiseido: Reinvesting in Brand

By: Jill Avery and Nobuo Sato

Shiseido was in the midst of a six year corporate turnaround, trying to reverse the effects of decades of under-investment in R&D and marketing which had led to a cycle of declining customer support and brand value. Would the CEO’s VISION 2020 plan, centered on four strategies: 1.) increasing R&D spending from 1.8% to 3% of sales, 2.) investing an incremental ¥120 billion in brand-building marketing, 3.) moving to a “think global-act local” matrixed brand management structure, and 4.) rethinking brand portfolio strategy, be enough to achieve aggressive 8% per year sales goals while simultaneously increasing the company’s operating margin from 8% to 10% in the highly competitive and slow growing beauty industry?

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Tokyo Staff

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