McDonough School of Business
News Story

Japan Country Immersion Week for Evening Program Students

Eighteen Georgetown MBA Evening Program students traveled to Japan in March as part of the Kakehashi Program for a nine-day residency that included visits to companies and historical and educational sites in Tokyo and Nagano. The visit was coordinated by the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) and was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

The Georgetown McDonough group joined nearly 200 participants from different U.S. schools hosted by this year’s edition of the Kakehashi Program. The program seeks to promote a global understanding of Japan’s economy and society and to build the basis for cooperation among the people of Japan and the United States.

Doing Business in Japan and Networking with Peers

The trip comprised tours of several companies, including Toyota, where students learned how the company became a global player and how it is adapting to the shifting preferences of millennials. In Nagano, students visited the Masuichi-Ichimura Sake Brewery where they witnessed traditional brewing methods and heard from management how senior workers were passing this knowledge to their younger peers.

“This trip to Japan has increased my interest in companies like Tamagawa Seiki, which places a high value on community, and Toyota, which emphasizes scrutiny in every step of any process,” said James Russo (MBA’19). “I look forward to my Global Business Experience course at Georgetown McDonough, where I hope to combine American and Japanese business principles to solve real-world problems at an international company.”  

“One of our findings was the importance of strong company values and how these can really drive action,” said Chloe Carter (MBA’19). “Georgetown’s stress on ethical responsibility in the conduct of business matches the business values of tradition and sustainability the Japanese companies we were able to interact with live by.”

Students also had the opportunity to interact with local and Nepalese students, who were studying how to create stronger structures at Shinshu University in order to build in their earthquake-affected hometowns.

Lessons to Apply Back at School

Students were thankful for a trip that provided them with a well-rounded view of the country, as they visited Tokyo and rural areas in the city of Nagano. During the final leg, a Japanese family hosted them in the city of Iida, where they helped chop wood and experienced Japanese country living.

According to the students the experience will have lasting effects on their journey at Georgetown McDonough.

“Valuing your employees is incredibly important in Japanese culture,” said Katie Mire (MBA’19). “I will take this back to my workplace. I also have an appreciation for senior co-workers because of the knowledge they can instill in me.”

“I would say that the trip inspired me to think more creatively about my role as a student at Georgetown,” said Becca Shopiro (MBA’19). “The best way we can pay it forward is to take what we learned in Japan and shape those experiences that can benefit the rest of our program, whether that means bringing in guest lecturers, hosting presentations, encouraging our school to build relationships with Shinshu and/or Nagano University, or even just showing progress in our action plans to continue a positive relationship between Georgetown and JICE.”

Back in Washington, D.C., students are committed to implementing an action plan, which includes staying in touch with Shinshu University students via skype sessions and exploring internships opportunities for Georgetown McDonough students with the Japanese companies they visited.