Professional MBA - Global Field Trip in Japan
SKK GSB announced that the destination of Global Field Trip in 2019 was Tokyo, Japan.
Throughout the Tokyo Global Field Trip, conducted in June 2019, I earned a bigger and wider perspective than before, and was able to better understand all the contexts related to my professional life. I would like to briefly introduce what we learned on this trip.
As soon as we all arrived in Tokyo, the first place we visited was JPX, the Japan (Stock) Exchange Group. JPX is a Japanese financial services corporation that operates multiple securities exchanges, including the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Osaka Securities Exchange. We also visited the Yebisu museum, where we had some welcome drinks, and took in the 200 year history of the Japanese beer industry.
[DAY - 1] We attended a one-day MBA program at Hitotsubashi ICS.
1. Japanese HRM session: Challenges for the Future, by Professor Hiroshi Ono
In this session, we were able to learn high-level concepts of Japanese HRM (Human Resources Management). This session also helped us better understand how the world’s core business focus was changed from manufacturing to IT technology, and how companies have changed the way they run their businesses and manage human resources.
2. AI Business in Japan, by Professor Kangyong Sun
In this session, I personally had a chance to pick up very useful knowledge related to my current professional responsibilities, especially marketing automation. I have more than 5 years' experience in marketing automation, but this session helped me take a deep dive into AI in the Japanese and Chinese markets.
3. Introduction to ICS, and Japanese Culture, by Professor Mina Nishisaka
This Japanese cultural session was very meaningful, and the presenter was outstanding in delivering structured information about Japan to students.
‘Wa’ is almost everything that represents Japanese people’s state of mind; ‘Wa’ also stands for the harmony that can live as a part of a group of people. Without the understanding of ‘Wa’, we can’t understand Japan.
[DAY - 2] We went on two company - onsite visits, and picked up some very practical insights.
1. MonotaRO – Kasama Distribution Center
At MonotaRO’s Kasama Distribution Center, we were able to see unbelievable automated stacking solutions. This distribution center has been in operation for 20 years, and has received a Porter Prize. MonotaRo’s business model was quite simple: They’re buying and selling indirect materials for factories and construction sites via the internet.
However, with full-time automated inventory management solutions in the Kasama Distribution Center, their efficiency of storing stocks, inbound/outbound routine, and shipment is exceptional and inimitable. In return, its CAGR has been 20% for several years in a row. They also have very prospective and solid growth plan for the coming decades.
2. LINE Corporation
LINE is well-known mobile messenger platform, created by a Japanese unit of NAVER, based in Korea. LINE’s headquarters is situated in Tokyo, Japan, as they gained huge recognition first in Japan, and then expanded into the Southeast Asian market, including countries like Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, and others.
The most important figure we learned was 79% of DAU/MAU, which indicates usage rates and user engagement. In other words, this means 79% of active monthly users are using LINE every single day.
LINE also introduced us to the wide scope of their business, which includes LINE Today (with news contents), LINE Finance (that covers insurance and banks), O2O services (like food delivery), their licensing business (featuring their characters), and the LINE mobile messenger itself.
Throughout this trip, I was able to raise my bar higher than before; I realized that I am the one who needs more innovation in my life. This experience also helped me understand how I should deal with uncertainty in this fast-changing business environment. Overall, this trip really guided me in many good ways, and I was surprised by the high quality of the program.
I would like to sincerely thank Professor Jaepil Choi, Crystal Lim, and other staff involved in this global field trip program, for giving us a great opportunity to pick up practical knowledge. Those lessons can be applicable to my current professional life.
Jay, Jeong Kyu Yang (Class of 2020, Professional MBA)
A digital marketing consultant at Samsung S-Core.