Background (School of International Corporate Strategy)

Hitotsubashi University Business School, School of International Corporate Strategy (Hitotsubashi ICS) was established in 2000 as one of Japan’s first professional graduate schools (Senmonshoku Daigakuin) under the jurisdiction of the national university system.

The mission, vision, and values of Hitotsubashi ICS is as follows: http://www.ics.hub.hit-u.ac.jp/programs/dba/

  • MISSION | why we do what we do | “Achieving the ‘Best of Two Worlds’ by acting as a bridge linking Japan to Asia and the globe, and as an international center of excellence for the creation, management and dissemination of knowledge”
  • VISION | what we strive to be | “to be one of the most prominent business schools in the world developing global-minded leaders who are expert on Japan, immersed in Asia, and prepared to make significant and positive impact”
  • CORE VALUES AND PRINCIPLES | the ideals we strive to uphold
    • EXCELLENCE: We strive for excellence in everything we do in the classroom, in research, in administration, and in other activities.
    • INTEGRITY: We believe that living according to a moral code builds respect and trust.
    • IMAGINATION: We should not be confined inside a box created by others, but should instead use our imagination to develop new, innovative ideas and products and new ways of solving problems.
    • INCLUSIVENESS: We should strive to find accommodation with individuals of different nationality, color, and religion; to break down barriers of gender stereotypes, to close gaps between students and faculty/staff; and to always think inclusion rather than exclusion.
    • CITIZENSHIP: We are global citizens with genuine respect for our fellow citizens and genuine concern for the environment.

All Hitotsubashi ICS courses are conducted in English. Students are required to have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience to enroll in the programs, a feature which attracts individuals of diverse backgrounds from around the world. About 25% of the school’s students are international, while the faculty is made up of business practitioners and academics who have earned their degrees from top overseas colleges and universities, many of whom also have extensive teaching experience. With a faculty-student ratio of approximately 1:2.5, the courses offer students personalized, high-quality learning experiences that no other business school can match. We focus on small-size class seminars that are a distinguished tradition of Hitotsubashi University.

1. DBA Admissions Policy (Policy on student admissions)

The DBA program commences in the fall (usually August or September). Applications are accepted once a year in March. Application forms and instructions are available for download on the Hitotsubashi ICS website year-round. The most updated version of the applications will become available for download by December.

There are two phases to the admissions process. The first phase is the evaluation of application forms. Hitotsubashi ICS evaluates the applicants on a variety of criteria, including the most recent TOEFL or IELTS scores, and GMAT or GRE scores. In addition, the DBA program requires two or more years of work experience, a statement of purpose and a research proposal, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Applicants who are selected in the first phase then proceed to the in-person interview in the second phase. The DBA Admissions Committee consisting of full-time Hitotsubashi ICS faculty members will make the admissions decisions and notify the applicants.

As described above, applicants are expected to have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience and an MBA (or an equivalent graduate degree) to enroll in the program. An applicant who does not fulfill this requirement may request a waiver. In such a case, the DBA Admissions Committee will take into consideration both academic and professional qualifications of the applicant. The Committee will then determine whether the applicant has the potential to enroll in the DBA program, and to apply to the program.

2. DBA Curriculum Policy (Policy on curriculum development and delivery)

The DBA program aims to recognize the individual needs and strengths of students. In the three-year program, each student is expected to design, implement, and complete a research project under advisor supervision, with their work culminating in a thesis. DBA students are also encouraged to use their thesis as the basis for papers that appear in academic journals or for book publication.

Each DBA student is assigned a thesis advisor when enrolled. The thesis advisor will work closely with the student to determine DBA course offerings that are appropriate for his/her areas of interest, and provide guidance to direct the student toward research that can potentially become a topic appropriate for the DBA thesis.

When the student has a better grasp and focus of a particular area of research that may evolve into thesis research, the student is expected to assemble a three-member DBA thesis committee. This committee will consist of the thesis advisor and two DBA faculty members whose expertise match the thesis topic.

The committee is committed to providing students support and guidance throughout the thesis writing process while respecting the individual student’s interests and goals. The committee will support the students in preparing for the DBA thesis proposal, and eventually the successful completion of the DBA thesis itself.

DBA students are required to take the designated courses in each year until they graduate as follows:

1st Year: Four Courses (Research Positioning, Advanced Research Positioning, Research Method, and any of the available course offerings from Advanced Research Methods), and the seminar

2nd Year: Two Courses (Research Positioning, Advanced Research Positioning) and the seminar, Proposal Defense & Committee Formation

3rd Year and beyond: One Course (Research Positioning) and the seminar.

During the program, there are opportunities to work as a research assistant (RA) or teaching assistant (TA) for their advisor or other faculty members.

3. DBA Diploma Policy (Policy on awarding degrees)

To complete a DBA thesis project, students are expected to:

  1. Present their DBA thesis proposal at Advanced Research Positioning.
  2. Secure approval from the DBA thesis committee consisting of the student’s advisor and two other faculty members, and
  3. Successfully defend their thesis at the oral examination (Thesis Defense) against the thesis committee.

DBA Thesis Requirement

The DBA coursework is designed to provide DBA candidates with a thorough and comprehensive training in methods of social research. The DBA thesis is the culmination of the DBA program in which candidates demonstrate their grasp of the subject matter and their ability to conduct independent research that contribute to expand the knowledge frontiers of human society.

Preparation for the DBA thesis begins with the thesis proposal. The student must first prepare a thesis proposal, and defend the proposal in an oral examination in front of the thesis committee. Successful defense of the proposal signifies that the thesis project is feasible and that it makes a contribution to research.

Candidates who have passed the proposal defense will continue on to conduct their dissertation research. Candidates will advance to the thesis defense when the committee determines that they are sufficiently prepared. The successful completion and defense of the DBA thesis signifies that candidates have acquired the necessary skills to express their research work clearly in both written and oral languages.