1. Diploma Policy (Policy on awarding degrees)

Hitotsubashi University Business School’s School of International Corporate Strategy (Hitotsubashi ICS) was established in 2000 as one of Japan’s first professional graduate schools (Senmonshoku Daigakuin) embedded within a national university.

The mission, vision, and values of Hitotsubashi ICS is as follows (excerpted from Hitotsubashi ICS MBA Program Academic Policy, Academic Year 2019-2020 and Hitotsubashi ICS website http://www.ics.hub.hit-u.ac.jp/aboutus/mission.html, accessed on November 27, 2019):

  • 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 except JBE 2 and 3 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 80% 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 1:3, the courses offer students personalized, high-quality learning experiences that no other business school can match, focused on small-sized class seminars that are a distinguished tradition of Hitotsubashi University.

The school affords students considerable flexibility in designing their own curriculum. For example, students can choose at the time of application between the One-Year Program and the Two-Year Program. Both programs have the same required and elective course offerings for the first year of study, with the Two-Year Program providing additional opportunities in the second year to enroll in optional programs, such as the double degree program, the international exchange program, and internships. The double degree program offers the participants an opportunity to study at China’s Peking University or South Korea’s Seoul National University, the BEST Alliance partners of Hitotsubashi ICS. The university has also established international partnerships with twelve of the world’s leading institutions, including the University of California, Los Angeles in the United States, the London Business School in the United Kingdom, France’s HEC Paris, Spain’s ESADE Business School, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong as well as the two BEST alliance partners.

Graduation Requirements for Two-Year Program students:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 56 total credits in grade categories A+, A, B, C, or P (Pass), of which a minimum of 32 total credits must be in the grade categories of A+, A, B, or P. These 56 credits include Seminar I credits (2 credits in the first year) and Seminar II credits (2 credits in the second year).
  2. Completion of 40 credits in the first year of the program. This (40) is the total number of credits for all required courses in the first year (38 credits of required courses, plus 2 credits for Seminar I)
  3. In the first year of study, completion of a minimum of four (4) credits in each term.

Graduation Requirements for One-Year Program students:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 54 total credits in grade categories A+, A, B, C, or P (Pass), of which a minimum of 32 total credits must be in the grade categories A+, A, B, or P.
  2. Completion of a minimum number of 6 credits in each term.

Course grades are assigned based on a relative distribution using the forced grading curve, with the top 30% awarded an A, the bottom 10% receiving a C or F, and the 60% in between assigned a B. The weight of each grading component, such as class participation, quizzes, and final exams, varies from course to course. The grading policy and criteria are clearly communicated to students at the start of the course to ensure fairness and transparency. Of the 50 credits required for graduation, students must earn A, B, or “pass” for 30 or more credits to successfully complete the program.

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

Curriculum, pedagogical methods, and teaching resources

The MBA Program offers 20 required courses and 20 elective/optional courses in Academic Year 2021-2022.

The case method (a discussion format class focusing on real-world case studies) is at the heart of pedagogical method at Hitotsubashi ICS. Courses also employ a combination of a broad range of teaching methods and activities best suited for each subject, and they include lectures, simulation, role playing, company visits, and field projects. The emphasis on interactive and participant-centered learning is a feature consistent across all courses.

The seminar system is another prominent feature of the curriculum. Once enrolled in the program, all students are assigned a seminar group led by a faculty member in their first term. Typically composed of three to four students, these small-sized classes encourage a high level of student-faculty engagement for quality instruction, and enable the students to build close relationships with both faculty and peers lasting beyond graduation.

Class language and language education

All classes at Hitotsubashi ICS are conducted in English, and students are instructed to switch to English even in daily conversations to accommodate peers who may not speak the same language. This policy provides daily opportunities for non-native speakers of English to actively communicate in English, hone their leadership skills in group discussions, and improve language proficiency crucial for global communication.

To meet the post-graduation needs of the many students wishing to find employment with Japanese companies or businesses related to Japan, the school launched in 2012 a Japanese language program at its Chiyoda campus. The course is divided into three levels – introductory, intermediate, and advanced – to suit student proficiency levels, and lessons are designed with the goal for the participants to develop the language skills needed to conduct business in Japanese.

Post-graduation career support

Hitotsubashi ICS provides individualized career support by a team of dedicated career service staff. The Career Services Office counsels students to identify their career goals and aspirations, and strives to match student needs with appropriate employers by organizing career fairs and internship opportunities. Notably, approximately 50% of international students find employment in Japan after graduation, while the rest pursue careers in their home country or another country outside Japan. Of those working in Japan, half are employed by a Japanese company and the other half by a foreign company.

3. Admissions Policy (Policy on student admissions)

The MBA program typically commences in late September. The application forms and procedures are available for download on the school website year-round, and events for interested candidates, such as Open Campus events, Coffee Chat sessions, MBA Tour booths, are held from July onwards. Applications are accepted twice a year, Round 1 (from October to December) and Round 2 (from November to February).

There are two stages to the admissions process: the evaluation of application forms and an interview. As in any world-class business school, Hitotsubashi ICS evaluates the applicants on a variety of criteria, including the most recent GMAT/GRE scores, two-plus years of work experience, statement of purpose essays, two letters of recommendation, and undergraduate transcripts. Applicants successful in the first phase of the process are then invited for an interview. Admissions decisions are made by a consensus of the Admissions Committee consisting of full-time Hitotsubashi ICS faculty members.