A 14-hour flight to Japan, jellyfish for lunch, and a project involving 36 diverse collaborators: These were just a few of the new things experienced by Fordham IT staff members Richard Eberhardt (Director, Innovation/Change Management), Georgy Perrier (Network Engineer), Jericho Virtusio (Network Planning Manager), and Bernard Matthews (Director of Information Systems/Planning, Law School) when they traveled to Tokyo. The trip marked the final piece of their 4-month capstone project, which is the culmination of Fordham University’s 22-month Executive MBA program. They joined the other members of their Executive MBA cohort along with Dr. Falguni Sen, Professor of Management Systems, and Francis Petit, Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Business.
Rich Eberhardt gave this report of his trip:
For our Executive MBA capstone project, which is required for graduation from the program, our cohort worked with Yamaha Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Yamaha corporation. To prepare, the class studied the US music industry and market trends. We then prepared a proposal for Yamaha executives around what genres, demographics and mediums the Yamaha Corporation should focus on in the US market.
We delivered our final presentation to Seiichi Yamaguchi, the Senior Executive Officer of Yamaha, and a number of other Yamaha executives, at Yamaha Ginza, the company’s flagship store in Tokyo. After the presentation, we were treated to an intimate live performance by singer-songwriter Nasu Asaco. Needless to say, the acoustics were state of the art! Following her performance we had celebratory dinner at the restaurant Cruise Cruise.
We spent part of the trip sharing our research and insights with Yamaha executives. But another important part was learning about Japan and the business community. Dr. Michael Polito of Sophia University gave us a primer in Japanese business culture. The British Chamber of Commerce offered insights for investing in Japan, as did New York Life, which focused more broadly on investment management in Asia. We learned about the history of Japan’s post-war economy success during a talk about Dr. W. Edwards Deming, who was a central figure in Japan during that period. We also visited United Nations University and UNIDO. Tours included multiple shrines and temples, the Tokyo Tower, and the Tokyo National Museum.
Speaking Japanese with the locals was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Several months of study gave me enough to get by in basic conversation. This immersion greatly increased my appreciation for foreign language and culture.
I learned a lot as a result of doing this project. I can survive a 14-hour flight without going too crazy 🙂 It’s possible to bring 36 diverse people together and collaboratively work on a project in an unfamiliar industry. I encountered Japanese culture, people, and business from multiple perspectives that I might not have had if I had visited Japan as a tourist.
Nihon wa tanoshikattadesu. Benkyō wa owarimashita. Tsugi wa nanidesu ka? (Translation: Japan was fun. Study is finished. What is next?)
Fordham IT congratulates Rich, Georgy, Jericho, and Bernard on the receipt of their Executive MBAs!