Online Executive MBA (EMBA) Global Immersion Experience Trip to Japan

The Global Immersion Experience is an essential component of the Jesse H. Jones School of Business/Online Executive MBA (EMBA) experience. Each year, the School organizes two international business trips to destinations in the spring and fall semesters for two separate EMBA cohorts. During the last nine years, students traveled to the People Republic of China. The trip usually includes corporate and cultural tours and meetings, sightseeing, visits with expert panels, and free time for the students. The students are afforded exposure to international business and cultural awareness, and more importantly, the opportunity to learn about international trade and commerce.

The international business trip is usually offered through a third-party vendor specializing in providing international business trips for executive MBA students. During May 2019, a group of sixteen (16) online executive MBA students and faculty traveled to Japan for the Global Immersion Experience trip. The students met with representatives from companies such as Nissan Motors Corporation, Toyota, and Plastic Chemical recycling plant. Highlights of the trip included a visit to the Yokohama National University (YNU) campus to the Faculty of Economics where Dr. Alexander McAulay delivered a lecture on the history of Yokohama as Japan’s gateway to the west and other YNU academic programs. During the second session, the group also learned about Japanese Law and Business from professors Ichiro Araki and Mashaisa Suzuki.
"The Global Immersion Experience was very important,” explained student Porcherria Johnson. “I think it is beautiful to experience cultures other than our own. Going to Japan was an amazing experience to learn about the culture, Japanese work ethics, and their unwavering commitment and dedication to work culture and traditions.”

During the trip, students visited many places in Yokohama, Nagoya, and Tokyo and met with the United States commercial Attaché Mr. Dave Averne, who served in China for ten years before coming to Japan a few years ago. He discussed the volume of trade between the United States and Japan, potential opportunities in IT, and nuclear power plants protections against earthquakes and seismic activities. He provided insight on differences between Chinese and Japanese cultures, work habits, and opportunities. Ms. Taylor Thierry, an EMBA student, mentioned, “Being on the ground in a foreign country studying their economy and direct observation really brings to life what we learned in the classroom and in our readings. For me, it was a terrific opportunity for bonding with my fellow cohorts and sharing travel experiences." The students learned that traveling by trains was the most convenient and fastest method of transportation within Japan. Dr. Johnnie Williams joined the group of students on a high-speed train from Nagoya to Tokyo while Mr. Haider traveled with eight students on the bus. All Japanese cities offer a local subway system, and these subways are connected with Japan Rail or JR stations.

The group visited the Nissan Car Manufacturing Plant and witnessed the engine manufacturing process while walking through the assembly line. The group also visited the Toyota Motomachi plant in Toyota City and learned about the Toyota manufacturing process as they visited the plant assembly line. Upon entrance, the group was greeted by a giant sign in the assembly area “Good Thinking, Good Products.” The students later learned about “lean” manufacturing or Toyota Production System (TPS), which has helped the Toyota Corporation, become the largest car manufacturer in the world. The host later told the group the students that good products come from good thinking. The group also learned about five main principles of legendary Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Co., Ltd.