Prof. Tomoki SEKIGUCHI
■ Human Resource Management
Q: Please share your research and expertise
My major research fields are Organizational Behavior (OB) and Human Resource Management (HRM). The area of OB seeks to understand human behaviors in organizations and the area of HRM applies the basic knowledge of human behavior to design human resource practices in organizations.
I am particularly interested in what the future organizations/businesses and working styles of people will look like. I believe that globalization is an inevitable trend. Thus, I am recently conducting many studies on the international dimensions of OB and HRM. For example, I pay close attention to the roles of culture, language, and globalization in managing people in multinational companies. I also focus on studying organizations and businesses in Asia, given the increasing presence of the Asian region in the world economy. The influence of technology such as AI and robots on OB and HRM is another area I want to explore further to understand how they change organization management.
Q: What is your expectation of the KC-CDO program and students?
The KC-CDO Program is designed to develop specialists in both business and hospitality. I highly expect the students in the program to create new values in this world, from a viewpoint of hospitality and/or service.
Kyoto University is famous for its numerous interdisciplinary researches. Studying at Kyoto University is like exploring a jungle. Walk around with ambition, and you will find something new and unique. At Cornell University, you will join one of the best hotel schools that is known for highly practical education in hospitality management. You meet professors, entrepreneurs and classmates in the world’s top level. Both schools have found alumni networks you can benefit from, and I am sure you will enjoy the combination of these two great schools.
In addition, KC-CDO program is still a brand-new program. You will be developing this program together with your peers and us, faculty members. People who enjoy change and thrive in a dynamic environment are most welcomed.
Q: What do you enjoy outside of your academic life?
I like to stroll around and explore new places.
When I go abroad both on business and for leisure, I walk around the neighborhood in my free time without setting any destination. Because I am interested in human behavior, observing local people is a good way to know their lives and get some insights for my research. As I am still new to Kyoto – I joined Kyoto University three years ago – I would like to explore and learn about this place more.
I also enjoy reading books. In addition to the books related to my research, I like novels, science, and history books.
I look forward to sharing more ideas and interests with you at Kyoto University!
Kanako TOMODA (KC-CDO ‘23)
It was an inspiring experience to conduct an interview to
Prof. Takashi MITACHI
Q: What kind of lecture do you give for the KC-CDO program?
I’m teaching the course on leadership development. This is a mix of providing academic knowledge on leadership and the practitioner views, cross-learning through mutual discussions, and supporting students write their own leadership development journey plan. I emphasize not only the “knowing” part of leadership but also “doing” and “being” parts of it.
At the same time, we all know, given the VUCA nature of our times, leaders do need to be equipped with the adaptiveness. I touch upon some fundamental drivers of the VUCA environment and emerging approaches to deal with them.
Key concept on this resides in the fact that we are living in the two different paradigms at the same time; the very late stage of increasing human well-being through industrialization and the very early stage of doing so through digitization.
We see so many problems of industrialization. Climate change and excessive inequality are the examples of the problems. Whereas, digitization is yet to produce more benefits than cost such as risks on privacy.
These would cause further volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity in the coming years.
I hope the course will be a great starting point for student’s life-long journey of leadership development, based of enhanced understandings on leadership and the time we are living in.
Q: For the hospitality industry and for leadership, what is newly required for us ?
Given the impact of COVID-19, business models in the hospitality industry needs to be re-evaluated, and quite likely to be remodelled. Density is one of the biggest source of profit drivers of the industry, but it needs through review.
This of course affects the leaders of the industry in a significant manner.
Uncertainties of the industry and the company’s future makes employees very anxious and nervous. As a leader you need to help navigate the organization while managing the anxiety and nervousness.
Also since the mid-20th century, more and more people got to the middle income level. Some are already beyond the level where acquiring more products and services are the key source of life satisfaction.
Memorable experiences are the alternative source of satisfaction for such people, and they have been the growth drivers of the industry.
To satisfy those consumers surely require ever-elevating service expectation, which can only be met by the organizations that keep innovating themselves.
Thus managing creativity and institutionalizing innovation became must-have capabilities of the leaders in the hospitality industry.
I have to add that the fact that you need to study both in Ithaca and Kyoto will force you to live through very diverse cultures and people. This experience would surely equip you with the multiple lenses to see a thing or an event, which is essential in terms of generating creativity.
Yuan ZHUANG (KC-CDO ‘23)
It was really an amazing experience to interview professor Mitachi. In the era of more uncertainty leadership is more important than ever to encounter challenges.
Prof. Asli M. COLPAN
■ Strategic Management
Q: Please share with us your research and expertise.
I’m a Professor of Corporate Strategy at the Graduate School of Management and Graduate School of Economics. My research is on large enterprises that are highly diversified, mostly into unrelated businesses. So I’m working on the development of business groups like Samsung in South Korea, Tata in India and Wallenberg Group in Sweden and conglomerates like Berkshire Hathaway in the US and Softbank in Japan. Another topic that I research is corporate governance, and in particular executive compensation. I’m now teaching Strategic Management and in the fall semester will be teaching Corporate Strategy and Organization.
Q: What’s your expectation of the KCCDO program and the students?
As the students of this program can get an MBA from Kyoto University and an MMH from Cornell, they should develop strong leadership capabilities with the MBA program, and a hospitality mindset and knowledge with the MMH program. Students should also have a global mindset, learning different ways to do business and cultures of two different nations. We also hope that the students can have an international career option. If you’re just having an MBA from Japan, your options will be mostly limited to Japan, but now you also have a degree from the US, then you can work in the US, or probably with two degrees from Japan and US you can have career options anywhere in the world.
Q: To help us reach your expectation, what kind of support, speaking from your expertise or networks, would you provide for the students?
Speaking as the head of the program from Kyoto University’s side, for the courses, in the first semester we want you to have a strong background by learning core MBA courses. So you will learn about strategy, finance, marketing, and so on. In the last semester, you will have more flexible options. You could specialize in, for example, hospitality that you also learn in Cornell; but you also have options to take more finance or accounting related courses as well. We want you to have a wide range of options to specialize in different subjects that will well link to your career after the program finishes.
We also try to help you as much as possible with internships and career opportunities in Japan, because our networks are mostly in Japan. There are many executives who work in various industries that will be teaching you, especially in the last semester, so you’ll be meeting them and increasing your networks. Once you want to work in a company and want to interact with people in the industry, you will have a network already established when you are a student here. This kind of wide academia-industry collaboration is one of the strengths of the Graduate School of Management of Kyoto University and we would like to offer you as many interactions with industry leaders as possible.
Jia CAI (KC-CDO ‘23)
It was great to know that Professor Coplan’s answers corresponded with my expectation of the program even before enrolment. What’s amazing about KC-CDO is that you can specialize on hospitality studies, but at the same time, it allows you to find inspirations in other fields, for instance, from abundant choices of courses both at Kyoto and Cornell. Sometimes it can be these optional credits which determine your career passion!
Prof. Spring H. HAN
Q: Could you please briefly introduce your researches/specialties?
My most fruitful research endeavors to date have been those that provided me with opportunities to develop theories that explain what we observe in the service industry. I believe that research must always be of high quality to produce knowledge that is applicable outside of the research setting with implications that go beyond the group that has participated in the research. As is well known, rapid developments in technology are opening the door to a new phase of economic competitions in the service sector. Thus, more research about the impact of technology is needed to understand a major scientific breakthrough in services. My research interests are developed around customer-focused approaches for providing value and service excellence for increasing performance and customer loyalty.
Q: What’s your advice to the students, especially during this particular time?
The year 2020 will be the most memorable number and year for all of us. It’s been a challenging time. There has been a need to maintain personal fitness both mentally and physically, to be able to cope with stress and to confront difficult situations. This pandemic may not over soon. We don’t know what the future holds. I think that all of us may do is to focus on little things that we can accomplish every day like doing a hundred squats.
Q: As our supervisor, you built a close relationship with students. What’s your opinion on the bond between professor and students in this program?
I want to convey the amount of effort that I have put into working with students. While it is the case that a lecture takes a certain amount of time, irrespective of scale, I have gotten to know each of the students in some personal way from my experiences. I’ve done this because I have the sense that many students need to be provided with more chances of interaction with faculty than they are receiving now and that being hospitable to students is a part of teaching.
Most of all, I am feeling a sense of mission in my occupation. I hope to become a better person and a teacher every day through my journey of Life.
Q: We had all kinds of support such as seminars, guest speaker talks, research assistant activities, etc. during this semester. Why do you think it’s essential for us to have those experiences?
I believe that learning is a lifelong process, and we learn in all kinds of situations, activities, and relationships in family, friends, communities, and schools. We often learn the most critical things informally from others and from experience. I hoped that you would be motivated and encouraged keep learning by the stimulations such as invited talks and seminars.
Q: What are your expectations for the KC-CDO program and the cohorts of 2020?
You have experience of working/studying in multiple countries. The students of this program also have diverse backgrounds and will study in both Japan and the US. In what ways do you think that this international setting could help them with future development?
First of all, I want to share the quote I like “Life does not get easier. You just get stronger.” Yes, experiences make you stronger and more mature. Any single experience is not worthless that I have learned through good times and difficult times.
David Sedaris, the author of bestseller book Calypso, said, “Life might be difficult for a while, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world.” I fully agree with his philosophy. You will face challenges and difficulties of living in a foreign country can feel insurmountable at times. However, all of those experiences will let you grow and become a global citizen. And the exceptional experience serves a foundation for your career path. Only if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true. Remember, “Dream Big and Aim High.”
Hao WANG (KC-CDO ‘23)
The relationship with Prof. Han is a precious gift for me amid the challenges and bitterness of 2020.