Tag Archives: Doshisha

The new semester at Doshisha Business School

I just made it through my first year as an MBA student at Doshisha Business School in one piece. The sultry Japanese summer has finally passed, and the leaves have just started to change colors (Momiji).

The fall semester at Doshisha University has just begun, and 44 new students from 24 different countries have joined the Global Business and Management Program at Doshisha Business School.

So what’s new this semester?

I am now a TA (Teaching Assistant) for the Business Economics class. I’ve also begun working as a contributing writer for Gaijinpot.

During the fall semester, I’m taking the following Global MBA courses:

  • Human Resource Management in Asia
  • Strategic Management for Innovation and Change
  • Investment in Asia
  • Marketing Research
  • Making Sense of the Global Economy
  • Master’s Thesis course 2

I’m also continuing the following Japanese Language courses:

  • Japanese Written Expression 5
  • Japanese Spoken Expression 6

Stay tuned for more updates!







  • アジアにおける人的資源管理
  • イノベーションと変化のための経営戦略
  • アジアでの投資
  • マーケティングについての研究
  • グローバル経営の理解
  • 修士論文コース2


  • 文章表現V
  • 口頭表現VI


New experiences from the second semester

The second semester at Doshisha Business School is more then halfway through and I want to share my experiences so far. The rainy season has begun with sunshine following buckets of water pouring down. I’m writing up these thoughts sitting at the student lounge at the third floor of the kambaikan building.

During the second semester, I took the following courses in the first quarter:

  • Business Research Methods; a compulsory elective course (?) which is continuing the Critical Thinking class.
  • Finance; We choosed one listed company (Rakuten in my case) each and analyzed them according to what we learned in class. This excellent class was taking up Finance, viz. Financing, Investing and Pay Out decisions.
  • E-marketing; We all created projects and promoted them through Social Media and using analyzing tools. Our group made the Tomodachi Crossing real life meet up group for people in kyoto. The project was so successful we decided to continue it after the course.
  • Master thesis course 1; This is the beginning our Master thesis, where we are finishing our research briefs.

At the second semesters, second quarter I am currently taking the following courses:

  • Statistics; A class where basic statistics is taught together with statistical tools such as SPSS.
  • Economics for Sustainable Development; As the name of the course suggests, we are looking at sustainable development through an economics perspective as seeing how it can be used hand in hand.
  • Global intensive 1; An intensive one week course about Entrepreneurship.
  • Master thesis course 1 (continuing)

In addition to this I’m continuing taking two new japanese courses:

  • Japanese Written Expression 5
  • Japanese Spoken Expression 6

I was placed in two different levels since my Japanese verbal skills is exceeding my written one. While being a Global MBA student at Doshisha Business School is quite tough, I see learning Japanese as one of the most important artefacts I’ll carry with me after my time here.




  • ビジネス研究の方法:クリティカルシンキングを継続して行う必修選択科目です。
  • ファイナンス:私たちは(私の場合は楽天)個々で上場企業の中から一つを選び、クラスで学んだ内容に応じて、それらの企業を分析します。この優れたクラスは、金融、資金調達、投資や配当の決定をカバーする内容です。
  • E-マーケティング:我々はプロジェクトを作成し、ソーシャルメディア、および分析ツールを使用して、そのプロジェクトを促進しました。私のチームはTomodachi Crossingという名のプロジェクトを作成し、実際に京都に暮らす人々のために集まりやイベントを企画しました。プロジェクトは大成功に終わり、私たちはコースの後もこの企画を継続すとことを決めました。
  • 修士論文コース1:これは、修士論文の準備のためのクラスです。


  • 統計学:基本的な統計学を学び、それと同時にSPSSなどの統計ツールを学ぶクラスです。
  • 持続可能な開発のための経済学:コースの名前が示すように、持続可能な発展を経済学の観点から見て、それがどのように手と手を取り合い使うことが出来るかを学ぶクラスです。
  • グローバル1集中:起業についての一週間の集中講義です。
  • 修士論文コース1:(継続)


  • 日本語文章表現5
  • 日本語口頭表現6


Moving to a mansion in Kyoto

Subaru hoshi no ko. Does that sounds like a mansion to you?

A mansion(マンション) in Japan is not a large dwelling house. It is usually a multiple unit block with a secure central entrance with an elevator and a centralized post box system. Apartments (アパート) on the other hand, usually has neither of that and is cheaper with the frame usually made of wood rather than concrete and steel. Apartment are never higher than 3 stories.

When renting a housing in Japan, you usually need a guarantor. And in case you don’t have a personal connection, there are guarantor companies you can pay to act as it. However they won’t pay anything in the case of you get default, so it’s meaningless and a waste of money.

Wanting to cut commutation costs and time, I moved to a 1R mansion in downtown Kyoto. The process is much more complicated compared to Sweden. I went to a real estate agency and said what type of housing I wanted and where. The agent then gave me three choices. I choosed two places and booked a time for checking it out in real life.

Having decided upon “Subaru hoshi no ko”, it was time to start writing the contract, which is more easily said than done. Having filled out the basic information, I took the papers and went for a hunt of seals(Hanko), stamps and certificates needed to complete it.

Firstly, having spent 30 min filling out mine and the real estates information two times and putting my hanko on these document, I went to Doshishas Office of International Students(OIS) to get their approval. It turned out that there was a small mistake in the move out date on the contract so everything was void. Having gone back the next day and redoing it, I went back to the Doshisha (OIS) but they didn’t approve it yet. They however gave me two new document I had to fill out and get approved from two new separate places.

My first task was going to an “automated certificate issuing machine”, using my electronic Student ID and paying for a two year fire insurance. Except for everything being in Japanese, this went quite smooth. The second task was going to Doshisha Enterprise to pay the (meaningless) guarantor fee. Going there I had to fill out some more documents and pay the fee.

This being done, I finally went back to the (OIS) with all these papers, after being throroughly reviewed, they carefully put their hanko on the contract. Thinking I was done, I proudly went back to the real estate agent. He told me that we needed the hanko of the mansions owner as well so he told me to get back after a few days. Coming back again, with all hankos collected (7 in total!), I went to OIS for the fourth time, they took a copy and the process was finally over.


日本のマンションは、一軒家ではありません。通常は, エレベーターや、集団ポストシステム、安全に管理されている入り口がある集団住宅です。一方で、アパートは通常、そのどちらもがなく、またコンクリートではなく、木材で作ってあり安い物件です。そして3階よりも高くなることはありません。







What am I doing as an MBA student?

Up until now, I’ve mostly written about things that happened outside of Doshisha Business School. This time, I will focus on my school life here in Kyoto, Japan. So far, 2.5 months have passed and I’ve taken 7 courses simultaneously this first quarter (the maximum courseload that you could take), and was quite intense. My program consists of 32 international students from all over the world who have gathered at a building called Kambaikan at Doshisha’s Imadegawa Campus. Here, we spend most of our weekdays attending lectures, working on projects, and sitting in our exclusive business school lounge discussing life in Japan. On evenings and Saturdays, the Japanese MBA students (JMBA) come to the school to attend their lessons and study at the library. Every Saturday, a group of us meet for a language exchange and to share our experiences.

This quarter, I took courses in: Accounting, Business Economics, Operations Management, Strategic Management, and Critical and Analytical Thinking. Additionally, I took two optional courses: written and spoken Japanese, level IV.

The quarter started off nice and slow, but ended in utter mayhem. I overestimated my own abilities, and my 7-course workload in addition to doing other things really stressed me out. I simply had too many things going on at the same time – my MBA studies, kendo practice, interviews for my part-time job, meeting friends and making new ones, exploring Kyoto, etc. I made some strategic decisions and cut out Kendo club for now, as it conflicts with the schedule of my new job at IKEA. One Japanese course also had to go, since I felt that I would learn much more Japanese working at my job (more about that later).

The second quarter started on December 2014. Currently, I’m taking: Marketing, People and Organizations, Business and Society in the Global Context; and continuing with Critical and Analytical Thinking, as well as my Japanese speaking class. Having only five classes instead of seven is working wonders! I’ve also rearranged my priorities to:

  1. Getting an MBA degree
  2. Working at IKEA
  3. Meeting people and exploring

Mari Kondo, who teaches my Strategic Management class, asked us to come up with an idea for a business plan and to implement some of the strategic frameworks that we have learned. My team and I ended up making this silly, but awesome, video. Enjoy!!!

Financing – Scholarships

Living abroad usually isn’t cheap. It can be difficult to go from receiving a fulltime salary to nothing if you aren’t prepared. An MBA degree isn’t for free (at least outside of Sweden). There are many expenses related to moving to Japan, and to make the ends meet, you need to find ways to finance that (whether through loans or working a part time job). In my case, I did it through three channels:

  • Savings
  • Student loans
  • Scholarships

I spent one year working and put almost 1/2 of my monthly salary into a seperate savings account for this purpose.

Student loans

As a Swedish citizen, I received a student loan from the government at a reasonable interest rate. This loan covers the majority of my current tuition fees and my living expenses.


This is where it gets interesting. Scholarships are a type of aid that is merit or need based. There are many scholarships out there, but they are quite competitive in their selection process. They usually have specific critieria. I’ll briefly go through the scholarhips that I’ve been awarded:

  • Sweden Japan Foundation. Back in Sweden I attended a scholarship ceremony by the Sweden-Japan Foundation and received some money to finance my expenses in Japan. I got to meet Bo Dankins, the chairman of Business Sweden and Princess Christina. The event was followed by a dinner and “after work” networking.
  • Doshisha University. 50 % Reduced-Tuition ScholarshipDoshisha reduced my tuition fee by 50% early on!
  • JASSO scholarship for graduate studentsA few weeks ago I got news that I also received this scholarship for 6 months!
  • Doshisha University Graduate School Scholarship Award for 2014. And a few days ago, another scholarship fell in through the mailbox: the remaining 50% of the tuition fee is now covered as well!

Thus, with advanced planning and good luck, I was able to fund my life in Japan so far! And maybe you can do it too!