Let me introduce the history of the MBA in Japan. The Keio Business School (KBS) was officially opened in 1978, when Japan was in a period where, still, the “graduate school” was equivalent to “a place for training researchers.” At that time, then, it was common sense for actual businesspeople to study overseas to acquire an MBA via practical courses. KBS became known for its incorporation of the use of case methods into education based on the techniques used at the Harvard Business School, and I have heard that many companies sent their employees to KBS for this reason. However, in regard to the “full-time MBA,” where classes are taught during the day, every day, at a tuition that exceeds 4.0 million yen, this was too expensive to serve as a choice for ordinary businesspeople to polish their skills for further career advancement.
The NUCB Business School was established in the 1990s, and began with “part-time MBA” programs designed for general attendance by anyone in the community. The idea of a graduate school slowly began to change, such that it now could be seen as a place for ordinary people to renew their studies or take up a new field. With tuition fees ranging from 2.0 million to 3.0 million yen, ordinary people could definitely now attend, but there was still the problem that there were few original Japanese cases that could be used as teaching material. The debate continued, with people skeptical that “MBA education” could truly be useful within Japanese society.