When you hear “MBA.” you may think of case studies involving headline Western companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Starbucks, but that’s not necessarily the case.
It’s a little-known fact that family businesses and MBA programs share a close connection. You may have read books such as I Have No Successor!: For Executives Who’d Rather Leave Their Business to the Cat Than Their Idiot Son—which at heart is no laughing matter—but a great number of those who are considering obtaining MBAs are also considering taking over a business. An MBA degree isn’t required to manage a company—but for many of those facing the imminent challenge of inheriting a family business, the practice provided by examining case studies from other firms and determining what they themselves would do in that situation allows them to learn a lot at a relatively young age.
In family businesses, owners tend to have a strong voice regardless of the amount of stock they hold. Therefore, in order to cultivate a balanced sense of judgment, it is considered good practice, both in Japan and around the world, to train at a client company while one is still young. We are now in an age, however, where an MBA education is also an option. Furthermore, professionals such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, veterinarians, and tax accountants also, in a sense, work as managers when opening offices and are required to have business skills. Many of these professionals have, in recent years, begun attending Japanese business schools.