From the Dean

Dean Hirokazu Kono

About KBS

KBS was founded in 1962 as Japan's first business school. The original program developed management talent through short-term seminars and a one-year course. In 1978, KBS launched Japan's first Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, and in 1991, a Ph.D. program was added to nurture scholars of management Science.

The school has been known as KBS from its founding. Today, KBS encompasses the Keio University Graduate School of Business Administration (conferring MBA and Ph.D. degrees) and the Keio Business School (providing short-term executive seminars).

Our Role in Economic Society

The acceleration of globalization, widespread adoption of information technology, demographic change, and the growth of emerging economies have fueled rapid change in economic society on a global level. More than ever before, the growth and survival of a company depends on smart decision-making from a management perspective. Today's business challenges include managing overseas business sites from a global perspective and collaborating with and acquiring companies and organizations in new business fields. These types of dynamic situations cannot be effectively managed by personnel with experience in only one area of business or trained in-house through OJT. Instead, companies face a growing need for managers who are equipped with systematic management knowledge and practical management skills. Hence, the role of business schools is becoming increasingly important as economic society changes.

Advantages of the Case Method

KBS programs have several distinctive advantages. One is the case method for practical management study. Cases describe actual management issues companies and organizations have faced. Students read the cases before class, and under the leadership of faculty, discuss their analyses, the key management decisions made in the case, and the reasons behind the decisions. Traditionally, Japanese higher education has been characterized by a passive approach to knowledge acquisition in which students attend lectures. In fact, the interactive teaching style used for the case method is extremely effective for acquiring practical management skills. It's equally important for the class to have students with diverse experience and backgrounds. The diversity of a group facilitates the creation and sharing of new knowledge. In this way, the case method is also effective for fostering leadership and a sense of management mission, not only for acquiring knowledge, as students grow through the daily process of explaining their ideas and debating views on cases among a diverse group of people.

In addition to being practical, the case method promotes the systemization of knowledge across business fields. For example, executing strategy requires the application of knowledge across a broad range of fields, including organizational change, dealing with uncertainty, a detailed operations plan, and management environment analysis. Changing organizations and human resources will require funds, which in turn will impact a company's finances. These types of complex management challenges require the ability to quickly and accurately apply systemized knowledge derived from many different fields.

Advanced knowledge in specialized fields is also critical. KBS boasts a dedicated faculty with advanced research experience in each of the major fields of management. Our professors write cases based on research in their specialized fields and lead class discussions about them, ensuring that our cases are scholarly and systematic, backed by well-researched theory. This approach distinguishes KBS from other programs that teach collections of past management practices not backed by thorough academic research.

Focused on Learning

The KBS curriculum asks students to focus themselves on the study of management for a given period. Most Japanese business schools operate part-time, weekday evening programs. The case method approach requires a total commitment, from morning to evening, for preparing, discussing, reflecting, and systemizing the knowledge derived from the cases. Even with our EMBA program, we offer courses primarily on Saturdays to prevent overburdening students after their workday. Executive seminars are generally held through retreats for a fixed period of time.

International Environment

Another distinguishing feature of KBS is internationalization. It goes without saying that economic society is rapidly globalizing. This global society requires people not only with superior English language skills, but people with an international sensibility who are willing to listen to other viewpoints and have the confidence to express their own views in intercultural settings with different cultures and customs.

KBS maintains exchange programs with leading business schools around the world, not only in Europe and the United States, but also in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We participate in international exchange programs, double degree programs, and collaborative projects with these schools. The international exchange program allows KBS students to study abroad and transfer credits from any of the world's top 50 business schools (as of September 2014). Conversely, through this program, we accept many visiting exchange students from overseas schools to promote the internationalization of the KBS campus.

KBS maintains international accreditations by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) of the United States and by the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) of Europe. We also have leadership positions in the Association of Asia-Pacific Business Schools (AAPBS), Partnership in International Management (PIM), and other international organizations.

In Conclusion

In a constantly globalizing economic society, there has never been a greater need for management talent capable of envisioning and executing new business models. KBS is committed to continually enhancing its programs in order to nurture business pioneers who can lead organizations on the frontier of a rapidly changing society. To our management programs we welcome all with a vision of bettering Japan and the world.


Hirokazu Kono
Dean and Professor in Operations Management,
Keio Business School

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