What do you want to do after graduating from Waseda Business School (WBS)?How did you develop this career goal? How will the study at WBS help you do it? (500 words)
My past work experiences include working as a department training manager and asset manager which enabled me to lead team-based projects. The assignments were challenging but I enjoyed them because they helped me push my normal limits. This is one of the main reasons I have decided to obtain Project Management Professional Certification so that I can take on even more complex and wide-scale projects.
I also possess extensive work experience in information technology (IT) field. IT has become one of the major tools for big and small organizations to enhance their business models and improve their operating efficiency. There is not an industry where IT projects are not being pursued. This is why I aim to be a project manager at an IT company so that I can provide IT solutions to some of the leading organizations at both domestic and international level.
My desire to advance my project management credentials first arose during my time as an asset manager. One of the programs I led was to manage hundreds of electronic cryptographic equipments. When I first started, the program was being ineffectively managed. I obtained permission from my superior to improve it so that it is both up-to-date in terms of technology and processes as well as easier to manage and use. I was involved in all aspects of the program update which included digital and oral communication with relevant stakeholders, scheduling tasks, and negotiating terms with suppliers. It was apparent such complex projects have to be approached with a proper plan and high stamina because any delay or setbacks can prove quite costly. I also learnt leadership and communication skills are extremely important because you have to make people with different personalities work together towards common goals and have to keep them motivated in a tense work environment. The experience gave me high confidence in my abilities that I can tackle and successfully accomplish difficult tasks.
Our world is increasingly being shaped by forces of globalization which makes it even more important to be exposed to different cultures. I am particularly attracted to Waseda Business School because it has a strong track record of preparing graduates for career in the private sector in which I have limited experience. Living in Japan for quite some time has also helped me better understand the strengths of Japanese work culture and management philosophies and Waseda University has one of the best business programs in Japan. Upon graduating from Waseda Business School, I hope to work in Japan for a while so that I can learn the secrets that have made Japanese companies some of the most innovative and efficient corporations in the world.
In your career so far, pick up an example like something (a task, project, etc.) which you could have done better.
Please tell us the reason why you chose to take that example. Then, explain how you could have done it better. (500 words)
My last job involved being a training manager which means it was my primary responsibility to ensure that the organization’s human resources are in optimal shape. I had to match employees with the positions best suited to their strengths and interests and I also had to make sure all employees have their professional certifications up-to-date. For training activities, I mostly relied on an outside contractor but now I believe I would have better served the organization’s interests by internally developing training program rather than relying on an outside contractor even if the outside contractor allowed the company to reduce training costs.
I have chosen this example for various reasons. First of all, human resources have emerged as one of the most important assets of any organization in the age of globalization and one cannot overstate the importance of continuous education and training. Second, not only training decisions but some other organizational decisions are also made using direct costs as the main criteria. This may turn out to be quite a costly mistake because indirect costs can be quite significant in many cases and moreover, an emphasis on direct costs may ignore the long term benefits of alternative courses of action.
There are several ways I could have ensured better training of employees. First of all, I should have opted for internally-developed training program as opposed to hiring an outside contractor. An outside contractor may work for companies whose organizational cultures and business models are similar to many other companies but they may not work for companies like mine which had quite a unique organizational culture. Second, I chose the training program as well as trainers without extensively consulting employees. I should have involved employees more in developing the training program as well as choosing trainers. This would have helped me better understand their individual training needs and would also have allowed me to choose trainers whose instruction methods are more effective than others. Consulting employees would also have improved their dedication to the training program. I could also have used internal trainers instead of hiring outsiders because internal trainers understand organizational culture better and already have good working relationship with the employees. Higher degree of familiarity among trainers and employees result in more productive working relationship. Last but not least, I should have done cost analysis with focus on both direct and indirect costs rather than just direct costs. Indirect costs such as lower employee productivity can have material impact on organization’s long term competitiveness level in the industry.
If you have a free day to do anything you want, how would you like to spend it? (300 words)
If I have a free day to do anything I want, I would explore my local environment through travelling. Travelling exposes one to new experiences and expands one’s thinking horizon. Instead of focusing on places that are more popular, I would focus on places that are less popular but offer more authentic local experience such as local festival, parks where people of all ages comes, and museums that are visited by few. My goal would not be just sightseeing but also interaction with people from diverse backgrounds or who may have diverse interests.
I would not visit places with a plan but instead let random strangers and discoveries shape my experiences. I may even hire a local guide because they often have deep knowledge of places not known to many visitors or those that are not frequently advertised. One experiences culture in different forms and cultural experiences cannot be complete without certain items such as food. For food, I will not head out to fancy restaurants but instead target roadside eateries and restaurants that offer authentic local cuisine, involving traditional recipes. I understand I may not like all food but it is important to step outside one’s comfort zone to learn new things.
Just like food, music is also important part of any culture, thus, once again I opt for traditional local music which may be quite different from the music popular among young generations. Traditional music often tells important stories about the culture’s past which helps us better understand the culture’s present form.
Describe a product which is unique in your country. Please provide the name of the product, a definition of the product and a description of the product’s features and benefits. Then, describe a plan to promote the sales of this product in Japan. (800 words)
America has given many products to the world and American brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsim Ford, Apple, and Microsoft are widely known on a global scale. But despite the wide global appeal of American brands, there are still some American products that are widely unknown to the outside world and one such product is beefalo.
Beefalo is meat from American bison which could also be understood as American buffalo. American bison is genetically similar to cow, thus, the taste and texture is quite similar to beef. Some of the major differences between beef and beefalo is that beefalo tends to have less cholesterol, calories and fat than beef. In addition, beefalo possesses relatively milder and sweeter taste. Japanese culture places huge emphasis on nutritional diet, thus, beefalo is an ideal product to be marketed in Japan. It is important to understand local culture and tastes and preferences of targeted consumers and beefalo is the kind of meat that will appeal to Japanese consumers.
Beefalo’s health credentials are also enhanced due to the fact that American bison is usually fed hay and forage instead of grain and ranchers do not use hormones, steroids, antibiotics and animal by-products to raise bison. This may by why beefalo, particularly, appeals to those who prefer organic meat and it will be easier to establish beefalo’s health credentials among Japanese consumers.
Japanese enjoy one of the highest per capita income in the world and are quite open to high quality products even if they are marketed at premium prices. Since beefalo is generally more expensive than regular beef, I may specifically target it at middle income consumer groups who desire healthy, nutritious, exotic, and luxurious mea but cannot frequently purchase more expensive meat such as Waygu beef. Beefalo will be marketed as similarly healthy and tasty product but at more affordable price points.
Beefalo may also be marketed to health conscious consumer groups such as those who seek all natural, organic protein. Beefalo’s organic credentials may also be highlighted in marketing campaigns because Japanese consumers place high premium on organic products. There are also other consumer groups who could be targeted by beefalo producers. For example, beefalo could be marketed as a reliable alternative to organic chicken. I also understand Japanese consumers tend to see American products in a positive light and I would highlight beefalo’s American origins in the marketing campaigns.
New products often require high marketing expenditures because they are relatively unknown and many consumers may be hesitant to try them. Thus, I would focus on marketing tactics that may encourage trials among consumers such as coupons and free samples. I would also target events that are frequented by beefalo targeted customers such as food festivals and food conventions like FOODEX Japan.
While promotion and advertising activities are important, it is also important to make the product available in places frequented by targeted consumer groups. I will closely study Japanese meat-buying habits and use the insights to form partnerships with supermarkets and other retail networks to ensure steady supply of beefalo. This may even encourage customers to adopt beefalo as an alternative to traditional meat products in the long term.
Please provide a statement for any information contained in your application that you would like to add more explanation to us. If you don’t have anything to explain, you can ignore this essay. (250 words)
I joined the United States Navy when I was only 18 years old which is why it took me longer than usual to finish my undergraduate degree. I pursued my studies as a part-time student while also fulfilling my responsibilities as a full-time member of U.S. Navy. I am glad I pursued this course because education takes place everywhere. While classroom learning helped me acquire technical knowledge, being a U.S. Navy member allowed me to develop valuable soft skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, strong work ethics, and high professional ethics.
In addition, I also got tremendous opportunities to apply classroom lessons on the job as a sailor. For example, I witnessed firsthand in the navy how management-employees relationship work and why it is important to have reliable communication networks in both directions. I also learnt the importance of having feedback and reward programs in place to motivate employees and help them improve their work performance.
Last but not least, I give a huge credit to my experiences in the Navy with helping me strong cross-cultural skills. U.S. Navy employs individuals from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and in addition, U.S. Navy has bases all over the world. I also credit my experiences in the Navy with helping me become more open-minded and developing greater appreciation for new cultural experiences.