Taiwanese participant, Will Chiou, managed to write a final guest entry about the highlight of his Asian Discovery Expedition before boarding a plane to return to IMD with his group.

It was the morning, and as we walked into the classroom at Tokyo’s Institute for Strategic Leadership (ISL) we received a standing applause from the other 38 ISL participants. Immediately we felt the hospitality and kindness of our Japanese friends.

As a Taiwanese who grew up under the influence of the Japanese culture, I thought I knew Japan well. But as we started the class, I started to realize that I only knew the surface.

The first presentation of the day was given by Jesper Koll, the CEO of Wisdom Tree, and a foreigner who has lived in Japan for over 30 years. He gave us an optimistic view about Japan’s economy and development from an outsider’s perspective. The session was followed by a presentation by Bruno and me. With the help of our dearest fellow classmates, we used data from IMD’s global competitiveness index and drew insights based on the experience and learning of our class from these past few days in Kyoto and Tokyo. Next up was Paul Duerloo, Partner and Managing Director of The Boston Consulting Group’s Tokyo office, who gave us an amazing session about the most challenging aspect when conducting business in Japan – reading between the lines in the Japanese work place. The final speech was delivered by Yoshiaki Fujimori, former Chairman, President and CEO of GE Japan, who provided his perspective on what consists of global leadership and had an interesting debate with our lovely host, Dr. Noda, on Japan’s lifetime employment issue.

Will Collage

It was a day packed with learning and excitement, and it was a precious opportunity for the MBA class of 2017 to work with a group of brilliant senior managers from top industry players in Japan. As someone who aspires to work in Japan after IMD, I can say that this trip has provided me great exposure to, and in-depth understanding of, the Japanese culture and opportunities. This is definitely one of the highlights of my IMD experience.


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