JIU nurtures leaders for today’s challenges

For graduating students and businesspeople pursuing careers in international settings, Josai International University (JIU) is offering an all-English program to allow them to obtain a Master of Arts in international administration.

The high-profile program is embedded in the university’s Mizuta Graduate School of International Administration (MGSIA), which was originally established in 2002 as a master’s degree program at the Graduate School of Humanities. The graduate school is named after the late Mikio Mizuta, a leading postwar statesman and former finance minister who founded Josai University in 1965.

JIU, an affiliate of Josai University Educational Corp., is observing the 20th anniversary of its founding this year.

In order to educate youth capable of addressing new challenges in today’s globalized world, JIU established the International Administration Studies M.A. program in 2002. Starting in April 2010, the M.A. program was repositioned as MGSIA to cater to contemporary needs.

MGSIA introduces a newly designed curriculum that allows students more convenience and variety to carry out their studies for a career in international settings. The curriculum features the well-balanced mix of academic knowledge and practical professional skills, as well as broad perspectives and visions about the world. It also lets students select an area of concentration from five study tracks — policy studies, international studies, international corporate management, international area studies and hospitality management and tourism.

Professor Kenji Watanuki, a principal architect of MGSIA’s concept, said, “MGSIA is the unique graduate school whose nature is urban, international and businesslike.

“Students in MGSIA are able to acquire not only academic knowledge but also practical skills to make them well-rounded and fully prepared for professional careers,” he added.

For the convenience of working students, businesspeople and practicing professionals, the majority of the courses are offered in the evening, from 6:20 p.m. on weekdays, and on Saturdays. The flexible curriculum allows these students to earn a degree in one year. Students have the choice of (a) writing a traditional master’s thesis or (b) writing a research report on a particular subject of their interest. The accessible location and favorable study environment at the Kioi-cho campus in the heart of Tokyo is another attraction.

Makiko Yonemura began attending MGSIA courses in April this year to acquire a master’s degree in international administration, which she believes is broader than any conventional Master of Business Administration course.

An employee at a medical service firm, she rushes to the Kioi-cho campus to attend the classes after ending her duties at 5:45 p.m. on three weekdays. She also attends classes for about half a day on Saturdays.

“The proximity to the campus is, no doubt, a major attraction of this school,” Yonemura said, adding that she really enjoys MGSIA’s international atmosphere marked by the presence of many foreign students. She plans to write a master’s thesis in English on multicultural coexistence and to look for a new professional career by using the fruition of her ongoing studies at MGSIA.

Naho Fujisawa, another MGSIA student, graduated from JIU’s Department of International Exchange Studies in the Faculty of International Humanities and moved on to MGSIA in April this year.

“I have not yet decided on my future career path, but becoming a teacher of English is one option. If I should become a teacher, I would like to teach children about the contemporary international relations and what’s happening in the business world, along with English,” Fujisawa said.

As the foreign student enrollment has been increasing due to the program’s growing reputation abroad, the university embedded an all-English master’s program in MGSIA courses, starting in the spring semester of 2011. Non-Japanese and Japanese students with appropriate proficiency in English (a TOEIC score of 730 or higher, or the equivalent) are eligible to apply.

Of some 60 students enrolled in the MGSIA program, 80 percent are foreign students and the remainder Japanese. Some 80 percent of the Japanese are graduates of Josai’s undergraduate programs and the rest are job-holding adults.

According to professor Watanuki, the International Administration program is designed to let students pursue careers at central or local governments, research institutes, international organizations, policy research institutes, nonprofit organizations, global corporations, foreign-affiliated firms and tourism-related businesses, among others.

He acknowledges that MGSIA is quite different from conventional business schools and research-oriented graduate schools.

“At MGSIA, we are determined to nurture globally minded young leaders fully armed with both intelligence and professional skills. This is the Josai Way,” he said.

For more information, visit www.jiu.ac.jp/englishsite.