Dean's Message

Dean Shuzo Fujimura

The Graduate School of Innovation Management has two departments and offers two degrees. Students can earn a professional master's degree in the Department of Management of Technology and a doctoral degree in the Department of Innovation.

As half of our students are working professionals, we take this into consideration when scheduling classes in an attempt to make it convenient for them to attend. In the professional master's program, the first class of the day is in period 7-8 at 3:05 p.m. We also offer evening classes starting at 6:30 p.m. in period 11-12, and Saturday classes. The school utilizes a rotating system in which evening and Saturday classes change every year so that a student is able to take different classes in these periods each year.

There is an entrance examination for working adults in December in addition to the regular entrance examination in August.

Working-adult students account for half of the student body in the Graduate School of Innovation Management. Who are they?

The working-adult students range in age from their late twenties to retirement age. Many of them work or have worked in technology companies, especially in research and development departments. They are familiar with the business world, have experienced the ups and downs of daily operations, and bring various perspectives to the program. Working-adult students also bring various backgrounds in management and entrepreneurship to the program. All of them enter the school with the hope of achieving a breakthrough in their respective situations and are highly motivated.

In addition, each year there are several new students in the Graduate School of Innovation Management who already have doctorates. In my lab this year there are three students enrolled in the professional master's program and one of them has a doctorate. Working adults with degrees from various universities enter the school, but Tokyo Tech graduates make up the majority of the student body. After being in the workforce for a while, they come back to their alma mater in order to acquire a deeper understanding of technology management. I feel that returning graduates seeking a higher degree here is proof of Tokyo Tech's educational competence.

What are the strengths of the school?

When compared with other professional graduate schools, our education is more centered on research.

All kinds of factors are complexly intertwined with social issues, which cannot be solved by studying business administration and economics alone. We train our students to be able to recognize the logics that lie behind research objectives. This approach is called practical research. Once you acquire this approach, you can continue studying on your own.

Students in the professional master's program submit project reports which are equivalent to a master's thesis in other graduate schools. The themes of the project reports are not limited to academic subjects. They can be business plans or business proposals. Project research usually starts with an analysis to find out what academic subject the student will pursue, and then the student begins studies in that chosen academic field. It is expected that students eventually propose academic solutions. If that is not the case, they are at least required to gather facts related to their research plan, analyze them and figure out the logics that lie behind the issues.

For this reason, the school emphasizes education through seminars in addition to lectures. Students pursue their studies while completing their project reports. There are interim presentations in the early stages of the program and progress is always checked. The last presentations for the project reports are held two months prior to the completion of the program.

Working-adult students often face difficulties in finding time for research. Some doctoral students take a leave of absence from the school because they are transferred abroad by their companies. Faculty members do not compromise when it comes to students' research and reports for completing their degrees. Although some working-adult students take leaves of absence, they usually continue to study with the aim of completing the program, because they enrolled in the school to improve their skills and abilities in the first place.

This school's student body has the highest percentage of working adults. What does this mean for the school?

In the world's top-level graduate schools, it is not uncommon to have a highly diverse student body. Students who enter the Graduate School of Innovation Management right after the completion of an undergraduate program learn many things about the working world from experienced working-adult students, such as what it means to work. They also get advice about job hunting. On the other hand, working adults receive the chance to shift their perspectives. In the workplace they unknowingly acquire some norms or fall into set ways of thinking. However, through discussions with traditional students, working-adult students can reevaluate these set ways. Additionally, candid discussions, where everyone has an equal voice, take place in seminars which is not always the case in highly hierarchical companies.

What are the career options for students who complete the program?

The employment situation is good for our students. Most graduates obtain jobs in the industry they want, and join leading companies. The types of work they desire vary greatly. A relatively high number of students seek employment with consulting companies, but some students choose hands-on or creative positions as developers in technological fields after completing their studies in technology management.

There are many working-adult students who get promoted in their current companies after completing our program. Some graduates find better jobs.

Tell us about research in the field of innovation management.

In the 21st century, providing solutions to problems is difficult unless we consider both public and corporate policies in every aspect of society. We live in a time where research has to take into consideration not only markets and technologies, but also society's reception of it. If you look at the issue of restarting nuclear power plants, you will understand that in addition to the issues of business management and technologies, social receptiveness is also paramount. There are many similar issues in areas such as the environment and cyberspace. Those issues cannot be solved by corporations, industry, and national and local governments alone. Solutions must be reached with society's stamp of approval.

A wide variety of research is going on in the Graduate School of Innovation Management. By drawing on the strengths of a sci-tech background, we hope to open the way for highly accurate research on society in the future by utilizing data. For example, research on technologies for automobile driving has been conducted for a while. However, the technologies were not applied until recently, because the necessary social systems were not in place. Research on social systems based on future technologies could not be conducted. Before launching the commercialization of a company's product, research is needed not only on the technological and economical fronts, but also on the societal one. We aim to become a globally-advanced, innovative research and education hub by capitalizing on the merits of Tokyo Tech being more conscious of society.

Message to prospective students

Be aware of the world's expectations for Japan. Only after you understand these expectations will you be ready for the school's training in logics to solve social issues. We provide an education to cultivate leaders, and can provide that kind of education to you. We look forward to new students joining us!

Dean of Graduate School of Innovation Management

Shuzo Fujimura