HHL cherishes diversity as a global business imperative. The classmates in the MBA program come from all over the world. They have earned academic degrees and gained practical experience in very diverse fields, such as architecture, communication, education, engineering, IT, law, linguistics, medicine, business administration or psychology.
One of the current MBA students at HHL is Hisashi Takizawa. The 28-year old from Japan holds a Master’s degree in Engineering from that country’s best technical school, the University of Tokyo. He says, “Most fascinating for me is the connection between technology and the economy. With my background I want to contribute to the innovation in this field.” The logical step for Hisashi Takizawa was to start a career in the Japanese government. Focused on supply chain management he believed that changes in the regulatory context would lead to necessary improvements. “If the rules change, the industry will change,” says Hisashi Takizawa. “I want to be involved in the rule setting so that was why I chose a job in our national government.” For the Japanese MBA student, however, it is clear that changes are not coming overnight but step by step.
“Germany has many similarities to Japan”
Right now, he wants to learn from Europe. Coming to Germany was not an arbitrary decision for Hisashi Takizawa. “Germany has many similarities to Japan. The two countries’ industries are heavily based on cars, railways and engineering. Because of my background, I think that I can best contribute to Germany and I can transfer my knowledge back to Japan.” On a personal level, Hisashi Takizawa adds with a smile, the two people have much in common. “Japanese as well as Germans are punctual and very organized. In this environment I can perform the best.” To better integrate he has learned German not only at HHL but also in the flat he shared together with two Germans in Leipzig. “Life in Germany is completely different than in Japan. In my home country, for instance, we do not know the concept of shared flats. We strictly respect the private comfort zone of the other one. Here in Germany, in contrast, I very much enjoy that from time to time my flat mates invite many people to our apartment. The new environment very much helped me to feel at home in Leipzig.”
Hisashi Takizawa chose HHL for several reasons, “Firstly, HHL has a very good reputation. Secondly, it is located in Germany. Lastly, with Porsche, BMW, or DHL there are many well-known car or logistic companies around Leipzig. We have already visited Porsche, DHL and Puma while I’ve been here.” Regarding the MBA program at HHL he says, “Most challenging for me is the group work since I come from a country where education is mostly delivered one way without any interaction. I think, however, that I can positively contribute to the discussion in our international MBA class with my specifically Asian perspective.” For the Japanese, one highlight of the MBA course has been the student consulting project together with a company providing a stem cell bank. During the project, the students helped the company to better understand the market and to develop a new business line. Next to the technical aspect of the project Takizawa was eager to learn more about the German working culture. “I initially thought there were huge differences between the German and Japanese working styles. This, however, is not the case and therefore this is the biggest discovery for me.” From the MBA courses Hisashi Takizawa so far likes the soft skills courses such as “Problem Solving and Communication” or “Negotiation” the most; “As I have an engineering background I am used to working with numbers. Google, too, is a common tool for me. In the soft skill courses, however, you can certainly google but you need to implement those skills by yourself. This is nothing Google can teach you.”
Gaining work experience with multinational German company
After graduating from HHL Hisashi Takizawa plans to take an internship with a German multinational chemical and pharmaceutical company. “Here” the Japanese says, “I’d like to acquire more knowledge in the field of applied supply chain management.” If possible, Hisashi Takizawa could imagine working even longer for the company until he has to decide whether he wants to return to Japan.
The Master Program in General Management (MBA) at HHL
The MBA program offered by HHL, which is taught in English, is considered one of the best independently developed programs of this kind in Germany. The proportion of international students in this 15-21 months long HHL program is approximately 80 percent, an outstanding figure in the global comparison of full-time MBA programs. Since its introduction in the year 2000, the full-time MBA program has focused on teaching management and leadership skills in a global context. This is supported by an innovative curriculum and 28 lecturers from seven countries. They provide students with an insight into the latest scientific management approaches in a global context. The practical relation is ensured by teaching content with practical relevance including case studies, a field project accompanying the program or an optional internship abroad. International Management is not only taught but also integrated into everyday life at HHL thanks to the international background of the students and professors. The international cross-linking of the program is denoted by substantial cooperation with universities abroad. From Australia to the U.S. – HHL has more than 110 partner universities worldwide. The students have the opportunity to spend a term at one of these partner universities. The intensive and professional counseling for students from the initial contact to the alumni network must be emphasized. A Career Service accompanies students from the day they are admitted to the program until the successful conclusion of a job search. Further information: http://www.hhl.de/mba