JMEC, a mini-MBA worth taking

Ai Takada

Program Report by Ai Takada.

If you want to advance in your career, I highly recommend that you participate in the JMEC program.

The Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) is a 6-month intensive business training program that teaches you how to write a business plan to a client. JMEC is also known as a mini-MBA program, with programs ranging from business strategy to marketing and finance, all of which are designed to help you improve your skills and abilities in the business world.

This program is much more difficult than you might think, but it is definitely worth taking.

Every year, FEW offers a full scholarship to those who wish to participate in JMEC, and thankfully I was able to participate in the program in 2020.

There are two main reasons why I participated in this program. The first reason is that I wanted to broaden my business knowledge and perspective. When you work in the same industry for a long time, you gain sufficient experience in a certain area, but your way of thinking inevitably becomes biased, so when you are faced with a slightly difficult problem, it can sometimes be difficult to find a solution.

To solve this issue, I wanted to gain knowledge and experience that I did not have at the time and progress in the business field through participation in the program.

The second reason is that I wanted to expand my business network. I rarely have the opportunity to meet and exchange opinions with people from different industries and backgrounds, so I found it stimulating and appealing to receive training with people of different nationalities, backgrounds, and jobs.

The JMEC program begins in November and ends with a final presentation in early June, with lectures and discussions from November to January and work with project members beginning after the project groupings are announced in January.

Each group receives an SOW from a different client, and each team decides everything on its own, from how to communicate with the people involved to how to manage the project, until the business plan is submitted in May.

My team consisted of six people from very different industries: a research company, an advertising agency, freelance consulting, a business club, a restaurant-related company, and a consulting company, all of whom varied in nationality and age.

Unfortunately, due to the effects of Covid-19, there were restrictions in face-to-face communication. Normally, JMEC lectures and discussions are held face-to-face, but the 2020 lectures were half face-to-face and half online.

Most of our meetings were also held online, but I feel that by working together on the project for several months, two to three times a week for a few hours at a time, the team became so united that online communication was not a problem.

I was thrilled about accomplishing my two aforementioned goals, but what I found even more valuable was the opportunity to enhance my communication skills with team members and the clients. It was a very good experience to learn how to move things forward while coming to terms with each other’s different ideas and learning from mistakes.

I was blessed with wonderful team members and mentors, and I am very grateful to all of them for their support.

In fact, there were many times when I thought that I would not be able to continue the program because I was too busy with work and training at the same time, but I am very glad that I did not give up.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to FEW and to JMEC for giving me such a valuable opportunity.