GMF Program 2024


GMF Program Recap: Kyoto, Japan

2024 Global Management Forum: A Four-Day Visit to Kyoto University


Kyoto University, one of Japan's most prestigious academic institutions, offers a unique blend of traditional and modern educational experiences. Nestled in the historic city of Kyoto, the university is a hub of innovation, cultural heritage, and academic excellence. The 2024 Global Management Forum (GMF) four-day visit to Kyoto University was designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of negotiation strategies, business leadership, and Japanese business culture. This journey not only included insightful academic sessions and corporate visits but also immersive cultural experiences, enabling us to gain a multifaceted perspective on Japan's business and cultural landscape.

Day 1: Immersing in Kyoto University’s Academic Atmosphere

Our visit to Kyoto University commenced with a comprehensive campus tour, allowing us to appreciate the blend of traditional and modern architecture that characterizes this prestigious institution. We explored various faculties and iconic buildings, gaining insights into the university’s rich history and academic excellence.

On day one, the GMF group focuses the discussion on the topic of business negotiation. We delved into negotiation strategies through case analyses and practical exercises. This session was particularly enlightening, as the GMF group examined real-world scenarios and practiced effective negotiation techniques.


An integral part of our learning experience was understanding the interplay between culture and negotiation. We explored how cultural nuances influence negotiation styles and outcomes, enhancing our ability to navigate cross-cultural negotiations effectively. The day concluded with an interactive session with Kyoto University students, providing us with a platform to exchange ideas and experiences.


Day 2: Embracing Hybrid Management and Corporate Insights

On day two, the GMF group focused on the concept of hybrid managers—professionals who seamlessly blend technical expertise with managerial acumen. The group engaged in discussions about the skills and attributes required to thrive in hybrid managerial roles, emphasizing the importance of adaptability in today’s dynamic business landscape.

In the afternoon, the GMF group visited Hilltop, a renowned corporation in Kyoto. Here, we had the privilege of listening to Shosaku Yamamoto, the former CEO of Hilltop, who shared his invaluable experiences in managing and developing the company to its current scale. Mr. Yamamoto highlighted the importance of embracing innovation while maintaining core values of quality and precision, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, and shared about their strategies for maintaining competitive advantage in a global market. His insights provided a powerful example of leadership and strategic growth in the corporate world.




Day 3: Cultural Immersion and Leadership Lessons

On day three, the GMF group visited Yuhisai Koudoukan, a cultural center dedicated to preserving traditional Japanese arts and customs. Here, the group participated in cultural experiences related to Chado (tea ceremony) and Ochakai (tea gathering). These activities offered us a deeper understanding of Japanese aesthetics and the philosophical underpinnings of these practices.




The focus then shifted to business leadership in Japan. We explored the distinctive features of Japanese leadership styles and their impact on organizational culture and performance. This session highlighted the importance of harmony, respect, and long-term vision in Japanese business leadership. The GMF group also engaged with students from the business communication class at Kyoto University. This interaction provided insights into the communication strategies employed by future business leaders in Japan and allowed for a meaningful exchange of perspectives.


Day 4: Understanding Japanese Business Culture and Entrepreneurial Insights

On Day four, the GMF group visited Seifuso Villa, a historic and culturally significant site located to the east of the Kamo River and north of Imadegawa Street. Built by the Sumitomo family as a private Kyoto residence for Kinmochi Saionji, the villa's main house was completed in 1912, with attached buildings finished by 1914. Seifuso Villa stands as a testament to the architectural elegance and historical richness of the early 20th century, blending traditional Japanese aesthetics with subtle Western influences.


During our visit, we delved into discussions about Japanese business culture. We examined the core values and practices that define business conduct in Japan, including the emphasis on consensus-building, the concept of Anshin (Reassuring), and a strong sense of loyalty and commitment. The serene surroundings of Seifuso Villa provided a perfect backdrop for these reflective discussions.

The afternoon was marked by a corporate visit to Two Rabbits Brewery. This visit was particularly inspiring as the GMF group had the opportunity to meet the founder, who shared his entrepreneurial journey and experiences. We learned about the challenges and triumphs of establishing a brewery in Japan as a foreigner and the innovative strategies employed to differentiate the brand in a competitive market.



The 2024 Global Management Forum’s four-day visit to Kyoto University was a rich tapestry of academic learning, cultural immersion, and practical business insights. The experience not only broadened our understanding of negotiation strategies, hybrid management, and leadership but also deepened our appreciation for Japanese culture and business practices. Interacting with students, professionals, and entrepreneurs provided a holistic view of the interconnectedness of academia, industry, and culture in Japan.



Important Dates & Syllabus
Online Info Session: Jan. 19 (Fri.) 14:30-15:30
May 5 & 12 (Sun.) 9:30-11:30Jhong Guang Hall, 2F, Bldg 1, CoM  DATE CHANGED!
Study Trip in Kyoto: June 11-14 (Tue.-Fri.)

★★Those who run into VISA problems and thus cannot enter Japan cannot ask for a withdrawal or refund on their credit fee. This will also be seen as an act of missing the class and will receive an X or F for the grade.★★

Site Info
1. Kyoto University  
Yoshidahonmachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8501日本  GOOGLE MAP  
Building 34 (Research Building #2) CAMPUS MAP

2. Yuuhisai Koudoukan 有斐斎弘道館
日本〒602-8006 Kyoto, Kamigyo Ward, Mototsuchimikadocho, 524-1 上長者町通  GOOGLE MAP

3. HILLTOP株式会社 京都本社
Narute-1-30 Okubocho, Uji, Kyoto 611-0033日本  GOOGLE MAP

4. Seifusou Villa清風荘
2-1 Tanaka Sekidencho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8203日本  GOOGLE MAP 

5. Two Rabbits Brewing Co.
241 Miyauchicho, Omihachiman, Shiga 523-0828日本   GOOGLE MAP
Time/ Schedule

Date / Time


Activities / Module


1/19 (Fri.)


(Taipei Time)


Info session

  1. Information about the course


5/5 (Sun.)


(Taipei Time)

Jhong Guang Hall

Introductory content, Digital Transformation I


  1. This module will introduce the students to core concepts and problems around Digital Transformation. Concepts will include definitions, linkage of culture and tech, incremental and large-scale processes, Design Moves for scalable businesses (Zhang et al., 2015).
  2. A key point will be the graphic cycle of Kääriäinen et al. (2020).

Materials: materials compiled by W. Baber; article by Kääriäinen et al. (2020)


5/12 (Sun.)


(Taipei Time)

Jhong Guang Hall

Introductory content, Negotiation I


  1. Key concepts such as distributive and integrative negotiation, strategies, BATNA, ZOPA, anchoring etc. will be introduced. Students will receive materials to prepare for a simulation in Kyoto.

Materials: materials compiled by W. Baber from “Practical Business Negotiation” (2020).


6/11 (Tue.)



(Kyoto Time)

KU campus

Negotiation II;

Cross Cultural Management –  Communication


  1. We will deepen our understanding of negotiation by visiting concepts around preparation, phases, interacting with counterparties, New Value Creation, and shareholder management and satisfaction.

Materials: materials compiled by W. Baber from “Practical Business Negotiation” (2020).




(Kyoto Time)


KU campus

Negotiation event with Kyoto GSM students

(preparation, interaction, debrief)


  1. A live negotiation simulation. Students from NTU will mix on teams with Kyoto University MBA students to represent one side of a negotiation. After the negotiation there will be a debriefing and analysis of what happened, how, and why.

Materials: Case designed by W. Baber


6/12 (Wed.)



 (Kyoto Time)

Yuhisai Kodokan (Kyoto center)

Japanese Business Culture

(Tea event at Yuhisai Kodokan) 

  1. Presentation and discussion around current Japanese business culture including its merits and demerits.
  2. The tea event, in Kyoto City, will reinforce the learnings and share some of the processes from pre-modern times that are deeply rooted in Japanese interactions.

Materials: Articles by W. Baber and others




(Kyoto Time)


Hilltop Inc., Uji

Digital transformation case firm

(Visit to Hilltop, Inc.)


We will move to the Hilltop location in Uji, just outside of Kyoto city. We will see the location and, if scheduling is possible, hear from the semi-retired Chairman who saw the company through continual transformation from the 1980s to 2020.

Materials: “Business Model Innovation: A Japanese SME Driven to Full Digitalization by Corporate Philosophy” Baber et al. (2020).


6/13 (Thu.)



(Kyoto Time)

Seifusou Villa

(near campus)

Cross Cultural Management – Acculturation Processes

(Visit to Seifusou Villa清風荘)


  1. We will investigate acculturation of business workers and leaders to new cultures. Core concepts of acculturation theory (Barry, IHRM concepts, hybrid managers) will be matched to practice through examples.
  2. We will visit Seifusou, a traditional villa and garden owned by the University. We will learn about the design styles and caretaking of the site in the context of cross cultural awareness and interaction.


Materials: “Cognitive Negotiation Schemata in the IT Industries of Japan and Finland” Baber & Ojala (2015).




(Kyoto Time)


KU campus

Japanese Business Leadership

  1. We will learn about typical business leadership styles in Japan, positive and negative aspects, with some reflection on well known leaders and trends in leadership.
  2. Tentatively to be led by Dr. A. Colpan, Kyoto University.


6/14 (Fri.)



(Kyoto Time)

KU campus

Digital Transformation II

  1. We will learn about digital transformation in smaller organizations with comparison to a larger one (a multinational bank). The smaller firm managed digital transformation under pressure of the Covid pandemic. The larger firm has struggled with mixed success and failure.

Materials: “Incremental Digital Transformation in Finance: Creating an Unstoppable DX Ratchet” Baber, et al. (2023).




(Kyoto Time)


Two Rabbits Brewing Co.

Entrepreneurship in Japan, – food manufacturing

(Visit to Two Rabbits Brewing Co. (premium craft beer))

  1. We will visit the case firm described in Digital Transformation II. Students will:
  1. view the production facilities and retail site
  2. hear from the founder about his cross cultural experience starting a business in Japan
  3. Q&A with the founder.


  1. We will also visit a traditional Shinto shrine (Hachiman) to consider its business model(s) as an ancient but innovative Japanese organization.

Materials: as prepared by the founder of TRBC.


Program Application
Student Capacity: 30 
Application Deadline: Feb. 19, Monday
Final Student List Announcement: no later than Feb. 26, Monday

**Selection Priority:
1. R8>R9>R10>R11>R12 
2. First come first serve
**Authorization Code will be distributed during the course add/drop period (2/19-3/1)

Download the Declaration Form

Info Session

 Lectures: May 5 & 12 (Sun.) 9:30-11:30 - Jhong Guang Hall, 2F, Bldg 1, CoM  

Video: Click here to watch
PowerPoint (PDF file): Click here to download

Info Session Agenda





Opening remarks

Prof. Audrey / Gina


Professor Baber introduces himself

Prof. Baber


Go over Course syllabus, company visit, field trip introduction

Prof. Baber