The simplest way to describe the curriculum of the Faculty of Commerce and Management is as “the applied social science of business and markets.” In order to cultivate the capacity to analyze and explain business and market phenomena from a variety of perspectives, the curriculum provides students with theoretical knowledge in fields including management, accounting, marketing, and finance. This knowledge is interlaced with insights from associated social science disciplines such as economics, history, sociology, and psychology, as students are trained to apply what they have learned to real-life situations. The curriculum is designed to cultivate graduates in line with the Faculty’s mission over the entire four years of the Bachelor’s degree program and is organized around three core principles: (1) small-group education in seminar classes, (2) structuring of major courses to advance incremental learning, and (3) education to cultivate basic proficiencies such as communication skills.
Firstly, the mainstay of the curriculum lies in education in small-group seminar classes. Students are affiliated with seminar classes tailored to their academic progression across the entire four years of the Bachelor’s degree program, from entry point right through to graduation. These seminars provide students with progressive training to read, write, and think in depth. Through profound and far-reaching engagement with their instructors and peers, students experience the reciprocal interaction of social scientific theories with real-life phenomena, extending their interest in and understanding of tangible problems in the world of business and developing the intellectual and creative capacities required to formulate solutions thereto. A further aim of the seminar system is to foster high ethical standards and integrity.
Secondly, the major courses in the Faculty are organized so as to enable incremental learning from foundations through to practical applications. The foundation level offers a broad base of knowledge essential for all students of the Faculty, maintaining a sound balance across different disciplinary areas. At the applied level, students acquire more advanced expertise in their respective fields of interest. In order to ensure effective incremental acquisition of knowledge, limits are placed on the number of courses students can take in any one semester, and grades are awarded in accordance with the degree of mastery of the required content for each course. Students are also provided opportunities to take a variety of courses outside their own major as necessary at all stages of the degree program. Taking such courses helps students to shape the foundations for specialized learning and to deepen their understanding of and interest in such learning.
Thirdly, the Faculty offers programs that cultivate the advanced cosmopolitan sense needed to play leadership roles in rapidly globalizing spheres of business both within and beyond Japan. Shortly after admission, students begin an educational program—unique to the Faculty—that is designed to improve English communication skills as a basis for further international learning and structured to facilitate smooth advancement to major courses taught in an English medium and access to study abroad opportunities. The Faculty also has a program specifically designed to cultivate global business leaders, providing study and internship opportunities abroad that bring students into contact with other learners and businesspeople from a wide range of backgrounds and help them to acquire the qualities and proficiencies essential for global business leadership.
The Bachelor of Commerce and Management (BCM) program provides specialized education in the fields of management, marketing, accounting, and finance, and cultivates essential and wide-ranging skills for deep intellectual engagement through one’s life. A combination of lectures and seminars are used to achieve these goals. Seminars are held once a week and are a very important part of the undergraduate education program.
The seminar style of teaching refers to a small class of less than 20 students that involves reading and discussing course materials with fellow students along with a supervising faculty member. The seminar method allows students to acquire knowledge and approaches within their area of specialization and to acclimate themselves to thinking deeply on various levels about social and economic themes. This educational style is a Hitotsubashi tradition that has been practiced at the university for over 100 years.
The BCM program puts special emphasis on seminar education. Participation in seminars is a compulsory component for the duration of our program from the first year through the fourth year. This means that all students in the undergraduate program receive focused, attentive educational guidance through four years of seminars.
The BCM program is designed so that small-class seminar courses become progressively more advanced over the four years. Specifically, in the first year, students take Undergraduate Introductory Seminar 1 and 2 to develop basic mastery of the reading, writing, and thinking skills necessary for the acquisition of specialized knowledge. Then in the second year, Preseminar (Intensive Readings) cultivates the skills necessary for acquiring specialized knowledge from works written in English. These seminars build a strong foundation upon which students can develop advanced specialization in business administration topics. We believe that the strength of this foundation will also serve as the basic skills students will employ in their future activities out in society at the forefront of business.
Furthermore, in the third and fourth years, intensive seminars focus on specialized topics of each student’s choosing. Through the repetition of this reciprocal interaction of real issues and abstract theories, undergraduate students acquire independent critical thinking skills.
PACE program (first-year students)
The Practical Applications for Communicative English (PACE) program aims to improve students’ English communication abilities by developing applied proficiency in English reading, writing, listening and speaking. The program was initially offered by the Faculty of Commerce and Management to its first-year students, in 2012. From 2017, the program will be expanded to include all first-year Hitotsubashi students.
EDGE program (second, third, and fourth-year students)
Starting from 2017, the Faculty of Commerce and Management will offer English Discourse for Global Elites (EDGE), a follow-up program to PACE that targets second, third, and fourth-year students. EDGE utilizes small-group, seminar-style classes in which native English instructors provide personalized instruction and guidance. Leveraging the high effectiveness of intensive training programs for rapid language acquisition, the EDGE program aims to improve students’ skills in a short time frame. The goal is to ensure that motivated students become more capable and confident in both understanding, and expressing themselves, in English.
From its earliest days when it was still known as the Commercial Training School (Shōhō Kōshūjo), Hitotsubashi University has emphasized the acquisition of practical English proficiency. Over the years the school has educated countless graduates who have gone on to assume prominent roles in businesses across the world. The PACE and EDGE programs strengthen this tradition by offering our students even greater access to unique international experiences, including both study abroad and overseas training. Through these programs, we support our students in their first steps towards developing a world-wide outlook appropriate to today’s globalized society.
Unless otherwise specified, students enrolled in the Shibusawa Scholar Program are required to take a selection of classes offered by the EDGE program.
Shibusawa Scholar Program
The Faculty of Commerce and Management at Hitotsubashi University launched the Shibusawa Scholar Program in order to foster individuals capable of embodying the university’s ideal of “Captains of Industry” in a global environment, regardless of differences in nationality and language. Beginning with students enrolling in the faculty in the 2013 academic year, each year around 15 students are selected to participate in the program from their second year of undergraduate studies. Participants take a range of courses designed to cultivate the skills of logical thinking and analysis required to play active roles in international business. It is our hope that the program will produce genuine global business leaders equipped with profound insight into economic, social, and corporate issues around the world; lofty aspirations and real passion; and the initiative to tackle challenges head-on.
The Shibusawa Scholar Program is operated in line with the fundamental educational principles of the Faculty of Commerce and Management: the acquisition of broad-based, in-depth knowledge in the social sciences and the practice of small-group education revolving around the seminar class format. The program’s curriculum aims to instill in students the international outlook essential for leadership across many fields in both Japan and beyond. We encourage students first to make use of the intellectual training and intensive discussion offered in the faculty’s existing major courses and seminars, developing habits of profound reflection that enable comprehension of the logic in creation and development of business systems, and the mechanisms that lie behind them. Building on these foundations, students take classes to develop skills in English communication, together with more specialized courses in commerce and management taught in an English medium, thereby acquiring both input- and output-related skills in English.
We anticipate that students will use the experience of long-term study abroad to develop the communicative skills required to give presentations in English on their own research topics. We also hope that they will make the most of opportunities such as internships at companies and other organizations outside Japan and international forums for interaction with other students. It is our expectation that this diverse curriculum will produce Global Captains of Industry who can contribute through business to economic and social advancement in Japan, throughout Asia, and across the world. We look forward to the active involvement of students in the Faculty of Commerce and Management.