Japanese MBA students plummet in US as companies skimp on tuition
Nikkei -- Dec 14
The number of Japanese students obtaining master of business administration degrees at elite U.S. universities has dropped by roughly half in the past decade as corporations grow reluctant to finance employees' education for fear of them quitting upon graduation.

Only 59 Japanese students graduated from the top 10 MBA programs in the U.S. this year, including those offered at Harvard, Dartmouth and Stanford, according to Axiom, a Tokyo-based staffing agency. That is down from 104 graduates in 2009.

A big factor driving this trend is businesses are less willing to sponsor MBA students since many bolt for other employers once they return home. As Japanese corporations try to remain competitive by having employees trained at top business schools, they may have to rethink the way they finance such programs.

"Being able to speak without hesitation during discussions is an enormous asset," said Satoshi Ibukuro, who graduated from Harvard Business School in 2018. Before going to Harvard, he had worked for a large Japanese trading house. Now he is employed at a major U.S. investment group.

"What appealed to me is the environment where I can be deeply involved in management and business strategy while putting to use what I learned in my MBA courses," said Ibukuro.

The majority of Japanese MBA holders have tuitions paid by employers. But between 2009 and 2019, that number tumbled to 33 people from 61. Meanwhile, the number of students paying out of pocket fell to 26 from 43.

Businesses normally require sponsored MBA employees to pay back tuition fees if they choose to leave the company within a few years. However, employees frequently do not have to reimburse living expenses that were comped.

News source: Nikkei
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