Between the formal pre-trip meetings, the sushi socials and the offline planning sessions, I’ve come to notice that all 40 Chazen participants have one thing in common: This is everyone’s first visit ever to Japan.
At this point, we don’t know what to expect. We’re aiming to cover three major regions – Tokyo, Kanazawa and Kyoto – in under 10 days. There are some amazing company visits lined up, such as a meeting with the CFO of the largest fund in the world “The SoftBank Vision Fund”. Additionally, this marks the Japan Chazen Trip’s 30th anniversary and the organizers are putting together some exceptional events to solidify this milestone, such as a private tour of Japan’s famous Virtual Reality studio “The Tokyo Teamlab”.
Quite a few of us are so impatient that we’re planning to be in Tokyo four days before the trip officially starts. We’ve already organized a dinner at the iconic “Robot Restaurant” and have six learning teams assigned to research each of the lined-up companies. It’s not everyday that MBA candidates get to personally meet the leadership teams of some of the most influential organizations in Japan and globally. As such, the purpose of the learning teams is to come up with questions that would drive the discussion forward and provide us with industry insights we would not normally get in the classroom.
On a final note, I authentically believe that this trip will foster new lifelong friendships. The 40 participants represent both first and second year, Fall and J-term, students and it seems that people are really excited to get to know each other going forward.
Georges Bassous is a 2020 MBA Candidate at Columbia Business School