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Master of Science in Finance Program
Graduate School of Business and Finance, Waseda University Japan

1. ABEST21 Accreditation Result

ABEST21 Accreditation Result of the Master of Science in Finance program at the Graduate School of Business and Finance, Waseda University is as follows:
“The School’s educational and research activities have generally met ABEST21 Management Accreditation Standards and the quality maintenance and improvement of education and research in the aforementioned program are promising and good.”
Accreditation commences April 1, 2020 for a five-year period.

2. The Peer Review Team

Leader Professor Dr. Jaafar Pyeman, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
Member Professor Dr. Hiroshi Takamori, LEC Graduate University, Japan
Member Dr. Irwan Trinugroho, Universitas Sebelas Maret, Indonesia

3. The Peer Review Schedule

Peer Review Process Date Remarks
Submission of “Quality Improvement Strategy” Jun. 30, 2018 -
Ratification of “Quality Improvement Strategy” Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, 2018 PRC
Submission of “Self-Check/Self-Evaluation Report” Jun. 30, 2019 -
Implementation of the Peer Review Visit Oct. 3-4, 2019 PRT
Ratification of “PRT Review Report” Nov. 18-19, 2019 PRC
Informal Announcement of the PRT Review Report Oct. 28, 2019 -
Ratification of the PRT Review Report Mar. 11, 2020 PRC
Recommendation of the ABEST21 Accreditation Mar. 12, 2020 AC
Ratification of the ABEST21 Accreditation Mar. 12, 2020 Board Meetings

4. Comprehensive Review

Graduate School of Business and Finance (WBS) has created a reputable name and well positioned itself in the industry not only in Japan but also in Asia as well as in the world. There are many factors that contribute to the success of the School including its clear mission statements that are understood by the faculty and staff members, good governance, established educational system and programs, esteemed faculty and dedicated staff, highly motivated students, financial status, supportive and accommodative management and strong connection with the industries, with the School’s graduates appreciated by the companies.
Specifically, the MSc in Finance Program of WBS is the only program in Japan where students obtain Master of Science specializing in Finance. It is also one of the very few Full-Time Master Degree programs with all instruction given in English. The aim of the MSc in Finance is to nurture finance specialists, equipped with the advanced knowledge with global perspectives, and this is consistent with the mission statement of WBS: “To create actionable management knowledge and to develop insightful and responsible leaders with global perspectives.”
In 2017, the school had received 67 applications for the MSc in Finance and only 26 students were admitted. This indicates that the school is really careful in their selection process by admitting only well-qualified students that fit the program. Thus, it is proven that admission process is important for the School in order to maintain the high quality of the finance education.
Meanwhile, the School plans to introduce a part-time (evening) MSc in Finance Program. This plan would lead to a greater development for the MSc in Finance education at WBS, since there are growing needs for high-level finance professionals in Japanese industries. This program is quite strong in quantitative finance with particular emphasis on its application in financial markets and institutions. However, the School should realize that diverse range of programs offered could add complexity to the potential program as a whole from the eyes of the stakeholders.
In addition, a favorable ratio of the numbers of students to faculty members allows an interactive teaching style, especially in “Zemi” courses, in which the students are also involved in research for completing their Degree thesis for graduation.
The accreditation recognition especially from EQUIS has given valuable experiences to the School in providing the Assurance of Learning as well as fulfilling the Intended Leaning Outcomes. All accreditation bodies require the School to meet the standards, particularly assurance of learning. This is because it can ensure continuous improvement in student learning and achievement. It is one way how the ILOs are being fulfilled.
Although the School has much strength, there are still some aspects that need to be improved. The mission statement of the School should be reviewed as it lacks the ethics and entrepreneurial aspects. The mission statement also needs to be extended to account for a broader range of stakeholders.
The diversity of the students should be prioritized, with the focus on various countries in Asia as well as USA and Europe. This is because the statistics shows the diversity of the students in MSc in Finance is more skewed to China, with less students coming from Japan and other countries.
In enrolling the new students from the other countries, it is important that the School has the systematic procedure in assessing the students’ examination screening processes. In this regard, the screening process is very important to make sure that the candidates fit the Program. The School should make sure that the entrance examination is working effectively.
In addition, student diversity is currently an issue, since the majority of students come from one country (China) with no home students. Thus the student profile doesn’t represent the diverse cultural backgrounds for the learners envisioned in the mission statement. Moreover, the School is also not fostering Japanese finance professionals to conduct business in English, as the mission aspires. It is important for the School to address this issue to ensure that the Intended Learning Outcomes are achieved at the end of the program. The School needs to put extra effort on attracting more students from the other countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and many more from Asia as well as other regions including USA and Europe. This is important for the School to be recognized as the reputable professional School at the international level.
In general, the curriculum of the School has been designed according to curriculum policy. However, the choice of the elective courses is an issue. As mentioned by the student of MSc in Finance during the interview session, the curriculum seems to be focused more on the banking rather than corporate finance. In other words, the students of MSc in Finance have limited choices in elective courses. Thus, it is suggested that the School introduces some other electives in addition to the core courses. Furthermore, the interview session with the student also showed that the program has low industry engagement, e.g. lacking Industrial Talk and Industrial Visit as well as substantial practical experiences. In other words, MSc in Finance is more of an Academic Program rather than Professional Program. This situation is inconsistent with the School’s mission statement with the aim of nurturing highly skilled professionals to meet the needs of globalization.
From the global perspective, education programs should promote the needs of economic, social and cultural globalization. The School should continue to enhance the globalization of its educational program by e.g. creating the global class using advanced information communication technology or by inviting foreign researchers or lecturers. In this regard, the School must allocate enough funding to invite visiting faculty. Other than that, the School should also provide more assistance to the students who come from the other countries, specifically guidance in registration, study and career development.

The School has obtained the International Accreditation from EQUIS, but it still lacks other international accreditations such as ABEST21, AMBA and AACSB. The School currently pursues accreditation from ABEST21 and AACSB. Accordingly, the faculty and staff members are informed about the importance of the accreditation. However, during the interview with the MSc in Finance students they seemed to have no idea about the accreditation. It is hoped that the School will inform the students about the importance of accreditation for the School and make them feel a part of the School family or community.

There is also a suggestion regarding the class survey that is normally done at the end of the class. The School is advised to have TWO (2) surveys which will be done at the beginning and at the end of the class. This will enable the School to measure the gap (positive or negative) between the start and the end of the class, so that the faculty members can take corrective action to improve the situation.
In terms of the School’s funding, Waseda University had centralized the funding and divided the allocation of funds to the faculty and School. The President of the University has ambitious aspirations concerning Waseda Business School, which can be clearly observed based on the present allocation of funding and future expansion of the School. In addition, funding would be generated by School itself through the revenue from the Business and Finance Research Center operations. In this regard, the School needs to improve its non-degree educational programs and develop training programs for the private companies. Thus, the School must plan the workload allocation for the faculty members who teach in the non-degree educational program carefully. The total expenditure will increase if the School is going to hire additional researchers to teach in the non-degree programs. Therefore, since the total funding from the University budget is slightly lower than the year before, the School needs to be creative in finding the new sources of funding including promotion of the non-degree programs.
Another issue with the faculty is the succession planning. Based on the data that is available in the SCR, the number of the professors and associate professors is 39 and 8 respectively. This indicates that the School might face the shortage of professors when they retire, and therefore it needs to account for that in its future planning. This is important because in order to realize its mission statement, the School should have sufficient numbers of fulltime professors and associate professors in the system.
On the other hand, the faculty members should have the combination of the activities including teaching, research and service to the School such as working on the committees. The School should have the mechanism to divide these three activities in the optimum way. The teaching load and research activities of faculty members must be balanced. This is because the faculty members need more time to develop their educational and research activities equally. In terms of faculty composition, the School needs more diversity in the faculty background. This is an important aspect because the demand of the industry and society is changed toward globalization. Thus the School needs to increase the number of faculty members who represent international fields.
Regarding the research output of the School, the faculty members are required to increase the number of publications in the PRJ and to actively present their research in the international conferences.
Lastly, the School has higher tuition fees compared with public Schools that belong to National Universities. The students can accept the higher tuition fees only if they believe that this is a good investment.

5. Good Practice in Management Education

(1) Title of Good Practice in Management Education

“Industrial Based Program designed for high-skilled Professionals”

(2) Reason for selecting the title stated above

i. It is indicated in the SCR Report as well as in the interview session that the interaction with the Industries is important to achieve the School’s mission in order to create actionable management knowledge and foster a dynamic learning community. Most of the faculty members have professional experiences and maintain their strong connection with industries. All these initiatives have positively contributed to helping the graduates to become professionals in line with the expectations of the industries.
ii. It is a good practice when a small group of students is assigned to one professor or lecturer. This is an effective way of teaching and learning as the students will get first-hand information from the assigned professor. By practicing Zemi approach, the relationship between the students and lecturer will become closer, and this can enhance the management education in the School.

6. Matters to be noted

The School needs to review its mission statement. It is suggested that the School includes the elements of ethics and entrepreneurship in the mission statement. On the other hand, broader scope of the stakeholders is expected to be addressed by the mission statement. The mission statement should be well understood by the students and every faculty and staff member. Broader scope of the mission statement is expected from the review.
With regard to the diverse range of programs, the School has to define which programs are to be given highest and lowest priority. This is because a large number of programs will create complexity in the mind of the public. MSc in Finance program is found to have less industry engagement, as there is a lack of Industrial Talk and Industrial Visit as well as less practical experiences. In this aspect, the School needs to improve the program and find way to attract more students from Japan and other countries.
In addition, the number of staff in the School needs to be increased, as currently almost each department was requesting additional staff. At this moment, the staff feels overloaded and they hope that the Management of the School will consider their request.
The faculty members had mentioned that the performance appraisal is fine at the School. However, they request that the performance appraisal is linked to the teaching load, research activities and services. Hence, if the faculty member is successful in research, that particular person hopes that he or she will get less hours of teaching and more hours in doing research.
The faculty members need to increase the number of their publications in Peer Reviewed Journals. The distribution of the faculty members and the number of publications in PRJ is unbalanced. Therefore, the School needs to improve the quantity of the publication of the faculty members.
Meanwhile, the alumni of the School are hoping that they will be provided a platform where the activities can be organized. There is lack of information from the School to the alumni, and subsequent lack of engagement In other words, the School should inform the alumni how they can participate in the School’s activities and how they can give back to the university in terms of funding, skills, knowledge, networking and others.
Introducing a part-time (evening) MSc in Finance Program is a very promising plan. This would open the opportunity for many finance professionals in industries to have access to distinguished expertise in Finance at WBS.
The School also needs to intensify student recruitment in East Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, etc. that are rapidly developing and have a growing need for business persons knowledgeable in Finance.
Finally, there is a need to introduce more elective courses in MSc in Finance.

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