Master of Business Administration Program, Department of Business Administration, SBI Graduate School, Japan

1. Accreditation Review Result

ABEST21 International Accreditation Result of Master of Business Administration Program, Department of Business Administration, SBI Graduate School, Tokyo, Japan is as follows:

“ABEST21 International certifies that the School’s educational and research activities generally satisfy accreditation standards. The School’s Kaizen plans are good and quality maintenance and prospects for the improvement of education and research are promising and good. Accreditation commences April 1, 2023 for a five-year period.”

2. “Educational and Research Environment Analysis”

The School has been actively promoting diversity and globalization in the educational environment. However, most of the activities reported were related to the teaching and curriculum developments with partner universities. What are the research activities (joint research projects, publications, or conferences) that have been organized or planned with global partners? The School has established a strong linkage with the industry on academic-industry collaboration in joint projects and corporate training programs.

Correspondence education is rather disadvantaged when it comes to cultivating human qualities, characteristics, and competencies in a businessperson, since active face-to-face interactions among learners are critically important for fostering such abilities. There are not sufficient presentations on what complementary efforts are being taken to make up for the disadvantages.

As mentioned above, there is no activity related to “collaborations with the industries for research and education” in the action plan. No activity related to research or to support research is featured in the action plan. The above components are important. They are parts of the three basic policies of ABEST21, so the School needs to add the related activities to the action plan.

3. “Self-Check/Self-Evaluation Analysis”

Chapter One: “Internal Quality Assurance and Management”

  • Standard 1: Academic Unit Management
  • Standard 2: Governance System
  • Standard 3: Self-Check/Self-Evaluation
  • Standard 4: Staff-Development

The School has a proper management system and decision making process in place and all reports and activities were well documented. The governance system is in place to audit, review and verify management decisions periodically. The mechanisms for self-check / self-evaluation were properly established, well documented and shared with the stakeholders. Based on the online peer review visit, it was found that some of the administrative staff members have a good command of English and are ready to assist the School in the globalized activities.
The School fulfills the ABEST21 Standards on this matter.

Chapter Two: “Mission Statement”

  • Standard 5: Mission Statement
  • Standard 6: Financial Strategies

The School needs to identify the research funding platforms that can be explored as part of its strategies to increase its finances. The School fulfills Standard 5: “Mission Statement.” With respect to Standard 6: “Financial Strategies,” the plan of increasing the admission quota in the future does not appear a promising strategy, in view of the numbers of the applicants, relative to capacity, in 2021 and 2021. In addition, such a plan, if implemented, might have a negative impact on the quality of education.

Overall, there are no major concerns. Requirements for revision and suggestions are as above.

Chapter Three: “Curriculum”

  • Standard 7: Learning Goals
  • Standard 8: Curriculum Policy and Management of Curriculum
  • Standard 9: Quality Improvement of Curriculum
  • Standard 10: Online Education
  • Standard 11: Diploma Policy and Learning Outcomes
  • Standard 12: Globalization of Curriculum

The School plans to offer classes in English for two credits incrementally from 2023 to 2025 (six credits in total). The School needs to be specific in this section, provide details on the planned courses to be offered each year, outline how to recruit new staff to handle the course, and the type of collaboration with overseas universities for online classes. The School may also consider students applying with credit transfer from other institutions.

If an individual student is free to view video materials anytime and anywhere from his/her private place, he/or she would attend only one face-to-face class out of the 7 classes that are worth one credit. This basic instruction style is fine as far as the course deals with introductory knowledge which is well structured with a standard textbook. For management education, however, there are many training-types of courses such as Management Game, Case Studies, Group debates, Leadership, Conflict Resolutions, and many others, in which participatory interactions among learners are critically important. There should be clearer presentations on how the standard style of individual self-learning is adjusted and complemented in line with the human skill and competency development that the SBI’s mission implies.

Overall, there are no major concerns. Requirements for revision and suggestions are as above.

Chapter Four: “Students”

  • Standard 13: Admission Policy and Student Selection
  • Standard 14: Student Encouragement and Support
  • Standard 15: Student Body Diversity

The School has a clear admission policy, and the information is disseminated via various admission documents. The enrolment rate has been satisfactory over the past three years and the School plans to increase its enrolment for Japanese students living aboard and female students. The School may consider recruiting more non-Japanese speaking students in view of its globalization initiatives. The School needs to identify recruitment strategies in attracting non-Japanese speaking students and at the same time work closely with the academic section on courses to be offered in English and the administrative support.

In view of 75% of the students choosing “Business Planning Seminar,” the applicants seeking education at SBI seem to be mainly in the category 1, i.e., persons who have already started up a business, as well as working adults who are aiming to create a new business. The School has a competitive advantage with its notable resources in nurturing entrepreneurs that are urgently sought in industrial societies of Japan as well as Asian countries. With respect to Standard 14: “Student Encouragement and Support”, the “SBI-U Venture Challenge System” is noteworthy in providing brushing up the business plans by mentors, selecting excellent business plans, introducing them to the SBI personnel of venture capital and providing opportunities to receive investment and business advice. However, the School does not fulfill Standard 15. The student body lacks diversity.

Overall, there are no major concerns. Requirements for revision and suggestions are as above.

Chapter Five: “Faculty”

  • Standard 16: Faculty Structure
  • Standard 17: Faculty Qualifications
  • Standard 18: Maintenance of Education and Research Environment
  • Standard 19: Faculty Development
  • Standard 20: Faculty Diversity

The 11 (73%) of the 15 faculty members are over 60 years old, 12 are male and 14 are Japanese nationals. The School needs to have an action plan to address the imbalance of faculty diversity. The School is to consider providing incentives and rewards for faculty members for their outstanding academic and research excellence. The School needs to address the unbalanced teaching loads among its faculty members. The School may continue to conduct relevant training on teaching pedagogies and curriculum development for the faculty members. The School needs to address the recruitment of more female, young and foreign professors to ensure faculty diversity. International exchanges between staff and students should also be planned besides inviting visiting teachers with relevant experience and knowledge.

There are 12 faculty members listed in charge of the “Business Plan Development Seminar.” This is indicative of the great emphasis the School places upon the Seminar. It is not clear, however, what is the specific involvement of these faculty members in the Seminar’s instruction.

The School does not fulfill Standard 20: Diversity. The faculty lacks diversity.

Criterion 16-4: 72% of the faculty members are 60 years old or over. This number is quite critical. The school may not be able teach new technology. Criterion 19-3: it is quite difficult to enhance cutting-edge expertise because roughly 70% of the faculty members are over 60 years old. The school may need a solid plan for faculty development and a plan to recruit young faculty members. These are the major issues of the school. The School must have a solid action plan for addressing these.

Chapter Six : “Educational Infrastructure”

  • Standard 21: Maintenance of Educational Infrastructure
  • Standard 22: Globalization of Educational Infrastructure

E-book and online database collections should be made available to faculty and students for research and educational purposes. The School may consider extending the opening hours of the physical library beyond working hours on weekdays or on weekends. In view of the globalization initiatives of the School, all appropriate facilities must be prepared for faculty and students from different cultural backgrounds.

Since the School provides a correspondence education, it is hard to judge whether the current small numbers of various facilities are appropriate and sufficient. From the perspective of the traditional business School, it is of note how rarely the small numbers of rooms are used for classes and other group activities. The School does not fulfill Criterion 21 – It does not provide an individual office for each full-time faculty member. With respect to its library, the SCR mainly refers to the number of books in the library. What is of most importance for today’s institutions of higher learning is the library function that facilitates the literature searching on academic journals, data bases, and other related materials, on a global scale. The present SCR does not present this library function, which is very important in view of the total dependence upon e-learning style in education as well as research.

Overall, there are no major concerns. Requirements for revision and suggestions are as above.

4. Good Practice in the School’s Educational Programs

Title: “Excellence in Management Governance”
“An MBA program with an emphasis on Entrepreneurial Development”
“Online courses (distance learning education) with business management theory (Leadership, moral Philosophy, and strategies) from the Chinese classic”
Reason: It is noticed that most of the School meeting minutes, reports and documents were well documented and filed. The Quality Assurance processes have been carried out clearly and diligently with proper mechanisms being established for the past years. One of the distinctive features of this MBA Program is the Degree Seminar, “Business Plan Development Seminar” as a pillar of the curriculum. The Seminar is given by experienced businesspersons. The School mainly targets entrepreneurial people who have already started up a business or are aiming to create a new business.

The “SBI-U Venture Challenge System” is a fine initiative to support the students to put into practice what they have learned in this MBA program. The School has the advantage and potential for further developing the program by consolidating its various resources.

The School has been doing online courses for a long period of time and has the appropriate standards to ensure the quality of education. The course contents in business management theory (leadership, moral Philosophy, and strategies) from the Chinese classic are quite unique. Please keep on improving the quality of education.

5. Matters to be improved

As the School is embarking on the path of globalization in management education, many details need to be planned with an actionable plan, instead of providing general statements on what has been planned. The example includes which 2 credits will be used for English course/s per year in 2023 to 2025, how to recruit the new staff and the type of joint collaborations to be initiated. There is also a need to have more networking activities among the students and alumni, both offline and online.

As for the present status of the School, there are some areas where the School is yet to meet ABEST21 standards, particularly in the aspects of globalization and diversification of its educational system. There are pros and cons of the online based education. The disadvantages need be properly taken care of.

As mentioned in each chapter and criterion, any criterion that the School cannot comply with should be added in “Issues to be improved.” All the “issues to be improved” should be summarized in Section III. The Quality Improvement System under subsection 2) “Improvement issues”. Then approaches or strategies to resolve the “issues to be improved” are provided in sub section 3) “Improvement initiatives”. Moreover, the “improvement initiatives” should be added into the three-year action plan as well. When we see the School’s action plan, we can know how the School will improve the education quality and resolve the issues that prevent it from meeting specific criteria. We can know when the School will do it and how it plans to do it in terms of action plan. This will also enable the School to perform KAIZEN systematically.

6. Peer Review Schedule

ABEST21 assessed the School’s ABEST21 Management Accreditation by conducting substantial assessment on “Self-Check/Self-Evaluation Report (SCR)” by the Desk Review and the online Peer Review Visit according to the Review Schedule below.

  • Jun.30, 2021: cceptance of the “QIS”
  • Sep.9, 2021: Online Peer Review Visit
  • Dec.16, 2021: Ratification of the “QIS” by the Peer Review Committee
  • Jun.30, 2022: Acceptance of the “SCR”
  • Sep.15 and 16, 2022: Online Peer Review Visit
  • Oct.19, 2022: Informal Announcement of the Draft of the PRT Review Report
  • Oct.19-Nov.14, 2022: Coordination of opinions between the PRT and the School
  • Nov.24-25, 2022: Ratification of the “PRT Review Report”
  • Jan.17, 2023: Recommendation of the Accreditation Committee
  • Feb.15, 2023: Ratification of the ABEST21 Accreditation by the Board of Trustees