Japanese business students from Yamanashi Gakuin University visited The University of New Mexico's Anderson School of Management Sept. 11-16 for a week of instruction on U.S. entrepreneurship and business pitch strategies, culminating in a business pitch competition.

AS-Japan collab
The University of New Mexico's Anderson School hosted a group of Japanese students as part of a partnership.

The Kono Seminar is an international trip for Yamanashi Gakuin University business students in their third year. This year’s cohort consisted of 15 students taught by Kunio Kono, a Yamanashi Gakuin University professor, and program manager and professor Eri Hoshi. Joining Kono and Hoshi at Anderson this year were Rumi Tarora, the business school dean, and Toshi Matsui, a visiting professor from Osaka Metropolitan University.

The course is designed to enhance the student's curriculum by providing an international business perspective to their education. At the heart, the course focuses on social issues and allows the students to identify personal areas of interest through extensive research on societal concerns.

“The concept of entrepreneurship is still relatively unfamiliar to Japanese students,” said Kono. “My seminar guides students through researching and problem-solving by creating businesses that address community challenges. We focus on developing a comprehensive business model and pitch deck before arriving in New Mexico.”

Tiffini Porter and Rebecca Rodriguez, Anderson’s program directors, coordinate the Japanese students' New Mexico experience, including classes taught by Anderson faculty. Classes cover U.S. entrepreneurship principles, the art of business pitches, creative thinking, financial considerations, terra prime principles and pitch preparation and practice. Porter and Rodriguez are key in cultivating Anderson’s Japanese university partnerships, including this year with Osaka Metropolitan University and the University of Yamanashi.

The students also enjoyed many local experiences, including lunches at the La Posada dining hall on campus, dinner at various New Mexican restaurants and ending the week with a UNM football game.

Yasutada Ichikawa, a participant in the Kono Seminar said, “This program helped me realize my full potential and fostered personal and professional growth. I think the more students exposed to it will become interested in starting a business, like me.”

International partnerships such as Anderson’s with Yamanashi Gakuin are important for business schools because they provide students with cross-cultural experiences, expand the business school’s network, and can foster economic and social growth. This partnership was created in 2018 and continues to grow under Anderson’s corporate and community engagement efforts.

“Collaborating with Yamanashi Gakuin University on our entrepreneurship program has been an inspiring journey, fueled by their kindness, creativity and boundless enthusiasm,” said Robert DelCampo, senior executive director of the Corporate and Community Engagement office at Anderson. “Together, we’re not just sharing knowledge; we’re igniting the entrepreneurial spirit that transcends borders. This partnership is a bridge to empower students at the University of New Mexico too, fostering global connections, expanding horizons and nurturing tomorrow’s innovators.”

To learn more about Anderson’s Corporate and Community Engagement office, visit www.mgt.unm.edu/cce.