Aug 20



You may have read recently about Eleanor Robinson (CIR Aomori-ken, 1999-2002) and her work with the new Doshisha Global MBA Program which begins in September.  Thanks to Eleanor, we’ve also learned about another JET alum, Dr. Andrew Staples (Fukuoka-ken, 1996-99), who is a Special Visiting Professor at Doshisha Business School with a number of published writings that should be of interest to the JET alumni community.

Here’s more about Andrew and his career path so far:

JetWit:  We understand your work has been published.  Can you tell us what and where?

Andrew: I’ve published a few times with Palgrave in the Asian Business Series including the chapter in the new textbook (we are in the process of making PowerPoint slides to accompany the book, which has been selling well), a chapter in an edited volume titled Emerging Multiplicity, and my own single authored text published last year, Responses to Regionalism, which was based on my PhD thesis.

Publications by Andrew Staples:

JetWit:  What was your path from JET to academics?

A: I was an ALT for two years in a senior high in Fukuoka prefecture before becoming the ALT prefectural coordinator in Fukuoka City for the final year. After JET I enrolled at the School of East Asian Studies (SEAS), University of Sheffield, U.K. to study for an MSc in East Asian Business (1999-2000). I funded this, by the way, with my pension and tax refund and a bit of university English teaching here and there, which is something other JETs could consider doing.

I greatly enjoyed the MSc and it was my intention on graduating to get into business but I was encouraged by my tutor to write up a research proposal, which I somewhat reluctantly did. To my surprise I was awarded a three-year PhD scholarship from the Daiwa/ Japan Foundation Festival Trust and, after much deliberation as I had never considered myself cut out for the academic world, I enrolled as a research student in 2000 with the aim of examining Japanese foreign direct investment in East Asia. I was also lucky enough to be awarded a MEXT Scholarship which enabled me to study at Hitotsubashi for 18 months between 2001 and 2003.

On return to the UK I continued my studies at Sheffield and took up a part-time post at Sheffield Hallam University managing aspects of the university’s links with higher education institutions in Malaysia. In 2004 a member of staff at SEAS went on special sabbatical leave for two years and, as a replacement, I was appointed as a lecturer in Japanese studies offering courses in Japanese economic development, business and management.

I completed the PhD in 2005 and took up a teaching post at Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka, in 2006.

JetWit:  And how did you end up back in Japan at Doshisha?

In April of this year, I was appointed as a Special Visiting Professor at Doshisha Business School (DBS) which is a professional graduate school at Doshisha University, Kyoto – one of Japan’s leading private universities and, coincidentally, with a formal exchange agreement with the University of Sheffield. I am working mainly on the Global MBA Program which has just been launched (the first cohort of 23 students from 17 different countries starts in September 2009) and I continue to conduct research into foreign direct investment, production networks, and regionalism.

JetWit:  What are your thoughts on the  Doshisha Global MBA?

The Global MBA, I believe, offers an excellent opportunity for JETs interested in pursuing an MBA delivered in English, in Japan. The business school has excellent local and international links and further benefits from a fantastic location and an internationally minded faculty. The university has also just been awarded ‘Global 30’ status by MEXT which demonstrates its commitment to become an internationally important research and teaching institution. Some funding opportunities exist including full-fee waivers and subsistence allowances on a competitive and needs basis. I am hoping that we will be able to offer a JET scholarship at some point in the future and enquiries from prospective candidates who identify themselves as JETs would aid me in making this case.

JetWit:  How do you feel about your career path so far?

Ten years ago coming to the end of my time on the JET program I would not have imagined myself as a professor lecturing on an MBA program at a prestigious university in Japan (in fact, many friends back home are still in denial!), but then again, you don’t know that a door is locked until you try the handle.

JetWit:  Any advice for JETs and JET alumni?

I would strongly encourage JET participants and recent alumni to think strategically about their future even if they don’t yet know what the future might be. Returning to university to pursue a Masters degree is a good example of thinking strategically as whatever you go on to do a post-graduate qualification is not going to be a negative and might open up previously unthought-of  possibilities.

Thanks Andrew!  Good luck with the new Global MBA Program.  Any JETs or JET alums who are interested should contact Andrew or Eleanor with questions.  And if you do participate, please share your experience with JetWit for the benefit of other JETs and JET alumni.

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